BikePGH!

Message Board Usability

This topic contains 180 replies, has 39 voices, and was last updated by  Vannevar 1 yr.

Viewing 40 posts - 121 through 160 (of 181 total)
 
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salty

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 9:58am #

Mikhail wrote:
Used to be bike-pgh.org and I believe google finds references to this domain. Now it’s bikepgh.org. These are two different domains and cookies (especially login ones) are single domain only. Cross domain cookies are considered as a hole in security.

“Used to be” is not accurate since it still serves pages as bike-pgh.org instead of redirecting. Fix that and the indexing will fix itself.. And the login cookie problems as well.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 10:15am #

^^^ Ooh, Nathan, please do that!


Mick

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 12:48pm #

In IE 8, I stil have trouble seeing all the text – the right side gets cut off.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 1:08pm #

Ah, I just found something out based on Salty’s post. I was getting logged out every time I opened this site. The problem was that my bookmarks still referred to bike-pgh.org. When I edited the bookmark to removed the hyphen the problem went away.


buffalo buffalo

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 5:19pm #

apparently sessions time out now. who knew? Would be real nice if instead of throwing a nonspecific error message (“Are you sure you wanted to do that?” Yes, actually, I am.), it said “You’re no longer logged in” and–perhaps more importantly–saved the comment that didn’t post, so that it could be retried.

In response to jonawebb & salty’s comments, it’s been said here and elsewhere a couple times that we need to switch from bike-pgh to bikepgh. of course, if anyone bothered to use redirect permanent, the problem could be solved pretty simply…

(also, didn’t this place used to have a preview option, or is that just every other messageboard and forum I use?)


Marko82

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 5:42pm #

I was trying to revive the ‘cars hitting buildings’ thread and the board search just takes you to individual posts with no way of going to the old thread (as mentioned by a few others).

I found that if you use google to find the previous thread & copy the address into the browser that has your logged-in MB session – minus the “http://www” part of the address – you will be taken to the old thread and still logged in. If you don’t eliminate the “http” part you end up with some text-based-looking page and you will not be logged in.


Steven

Private Message

Mar 4 2013 at 5:50pm #

The old site is using “301 Moved Permanently”, as it should, for the home page. Not for /mb/ or other pages, though. There should be a site-wide redirect on the old site, not just one page.

This site never had a preview option. You must be thinking of every other message board.

And I recommend always copying your post to the clipboard before posting (on this or any site). A simple habit of Ctrl-A Ctrl-C can save a lot of retyping when you discover the board’s flaky, your connection just dropped, or whatever.


salty

Private Message

Mar 5 2013 at 6:56pm #

ok… now the pinned topics are gone. intentional or not? there’s still a gap there where they should be.


clicknathantest

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 8:09am #

http://thisisareallylonglink.com/asdfadfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf

Here’s another one but this time it’s right in the content https://maps.google.com/?ll=40.47655,-79.910903&spn=0.004611,0.00773&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbl of the paragraph


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 8:23am #

Well, let’s try a really long domain name, just for giggles. I brought up the page first, to make sure it works, then copy/pasted it here. Let’s see what happens:

http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/first215.html


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 8:25am #

Yep, seems to work OK, even if half the domain name gets cut off on my laptop screen after the first 41 characters.

Win 7 Enterprise, Chrome Version 25.0.1364.152, Dell laptop.


nathan

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 8:54am #

Howdy everyone. Latest updates.

#1 the Big One

On the homepage of the forums (ie, bikepgh.org/mb/) when you click the title of a thread that you’ve read and which has new replies, you should now be taken to the correct post. That is, the newest thread that you haven’t read.

I am not a fan of having to captcha every time you log in (if indeed that is the case as it appears to be), and I can’t recall any other site that does that.

This was requested by BikePGH as the board gets a ton of SPAM and this seems to be the most efficient way, short of hiring a full-time “Mark as SPAM” clicker, to handle it.

@drewbacca, I’m getting the cut off text thing again starting with the third post down on this page http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/a-moderately-safe-way-to-get-to-the-oval-highland-park-reservoir/

This should be fixed, the links that are superlong should now be truncated. Let me know folks if you find anywhere this isn’t happening.

Hm, search soes not work at all. I know I was talking about gloves for Marko82 at one thread. Search for “gloves” returned something in 2011 and older stuff.

You’re using the site search (ie, top o’ the page), which doesn’t include forum topics as it would make it impossible to find anything on the main website as there are about 10 forum posts to every 1 piece of actual BikePGH content. Use the Forums search instead, I searched for gloves and found this thread.

I’ve seen the “dos” formatting too. I’m not really a web expert but I think sometimes the content loads before the style sheet (which specifies the formatting). I don’t know why it happens, although it doesn’t happen to me very often. Maybe some caching issue?

This is annoying and it’s next on my list to sort out.

@Steven It would be nice if you could use a URL like
…/topic/message-board-usability/post?264654

You can do this, the URL structure is http://bikepgh.org/?p=264667 where you swap out the 264667 (which is your reply above) with whatever the ID / number of the reply is you want to link to. That removes all /page/ changes, concerns.

[regarding search]…once you’ve found a message, the link takes you only to that message and there is apparently no way to get back to the thread that message is a part of. It looks like a “breadcrumb” at the top but you can’t click on it.

This has been fixed.

I think some of the above is due to a general tendency of the board to not keep you logged in.

These issues are stemming from issues where bike-pgh.org/whatever is not correctly redirecting to bikepgh.org/whatever You should never be able to go to bike-pgh.org, though obviously you still are able to. This is an issue with the host that’s out of my personal control.

But at least I learned about Miriam Makeba, today’s doodle.

Ah, then my grand scheme to convert the forums and make the search hard to use in order to help spread the word about Miriam Makeba worked!

Anyone who’s comments were not replied to, it’s either because they’re simply redundant and I covered them already, or because they’re still being worked on or possibly because they’re not going to happen / out of my jurisdiction.


erok

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 8:58am #

I am not a fan of having to captcha every time you log in

I was spending way too much time fighting spam. I even enlisted several other users to help me. Just think of this as your little contribution to my sanity. i don’t know if there is a better technical solution than the current one, but i haven’t had to delete one spam post since.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 9:06am #

Since I changed my bookmarks so they refer to bikepgh not bike-pgh, I haven’t had to login once, on my PC or phone.


edmonds59

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 9:07am #

It hasn’t been an excessive pain for me, and I haven’t had to deal with “…beautiful making purses for your utmost social group capability…”


salty

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 9:24am #

I have the cutoff text problem again on my android tablet… Maybe due to the long link?


JaySherman5000

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 9:58am #

This just started happening:

if I am not logged in, when I click on the title of a thread, instead of being taken to the thread, the bikepgh.org/mb page simply refreshes. Clicking on the latest post link worked. Once I logged in, everything seemed to be okay.

IE9, W7


Benzo

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 10:11am #

I now don’t see pinned threads at all in either safari or chrome on iOS on iPhone 5.


Pseudacris

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 11:33am #

JaySherman5000 wrote:if I am not logged in, when I click on the title of a thread, instead of being taken to the thread, the bikepgh.org/mb page simply refreshes. Clicking on the latest post link worked. Once I logged in, everything seemed to be okay.

I am experiencing this, too.
Chrome on OSX


nathan

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 11:41am #

if I am not logged in, when I click on the title of a thread, instead of being taken to the thread, the bikepgh.org/mb page simply refreshes. Clicking on the latest post link worked. Once I logged in, everything seemed to be okay.

This has been fixed.


Swalfoort

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 12:37pm #

Nathan, thanks for the update, and the humor in your response. I appreciated both very much this morning. You even made me giggle a little bit. That was MUCH appreciated.


Steven

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 4:05pm #

nathan wrote:On the homepage of the forums (ie, bikepgh.org/mb/) when you click the title of a thread that you’ve read and which has new replies, you should now be taken to the correct post.

This is awesome, thanks! Unfortunately, it’s not working for me on this thread (and only this one, so far). The list of topics always says this thread has a new post, and it always takes me to Stu’s post at the bottom of the third page.

This was requested by BikePGH as the board gets a ton of SPAM and this seems to be the most efficient way, short of hiring a full-time “Mark as SPAM” clicker, to handle it.

I’m surprised that every-login CAPTCHA would be more effective than every-registration CAPTCHA. Don’t spammers create a new account for pretty much every spam? But it seems to be working great!

You can do this, the URL structure is http://bikepgh.org/?p=264667 where you swap out the 264667 (which is your reply above) with whatever the ID / number of the reply is you want to link to.

Very nice. Further suggestion: Have the “#” links at the left of each post use this type of URL, so they function as permalinks.


Ahlir

Private Message

Mar 6 2013 at 7:27pm #


I’m surprised that every-login CAPTCHA would be more effective than every-registration CAPTCHA. Don’t spammers create a new account for pretty much every spam? But it seems to be working great!

Of course professional spammers simply accumulate every image-to-letters mapping and breeze through these challenges. Fun fact: mappings are “crowd-sourced” in exchange for providing access to porn. I understand that this is a very efficient approach.
I also understand that some of the flimsier CAPTCHA services have maybe a total of ~400 images, so they’re particularly easy to crack.

You might consider using RECAPTCHA which in principle has a non-closed set of prompts and, as a by-product., does something useful.

So maybe RECAPTCHA at sign-up and if that’s not enough maybe re-entry every n logins? Or at least the first several logins


Steven

Private Message

Mar 7 2013 at 12:52am #

I’ve been using reCAPTCHA on two of my sites for a few years now, protecting a mailing list signup and a contact-us form. Spammers solve a fresh reCAPTCHA and send a message to us several times a week through both. (Unlike message boards, there’s no hint that anything entered on my forms will ever be publicly posted, but the spammers keep sending pages of links, hoping for the best I guess.)

I’ve been thinking of trying out HelloCAPTCHA to see if that works any better. (Alternatively, I could take advantage of the fact that I ask for a company name and serial number on one form. 99% of the spam has “google” and “123456″ entered for these.)

Nathan, for the record the last-post feature is now working for me on this thread, but on some others it’s jumping to posts from February. Perhaps that will go away in time.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 7 2013 at 9:01am #

@nathan, congrats on getting the last-unread-post thing working. I note that you said that fixing that would be as hard as getting gravity to work differently. I look forward to the anti-grav device, enabling us to bicycle up buildings, soon. Though it will be a shame if Western PA cyclists lose their reputation for toughness, due to our no longer having to contend with hills.


erok

Private Message

Mar 7 2013 at 9:46am #

I’m surprised that every-login CAPTCHA would be more effective than every-registration CAPTCHA. Don’t spammers create a new account for pretty much every spam? But it seems to be working great!

I have no clue how these work, but being able to see the back end of the site leads me to believe that they would login and spam a ton under one account. There were accounts that would post 15-50 times, even if each got picked up by the spam filter. They would try to create threads, post in threads, etc. There hasn’t been a spam thread in 3 weeks.


Steven

Private Message

Mar 7 2013 at 12:12pm #

Would they keep logging in between posts, though, or just attempt dozens of posts until some worked, all in one login session?

Did the old board have a CAPTCHA for registrations?

Suggestion: When you have a private message, the text Messages at the top of each page should change in some way to alert you (maybe a color and the number of unread messages). Right now, it sends an email, but sometimes people forget to update their new email addresses here, and there’s currently no other reminder.


Ahlir

Private Message

Mar 7 2013 at 11:04pm #

Spammers solve a fresh reCAPTCHA and send a message to us several times a week through both.

Cool.

Something like reCAPTCHA, like all crownsourcing schemes, use a voting approach. This means than each pattern gets presented n times and the majority label is taken as truth. We’ve actually published on this and found that accuracy starts to asymptote at about 5 inputs. But with reCAPTCHA you probably want (and can afford) a larger sample. What this really means is that the same pattern will show up a bunch of times. So once you see it for the first time (assuming your coders have reasonably high accuracy, which you know because you got in), you have the answer for successive appearances of the pattern.

Now, imagine you’ve built up a system that has ~1k porn enthusiasts on line at any given time. Every time you need a new pattern decoded you tap one or more of your viewers. Think peep-show.

The only counter-measure that might work is to drive up the cost. For example, require a sequence of decodings (sign-up, first n posts). Maybe each randomly selected from a different provider. Of course you have to balance this against annoying your legitimate users.

On the other hand, maybe bikepgh.com (as opposed to bike-pgh.com) is not quite yet on the spammer industry’s radar. We should revisit this in a couple of months.

Is human ingenuity great or what? Seriously.


salty

Private Message

Mar 8 2013 at 12:19am #

I’m completely in support of doing a capcha (and even email activation) for account registration. If it’s stopping people on the login page it could stop them on the registration page just as well.

I hate to be pessimistic but what ahlir said could well be the reason for the drop in spam, that they just haven’t updated their scripts yet. Should be easy to tell from the logs.


salty

Private Message

Mar 8 2013 at 1:15am #

Anyways, now that I know never to use bike-pgh.org I don’t have to log in as much, so the captcha isn’t too bad.

What I really have problems with is the formatting, some of these issues are old but I think some are new.

Text is getting cut off on my tablet again (i think this was fixed for a while but now it’s broken again) as noted above. I cannot zoom or scroll to see the cutoff text, it’s inaccessible. I think it has to do with the link formatting, which is also odd, there’s often a lot of blank space around a link, it’s almost as if it’s leaving space for the whole URL and not the displayed text.

Font sizes also remain inconsistent, some posts have small fonts, some have large fonts, sometimes the same post has multiple font sizes. It makes it hard to read and the large fonts are too large.

On my phone, the line length is way too short. I mean I get 2-3 words of text on a line and it’s all smashed over to the right, it’s hard to read.


salty

Private Message

Mar 8 2013 at 1:20am #

Also, this may be browser dependent but someone else (stu?) noted before that there seems to be an increased tendency to lose the message you’re composing if you switch tabs or something. I often go off to research something or to copy & paste a link, and I often (almost always) come back to a blank box now. Even if it’s browser dependent I don’t remember that being an issue before, and it’s something I do all the time. It’s very frustrating. The “obvious” solution of copying the message just in case doesn’t really work if you’re switching tabs in order to copy and paste.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Mar 10 2013 at 6:53am #

Can we get the page handling at the base of the first page to work correctly? Once a thread falls off the first page, it’s lost to the ages.

Separately but related (I think), the “2″ link does not go to the 2nd most recent page of posts, but to one of the sub-categories that used to be on the old site:

http://bikepgh.org/mb/forum/bike-advocacy-and-safety/page/2/


Benzo

Private Message

Mar 11 2013 at 12:07pm #

Pagination is all screwed up. If I click page 2 at the bottom of the list of threads, it takes me to http://bikepgh.org/mb/forum/bike-advocacy-and-safety/page/2/ instead of what I think it should take me to http://bikepgh.org/mb/page/2/.

This means I’m seeing stuff over a year old instead of the next set of posts which I’m expecting. I couldn’t find this thread.

Oh, and I don’t think there are pinned threads anymore… not sure what’s up with that.

I’m on Chrome on WIN7.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Mar 11 2013 at 2:20pm #

OK, this is a test. I want to see what the time is on this post. I have a hunch the board did not detect the switch to Daylight Saving Time. As I am about to push the button, the clock on my laptop (which is within a couple of seconds of exact) says 3:20 p.m.

If the post says 2:20 p.m., then something in the browser script is incorrectly (or not at all) checking for whether we are on Daylight Time.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 11 2013 at 2:21pm #

Yep. Wrong.


JaySherman5000

Private Message

Mar 11 2013 at 10:51pm #

On a positive note, I found this thread by searching “usability” in the “search the forums” box. Hooray for a working search tool!

On a less than positive note, I was looking for this thread to report the time being wrong on posts made since Sunday at 3:00am, but I see Stu beat me to it.

To complete the compliment sandwich, I no longer see text-wrap issues on my personal laptop (Opera 12.14, X11; Linux x86_64).


Mick

Private Message

Mar 12 2013 at 10:57am #

On the “cut off” problem.

The first paragraph of any post gets cut off at ~71 characters, but doesn’t get wrapped until maybe 90? 100? characters.

Paragraphs after that are OK and wrapped at ~55 characters.

If someone says “Hello” and hits , they can go on as long as they want in the second paragraph and I see it all. (wraps at about 55 characters)

If someone starts out with a dissertation without hitting at all, I can’t really read their post.

It makes it very hard to follow serious discussions, like the bike-share thread.

I have IE 8


Ahlir

Private Message

Mar 12 2013 at 12:13pm #

The wrapping is annoying.
But for some reason it’s especially annoying on this thread.
Some of the other threads seem to have narrower right margins, and only the first paragraph is wider (but still fits).
It’s not a font size issue.
My (very) vague impression is that using the quote environment screws things up:
more and more stuff goes missing after each quote instance.


Jack

Private Message

Mar 15 2013 at 8:55am #

Can we please get the system clock fixed so that the proper time is shown for when messages are posted?


JaySherman5000

Private Message

Mar 18 2013 at 8:59am #

I prefer not to stay logged in to any website, including this one (I actually have my browsers set to auto-clear cache and cookies when I close them). When I want to reply to a thread, I hit the login button and go through the portal. On the old board, a successful login would return me to the thread I was just looking at. On the new board, a successful login takes me all the back to the website homepage. This is supremely annoying, user-unfriendly behavior. Can we please get this fixed?

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