Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Short and Long of It

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  • 81stcolumn,

    I don't doubt that I am in a minority here, but I will be quite sad to see the introduction of an edit button to PAS discussion.

    Firstly the lack of an edit function pauses my pinkie above enter for just that littlle bit longer; which for me, is no bad thing.

    Question - Will the edit functionality be time sensitive ? What I'm getting at, is would I be able to vanity edit my contribution to a thread to reflect a fluid point of view or merely not to look a complete goon. I can see advantages and disadvantages to this. But the lingering nightmare is reading a certain copyright thread where it becomes unclear what someone actually said at the time.

    As for Twitter - I love it in it most simple form - following the musings and conversations of people I like to read. Being as I am, sitting at the fringe of conversation suits me just fine. I'm over the virtual Skinner box friends, responses, shouts thing. Rather strangely twitter has revived my desire to blog.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Promise not to nag about your lack of an edit button ;-)

    Classic coming from you Russ. ;-)
    Take no notice of Lance and Bryan, they're just too lazy to read quality stuff and need to be spoon fed. RSS feed? pah!.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Question - Will the edit functionality be time sensitive ?

    Yes.

    But I haven't decided what time window is appropriate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Whether it be water-cooler chat, public service announcements, news, argument, discussion, pithy repartee, customer research or a fantastic source of crowd-sourced wisdom, the bottom line is that Twitter is, foremost, a fantastic medium for communication.

    That's what I've decided, as a relative newbie. It's now the first icon I click when I sit down at my computer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    - When I get the daily PA email, all the authors have a little tagline, eg "Hadyn Green yells. A lot." But these don't seem to show up online anywhere - a pity, cos some Mr Slacks are quite funny.

    They are on the front page aren't they? I feel bad for not changing mine.

    Also I didn't know I was supposed to only write about one thing at a time. Personally I don't have the attention span for that

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    what time window is appropriate.

    Ten seconds. Oh how I love to watch people panic.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    But I can't promise to do everything ...

    Well, obviously, but you've got to al least be aware of the problems before you can consider them. Other than those mentioned above, here's a couple.

    Italics doesn't work very well. It tilts forward instead of on the spot. Further, you can't make a quote that starts or finishes without putting a space between the underscores and the quote bit. A minor complaint, this last one, but it is an anomaly.

    Link thing: Many people, myself included, copy the link instructions from the list next to the the reply box and then fill in where appropriate. Unfortunately, the first letter either side of the centre bar is a lower case "l," which is, along with "i" the thinnest letter in the English language. This means that selecting (for overwriting) both "url" & "link" is a tricky business and often leads to failed links. This could easily be fixed by changing to a capital "L."

    Lastly, for now, I wouldn't like to see an "edit" button active for too long. 5 minutes seems about right - long enough to correct any obvious errors. If it is active for too long, there's no longer an accurate record of what's been said; people will quote other comments that no longer exist, etc.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    And Wordpress! I <3 Wordpress and I'm going to WordCamp (nothing sinister - more like a conference/workshop/love-in).

    WP is flexible and really friendly to use. I would absolutely recommend it as a blogging tool, especially to people who aren't confident with HTML.

    I've heard that Supermodel is a bit complicated to use, but that side of things doesn't affect me. I don't see any pressing need for PA to switch to WP.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    By the way, forgot to mention that PAS is actually designed, and works, very well in general.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    They are on the front page aren't they? I feel bad for not changing mine.

    Oh, they are too. And in different colours for each blogger. Nice.

    They don't make it to PAS, though, which is where I spend most of my time.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    My23 yr old daughter just spent 3 weeks in the states and we found Twitter was the easiest and most immediate way of keeping in contact. She used both mobile phone and her netbook. Came in handy every time I remebered another cd I wanted her to get!

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    If you use Firefox as a browser (and why anyone would use IE is beyond me), you increase or decrease text size on web pages (and emails and docs and everything) by holding down control (or apple on a mac) and rolling your scroll wheel. Try it once and you will wonder how you lived without it.

    This works in IE7 as well - not sure about earlier versions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and something I missed from the original post.

    Nielsen has released a split of sites by the % of online forum readers who actually contribute to the forums they're reading.

    Public Address came in second, with 50.5% (Real Groove was top with 56% but half our audience, Gameplanet was third with 49% of more than twice our audience).

    Full list:

    1. Real Groove
    2. Public Address
    3. Gameplanet
    4. Idealog
    5. Pundit
    6. Good.net.nz (stablemate of Idealog)
    7. RadioChick
    8. kimberleycrossman.com
    9. GeorgeFM
    10. Flava FM

    Interesting list. Radio clearly engages people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • John Fouhy,

    I thought some of the complains had merit. I recall having trouble navigating the site for a while. I don't have those troubles now, but that's because I've learnt it -- whereas with much of the internet, I'm a native. ^O^

    Also, when I signed up here, I posted this complaint to my own blog. I don't know if that still holds true. I suspect that was in the days before Firefox 3 gave me full-page zoom and made the web readable again.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    (I started listening as a high school kid in '91 or '92

    Me too.

    I say 'no!' to threaded conversations. They drive me bonkers in other places and I imagine they would here too. But Robyn is way more jazzy than me at this internet lark, so it could just be that I'm a luddite.

    Lance's post just made me go all 'really? You're complaining about that? REALLY?'

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I say 'no!' to threaded conversations. They drive me bonkers in other places and I imagine they would here too.

    I'm the same. So that request is almost certainly going to fall afoul of my personal preferences ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    My suggestion about bold, italic, etc:

    You're already committed to Javascript with the preview button. So add some buttons for the formatting and linking. That'll remove all chance of error and deal with a frequent and irritating problem. Chances are that people with Javascript turned off are old-skool paranoid types who can add markup by hand easily anyway.

    Having said that, the preview implementation is annoying. The reason is that if you are composing a long comment, quite often in the meantime someone has posted another one that makes what you had to say redundant. In the model I like (yes, Metafilter, AGAIN) preview does a fresh fetch back from the server so you see your potential comment in the context of the very latest version of the page, allowing you to abort or rewrite.

    I expect that given the composition of the PAS readership, someone out there can arrange gratis or at least economical usability testing.

    Also, I hadn't ever heard of Brian Spondre before I read his comments on Wigg's blog, but having read his comemnts my estimation of interest.co.nz dropped several notches after I realised the connection. That sort of drive-by snark does not leave a good impression.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    PS: another vote against threading.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • John Fouhy,

    Incidentally, I'm not a twitter user (yet..?), but the impression I get of it is that it's for:
    a. Talking to people you know, and
    b. Reading short thoughts from people you don't know.

    (I suppose there is also

    c. Sending short thoughts to people following you.

    but I don't see myself as the type to attract stranger followers)

    Is that right? With that picture, it doesn't seem to have much to offer me. I'd rather read stranger's thoughts on blogs, and I don't talk to people much in general. Or is there more to it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I wrote elsewhere that Facebook is Twitter for plonkers, and I stand by that. Being a plonker myself, I appreciate the pace of Facebook very much. I joined for the most ridiculous reason thinking I'd never actually use it but imn fact I use it a lot.

    Twitter is something else, though. I don't feel a need to use it myself but it really is quite mesmerising, and utterly fascinating from a mass sociological standpoint. It's like listening in on the world's conversation sometimes - with all the caveats about how slanted the actual user population is.

    I'll echo everybody else on the comment that the complaint about PAS articles being articles is just silly. It's got the same bias as the stupid Tumeke ranking, which is based on frequency of posts and number of comments. Number of returning readers per week and time spent on site would be much more meaningful metrics for the kind of work that the PA bloggers do.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I am teaching a online course this semester ("Teaching NCEA Media Studies") and I was pleasantly surprised, when I polled the 8 students (scattered around the country) about their media use, that all of them regularly read newspapers and magazines, went to the movies, watched TV, and used email. On the other hand, none of them used Twitter. A small group, I know, but they do fall into that demograph (18-24 years) who are not supposed to be using media in this way.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Lance's post just made me go all 'really? You're complaining about that? REALLY?'

    Ditto but then I found myself seriously pissed off at some of the comments Lance's piece illicited. Bryan Spondre's particularly. I resent the conclusion that somehow PAS is difficient becuase it doesn't cohere to some standardised concept of a blog. That being a preference for short, banal and/or inflammatory posts.

    Pah! I love you. As you were.

    Oh and what Jackie said too.

    And though I'd rather there weren't threaded conversations, it'd be good if my reply could be saved as I move back in a conversation to copy and quote an earlier comment...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    In the model I like (yes, Metafilter, AGAIN) preview does a fresh fetch back from the server so you see your potential comment in the context of the very latest version of the page, allowing you to abort or rewrite.

    Word up. I often open a whole other PAS and refresh it while I'm writing a post in another tab, just to get a workaround version of that.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    A feature I'd love to have (which wordpress would provide) is 'new posts since your last visit' highlighted. Then when I revisit the site I can just click the highlighted links to update myself on what people have said, instead of trying to remember when I last checked.

    Yep, good idea.

    And the edit button, obviously. Though I'd like the system to report that a post has been edited (like wordpress does), so people can't go all "NZ Herald" on us.

    Yes, I strongly agree. Like IMDb where the time of the edit is noted.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Just to add: these are graduate students.

    My attitude to Twitter: I tried it for a couple of months but gave it away when it seemed too much like small talk. I can't do small talk and much prefer the medium-size or big talk that happens here.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

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