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    My suggestions fall into five categories:
    • Dealing with bots
    • Navigation (flexibility, in particular)
    • Games
    • Articles
    • General theme


    Bots
    There are quite a few bots talking to other bots on DevShed. The sort of posts that frequently wind up on the Software Design and SEO fora are good examples. I don't know how the mod interface works but it would be nice if there were an option for mods to nuke a bot account entirely so that their old posts no longer show to non-mods (either not shown at all, or get piped out the way YouTube comments work -- but don't make it dependent on JavaScript!).

    Navigation
    It is a bit clunky, to say the least. As a returning user (I haven't been around DevShed for several years) I am not sure what to make of the "network of properties" because I have very little sense that devshed is part of a larger network in the way that, say, StackOverflow is a network of magically auto-cleansing Q&A sites.

    That said, navigation by forum alone may not be the best route. It is common for discussions to span language, design, database and network topics all at once -- in fact, most of the good questions that thoughtful noobs bring up are exactly this way. I'm not a huge fan of tags, especially not automatic tags, but this is the sort of area where tags make navigation a lot more sensible.

    Its not clear which forum to post a question to when you're designing a game, in Python, using Postgres, and have an interface question -- which forum should the question go in? Probably not the game or design forums if you want the question to actually get looked at. Probably not the Python forum, since they'll probably refer you to the games forum. Definitely not the Postgres forum since interface is OT (or might not be, but it will seem OT). etc.

    Games
    What can I say -- they are broken. Its sort of a fun idea, I suppose, and the RPGish thing is strikingly well done considering the tack-on-to-a-forum-backend nature of the development. But its not finished, or at least its certainly not polished. I wrote, cracked, tweaked, extended and hosted loads of door games back in the dialup BBS days and I can see the influence here (especially with the LORD hommage in LotGD). Its a nice idea, but either needs to be completed to the point that LotGD feels like LORD and works smoothly (its been a 403 blackhole for months, apparently), the RPG/arena game feels like Ursurper/ThePit/etc. (and this means completing the feature set and making the interface more discoverable), and flash games... well, they are probably toast considering Flash's future.

    Bottom line, do them or don't. But don't half do them. It smells.

    Articles
    Believe it or not, there is actually an http server alive at devshed.com, not just forums.devshed.com. Wow. I looked at it. It is enormously unhelpful. Not just the layout, but the content has obviously dragged a bit over the last few years.

    So I thought it'd be interesting to write a data design article or two to spruce things up. I sent in my email address and... nothing. So meh, whatever. Just another unmaintained web property; no big deal. But that's the point. DevShed is generally "no big deal" and can't remain so if it is to return to the spotlight the way the new owner and gobs of the old community wishes it to.

    General Theme
    All over the place there are buzzwords. In particular there are "web development" related buzzwords. That's pretty shallow thinking. Most of what I see outside of the PHP and JavaScript forums are not web development questions. DevShed doesn't sound like a web development sort of place, either. It sounds like a place developers go, and any decent developer should know quite a bit more than just the web.

    So ditch the web specificness. Ditch the slowly-decaying tack-ons that are web specific as well (SEO, flash, etc.) and get back to the old-school core of DevShed: Development.
    Tutorials (proofed, edited, vetted tutorials are best of course), language/topic wikis, tagged discussions instead of just pigeon-hole forums, and articles (proofed, edited, and vetted, of course). It is still possible to solicit solid content from the community by letting their own sites get exposure in exchange for editorial and authorial effort here.

    Blah blah blah. Just some observations. DevShed is still at the top of most dev question searches. It still has a huge community. Letting it all of it slowly decay but for the active conversations of a few oldtimers, noobs and returners like myself on the forums is such a waste.
  2. #62
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    Thanks for checking back in and for your suggestions.

    There are quite a few bots talking to other bots on DevShed. The sort of posts that frequently wind up on the Software Design and SEO fora are good examples.
    The biggest issue there is that in a lot of cases it's not very easy to identify beyond a reasonable doubt whether someone is actually a bot or just a person who may not have the strongest grasp on English. If you notice bots though, you can definitely report them using the spam button at the bottom of the post.

    The SEO forum is basically just a cesspool of spam; I think most of the mod team has basically just given up on trying to make that into a legitimate board.

    I don't know how the mod interface works but it would be nice if there were an option for mods to nuke a bot account entirely so that their old posts no longer show to non-mods
    I agree that a working tool for nuking an entire account would be great though. If an account is an obvious spammer we just manually delete all of their posts.

    Navigation
    There are supposed to be significant changes in the works here; when they might materialize, if ever, I have no idea.

    All over the place there are buzzwords. In particular there are "web development" related buzzwords. That's pretty shallow thinking. Most of what I see outside of the PHP and JavaScript forums are not web development questions. DevShed doesn't sound like a web development sort of place, either. It sounds like a place developers go, and any decent developer should know quite a bit more than just the web.

    So ditch the web specificness. Ditch the slowly-decaying tack-ons that are web specific as well (SEO, flash, etc.) and get back to the old-school core of DevShed: Development.
    I understand what you're saying there and I agree that expanding the scope to more general development would be great, but as it stands right now, a pretty significant majority of the traffic to the boards is web development related, so ditching it outright probably wouldn't end up too well in the short term.

    Letting it all of it slowly decay but for the active conversations of a few oldtimers, noobs and returners like myself on the forums is such a waste.
    I agree, it's pretty sad.
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  4. #63
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    Whoa! Someone is checking the thread...

    I suppose that what's needed is a person with the motivation, vision and permission to re-architect the site to be given the go-ahead to do so. There is a fine line between revitalizing something and obliterating everything that worked out well in the past.

    At this point I see DevShed as trying very hard to not create failure instead of trying in any way to create success. There aren't any looming dragons down that road, but there are certainly plenty of ticks and leeches and zero pots of gold. Slow death, out in the cold.
  6. #64
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    Thanks for the suggestions. A lot of those issues will be addressed when the upgrade comes about. One I can address now is the bots. I have been working on a system on another site we run as a test, and it seems to be going well. I'm going to implement that here over the next few days and hopefully that will slow that down some.

    Appreciate the feedback as always.
    Editor-in-Beef
  8. #65
  9. Devshed Beginner (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Originally Posted by zxq9
    As a returning user (I haven't been around DevShed for several years) I am not sure what to make of the "network of properties" because I have very little sense that devshed is part of a larger network [...]
    It has been for the better part of a decade.
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  10. #66
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    Hey I am new and I try to contribute where I might as I can. I at least read the new post daily that are areas that I am interested in.
  12. #67
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    I suppose that what's needed is a person with the motivation, vision and permission to re-architect the site to be given the go-ahead to do so.
    I think everyone tied to Devshed has been in a "pick 2" situation WRT those qualities for the last decade.

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    • codergeek42 agrees
    PHP FAQ

    Originally Posted by Spad
    Ah USB, the only rectangular connector where you have to make 3 attempts before you get it the right way around
  14. #68
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    Sorry! The administrator has specified that users can only post one message every 90 seconds.

    I can see how you might want to put the brakes on the drive-by spammers, but forum regulars with x years / y posts under their belts should be able to post more frequently than that.

    All it takes is a couple of easy questions in a row, and net nanny is wagging her little finger at me for being naughty.
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  16. #69
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    Originally Posted by salem
    Sorry! The administrator has specified that users can only post one message every 90 seconds.

    I can see how you might want to put the brakes on the drive-by spammers, but forum regulars with x years / y posts under their belts should be able to post more frequently than that.

    All it takes is a couple of easy questions in a row, and net nanny is wagging her little finger at me for being naughty.
    Post flood control is built into VB. I can't remember if the newer versions of VB support usergroup permissions, but I've changed it on my own sites to ignore some usergroups so I'm with you. I also don't agree with minimum post lengths.
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    My suggestion is to improve the look of this site. It looks extremely dated, which is unfortunate because it doesn't reflect the rich information here, and it actually makes it harder to get the information you need.

    Oh yeah, 3 months until I can use an avatar is a little silly.
  20. #71
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    18 months of "soon"

    5 months since the owner last patrolled the provinces

    *shrug*

    Any update, or is this now the place for perpetual nostalgia?
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  22. #72
  23. Editor-in-Beef
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    Hey Salem,

    Yeah, we've been working on updating the version of vBulletin since last week - we ran into a stumbling block because one of the important plug-ins didn't work with the new version of vBulletin, so we had to find an alternative. If I am not mistaken, it should be finished this week - I should know more on Tuesday.
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  24. #73
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    Originally Posted by 1DMF
    The most annoying thing more than anything else is the limited column size on posted code, making it a nightmare to read and in fact puts me off replying to threads as it's too dificult to read the code in its entirerity.

    Being a techy forum but not being able to read the posted code is rather counter productive.
    I came here to post the same thing this morning, and can no longer find a way to simply 'agree' with a post.

    The new color scheme is fine, but the relocation of the poster's information bar from a header to a location on the left side of the post wastes space better used for the display of code, which is what we are here for. The space constraint feels even more limiting when posting a reply, as there are vertical borders on either side of the editing fields constraining the user from enlarging them beyond a rather narrow width. (Safari allows the user to resize text fields, not sure if other browsers do.)

    In addition, the style used for text within code tags is too small. It should be at least as large as the standard post text.

    Also, if possible, it would be helpful if the default toolbar in the markup editor contained the 'code' button as it used to. Was already difficult enough to get new people to use it. Will be much more so if it is hidden among three toolbars under a 'Go Advanced' setting.

    I always liked this forum best because the presentation of code was the clearest to me, and I hope it will continue that way. Thanks.
  26. #74
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    There looks to be a small glitch with the display of rep received in your profile (or at least there is with mine). Noticed a few days back as I was stooging about the new style forums to see if I could find everything. Checked again just now and same issue - the number displayed for rep received is replicated down all rows, so far I have see two different values, so I suspect it is taking the latest value of propogtaing that
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  28. #75
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    Originally Posted by keath
    I came here to post the same thing this morning, and can no longer find a way to simply 'agree' with a post.
    It's called "Give Rep" now. You should see it in each post's footer.

    Originally Posted by keath
    The space constraint feels even more limiting when posting a reply, as there are vertical borders on either side of the editing fields constraining the user from enlarging them beyond a rather narrow width. (Safari allows the user to resize text fields, not sure if other browsers do.)
    I second that request. Being able to increase the textarea size as needed can be very useful. Firefox and Chrome have that feature too. IE does not.
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