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Virginia Football Board

SportsWar 

Joined: 08/01/1998 Posts: 43
Likes: 51


Update on the new boards, after living with them a few days


(Note: we placed this post here, rather than the Basketball board, because the Basketball board is cycling a little too quickly right now, and we wanted the post to remain on the front page of a board for a while.)

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Thanks for all the feedback on the new board system. We have spent some time going over all the comments received here and on TechSideline.com, and we have the following notes and information for you.

1.) Speed: This is our biggest concern. The index pages of boards and user profiles are both slow to load, taking several seconds (sometimes longer) to initiate. Once the index pages and user profiles start loading, they're very fast, but there is a delay prior to loading that we'll continue to work on.

Without getting into too much detail, the old board system created simple PHP files for each post and each index page, so all the server had to do was serve up the files when clicked … lightning fast, but not very feature-rich.

When we added the new features, we also reprogrammed the boards to build in dynamic fashion, so to speak. Each index page isn't a simple file anymore; it's dynamically built from many pre-defined elements. Our programmers did a really good job of caching these elements and making sure the boards were fast, but we didn't really know how fast they would be, until we rolled it out for thousands of users. And the answer is that it's fast when loading posts and when creating new posts, but some other things need work. Now that we have behavior data under load, we'll take a look and see if we can improve the speed issues.

The larger a board home page is -- the more threads there are on it, and the larger those threads are -- the slower the page will be to load. You'll notice that during a game, when most threads are shallow, the index pages load quickly. During the week, when a lot of in-depth discussion is occurring and threads are deep, the board slows down.

We can reduce the number of threads per page, and that will help with speed, but it also reduces the amount of discussion present on each page, and threads get pushed to the second page and beyond sooner, which isn't good.

We have reduced the Sabre's boards to 25 threads per page, and we may knock it down to 20, while we research ways to improve speed.

2.) "New" indications: Thanks for the feedback on how this information is presented. We agree this could use some work, and we'll take your suggestions into consideration, including the colors and methods we use to indicate "new."

We also like the idea of being able to toggle the new indications on or off, so we'll investigate how to make this available to each user.

One thing we have talked about … if the user hasn't been to a board in a while, instead of showing "new" on every single post, we're thinking about showing highlighted "new" for the top post in a thread, and then just putting "new" (no highlight color) on all the child posts. So we've got lots of ideas on how to improve this.

3.) Remember the user preference for Collapsed or Expanded Threads, all platforms: Originally, boards loaded as Expanded, and had to be Collapsed if that's the user's preference. But this selection was not remembered in any way, so we programmed it to remember your last selection, via cookie, and present the boards to you that way. The boards should now show as Collapsed to you, without having to click "Collapse" every time you load a board, and vice versa for "Expanded."

4.) Showing all the Plus-Minus buttons on the mobile view clutters it up: Agreed. We love the functionality of being able to plus, minus, and reply to all posts in the mobile view (and by extension, all posts in "What's New?"), but all the different colors clutter up the display. We're going to talk about using smaller buttons, and displaying them in less-distracting colors, similar to what Twitter does (all gray) to minimize clutter.

5.) Number of threads displayed on mobile format: during testing, we discovered that large board index pages bog down quickly and are difficult to render (display) on a phone browser. So we limited the number of threads to ten per page on mobile. We *may* have gone too far in that direction, and we'll tinker with increasing it to 12 or 15 to see how it does.

6.) Styling, CSS, and visual presentation: You've been with us long enough to know that we produce sites that you like, in many cases love, but which don't exactly blow anyone away visually. We have received some great feedback and suggestions, plus we know we have some bugs, so we'll keep working on this.

7.) Plus-minus buttons, member rankings, and member star ratings: The basics of this are covered in the "More -- Our Rankings Explained" menu selection, and in the sticky post ("Guidelines for rankings, voting on posts, etc. ") at the top of the board. We have received a lot of feedback on this new set of features, and the biggest thing we want to say is this: it's a living system that can be tweaked and tuned over time. We plan and design as best we can, but whenever something like that is rolled out to the masses, there are unintended consequences -- some good, some bad -- and things might need to be adjusted. We'll continue to keep an eye on this key aspect of the new format as time goes on.

Thanks for being fans of the Sabre!
SportsWar staff and programmers

P.S. We made this a non-sticky post, providing you the chance to comment, ask questions, etc. We may not be able to respond to all comments or answer all questions, but we will read all of them. Thank you.

Posted: 02/23/2016 at 1:39PM



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Current Thread:
  Number of threads displayed is a big one -- wahoo138 02/24/2016 11:08AM
  This!!!! And mobile format. ** -- Scooby Hoo 02/24/2016 11:39AM
  +1 re mobile format / orientation** -- RML Hoos 02/24/2016 10:55AM
  Me too - old mobile format was far superior -- 68UVA 02/24/2016 10:30AM
  New Tags -- Karl Hess 02/23/2016 9:57PM
  Great idea! ** -- Yosarian 02/23/2016 11:17PM
  Great question: Yes, we lose ad impressions. -- SportsWar  02/24/2016 2:06PM
  Very difficult to navigate threads. -- SchmHoo 02/23/2016 9:57PM
  Partial solution... -- Karl Hess 02/23/2016 10:00PM
  In game chat board inner workings are terrible. -- Charleston Cav 02/23/2016 6:49PM
  Sounds good, thanks for being responsive -- Seattle Hoo 02/23/2016 4:40PM
  good stuff. ** -- Trigon 02/23/2016 4:37PM
  Feedback on links -- HoosYourDaddy003 02/23/2016 4:30PM
  Ah, noted, thanks. ** -- SportsWar  02/24/2016 1:53PM
  PLEASE no to this. Would be the death of this board imo. -- The_Superhoo 02/24/2016 08:19AM
  Agree with this. The topic format gets so dense -- The_Superhoo 02/26/2016 10:28AM
  Exactly ** -- RML Hoos 02/24/2016 10:56AM
  You have my thanks. ** -- The_Superhoo 02/24/2016 08:20AM
  But couldn't it be an option? -- WamplerR 02/23/2016 8:56PM
  Re: But couldn't it be an option? -- Karl Hess 02/23/2016 9:48PM
  Agree ** -- KeyserSoze 02/23/2016 5:13PM
  I agree with this 100000% ** -- HoosYourDaddy003 02/23/2016 4:31PM
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