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Can the format of Palo Alto Town Square be tweaked?

Original post made by I like forums on Sep 21, 2007

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this forum! It's a great place to get info and find out what is on the minds of my fellow Palo Altans.

BUT, does anyone else find the format a little annoying? I wish there were a way to just look at posts that I haven't read before. And more importantly, I wish that posts were ordered so that the ones most recently responded to would be at the top, the way it is with most forums. The way this is set up, even if an issue is a hot topic, within a day it drops off to the second page and then gets much less attention.

Anyone else feel this way?

Comments (17)

Posted by Forum Reader, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Instead of using the "Main View", click on the "Message Board View" or the middle blue blocked heading between "post a new topic" and "return to home page". You will then get the posts in the order of most recent at the top.

Happy reading.


Posted by Peter, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2007 at 3:54 pm

the forums are basically very primitive. the biggest annoyance is having to retype my name and neighborhood for every comment. but, i guess they work. they look homegrown so would probably take a significant effort to make them better, unfortunately.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by whats real?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Sorry, Peter, but I don't consider the forum in your link "real". "Real" forums have activity. The forum you point to has its most recent posts measured in weeks, not hours or minutes as it is here.

What's your definition of a "real forum": the technology used and its user interface, or the participation rate of its members? I vote for the latter. Seems to me your post is an attempt to increase participation over there.


Posted by Forum Reader, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 21, 2007 at 6:45 pm

As long as one person can post 10 times a day the forum becomes a series of rants by one or two people. Then he can change his name and post some more, trying to give the impression that others agree.
As long as there are no rules to limit such abuses, the forum is useless for learning what other Palo Altans think. Too bad, it had such promise.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 22, 2007 at 7:54 am

FR: That's kind of "out there," wouldn't you agree?

What abuses are you talking about? This forum is FAR from being "useless." I think, er... know, that a lot of different opinions are represented in these forums and I love the chance to read them. I want to know what my neighbours think.

Those with the tin-foil hats are few and far between.


Posted by i love forums, a resident of University South
on Sep 22, 2007 at 9:32 am

Thanks, Forum Reader, for that suggestion. I hadn't noticed that link before. But, therein lies the problem. Not many people notice that link, and once a topic drops off the first page of the regular view, it's out of sight, out of mind for most readers and posters. I'd like it if that message board view were the default view, so hot topics would stay high on everyone's forum page.


Posted by Forum Reader, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 23, 2007 at 11:05 am

No, Joanna, it's not "out there." Perhaps you are relatively new on these forums. For example, often you can see that one person has posted to 5 or 10 forums at a time. What you cannot see is whether the same person posted under different names. So there is no way of knowing how many people you are hearing from.
I also want to know what the neighbors are thinking. Unfortunately it isn't possible to judge the metalic content of their headgear on line.


Posted by steve levy, a resident of University South
on Sep 23, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Thanks Forum Reader,

I had not noticed that link either. I agree with what I love forums wrote.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 24, 2007 at 6:56 am

Good point Forum Reader. Thanks.

-----

I suggest RSS feeds for comments on particular threads.


Posted by multiple identities, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2007 at 7:10 am

Forum reader, you state:
"As long as one person can post 10 times a day the forum becomes a series of rants by one or two people. Then he can change his name and post some more, trying to give the impression that others agree."

Do you have any real proof that this is what happens on the Town Square Forum? Does it happen in all threads?

I have heard people complain about this in some threads and I got the idea that sometimes people who do not want to acknowledge what some people are writing about claim that all the writings are from a single person.


Posted by Forum Reader, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 24, 2007 at 10:55 am

to muliple identities,
Can you tell us the identities you use?


Posted by Forum Reader, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 25, 2007 at 1:29 pm

"As long as one person can post 10 times a day the forum becomes a series of rants by one or two people. Then he can change his name and post some more, trying to give the impression that others agree."
I rest my case, your honor.


Posted by Forum Identities, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Multiple Identities and Forum Reader are one and the same poster--he/she is trying to stimulate discussion on this thread and/or attempt to create controversy


Posted by Pati, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 25, 2007 at 10:51 pm

It IS a bit annoying when there are hot topics and it turns into a live chat between a few people and then the topic gets shut down. But I can certainly live with it.

I would REALLY like to see the LATEST posting FIRST. I love having this forum for the community, but it is tedious haveing to scan down every single topic to follow the thread.


Posted by yet another parent, a resident of Escondido School
on Sep 25, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Pati, If you're on a PC try typing CTRL-END. It'll bring you to the bottom of the page (or discussion as it were) and you can back up from there.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 26, 2007 at 6:29 am

My complaint is different from most here. I think the intern, or whoever they have monitoring these forums is WAY too free in deletion of materials from posts, or even whole posts.

I understand that personal invective, profanity, and other similar verbiage detracts from, rather than adds to, dialogue. And I agree that's better removed.

But I have read posts that I thought made very valuable contributions to the topic under discussion, and not to my mind offensive in any way, when I first read them, and then find that they are deleted when I come back to reread the discussion. There are apparently no firm rules for what is permitted, and sometimes one gets the idea that the censorship is content-related.

More likely, it's a young or new employee doing an unattractive and boring job. (I often think of Major Major Major in Catch 22 blacking out random words in the wartime mail he has to screen.)

I know that it's often a judgement call in this area, but I do think the discussion is unnecessarily constrained by the Weekly's forum monitors in a way that sometimes diminishes its usefulness.


Posted by Logical, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Chris,

Here's the "official" viewpoint on your censorship issue. It was in the print version of the weekly today:

Web Link

Can't help but laugh at the last paragraph, and I'm sure that exact verbiage will be plagiarized by those hoping to dodge the censor.


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