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Asking for feedback on recent echo (status update) vs forum

Hello JCJP users,

I want to ask for your feedback on JCJP tool to communicate each other.
Right now, as for discussion we have forum and recent echo (you can find it in JCJP front page).
I'm thinking that these two features are similar and different in some ways.

In forum we have a title, and we have space to discuss and post a long message.
while in echo, it has no title, and you can still post a long message, but the design (small space) doesn't seems to give you enough freedom to post a long message.

I'm thinking that since these two features are similar, I'm afraid to confuse new users from deciding where to post for discussion.
So, I'm planning to remove forum feature and put all the forum posts in the comment box. all the discussions will be done in the thread poster's comments box.

What do you think about this solution?
Please let me know your opinion and your solution to this.

Thank You,
posted by beeant

Comments 5

  • Peacherine
    Hi! I'm excited to see how the new features will be when you're all finished! Let me see if I understand what you're saying. Right now, users can post in the forum, on the recent echo box, or on other users' profile page comment boxes. You're suggesting getting rid of the forum page, therefore moving long discussions to one user's (the original author) profile comment box page. Right?

    The questions I have are: Without one main forum section to go to, how will users see what kinds of discussions are happening? Where will the titles of the discussions show up so we can decide if we want to read more about it? Obviously we can't randomly check other user profiles just to see if there's a discussion.

    The possible problems I can think of with this approach are:
    » Like I said, there may be no central easy way to see what the overall topics are. A forum page might still need to exist just to have the titles shown, then link back to the user profiles for each topic. In that case, it's almost like you're not getting rid of the forum page at all.

    » Some users may be uncomfortable with more people seeing their profile pages (maybe they aren't happy with their scores or some other reason). Moving discussions to personal pages would increase that, especially since a lot of forum posts are by new users.

    » Sometimes a forum discussion starts out relevant to the author's post, but then gradually changes and becomes a discussion between other people instead. At that point, the author may not even be involved, but the posts are still going to be on their comment box. A dedicated forum section keeps all discussions in neutral public ground, avoiding that problem.

    » Right now, commenting on someone's profile comment box is like a personal message for them. It's a one-to-one correspondence. But if forum discussions move to profile pages, how will there be a distinction between comments intended for the discussion versus personal comments intended just for the user? There would have to be separate comment buttons or something... one for personal messages, and then potentially one for each forum discussion the user would be the author of, in order to keep everything separated and manageable. If not, if it would all just remain one chronological undifferentiated comment stream, everything would be all mixed together and it'd be really annoying to try following a discussion. Plus, I wouldn't want others unnecessarily reading any more personal comments on my page.

    » There would definitely need to be a delete comment feature to give users control over things posted on their comment box. But then that might interfere with the freedom and archivability of forum posts, since authors could delete whatever they wanted.


    Overall, I'm for keeping a dedicated forum page. I can only foresee a sort of unorganized, hard-to-manage-and-navigate jumble of comments otherwise. I think people automatically recognize "Forum" as a place where they can read or contribute to various conversations, so getting rid of that page will be confusing and possibly lead to people stopping conversations.

    Honestly, I'm not really sure what the current "Recent Echo" box is in the first place. That name implies to me that it wouldn't be a place you would actually post anything in; instead, it would just be an automatically updating feed of things users last posted somewhere else (which is taken care of by the current "Recent ----- Comments" boxes below that on the front page). What did you intend the Recent Echo box to be for? I see all sorts of posts there: new member introductions, translation requests/questions, shout-out type comments, sharing interesting things comments, and even some general comments seemingly meant for no one and nothing in particular. All of those categories are what you'd typically see on a forum page.

    My suggestion is to keep the forum page, but update it and make it more user friendly by separating it into categories so users know where to post. These categories could be something like:

    Introductions (for new members to say hi),
    Translation questions (for specific help with translating back and forth),
    Learning Japanese (for more general discussions on what people use to learn),
    Site Suggestions (for sharing things about the site or content that could be fixed or improved on),
    Anime/Manga (for talking about favorite shows etc),
    Travel to Japan (for more specific questions/experiences with going there),
    and Everything Else (for other categories less directly related to Japanese learning).

    I think if we clicked on the Forum tab, saw a main screen with categories like the ones I suggested, and then could navigate to the right place to post/read, using the Forums would be much easier and more clear for everybody since there currently are no categories at all. New users would know that Forum page=discussions, and they could go there and see a place to introduce themselves. Everyone in general would be able to find what they're looking for more easily. The "Recent ---- Comments" boxes on the front page could stay as they are, or even include another box for "Recent Forum Comments." The Recent Echo box could probably be done away with, since the forums would cover anything. And users' profile comment boxes would be kept for personal correspondence.


    Sorry my post got so long! I hope it's okay. It's just my thoughts. I'd really love to see a more active/easier-to-use forum section though, to get more people involved and talking. So, see what you think! Thanks for asking for our input too, that's really nice!

  • Medyrius
    I share Peacherine's overall opinion about the forum, if I'd expect anything to be done about it, it'd certainly not be its removal but its improvement into something more organized and attracting for any kind of precise discussion...

    Concerning the "recent echo" feature, I think that it's not being properly used most of the time and I think it's probably the reason you find it so similar to the forum...
    It's basically a comment invitation to other users about a specific thing. This could be something that just happened to you or a funny thing u just thought of and in that, it's somewhat different from a forum post that'd invite for an open conversation on a relatively large subject...
    I agree this subtle similarity can be confusing for new users about where to post but I think both these features should stay...

    How about giving the "recent echo" section a more obvious name like the facebook "Express yourself" feature... It could be fun if user would use it to share funny things they find here and there or why not their personal life experiences...
    Of course it'd be even better if we had the possibility to insert images or videos...
  • beeant
    Thank you very much for your time writing that long Peacherine!
    Also to Medyrius.

    Yes, I also think the same. We need a list of topics for discussion. and further reasons like privacy and stuffs that you mentioned makes me think more not to remove this forum. About organizing them into categories, I have been planning to implement this, however I prefer to implement tag. So each post can have multiple tags/category. What do you think about this?

    The purpose of recent feature is actually for something similar like status update on facebook. I will improve it to be more like facebook status update like posting photos/videos easily.

    Thank you for your feedback. I think I will keep forum feature for now.

  • Mica
    About the Forum and Echo
    -I'm not really sure how many people actually go to the front page after they had logging in already, It just doesn't seem likely many people would. So some people may not even notice if someone were to write an 'Echo'.
    -The Forum has a tab on the top which people are likely to press at one time or another in order to see what people may have post or to post something themselves. So I believe not removing the forum would be wiser since most people, generally know/think, most sites have a forum and may look for it.

    If you don't want people to confuse them, You can write a small description above both of them explaining what each one should be use for, such as:

    "Ask a quick Q, or say a small message about something currently on your mind"
    Right above the "Echos" section
    "Create topics you wish to discuss/talk about with other people"
    Above the Forum page.

    That may give them a clue on what to post where~

    I would, However, suggest focusing more towards creating a chat-box rather than improving/removing any of those features.

    At the moment, both of these systems are ones that take too much time in-between the person who first spoke and the following people.
    Which can cause problems at times too~
    -If person "A" asks a question here~
    -Then person "B" answers several mins/hours later but unknowingly misunderstands the question~
    -Now "A" has to say "no, I meant __" responding some mins/hours later,
    -"B" realizes and re-answers some time later.
    -"A" agrees/disagrees and explains further.

    Having to wait for other people's response to what you say can remove your motivation to continue a conversation.

    Also, people tend to need to write down everything they can come up with regarding the topic since they may end up forgetting it by the time the person responds/returns, which ends up in big blocks of text that may be scary to look at for new readers of the topic.

    A chat can help people 'actively' talk with each other, and possibly practice what they learn on the site with each other as well. And if the topic is interesting, it may attract other people to join in on the chat too.
    It doesn't even have to be a fancy chat box~ even a free one from http://cbox.ws/ is good enough to get people talking.

    The only down-side I see, is that chat-box generally need to be monitored which I don't believe you would be capable of managing all the time. But giving it a try regardless of that is not a bad thing to do. If things don't seem to work. removing it wouldn't be too much of a problem until you figure out a solution.
  • trucly123
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