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Thread: A complaint about way-too-long threads...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Default A complaint about way-too-long threads...

    And in this case, I mean threads here on the board, not cut threads.

    At the moment, the "What Did You Machine Today?" thread is 121 pages long, with 1,207 replies.
    The "What Did You Do Today" thread is 200 pages long, with 1,992 replies.

    And the sticky "Shop Made Tools" thread, which contains some useful information but thanks to it's size is completely unsearchable except by manually flipping through it page by page, is 346 pages long, with 3,451 replies.

    I've complained about this before, and the problem has only gotten worse. Those threads are like posting on Facebook- it's easy and puts everything in one place, but only a select few read it, and they're totally unsearchable- anything posted to it is basically buried and unfindable within a matter of days.

    At three-hundred-plus pages, it's opaque to new readers as well. No one, even enthusiastic kids with fast connections, are going to root through 300 pages of random, unconnected posts. If someone searches for something in there, the search results basically just link the entire thread, not the specific page. No one is going to dig through that mess to find whatever they're looking for.

    Most other sites I'm on, that have general-interest threads like that, generally have a cutoff- after a certain number of pages, that thread is closed and a new one started. Personally, for a thread about multiple topics like that, even 20 pages is getting a bit long in the tooth.

    And in this case, it's my opinion that there would be a great deal more interest in some of the stuff that gets posted to the "tools" thread if they were posted out in the open, rather than buried in a sticky thread that only a handful of regulars here read. Ditto the "what did you machine" thread- I'd much rather see those, and would be far more likely to read them, if they were each posted as their own thread, rather than appended to a cluttered 120-page junkyard.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  2. #2
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    Have to agree, at least about the shop made tools thread. I never bother to read it, because I am too far behind on it, and trying to catch up is not even possible.

    The information in it is probably VERY useful, but there is no way to find it, so I am pretty much forced to just ignore it. May as well erase the thing, as far as I am concerned. I'll never read it, and I won't bother to post in it.

    If others like it, that's fine. To me it is worthless.

    The other two, well, I probably do not need to refer to them, they are interesting to read to see what folks are doing. I'll likely not need to refer to any of the posts again, once read. I have no issue with them, and post in them myself.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  3. #3
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    It's funny that YOU, Doc Nickel, should say that. I discovered The Whiteboard a few years back. I liked it so I jumped to the beginning and stared reading. I eventually caught up with the current content. It was quite enjoyable.

    There is no perfect solution. If you break it into parts, you tend to lose the early parts because people don't post to them so they never surface. If they are made stickies, you eventually end up with 20 stickies at the top of the page and only 10 new threads at the bottom of the screen.

    I prefer the monolithic thread. It may contain some garbage, but it is mostly readable.
    Last edited by danlb; 12-02-2018 at 02:17 AM.
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  4. #4
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    You know what else is annoying? Some of your best threads being on other forums.

  5. #5
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    What I find annoying is where someone quotes a long post, including images, and adds a terse comment, like, "Cool!", or "Good job". That just wastes bandwidth and is entirely unnecessary.

    As I have mentioned before, IMHO, the "What did you do today" thread is just a running chit-chat session about individual non-machining projects and experiences that might have general interest or be amusing. And the "What did you machine" thread is more specifically focused on machining, but for things that do not quite rate a separate thread.

    You can search the forum for specific content you might find useful, and there is an advanced search that might help narrow it down to the posts where the content is located. You can then go there and browse back and ahead for additional related content.

    This forum differs from most others, like Model Engine Maker, where there are many sub-forums for various topics, as well as something like "chit-chat" for conversations like you might have when you get together with buddies in a bar or barbecue. But I usually just check for recent posts and read and comment on what interests me, so this format works just as well.

    I rarely read the "Shop made tools" thread, but it does sometimes have some great content. It might be helpful to have a "Wiki" with an ordered and categorized list of references to specific posts in that thread, to make finding information easier. Something like the "Favorite threads" sticky.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by danlb View Post
    There is no perfect solution. If you break it into parts, you tend to lose the early parts because people don't post to them so they never surface.
    -That would assume the idea is to always keep that thread near the top, and of course that can't be done. The idea I'm trying to get across, is searchability. The search engine for this page will gladly find you the thread a topic was posted in, but not the page. That's no big deal of the thread in question is five, ten or at the outside even twenty pages.

    If it's three hundred pages, the topic is basically buried and worthless.

    Worse, there's stuff buried in there that casual users or new users will never see, because it's buried in there, whereas they might see it when going back a few pages on the regular forum.

    I prefer the monolithic thread. It may contain some garbage, but it is mostly readable.
    -That's fine for a chit-chat thread, like the "what did you do today". But there's some good stuff in the "tools" thread, and it constantly pops up as a top result when I search for something- but that something is uselessly buried somewhere in the thread, and even if I had a lightning-fast connection, which I don't, I'd still have to click "next" and scroll down two or three hundred times in order to find it.

    You know what else is annoying? Some of your best threads being on other forums.
    -Who, me? Well, considering that most of my threads with HSM-relevant content tend to be image-intensive, the four-image-per-post limit here puts a big damper on that.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers View Post
    Have to agree, at least about the shop made tools thread. I never bother to read it, because I am too far behind on it, and trying to catch up is not even possible.
    I read the entire "shop made tools" thread when I joined the forum 2 or 3 years ago and have been keeping it up to date ever since.
    Took couple of evenings with ipad on the bed

  8. #8
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    I read the entire "shop made tools" thread when I joined the forum 2 or 3 years ago and have been keeping it up to date ever since.
    Took couple of evenings with ipad on the bed
    I've read the whole thread too. Takes time, but worth it.

    Bear with me .....

    I don't know how this works with a PC since I am on a Mac, but with a Mac if you hold down the command key and the shift key at the same time and hit the number 4 your cursor is replaced with a bulls eye. Now if you click and hold down the mouse button at the upper left and drag the "bulls eye" to the lower right and then let go it will take a picture of whatever is within that range. I have mine set up so the picture file winds up on my desktop. I too have checked out the entire "Shop Tools" thread and whenever I came across anything remotely interesting I took a picture of it along with the text. If the picture was too big I shrunk the size of my screen till I could fit the entire thing in. I keep all these files along with files containing items of interest from other machine shop forums and websites in a folder on my computer which I have organized by topic so I can get my hands on any file relative to the subject I am looking for easily. All that remains is to keep up with new postings and add the ones I want to keep. Initially this takes time but after that it's easy to add new files. I didn't consider plowing through the entire "Shop Made Tools" thread a chore at all. It was fascinating and there was always the anticipation that even if there was nothing interesting on the last five pages that the NEXT page was going to contain a real gem ... and it often did. Sort of like an Easter egg hunt for a machinist. *LOL*

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    I read the entire "shop made tools" thread when I joined the forum 2 or 3 years ago and have been keeping it up to date ever since.
    Took couple of evenings with ipad on the bed
    Back then it was more possible. Might have been "only" a hundred pages of image intensive posts. I have a fast connection for most purposes, but those long picture filled threads take a long time to finish loading.

    Now it would take days to look at it.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  10. #10

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    I dip in and out the shop made tools thread, periodically I catch up when the whim takes me. I dont have to click hundreds of times though, I just go to the last part of the thread and click back a few times till I get where I want. I see no hardship in this.

    What did you do today serves as a general chit chat, and it also serves to keep some of the more idiotic stuff and pointless spamming away from corrupting things which are on topic. And I can be one of those idiots myself at times (re the bandsawed the frozen xmas turkey post recently) so this isn't a put down for that aspect of that thread.

    What did you machine today, well, its as everyone said, if I have a small job I post it there, its easy to see who is actually doing stuff from time to time in their shops by that thread and interesting to see. I dont think I'd start a thread to cover the overall job those posts are for (building a bike, car etc) because well, its not a bike, car etc forum and a lot of the stuff that happens isnt machining related. I just see it as touching base with like minded people rather than posting some amazing end to end thing so you can get some adulation for a massive project.

    Really doc, your thread reads like a complaint that your having to do a bit of work to keep up with whats happening from time to time. Its your choice.

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