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  1. #21
    Gadfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Stewart View Post
    Here's the thing, though: We're getting slaughtered on subscriptions. If it was just an issue of page views and unique visitors being down, and the attendant drop in advertising, then we would suck it up for a while.

    But we're seeing a 20% drop in subscriptions since the change. That is HUGE money, and we can't go on like this. It's pretty clear that a large portion of our user base has taken one look at the boards and gone, "Blech. I'm done."

    So we're going to be very aggressive with making the new boards look and function like the old boards, in threaded mode. I have sent a list of formatting changes to the programmer, and he's going to mock things up on a test mule, so we can tweak and tune things before bringing them over here.

    The changes to threaded mode will include:

    1.) On the home page of a board, threads will be sorted by "Thread Start Time", not "Last Post Time." This will enable people who are familiar with the old format to see the scrolling threads that they had grown to like. Look for the return of "Great shot!" and "Well, that was dumb. **" and "SIR: Perez-Means to tight end", as well as "Germans Bomb Pearl Harbor."

    2.) Within a message, the body of the post will appear at the top, followed by the thread, followed by Reply capability. The scroll bars on the thread display will be removed. This will look more like the old board. (Currently, inside a post, the thread -- with scroll bars -- is at the top, followed by the message, followed by the Reply capability.)

    3.) In threaded mode, each click of a post will result in a new page being loaded. This will enable users to glance at the index page of a board and see what posts they have read, and which ones they haven't ... like the old board. (Currently, the subject lines don't change color in threaded mode, because of the preloading of posts that occurs within a message.) Linear mode and hybrid mode will still load multiple posts.

    4.) TSL Host icons will appear next to my name and Chris's name in threaded mode. I have also requested special icons for gurus, CVillehoops13, bourbonstreet, Raleigh Hokie, etc.

    I have requested that the programmer investigate making all of these changes, and I hope that all of them are possible and relatively easy.

    These will all be changes to threaded mode only -- linear and hybrid won't change. I don't know how we're going to resolve the "Reply With Quote" issues, so linear users won't wind up totally befuddled by threaded users talking back and forth to each other. What linear users will find is that after a little time, they're the only ones talking to each other in a thread, because it will have scrolled off the page for threaded users.

    Sorry, I know this is going to be confusing to have people use the boards in two completely different modes, but we simply CANNOT sit here and take a 20% hit in revenue, and just smile and say, "People will get used to it." We're getting killed here, and I've got a family to support, as do the other guys in this company (except for CC, who's got a Mustang to support).

    I had hoped that our user base would adapt to the changes, but they're clearly not, and they're voting with their wallets. So off we go, to make vBulletin function like our old boards. It's disappointing, because I really wanted everyone to transition over to topic/linear mode, but I have been surprised at how much of our user base just .... can ... not ... do it. This isn't a criticism or a judgment; it's just a fact.
    I understand the need to make a business decision. I hope we won't lose the flexibility that the new format permits. Either way, I will adapt to whatever changes you make because the content is why I keep coming back.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Stewart View Post
    I don't think Tapatalk will look a whole lot different, but we'll see.
    Tapatalk like the linear view is tough to follow if people don't reply to quote. People won't reply to quote unless there is some advantage in them doing so or they don't have a choice. The only way I can see that it advantages anybody is if they are also a linear user...

    But we'll see. Don't worry. I'll still be a subscriber.. just probably more for the articles. (Somebody said "just like playboy", which I thought was funny and so will repeat here.)

  3. #23
    RapmasterAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Stewart View Post
    **
    You gotta do what you gotta do, Will. I think in general our online fan-base tends to skew older, which is probably a major reason behind adaptation issues. I also think subscriptions were going to drop significantly whether the board switch was made or not just due to how the football season ended. Maybe you've received different feedback about why people are dropping, I don't know.

    It sounds like the changes to threaded view won't affect linear users too much, other than slowing/halting the process of users adopting linear view. Hopefully people will continue to make the change to linear for the reasons I mentioned previously.

  4. #24

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    Customer preference determines the marketplace. Classic Coke is a perfect example. The nice thing for the end user is that at least you're reacting to the response to the new site and attempting to address it.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Stewart View Post
    I don't know how we're going to resolve the "Reply With Quote" issues, so linear users won't wind up totally befuddled by threaded users talking back and forth to each other. What linear users will find is that after a little time, they're the only ones talking to each other in a thread, because it will have scrolled off the page for threaded users.
    One suggestion would be to make Reply With Quote the default in posting a reply, but I would make one request with that: Amend the Reply With Quote function such that if you highlight a section of the text being quoted, that only that section would appear in the quote. For example, if I used my mouse to highlight the above paragraph, then only that paragraph would appear in the quote. That way, people aren't always quoting the whole post, but are quoting only to what they intend to respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Stewart View Post
    I had hoped that our user base would adapt to the changes, but they're clearly not, and they're voting with their wallets. So off we go, to make vBulletin function like our old boards. It's disappointing, because I really wanted everyone to transition over to topic/linear mode, but I have been surprised at how much of our user base just .... can ... not ... do it. This isn't a criticism or a judgment; it's just a fact.
    This is the part that makes me sad. I refuse to believe that people CAN'T do it. It's almost like people are refusing to put in the effort. Because if you look into the options that this site has, you can make a very good user experience out of it, whether you like linear or threaded. But even with all of the tips that are posted, people still do not know how to do certain things like adjusting how threads are sorted or changing your topic view preferences. Or using Reply With Quote.

    Really, you should just get rid of the Reply link. ;^)

  6. #26
    Will Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chesapeake_Hokie View Post
    Havenít warmed up to the new format; I donít even participate in the OPT threads ... only come for the daily news links now.
    See, that's the thing, Chesapeake ... what "warming up" is required to see bstreet's post, click Reply, and type in your OPT guess? You obviously know how to post a reply ... what's stopping you?

    It's an honest question. I'd really like to know the answer, because hundreds, perhaps thousands of TSL users refuse to post on the new boards ... and I can't figure out why.

    Boards are what you make them. If you don't post, then no one does ... and the board dies.
    Always use "Reply With Quote", so everyone knows to whom you're responding.

  7. #27

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    22 yr old student here, posting less and reading less.

    I will be honest that I havent taken much time to try and actually "learn" the boards. I think that can be attributed to me asking the question "why the change". I only stated my age because lots of "old guys" on here have been taking flack for not adopting, but they are not alone.

    Sure I read other rivals and scout boards, but always preferred TSL because it was easier to read at a glance and to keep track of "new" topics while being able to scroll back a few pages to see what I have missed chronologically.

  8. #28
    Chris Coleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTHOKIE2012 View Post
    22 yr old student here, posting less and reading less.

    I will be honest that I havent taken much time to try and actually "learn" the boards. I think that can be attributed to me asking the question "why the change". I only stated my age because lots of "old guys" on here have been taking flack for not adopting, but they are not alone.

    Sure I read other rivals and scout boards, but always preferred TSL because it was easier to read at a glance and to keep track of "new" topics while being able to scroll back a few pages to see what I have missed chronologically.
    How are you viewing the board? Topic or threaded?

    As far as "why the change", simple matter of staying in business or not. The old TSL was coded when you were about nine. It was going to crash, probably sooner rather than later in the grand scheme of things. At that point we would have gone out of business, and there would be no TSL at all.

  9. #29
    Will Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapmasterAC View Post
    I also think subscriptions were going to drop significantly whether the board switch was made or not just due to how the football season ended. Maybe you've received different feedback about why people are dropping, I don't know.
    We've been through tough times before, and the worst drop we have ever seen in subscription sales, at any given time, is about 8% in a given month (year over year comparison). Then it recovers.

    I mean, the Tech fan base has been PISSED at times -- think post-Kansas Orange Bowl -- and the most damage it has ever done us has been 5-8%.

    But since the format change, we're down 20%. That drop goes beyond the ACCCG, the Sugar Bowl, and the basketball team's oh-fer January (except UVA). It's clearly the format change, and since almost NO ONE has criticized the home page, article formats, etc., and very few to none have said the actual subscription process is hard to figure out, it's all about the message boards. So we have to move quickly, because we can't take this huge drop in subscriptions while we wait for things to play out.

    But you know what, all we're really talking about here is reformatting the threaded view -- we're not talking about doing away with the linear and topic views. But as someone else pointed out in this thread, by making the threaded view more accommodating and easier and more like the old site, we're making it easy for people to just keep using it, and never make the jump to linear.

    "So what?" you might say? Well, much like we had to replace the old site technology, there's no guarantee that the threaded view plugin we got via a third-party vendor is going to continue to work and be supported, as vBulletin itself moves forward. So we might lose the threaded view one day.
    Always use "Reply With Quote", so everyone knows to whom you're responding.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by VTHOKIE2012 View Post
    22 yr old student here, posting less and reading less.

    I will be honest that I havent taken much time to try and actually "learn" the boards. I think that can be attributed to me asking the question "why the change". I only stated my age because lots of "old guys" on here have been taking flack for not adopting, but they are not alone.

    Sure I read other rivals and scout boards, but always preferred TSL because it was easier to read at a glance and to keep track of "new" topics while being able to scroll back a few pages to see what I have missed chronologically.
    He's answered the question, "Why the change?"

    If he didn't change the board, it would break. It's that simple -- the code was old and pieced together and was absolutely 100% going to break at some point. And when it broke, TSL would go out of business. He's lucky it didn't break before he was ready, to be honest.

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