Posted by fak, 2011-09-27 09:20 BST
OK, this is a first thought response (not necessarily what you might be aiming for with Big Talk, but there you go). I'm just going to go through some main points and state my thoughts, concerns, etc. Be not downhearted if things sound more negative than positive. I'm going to use the headers you used instead of having to quote (since there doesn't seem to be a good way to distinguish between quoted and unquoted text without getting into html stuff). Apologies if my own html stuff doesn't work (I'm only going to try and bold text).
So what's this all about then?
Are you looking to entirely replace rec.juggling or is this intended to be supplemental, or entirely standalone? If it is intended as a replacement or a standalone I think there might be scope for a medium talk, but more on that later.
I like the idea of Small Talk as a threaded chat room (LP's description). It reminds me somewhat of Ravelry's radar system (this probably won't be the last reference to Ravelry that I make, seeing as that's where I spend a lot of my time online). Their system has a scrolling page of (almost) all posts being made on the site (groups can opt out of being displayed). You get the thread title, the username (and avatar) and the content of the post (as well as its location). You can then choose to follow it back to its original home and comment from there (in the form of a reply or through the "voting" buttons: agree, disagree, interesting, educational, love). It's a real time way of seeing what conversations are going on.
Does anyone have any stats on how many posts/threads r.j gets per hour? At the moment my understanding is that the 5 most recently started threads/chats will display on the small talk page, but to see new comments on older threads/chats you actively have to go look for them. An option to be able to see all new comments since last login might be nice/helpful, or a way to "watch" specific threads/chats without having to have that specific thread/chat in a separate tab/page/bookmark. Something that would be more helpful as volume increases. Without such a feature my concern would be that you would get a lot of threads/chats (not sure of the terminology, but whatever is used will help lead people as to how to use Small Talk) that get pushed off the main Small Talk page without people really seeing them during high volume times. This could be discouraging for posters, or could lead to repeated postings to try and get heard (not sure which is more annoying).
I like the lack of avatar and sig, a username is enough for me.
I like the idea of Big Talk as a counter to Small Talk, and I like the idea of having a timer before you can post. But. Not sure if this is teething glitches, but my 24 hour timer took a lot longer than 24 hours to complete, not sure what is going on with the sever's internal time-keeping. Were I not pretty damned committed to making a comment (since I've been invited) I probably would have got frustrated and not bothered. I appreciate that this is a large part of the point of the timer, but worry that 24+ hours may be too long for a lot of people who might have good input. Something I'm sure that can be experimented with.
Remember of course that there is nothing to force an individual to actually think for the timer period. They can easily write a response, save it somewhere, then cut and paste it once the timer period has elapsed. Or they can do what I am doing now, which is wait until the timer period has elapsed and then type their response without doing any thinking in between.
Obviously hard to tell right now, but I mentioned earlier whether there is middle ground between Small and Big Talk where topics/discussions might get lost. Everyone's going to have a different idea of what is suitable for Small and Big and might just end up posting in neither (probably one for consideration when more people are using it).
Since there hasn't been a reply yet to a Big Talk topic I'm a little fuzzy about how it will display. My personal preference would be to be able to see responses all on the same page as the original post to save having to flick around to follow thoughts (which brings me back to being able to distinguish between quoted and unquoted text easily - remember that people are lazy, if they have to do a load of things themselves they probably won't, adding html coding is a bit of a pain from my ipad, for example, as the angle brackets are on a different screen to the main keyboard).
It's like Social, & a network - Social Connections
Not knowing how the scoring works, it's a little hard to comment on this, but it would seem there is no difference between a friendly connection and an unfriendly connection. If two people are frequently getting into back-and-forths it may be because they are polar opposites, the only connection being that they can't let the other have the last word.
Ravrelry has the option of friending people (essentially like following someone on Twitter), this gives you easy access to their publicly available data, primarily updates about their activity on the site (posting pictures, favourting patterns, stuff related to the crafting side of the site rather than the chatting side though it does have a blog aggregator function). It also suggests neighbours based on shared likes. All a bit hard to explain and not features I use much myself (or that would be relevant here unless additional features such as adding blogs or creating lists of favourite videos/books/etc are likely to be added in the future) other than keeping track of what people on my friends lists are making and what they are liking (in terms of queueing and favouriting patterns) as a source of inspiration (the Ravelry pattern database is currently standing at 240,829 with more beind added all of the time, no way for one person to keep on top of all of the new additions).
So those are some initial thoughts for you. Time to find out what the "Save and preview" buttom does... Ah it gives you the chance to re-read your post, then either edit, delete or submit it. Good to know.