Improving Topics (Version 1.2)

Tom Engineer Claremont, California Posted   Latest  

Hello everyone,

We think one of the key advantages of Diagnostic Network over many other communities is that you can go to a single page on our site (the home page), and see all the discussions you want, no matter what topic they were posted in. You don't need to go to a bunch of different areas on our site to get caught up on the latest discussions that interest you.

Even better, we can introduce new topics easily, without the chicken-and-egg problem that traditional forums have, where no one is posting in a new topic area because no one is visiting that new topic area.

Today we are improving upon the platform and how we handle topics in several ways.

Topic Improvements

Improved Layout. The title area of the homepage now does a better job emphasizing what topic you're currently viewing. By default it's "All Topics," but you can select that title dropdown to choose a new topic, such as Driveability, or one of our topic filters like "My Discussions" or "Watched Topics." The "Start Discussion" button has been renamed "Post" and moved to the right side of the page. The vehicle make filter was moved into the search area, which you can expose by clicking the magnifying glass that is next to the Post button.

Watched Topics. If you filter the message stream down to "Watched Topics," we remember this, and the next time you return, we'll again show you just your watched topics. You can configure which topics you're interested in watching on the brand new Browse Topics page. We link to this page from many places on the site, including: the title dropdown on the homepage, the "Info" dropdown in the menu bar at the top of the site, the footer of the site, and several other places.

Dedicated Topic Pages. Sometimes you really just want to visit, bookmark, or link someone to a specific topic. Now you can do that. Topics now have dedicated pages, at /t/topic. For example, the Driveability topic can be found at diag​.​net/t/driveability

You can get to topic pages now in a variety of ways:

  • Choose a topic from the title dropdown on the homepage stream
  • Click on topic boxes that appear in the homepage stream or discussion views
  • Click on topic hashtags that members include in their messages, such as #Driveability

Topic Posting. If you're on a topic page and click the Post button, you'll notice the topic you're on is pre-selected as your destination topic. Of course you can still change this or add an additional topic before posting.

Trending Topics. This new box appears on the right side of the homepage, showing the five most popular topics in from past three days, as determined by message count. It refreshes hourly. We may tweak this algorithm over time to highlight popular topics, or expose users to new topics.

Topic Descriptions. You can see the description of each of our core topics on the Browse Topics page. You can also see a topic's description if you click on the title dropdown while on a topic page. While composing a message, mouse over (or on mobile devices, tap on) the topic box to see a description. 

Other Improvements

  • Previously-Read Discussions. In the stream, we’re now showing the topic, vehicle, and symptom/DTC boxes on the collapsed discussions that you've previously read. We also made the green "new replies" chat bubble and count indicator 30% larger, making them stand out more when you're scanning the stream.
  • Topic vs. Type. Each new discussion started on DN has both a topic (such as Driveability, Tooling, etc.) and a type (such as Discussion, Question, etc.). Previously these boxes were the same color. Now the Topic boxes are a lighter shade of grey, so it’s easier for your brain to differentiate these as you're scanning the stream.
  • Reduced Access for Visitors. While non-members can visit the discussion pages and see anonymized versions of the discussions, they can no longer expand and see the replies in a discussion, only the original message. If a non-member tries to interact with a discussion in any way, they are prompted to Sign Up or Sign In. (Discussions are accessible like this so that potential new members can more easily discover DN through popular search engines, while maintaining everyone's privacy.)

Previously Released

We made some behind-the-scenes version releases in the past few weeks that we haven't posted about yet because they were fairly minor. A few things you may or may not have noticed from these updates:

  • File Viewing Fixes. We fixed a file viewing bug that was causing the image to be cut off if your browser was wide/short, and another that was preventing you from scrolling the multiple images using the left/right arrow keys. By the way, you can press the Escape key to close the file viewer once you've opened it.
  • Author Search. You can now search messages using author names.
  • Higher Quality Notifications. As of a few days ago, we now wait 30 minutes before sending a notification about a new discussion, and we don't send a notification if the message has a cumulative vote of -2 or lower. These changes allow us to avoid sending notifications for lower quality posts, as well as giving everyone a chance to edit any mistakes before a notification goes out. After the 30 minute window has passed, if a previously negative message is edited and improved, and if the vote total returns back above the -2 threshold within 24 hours of the original posting, we will then send out a notification.

We hope you enjoy this release. If you have any questions or comments, please email or reply here. If you're interested, here are the previous release notes (v1.1).

Geoff Welsh Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Welsh Default

Hi Tom. I knew you left iATN, didn't know you went with Scott on this. GW, Maui

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default

Mahalo Geoff, good to see you here! 🤙

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Cleary Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Cleary Default

Hi Tom,

Maybe I'm missing or don't understand something. I emailed Scott previously about "saving" topics. How is what your explaining above quicker than if I could just save a topic and go to a link for my saved topics?

Thanks for all of your efforts--you are doing a great job!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default

Hi Mike,

You'll want to go to the Browse Topics page, check the box next to any topic you're interested in.

Then click on the logo to return to the homepage. If it says "All Topics," click on that and select "Watched Topics."

Now every time you return to the DN homepage, you'll see a stream of just the topics you're interested in.

Does that answer your question? If not, let me know what I missed.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Winkler Service Manager
Bryans Road, Maryland
Chris Winkler Default

So with out saving every subject that you might be interested in is there anyway of knowing if there is a new post on that post?

Thanks Chris

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default

When you say subject, are you talking about specific discussions, or the general topics, such as driveability, electrical, etc.? 

If you want to be notified of new discussions posted to the topics you're interested in, you should select those topics as Watched on the Browse Topics page. 

Those discussions will then also show up for you if you switch to the Watched Topics filter on our homepage, rather than the "All Topics" default selection. (You can also turn off notifications for watched topics in the settings area, if you're just interested in visiting the site to see what's new instead of receiving notifications.)

If you are asking about getting notified when there are new replies within a specific discussion, just toggle the Watch button on the discussion page itself (it appears below the original author's message). 

On the notification settings page, you'll see several options to tailor the notifications you receive:

Does this answer your question?

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default

We've just pushed up version 1.2.1 which fixes a few issues that were noticed after 1.2 was released:

  • Links to specific replies were not working, nor was the "scroll to latest reply" functionality for previously-viewed discussions.
  • Clicking or tapping on certain parts of a message in the stream could have opened up two tabs instead of one.
  • On Safari, some may have been unable to use the search box on the homepage.
+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default

"As of a few days ago, we now wait 30 minutes before sending a notification"

FYI, we've just made a tweak to the notification scheduling. New discussion notifications will still be delayed 30 minutes, but reply notifications will now only be delayed 5 minutes. This still gives authors a chance to edit and correct any typos before everyone in the discussion gets notified, but should allow for the discussion to progress more rapidly than the 30-minute delay allowed.

We also just fixed an issue that would have caused someone to receive a notification about activity in a discussion that they started a reply in, but never finished.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded