Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

Below you’ll find some details of the new features of my rewrite of the newsgroup/forum gateway. Also, there is a request for categorization of the discussions that I’d like your input on. This categorization I hope will make the discussions easier to follow.

New unicyclist.com forums <–> newsgroup gateway.
Last week, I finished the main functionality of the gateway that brings posts to and from the newsgroup and the unicyclist.com forums. This was created to make my life easier by having less admin stuff that is needed to be done (such as manually inserting some posts where the correct thread was not found for it), to fix many annoyances with the old one, and to make it the unicycling discussions experience better for everyone no matter what form of the discussions you prefer to use.

Here are some of the new features:

  • Very cool vbcode formatting to plain text conversion. (like this post)
  • All posts are inserted instead of put in queue for me to manually enter.
  • No more duplicate posts in the threads on the forums.
  • Imports attachments that are sent to the newsgroup or mailing list. (Ok, so this feature is actually for another newsgroup, please don't post binaries as it is still sent by email to lots of people.)
  • Attachments posted on the forums will be sent to the newsgroup as a link.
  • If polls are made in the forums, then the question and options will be sent to the newsgroup as well, but the tallies must still be done on unicyclist.com.
  • No more broken URLs sent to the newsgroup. If long URLs are used, then they will be made into a TinyURL.
  • Signatures and titles of users are included in the outgoing posts.
  • Possibility to split the newsgroup into many different forums. (See below.)

So with all that, I think the experience of the discussions will be a lot better. Users of the forums will be able to post attachments (like images), create polls, and use vbcode to make their messages have good formatting (both in the forums and in the newsgroup).

Categorizing the discussions
This discussion group has grown a lot in the past year (probably due to the unicyclist.com forums) as can be seen from Klaas’ stats page at http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/rsu2001.htm. In the past month, there have been an average of 71 posts per day. That’s a lot of posts, about 5 times what it was a year ago. For many, if not all, that is a large volume that is hard to keep up with.

So, when I wanted to rewrite the gateway of the forum/newsgroup, I wanted a way to separate everything into many forums or categories, so that people that are just interested in some areas of unicycling, but not others, can just read those categories.

How I determined to make this work, was to have a prefix at the beginning of the subject, enclosed in brackets [], that would determine what category the post belongs to. This would then allow people using the newsgroup to sort the posts by subject and look at just the categories they want. This would allow people getting the discussions via email to do the same and/or filter out those posts in other categories.

While I was in the early stage of rewriting the gateway, someone mentioned that there is a lot of volume and their solution was to have a second email list just for announcements, so that those that just wanted to stay current with unicycling in the world, but not be a part of all the discussions, can subscribe to that. This list would also be sent to rsu. So, I’ll see what I can do to implement this as well for the email users. Although, I am not quite sure how to divide it then into the different lists, yet.

With the bracketed categories, though, this would require everyone to put it in their posts when they create a new thread/subject for it to work effectively on the newsgroup and mailing list (it’s automatic in the forums). I’m not sure if this will catch on though, but we’ll see. If you have ideas on how to do this in the email list and newsgroup, please let me know.

Now, what new forums/categories to make? We need to find a good categories to use that will be inclusive to all possible posts, but is not too many that there will never be posts in some categories. Here are some categories I’ve thought might work: General, Announcements, Beginners, Reviews, Freestyle, MUni, Commuting, Racing, Games, Equipment, Market (buy/sell), Events.

Please let me know what you think and any ideas you may have!

The work you GIVE to this community is unbelievable. I’m sure that’s why we’ve all used the Support Us! link :slight_smile:

I would like to see as little fissuring of the forum as possable- anouncements, event planning, and orginizing of local rides are the type of things that, IMHO, would benifit most by their own space. While MUniac.com has a much smaller volume of posts, it is a good example of a forum with a plethora of subjects, some partly redundant, most dead. The beginner’s board is of particular note. While this may be situational, within the context of rec.sport.unicycling, beginners bennift greatly by having their posts in the mosh pit with everything else- they are seldom ignored. If you do decide to split the forum into catagories, I would love to have one that showes ALL of them in one venue- so that fosilized folks like me don’t have to change their habbits.

Keep up the good work.

Christopher

Hey, it just occured to me that I could CONTRIBUTE to this thread (not just grouse).

I would like to see a SKILLS and EQUIPMENT catagories. Equipment would include reviews, recommendations/questions and product developement.

Christopher

Gilby-

I will ask again…where do you find the time to do all of this?

I would tend to agree with Chris. One thing I like is reading all of the posts and stumbling across something I know absolutely nothing about. There seems to be alot of that floating around.

If you split into catagories don’t forget to include projects. There have been a number of posts about home built frames, UW’s, and saddles, as well as hubs. I thought Dylan’s (I think it was Dylan’s) duct tape back pack was one of the coolest projects I’ve seen.

Gibly,

Just a few comments on tinyurl,

  1. I like it. It is a nice solution to a widespread problem that I see on other newsgroups and messaging systems.

  2. I like to see an url before I click on it (kind of like knowing how much something costs before I buy it). It would be nice if a reference to the original url is left somewhere in the message. Maybe to the right of the tinyurl in parens or as a footnote.

  3. Great job on the website and messaging forums.

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

— harper <harper.qsd2@timelimit.unicyclist.com>
wrote:
>
> Gilby-
>
> I will ask again…where do you find the time to do
> all of this?
>
> I would tend to agree with Chris. One thing I like
> is reading all of the
> posts and stumbling across something I know
> absolutely nothing about.
> There seems to be alot of that floating around.
>
> If you split into catagories don’t forget to include
> projects. There
> have been a number of posts about home built frames,
> UW’s, and saddles,
> as well as hubs. I thought Dylan’s (I think it was
> Dylan’s) duct tape
> back pack was one of the coolest projects I’ve seen.
>
>
> –
> harper - Greg Harper: Frequent Faller (oops)
>
> -Greg Harper
>
> “It takes twice the man to ride half the bike (one
> and a half times as
> fast, now).”
>
>

> harper’s Profile:
> http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/426
> View this thread:
> http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/16645
>

Nope, Not dylans backpack. Thats mine. Id be glad to
make one for someone else if they want to buy me duct
tape, shipping, ect.

I also want a coker, and a college kid has a lot of
exspenses, so If you want to buy the other one, make
me an offer. (heh heh heh heh, I dont really expect
anyone to take me up on this, but still…)

OR If you want directions on how to make your own look
at my website or talk to me. The pictures are under
the project section there.

later,

=====
Nick Cegelka

Pyrotechnick13@yahoo.com

NickLikesFire AIM

http://www.uni-psycho.cityslide.com


Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Greetings - Send FREE e-cards for every occasion!
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Nick-

My sincere apology. I should have researched it rather than guessed. When I first saw it a few days ago, I read through all of the directions and enjoyed the way you presented it, too.

-Greg

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

> as well as hubs. I thought Dylan’s (I think it was Dylan’s) duct
> tape
> back pack was one of the coolest projects I’ve seen.

What? The man who created a 1.5:1 epicycle unicycle hub says a duct tape
project is cooler?!? I think you need to be institutionalized, Harper!

But I do agree to a certain extent. Like Uncle Red from the Canadian “Red
Green Show” says, “Spare the duct tape, spoil the job.”

Jeff

If there are different forums (fora;) ), I too feel that one will be used almost all of the time. Even If it is broken up into categories, ie. Buy/sell and Projects, People will notify others about new posts through the most used forum. I do however believe that there should be a way for non-obsesed unicyclists (are there such savages) to only recieve news about important goings on in the uni world.
-David Kaplan

Yeah, I’ve noticed the same on wanting to see where I am going before going there. Yesterday I increased the URL length allowance, so now only really long URLs will be made into a TinyURL (these are the ones that would wrap otherwise). However, posting the URL next to the TinyURL, doesn’t fix the problem that TinyURL is being used for since the long URL is still there. Possibly having the domain of the site next to it would help, so if the longer tolerance doesn’t help, I’ll see what I can do to that extent.

I freeze time. :slight_smile:

Actually, I don’t find a lot of time to do as much as I’d like. A lot goes on the wayside and never gets done, or takes a while to get done (or strarted). Of course having 4 day weekends and classes that are pretty easy right now helps free up that time.

So far what I am hearing is that some things should be broken down into different categories, but don’t have all that many categories (like maybe 5 or so). I’ve only heard from the forum users so far. What are the opinions of the newsgroup and email list users?

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

— harper <harper.quog@timelimit.unicyclist.com>
wrote:
>
> Nick-
>
> My sincere apology. I should have researched it
> rather than guessed.
> When I first saw it a few days ago, I read through
> all of the directions
> and enjoyed the way you presented it, too.
>
> -Greg
>
>
> –
> harper - Greg Harper: Frequent Faller (oops)
>
> -Greg Harper
>
> “It takes twice the man to ride half the bike (one
> and a half times as
> fast, now).”
>
>

> harper’s Profile:
> http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/426
> View this thread:
> http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/16645
>

Greg,

Dont worry about it, Im just glad some one noticed it!
Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate it.

(By the way, Id reply straight to you, but yahoo keeps
boomeranging stuff to your address back to me.)

Later,

=====
Nick Cegelka

Pyrotechnick13@yahoo.com

NickLikesFire AIM


Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Greetings - Send FREE e-cards for every occasion!
http://greetings.yahoo.com

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

Hi Gilby,

How’s about using the full url as the title attribute for the link. That way
most new browsers will show where the link is really going to by hovering
the cursor over it. IE4+ supports this… can’t vouch for NN though.

Neil

----- Original Message -----
From: “Gilby” <Gilby.r38r@timelimit.unicyclist.com>
Newsgroups: rec.sport.unicycling
To: <rsu@unicycling.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

>
> bhuzyk wrote:
> > 2. I like to see an url before I click on it (kind of like knowing
> > how much something costs before I buy it). It would be nice if a
> > reference to the original url is left somewhere in the message. Maybe
> > to the right of the tinyurl in parens or as a footnote.

>
> Yeah, I’ve noticed the same on wanting to see where I am going before
> going there. Yesterday I increased the URL length allowance, so now only
> really long URLs will be made into a TinyURL (these are the ones that
> would wrap otherwise). However, posting the URL next to the TinyURL,
> doesn’t fix the problem that TinyURL is being used for since the long
> URL is still there. Possibly having the domain of the site next to it
> would help, so if the longer tolerance doesn’t help, I’ll see what I can
> do to that extent.
>
>
> –
> Gilby - Unicyclist.com Webmaster
>
> Unicyclist.com Webmaster
>
> ‘Gilby’s Homepage’ (http://gilby.com)
> ‘The Unicycle Page’ (http://www.unicycling.org)
> ‘Twin Cities Unicycle Club’ (http://www.tcuc.org)
> ‘Unicycling Society of America’ (http://www.unicycling.org/usa)
> ‘International Unicycling Federation’ (http://www.unicycling.org/iuf)
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Gilby’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/1
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/16645
>
>


> rec.sport.unicycling mailing list -
www.unicycling.org/mailman/listinfo/rsu

Re: Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

Plain text email does not support that.

RE: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

I read the posts as email, through the newsgroup email gateway. What would
happen from my point of view? Indeed some of the threads are not to my
interest, and it would be nice to throttle the flood somehow.

JF

Re: RE: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

One of my questions for everyone was what you would like to be done for the newsgroup and email?

You would get your email normally, but they would have the prefix in brackets in the subject line so you could filter out or ignore certain categories if you wanted. It’d be nice to have new threads that you post to have a standard prefix in the subject to help others categorize it the same. The posts from the forums would automatically do this.

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

On Wed, 27 Feb 2002 01:47:00 -0600, Gilby
<Gilby.q41y@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

Gilby,

First of all a million thanks for your continuous efforts at improving
the environment in which we can exchange our opinions, remarks,
questions, humor etc.

I agree that the growing volume of posts makes it time-consuming to
follow it all. I still read every word of it, but that takes more time
now than actually riding :frowning: Your effort to make it more manageable
is laudable. But I side with Chris and Harper, or at least with the
spirit of what they are saying, that it should not become a hassle to
read it all. Your categorisation would not stand in the way though, if
it’s just a matter of reading all categories but then it should be
sort-of transparant. Another matter is WHICH categories. Whatever
categories you make, there will always be grey/overlap areas for the
first post in a thread. Even more of a problem is that replies, even
when staying on-topic with respect to the original subject, would move
from one category into the other. Would threads then have to be broken
up? I would be against that.

If you (still) want to try and make useful categories, you could find
a basis for it if you poll those users that have an interest in only a
part of the posts (not me), and ask them which part(s) they WANT to
see, and/or which NOT. After all, helping the users in selective
reading is what you’re after with your division.

You mentioned the stats page. Actually, when making it, I considered
to divide the posts in categories and see how they compared. One of
the reasons I didn’t do it (apart from a lot of work to manually sift
through 7000+ posts) was that the borders between categories were
blurred all over, whichever way I would make them.

Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked automagically from a database:”
“Taliban, Kalifaatstaat, Gore”

Re: Discussion categorization and new forums/newsgroup gateway

On Wed, 27 Feb 2002 14:24:23 -0600, Gilby
<Gilby.r38r@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>However, posting the URL next to the TinyURL,
>doesn’t fix the problem that TinyURL is being used for since the long
>URL is still there.

Not really. If the tinyurl works, it doesn’t matter if the real url is
broken.

(I’m assuming that the problem you’re trying to fix is that the long
url is broken and needs multiple copy/paste actions to the browser.)

Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked automagically from a database:”
“Taliban, Kalifaatstaat, Gore”