Community platform updates

  • 8 September 2015
  • 39 replies
  • 3791 views

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With this new platform we believe we are building the foundation for a great and growing community for years to come, but we also recognise that there’s room for improvement. This platform is different from the ones it has replaced, and will never function in exactly the same way, but contrary to the previous platforms we will be able to optimise and make improvements over time. We’ve received great feedback, and as promised, we intend to communicate transparently about what we can and can’t do to improve the community in the weeks and months to come.

This topic will be the place where we maintain a list of upcoming changes that have been asked for and where we post updates when something is implemented. We also want to point out changes we have requested but where feasibility is not yet certain, as well as areas where we know we won’t be able to make changes in the near future. We will be looking for more feedback on some areas as they are being planned, so we’ll keep you posted on that.

Confirmed changes - the first areas you’ll be seeing progress
  • Make it easier to find and view new topics - the forum overview pages will show how many topics have new posts since your last visit, and allow you to click directly to the latest unread post in a topic.
  • Make it easier to track unread and read topics - in the forum overview unread topics will be bold, and will change to regular font after being read. You will be able to ‘mark all as read’.
  • The reply box will be re-sizable.
  • While we won’t change to a completely different design, we will be doing a review in order to improve structure, readability and navigation. For example, the amount of whitespace, adding pagination at the top, more visible question checkbox when creating a new topic, icons for questions and answers, etc... This is an area where we will be looking for more feedback from you.
  • Other smaller changes, optimisations and text string changes (more consistency).
Changes we’ve requested - but need to be scoped and assessed, feasibility and timelines not known
  • Formatting buttons (instead of BBCODE).
  • Option to include private message and post content in email updates.
  • Being able to like on mobile.
  • Improve the RSS feed to include more detail.
  • Advanced search options.
  • Time zone options.
Changes that we know won’t be happening any time soon
  • Adding favourites, post editing and other features on mobile (the development of a responsive mobile design is in progress and takes priority - with it the mobile version will be full-featured).
  • Preview mode.
  • Search within a topic.
Thanks again for all the feedback so far.

39 replies

Will the revised "new/unread topics" function be centralised or will it still be per-device?

Will there be a "new/unread topics" listing for the whole site, i.e. across all forums, in the same format as proposed for each forum overview?
Thanks for the update.

Changes we’ve requested - but need to be scoped and assessed, feasibility and timelines not known
  • Time zone options.


In the meantime, why not standardise using the format already used with the "Favorites" display? eg. instead a date time, expressed in fixed time zone which by definition will be foreign to most readers, use a duration ... ie. "Started by John M, 17 days ago" and last response by "Ryan S 3 days ago"? .. Surely that is a quick fix.

Confirmed changes - the first areas you’ll be seeing progress
  • Make it easier to find and view new topics - the forum overview pages will show how many topics have new posts since your last visit, and allow you to click directly to the latest unread post in a topic.
  • Make it easier to track unread and read topics - in the forum overview unread topics will be bold, and will change to regular font after being read. You will be able to ‘mark all as read’.


These sound good changes. Can you expand upon the mechanics a little? ... ie. if I read something on my tablet, will the post appear as being read when I sign in using my PC?

With this new platform we believe we are building the foundation for a great and growing community for years to come, but we also recognise that there’s room for improvement.

Quite the understatement! You're a fan of The Catcher in the Rye? Holden Caulfield: "I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain."

Giving it a positive spin, I suppose that it means that growth shouldn't be so much of a problem, now that, post the migration, this place is resembling a comparative ghost town. Down to 100 posts per day last time I measured it.

Has the sub-forum now called "Music, culture & the industry" had a name change? IIRC it was just "Music" before .. or am I mistaken? If it has changed, that is a good thing. This place seemed to be missing a Lounge like area. Somewhere people can discuss issues of common interest. I think that a purely social area it may help to return to the situation where Sonos-friendly people were having discussion. Meaning that people are around to assist Prospect or Customer walk-ins.

That forum is a little lost at the bottom of the second page. You could consider moving it towards the top, under Announcements. I think that it is more important than you seem to appreciate.

While we won’t change to a completely different design, we will be doing a review in order to improve structure, readability and navigation. For example, the amount of whitespace, adding pagination at the top, more visible question checkbox when creating a new topic, icons for questions and answers, etc... This is an area where we will be looking for more feedback from you.


You want that in here, or are you going to open a new thread for that?
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Hey ratty and BarryM, you both asked questions about the 'new/unread posts' features - we'll get more details and share them. The features we're talking about right now don't replicate the 'new topics' functionality as it exists in vBulletin in terms of aggregating topics from all forums, but do provide a much clearer overview of where there is new unread activity, as well the ability to jump to the latest unread post within a topic. We need to check on how it works across devices / sessions.

In the meantime, why not standardise using the format already used with the "Favorites" display? eg. instead a date time, expressed in fixed time zone which by definition will be foreign to most readers, use a duration ... ie. "Started by John M, 17 days ago" and last response by "Ryan S 3 days ago"? .. Surely that is a quick fix.

That's true - the relative format resolves time stamp issues to a large extent. Good feedback, thanks.

Has the sub-forum now called "Music, culture & the industry" had a name change? IIRC it was just "Music" before .. or am I mistaken? If it has changed, that is a good thing. This place seemed to be missing a Lounge like area. Somewhere people can discuss issues of common interest. I think that a purely social area it may help to return to the situation where Sonos-friendly people were having discussion. Meaning that people are around to assist Prospect or Customer walk-ins.

That forum is a little lost at the bottom of the second page. You could consider moving it towards the top, under Announcements. I think that it is more important than you seem to appreciate.


Yes we have indeed re-named this forum in order to have a place that's broader in scope. We've also debated internally about moving it higher in the structure - good to get your feedback here, as that is something we could do.

You want that in here, or are you going to open a new thread for that?

Let us get back with an approach and some specifics - we'll open a new thread.
The features we're talking about right now don't replicate the 'new topics' functionality as it exists in vBulletin in terms of aggregating topics from all forums
Well, IMO, they should. Regulars relied hugely upon that vBulletin feature to find interesting new posts to read and topics to contribute to.

To get the benefit of the proposed highlighting of unread threads, one would need to drop into each forum overview 'silo' individually. There are some 14 of these at present (excluding non-English forums), and posters don't necessarily open a thread in the most obvious place.

At least 'Active since last visit' aggregates across forums, even if it's lacking the required attributes/links.
Renaming the "Music" to "Music, culture & the industry" is a little helpful. However, to traditional forum types it is a very strong indication that this is primarily a support site.
With respect to time/date stamps, I prefer a more traditional MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM format (YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM for Euro users) and a choice of 12 or 24 hour time stamps. These are standard forum profile options. An optional, more complex scheme would be to use the precise format for the first few hours or days, then switch to a broad bin such as "one week", "one month", "two years", etc. Why? I know when I last visited and the exact time stamp quickly indicates if there is anything new in the thread. "One hour ago" is not precise enough. Personally, I remember the absolute time when I last visited a forum, not "23 minutes ago". The "ago" part means that I must do a calculation for each entry as I scan the list instead of setting a single time in my brain.
BTW: It seems that this page is now more efficient with respect to space utilization. This is appreciated.

This particular thread is also a an interesting contrast between "social" and "traditional" users. The traditional types have turned off badges and signatures. Personally, I don't usually insert an avatar, but it seemed appropriate on this site.
Has the layout changed? I can't say I'd noticed. But then, as I remarked elsewhere, I'm using Adblock Plus to collapse out all the baubles and improve the information density.
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The features we're talking about right now don't replicate the 'new topics' functionality as it exists in vBulletin in terms of aggregating topics from all forums
Well, IMO, they should. Regulars relied hugely upon that vBulletin feature to find interesting new posts to read and topics to contribute to.

To get the benefit of the proposed highlighting of unread threads, one would need to drop into each forum overview 'silo' individually. There are some 14 of these at present (excluding non-English forums), and posters don't necessarily open a thread in the most obvious place.

At least 'Active since last visit' aggregates across forums, even if it's lacking the required attributes/links.


There's definitely a need to be able to find 'what's new'. When I'm on vBulletin communities I also use 'new posts', as that's generally a good and useful solution (though I don't think it's perfect). We still need to show and experience how it works in practice, but the two changes we're mentioning here do address the need to see 'what's new' and in some ways could improve on the typical vBulletin experience. Having an overview split by forum could be useful at times, as would the direct link to the latest unread post. And I've done some checking, and can confirm that what you've read / haven't read will be tracked across devices. It should be a significant improvement, at least. Note that the homepage overview page will also show which forums have updated topics, so while you'll still need to drop into the forums individually to read, you'll know if there's something new that you haven't seen yet.

It doesn't solve the wish for an aggregated view across all forums, and I agree that the 'active since last visit' functionality is currently not as useful as 'new posts' is in vBulletin. That's a separate topic that we're also raising with inSided, though at this point I'm not sure how it could be adjusted without a very different implementation.
Also, a very stale announcement does not seem appropriate for "Related topics".

HTML leakage.
I never found the Related Topics to be particularly related. Adblock Plus eats that area too.
I still wish that the last poster could be identified (a standard forum feature). This will save me some time if I can't afford to read every post. If a senior community member or staff member has replied to a support request, I probably couldn't add any value. This feature would also alert me to the possibility that I could learn something new.
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Yes that's a good one, buzz, having the name of the latest poster in the search results page (which is used in various ways, including the 'active since last visit' overview) would be really useful - that's something we'll raise.
Also, a very stale announcement does not seem appropriate for "Related topics".
HTML leakage.

😃 "Related topics" currently shows me:
  1. New Community Coming Soon
  2. New Sonos Community Coming Soon
Kenneth,

I understand that that at this point there is a certain investment of staff time in the migration effort that one would want to preserve, but I'm wondering what the decision point of using the InSider platform was. Now we are hobbled by what InSider will or will not implement -- and when. It seems to me that a platform should serve the application rather than the application "make do" to fit the platform.
The tail is indeed wagging the dog. It feels bizarre that we should need to 'teach' InSided forum practices which were established and refined long ago by the major platform providers.
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Hi everyone, the first change to the platform following your feedback has gone into effect, it's now possible to resize the reply box using the drag icon in the lower-right corner. We're continuing to work with InSided on the rest of your items and expect we'll have more updates for you in the coming weeks.
I'm wondering what the decision point of using the InSider platform was. Now we are hobbled by what InSider will or will not implement.
The suit or suits that made this decision will never have the moral courage to defend this decision in public, even if they aren't fired from Sonos for it. As everywhere else, the grunts will be the ones left to deal with the mess. Happens in the military and happens in corporate wonderland in exactly the same manner.
Hi everyone, the first change to the platform following your feedback has gone into effect, it's now possible to resize the reply box using the drag icon in the lower-right corner. We're continuing to work with InSided on the rest of your items and expect we'll have more updates for you in the coming weeks.

I noticed (and used it). Thanks
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This community platform is a terrible format. Please bring back the forums layout.
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I agree. This new format is horrible. Did they move to this to avoid the yearly vBulletin license fee? What is it, like $200?

Horrible decision.
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so 2 months on since the worst software decision since Sonos 5.0 and all we have managed to get is a resizable text box. Wow !

Still cant add to favorites on my phone, still no advanced search, still taken to the start of every conversation from the 'recent topics' view, no preview, no content in emails...

why oh why did you pick such a rubbish platform and one that you seemingly have no control over ?
Apple sets the user interface style. Most companies feel obligated to follow the leader. This community has the "modern" look and feel. Unfortunately, this is not the look and feel to which veteran forum users are accustomed. In terms of "the numbers" that corporate spreadsheets track, this is probably the way to go, at the expense of traditional forum users who will fade away.
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I like the new community layout. However I must to say, please open a SPANISH FORUM!, C'mon, Spanish is the second language with most speakers around the world!!!, and I don't see anything, English, Deutsch, French and even Dutch, Where/will is/be the Spanish forum located?? Thanks!
Forget new features. Basic functions don't even work. I still have to login 90% of the time to post a response, regardless of whether or not the remember me box is checked. And clicking a thread with numerous pages should take you to the last page at least. It doesn't. Click thread, scroll to the bottom, click last page number, scroll down. Horrible. And the text of the post in the notification email is still missing. That is a basic function of all forums which allows the user to decide if they want to visit the forum to respond.

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