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Changes to the New Forum

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   All right! I didn't make this post before the update, despite the option to use the current theme, since at the time we had the option to continue using the old forum theme which I very much liked (though I do have a history of disliking "new and modern sleekness" in the past, but I digress). I had suspected that the forum updates would remove the theme completely, especially since TJ warned he was going to do it, and since I can't find it anywhere I'm presuming it's gone and isn't coming back. While I'm not entirely opposed to this, there are a few things the old theme/layout had that I liked, and I want to see if others would like to see these changes too, especially users that are only recently transitioning from the old layout to the new one.

   Most of these changes are aesthetic or merely convenient, so by no means do I expect them to be addressed right away! I just want to split the News topic so it only has bugs/comments on the new forum, whereas this topic will host all of the little things we would like back; that way TJ can easier keep track of user feedback.


   Proposed Changes:

  • Re-add a divider to separate the pinned topics from the regular topics. Despite the glaringly-obvious green icon beside pinned topics, my brain keeps looking for that further separation with the divider, and I think the forums look cleaner with the divider anyway.
  • Threads with new replies have bold titles. It's easier to skip over new replies by accident now because the only indicator is a subtle blue icon next to the title. Before it was much more obvious, as the title would be bold as well.
  • Keep thread subtitles. One of the little characteristics I really liked about the forums that no other forum (that I have visited, anyway) had was thread subtitles. They were useful in Dragon Requests for declaring the request's progress, and allowed fun little advertisements or quotes in the Roleplays section. I don't often visit other subforums, but they were used quite extensively. I would love to see them back!
  • Maybe add color back into the wrapper background? In the old theme, the white areas (which I think is called the "wrapper" as a whole) had light coral colors, and it was less stressful on the eyes. White is nice and neutral, but it's also painfully bright, especially if you're using high-quality screens with the gamma cranked up like I am. White is also a very sterile color, which makes the forums a bit less pleasing to the eye. I'm not requesting coral specifically to be added back in, but there are some lovely colors in the background art; perhaps the highlights on the stalactites, the sky, or even the faintest mountains could work? It would be tricky to find a good combination that works with the blue text, but it would help immensely!
  • Place links automatically inserted under the signature in the sidebar where (some of them) used to be. When signatures were being processed and updated with the new site, it doesn't look bad to have "Message", "Website", etc. in the signature; but some people have larger signatures that already have a lot going on, so those links have already been lost in them. They were already hiding in the sidebar before, but they were at least in one place where it was easy to find them at the top of the post. Granted, it's redundant to have a link to your website in your signature when it's automatically placed under your name too (*cough cough* I'm guilty), so having it at the bottom would make people aware of this, but it wasn't a problem before so I'm guessing the change was more aesthetic/carried over from the template code than practical.
  • Place post edit messages underneath the entire post like before. Right now it's squashed in with the rest of the post and makes it look like it was written intentionally, rather than automated.
  • Make quote boxes more obvious. In line with the above, quotes now blend too much with the main body of the post, with only an indent and the heading being the obvious indicators. It was easier to tell at a glance before that it was a quote with the way it was filled with a darker color.
  • Separate the Inbox and Outbox again. Right now messages I have received from other people are mixing in with my own messages that I replied with, whereas before they were separate. Granted, that wasn't convenient for people who don't quote the PM they're responding to, but I actually don't know anyone who does that, so in my opinion the old PM interface was much more organized and easier to use; then again, I have to say that the ability to browse to and view any PM on the same page is lovely!


   I also noticed some comments and questions in the News topic, so I'm placing them here so I don't forget about them:

  • Return the egg icons to indicate a user's forum level/status. Just a fun little fiddly-bit that some people liked and added character to the forums.
  • Some people would like the return of old theme styles. I didn't use the other themes for the old forum, so I can't give examples, but some people aren't satisfied with the Invision Blue theme as an alternative. However, I would encourage these people to comment, as I'm not sure what could be changed or added to the themes that would solve the problem?
  • Should the Theme options be moved back to the User Control Panel? It took me a while after logging in to find where it went, and I'm not sure why it was moved to the bottom of the page anyway... it doesn't bother me, personally, but it does seem like an odd place for it to be.
  • Should the margins of the forum pages be shortened considerably, like in the old theme? I personally liked the shorter margins, as they stretched out posts and made them look shorter than they actually were, but the new page margins are neither a major concern nor exactly uncommon; lots of forums have a similar layout. Were the lacking margins of the old layout better for practicality though? In this particular case, shortening them would cover up the pretty background art, though for those who use Invision Blue it doesn't matter that much... I'm wondering what you guys think.
  • Make the post editor recognize human-readable color names in BBCode. I'm guessing at the moment TJ just hasn't corrected this yet, rather than something that was done intentionally, but a lot of formatted colors are missing because only the "menu colors" from the WYSIWYG editor are being parsed; curiously enough though, raw hexcode colors also still work, so I'm guessing it's just the human-readable names that it's not parsing correctly (for example, "color=red" still works, and "#45DD05" works as well, but "color=deepskyblue" does not).

   Finally, plenty of people have requested that the new WYSIWYG editor should have an option to show BBCode at all times/something similar, but this thread raising such a question has been locked for the reasons TJ gave (including Sock's post here). Because of these reasons, I haven't included it in the suggestion list, but I'll keep it in the OP in case sometime in the future TJ can change the post editor to allow such flexibility!


   Comments? Ideas? Anything you guys want to add or dispute? I'll update the OP as often as I can!

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There's a lot here, so I'm going to close this thread and request that individual, well-scoped threads be created instead.


Having such a broad suggestion as "change the new forum" is not conducive to productive discussion and is difficult to follow.

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