Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Forum Improvement Suggestions by Top Posters

Earlier this month, Lenz Grimmer and I approached the top Forum posters on our Forums (http://forums.mysql.com), thanking them for their contributions and soliciting them for feedback on how we could improve the Forums to make them more usable and fun to use. Especially, we asked for suggestions in these areas:

  • for easier navigation / threading / search

  • for ranking / highlighting / voting on entries

  • for showing user profiles / avatars / case studies of contributors

Of the 24 people we approached, fifteen replied. Out of these, thirteen came back with suggestions, some of which were very detailed proposals.

Here is a condensed summary of the most popular requests/suggestions:

  1. Re-enabling the display of new posts per forum on the front page was the most requested change by all.

  2. The Forum search function received a lot of criticism for being almost unusable and rarely returning relevant results. It should be possible to provide more search criteria (e.g. selecting Forums to search) and the results should highlight the selected keywords.

  3. Being able to rank/vote replies was considered a useful addition by several, also a ranking of individuals was requested, to indicate competence of posters.

  4. Many were asking for a feature to better keep track of the threads that they have contributed to, e.g. an option to see all of the forum posts that they have posted and replied to or marking threads differently if they include postings from oneself.

  5. Some requested improvements in the displaying of threads, e.g. being able to open/collapse subthreads/nodes, or moving threads to the top of the list when new posts have arrived.

  6. Some improvements for the user profile pages were requested, e.g. a list of recent postings, number of messages posted, most active forums, link to the bug database (reported bugs) or more personal information.

  7. Avatars were generally frowned upon, as being too childish and adding unnecessary overhead.

A big Thank You for good suggestions go to

  • Felix Geerinckx

  • Peter Brawley

  • Marc Castrovinci

  • Martin Sivorn

  • Anthony Willard

  • William Chiquito

  • Sam Morrison

  • Thomas Corbiere

  • Kathy Mazur Worden

  • Brian Papantonio

  • Björn Steinbrink

  • Harry Wang

  • Dave "Guelphdad" Lake

Oh, and by the way: Our Web Team is swamped with requests. So don't expect to see the good suggestions come to fruition too soon. This is just for you to know that we're listening, and we're planning some of the above improvements to take place. If you have further suggestions, email Lenz or myself at firstname@mysql.com.

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