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roddy

Sidebar on topic pages

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roddy

What do people think? Bearing in mind the content can be changed, if you can think of anything that'd be more useful there. At the moment it just mirrors the right side of the home page. 

 

I realise it might look odd with very short, or very long topics. I think that's kind of unavoidable. I like the idea of people who've dropped in from a Google search or a new post notification seeing a list of what else is active. 

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imron

I think it looks a little crowded.

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roddy

And to improve it you would like to...

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imron

Remove it from the sidebar :mrgreen:  Is it possible to make it a user configured setting?

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roddy

Oh, now I miss the downvote button. 

 

Seriously, you've got a much better eye for this than I do. Help.

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imron
39 minutes ago, roddy said:

Seriously

I am being serious.

 

I think it looks better without any sidebar.   The sidebar adds distraction and clutter in the side of my view when scrolling down as I read the thread contents.

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Lu

I don't think a sidebar is needed and I would rather see it gone, but I'm not sure if this is not just my 'never change anything I'm not good with change' side speaking.

 

I also just noticed a 'reply to this topic' button on top of the thread. I think it would be better to remove that, because it encourages (or at least enables) people to reply without reading the thread, which is usually not good.

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Shelley

I can see roddy's point, if you land at a topic from a search it does give you the idea there might be more, on the other hand it does look crowded but, can we not have a compromise?

 

A pop out sidebar when you move off the topic contents, remain over it and it stays there, click on it and it "sticks" it to the side for those who like it.

 

Although that would be good, I think I could get used to it being there.

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Mati1

I don't like it because it takes space from the topic making me scroll more.

It's good that the sidebar disappears in a smaller window. Unfortunately it kicks in at my desired window size, which is the size where the page header expands and shows the tabs and the profile picture.

What's more, I usually use the main page to scan for new topics and posts, making the sidebar fully redundant (unless someone has an idea for other content).

However, roddy's general idea is not a bad one. I propose a user setting for being able to turn the sidebar off after registering. By default it would be on, or at least for unregistered viewers, to get your desired effect.

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abcdefg

WAIT,RODDY.

 

This morning I see yet another change has been made. You have a column on the right side of all pages dedicated to recent posts, similar to the one on the home page.

 

This absolutely kills anything like my food and cooking articles which are long because they have lots of pictures. It's a deal breaker. I hugely object. Please re-think it.

 

For example, revisit my latest post about Cantonese dim sum, and see how it is now all messed up.

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54982-enjoying-dim-sum/?tab=comments#comment-424016

 

Maybe you don't want any illustrated posts as part of Chinese Forms. If that is the aim, then this page formatting style will insure that you get very few or none. It's already difficult to post photos, cumbersome and time consuming.

 

This latest change will make it next to impossible to do what I think of as a topical "photo-essay." It will completely kill my cooking and food articles.

 

I will also send these comments to you as a private message since I feel urgently about them.

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abcdefg

Just realized this page formatting style also means the end of my tea articles. It ruins them because they are long and have lots of pictures.

 

It also torpedoes any worthwhile China travel articles; makes them clumsy and excessively difficult. I've done some Yunnan travel pieces here and had thoughts of doing others as well.

 

It may help Google ad revenues or page visit counts or something similar of a business nature, but it is very destructive for those of us who contribute original illustrated content.

 

Quote

I realise it might look odd with very short, or very long topics. I think that's kind of unavoidable.

 

Please don't do it. Please re-think it. I feel strongly about this issue and fear it will take Chinese Forums in a direction that will diminish its usefulness to people who care about China.

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roddy

@abcdefg What's the actual problem - I can see some alignment issues (attached image) but nothing that "absolutely kills" anything - it's all readable, the images are all there. I've checked a few of your other posts and it's a similar story. We can fix whatever it is (at worst I can set it up not to show the sidebar on certain pages).

 

I (and no doubt many of us) are grateful for your posts. But as I think I've said before, the software wasn't set up with the formatting of long text + image posts like this. I'm not even sure this is a format that works particularly well online - you have so many different screen sizes and devices, some people have fonts set larger, some smaller, and, yes, site designs change. Which is why I think I suggested a gallery format, with images and captions, a while ago.

 

And @everyone - I'm going to leave it as is for now, and see if we gather any more opinions. I agree with what @Mati1 said about the content being redundant for regulars, and would be keen on hearing ideas for other content or formatting. I'm also keeping an eye on stats. What I might do is give *current* members the option to hide it, and new members won't know any different and I suspect they will either use it or not notice it.

 

dimsum.png

 

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roddy

What about content based on, eg, what people have recently liked. What was posted on this day X years ago. Random topics. Topics specific to that forum. 

Hmmm, look at all those nice sidebar ads on hackingchinese.com

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Shelley

@abcdefg I see what you mean, but as roddy points out it does change depending on what you are viewing it on anyway.

 

Might I make a bold suggestion - perhaps you could write these up as a blog, have a post on the front page with a quick summary and a link to the blog. I checked my blog and the sidebar does not appear.

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roddy

Yet. 

 

I've checked more of your topics, abcdefg, and I'm not seeing problems, apart from alignment being off (which happens more at small screen sizes, but never makes anything unusable). We're possibly seeing different things.

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Shelley

Oh.

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Shelley

Thinking about that, I don't think it would be a good idea.

To me the home page is like a newspaper with links to articles, Blogs are like magazine stories, longer, more in depth with pictures and illustration, not always but mostly. So adding the sidebar here would be annoying and ugly.

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roddy

And there'd be no point in linking to recent or popular new blog posts, or blog comments, or excellent stuff elsewhere on the site? Is it perhaps possible to imagine a non-annoying, non-ugly possibility?

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abcdefg

Perhaps I over-reacted this morning. I can see how the layout would change with the viewing platform. I write these things on a laptop computer, not on a tablet or mobile phone.

 

And I do understand how long topical pieces with lots of photos might not be what the forum software is really designed to accommodates best. Let me thing further about possible solutions.

 

Appreciate your concern, @roddy. And thanks for your idea about putting some content into the blog section, @Shelley. I've never used that at all. 

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roddy

Honestly, the blog section won't be much better - the exact same issues will apply. For what you're doing, you either accept that formatting is going to change depend on who's viewing when; or do gallery posts where you can do a slideshow of images and captions - which would work quite well for what you're doing, but I can't promise there aren't other issues with the gallery on here. Last time I looked, for example, getting images into a certain order was a pain.

 

@abcdefg - I'll add you as a contributor to Signese if you like - you can add some of your menu photos and see how it works, they'd make ideal posts for that blog. But as I say, same problems apply. 

 

Also, if you are seeing cases where the posts are hugely ugly or unusable, let me know and I'll see what's going on.

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