Why no recent poster on Critique forum?

dezcom's picture

I hadn't realized for months that the Critique Forum was alive and well until it was recently pointed out to me. The reason is that there is no post record column to the right of it lie there is for all the other forums in the "Forums" landing page. Is there a reason for this? To me it is helpful to see the most recent post and time to cue me to go check it. I know we are still in Beta and I don't mean to cause a fuss. I am just asking.

Chris

dezcom's picture

Don't ask why but I meant to type "as" and somehow it came out "lie" in my post above.

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I may be old but my typing sucks :-)
[sorry Norbert. I had to borrow your sig.]

ChrisL

Miss Tiffany's picture

Chris, the best way to keep track of everything, or at least attempt it, is to check "active discussions". At least that is how I've decided to watch the boards.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Chris,

I always use the "Recent Posts" as my bookmark which makes it a lot easier to see what's hot and what's not.

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Yes, I'm old, but ChrisL is OLDER!

Nick Shinn's picture

I've never been interested in the Critique forum.

paul d hunt's picture

why is that, nick?

dan_reynolds's picture

Yeah, Nick, is it really so bad?

Actually, it would most certainly be better if you were interested in it. But I don't think that anyone should be cajoled into using the forum or anything ;-)

Some of the work that gets posted there is quite good, and worth a look. Like Paul's posts, for instance.

Some of it is not as interesting, but there are lots of threads in General Discussion that I don't follow either, so…

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www.typeoff.de

TBiddy's picture

A lot of people use this site to gain experience and knowledge. I think its kind of a travesty that more people aren't involved in the critique section. How is anyone new to the field to learn if people aren't willing to share their knowledge?

Nick Shinn's picture

>why is that, nick?

I don't visit the other forums either, except maybe Build or Design occasionally.

General is more interesting.
But not being able to post pictures into the threads is a real drag. The old Typophile was much better because of that.

dezcom's picture

"...always use the “Recent Posts” ..."
Now knowing that the Critique site is live, there is no problem for me. My question is more about why is the Critique area treated differently than Design or General? I just wonder why, when developing a hopefully consistant user interface, one would choose to treat Critique as a child of a lesser God?

ChrisL

Nick Shinn's picture

>people aren’t willing to share their knowledge?

Most people have difficulty explaining how they do what they do. For those that are able, it's still a lot of work.

hrant's picture

How is for example telling nepenthe where to look for
inspiration on his italics, or that his "S" leans too much:
1) Difficult to explain?
2) Timeconsuming?

hhp

dezcom's picture

"forum topic kisbefe2 grod 21 59 min 15 sec ago"

Back on topic: Above is the way Critiques posts look in the "Recent Posts" view. Unless I had already been there, I would not know that "kisbefe2" was a font up for critiques under Critique/Sans Serf.

ChrisL

ebensorkin's picture

I agree with Chris ( dezcom ). Let the critique forum rise to the level of general! This is no doubt easier said than done.

Jared, Joe?

parker's picture

In my opinion — the Critique is dead (even with post record column).
why?

see the why: " How is anyone new to the field to learn if people aren’t willing to share their knowledge?"

this is simple. sharp. clear. and SAD.

Forrest L Norvell's picture

Tina, I've seen your sentiment expressed a few times lately, and while the critique forums could be livelier than they are, I think you're being a bit unfair.

It's easy to chime in on general topics, mostly because we're just spouting off our opinions. It's a lot closer to casual conversation than any formal kind of discourse, and while a lot of information is shared, not a lot of deep thought is required to participate. The type identification forums are as lively as they are because the regular posters have turned it into a competition, which makes it a fun and addictive experience for them.

Providing useful feedback, on the other hand, is hard. I participate in the font critique forums as often as I can, because I always find the experience at least as educational to me as the person I'm critiquing. It's enlightening to puzzle out why I have certain kinds of reactions to certain features in a font. But it still takes time, and given how casual and informal a lot of the participation is on Typophile, it doesn't surprise me that there's not more participation in critiques.

It would be cool if the critique threads were livelier, but I think it's a bit unfair to suggest that the Critique area is dead. Was my feedback on your new typeface not useful to you?

dan_reynolds's picture

Well, people do share. This is a fair amount of good critiquing going on in the critique forum. I have a feeling that there used to be more.

I wish more contributors would contribute, but dead the forum is not.

What could we do to increase traffic?

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www.typeoff.de

paul d hunt's picture

What could we do to increase traffic?

make action in the critique forums more visible. since i don't get email replies any more and the rss feeder only sends the first message of new threads (correct me if i'm wrong) and the new posts don't show up on the main forums page, i rarely think to check to see if anything is new. my new metod of keeping up involves just scanning the forums page to see what sections have had recent posts.

dan_reynolds's picture

I try to look at all new threads, or all new posts to older threads at least, via the Tracker, which I like a lot.

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www.typeoff.de

dezcom's picture

Paul Hunt's post is exactly what I am talking about and what prompted me to begin this thread.

ChrisL

dezcom's picture

Actually, the first thing that brought my attention to it was the Membership Termination post http://typophile.com/node/14249 where the originator was dissapointed that he had not been getting critiques. I, at the time, had not even seen his font posted for critique. Until the new version of Typophile, I had been a regular poster in the Critique area both as a critiquer and a critiquee. Since I had percieved the area to be unavailable, I had not paid attention to it.

ChrisL

adriano's picture

I believe Nick said it all, the previous version of typophile we could browse more visualy, one click and we could see the images of the works. This current version we have to click a lot more and therefore we "see less stuff". I think this feature on this new typophile would be A LOT better for all. Is that difficult to implement? If the file is uploades I guess it's not difficult to pace it with the [img] [/img] rather than a link...

hrant's picture

The Tracker is the only way [for now]. BTW, one reason the Critique section doesn't show "Last Post" on the front page is most probably that it has subfolders.

However, I'm pretty sure I never saw fontsoldat's thread when it was first posted. Maybe just a system hiccup. But of course I wonder what other syllables we've missed in the Great Conversation.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

I too agree with nick. It would be great to be able to post images agin. Maybe it was too expensive to support the bandwidth. But if we could have it back it would be a great boon.

paul d hunt's picture

images will come back. just no access at this current time. hopefully once all is back in place, critiques will be better followed.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Hrant correctly pointed out that the critique statistics aren't surfacing to the top level index because there are sub categories (sub folders). This is an unfortunate bug.

Image posting and search were the hottest bugs being addressed. Search has been implemented and image posting is very close. Honestly the only aspect that has us from pushing the feature live is the fact that we cannot yet control what happens when people post overly wide images -- currently it would blow out the page widths (column widths) again. So, which peeve is worse, not seeing images in-line or having your column widths blown to full screen? Right then. The only answer is to implement the image posting the right way...

Old versus new. I know some people still miss the old site -- I don't. The reality of the situation is that the system was choking on itself. The database actually stored HTML pages instead of raw content -- a recipe for bloating badly. Consider the fact that when Christian ported the data from the old system to the new he deleted a gigabyte of the "DoNotLookLikeCrap" style tags (and that was just the style tags!).

Joe Pemberton's picture

That was the housekeeping stuff, so I could get to the good stuff... Driving traffic to the critique.

We've asked our newest moderator Dan Reynolds to help the situation by pointing out the best fonts currently up for critique. He will be able to do this by flagging the best ones too be served up on the home page in the "Handpicked" column.

Something we tried over a year ago was live chat sessions with a live critique. We'd select a font in the critique forum and invite the designer to prepare some additional materials for a Thursday lunchtime live critique session. Then during the designated hour we'd have at it. I know the people who got critiqued really valued it. There was also something cool about it being more of an event, with everybody participating at the same time.

What do you think? Is there any interest in this?

dan_reynolds's picture

I think that this ia a great idea (live critique) Does the software of the new Typophile support that, or would it have to be done over forum or iChat or ?

dezcom's picture

Live crit sounds like a terrific idea. I think that the font in question should be posted a few days ahead of time so commenters can have a chance to think about it an collect helpful links. The only other question is timing. We are a worldwide bunch--when is the "best time" to do it?

Back to image size--is there a way to reject posting an image if it is over the max width you want? Can there be an error message which says something like "images may not exceed x pixels by x pixels"? After that, a hand come out of the screen and slaps you silly :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

> Search has been implemented

Fully?
Because sometimes I can't find stuff that I know has been there.

> which peeve is worse, not seeing images in-line or
> having your column widths blown to full screen?

To me at least, definitely the former. I'm a content guy.

BTW, I personally no longer miss the old site. But if you fixed the RSS (I mean for real, so that all posts show up) that would save me a lot of overhead time. The old emailed-posts scheme was a huge benefit.

> flagging the best ones too be served up on the home page

Does anybody actually go there though?

> live critique

Great idea, but only if you have a moderator.

hhp

Joe Pemberton's picture

When's the best time? Peak traffic times on Typophile suggest that mid-week (Tues, Wed or Thurs) is best. Also, peak traffic suggests the window between 11 am and 2 pm Pacific (2 and 5 pm Eastern) are most active times.

A truly live session isn't possible (I'd say "yet" but I'm afraid to make promises). We've looked into chat modules but the real difficulty is finding something that works with people's existing usernames. Aside from something truly live, I would expect the critique would be greatly improved if we simply took the steps of a) designating Thursday critique day and b) have a moderator (Dan!) alert people to the brightest work up for critique.

Perhaps Dan could add a tag to the critique subject lines similar to the way Yves adds (x) to the Type IDs that are completed. A subject might look like "Magnitude - THURSDAY CRIT". (Then when it's over we can change the subject line back.)

dan_reynolds's picture

2pm Eastern is 8pm Central European Time. 7–11 pm C.E.T. is my prime time, as I usually home from work or class.

I can't speak for other middle European residents, though But I guess that evenings are OK for anyone without family bounds…

I think that making Thursday "Typophile critique day" is an excellent idea. We could start right away (err… meaning next Thursday, instead of today). What if we selected one work from each category (or there abouts…)?

Another question: do "Logos/Corporate ID Design" and "Typography/Composition" need a crit day? Those zones are quite popular already, but they aren't typeface related, per se. Are we prioritizing, or trying to boost everything equally?

If anyone has any suggestions (including your own work) for crit day, I'm all eyes. Otherwise I'll propably be picking those that catch my attention…

Dan Weaver's picture

Why not have regional people host shows like Dan at hours x-z on Tuesday and Hrant at hours x-z on Thursday etc. It would localize the forums but it might create topics that would be picked up by the other hosted forums.

dan_reynolds's picture

Dan, I think that we need to drive up post volume first. Then, we can have multiple hot-times later. Me and three other posters on Tuesday afternoon (before the west coast readers even wake up!) really wouldn't be so productive, I think.

William Berkson's picture

I already posted this in the 'bug thread', but maybe it's better here. One way to increase the views, and hence posting to critiques would be to reduce the number of categories, and put them in the main list, so that activity would show up on the front page.

At the bottom of the page you could have a 'critiques' subtitle, and then the following categories: Serif; Sans serif; Script, Bitmap & Blackletter; Logos & Corporate ID; Typography & Composition. Also on the main list Build & Release could be combined, based on the numbers.

Thus you would have only 5 more lines on the front page, and get indications of activity. Or you could put it as Critique: Serif,
Critique: Sans Serif, etc., and have only four more lines. Thus you would still see everything on the opening screen of the Forums.

dezcom's picture

Good idea William! You ARE a Mench after all :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

The timing should probably be similar to the ideal closing time of eBay auctions: midweek, around 10 AM PST. This allows Europe to participate too, and the Right Coast will be around lunchtime.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

>> One way to increase the views, and hence posting to critiques would be to reduce the number of categories, and put them in the main list, so that activity would show up on the front page.

> Good idea William! You ARE a Mench after all :-)

That gets my vote too!

Is there any reason NOT to do it that way? It seems like the obvious & simple solution.

hrant's picture

> Bitmap & Blackletter; Logos & Corporate ID; Typography & Composition

Hmmm. I'd much rather see Logos, Composition, etc. bunched together.
They're more peripheral to Typophile, and get too much attention anyway.

> Build & Release could be combined

Good idea.

hhp

paul d hunt's picture

> Build & Release could be combined

maybe these should just be renamed. I know that tiff uses these categories in a way that is loosely based on what they were intended for: build for any technical related problems and release for the leagal end of things. in my book these two aspects are far enough apart to warrant their own sections.

William Berkson's picture

>far enough apart

I agree. It's just a question of what compromise works best. Given the number of posts, I think a combined category could accomodate say two or three active 'build' threads and one active 'release' thread, which is what tends to happen. I am also grateful for Tiffany's leadship on the EULA issue.

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