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    • As for the choice of which stream to follow, you will miss threads no matter which stream you follow. Following ‘active’ misses all those obscure little shares no one reacts to. Since I happen to like obscure topics and don’t want to miss those, that’s not going to be my go to filter.

      Active (seems to me) will just give you a selection of the most popular threads, which (if I take society as a whole) likely means I’ll get a lot of celebrity gossip and sports, 

      I am so glad you shared that because there are probably others who share this misconception.

      If you want to avoid missing out on all the obscure topics, the active filter shows every conversation on Cake in order of the most recent post.

      Right now, this conversation is listed first in the All timeline with the new filter selected.

      It is listed second in the Active filter. Why? Because Shewmaker added a new response to his conversation on climate change science from September.

      And when I press the pink REPLY button to publish this response, our conversation here will go to the top of the Active filter timeline.

      Because it will be the conversation with the most recent, or newest response to it.

      If you publish a new conversation today, your conversation will appear at the top of the Active filter because the single post that makes up that conversation is now the most recent post to a conversation on Cake.

      Try it out for a few days and your mind will be blown by the number of active conversations that you’ve been missing out on.

      Many times I’ve found myself exploring active conversations that, for whatever reason, I missed or passed on when it was brand new.

    • Interesting @StephenL I actually had to search around a while to find the Active filter, since I had the default ( I think ) Interesting filter setting, which as @Apocryphal pointed out is only Interesting for whom? Selected as Interesting by Whom??

      I found myself using the All setting a lot but that is for New topics I think ( or what the AI thought I would find interesting ), not existing Active ones. I have been here on Cake a for a while and I didn't grok that the Interesting filter was a button hiding other choices - hah! I now see the three hash marks that suggest it is a menu item, but they were subtle enough that I have missed them for over a year. Perhaps, expanding the filter to display three seperate buttons for New, Interesting and Active might help us slow learners....rather than hiding them behind a single button.

      I will be using the Active filter much more often now that I know it is there. I see that I can find much more interesting topics that way. Cool!!

      Simple clean systems are attractive, and useful when fully inderstood by users, but can hide features from less knowledgeable users - My Mac does this routinely, and I've used it for decades 😟😎

    • the default ( I think ) Interesting filter setting, which as @Apocryphal pointed out is only Interesting for whom? Selected as Interesting by Whom??

      I wouldn't just outright neglect that filter just based on some fear that "the AI doesn't know what I want"!!1 Most of the time, the algorithm hiding behind a term like that is much simpler than some people assume, but at the same time much better at surfacing stuff that is, in fact, interesting at the time.

      For example, "New" might just check the timestamp of the initial post of a conversation, while "Active" might just check the timestamp of the most recent change. This means that we will always see the newest conversation, or the latest reply - but depending on when exactly we check, we might miss a conversation that has had two dozen replies in the last 24 hours just because five other, currently empty, conversations were created in the two hours since the last reply there.

    • Wow, I guess I didn't realize there was the active filter or maybe I forgot about it because that's my default view. Personally, I have been finding just as much value if not at times more value in the comments than the original posts. I have mentioned this to @Chris before but I believe it would be interesting to see a view of comments tagged by post topics that could serve as an alternative means of discovering original posts. Just as I have an ability to view my posts and my conversations separately, maybe a universal view to separate posts and conversations. I also think it would be interesting when a search term is used that profiles come up who have either posted or contributed to conversations around that topic keyword. Maybe offering an ability to follow their conversations related to those topics. Following people at a granular level not at a general level as we see in Twitter. I just feel the magic lies deep inside the topics from the views of the users.

      And on the question of the gestation of the posts, I have witnessed this myself, where a post will be resurrected from an interesting comment which then could lead to additional conversations. Just like the @mbravo social media post below, which I imagine will have a long life as the greater
      conversation of social on the web continues to thrive. I love seeing conversations coming back to life with new perspectives as the topics evolve.

    • You are right - I had misconceived that. Previously scanning both NEW vs ACTIVE I noticed I didn’t see the new posts, but now I see they are there, just quickly pushed down the list. Which means I should probably flip back and forth between the two not to miss things. NEW really represents ‘new threads’ and ACTIVE really represents ‘new activity’ - the distinction is lost in the single word titles. Anyway, I’ll spend more time with it.

    • What about using the previous week's conversation to announce a new conversation each week?

      Count me, also, as one who was not aware that there were two other choices under "new".

      I don't know if you've ever heard of the Nielsen Norman group but they are specialists in the field of how users interact with a UI as opposed to how the UI builder presumed users would interact.

    • There are two principles of UI design that stick with me more than any others:

      1. To succeed at consumer products, remove friction.

      2. Pave the cowtrails. It means users are not going to use your interface as you thought they would. Figure out how they are using it and make it easier for them.

      Our problem is we cannot see the interface as you do, because we put the elements there so we can’t miss them. To read what you’ve written here is incredibly helpful and sheds light on some things I’ve scratched my head over for a long time.

      One thing is it feels like one of Cake’s strengths is the ability for conversations to unfold over time, which isn’t really a thing on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter. But in order for people who are interested in the conversation to stay actively involved, my impression is they have to know to set the Following tab to Active, like this, no?

    • Anyway, it feels like sorting this out needs to be our #1 priority. One simple thing would be to set the defaults for each tab to be the most popular setting for each. So maybe Interesting for the For You tab, Active for Following, and New for All.

      Interesting is based on an algorithm but it’s pretty simple. We don’t use any tracking info on you, other than the topics you follow, so the algorithm just uses how new the conversation is, plus how many reactions and replies it has.

      One thing to consider is eliminating the Interesting/Active/New menu and just going with the defaults so our users don’t have to think about it.

    • But in order for people who are interested in the conversation to stay actively involved, my impression is they have to know to set the Following tab to Active, like this, no?

      I never use the Following timeline.

      Never.

      If I follow a conversation, I’ll get a notice of any new posts within the 🔔 notifications tab.

      So it’s superfluous.

      ++++++++

      One simple thing would be to set the defaults for each tab to be the most popular setting for each. So maybe Interesting for the For You tab, Active for Following, and New for All.

      I think, based on the above discussion, that All Active as the default may provide users with the greatest range of currently active conversations to explore. Although like @Apocryphal , I will manually switch between Active and new on occasion to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

      My thoughts, FWIW. Greater minds than mine may have better 💡

    • Chris,

      It wasn't until I read this post that I discovered that each of the four top menu items can be set INDEPENDENTLY to one of three settings. In my last post in this thread, I had only discovered the existence of the pop up menu for the first time.

      So basically, for me, there were TWO options of which I was oblivious.

      I don't think that getting rid of these options is a good idea. I think making users aware that these options EXIST is the route to go.

    • @Chris

      During WWII the UK took down all the sign posts pertaining to locations so that if any German spies were parachuted in, they would have no signs telling them where they were.

      Cake needs Sign Posts.

    • I don't think that getting rid of these options is a good idea.

      I can see how “setting the defaults” can seem like a permanent setting, which thankfully is not the case.

      When @Chris mentions setting the defaults, he means that a new user’s filter would default to Interesting in the For You timeline, it would default to active in the All timeline, etc.

      Users would continue to be able to manually change the filter setting for each timeline.

    • What about using the previous week's conversation to announce a new conversation each week?

      This was the thought I had as well, if you must start new conversations. You run into a couple problems with this, though.

      What if someone joins in a year from now and would like to go back and see old posts related to the topic? If it's a singly linked list, they don't have an easy way to go backward. They could search the site, but it's an extra step that's unnecessary if it's immediately accessible already. It also clutters up search results. You could make it doubly linked by referencing the last thread in the new one, but again, it's just unnecessary.

      The other problem (at least in regard to serials like the original thread being referenced) is related to when conversations get locked (if that's going to continue happening.) If you lock the old conversations, none of the responses can get reactions, so they are effectively dead - no interaction is possible, so what's the point of keeping them around if the whole site is based on engagement and interaction? Information? History? Sure, but people aren't posting just to make a record. They want to be engaged.

      I for one, would rather have one consolidated conversation - or maybe one for each year something, if it becomes unwieldy. The default mode of locking old conversations or "etiquette" of letting old conversations die on most sites has never made sense to me, especially with the way Cake works.

    • One thing to consider is eliminating the Interesting/Active/New menu and just going with the defaults so our users don’t have to think about it.

      I think it's a useful feature and you already have the code in place. You know how on some sites the first time you login or after they've made changes they do a short demo to say "Hey, you might not know about these new things?" Why not just do that and pave those cowtrails you mentioned?

    • A unique tag which applies only to these conversations which when selected gives access to only those conversations.

      Cake already hosts conversations that are not featured in the all category but which have unique tags. For example, students within a class follow a tag which is unique to that class.

      Same thing could be done to allow newbies to backtrack.

      As far as locking is concerned that is the moderator's decision.

    • One thing to consider is eliminating the Interesting/Active/New menu and just going with the defaults so our users don’t have to think about it.

      Eliminating doesn't mean setting.

    • A unique tag would certainly work. I had kind of forgotten about that option, honestly. @Glenn_Smith has one for Shroomshot Saturday. But the topic in it's entirety is also comprised of one single conversation, despite the fact that it was started over a year ago. At this point the unique tag is redundant. Would there be a benefit to splitting it up into smaller conversations? That's up to him, but it seems like he hasn't found one so far. W&Bshot Wednesday follows the same basic format.

      I can see where locking has its place. I'm not advocating for the removal of the feature or saying the conversation starter shouldn't have ultimate control over it. This one is only open one day a week. If it got split up into multiple conversations with old ones being locked, only posts in the most recent edition are eligible for interaction, and only for 1 day of the week. It would severely limit even the possibility for engagement in my mind. If that's what @StephenL wants, then cool. But I don't think that's what he's aiming for.

      I think the option to let people leave reactions even on a conversation that's locked has some merit. Or maybe the ability to change a conversation to a panel and back so no one can respond in the off-time, but reactions can still be applied.

    • I think that setting the most sensible defaults for new users is a very important thing to do - and I'd choose the same three combinations that you suggested.

      Beyond that, though, I don't think that simply taking away options will help, unless you do it in the context of a more complete overhaul of the feeds&filters idea. The problem here is that different things are important and useful to different groups of users, and all of that might change depending on how much activity there is on the platform as a whole.

      To give just one example, I'm currently using "All/New" as a secondary feed to learn about new conversations in topics I'm not yet following. Assuming that Cake grows, and that the frequency of new conversations being started will grow ten or a hundred times, "All/New" will eventually become too noisy for me, at which point I might want to switch to "All/Interesting" - or hope for you to come up with something else altogether. ;)

      Repeating the suggestion I already made above, perhaps merging the feeds UI and the filters UI into a single object that can be edited by users would solve all these issues and more. It would allow you to offer sensible defaults (the currently four links, each going to a different feed with a matching filter), while at the same time allowing advanced users to change this to quickly access whatever combinations they consider to be most important.

      For example, just like @StephenL I don't really see a need for a "Following" feed if I already have notifications. If I could edit the menu to get rid of that entry and replace it with a different combination of feed&filter (so that I perhaps have quick access to two differently sorted "For You" feeds, or whatever other feed types we might come up with in the future), this would be great.

    • In an ideal world, I could lock W&Bshot Wednesday from further posts until the next Wednesday and continue to allow reactions to the previous weeks’ images. But the system wasn’t programmed with that option. So that’s our current reality. It is a great idea though so hopefully it makes sense in the future when the inventory of locked evergreen content grows larger. Honestly, I think there’s maybe a handful of conversations on Cake that have been locked: I think I locked the maths panel last year because the panel idea was so new that I didn’t want anything to mess it up after the panel ended. However, I just checked and it’s unlocked. I lock W&B every Wednesday night because it loses something when someone posts on the weekend a “I know it’s not Wednesday but I thought I’d share this image anyway.” The specialness aspect could all be in my mind, but it’s a quirk of mine that I plan to continue. Hopefully this discussion makes more aware of our weekly photo share and causes users to view the new images on Wednesdays and to like the photos from prior weeks that they didn’t view previously.