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  1. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #1  
    Greetings

    I also posted this earlier in the TreoCentral forum but thought it would catch more attention here since you have to scroll way down to get there.

    In order to make TreoCentral a better place for dining and dancing, two new front page ("Home") features were just implemented.

    1 - the number of headline stories on the front page has been expanded from seven to eleven. Because - when "reviews" scroll off that list as new ones are added, they fall into a "bin" at the bottom of the front page. But Stories and Articles (non-review material) do not, and it made finding them difficult once they had scrolled off, although not impossible, since you just click on the "Stories" link on the top blue bar to find them all the way back to 1999, by month. Still, you could't search by author. (see below). This expansion of the number of headline stories on the front page will help keep non-review
    stories and articles on the front page longer. But it doesn't make the front page visually cluttered and confusing like so many other sites. It just makes it a little taller. Maybe an inch.

    b - you can now do a search by author. Click on About in the blue menu bar. On the next page, scroll down and you'll see a list of published authors, past and present. (Current authors are me, Marcus, James, Annie, Xious, Jay, Micahel, and Tim..) .. Click any name to see everything that person has ever had published. This makes it easy to see / send / search / bookmark a link of your favorite author or any authors' published stuff. It's the equivalent of a yearly index by authors that a print magazine might publish except it's updated dynamically - live.

    III - Author photos and bios (if they choose to add them).. coming soon.

    I hope you enjoy the new features.

    Harv
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  2. pabo's Avatar
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    #2  
    1, b, III - an editor with style...
  3. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    1, b, III - an editor with style...
    Now yer catchin' on

    I think reviews and articles should be both informative, technically as correct as possible, and also fun to read. There's so much bad writing on competing sites that it makes my skin crawl. I'm aiming a lot higher here. It's only through the feedback we get that I know if I'm hitting the target.

    Harv
    Last edited by hrlaser; 06/15/2006 at 11:16 PM.
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  4. pabo's Avatar
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    #4  
    keep up the good work.
  5. #5  
    Hey Harv, what's the official reason for not having front-page articles link to a new thread in the forums?
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  6. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    Hey Harv, what's the official reason for not having front-page articles link to a new thread in the forums?
    I am sooooooooooooooo tempted to say "This has been asked 23098203984029381 times. Do a search." But I won't.

    The answer is there is no answer and there is no official reason. You got an extended front page from which non-review articles and stories don't scroll off so quickly, and you got search by author, and author bios. And you got it because I've been asking for it for months.

    So.. one thing at a time, eh?

    Besides, if every front page article linked to a new thread here and all the writers had to constantly monitor a boatload of threads and answer questions, then they wouldn't have any time to write.

    I don't mean this in any insulting way, as I don't know you at all, but have you ever written professionally (i.e. for money).. ? If not, do you have any idea how many hours of testing, research, reading, phone calls, writing, proofing, re-writing, getting images and yadda yadda a single review can take? I've been doing it for twenty years and if you hand me a brand new product I've never touched before, I don't just sit down and start writing about it. I have to install it, play with it, use it for a week or two, learn everything there is to know about it, talk to the people who make it, ask them if it's a bugor a feature, get or take pictures, THEN sit down and write, Edit, write some more, maybe make more phone calls.. it can take HOURS to write a single review AFTER playing with a product for days or even weeks.

    And I type 100wpm with a good tailwind.

    I come in here in my "spare time" which I don't have a lot of to see what's going on, and to help out when I can and to get information for myself. I'm not a Forum moderator. I'm Managing Editor and I'm responsible for the front page content, not just mine, but all the other writers (which is really more than a one-person job).. and that'sit.

    I don't have a secretary or even an assistant who types for me while I lie in a hammock sipping Pina Coladas.

    Any other site changes you'd like to see, well, one step at a time.

    But I personally think starting a new Forum thread every time a new article or review goes up would be overkill, and way too much of a load on the writers who'd have to come in and monitor and answer and debate and get yelled at by impatient people if they didn't answer in one nanowebber and that would take away from their writing. That's why there's a byline on every article and review, so you can contact each writer directly, if you have any questions or comments.

    Harv
    Last edited by hrlaser; 06/15/2006 at 11:11 PM.
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by hrlaser
    .. it can take HOURS to write a single review AFTER playing with a product for days or even weeks.Harv
    Gracious appreciation for your effort in providing quality writing: style, usage, readability, and tone. It is not simple; one phrase can become a temporal tempest [pun intended].
  8. #8  
    Hey, wow. TreoCentral has a front page!
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by hrlaser
    Besides, if every front page article linked to a new thread here and all the writers had to constantly monitor a boatload of threads and answer questions, then they wouldn't have any time to write.

    I don't mean this in any insulting way, as I don't know you at all, but have you ever written professionally (i.e. for money).. ?
    Actually, I do know a little something about writing for websites, because I've run a couple of tech news/forums myself (www.goodthatway.com and www.tapland.com). I completely understand what you're saying about the amount of time it can suck from your day if you have to monitor it to respond to questions, etc., but I wasn't suggesting that. I was simply suggesting that having every (yes, *every*) front-page article associated to a forum thread would be good for both TC and the community.

    Many times I've read a front-page article and wanted to throw in my two cents on a news story, or personal experience with a product that had been reviewed, but without a "central" thread already started and linked to, I can't do it without starting up my new thread (which can then get lost in the mix and requires some effort to find by other "front-page readers").

    It also encourages new user registration. I suspect there's a lot of people who read the front page news who don't venture into the forums often. Some of these folks could then get "hooked" and come back more often, leading to improved TC sales or ad revenue.

    On the flip-side, I suspect there's a lot of people who spend most of their time in the forums and rarely think to look at the front page. There was a time when TC's front-page was pretty dead and new articles were slow in coming, leading to people surfing directly to the TC forums. Having a new thread started for every front-page article results in more forum-goers reading the articles.

    From a technical perspective, I know this capability used to exist at TC. I don't know if the feature broke or if there was some other reason for its removal, which is why I asked about it. But I certainly hope that it's not missing because of some perception that if an article has a forum thread attached to it, the author is now responsible for monitoring that thread and engaging in the discussion for the rest of his/her life.

    So, again, my suggestion wasn't really directed at you (the authors), but more at the TC owners and developers. A forum thread associated to an article would be a simple but very useful improvement. How much or how little you authors decide to engage in that discussion is entirely up to you.
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  10. hrlaser's Avatar
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       #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    Actually, I do know a little something about writing for websites, because I've run a couple of tech news/forums myself (www.goodthatway.com and www.tapland.com). I completely understand what you're saying about the amount of time it can suck from your day if you have to monitor it to respond to questions, etc., but I wasn't suggesting that. I was simply suggesting that having every (yes, *every*) front-page article associated to a forum thread would be good for both TC and the community.
    Perhaps so, but again, look at it from the writers' perspective. If every article and review ceated a new thead here, and people asked questions and the writer of that review or article didn't answer, how would people react? "That writer is a schmuck" or "S/he doesn't care about me." That's why there's a byline on every article and review published, and people can write directly to the authors. But it does turn into an enormous time sink sometimes. And all the writers have other jobs and most have families so it's a matter of time. And time is precious in anyone's life. (I'd insert the phrase about time you see on a sundial in "Gone With the Wind" if I could remember it, but I can't, so I won't..) ..


    Many times I've read a front-page article and wanted to throw in my two cents on a news story, or personal experience with a product that had been reviewed, but without a "central" thread already started and linked to, I can't do it without starting up my new thread (which can then get lost in the mix and requires some effort to find by other "front-page readers").

    It also encourages new user registration. I suspect there's a lot of people who read the front page news who don't venture into the forums often. Some of these folks could then get "hooked" and come back more often, leading to improved TC sales or ad revenue.
    Well, TC is a three-pronged site. There's the front page (my responsibility), the store, and the Forums. Three separate entities and yet loosely interlinked under one name. There are people who read the front page and never use the Forums. There are people who use the Forums and never read the front page. There are people who read both and never use the store. And any other combination of the three "divisions" you can think of.

    What I like about the site, and I'mnot just saying this as Managing Editor, but as an observer, is that there is NO third party advertising on it anywhere. No squirming banners. No Google ads. You don't read a review and have third party advertising shoved in your face. You get all the meat and none of the gristle and fat. The TC store ads are clearly marked as ads and run across the top of the page or down the side. They never intrude into the body of a front page article, story, or review. Do you know how unusual this is for a tech site like this? Sure you do, because I'm sure you've seen a bajillion of them just like I have. Go look at CNET for example and read a review and count how many ads from how many sources are shoved into your face. You won't see that here because it's TC's stated policy that NO third party advertising is accepted.


    On the flip-side, I suspect there's a lot of people who spend most of their time in the forums and rarely think to look at the front page. There was a time when TC's front-page was pretty dead and new articles were slow in coming, leading to people surfing directly to the TC forums. Having a new thread started for every front-page article results in more forum-goers reading the articles.
    I started as Managing Editor of the Front Page in January of this year. Does it look slow to you anymore?


    From a technical perspective, I know this capability used to exist at TC. I don't know if the feature broke or if there was some other reason for its removal, which is why I asked about it. But I certainly hope that it's not missing because of some perception that if an article has a forum thread attached to it, the author is now responsible for monitoring that thread and engaging in the discussion for the rest of his/her life.
    Which is exactly what the authors don't want to have to do. So if I wrote a review about the new Whoozit and it automatically started a forum thread, and a pileof people jumped in and started commenting and asking questions, and I'm busy writing or Editing the other writers and I don't constnatly monitor the thread and spend time answering questions, then some people are going to think "he's a schmuck and doesn't care about me or thinks my question is stupid, or doesn't take to critcism" or whatever. I'm striving for high quality, well-written, technically accurate articles and reviews here. Not "back of the box" reviews which I see in so many other places. Anyone can write a "back of the box" review. I hired writers with experience who have the chops to really put a product trough the ringer and separate the hype from the reality. No one gets it 100% right all the time. We're only human. I have to Edit reviews of products I've never touched. It ain't easy. I'm not asking for tea and sympathy, just a general understanding of what it's like to write, budget, manage, and Edit a group of writers, which I like to refer to as "herding cats" if you know what I mean.


    So, again, my suggestion wasn't really directed at you (the authors), but more at the TC owners and developers. A forum thread associated to an article would be a simple but very useful improvement. How much or how little you authors decide to engage in that discussion is entirely up to you.
    I take your comments in the spirit in which they are given, and they are intelligent and well thought-out comments. I don't own the site. Adding or rejuvenating such a feature is, without sounding like I'm trying to pass the buck, out of my jurisdiction.

    I asked for and got improvements in the front page. I was very happy to see them implemented. Onwards and upwards.

    Harv
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..

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