I’ll jump in and introduce myself as owner of RKA Studio, your friendly neighborhood Web developer. The last few weeks have been very busy ones getting the site launched but I finally have a few minutes to sit down and reply to some of the (great) questions and suggestions here. I’ll try to cover all of the topics without replying individually.
Logout whiteout: This is an issue we’re currently investigating.
Forum: We are currently testing a suite of upgraded features including quoting, bbcode formatting, and private messages. Our goal for the forums is for them to be a great conversation tool, but also for topics to be useful resources to future members and visitors to the site. So when looking at features to implement, it’s about finding a balance between those two things. For instance, threading can make it much easier to determine who is talking to whom during the conversation, but it also encourages a lot of digression and can make it much harder to follow a conversation after the fact. Another factor is usability on a variety of devices—to use threading as the example again, it was developed for desktop browsers at a time when screen resolution was low and there was a lot of resistance to scrolling. Now on touch devices like phones and tablets, it is far easier to scroll than to tap the correct skinny little link in a threading tree. Over 20% of American adults use mobile devices as their primary Internet device so usability on mobile is something we take very seriously these days.
The long and short is that we can add features as use of the forum grows and we are exploring this right now. I would like to get quoting in very quickly, and it may be possible within a week or so.
I’m not sure if all the questions about uploading photos are specifically about uploading photos to forum posts—but if they are, then the answer is yes, the “Attachments” box at the bottom of the reply tool already allows you to upload up to four photos of 3 megabytes (MB) apiece. You can also upload a GemCad file(s) as an attachment.
I will definitely be darkening the reply headers a bit and maybe adding a border to help separate each reply.
Member Directory and Member Profiles
Profile field visibility is locked for the foreseeable future, but there is not currently a handy way to remove this menu item entirely. You can, however, control whether your entire profile shows up in the member directory, and whether your profile is searchable in the member directory. Even if you remove your profile from the member directory, your board and officers still appreciate members filling out the demographic info to give us a clearer picture of the membership.
The cover photo dimensions are 759×225. The avatar photo is 150×150, though right now it is then padded down to 146×146. (I’ll probably remove this padding.) Keep in mind, both of these images change size depending on the device they are being viewed on. The best way to keep these images from being recompressed is to upload them in .PNG format rather than .JPG format.
For locating fellow members geographically, we landed on using a search bar rather than a map-based approach. There are a number of reasons for this, but at the end of the day it will be more useful. It does, however, rely on members entering info into their profiles. We refrained from auto-populating these fields with physical addresses out of sensitivity to members’ privacy. So members are encouraged to put as much info in their profiles as they feel comfortable, and the search bar can find anything in there.
Once you have found a member, there is currently not a method for private messaging. Private messaging is possible with our software but there is still internal conversation about whether to turn this on. It may help to hear from more members that this is a desirable feature. For the time being, you are free to type your email address or phone number into the “About me” section of your profile. Member profiles are not available to the general public, but forum posts are—so keep that in mind when publishing any information on the forums you don’t want the whole world to see.
There are a number of ways to implement this, and we are discussing them as Tom mentioned. In the meantime, it won’t hurt to mention in your “About me” section of your profile that you are a “Certified dealer of X” or “Oregon Sunstone rough miner”, because all this profile information is searchable.
Time zone: The site’s internal clock is set to UTC 0 since–despite having United States in the name–we’re an international organization with many members hailing from all over the world. If this ends up causing confusion for a bunch of our users, we could certainly discuss setting it to CST.
Ok, that’s all for now—if I missed any questions, happy to answer more. If you’d like to send longer-format feedback, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org