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If I Seem to be Getting Smaller...

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Bill_French
17 - Neptune
17 - Neptune

... it's because I'm walking away.

I have honestly and with open-mindedness tried to use the new "community" in a productive and supportive manner, but it's just not working for me. There's something about this new Khoros platform that makes it difficult to engage and produce responses at a quick pace with smartly formatted information.

The hallmark of a great community is pervasive and free-flowing conversation, but to have that, it needs to eliminate composition friction. This is not the case in the new and improved Airtable community. Rapidly responding to questions requires a lot of effort. Pasting images used to be a breeze. Rapidly composing with your silent but powerful Markdown friend was a pleasure.

Composition simplicity is achieved through a minimalistic design. Khoros tries to be cool and hip at the expense of function and flow. Discourse has studied the art of simplistic content composition. Why Airtable rejected it, is a mystery.

35 Replies 35
Scott_Gould
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

HI Bill, I agree - I don't want to be negative, as I'm grateful for the work done, but the community is very hard to interact with now.

Ironically I was writing a report about how AirTable is a good example of community, pointing to a range of psychological things that were in place on Discord and also their implementation of it. The update means I have to change my recommendation, because those things are gone!

Hi Bill, I just wanted to say that I learned a lot from your posts; a lot of the times I'd end up going down rabbitholes while Googling things you mentioned, and I've picked up concepts that have completely changed how I work from you

Your post about avoiding insanity while filtering with JS in Airtable was super helpful, and sometimes when I implement hash indexes I think about it heh

Thank you very much for giving so freely of your time and knowledge

Ambroise_Dhenai
8 - Airtable Astronomer
8 - Airtable Astronomer

And buggy!

@Bill_French I've tried to PM you directly about  something but those PM don't seem to appear. Bad UX or bug, I cannot say. 

Unrelated to the present topic, I'm having an unfortunate issue with Airtable, and find myself in need to speak with an actual support person, and thus I am looking for a "contact", a way to get in touch with somebody who could help.

Issues are:

- Synced table stopped syncing, no reason given "Unable to sync this source. Unable to sync new data" (not so helpful)

- Tried to fix it, but broke the whole thing, need to revert the table to a previous state, not sure if that's even possible... Can't really use Snapshot because they create a whole new table (and that doesn't work so well with Stacker/Softr/Noloco tools)

These reply bugs are killing me. But - report them so that they can be fixed. If they're not fixed - then Airtable will have a problem on their hands...

Keep in mind Bill, that were you to walk away now, you risk the obvious...

Where did Bill French go? ... he he he, Uranus.

>>> If they're not fixed - thenAirtable will have a problem on their hands...

If other contributors are feeling these sentiments, Airtable already has a problem. My engagement here is about 10% what it was with the Discourse version.

The economic drivers of engagement are delicate; the slightest friction can have a dramatic impact on those give their time freely to help others.

Imagine if a food bank with a vast network of conveyors asked its volunteers to distribute food and supplies by carrying everything from the deep recesses of the warehouse. Volunteers would dissipate quickly.

The Khoros search trainwreck...

The new “community” search seems unable to — well, find anything. Seriously, it thinks I posted far more than the most prolific contributors. What’s up with that?

In the late '90s (the previous century) we came to understand how to do search really well. In 2002 the science of search was greatly advanced with the Lucene open-source project. Today, you can integrate an inverted Elastic-like search engine into your site for free, and it is able to perform fuzzy queries, wild card searches, and field-level boosting. Khoros looks and performs like something from the early 90s. I just don't understand why companies fall down so much with search.

Bill_French_0-1670968019927.png

 

Yeah, I tried to use it, too. And the short version is: it was better before.

Finally I found a thread where I can express similar sentiment.

UI feels genuinely slower 

The page loads feel visibly slower and there are plenty in-page element loaders that take time. Even to the process to tag some one (like @Jordan_Scott1 here for visibility 😊 ), seemed slower.

Opening attachments feels slower, so is the code editing (and now 2 clicks to get there). Clicking "Reply" -> takes 2-3 seconds for editor to load. I just checked and it is instant on Discourse.

I had a quick peak at technologies visible behind the community website (using builtwith.com) -> I see Angular and jQuery (plus support for Shockwave Flash!). Nothing wrong with old tech (if it works well), but clearly the move to this platform was not influenced by cutting edge stack used.

More difficult to see overview of threads

The current thread tiles are massive - I see max 3 at a time on my screen. Makes it more difficult to fish out interesting threads. Now it is just a lot of scrolling. Also in the past ability to see the little tiles of who engaged with a thread was an indicator of interesting discussions happening. 

Seeing unread threads

The unread tab was very valuable to follow discussions I was reading. Now it sort of gets lost somewhere down the line. 

 The editor keeps having issues with my HTML...

The essential part of the community - editor is based on implementation of https://www.tiny.cloud/ which is one of better commercial WYSIWYG editors.

Greg_F_1-1671338337135.png

Somehow I keep seeing the HTML bug warning. Looking at button design this implementation seems to be using one of the older versions of TinyMCE

Bugs
literally as I was writing this:

Greg_F_2-1671340271949.png

It it is clearly discouraging to loose all information typed before suddenly your "Authentication Fails"... 

Links on personal profile
Or rather not having them. Not a massive source of traffic for me but it did get me for sure some interesting inquires and Airtable projects. I can imagine there are plenty of contributors that would like to have an option to link to their businesses, projects, applications. 

So overall Discourse seemed to be doing better job. The main improvement I see here are the rounder buttons 😁

Right and not being to able to edit a post? 🙄
I make spelling/word missing mistakes, some of which are somehow only visible to me after posting... What are we here - twitter? 🤣