Naked Science Forum

General Discussion & Feedback => Just Chat! => Topic started by: chris on 23/05/2017 21:42:35

Title: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 23/05/2017 21:42:35
Hello everyone - here are the latest updates / upgrades to the forum for you to be aware of:

1) "POSTS" from the top menu has been modified; it now has a drop-down which offers two options. "Unread Posts" will create a list of all of the new posts that you have not read since your last visit / login. This is a nod to @David Cooper who specifically requested having this function. Hope you like it David! The "My posts" option in the drop down returns a list from your profile of threads you have created or threads you have posted in. You choose by clicking the tab on the left in your profile.

2) PROFILE WALL - every user now has a personal "Wall" onto which other users may post or leave messages. Please note that newbies and very junior members cannot post on other people's walls until they reach a certain post threshold; this is to stop spam.

3) LaTeX and GREEK SYMBOLS - I have restored the extra character set and symbols (in green above the posting box) and also reactivated the LaTeX system so that you can post maths symbols / equations. The figures in black above the posting box insert the relevant LaTeX into your post, but you need not be confined by these options, they are merely there as a guide. You'll see how the LaTeX is constructed and can then alter it to suit your purposes.

That's it for this week.

Please do let me know of any requests or changes that you would like to see and I'll do my best to implement them.

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 24/05/2017 16:54:01
Hi Chris,

I think you'll have to give up on it - that's still not the kind of list that I was looking for, and I don't think you're ever going to be able to find a way to make the new software provide it either. It's just giving me a list of all threads with posts on them that I haven't read regardless of whether I've ever posted in them or not, so instead of reducing the time it takes to hunt down unread posts in threads I've posted to, it's multiplying the scale of the task by magnitudes. The old software could provide a list of threads that I had posted in which had subsequently had other people post to them and which I had yet to view - that made it easy to catch up on all the missed action that might be important for someone returning to the forum after a long absence, and what made it so useful was that you could take your time looking them up over many days with each one that you read being eliminated from the list the next time you open it so that you don't keep looking up the same ones over and over again when you can't remember which ones you've read and which ones you haven't looked at yet. But the odds are that I've caught up with all the ones that matter anyway, so it isn't worth putting any more effort into trying to create this functionality in the new forum software - the "My Posts" does the job well enough for most purposes, the only faults with it being that I occasionally open threads from it and find that I've already read the latest posts to them, and that it links to the first page of a thread instead of the last one (or the page with the first unread post in it), but these are minor issues and it isn't worth putting time into trying to change them - that is a job for the designers of forum software, and you should not be landed with it.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 24/05/2017 18:22:24
There's no pleasing some folks.  ;)

Okay, thanks for the feedback. I'll see what I can do to implement this. It's largely a MYSQL call. Let me work on it some more...
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: jeffreyH on 24/05/2017 18:44:33
Can we have a 'next weeks winning lottery numbers' button? I know it's a big ask. If you feel it is too difficult I think everyone will understand.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 24/05/2017 19:37:08
There's no pleasing some folks.  ;)

Okay, thanks for the feedback. I'll see what I can do to implement this. It's largely a MYSQL call. Let me work on it some more...

Chris - I've pleaded with you several times in PMs to give up on it as it simply isn't worth the effort and time that you're putting into it. It all started from one little comment in a reply after you asked me what I thought of the new forum software, and I only mentioned it to indicate the scale of my lack of complaint as it was the only thing I could think of that was in any way a backward step. I can manage without it, and so can everyone else. It now takes more effort to get into "My Posts" than it did before and that's going to annoy everyone, so the thing that most needs doing now is to remove the new "Unread Posts" option.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 29/05/2017 10:49:50
UPDATE 29/5/2017 This week's updates / fixes:

1) Quote (selected)

Formerly, when quoting from previous posts it was possible only to pull in the entire post; of course you could edit or tweak this, but it was time consuming.

I have implemented a selection option so that you can highlight a portion of text and then choose "quote selected" from the drop-down "Action" menu, or from the choice of quotes printed below the reply box when REPLY is clicked.


* quote_selected_1.PNG (19.71 kB . 962x336 - viewed 17021 times)


* quote_selected_2.PNG (25.66 kB . 920x427 - viewed 17038 times)

This inserts JUST the selected text within the quotation scripts, which is much easier to use and saves time on further manipulations or editing. Clicked without selecting any text will import the entire post within quotation marks.

I know that it is all working properly in Chrome. I would appreciate reports from users of other browsers to ensure compatibility and that there is no unforeseen impacts on the posting function.

2) BUDDY PAGE

Accessible via the "MEMBERS" heading in the top bar menu, the BUDDY PAGE provides a quick way to locate the users that you have nominated as "Buddies". You can add someone to your buddy page by clicking on the buddy option in their profile.

3) FOR FUN: SPOILER ALERT and DICE ROLL


* dice-roll-spoiler.PNG (9.76 kB . 524x89 - viewed 16946 times)

Two new BB codes in the reply box, a spoiler alert button, so you can hide content until a reader wants to reveal it. Also, a dice roll function, which might be useful for generating random numbers for some discussions.

Guidance for using the dice function:

1d6 - rolls 1 6-sided dice.
2d12+5 - roll 2 12-sided dice and add 5 to the result
2d20^10 - roll 2 20-sided dice, re-rolling any result necessary so that the dice rolls are greater than 10.
2d20v10 - roll 2 20-sided dice, re-rolling any result necessary so that the dice rolls are less than 10.
2d20<10 - roll 2 20-sided dice, discarding any result where the roll was not less than 10.
2d20>10 - roll 2 20-sided dice, discarding any result where the roll was not greater than 10.

Normally it will add the word 'Rolled' in front - you can customise this. For example, a spell that does some serious damage in a game: {Freezing} 1d10 {Fire} 1d20

You can also nest the requirements, with the proviso of stating the things as they are in order here.
{Uberdamage} 15d100+10^10v90<80>20 - 15 100-sided dice, adding 10 to the result, rerolling anything 10 or less, rerolling anything 90 or higher, and if after that, you have values 20 or less, or 80 or higher, they get dropped.
 
Lastly you can also have an iterator at the end:
2d6x3 - roll 2d6 3 times and display the results overall

Note - you need to enclose these roll instructions within roll /roll tags (generated by highlighting the text and clicking the dice icon) and then posting to create the dice throw. And please note - if anyone tries to load the dice aka cheat or edit a post, it will know!
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 29/05/2017 13:21:56
SPECIAL EXTRA UPDATE 29/5/17

This is a special update for @David Cooper :

The old software could provide a list of threads that I had posted in which had subsequently had other people post to them and which I had yet to view

I believe that I have now got this working, David. You can access "Unread replies" under "POSTS" at the screen top:


* Unread-replies.PNG (21.38 kB . 530x253 - viewed 19025 times)

This will provide a list of the posts in which you have previously been active and to which others have since added further posts.

[And David, for a valued member of our community, a bit of time spent sorting this out is a worthwhile investment as far as I am concerned. It's likely that other people would like this function too.]
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 29/05/2017 17:26:16
I believe that I have now got this working, David.

Thanks Chris - it works this time, and unlike the "my posts" option, it also provides direct access to the last post instead of only linking to the first page of posts in a thread, so it'll be my first port of call on every visit from now on. It's going to be really useful.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 30/05/2017 22:50:26
Hurrah, I made @David Cooper happy! And I've been using the "Unread Replies" function myself all day, so thanks for throwing down the gauntlet!
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 30/05/2017 22:52:35
UPDATE 30/5/17

Just a minor change to highlight; I've implemented a system to flag up the original poster "OP" in a thread. The person who begins the thread now has (OP) after their name wherever they crop up in said thread. This is so that, in long threads, you can keep track of who said and asked what a bit more easily. :)
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 01/06/2017 00:01:17
UPDATE 31/5/17

I have made a few changes today;

To summarise:

1) Top-bar menu alterations:

A number of options have been moved about to streamline the menu.
"Buddies" now sits beneath "MEMBERS"

"Lonely Topics" which is the list of posts without answers, is found under POSTS

2) BOOKMARKS

I have implemented a function to allow users to bookmark their favourite threads; you click "Bookmark" from the green toolbar that runs across the top / bottom of each thread; this generates a list of bookmarked threads which you find by clicking "My bookmarks" under POSTS.

To "unbookmark" something you use the same button (which becomes "unbookmark" OR, you can kill the bookmark from your "My Bookmark" list.

That's all for today folks! :)
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 08/06/2017 23:42:18
UPDATE 8-6-17

Just a minor upgrade this week; placeholders have been added to the "Subject" and "Tags" text boxes in the posts / replies area.

This is to help members to remember to phrase their thread titles as questions to save the Mods having to change them ( ;)) and also to encourage forum members to add "tags" to your threads.

Tags are useful: I am adding them to the "keywords" section in the page code, which helps our search to locate relevant pages, and they form part of the tags cloud available from the top menu. This helps other users to track down posts they want to read more easily.

Thanks everyone

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 09/06/2017 09:44:53
UPDATE 9/6/17

"My profile" returns  ;D

One more minor update for you this week. I have added direct access to your forum profile via the top menu. Clicking on "MEMBERS" at the top reveals a drop down with access to the profile categories.

This enables you to edit your biography, change passwords and also access other information and statistics. I quite like this function:

https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=statistics;

You can see where you tend to post most, and when.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 09/06/2017 18:29:13
I have implemented a function to allow users to bookmark their favourite threads; you click "Bookmark" from the green toolbar that runs across the top / bottom of each thread; this generates a list of bookmarked threads which you find by clicking "My bookmarks" under POSTS.

I looked for this when you first announced it, but still can't find any bookmark option on the green toolbar, so I thought you might want to know - all I see is Reply, Unnotify, Mark unread, Send this topic, and Print. Perhaps it's a browser issue of some kind - I currently use Chrome, but it's an old version that doesn't update any more as I'm still using Windows XP.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 10/06/2017 08:29:38
I looked for this when you first announced it, but still can't find any bookmark option on the green toolbar, so I thought you might want to know - all I see is Reply, Unnotify, Mark unread, Send this topic, and Print. Perhaps it's a browser issue of some kind - I currently use Chrome, but it's an old version that doesn't update any more as I'm still using Windows XP.

Thank you, David. I have investigated and discovered that this was caused by a permissions problem. Not all users were granted default access to the bookmarks function. This has now been fixed.

You should now see at the top (and bottom) of a thread:


* bookmark_pic.PNG (19.16 kB . 667x249 - viewed 18898 times)

Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 10/06/2017 18:43:19
Thanks Chris - it's there now (as is the "My bookmarks" option under "Posts" which had also been missing until today). I will try them out.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 10/06/2017 22:28:58
10/6/16 - UPDATES & FIXES

A minor fix to report today.

A report was made a few weeks ago of a potential problem with the "registered links" system, which requires visitors to login to see link texts in posts. The intended function is to remove external links within posts and mask them with a "...sorry, you cannot view external links. To see them, please REGISTER or LOGIN". It turned out that in situations where users had inserted multiple sequential links into a post, the code was truncating the text between the first and last link.

E.g.
"Some text - <link was here> Some more text - <another link was here> Last bit of text" was ending up as "Some text - Last bit of text".

This has been fixed. Posts should render in full save for the obfuscated links. (thanks @timey who reported the issue) :)


Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 18/06/2017 23:15:57
UPDATE 18.06.17

No major structural or functional changes this week, but I have taken care of a few minor formatting niggles:

1) Unsightly abutment of advertising banners against the bottom borders of controls or text-entry boxes in several places has been fixed through inserting of some margin pixels.

2) Near-invisible text colour on the TITLE of any POLLS was making the actual poll question unreadable. Fixed and changed to black text.

3) Name of the user in MY PROFILE was near-invisible owing to near-white font on a white background! Font colour converted to black; now you can see the user's name!

4) Minor tweak to the template for the homepage fixed the fact that the default metatags "description" was a bit sad and lacked any useful information; this has been fixed with a nicer description summary of what we are all about here on the forum.

That's all for the forum at the moment, although elsewhere on the site at large I have put in quite a bit of time sorting out the taxonomies that link the various parts of the Naked Scientists site (https://www.thenakedscientists.com) and the site tree together. These were a bit of a mess so the breadcrumbs for some categories / site sections were not always displaying properly. This is now largely all fixed (just a few final ones to finish).

That's the lot for this week; do please report here any issues or problems you spot around the site and I'll endeavour to fix them.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 25/06/2017 10:03:25
UPDATE 25.6.17

Hi folks! This week's updates and fixes are relatively trivial.

1) Minor changes were made to the display of the tagging system; below each thread you will have seen a list of tags:

* TAGS-UPGRADE-pic.PNG (12.71 kB . 517x279 - viewed 16522 times)

The formatting has been altered to make the layout less cramped and also text colour has been changed to blue for the tags themselves to improve readability.

I would encourage everyone to tag their posts, please. This helps because I am inserting these tags into the "keywords" metatags of the pages, which helps the search function to find relevant content, and you can use the tag cloud via the "TAGS" button at the screen top to find relevant active content tagged with items that interest you.

Having this kind of taxonomic logging of the forum content helps enormously when things grow to the size of this website.

2) Other minor changes to format and ad layout, details of which I won't bore you with, have been made as part of my efforts to continue to improve your user experience.

That's it for this week; thanks for your continued support.

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 25/06/2017 23:18:22
25/6/17 - ADDENDUM UPDATE

Additional update for this week (I got this completed sooner than I anticipated, so I am announcing it here now).

Users can now send attachments with their personal messages. This works in a way analogous to sending an email attachment.

Look below the text box in the send PM section and you'll now see an option to attach a file:

[ Invalid Attachment ]

The messages are encrypted, but they are stored on our server, so I cannot take responsibility for the security of the data that you transmit this way.

I hope that you find this function helpful.

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 25/06/2017 23:51:21
25/6/17 - FINAL UPDATE FOR TODAY - SIMILAR TOPICS

I completed one other implementation today, which I've made live because it appears to be working stably. However, if anyone notices any bugs, please alert me.

As of today the forum offers you a list of 5 topics that are related / similar to that which you are viewing at any one time.

You can find it below the Quick Reply box at the page bottom (for logged-in users) or directly below the thread's last post if you are browsing anonymously.

It looks like this:

[ Invalid Attachment ]
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 29/06/2017 19:03:23
29/6/17 - REQUEST FOR USER INPUT

I'd be grateful if users could tell me whether there is enthusiasm to have user avatars on the forum? These could be generic, or user-modifiable. I know some people like to have an avatar.

What do you all think?
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 30/06/2017 17:32:35
They can save a lot of time if you're hunting back through a thread for something - it can make it a lot easier to find the post you're looking for if you don't need to look carefully at all the names. In fact, I currently look at the post count to identify people rather than their names when doing this because the large bold print used for that stands out better. What I don't like though are avatars using GIFs with things moving about in them - they're highly distracting when you're trying to read posts.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 01/07/2017 12:48:29
UPDATE 01.07.17
Hello everyone; here is this week's development and fixes update.

1) Send this topic

At the top of each thread is a green control bar; one of the options is to "Send topic"; this enables you to email the URL for the thread to yourself or a third party for future reference.


* SEND_THIS_TOPIC.JPG (67.82 kB . 1177x417 - viewed 11069 times)

This function has been tweaked slightly so that it now sends you the body / text of the original post too, devoid of any distracting page formatting codes or special characters. Have a go and see what you think.

2) Bulletin Board Code (BB code) Support for Instagram, Tumblr & Facebook

You can now insert Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook posts within your posts here on the forum using the buttons in the post / reply to box.


* TUMBLR.JPG (16.31 kB . 520x106 - viewed 11090 times)

Clicking these buttons generates a pair of tags like:


* TUMBLR_TAGS.JPG (32.35 kB . 355x428 - viewed 11075 times)

To embed your post from e.g. facebook you post the URL for the post between these tags. You get this from Facebook itself by clicking the "embed" option next to a post; you need the "post URL" - it looks like this:


* FACEBOOK_URL.JPG (37.29 kB . 709x387 - viewed 11039 times)

Paste that url between your two facebook tags and, hey presto, your facebook post, complete with working links, will embed within your forum post:



That's all folks! Have a great week and do please let me know if you discover bugs or things that are broken and I'll endeavour to get them fixed as quickly as possible.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 02/07/2017 09:52:22
UPDATE 02/07/2017

DRAFT POSTS

Today's update introduces a Draft Posts facility. Previously, when you wrote a message, either as a new post or as a reply, you were committed to posting it. Now, if you need longer to compose a reply or you wish to safeguard a long post against a potential future connection interruption or a power outage, you can save your posts in draft mode and they will be kept until you are ready to publish them.

To create a draft version of a post, you hit the "Save as draft" blue button below the text box in which you compose your posts. This sits beside the "post" and "preview" buttons. Please note that you do need to be connected to the Internet and logged into the site to do this. The data are saved on the server, not on your local device.

At this point you may continue to compose and publish your post, or move away from the present window. If you do elect to discontinue posting at that time and intend to return to your work later, when you next visit the forum and log in, click the "New topic" button as though you were starting a new thread. Or, click "reply" to an existing thread.

Now, scroll to the page bottom, below the posting text box, where you will see a list of any drafts and their titles you have created.

If you click "Edit" to the right of the draft with the title you are seeking to use, the post is presented just as it was where you left off and you may continue composing or reviewing it. You may re-save it as a draft again if you wish, or post it.

To abandon an old draft or drafts (to avoid clutter), you place a tick in the box to the right of the "edit draft" link and then click "DELETE DRAFTS" below; the ticked entries will be removed. Note that this deletion is permanent.

I hope you find this useful.

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 11/07/2017 23:06:44
UPDATE 11/7/17

Hello everyone! This week I've implemented a system to allow you to highlight the "BEST ANSWER" from the responses to the questions that you pose.

This is intended as a badge of honour for the person who writes the best answer and is will help to guide visitors and newcomers to the best quality answers.

The nominated post will be decorated with a bright green outer and you will be cited in the heading as the user who declared it the best answer.

Please note that you cannot nominate your OWN answers or responses, for obvious reasons, and only the original poster (OP) or moderators may nominate posts as Best Answers.

To cite a post as the BEST ANSWER, use the ACTION drop down menu button in the top right of the post that you think is the best answer. Clicking ACTION looks like this:

[ Invalid Attachment ]

You then select "BEST ANSWER" from the menu and click on it.

The post will reload with its "Best Answer" decoration.

I shall leave you to discover for yourselves what this looks like!

Chris

PS - If you subsequently change your mind, or another post subsequently becomes more deserving of being the "best answer", you can use the ACTION button again to remove the best answer tag; you will then be able to tag your new choice of best answer as above.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 15/07/2017 15:50:41
UPDATE 15/7/2017

Hello everyone. Here's this week's update of changes, fixes and upgrades. A few things to tell you about.

1) A minor upgrage to the TAGS system
- I've made the thread tags system a bit more user-friendly and visually appealing. The top section of each thread now indicates the number of tags (either words or phrases) that have been added to a post; this is also a LINK, and clicking on it will take you to the thread bottom where you can add tags (if there are none, or supplement them if you think one is needed).

- It's helpful to add these tags for two reasons: 1) they improve the visibility of your posts, because tagged threads are listed in the tag cloud generated by the TAG link in the menu at the top of the screen. Thus you are more likely to get answers and engagement with your posts if you use a few good tags with your post. Note - you can add these at the time of first posting by populating the "Give your post some tags" box in the new message posting area. Or you can add them later as described above.

2) A minor upgrade to the BUDDIES system has been implemented
Formerly you could list only those people whom you'd declared as your own buddies. Now you can see who has made YOU their buddy. This is available under your profile settings.

3) The forum has been upgraded to the latest official production version of the core software.
You should not notice any difference. It should run smoothly and the upgrade merely tightens security slightly.
However, it you notice that things are not performing properly, because alert me via this thread or PM and I'll take a look urgently.


That's all for this week, folks!
As ever, please do let me know of any ideas or suggestions for further improvements or fixes.

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 17/07/2017 18:31:07
MINOR UPDATE 17/7/17

TAGs - A minor update to make everyone aware of; all users, with the exception of the most junior, have been granted permissions now to ADD and REMOVE tags on topics.

Previously you could manage only tags on topics that you started; however, we'd like to get as many topics tagged as we can now, so we're widening these access rights to encourage everyone to take part.

Please note that you can also remove tags too if you see something that is incorrect or inappropriate. But PLEASE USE THIS RIGHT RESPONSIBLY - we will end up undoing each other's work if we are not careful.

Many thanks
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 30/07/2017 10:49:13
UPDATE 30/7/2017

TWEET NEW THREADS implementation

Hi everyone. This week I've set up a system that will Tweet to the Naked Scientists Twitter followers a proportion of the new topics started in the mainstream boards.

This means that, when you start a new thread, the tens of thousands of people following us on Twitter will be alerted and given a link to your thread.

To maximise the chances that the Twitter audience will engage with your post, please consider the following posting tips:


Good luck!

Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: smart on 30/07/2017 14:54:46
Hi everyone. This week I've set up a system that will Tweet to the Naked Scientists Twitter followers a proportion of the new topics started in the mainstream boards.

This means that, when you start a new thread, the tens of thousands of people following us on Twitter will be alerted and given a link to your thread.

Very cool. Thanks for this update. This probably means there's now a way to fetch the Twitter feed and generate a RSS file of the recent posts on TNS. :)
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 30/07/2017 15:11:57
This probably means there's now a way to fetch the Twitter feed and generate a RSS file of the recent posts on TNS.

This URL will generate an RSS feed for the latest new posts on the forum:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?type=rss;limit=50;action=.xml

If you want just new TOPICS (rather than posts) then use this URL instead:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?type=rss;sa=news;limit=50;action=.xml
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 01/08/2017 22:51:31
UPDATE 1/8/2017

TNS Latest content RSS feed
Hi folks. This is a mini-update and not strictly purely forum but it is relevant to the Naked Scientists and TNS followers.

Anyone following this thread will have seen that I published above the details of an RSS feed system to enable social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to be informed of activity here on the forum.

But it need not be just Twitter and Facebook users who benefit - the feed URLs above will work with any RSS aggregator.

Following a similar vein, an RSS feed detailing the most recently-published Naked Scientists main site content has been created. This feed is populated with the latest science news stories, long-form features, the latest podcast episodes and links to transcripts of the science interviews and science questions answered on the show.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to use this feed; again, this will work with any basic RSS aggregator.

For information about current, reliable and safe aggregators that you could use, this article may help: https://www.lifewire.com/top-free-online-rss-readers-3486649

And once you've got your aggregator app fired up, this is the URL to subscribe to:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/naked-scientists-recent-content.xml

Happy reading!  :D
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 11/08/2017 19:03:45
UPDATE 11/8/2017 - MEMBER MAP

Hi folks; just a fun update for this week - a membership map; specifically, a map you can stick a pin into to show us where you are.

It's really simple. You LOG IN and then look at the TOP BAR at the top of the forum for the words MEMBER MAP

[ Invalid Attachment ]

Or, you can go via your profile: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=profile

The display is a google map. You zoom to your neck of the woods, using the + / - buttons on the map, and then CLICK the mouse on the patch of the map corresponding to your location.

NB What you choose to share online is entirely your choice, but it is probably a good idea NOT to indicate the precise location of your own house. We would suggest that you choose the nearest village, or town, or perhaps your place of work.

Let's see how many pins we can get in the map this week!  ;D

That's all folks. Have a great weekend!
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 21/08/2017 17:43:56
UPDATE 21/8/17 - Links

Hello everyone; a minor update to report this week. I have tweaked the way that links are handled by the forum so that rather than rendering external links invisible behind an invitation to register or login, I have disclosed all of these links; now they are fully visible to all. And if users log in then the links will be made active enabling them to be followed easily. A note to this effect is posted alongside each link.

I would be grateful to hear user's feedback on this and any other updates we've made.

Have a lovely day!  ;D
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: yor_on on 04/09/2017 11:31:15
I'll tell you what Chris. This new version of TNS is extremely slow updating every time I 'click' on something, filled with unnecessary functions for its purpose. To me it seems geared for the generation of thoughtless 'spectators' that clicks their way through life. I really miss the old version we used, that was fast, and to the point.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: yor_on on 04/09/2017 15:13:29
And another question.
Can't find how to post a new question on this 'new' site any more?

Really don't like the direction TNS seems to have chosen.
=

Am I supposed to go through some moderator to post?
If that is the case I'm gone.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 04/09/2017 17:28:43
The forum was lightning fast until the adverts were switched on. Then my computer started freezing regularly, but I managed to reduce that a fair bit by disabling Flash. It's still slow, but at least it's usable.

Yoron - for starting a new thread, there's a dark blue box with "New Topic" written in it which should appear near the top and again near the bottom of the page when you open any of the forums, although it's not impossible that a bug could be hiding it from some people, so have a close look at the green banners - I get a pair of green banners each time, one long and one short, and the dark blue bit with "New Topic" is at the left hand end of the shorter one. It's in the same place that the dark blue "Reply" box appears once you've opened a thread.

Edit: having said that, ever since then, the words have disappeared from it and it's now just a confusing logo. Someone's pressed a button and changed the whole look of the forum.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: yor_on on 06/09/2017 01:01:10
Thanks David, and yes, the logo exist, no words to it though. It is also so that you have to accept a lot of unnecessary stuff for it to appear. I'm using NoScript and it seems this whole site is a patchwork of different functions that you must 'allow' for it to work. That has nothing to do with the 'slowness' I find though, at least not the way I experienced it. five seconds, or more to change a page is not acceptable. Reminds me of the new way of 'forcing' you to allow a lot of useless connections to facebook etc, if you want to do anything useful on a site, that as they hide the simple functions you need as being the last ones showing up.
=

The worst thing about all this is that I doubt any of us needing them for the purpose of discussing. It's a marketing device in my eyes, with the old version we had working flawlessly, and fast.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 18/09/2017 14:33:04
UPDATE 18/9/17

Hi folks

Just a minor update to tell you about.

I have overhauled the TAGS system a bit; the presentation on the tags page was a bit web 1.0 and quite hard to read.

I've modernised it a bit, including preventing it from repeatedly printing the thread title for every tag listed; some stripes have been added to improve readability!

https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=tags

Thanks

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 18/09/2017 17:47:06
What's the reason for the information depletion on the main forum page? It used to be easy to see if there were any new posts in each subforum without having to click through to it, but as that's no longer possible I tend to assume there will be nothing new in some of them. It's irritating opening a subforum every day and finding no change since the last visit, and all the more so when each page opened is accompanied by a long delay.

(Perhaps this change is to make it easier to fit the main page on the screen of a phone? If so, could there not be a simplified main page for phones with a redirect triggered by identifying the operating system used in the viewing device?)
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 18/09/2017 17:55:29
Hello David; I'm not aware of any information depletion being done, certainly not intentionally. Can you point me towards a specific example of what is missing and I'll investigate. As far as I know everything that was there before has been carried over into the new template.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 18/09/2017 21:52:42
UPDATE 2 - 18/9/17

Hi folks

A minor tweak to tell you about, which I finished ahead of time so I thought I'd make it active.

This is really just for interest sake, but I've altered the "info centre" which you can find at the bottom of the main board index (aka the forum front page - https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum) so that a) the formatting and text are a bit nicer and b) alongside the number of guests and logged-in users active in the last 15 minutes, it now also logs the total number of visitors who have come by during the day, so we can see who has dropped by to see us in the last 24 hours. Those names on the list are also linked to your profile.

As I say, mainly for interest, but it does mean that if you log on you'll see your name there and achieve a modicum of fame!

Thanks

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 19/09/2017 00:56:07
Hello David; I'm not aware of any information depletion being done, certainly not intentionally. Can you point me towards a specific example of what is missing and I'll investigate. As far as I know everything that was there before has been carried over into the new template.

So it wasn't intentional! At the right-hand side of each sub-forum entry on the main index page, the only information now provided is "(55 viewing)", "(3 viewing)", etc. where previously it would have given details of the last post to that sub-forum including the date, time and the name of the person who made the most recent post there. If you are still seeing such details on the index page, then it may be another case of moderators seeing the site displayed differently from the hoi polloi.

The whole look of the forum changed shortly after I made post #36 to this thread, and ever since then all the text in people's posts has appeared in bold print for no obvious reason. That is when the data on the right in the index page disappeared (although such information still appears in the Updated Topics page, so it clearly wasn't someone flicking a universal kill switch), and the wording "New Topic" and "Reply" also vanished form the controls when looking at a sub-forum or a thread, leaving only an icon in a blue box which people might not recognise as the thing they want to click on.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 20/09/2017 17:45:43
Thanks David.

The behaviour you are describing is definitely not right and should not be happening. It may be to do with what settings existing users are pegged to.  It might be necessary to reset all the users to the correct defaults.

I've tested the login with Amelia's login (newbie user) and it's behaving as it should and showing the latest post and poster data etc, exactly as you describe. The new topic and the reply buttons are also correctly displaying. Therefore I think it's a specific user setting that is doing this.

But, first things first, can you please post a screenshot of what you are seeing so I can investigate?
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: David Cooper on 20/09/2017 19:00:47
Solved!

The problem was that I'd accidentally zoomed the browser, probably by using ctrl with the "+" key instead of using a shift key, and I failed to notice that this had happened. It's stayed with that zoomed in setting ever since, despite multiple full reboots. With other sites and forums it makes no difference to the amount of information displayed, so I never suspected that this could have been the problem, but it was. Here, uniquely it simplifies the entire look of the forum and jettisons lots of information: the text in posts turns bold (except in quoted sections), the text on buttons like "new topic" and "reply" disappears, and the info about who last posted to a sub-forum and when vanishes too, as does the post count column, but on typing ctrl with "0" everything is immediately restored to normal. I only found this out because you asked to see a screen-grab, and I zoomed out to try to fit more into the picture. I might have suspected this sooner if yor_on hadn't confirmed some of the same behaviour, which leads me to wonder if the same cause is behind it for him too. It's an extraordinary coincidence that I must have accidentally zoomed in immediately after making reply #36 to this thread.

[Incidentally, I'm using XP and Chrome on a netbook with 600x1024 resolution.]
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 20/09/2017 22:50:02
Yes, it's built to be fully responsive so that people with restricted-view devices, or disabilities can use it easily. I'm glad that the problem has been solved all the same.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 20/09/2017 22:52:00
Incidentally, I'm using XP and Chrome on a netbook with 600x1024 resolution.

PS - I think it might be time for an upgrade...
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 23/09/2017 09:34:52

This URL will generate an RSS feed for the latest new posts on the forum:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?type=rss;limit=50;action=.xml

If you want just new TOPICS (rather than posts) then use this URL instead:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?type=rss;sa=news;limit=50;action=.xml

Update to the above:

This URL will extract into an RSS feed the latest topics posted into just the mainstream science boards:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?type=rss2;action=.xml;sa=news;limit=50;boards=1,2,5,12,13,14,15,17,31,32,33,34,38;
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 21/11/2017 11:48:32
UPDATE - 19th November 2017

Hi everyone. This is a brief update note detailing just a minor improvement to the site function.

TAGS - The tag system has been updated. If you look at the tags page: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=tags - you will see that the list of the most-recently tagged topics is now much longer (previously only the most recent 20 tags were listed); the formatting of the tag list has been changed to make the tags stand out more.

May I emphasise how helpful these tags are to increasing the visibility of your posts.

1) If you tag a new thread when you create on, using a comma separated list of a few key words or short phrases that best describe your thread, these words and phrases will be presented in the tag list on the tags page (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=tags). This draws many more visits to your thread.

2) The tags are cross-referenced with each other. So if you enter a tag - let's say "gravity" for one of your posts - then it joins a list of other posts tagged similarly. Then, if someone searches for "gravity" tagged topics, they'll find your thread on the list.

Since we brought up gravity, here's a link to the gravity tag list to show you how this can work: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=tags;tagid=129

So do please remember to add tags to your threads when you post them, and also to add tags to currently untagged topics that people have missed, or older threads that pre-date the present tagging era!

That's it for now. Hope you enjoy using the forum  :D

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 26/11/2017 22:14:29
UPDATE - 26/11/17

Hi folks!

Just a minor update to make you aware of this week. The core forum software has been upgraded following the release today of a security upgrade and a small bug-fix.

You should not notice any changes to your user experience, but if you do spot something that is misbehaving, please report it here and I'll take a look.

Many thanks  :D

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 15/01/2018 08:56:23
FIRST UPDATE OF 2018!

Happy New Year everyone!

This is more of a "how-to" tip than an update; there is a useful feature written into the forum which you may not have come across.

"Mentions" allow you to flag up replies or references to other users. You place an @ in front of the member's username and it becomes a link to their profile in your post.

But, more importantly, it also is added to a "mentions list" on that user's profile, so each of us can see who has mentioned us elsewhere on the forum during the last week or two.

This list is located in your profile under the members drop-down:


* profile_snap.PNG (16.78 kB . 540x506 - viewed 10397 times)

Click on profile:


* profile_menu_snap.PNG (10.77 kB . 431x337 - viewed 10403 times)

And then on the blue "profile" button:


* profile_menu__clicked_snap.PNG (18.55 kB . 360x515 - viewed 10385 times)

...and then on "mentions", and you'll see a list of the latest mentions people have made of you!


* profile_menu__list.PNG (19.13 kB . 1249x355 - viewed 10423 times)
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: syhprum on 03/05/2018 06:29:06
My discussion of TURP,s PAE et al seems to have disappeared perhaps because I made some sexist remarks as I thought a little humour was permitted in JUST CHAT , I offer my sincere apologies to the hard working and skilled ladies who operate the Ultrasound scan system whom I may have offended.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: Colin2B on 03/05/2018 09:02:32
My discussion of TURP,s PAE et al seems to have disappeared perhaps because I made some sexist remarks as I thought a little humour was permitted in JUST CHAT , I offer my sincere apologies to the hard working and skilled ladies who operate the Ultrasound scan system whom I may have offended.
Itís still were you posted it in Geek Speak.
Perhaps you are also reaching an age where you forget where you put things  :)

I did consider moving it to the physiology area, would you like me to do that?
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: syhprum on 03/05/2018 11:09:11
Indeed I have reached such and age
Please move it into Physiology & Medicine and I will remove my flippant comments about Ultra scan operators. 
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 10/07/2018 11:55:21
JULY 2018 UPDATE

 ;D Hello campers! Hi-de-Hi!  ;D

Sorry, forgive the lame 1980s comedic opening. (Some people may remember the TV series I am referencing here)...

A couple of changes to update you about.

1) ANTI-SPAM
Our friends from Korea believe that we need more advertising for their online casinos and other mechanisms to separate your from your money. Unfortunately they've become so over-excited about their ventures that they are accidentally getting carried away and posting hundreds of duplicate threads linking to their nefarious ventures. How nice of them.

Because this sad abuse jeopardises the user experience for everyone else, and the moderators are sick and tired of deleting their pathetic attempts to promote gambling scams, we've adjusted our anti-spam system to employ a re-captcha system instead.

Some users will see this now appearing beneath the reply / posting box. Trusted, senior members will not be troubled, and once a member achieves sufficient seniority or good standing on the forum, this privilege will be awarded so the captcha challenge goes away.

This shouldn't be burdensome for you, and we apologise to newcomers for subjecting them to this additional tick-box, but we hope it will help to keep down our workload so that we have more time to devote to contributing to posts and answering questions rather than deleting rubbish.

If anyone notices that it is causing problems or affecting your user experience, please report this here, preferably accompanied by a screenshot so we can see - and investigate - the problem.


2) GDPR / Data protection / Privacy
In May 2018 the EU rolled out a new set of rules concerning personal data. This is called the GDPR and probably generated the world's largest tide of spam as operators everywhere fired off increasingly desperate email salvos assuring the people they have been spamming for over a decade that their data is safe.

Here are the Naked Scientists we have always been very careful about this sort of thing, and we were largely ahead of the rule changes anyway; nevertheless, we have made some minor alterations to the systems here to ensure that we are compliant with the requirements of the GDPR.

The alerations include:

a) - A clearly-published privacy policy, which you can review here:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?action=gpdr;sa=privacypolic

This is in addition to the more general information we provide about privacy and copyright:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/privacy-and-copyright-policies

...and in addition to the Acceptable User Policy (AUP) that forms part of the registration process and to which everyone signs up to in order to post here:
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=8535.0

b) - The ability for users to review the data held by the forum about you

c) - The ability to export your data from the forum.

To do either of b or c above, click on the MEMBERS link in the menu at the screen top, and select PROFILE from the drop-down menu


* PROFILE.PNG (25.84 kB . 901x370 - viewed 10849 times)

Under the MODIFY PROFILE section, you'll see there's an option to "EXPORT YOUR DATA"


* PROFILE-DATA-EXPORT.PNG (20.97 kB . 1178x406 - viewed 10832 times)

This actually provides you with two options: one is to "Export User Data Information" - which you do by clicking the link; the other is to "Export Posts".

d) - Deletion of your user has also been changed slightly.

Previously, a deleted username would remain visible against posts made by that user, although the personal data associated with that user were removed. Now, if you elect to delete your account, as well as the removal of all personally-identifiable data, the username against the posts that you have made will revert to an anonymous "guest" user. This step is irreversible: if you delete your account, we cannot re-associate your earlier posts with a new user that you may create subsequently, so please think carefully before choosing this course.

Thanks, everyone, for making this forum such a splendid place to hang out, and a special thanks to the moderators who work so hard to keep the place looking tidy!!
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: guest39538 on 10/07/2018 12:08:53


Thanks, everyone, for making this forum such a splendid place to hang out, and a special thanks to the moderators who work so hard to keep the place looking tidy!!

I have a question regarding

Quote
NAKED SCIENTISTS COPYRIGHT POLICY

All content published on this website including any contributions you make, except if stated otherwise, will be regarded as owned by the Naked Scientists.


That means the Naked scientist owns everything and any ideas I have ever posted?


If so that's great....
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 10/07/2018 21:57:17
Thanks for highlighting the above. Actually that section refers to the main site content (radio shows, podcasts etc, which contain listener / audience-generated content, such as email questions) and we're saying that we own the resulting product.

You'll note it says "except if stated otherwise", and indeed, for the forum, the rules are slightly different. Under the AUP, and also under the registration agreement, is a section on copyright as it pertains to the forum which confirms that you own the material but, by using this forum, you allow us to show the content.

I hope that clears things up for you?

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 10/11/2018 21:34:16
NOVEMBER 2018 UPDATE

Hello everyone; great to see so many fantastic questions coming through and quite a few new members getting involved! My favourite question this month was the one by @davidk on fridge magnets - I learned a lot from the answers to that thread, so thanks to all involved.

This month's update is more of an explainer / feature update. We're going to add support for personal avatars to the main forum posts shortly; this means you can add an image of your choice to accompany your name / user in threads.

So far this is working for the "profile summary" view, so if you click Members > Profile > Forum Profile, at the top of the screen is a section labelled "Personalized Picture"; choose the radio button corresponding to uploading a picture and then choose a graphic file / photo. When you save this profile page it will upload and incorporate your picture. When you click Members > Profile > Summary you will see your image displayed.

Once people have got their images loaded we can activate the display of the avatars in the threads.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 03/12/2018 23:17:40
DECEMBER 2018 UPDATE

Hello everyone  :) thanks for your continued support and participation in this forum; and an especially large vote of thanks to the moderators who do a sterling job of helping so many people and protecting you from the nuisances who want to push VPN subscriptions, viagra, online casinos and cures for herpes.

This is a brief update about two things:

1) Performance upgrade
- We have made some minor changes to the server configs; the site was not slow previously, but this should see things run even faster for you. But, like all these things, there can sometimes be unexpected side effects. So if you encounter any strange behaviour by the forum software, please report it here or in the error reporting section and we will take a look.

2) Naked Scientists Fundraiser
- This is a humble request, if you enjoy using this forum, to consider supporting the Naked Scientists with a modest donation to our annual fundraiser. The running costs of an operation on the scale of the Naked Scientists are considerable and it helps us enormously if users are able to make a contribution to help us to meet those costs.

Apart from the on-going maintenance and provision of this forum and the rest of our website, and the support of our staff who make the programmes we broadcast and give away for free, we have some exciting projects planned for 2019 including some new podcast channels (sneaky preview coming up soon). It's for all of these pursuits that we are seeking support now.

The donate page (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate) contains more information as well as a simple, secure donation system. If nothing else, the comments other people are leaving make for some nice reading.

Thanks everyone, and Merry Christmas!  ;D

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 16/01/2019 23:36:38
HAPPY NEW YEAR - First Update of 2019

Hello everyone; I hope you all had a very pleasant Christmas and New Year. This year I managed to avoid breaking the website over the holidays, which turned my holiday last year into a week of hell, which some of you might remember!

This is a brief note about a couple of updates and upgrades that we have made over December and the first part of this month:

1) Cookie consent opt-in

We've always been very clear in our privacy policy page (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/privacy-cookie-and-copyright-policies) regarding how we operate on this website, but to make this even more transparent we introduced an opt-in pop-up.

You'll see this appear at the bottom of the page as a black bar with a green button. This contains a link to the privacy page so that you can review how we operate, in case you need to refresh your knowledge.

You will only be required to opt-in once. As soon as you do so, the system remembers you (unless you clear your browser data or switch computers or to another browser platform) and will not pester you again.

2) Notifications of new Naked Scientists programmes and articles

We implemented a notification system that you may choose to sign up to; this will pop-up a small window in the bottom right of your screen when the Naked Scientists publish specific types of content including new radio programmes or podcasts and science feature articles.

The first time you visit the site in your browser you will see a small red bell icon at the bottom right of the screen. Clicking on this produces a menu that enables you to elect to sign up to our notifications, or block them.

If you do sign up, we promise that you will not be pestered by this system. We have purposefully set it up to flag up only a small amount of our best content. We anticipate that we will produce only one or two such pieces every day or two.

You may opt out of the system by selecting "block" at the time of sign-up, or by visiting your browser settings and applying a block against our notifications from there.

3) "Tags" has been fixed.

We have fixed a long-term bug in the tagging system. The box inviting you to "add some tags to your post" at the time when you first create a new thread was failing to create the tags that were entered.

This has now been resolved. We tracked down the error and have resolved it, so do please resume using this system.

Adding tags to your posts makes them far more visible on the site and via the tags menu, meaning that they will most likely garner greater visitor engagement.


Lastly, thanks everyone for your energy and contributions to the forum, especially the moderators, and helping us to create what is an amazing place to learn.

Best wishes for 2019!

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 27/12/2019 23:26:33
Last update of 2019, effectively the first update of 2020!

Dear all

I've made a few minor alterations to the way the systems here work; this is to speed up the forum and the rest of the naked scientists website, and also ensure that we remain up to date in terms of security.

This should not have any negative impact on the operation of the forum, but while we monitor to ensure that the environment is stable, I apologise in advance if anything misbehaves.

One bonus is that you can now check your spellings, so we expect nothing other than perfectly composed posts from now on!

Have a lovely Christmas and New Year!

Chris
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: ninaholm on 09/03/2020 06:42:46
Thanks for latest updates.
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: chris on 24/03/2020 11:22:16
MARCH 2020 - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL UPDATE!

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all keeping well and we thank you for your contributions to this forum, especially the moderators who do a wonderful job and all deserve our wholehearted gratitude.

Regulars may have noticed that we have taken the unusual step of creating a special new board to accommodate the enquiries we have been receiving about COVID-19 (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?board=44.0).

We felt this was justified because this is a specialist topic that is generating a high volume of traffic and will be easier for us all to curate and browse with all of the posts gathered together in that venue.

Could I ask, therefore, that if you decide to start a new topic relevant to COVID-19, please use the above-linked board to post it.

Many thanks, and stay well!
Title: Re: Latest Forum Updates and Upgrades
Post by: Eternal Student on 09/06/2021 11:06:01
One bonus is that you can now check your spellings,
   Thanks.  Minor question is this   US,   UK   or International English  spelling.    Can we switch it to our own preference?