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Assalam u Alaykum 

Hope you are all well. 

A bit too late but I think that it is still worth making an official announcement regarding recent site changes. Importantly, I will use this thread to collect and address all the issues and concerns that are brought forward either here or in other threads. 

A bit of context:

In the private forum, admins discuss ways of improving the forum and making it a positive experience for new and existing members. Unfortunately, this process is usually slow because of extensive discussions, testing and implementation which take time. I think that a lot of discussions that had been going on for a while were implemented in one hit. So it appears as though we took bold steps without giving it much thought. In fact, much of what you are seeing is a result of lengthy discussions and debates. The site colour, highlighting posts, forum merging, chat, debates, guest lounge etc. are all 'mini' projects that the admins have been working on; some of them required the assistance of Dev. Team & mods, others have been dealt by admins only. And yet other ideas are in the 'to do list'. 

Site colour:

I am personally a fan of the default theme. But we need to sacrifice personal choices and consider ideas that are fresh and worthy of trial. Maybe there is room for improvement. But before you suggest any other colour, please give it a good couple of weeks to see if your corneas adjust to this one first. I would also appreciate if members share constructive feedback. For example, if the current colour scheme is hurting your eyes, you can suggest a lighter version of the same colour. Or if you have seen another forum with a much cooler colour scheme, you can share the link and ask admins to consider it etc. 

Chat:

From memory, the decision to introduce a better chat platform was made back in 2015. We searched different providers and inquired as to whether they will integrate well with IPS. There were limited options. Long story short, Ali has now managed to find a chatroom that I believe is much better than the old style and is easy for us to manage from the backend. I am hoping that there won't be serious issues in the coming weeks as we test it entirely. I should also thank Magma who I believe was the first to propose that we should consider FB style chat (a bar at the bottom right). We still have the other option i.e we can also display chat in its traditional style. But seeing the excitement of members last night, I have asked Ali to keep it the way it is for now. Again, please give yourself a month or so to decide whether you like it, or not. If not, we can always consider changing it to the old school. 

Forum Merging: 

Merging appears to be the most controversial change. I have considered some of the constructive feedback. And while it may be true that the new change has temporarily made it difficult for us to find the topics that we actively engage in, I think that the benefits of a simple and less crowded design outweigh the cost of short-term inconvenience. A lot of our traffic comes directly from search engines. I think that if we encourage members to start using relevant topic tags, all important and useful threads will always remain relevant. And people will be able to easily search them directly from this forum or Google. For example, Society forum is now very broad. But if a member creates a thread regarding education with a link to an educational website, he or she can add relevant tags such as 'educational website, science, easy learning, site name etc'. I do acknowledge that there is room for improvement. For example, we can consider having economics, business, science & technology in a separate forum (with perhaps 'education' being a sub-forum in that section). I'll look into these changes some time in Ramzan which is when I'll be free. You are all welcome to offer suggestions. But do keep in mind that the idea is to keep it nice and clean. 

That's all for now. Please feel free to discuss your concerns here. And please let us know if there are any bugs. 

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I have two issues with the new chatroom.

1) font is way too big (atleast on mobile).

2) the messages have to be extremely short otherwise they are cut off. This is very annoying when trying to quote some Qur'anic Verses, Hadiths, statements etc... and you are forced to cut it into 3 or 4 or maybe even more parts.

This is my feedback so far sir. Thanks.

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Here's a suggestion I made on another thread:

Get rid of Veteran Members Forum (the craziest idea on planet Earth since electing Trump and Brexit) and replace it with a Top Threads forum, which contains the most favouritest threads on Shiachat

I'd also add that the above forum could include the threads that have recently had their titles include the word OFFICIAL.

If we wanted to be cheeky we could also include a thread on each of the following must read Shiachat topics: masturbation, music, mutah.

Edited by Haji 2003

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38 minutes ago, Abbas. said:

Forum Merging: 

Merging appears to be the most controversial change. I have considered some of the constructive feedback. And while it may be true that the new change has temporarily made it difficult for us to find the topics that we actively engage in, I think that the benefits of a simple and less crowded design outweigh the cost of short-term inconvenience. A lot of our traffic comes directly from search engines. I think that if we encourage members to start using relevant topic tags, all important and useful threads will always remain relevant. And people will be able to easily search them directly from this forum or Google. For example, Society forum is now very broad. But if a member creates a thread regarding education with a link to an educational website, he or she can add relevant tags such as 'educational website, science, easy learning, site name etc'. I do acknowledge that there is room for improvement. For example, we can consider having economics, business, science & technology in a separate forum (with perhaps 'education' being a sub-forum in that section). I'll look into these changes some time in Ramzan which is when I'll be free. You are all welcome to offer suggestions. But do keep in mind that the idea is to keep it nice and clean. 

That's all for now. Please feel free to discuss your concerns here. And please let us know if there are any bugs. 

سبحان الله

Salam Alaikum, brother Abbas!

Yes, the "Forum Merging" was indeed unexpected. I was not able to read back my poems in the "Poems" forum. I found out that it merged with the "Off-Topic".

I am in favour of a seperate forum with a fitting name, but that is my opinion.

Jazak Allah Khair.

Edited by Kazemi

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I put a collection of peoples feedback here:

(1) @Haji 2003 Idea of "top threads" forum is brilliant. maybe a forum of the most viewed, most posted and most liked threads in one place. moving all/ most of the pinned topics here will also free up the front page space for the other forums. 

(2) @notme idea to keep the science and tech forum separate from the mutah and masturbation forum. I have to agree with this. it makes no sense to have them together. maybe underneath "society" we have "hobbies and interests" or something like that? 

(3) I really do not like the fact that the poetry forum has gone. having peoples poems mixed up alongside jokes and memes threads is an insult. could we have maybe a sub forum under hobbies and interests, dedicated to poetry?

(4) @Laayla has the idea for a countdown clock, or some calendar integration into the site. I remember back in the day we had something like this where you could see birthdays of the day and Islamic events of the day. could this be reinstated?

(5) @starlight suggestion to return the leader board to top 10 instead to top 4. 

(6) @Cake has the idea to reinstate the quran, hadith dua forum. maybe have it as a subforum under theology?

 

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I think it might be worth adding some conditional formatting, so because the brothers, sisters and reverts forums have all gone, maybe if someone adds the tag [Brothers only] the thread is highlighted blue on the main page, [sisters only] is highlighted pink, and [reverts] maybe gold? unless the title is clear I wouldn't want to stumble into a thread about womens issues for example. 

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would it be possible to add alerts to the chatroom similar to the previous versions where we could see who entered and left? I don't think this is a priority, but would it be better to kick people after inactivity? or doesn't it make a difference now because its all integrated anyway? 

I am probably showing my age here, but waaaaay back we used to have random hadith automatically posted in the chatroom by a bot. I always thought that was pretty neat. can we get a feel if people would like this to be reintegrated? 

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@Abbas. and other admins, thank you for all the work you are doing and thanks for listening to member feedback.

Please take a look at @Ibn al-Hussain's what happened topic, but I think @DigitalUmmah has summarized most of the concerns related to the forum itself mentioned in that thread. I also noticed the character limit in chat mentioned by @E.L King and the default gif collection includes some that we don't want on an Islamic chat. I'd just disable the gifs altogether, but some people seem to like them. 

 

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2 minutes ago, notme said:

the default gif collection includes some that we don't want on an Islamic chat. I'd just disable the gifs altogether, but some people seem to like them. 

is it possible to maybe filter the gifs at an admin level? like maybe set "parental controls" or ban NSFW gifs etc? the gifs is a neat feature, I like it, but man, it could be abused really badly lol. 

maybe another option might be to allow links from image hosting sites, so for eg if i c&p a link from google images, imgur or photobucket into a post, the software automatically shows the gif/ pic in the thread. could this be activated on chat? that might help too

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l endorse DigitalUmmah's first post-on-thread [an hour ago].

Adding:

1]  l like the new color.

2] lt is the librarianship within me, yet l think the old arrangement should be restored . Using the "Search" allows only one-slow-search-per-minute, so if we are trying to decide which thread to post a coincident article in, the whole mess is really frustrating.

The usual :woot:-not-again stuff like mutt-ah and self-abuse should be in a single forum.

ln general, if we want to review news postings on lraq, lran, Yemen we now have a real obstacle to continuity. While the old forum on Yemen was created by request during a hot-news time and periodically added to later, it should remain its own thread for the future. Few of us can remember everything.

The old lran forum: this is the Shi'a country.

The new set up is more like "mass chat" than coherent discussion. Hit the Restore point, please.

0ne suggestion: Jokes, fictional readings, videos, games, and so on should be put in an Entertainment Forum.

Edited by hasanhh

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17 minutes ago, notme said:

@Abbas. and other admins, thank you for all the work you are doing and thanks for listening to member feedback.

Please take a look at @Ibn al-Hussain's what happened topic, but I think @DigitalUmmah has summarized most of the concerns related to the forum itself mentioned in that thread. I also noticed the character limit in chat mentioned by @E.L King and the default gif collection includes some that we don't want on an Islamic chat. I'd just disable the gifs altogether, but some people seem to like them. 

 

Thanks uhty. Your on point. Please critique mine.

One question: what is "default gif collection" ?

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2 minutes ago, hasanhh said:

One question: what is "default gif collection" ?

It's in the new chatroom. 

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5 minutes ago, hasanhh said:

The new set up is more like "mass chat" than coherent discussion.

this is something I don't think we can resolve. 

basically, with fewer forums, the same amount of traffic is bottle necked, so it appears that SC is suddenly much more vibrant and active and lively. in reality its just the same activity level as before, but we lose a lot of the functionality. 

maybe there is a way to list "trending tags" so we draw a line under the 20 years worth of threads, and make it mandatory going forward to add at least 1 tag to each new thread. 

then similar to top posters, we have top tags for day, week, month, year and all time. we could then search for tags instead of threads.

this might be a possible solution @Abbas.?

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Salams

Font Size in the Chatroom: I've reviewed the font size on my phone. It's pretty standard on my screen. Can you guys share screenshots just so that I can see what is off? Also, 150 characters are allowed per msg. I think that is reasonable too. Discussions in the chatroom should be concise. Quranic verses and ahadith can be shared with references, short quotes and links for a detailed read. 

Top Threads: Not quite sure how that's supposed to work. Do mods just manually move popular threads to this section? What then? Are we allowing members to post in existing threads but not create new ones? Why not simply view and participate in popular threads by sorting forums or sub-forums according to 'most viewed', 'most replied' etc?

Science & Tech: This is reasonable. We can create a separate forum named Science which will entertain science, tech, business and economics related threads. Education can go underneath Science as a sub-forum.

Poetry: Poetry can also go underneath Off-topic as a sub-forum.

Calendar: A calendar already exists at the top. It's got birthdays and stuff. 

Popular Contributors: I discussed this with Ali last night. We've already moved 'Popular Contributors' to the side. We now have to move some other stuff at the bottom to create some space for more members deemed popular contributors.

Tags: Making tags compulsory can be both good and bad. Bad because I don't want people to add irrelevant tags just so that they can quickly post their thread. It would mean more work and clean up duty for the mods. I think that we should start by bringing more awareness. Maybe one of you guys can create an educational thread which can be pinned. The thread can highlight the importance of tags and how they're meant to be used. 

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I wanted to try the FB chat, but it says this when I send a message: "Sending messages has been disabled for your user group". 

Sending messages has been disabled for your user group.

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2 minutes ago, Ali-F said:

I wanted to try the FB chat, but it says this when I send a message: "Sending messages has been disabled for your user group". 

Sending messages has been disabled for your user group.

I think it is because you are accidentally trying to send private chat messages, you have to join the group chat first.

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12 minutes ago, Ali-F said:

I wanted to try the FB chat, but it says this when I send a message: "Sending messages has been disabled for your user group". 

Sending messages has been disabled for your user group.

Only members of the moderating team are allowed private messages/chat.It's been disabled for regular members hence that message.

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31 minutes ago, Abbas. said:

Top Threads: Not quite sure how that's supposed to work. Do mods just manually move popular threads to this section? What then? Are we allowing members to post in existing threads but not create new ones? Why not simply view and participate in popular threads by sorting forums or sub-forums according to 'most viewed', 'most replied' etc?

1. Yes, I'd anticipate Mods moving threads here that are quite popular, but which may otherwise get lost amongst the aggregated forums that we have now. For example, in the Politics forum you have to order by 'most posts/views' and only then does the thread dealing with 'current events in Syria come up'. It comes up on the first page in the default view option, but I think it's a bit of an ask to expect people select between 2-3 different views.

2. The top threads forum would not allow people to create new threads within it. But they can add to the ones already there (if that is possible).

3. Most viewed and replied filters also bring up historic threads that are not currently being used.

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Dear Shiachat team

I have a suggestion that during using chatroom when we checked some other topic, at that time if someone talked to us by our profile name then it should be displayed at the "mobile chat icon" at the bottom of screen so that we can respond in time.

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6 hours ago, Abbas. said:

Site colour:

I am personally a fan of the default theme. But we need to sacrifice personal choices and consider ideas that are fresh and worthy of trial. Maybe there is room for improvement. But before you suggest any other colour, please give it a good couple of weeks to see if your corneas adjust to this one first. I would also appreciate if members share constructive feedback. For example, if the current colour scheme is hurting your eyes, you can suggest a lighter version of the same colour. Or if you have seen another forum with a much cooler colour scheme, you can share the link and ask admins to consider it etc. 

This may just be my preference but I always find pastel colors on websites to be more appealing rather than bold colors. The default color scheme was definitely 'less in your face'. So you could go with green but similar tones as the default scheme.

The rest of the stuff is just Change Management and Change Acceptance.

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@magma

If you could please review some of my suggestions above and implement accordingly. 

Also, plz have a look at Haji's idea. Not sure if I am convinced but see if it's doable, to begin with. If so, plz give due consideration in collaboration with the team.

In my absence, please also review any new suggestion. thx 

I'll InshaAllah keep in touch. 

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@Abbas.

I will review the above suggestions you've listed and get the ball rolling. 

Yes, for Haji's idea, I will examine it and discuss it with the other admins. 

I will keep in touch with any updates.

----

Everyone else, if you have any suggestions or feedback, feel free to post them on here. Your patience during this continuing process has been appreciated. 

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