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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning!

I hope you won't be disappointed ... this thread does not contain the 2020 roadmap (yet).

I wanted to start the conversation on the 2020 Roadmap by first asking you a question: If you had a hungry, energetic, and passionate team of Product Managers, Developers, QA staff, and were in-control of the Roadmap for 2020 -- what would you build, tweak, edit, or change? How would you prioritize it?

The good news is -- you have a team that is large enough to take on some decent size projects. But of course, the bigger projects, mean the smaller projects can take longer to deliver. One of the keys to progress, is focus. When developers are constantly switching priorities, and changing tasks, they slow-down. So focus is critical.

So, before I answer the question with my thoughts on Roadmap, and where I think we should go over the next 12 months... I want to hear from all of you what would you do!

Thanks for your participation :)
 

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There's a lot of fit & finish stuff I've mentioned like dark mode issues & that pesky "a moment ago" and some feature requests like "Who Posted", "Threads I've participated in icons, Previous Thread < | > Next Thread, etc. but the main focus really should be:

1. SEO/Google algorithms - These are critical and need constant monitoring for adjustments. Without being as close to perfect as possible here, nothing else will matter. New eyeballs won't find us which means less participation, which means even worse SEO and it just snowballs.

2. Search - The thing that sets true forums apart from cheap imitations. A site where users can do a real, detailed search that serves up expected results the first time will always bring people back. We're close to a functional "search this forum" & "search this thread". The default may need to be date over relevance. It tends to serve up outdated stuff it thinks is relevant that really isn't. Beside just date & relevance, "most replies" needs to be an option so the big threads are served up vs. little useless threads. We need to be able to choose to get results as either posts or threads. We need the word(s) searched to be obvious in the results like bold red. A "threads started by" is a must have. Also the ability to search within your conversations. The ability to search phrases such as "Ford Escape" without getting every single post that has the word Ford or Escape would be huge. True Boolean search capabilities would be mountain top.

Search isn't just for users. It's a critical tool for staff as well. Out of the box, moving from vB to XF, means we lose the ability to search for members by things like the number of warnings they've had to filter problem users or words in their signatures to find those just using the site for advertisement. When reported posts and duplicate accounts are flagged, those need to land in a staff only forum so all the search tools mentioned above can be used for them forever vs the rudimentary default reported post system and what currently passes for a duplicate account detection system.

3. Stability & Reliability - Slow page loads, unexpected outages without proper detailed messaging, rogue ads that take over browsers & redirect users, database errors, etc. These can drive users away in search of more reliable sources of info. We need to be sure there's always enough hardware & software horsepower and manpower to both reduce the frequency of these and quickly solve them as they occur. I don't think everyone here has the Site down reporting page bookmarked or is even aware of it? Quick reporting and responding get sites back on track like what we saw on Patrol 4X4 a couple nights ago.

I know I come from the perspective of a site with heavier than average activity but with these 3 things in place, ALL our sites should start getting busier than they have been in recent years.
 

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@Mike Lang Very good points explained beautifully, at this point in time I cannot add anything except we cannot let those 'fit and finish' things you allude to get too far into the background, there are things I have outstanding in my home forum that have not been mentioned here and there are other issues mentioned here that still need to be addressed in a timely matter. On the subject of Busy Sites, I looked at Guests on my home forum 2 days ago and the number was 1/3 higher than I had ever seen it over the last 8 months, this is a good sign.
This leads me to a question for Rob and his team, if I bring up a problem on my home forum does it get addressed by a separate staff or by the same staff who address our issues here?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Mike Lang Very good points explained beautifully, at this point in time I cannot add anything except we cannot let those 'fit and finish' things you allude to get too far into the background, there are things I have outstanding in my home forum that have not been mentioned here and there are other issues mentioned here that still need to be addressed in a timely matter. On the subject of Busy Sites, I looked at Guests on my home forum 2 days ago and the number was 1/3 higher than I had ever seen it over the last 8 months, this is a good sign.
This leads me to a question for Rob and his team, if I bring up a problem on my home forum does it get addressed by a separate staff or by the same staff who address our issues here?
Hey Ross,

I think it would be great if you can bring it up here as well.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Roadmap for Search broken out by Mike (and summarized by me)
  • Search option for date over relevance.
  • Add sort option by "most replies" so the big threads are served up vs. little useless threads.
  • Option to view results as either posts or threads.
  • Make word(s) searched to be obvious in the results (consider industry practices, although request was for red, that might be a bit extraordinary)
  • A "threads started by" is a must have.
  • Also the ability to search within your conversations.
  • The ability to search quoted phrases such as "Ford Escape" without getting every single post that has the word Ford or Escape would be huge.
  • True Boolean search capabilities would be mountain top.
And additional options for Mods/Admins:
  • [mod/admins] lost the ability to search for members by things like the number of warnings they've had to filter problem users or words in their signatures to find those just using the site for advertisement.
  • [mods/admins] when reported posts and duplicate accounts are flagged, those need to land in a staff only forum so all the search tools mentioned above can be used for them forever vs the rudimentary default reported post system and what currently passes for a duplicate account detection system.
 

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Make word(s) searched to be obvious in the results (consider industry practices, although request was for red, that might be a bit extraordinary)
vB does bold red. Pic below was a search for the word "search" and one of the results has it twice. They're hard to find at a glance without the coloring... Especially in longer posts.
Blue Text Line Font Colorfulness
 
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