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Recommended Communities
We recently launched an update to our Recommended Communities widget found in the right-hand column of our California sites. The data team built the recommendations based upon the commonality of users across our platform. The data seems to have improved click-thru rates, and we're experiencing an enhanced level of engagement that is highlighted in the chart below:



Top Navigation Update
We want our users to have a convenient way to locate other members of the community. We added a Members link shortcut to the Kabob Menu. Here, you can search for members, see the Top Contributors, contact community Admins, among many other notable stats on our members. Check it out!


Card View: Brand New Look!
In September, we made significant progress on our new view called “Card View.” This change will result in a better overall reading experience for the user and the cleaning up of general UI elements across the site. We are on track for a late October beta launch and a full roll-out of phase one across the network early to mid-November. Currently, phase one includes the following pages receiving the Card View update. Homepage, Node View, Thread View, Search Results, What’s New, and Articles. Including all the respective components on that page such as Ads. These pages account for roughly 90% of our overall traffic on the site.

Please take a look at this thread for more information, and have no fear, today’s current view will still be available as a Comfort View option if the user prefers it. More to come in the next 30 30! Check out our preview.

Notable Mentions
We completed the below fixes/improvements to our platform:

  • “Mark All Read” Option is currently timing out on some of our sites, the issue was resolved in release 72!
  • Descriptive text: Improvements to the functionality of descriptive text in the following sections: New, Forums, and Site Navigation. This issue was resolved in release 73!
  • Signatures: Hyperlinks in Signatures are not taking the user to a new tab. This issue was resolved in release 73!
  • Gallery: Adjustments made to the thumbnail size and alignment of images in our gallery. The below screenshot is from a user on an iPad. This improvement was made in release 74!

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NEXT 30 🍁


Introduction to One Fora
Just wanted to give a quick heads up about the upcoming changes to Platforum.news. We are hoping this will help best serve our communities and administrative teams more effectively. Currently, the setup for Platforum is broad and unorganized leaving room for important topics to get lost, or not prioritized as such. The goal is to rebrand it as “OneFora” with the purpose to better focus and serve as the administrative gathering point for all VerticalScope communities. You might see some changes in the layout, design, and formatting so keep an eye out for additional information but here are the basics. Please take a look at this thread for additional information, and to leave feedback for our team to review.

ML Recommender Update
We are looking at continuing to make improvements to the recommended reading section by prioritizing recency for recommendations on all sites, and continuing our research and identifying toxic posts. Below is a preview of what is being worked on this fall:

Engineering:

  • Integrating a time factor to our recommendations firstly will focus on penalizing older content.
  • Setting a data-collection pipeline, so that we can learn from our content.
Preview of ongoing research:
  • 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Significant progress in how to represent our Subforum communities, learning from the dynamics of the communities along with how the subforums change over time; this in turn will impact the quality of recommendation in regards to targeting content and speed of our recommender.
  • 🕵 We are working on identifying toxic posts, in the future, this will assist our Moderators, Admins, and Community Managers, along with reducing unwanted forum creation. We hope to dissuade problematic content such as NSFW language in threads by detecting it.
  • 💬 Tackling the problem of our post representations. We are creating smarter models that also take into account forum specific language to increase the relevance of recommendations.