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Old 02-09-2006, 10:44 AM
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Nominate "up and coming" journals

With the number of Project Journals now well over 500, a lot of the new/smaller journals can easily get lost in the shuffle. And a lot of good information along with it. I was reminded again of this problem this morning when I stumbled onto Klassik100's journal and was impressed with the project he has going. Since his is a relatively small and new journal at the moment, it is easy to miss out on the information and ingenuity he is providing.

What I'd like to see is a discussion of how we might better highlight and direct our focus on some of these journals that aren't getting the attention they deserve.

My suggestion would be some sort of nomination process for "up and coming" or "overlooked" journals. Maybe it should take two or three separate nominations for a specific journal to make the list. The basic rule would be that you can't nominate your own journal. There should probably be some additional guidelines as well...which should be open for discussion. I really don't care so much what the rules are as long as there is a way to start shining some light on these special, but smaller, journals.

At the moment Jon lists the 20 or so largest journals and the 20 or so most visited journals. But I think this ends up becoming sort of a self fulfilling prophecy. For a newcomer, they will naturally click on the journals at the top of the list and thus those same journals keep landing up at the top of the list. I'm not saying journals like Willys', Beenaway's, Neophytes's etc. are not great journals. They are. But I also know from experience that there are some terrific journals on this site that deserve to be looked at but get very few visits. But we don't have a good way, as of yet, to direct people's attention to the really special ones.

Any thoughts?

Dewey

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Old 02-09-2006, 03:04 PM
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this ends up becoming sort of a self fulfilling prophecy
willys36 has mentioned the same exact thing.

Some method of highlighting "up and coming" journals would definitely be something that we should incorporate into the journal software rewrite.

Not sure how to handle it.

Do you receive the weekly newsletters? We currently highlight 6 journals per week, including klassik100's, which has been listed in a few recent newsletters. This method is not very scalable, as it generally involves me manually reviewing the recent entries, and selecting the best ones. Soon, there will be too many for one person to manually review.

We might be able to adjust the "most popular journals" feature, to perhaps include a "most popular journals from this week" type of feature. We could make a list of all the journals that have new entries in the past 7 days, and then, from that list, choose the ones that have the most views. That could all be done automatically.

What do you think?
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:40 PM
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I like that idea too. Anything to get rid of the stagnation that currently exists. Maybe an auto rotation with three or 4 hilites that regularly change and another 'Moderators Pick' list where each of us has a slot we can edit at our leisure.

Another problem that will arise is with 500 or so and growing fast, it will be easy to find a killer site then not remember which it was the next time you log on. I guess you can save the link on your Explorer Favorites list but maybe Hotrodders can provide a Favorites link list inside the user profile?
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Old 02-10-2006, 07:08 PM
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OK, I think I have this one figured out.

On the new journal software, we will have a "comment" feature that is integrated with the board. It's going to work like this:

--Each journal entry will be accompanied by a link for commenting. The link will say something like: "click here to discuss this entry".

--If the entry has not yet been commented on, the link will go to a new posting screen, to make a new thread in the Hotrodders' Lounge.

--If the entry has already been commented on, the link will go to the corresponding in-progress Hotrodders' Lounge thread for that entry.

By this method, the "hot" entries will likely be the ones with the most discussion in the past week. (In fact, this is already occurring somewhat in the Hotrodders' Lounge). So, what we can do is count the entries that have the most posts in their particular comment-thread. Those are the entries we'll highlight. Let me know if that makes sense.

Quote:
Another problem that will arise is with 500 or so and growing fast, it will be easy to find a killer site then not remember which it was the next time you log on. I guess you can save the link on your Explorer Favorites list but maybe Hotrodders can provide a Favorites link list inside the user profile?
The new Knowledge Base has this capability, we just haven't integrated it with the board yet. You can already make a favorites list of KB links. When viewing a KB link, such as this one:

http://www.hotrodders.com/kb/showlin...l=989&catid=57

Click on the "Add to Favorites" link at the top-middle of the screen.

Then, when you click on the "My Stuff" link towards the top of any KB page, that link will appear in a list.

We can make a link to the "My Stuff" KB page within your user profile. From there, it's just an issue of making sure that all journals are listed in the KB. Also, we can add an "Add this journal to my favorites" link to each journal. Clicking the link will add the journal to your KB favorites list.

Anyway, I've added a link to this thread to the Journal development thread at CrankshaftCoalition.com: http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/f...?p=162#post162
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Old 02-10-2006, 07:31 PM
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We can make a link to the "My Stuff" KB page within your user profile. From there, it's just an issue of making sure that all journals are listed in the KB. Also, we can add an "Add this journal to my favorites" link to each journal. Clicking the link will add the journal to your KB favorites list.
'Nuff said.

In a while, Chet.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon
Let me know if that makes sense.
Sounds like a plan. As Willys says, anything to help break up the stagnation of the "most popular" list will help. This might be something we want to keep fine tuning as time goes on. As many have said before, this site contains what might be the most complete and most informative compilation of hot rod related knowledge ANYWHERE in the world. But now that the information has been assembled in one place, the real trick becomes making it useful, identifiable, and retrievable.
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:57 PM
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Would the ; new posts / todays posts / unanswered posts. work in this situation for the journals?


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Old 02-15-2006, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
OK, I think I have this one figured out.

On the new journal software, we will have a "comment" feature that is integrated with the board. It's going to work like this:

--Each journal entry will be accompanied by a link for commenting. The link will say something like: "click here to discuss this entry".

--If the entry has not yet been commented on, the link will go to a new posting screen, to make a new thread in the Hotrodders' Lounge.

--If the entry has already been commented on, the link will go to the corresponding in-progress Hotrodders' Lounge thread for that entry.

By this method, the "hot" entries will likely be the ones with the most discussion in the past week. (In fact, this is already occurring somewhat in the Hotrodders' Lounge). So, what we can do is count the entries that have the most posts in their particular comment-thread. Those are the entries we'll highlight. Let me know if that makes sense.
Somewhere in our scattered discussions about the journals, I made some mention of how the current summary page works ok for casual drive-by visitors but not so well for repeat visitors and members. It only shows latest, biggest, most viewed. Most viewed is the least helpful; it's like having a governor on a steam engine based on positive feedback -- it just runs away in whichever direction it's already headed.

'Hottest' could also suffer that fate and still not encourage what's at the base of what cboy seems to be trying to fix: getting those little-known or undiscovered jewels to be noticed. The rotation of 'featured' journals helps, but it covers too few over time.

I think the indexing, comments, and the use of journal summaries with thumbnails will all help to (a) notice what's in the journals, (b) direct others to specific journals or entries, and (c) improve journals, overall. To go along with those efforts, I'll repeat another suggestion I made somewhere in our discussions: have another journal 'splash' page that shows

user -- journal_title -- description (very limited) -- thumbnail

This page could be arranged alphabetically by default but sorted otherwise by a simple click. Example sort criteria (forward or reverse): by date of last edit/update, by number of comments, by number of photos, by title, by description.

Searching the KB takes care of people who are looking for specific data, but doesn't do a thing for somebody who's just shopping around for something interesting to read or view.

Another thing, which ties in with the threads related to journals and indexing, is to make it so people can link to a specific entry within a journal. In the journals_test code, I have functions for retrieving a journal summary by journalid, retrieving all journal summaries for any userid, 1 photo by photoid, all photos for any given entryid, 1 entry by entryid, all entries for a journalid, and the first entry of a journalid. That can be used to allow people to get as specific as they want or need when discussing a journal and point directly to what they're talking about.

Something like... 'Check out the frame jig in
(someurl)/showjournal.php?journalid=0003298&entryid=1&photoi d=5
Is that magnesium? Should somebody call 911 now?'

One mo' thang -- each journal should have an automatically generated table of contents. All the data necessary is there (or will be) in the database. It could just show entry titles as links with 1 thumbnail per entry, if turned on.

(BTW, sorry about letting the journals_test code languish so long. I'm still whittling on it, but have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment. I still don't have a clue about the user authentication stuff so all of that load is still on your shoulders.)

Summary:

1. Keep 'biggest, most viewed, latest' journals splash page for drive-by visitors -- it does work well for that.

2. A 'hottest' splash page, based on the new comments threads coming, would compliment the existing splash page very well and serve members much better than the existing splash page.

3. Comments in forums, that are tied to a specific entry, can call attention to the extra good or bad much better than the current software allows. (See the way cboy had to 'trick' the current software in order to reference his own journal entries consistently).

4. How about another splash page showing off journals with user name, journal title, short description (viewer might choose short or full?) and a thumbnail? Page to be sorted by viewer's choice of criteria. (Allows for window-shopping the journals).

5. Allow links to specific journal elements. (Requires ability for copy-and-paste links or logical links that people can just type out).

6. Dynamic table of contents for each journal.
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
Searching the KB takes care of people who are looking for specific data, but doesn't do a thing for somebody who's just shopping around for something interesting to read or view.
Bingo. Grouch has raised a ton of great observations in his post but quote above articulates something I've been trying to put my finger on for some time. I recently visited the Ol' Skoolz Rodz site and went prowling in the member gallery section. But as I was looking at it I kept thinking, man, if this were just better organized and had a comprehensive thumbnail type index, it would be just like a gigantic Hot Rod magazine. And the exact same thing applies to HR.Com only more so, since this site not only has a member gallery of pictures we also have this amazing Project Journal section with explicit technical descriptions.

The point is, we need some way to "thumb through" HR.Com like we might thumb through Hot Rod Magazine or Street Rodder Magazine. And as Grouch points out, we are not yet at the top of our game for making it an easy task to quickly find the types of things we might want to start browsing. Thumbing through OUR magazine will not work well if we expect folks to start with A. Anderson's journal and then work their way through to Z. Zonk's some 500 journals later. That is far to daunting and far too "random" for most casual readers looking for cars and builds that peak their interest. I think Grouch is onto some good ideas regarding how to provide an inviting "portal" to each journal and guide the reading to what they want to fine.

Interestingly, this discussion also takes us full circle back to a post Mikey put up many months ago about starting a Web Magazine. My feeling now is that with the proper "presentation", we already have that Web Magazine right before out eyes.

Anyhow, thanks Grouch.
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Old 02-15-2006, 06:11 PM
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I still like the idea of a "Moderator's Pick" list where mods can post links to good but obscure journals. I envision this being a very dynamic column that really livens up the already very popular Journal feature.
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com
I still like the idea of a "Moderator's Pick"...
How about both...a listing of "Moderator Picks" and also a listing of "People's Choice" projects (selected something like Jon has suggested). The only drawback I can see with the "Moderator Picks" idea is that somebody is bound to have their feelings hurt or start thinking the Mods are playing favorites. The Peoples Choice concept adds a bit of "democracy" to the process. If enough readers find it interesting, it will float to the surface. The "Mod Picks" can then be the more unique or specialized journals - or possibly journals with just one or two really informative entries.
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:58 PM
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If I had a Mods Pick, I would change it weekly. Anyone detecting a favorite would also need to believe in black helicopters and trilateral commission taking over the world.
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Old 02-16-2006, 04:03 AM
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You guys should be keeping up with the thread at crankshaftcoalition (see Jon's link above) -- your views and suggestions are great!

Jon and I have hammered out a frame for the new journals, but that doesn't mean it's ready for a cruise. My problem is that I have to figure out every tiny, painful little step, because I don't write PHP for a living. Jon's seems to be, well, nobody has figured out how to get more than 24 hours into a day. The more of the basic design and fabrication that the rest of us can work out, the less rough edges he will have to polish off before putting it on the server. (Security auditing, integration with the bulletin board, user authentication and display refinement is already a heckuva load to leave on Jon.)

"Up and coming" -- looks like it could be implemented by data already present, see Jon's comment, "make a list of all the journals that have new entries in the past 7 days, and then, from that list, choose the ones that have the most views."

"Mod's Picks" -- a page that could be brought up from a link on the current journal summary page? Have it so moderators can edit the page whenever they feel like adding a 'pick'? Have some arbitrary number of picks per mod, such as 3? It could be FIFO so that as a mod adds a 4th pick, the 1st drops off his/her list. Or are there enough mods now that 3/mod would make the list too long? I guess details like that would have to evolve from use.

"People's Choice" -- a voting system similar to thread ranking? Views are simple counts; votes could be limited to members and only those members who made the effort would vote. That would seem to me to add to its legitimacy. People don't vote when they're indifferent.

All of this could be added to the current journal summaries page as links. Main page could stay as is, with most entries, most views, latest entries (with latest pictures at the top as it is now), and have links like: 'Up and coming: most entries/views this week', 'Mod's Choice', 'Members' Choice' (most to least votes), 'Browse List' (name, journal title, thumbnail).

That last one needs a better name. What do you call those pages of sample paint chips?



(Thanks for the kind words, Cboy).
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:14 AM
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When I first signed up not to long ago and saw the lenth of the list of Journals, it was pretty intimidating. My feeling both then and now I wish there were a way to know what TYPE (make and model) of car is covered by the journal.

Personally I changed my user name when I started my journal so it would reflect the car that was covered.

Now the problem iI have is I'm working on another car project now and would actually like to start a seperate journal to cover that project .

Is there some way that the listing of projects could indicate basically whats inside, i.e. 1960 Ford, 1932 Chevy, etc ?
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Old 02-16-2006, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch

"People's Choice" -- a voting system similar to thread ranking? Views are simple counts; votes could be limited to members and only those members who made the effort would vote. That would seem to me to add to its legitimacy. People don't vote when they're indifferent.
I was thinking of something slightly different than a "vote" total. As I understand, when the journal software is fleshed out, I will be able to look at someones journal and if I like it or have questions I can easily enter "comments" which will be shown in the Lounge somewhere and be open for further posts. My thought was, if three or four people entered positive comments regarding a journal within a specified period of time - it would be flagged to go on the "People's Choice" list for that time period (a week, two weeks?). Maybe this wouldn't work because the comments could actually be quite negative or simply technical. So as I think about it, maybe it should be more like a straight vote, post rating, or check box as "Peoples Choice" selection. As I mentioned in a prior post, this selection system will be something we want to keep an eye on to make sure a) it doesn't just stagnate like our current system and b) it truly tends to bring interesting and informative journals to the forefront.

Regarding the "Mod Picks", I didn't mean to suggest that Mods WOULD show favoritism in their selections. And obviously, since these picks would be changing quite often I didn't mean that one journal would be picked week after week. What I meant is that no matter how good the Mods might be in spotting good journals, some journal writers might feel left out if they are not selected and eventually that feeling can spill over into a charge of favoritism by the mods. Again, it's the perception I'm getting at, not the reality. I'm just suggesting a People's Choice type of selection process could help democratize the process and minimize any finger pointing at the mods. (Who knows, this may not happen at all - but just trying to error on the safe side.)

Also regarding the "Mod Picks", I think it would be fun to see each Mod do a short Rodger Ebert type review along with their pick. This doesn't have to be any more than a sentence or two, but should lay out what caught the Mod's attention and why the reader should check out the journal. Mods should also have leeway to simply pick one or two entries in a journal rather than a whole journal based on their technical merit (I'm sounding like the pairs skating competition now).
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