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SP new changes (done)

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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Gangolf Haub » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:58 am

Can we make the section titles a bit less intruding? If you have long sections with many pictures it looks ok but if you look at the back end of pages (Red Tape / Weather / Camping) you'll see blue bar after blue bar, which is oppressive.

Example (not a good page for sure)

http://www.summitpost.org/trettachspitze/151166
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby mrchad9 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:43 pm

Gangolf Haub wrote:Example (not a good page for sure)

http://www.summitpost.org/trettachspitze/151166

They have to make good pages! Looks much better with small pic or two in each section.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby nartreb » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:36 pm

Montana Matt wrote:
nartreb wrote:Centered photos also behave a tiny bit differently now - they don't force a full break in the layout.

Can you give an example of that?


Look at the last photo in this TR: http://www.summitpost.org/a-lion-head-fox-tale/188250 The centered Medium photo captioned "rime" . The top of the photo is higher than the bottoms of the small photos in either margin ("skiers" and "above the ravine") when viewed at a window width around 1500 pixels. I don't think that was the case before, though my mind may be playing tricks on me.

Text is still a full break (see the other bigger centered photo, "a fox this high up"? ) But I think the floating of the left and right images has changed in a way that allows them to share a horizontal band with the centered image, I don't think that was the case before. If it is a change, it's an improvement; I shouldn't have listed it in the same paragraph as the "worst problem".

(BTW I'm using Chrome 24 on a Windows laptop at the moment, haven't tried other platforms or browsers yet.)
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:41 pm

I noticed this morning that most people had (generally slight) score increases, overnight.

I had some time to think about the new changes, overnight, and I have the following observations and concerns.

PROs:
-> I like the new "style" of the website. Much slicker design! Much improved!

-> I like the new logo... especially with the "dot" of the "i" being a sun behind a mountain slope. Very creative!

-> I really like that the "weight" of a vote has changed. 1-5 to decrease, 6-10 to increase. That makes sense to me.

-> I agree that SP members should get higher "Power" points for contributions rather than photos. In theory, that should help encourage people to make contributions rather than focusing on "more points" through photo submissions. This website should be about the contributions, first and foremost.

-> I like the "Photo of the Moment" idea. However, I do hope it is purely random and not based solely on votes/score, or else that would be a detriment to those who have not yet gotten votes and who might not get many/any (if general users focus primarily on that feature for choosing photos to vote for).
------------

CONs:
-> Although I am a big fan of balancing out vote scoring, I am not a fan of the philosophy that more votes equals a such an imbalanced score adjustment for a contribution. With the current voting scheme, a page contribution now has a ridiculously minor score/rating when it gets only a few votes, even if it is a very good page. In essence, a contributor can now get "rewarded" if he/she makes a lame or semi-decent page with many 6-10 votes, but a person who makes an awesome page with only a handful of votes gets kind of screwed over. So a person has to hope that he/she gets a lot of page votes, and that can purely be luck of timing, SP friends, or personnel. That seems unfair, and will discourage some people from posting new contributions. It also might change the perception of SP as an inclusive club to an exclusive club. If you do not believe me, then I recommend checking out some of the page scores on the various SP categories; some prominent pages will definitely stand out as having "bad" scores when they certainly are not bad contributions.

-> The flip side of my second statement in the "PROs" section above is that despite me agreeing with the concept of contributions over photo submissions, it appears that concept is completely based upon the number of votes given to contributions rather than the number of (hopefully) quality contributions to SP. So a person might make a lot of great new contributions, but if he/she does not get many votes, then the "Power" (which is a corny term) or prominence of that person on the website is held back. That ties in with my previous concern, too.

-> One of the things that I have always liked about SP is the personal touch each contributor brings to his/her pages. I have definite concerns that the recent changes, especially the seeming necessity to get many vote scores for contributions, will take away some of that individuality and creativity. Some people are great writers but not great photo-takers. Some people are great photo-takers but not great writers. Some people are great with coding, while others are not or do not want to be. I personally do not expect perfection from SP members; I expect usable information that will help others in the future. I cannot speak for everyone, but I refuse to punish any users who might not have the greatest grammar, photos, or page coding, as long as the information is readable, accurate, and usable to the masses. That is what is most important to me, personally. No knowledge is useless. I am concerned that the necessity for a contribution to get a lot of votes to "appear" semi-decent will push some people away from making contributions. I will stand up for non-everyday users and try to support them, even if nobody else does.
------------

I hope those reading this post take it as true feedback and constructive criticism. SP needs more of that, to make it a better website. Again, I applaud those who helped make the current changes in an attempt to improve the website. I think the current changes are a great start, but should not be the finished product. That's my two cents.
Last edited by Redwic on Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby nartreb » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:45 pm

PS I think you're right that the extra white space I'm seeing is a side effect of forcing full breaks at chapter headings.

Here's an example: http://www.summitpost.org/mount-cabot/154513 The snake photo previously intruded into Getting There section, but now it looks forlorn. I think I'll move it explicitly into that section. I have a bunch of cases like that, I'm sure. Well worth it in exchange for less confusing layout rules.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Montana Matt » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:57 pm

Gangolf Haub wrote:Can we make the section titles a bit less intruding? If you have long sections with many pictures it looks ok but if you look at the back end of pages (Red Tape / Weather / Camping) you'll see blue bar after blue bar, which is oppressive.

We've tweaked the blue bars quite a few times. They used to be even larger. We ended up settling on the current with and drop shadow because it looks best on most pages. Yes, if there isn't much text in a section, there is a lot of blue on the screen. But it makes the pages SO much easier to read and figure out where the sections start at a quick glance.

Used to be for me that the sections all just blended together on a page.

Gangolf, if you have specific suggestions for margin/padding on the headers, I'd be happy to try them out and see how they look.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Montana Matt » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:02 pm

nartreb wrote:Look at the last photo in this TR: http://www.summitpost.org/a-lion-head-fox-tale/188250 The centered Medium photo captioned "rime" . The top of the photo is higher than the bottoms of the small photos in either margin ("skiers" and "above the ravine") when viewed at a window width around 1500 pixels. I don't think that was the case before, though my mind may be playing tricks on me.

I just looked at it on the older server (which is still online and accessible) and you're right. The centered photo used to force a full break from the left and right aligned ones.
nartreb wrote:The snake photo previously intruded into Getting There section, but now it looks forlorn. I think I'll move it explicitly into that section. I have a bunch of cases like that, I'm sure. Well worth it in exchange for less confusing layout rules.

I agree. The layout rules are far less confusing. Photos will always appear in the section in which they're placed. No more having to worry about them floating down into the next section and being out of place.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:10 pm

Montana Matt wrote:The layout rules are far less confusing. Photos will always appear in the section in which they're placed. No more having to worry about them floating down into the next section and being out of place.


I agree with that. *Thumbs Up*
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Montana Matt » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:12 pm

Redwic wrote:I like the "Photo of the Moment" idea. However, I do hope it is purely random and not based solely on votes/score

Putting a purely random image up on the front page would result in a lot of crappy photos showing up there. Not a good idea. There has to be some criteria in order to filter out the crap. The only reasonable criteria we have for getting rid of crap is votes/score.
Redwic wrote:I have definite concerns that the recent changes, especially the vote scores, will take away some of that individuality and creativity.

Why would you come to that conclusion?
Redwic wrote:I am concerned that the necessity for a contribution to get a lot of votes to "appear" semi-decent will push some people away from making contributions.

In this statement, what do you consider "a lot of votes" and "semi-decent" to be in terms of number of votes and resulting score? Is 5 votes "a lot of votes" in your opinion? And is a score of 75% "semi-decent"? For example:
http://www.summitpost.org/heisshorn/645762

That page has only 5 votes and it already scores 75%. I'd consider a 75% score pretty decent, but I wouldn't say that 5 votes is "a lot."
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:19 pm

Thank you for the prompt reply, Matt. Much appreciated.

I guess my concern is more along the lines of SP member favoritism over the quality of an actual contribution.
But perhaps that cannot be eliminated, no matter what the change is.

I agree with you that five votes is not a lot of votes. I also agree with you that a 75% score is not necessarily a bad score.
I guess it would probably help to know more about what the voting scheme actually is.

Right now, most of us (myself included) are completely in the dark.
I know I have apprehensions about making new contributions until the new changes are better-explained.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Montana Matt wrote:
Redwic wrote:I have definite concerns that the recent changes, especially the vote scores, will take away some of that individuality and creativity.

Why would you come to that conclusion?


Let me put it into a sample scenario:
PERSON A makes a Mountain page. The mountain might not have an eye-catching name or be in a familiar region, but PERSON A spends many hours to make certain the page is full of useful information, including routes, driving directions gear, etc.

PERSON B makes a Mountain page, too. The mountain has an eye-catching name or is in a familiar region, but PERSON B spends a little time making the page with only basic information provided.

PERSON A's page gets little attention despite being a thorough and helpful page, and only musters two votes.
PERSON B's page gets more attention despite being a page with less usable content but with a lot of eye-catching photos, and musters 15 votes.
------------

My concern is that the website is too point-driven... and with the revised voting-weight, perhaps now more than ever.

I do not know if or how it can be possible, but it seems like the way to "improve" the contributions on SummitPost are by rewarding contributions that have certain criteria reached. When a page contribution is being created, there are certain categories already in place as a starting point. Is there an overview? Are driving directions given? Is there any red tape? Stuff like that. Then the initial page-score is determined by the criteria/sections being checked off, rather than being completely vote-driven. By doing that, you can create a "standard" for SP while maintaining creativity and a sense of fairness (at least initially). And then the votes will build up the contribution scores from that point, based upon (in theory) the quality of the criteria reached and other pertinent information provided.
(Of course, this could only apply to pages for Areas, Mountains, and/or Routes, not pages for Images, Lists, or Articles.)

Again, I am just putting ideas to the masses for discussion. There is no perfect way of doing things.
There is no question you guys have improved the website. :)
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby rgg » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:12 pm

Redwic wrote:I guess my concern is more along the lines of SP member favoritism over the quality of an actual contribution.
But perhaps that cannot be eliminated, no matter what the change is.


I don't see any way to avoid this as long as we have any sort of voting. In fact, part of this may be favoritism, another part is simply that someone consistently contributes good stuff, then, naturally, something new by that person gets more viewers - nothing wrong with that I believe. But provided that enough people simply vote honestly on whatever they happen to see, these effects shouldn't be overwhelming. And, for the record, with voting honestly I mean that anybody should use their own ideas about what to vote for, but consistently, regardless of who posted the contribution. Some may vote for pets, others for photoshopped sunsets, others for pictures with climbers in them and so on... Doesn't matter, as long as you do so consistently, and keep voting, honestly!

Redwic wrote:PERSON A makes a Mountain page. The mountain might not have an eye-catching name or be in a familiar region, but PERSON A spends many hours to make certain the page is full of useful information, including routes, driving directions gear, etc.

PERSON B makes a Mountain page, too. The mountain has an eye-catching name or is in a familiar region, but PERSON B spends a little time making the page with only basic information provided.

PERSON A's page gets little attention despite being a thorough and helpful page, and only musters two votes.
PERSON B's page gets more attention despite being a page with less usable content but with a lot of eye-catching photos, and musters 15 votes.


This is a different bias: not by popularity of the contributor, but on how well known a peak or area is. Obviously famous peaks and areas get more viewers and therefore more votes. And peaks in areas with which more SP-members are familiar get more votes. That doesn't say anything about the quality of the contribution, but it happens. So the system isn't perfect? So be it.

Generally speaking, it is a complicated matter how many votes a contribution gets, and many influencing factors could be seen as unfair or biased. These are just a two examples. I simply say, don't take it all too serious. The main thing is to have a way to distinguish good stuff on SP from bad. Sometimes I like to browse through the best new stuff, say from the last week, month or even longer - and I can do that, because there are enough people that do vote, despite all the limitations the system may have. So, thank you to all honest voters out there!
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Montana Matt » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:32 pm

I do understand your concerns Redwic. And the goal with the new system was to try to make the voting system more "fair" for everyone and reward the people that submit the best content of the most valuable types of content. As rgg points out, it's not perfect and never will be. But I do think that the most recent change is an improvement over the previous system. If we see that it's not functioning as we hope it to, we can continue to change the score/power calculations until we have something that works for SP.
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:34 pm

Thank you for the input, rgg. It definitely gives me a little more to think about.
You are definitely correct... some people only vote for some people, some types of pages, some types of images, etc. That cannot be avoided, in any voting system. I am guilty of that, too, as I do not get as much time on this website as I would like, and sometimes I have to "pick and choose" what stuff to do and where to go. The same goes for other websites, as I only have so much free time available.

When I do vote on pages, I always try to remain honest in my voting in regards to whether or not basic criteria has been achieved to make the page a valuable resource to others. I personally do not vote in regards to photos, mountain/rock, or location. But if important information is missing, then my vote will reflect that... although if really bad I tend to contact the page creator with suggestions to help achieve a better page score, or at least so I can revise my vote (if I even gave one).

With that said, I do not punish people with my voting if their contributions do not have the pizazz or appeal of a page contribution of someone like Sarah Simon, Josh Lewis, or Dow Williams (just to name a few). Not everyone has the time or the resources to make their contributions "stand out" among contributions such as theirs, nor would I expect them to be like that.

I am going to sit back and ponder this some more. 8)
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Re: SP new changes (done)

Postby Redwic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:42 pm

Montana Matt wrote:I do understand your concerns Redwic. And the goal with the new system was to try to make the voting system more "fair" for everyone and reward the people that submit the best content of the most valuable types of content. As rgg points out, it's not perfect and never will be. But I do think that the most recent change is an improvement over the previous system. If we see that it's not functioning as we hope it to, we can continue to change the score/power calculations until we have something that works for SP.


That is something that we both agree on. One of the biggest gripes I have heard from some members (and lurkers) is that the voting system is unfair and lopsided. As such, I know quite a few people who use this website but who do not vote because of that reason. The website should be content-driven, not eye-catching-driven... but with a voting-only system those two things cannot be separated.

By creating the "1-5 down & 6-10 up" voting system, at least that is a major step in the right direction. It is much better than before, when giving someone's contribution a 7/10 would cause the associated scores to go majorly downhill. I am sure there are still going to be people who only vote "10/10" if they vote at all, but at least the new voting scheme should help some people re-evaluate their voting.
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