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Status Report From Robyn

RDA's picture

Hi everyone,
I realize that answering one question at a time is helpful to the person I’m answering because he or she knows to look for it, but not so helpful to someone who has the same question, but doesn’t see my reply (or can’t find it). I’m thinking it might be better if I post a status update every now and again, and seeing as we’re nearing one week post-launch, here goes.

First: cyalexa, TracyK, Jean, Adele, ashleyd, kathy. . .just to name a few, you’re consistently helping each other, the community, and me. Thank you. I’ve even read some of you on other forums helping their communities as well. More thanks.

Next: If you couldn’t get on CT yesterday, or you were on and couldn’t post, CT was up and down sporadically during FHB’s forum launch. I apologize for that, especially if you lost a reply mid-way through. I hate when that happens!

What’s new? Today I learned how to configure the forum so that you will be able to upload a file attachment to a post. I was thinking this would be especially important for the kind soul who compiles your running index periodically.

What’s next? I understand from your comments that “new” is buggy. I have no reason to doubt you, but here’s what typically happens to me: I start of by clicking “Home.” I look for folders I’m especially interested in. I click on the folder and see “# new,” and who last replied. I click on “#new,” and it takes me to the new reply; I read it. I try not to reply to it right away because (I’ve been burned by that before!) it logs my reply as new and I’ll lose my place. I keep reading, scrolling down (I know, you hate that) until I get to the reply from the person I know was the most recent reply. I know the replies are threaded, so when I see an indent, I know that reply is not responding to the original post, but to the reply above it. However, I understand the indents are too subtle, and carrying on a conversation is simply too confusing (I wonder if we all feel a little crazy because we appear to be talking to no one in particular. In another context, say one in the real world, people who talk to themselves often get looked at sideways). And, a “reply to” feature is just super-easy. Agreed. Working on it.

I also understand that you want to read comments and replies chronologically. I realize this is major, capital M. I’m working on this. I think there is a way, but I need to work with the other moderators because it’s complicated. Stay tuned. Have faith.

At some YTBD date next week, the moderators will regroup for a problem-solving summit (when I say it like that, it sounds cool). To prep for that meeting I’m listening to you, processing your feedback, and coming up with my master list of needs.

I started with thanks, and I’ll end that way too. I know this hasn’t been easy and that many of you are feeling lost; I appreciate all of you out there who are hanging in.


MEANCHEF's picture

Even though I have brought up (post #68206, reply #1 of 77)

Even though I have brought up far more problems than most, I am not in the least upset that you seem to purposly ignore. That said, I would like to reiterate that "new" is not just buggy, but it is wrong. I have explained to you numerous time how you can see for yourself, but I guess you choose not to explore.
The #new is mostly incorrect. Please try to see for yourself. IT is really not that difficult if you will just count. This is a very critical bug which needs to be addressed so that people don't miss posts.

The chronological replies issue is way more complicated than you think. Without links to the post being responded to, it means nothing.

It is critical that you understand completely the issues before trying to discuss with the experts in your meeting.

Please please post the issues as you understand them prior to meeting, so that we can comment.

TracyK's picture

Pedantic semantic nitpicker (post #68206, reply #2 of 77)

Pedantic semantic nitpicker here, but Wrong = Buggy. That's what "buggy" means.

AnnL's picture

Mean -- being snide is not (post #68206, reply #5 of 77)

Mean -- being snide is not going to help any. Robyn IS trying. Personally, I don't find the #new issue that critical, ESPECIALLY, if they can put everything into true chronological order. I don't need to know the count of new posts. I just need to know that they're all at the end of the thread where I can easily read through them.

So, IF she can get the posts in true chronological order, do you still consider the #new that critical? Just asking so Robyn can arrange her priority list.

"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

MEANCHEF's picture

The accuracy of #new is very (post #68206, reply #7 of 77)

The accuracy of #new is very critical. Otherwise we will never get to be able to read unread messages without scrolling thru every post.

RDA's picture

Indeed, it's a bug: #new (post #68206, reply #14 of 77)

Indeed, it's a bug: #new works for me, doesn't work for you. It goes on the list. Thanks.

AnnL's picture

Mean wrote: Otherwise we (post #68206, reply #16 of 77)

Mean wrote: Otherwise we will never get to be able to read unread messages without scrolling thru every post.

If they can put the posts in true chronological order (which is MY most critical issue) then, that's not true. We just go to the bottom and read through to the end. I'm not experiencing the problem that you and others are with New but I still have to scroll through every blasted post to get to the new ones.

"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Napie's picture

Seems like too little too (post #68206, reply #8 of 77)

Seems like too little too late, a bunch of the CT old timers have left the reservation for greener pastures of their own making... So much for innovation.

RDA's picture

I'm not purposely ignoring (post #68206, reply #12 of 77)

I'm not purposely ignoring you, MEAN; your feedback goes into the pile along with everybody else's. But, as long as you live up to your name when responding to me, I'll shine a light on the folks who go out of their way to help all of us find ours and thank you for not purporting to know more about Taunton, CooksTalk, forums, what I choose to explore, how I should prepare for my meeting, etc. than I do. You are proof positive that no good deed goes unpunished. I’d appreciate it if, in the future, you’d refrain from talking down to me.


cyalexa's picture

Robyn, Thank you for the (post #68206, reply #3 of 77)


Thank you for the update. I am very happy to see that you are working on the chronologic order and "reply to" issues.


DJHinAZ's picture

Thanks, Robyn, for this (post #68206, reply #4 of 77)

Thanks, Robyn, for this summary. This was VERY helpful to me, since I hadn't seen all of the responses (or couldn't find them). I'm glad to hear you have similar experiences to us when trying to read through a thread.

I agree with everyone about also wanting to have the name of the person the post is replying to... that would add a LOT of meaning to the posts...

Again, thanks!

Gretchen's picture

I, for one, agree with Mean's (post #68206, reply #6 of 77)

I, for one, agree with Mean's assessment. Robyn's description is NOT what is happening for me. So be it nit picking or whatever, just because it works for some doesn't mean it works for others. Report your own bugs.
the reason "new" is important to me is if I open a thread and there are none, it is time wasted on it.

Yes, we want to read chronologically BUT what I would MOST like to see addressed is if old posts(that I have read) can be "hidden" for individual members so you read ONLY 'New posts to me"--or whatever they want to call it.

I appreciate Robyn giving us this update.

TracyK's picture

Did anyone disagree with (post #68206, reply #9 of 77)

Did anyone disagree with Mean's assessment? My only point was that "buggy" means "not working correctly and/or consistently," so to say "it's not just buggy, it's wrong" is redundant.

AnnL's picture

Tracy -- I disagreed with (post #68206, reply #15 of 77)

Tracy -- I disagreed with Mean's feeling of criticalness of the #New being accurate. IF they fix it so that the posts are truly chronological, I don't think it's that big a deal. Fix it, yes, but I'ld rather get the posts in chronological order first, then fix the editing. If they can't get true chronological order, then, yes, the #New should be a priority.

They can't fix everything at once, they need priorities.

"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

MEANCHEF's picture

I think it goes deeper than (post #68206, reply #20 of 77)

I think it goes deeper than that. The problem is that if the number of things (replies, messages etc ) is wrong in some or many places, you are forced to simply look at everything to find stuf you haven't read.

Example: In ipke there is a discussion called "Cat Problems"

If I click on recent topics the "cat problem" discussion is listed with 2 total replies and 1 new. In fact there are 16 replies and none new. When I click on "1new" it takes me to the original post. All of this just causes way too much wasted scrolling and groping.

AnnL's picture

Ah, apparently it all depends (post #68206, reply #22 of 77)

Ah, apparently it all depends on how you navigate the forum. I found the Recent Topics/Recent Replies to be useless. I have one IE Tab that is always on "Home",so I have all the folders in the center of my screen. Then, if I want to see what's in a folder, I click on it, opening it in a new window, so I have all the threads in the center of my screen. Doing it this way, all the #News have been accurate. And, I don't have to scroll, I just close the window or tab and I'm back at the list of folders. I HATED the scrolling and this makes it much easier, at least for me.

"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

MadMom's picture

Another problem is when (post #68206, reply #23 of 77)

Another problem is when someone replies to the original post. That is listed as 1 new. The original post never shows up as anything new. If you click on the new tab, you go to the first comment, but don't see the original post unless you scroll up.

ashleyd's picture

It does show when there are (post #68206, reply #10 of 77)

It does show when there are new posts in a thread (the equivalent of the old "With unread msgs"), so if the chronological issue is sorted they will all appear at the bottom of the thread and, if the current method of navigation is maintained, clicking on the "New" will take you to the first unread message. It is a minor irritation that threads with no new messages still appear, and that you can't hide (mark as low interest) threads which are likely to be of little interest, but I figure we'll get used to it.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Jean's picture

Yes, it's very important to (post #68206, reply #13 of 77)

Yes, it's very important to me to have the 'new' tags be accurate in the left hand column.. So far I've run across both errors--marked as new when I've read them, and unread messages that weren't marked that I stumbled across later.
I have the bad habit of reading everything but I don't want to have to read it twice.

One more thing--when we click on a hot link like my breast cancer site link it no longer seems to open in a new page and we have to use the back button to get back to the forum. I'm soo not used to doing that. Frustrating to get that disconnect every time.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
MadMom's picture

I totally agree about the (post #68206, reply #17 of 77)

I totally agree about the links opening on the current page, then having to use the back button. I'm afraid that people are going to stop clicking on them if that remains the case.

ashleyd's picture

Fortunately that's one of the (post #68206, reply #18 of 77)

Fortunately that's one of the easier fixes.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Florida2's picture

Thank you for the update (post #68206, reply #11 of 77)

Thank you for the update Robyn. And, please remember to change the orange color so older eyes can read it better.

Aberwacky's picture

Robyn, I wanted to commend (post #68206, reply #19 of 77)


I wanted to commend you for the professional way you've dealt with this. It's a difficult situation for you, I'm sure, and with the tone of some of the complaints, I appreciate that you are maintaining a positive tone and professional attitude.

If someone didn't know better, they might think CT is full of whiny change-haters, which I know is not the case. We are generally a group of thoughtful, intelligent people that come together because of our love of cooking. I'm confident that after we adjust to the change, and with improvements that I'm sure will come, we will go back to arguing about whether or not to put sugar in cornbread or tomato sauce, and will allow you to enjoy more peaceful days.

I for one still appreciate that Fine Cooking provides this forum to us, free of charge, and understand that you have to make changes from time to time to be able to continue to do it.

You would think, from the complaints we're posting, that we paid for it all personally, LOL.


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Carole4's picture

Very well said, Leigh. I (post #68206, reply #21 of 77)

Very well said, Leigh. I have been thinking of a way to say exactly what you just said. I know for a fact that Robyn dealt with Breaktime and she handled it quite well, so I know she will handle this one well. We all hate change, especially when it disrupts our usual routine! Having said that, the complaints are well founded and, I hope, will be taken care of.

kathymcmo's picture

What Leigh said is nice and I (post #68206, reply #24 of 77)

What Leigh said is nice and I have no quibble with that. But I really cannot abide hearing our collective reaction as being described anymore as "people hate change." What is being complained about is loss of function, not change per se. Yes the website looks different and that takes getting used to--for some, but that's beside the point.
The new format doesn't FUNCTION, that's the point. Complaining about the loss of function doesn't mean someone hates change. They hate the loss of function. And when the prior site functioned well, then that loss is significant.

The loss of function is why 100 percent (!) of the feedback on every forum has been exactly the same once the transition has been made, even though the demographics and usage of the sites varies quite a lot. That's an incredible thing, to have 100 percent agreement among such divergent groups.
End of rant.

Aberwacky's picture

Kathy, I appreciate the input (post #68206, reply #25 of 77)


I appreciate the input I've seen from you on these issues. However, what I'm seeing a lot of is the reaction to the change in format, not necessarily a loss of function.

No search? Loss of function. Not liking how the threads, well, thread? That's a change of format, not loss of function. Plenty of other forums use a similar format.

Most of the complaints that I've seen are about the changes in format (threading style, scrolling, etc.), not about a loss of function.

I think that saying the new format doesn't function is not accurate. Most of it functions, it just doesn't function the same way, or, perhaps, in a way that we're used to. Some of the functions are buggy, and that, no doubt, will be worked out. Do I prefer the new format? I'm not sure. It's different. I'm learning my way around. As I do, I'm not finding it as bad as I thought at first.

Functionally, we can still post threads. We can attach pictures. We can reply to people, post recipes, and chat (I, for one, like the indented threaded responses, although I think the orange must go).

Some issues are real, for sure (people not being able to log on, for example), but most have to do with how friendly we find it. I think that if this format were the one we first found CT on, we'd be used to it and would probably scream if they changed it to the prospero version.

Bottom line is that this forum does not belong to us, it belongs to Taunton. Until now, it's been operating at a loss, I'm sure, and the people using it (us) have more and more admittedly NOT been buying the magazine.

Why should they continue supporting a money-losing operation to satisfy a non-paying audience that spends a lot of it's time criticizing the magazine and the online avenue it supports?

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
kathymcmo's picture

I guess we'll just have to (post #68206, reply #26 of 77)

I guess we'll just have to disagree, Leigh. To me, not being able to filter threads anymore to indicate which ones are unread or which ones I've participated in is loss of a (well two actually) major functions. Not being able to ignore threads or clear threads once you've read them is a loss of function. Not being able to reply to a specific poster, or to everyone, is a loss of a function that we had. Not being able to have new posts identified as "new" is a lost function (albeit some posts are marked "new" but not reliably enough to trust because many more new ones are unmarked, so count that as partial function). Not being able to revert back directly from a reply to read the post that being replied to is a lost function. That's just a partial list of things we can no longer do that we used to be able to do. And so far, the number of things we're no longer able to do far outnumbers the new things we can do (like the slideshow way that Sally's Monday photos can display in). Some of the lost functions, IMHO, are dealbreakers, if they can't be restored, the forum loses its usefulness to me. Others I could adapt to if I was gaining some new functions.
As for why Taunton should care about this even though we don't pay a direct fee for the forum, I've answered that at length in other posts (can't for the life of me point you to them though!) We have no idea if this forum was losing money. We have no idea if the new format will make them money. But I do see a lot of revenue-generating ads here now, I know what I pay for the banner ads I book for my company, and I have learned quite a bit this past week about their staffing for the forums, so I doubt this is a deep money-pit for them. Bottom line is that the more they can differentiate this site from all the other options open to us for social media, the more traffic they can generate, and the more traffic they can generate, the more money they can make from selling ads.
To do that they need a functional site. They're not there yet. Hope they will be someday soon. But clearly, traffic is way down on this site the last week.

Carole4's picture

As one of my favorite artists (post #68206, reply #27 of 77)

As one of my favorite artists used to say, Change is blowin' in the wind. Change is hard, my friend, change is hard.

Florida2's picture

I have to disagree with you (post #68206, reply #28 of 77)

I have to disagree with you on this one Aberwacky. I've been on boards that changed their format, and the change was not disliked because it still functioned well and was still user friendly. Why anyone would have changed to old format to this one is unclear to me. Its very obvious to me that it functions less well, and is very much less readable.

I know I am having trouble reading for more than a handful of minutes. I cannot follow threads easily and my eyes are screaming because of the colors. Perhaps older eyes are having more of an issue with that than the younger ones.

As I've said before, I have been on several non-cooking boards, and all of them are superior to this one in function.

Gretchen's picture

Leigh says Functionally, we (post #68206, reply #29 of 77)

Leigh says Functionally, we can still post threads. We can attach pictures. We can reply to people, post recipes, and chat (I, for one, like the indented threaded responses, although I think the orange must go).

NO. We cannot navigate this new site in a way that is functionally "pleasant". There IS a difference.
I said much as you did. They can do with the site what they want. I don't have to stay, if it isn't user friendly to me, which for several very real/basic functions, itis not. The showing of ALL messages to sort through by scrolling is untenable in a chatty atmosphere as we have had. And not knowing to whom you are replying by some method of reference is also very helpful.
There are others.
You pretty much tar us with whiny wanting our own way people. OK . But even I don't have time to chase a lot of this stuff, and I'm not chasing kids and a job. If you like this, then it's great. I think Robyn is trying, but I'm not sure she is getting a lot of support from the folks that brought us this travesty of untested waters. Just a thought.
And I don't think we criticized the site before it went out to lunch. We ALL want to come back to it. We love it.

assibams's picture

My two biggest complaints (post #68206, reply #31 of 77)

My two biggest complaints right now are the missing topic bar that didn't move with the posts, and that all posts to a topic are showing up. The first complaint I try to 'outsmart' by opening a thread I want to read in a new tab. That way I can at least go back to where I started without scrolling.
The second is puzzling. Why do - even if I am logged in - all the previously read posts and comments show up? Why not only keep the first message (that would have been nice on the old format as well, sometimes the title is not enough), followed by unread replies? Just imagine the hassle if a thread gets huge like the 'Doodabug needs help' one!
I probably should have posted this in another thread so Robyn can access it directly.

Oh, and another thing: why does my tagline post twice? Annoying. Edit: I just saved the reply and there was only one tagline. Could it be that the tagline doubled on older posts only?

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright