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How do I get a more dense view of threads / posts

How can I get a more Classic Forum view, say just the Subject/Title, like an email client, where I can see 50 posts, perhaps 25 to the physical height of the screen?

Posting to main "Board" as there isn't a selection for "About Forum" or more appropriate venue.

Also no appropriate "Label"

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Before we get too excited about one change from the dozens needed - which was probably just a click in setup, as we've seen this arrangement elsewhere on the site already - let's discuss how could it be at least a bit closer to being actually usable:


Remove all marked items. There's absolutely no need for the "by", for "Posted in"; there's no use of the "social ranks" in the list of threads (which has confusing to inappropriate naming anyway). And there's no use of the sorting, either - sorting 10+ years' of threads by popularity or whatnot makes absolutely no sense.

Less unneeded things means more space for better layout. It also means less data to transfer, less memory consumption, overal faster operation.

Add what's acutely needed: number of posts in the thread, last contribution author and timestamp, and individual unread/read/contributed/new-contribution-since-last-read markings.

Add some sort of progress indicator for clicking on "Next" (and as everything else, test it on slow and intermittent connection, think bad signal wifi and rural 2nd/3rd world net).




Associate III

While I agree with some of your remarks, @waclawek.jan, I think removing the marked bits doesn't really save space in places where place is needed to fit more content. Or to put it maybe less convoluted: you're freeing up space by removing items that weren't competing for any space.

But those labels are important for people with sight impairment. I imagine a screen reader to just brush over everything and without the "by" and "Posted in" bits it all becomes a slush of abbreviations.

Regarding "what's actually needed", I agree, that data is useful, it does however not aid in getting more threads on one screen height, which was the demand here.

Removing the sorting is probably not viable, because I feel like the "sub forums" are more like filters in this forum software, meaning you will eventually break all the topics down far enough that it makes sense to sort not only by date.

But all in all, I think with all the shortcomings the forum software has, the most clever thing to do would be to migrate to an entirely different software that has all the modern features like (multi-)quoting, view options, and so on, but that's probably off the charts here.

Full agreement on the misleading rank namings, I am an "Associate III". As a German, my English lessons taught me that "associate of X" where X is a company means I'm in some way financially related to that company (STM, in this case), which I am not.

> doesn't really save space

On current monitors, you can fit all the needed information in 2 rows, increasing number of threads displayed at one screen's space even further. Placing related items into separate columns also increases the "ease" or "speed" of viewing threads (in the same way how removing the "first few lines" of posts did, by removing the noise).

Columns, and also other methods exist (font size/weight/color for example) to separate items visually further. The goal is to enhance readibility, "modern feel and look" is irrelevant - this again is something ST stubbornly refuses to acknowledge. See the hard-to-read grey used as basic font color in the editor and the individual posts.

There are examples out there in functional fora.

> all the shortcomings the forum software has,

Key issue is, that this is *not* a forum software, it was *not* written in fora in mind, it is *not* written by folks who actively do fora and probably the developers don't even use real fora actively. This is "Digital customer engagement platform" (to quote Khoros directly), just bent to sell it to ST and similar companies; and of course this shows.

> that has all the modern features

Those are *not* modern features; those are rudimentary features in real forum softwares. Internet fora have been around ever since internet, thus there are established sets of features and also folks around who know what features are needed. It's just that ST chose not to talk to them.

> misleading rank namings

In this regard, I've told ST exactly the same objection as yours, at the rollout, together with several more (e.g. "Evangelist" has religional connotations I don't like, slightly so does the new "Guru" too).



PS. And yes, I've noticed the enlarged default edit window size as per requests back then, lazy to look up the thread; but it's such a rudimentary requirement that I don't consider it worth praising.


Associate III

Okay so you'd put

(Avatar) by username · Rank


Timestamp | Posted in Forum name

in one line, then then try to shorten that by getting rid of the "by", the rank, and the "Posted in".

I agree this could be put into one line. I would still keep the "posted in", or at least "in". The combination of "avatar next to username" is probably common enough to be understood without the "by".

The rank is totally irrelevant in the overview. Even if the ranks were named indisputably accurate, I'm not sure what use the rank has. What does it tell me if a question is by a "high" rank, what does it tell me if an answer is by a "low" rank? I don't think the listing should inflate or diminish the value of any contribution based on the poster's rank.

So a shortened version would look like this:

(Avatar) username | Timestamp | In Forum name

This cannot be achieved through CSS to my knowledge (I can force the lower line on the same vertical position as the top line, causing it to overlay; but the variable length of the username means I can't horizontally position its content correctly to not collide).

So a userstyle is out of question, I think. It is something that can be done with a userscript, though. I could easily make one that does that. Are you interested?

Want to see who posted last.

Who opened the thread is less relevant, the summary/title should be sufficient. They will be listed as last in initial iteration. 

I thought this was "modern" it's just not very good.

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Associate III

@Tesla DeLorean Oh you're right, even when sorted by "Most recent" the user and timestamp shown aren't for the post that determines the order, but from the original post that may date months back. Didn't even notice that so far. That's... actually really unhelpful.

Well, a userscript can in theory crawl a topic and find author and time of the latest post. But a script that does this needs careful caching of such data, or else merely browsing the forum could accumulate a lot of traffic over time.

It can definitely be done, and if done correctly, it wouldn't even cause a lot of server traffic after the first few minutes of browsing have cached the status quo once. But it's certainly not nearly as simple to get to work as reordering the information that's already there. Might be worth a shot for a weekend project, though.

(Edit: that is to say - unless ST wants to provide this function themselves, which is definitely easier on the database servers. But so far it appears to me like the more experienced users don't have too much hope for such changes being made any time soon.)

> I thought this was "modern"


It is because this is not a forum software, but a "user experience fulfillment platform" (quoted from Khoros).

If you think of it, most "fulfillment" consists of a simple exchange of two, maybe three posts between one customer and some of the company's representative. Under that scenario, name of the original poster (i.e. customer) is the primary information to be displayed all the time.

So, it's not modern, it's just one of the telltales that this is not a proper forum software, it's not written by people who know what is forum software, and those people don't use it as a forum software themselves.