Done! Prefixes - a new way to sort and identify threads

A suggestion that has been implemented and is available

ploverwing

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There have been quite a few conversations about "how can we organize stuff better?" on various themes and topics, in various boards (the most recent obvious one is to do with strings). Tags have been misused and are worthless as at this moment in time (possibly fixable eventually but not fast). Searching is, as you all know, somewhat lacking in grace and with variable success. We mod squad have been ruminating on various ideas, and decided today to implement a fairly "quick fix" approach: prefixes in some of the other boards.

Uke Talk has the most possible Prefix labels so far (thanks to Tim):

Strings
New Uke Day (NUD)
Low G
8-string

but I also added "Strings" prefix to Buying Tips and Uke Tech Support, too, since both of those boards have a lot of string threads. I've blasted through a handful of threads on a few boards adding the "strings" prefix, so you can get an idea of what we mean.

A cool feature about using this prefix system is that you can sort threads by prefix! That's right! Mind blown! 🤯

For example (since it's had the adoption of the use of prefixes most thoroughly), if you go into the Marketplace forum, and click on the prefix "Price Reduction", you'll see all of the posts that have that prefix applied. This is one tool to improve searching (although if you're really stuck, I cannot emphasize enough using a proper search engine with sites:forum.ukuleleunderground.com in the search bar, plus quotes around your search term, it works wonders for so many things), but of course, that's still a backlog item to improve the built in search tool generally (we've not forgotten!).

As with all of our implementations, we want your feedback. Is this cool? Is it too much? Is it not enough? We don't want to get completely out of control, but if you have ideas for other prefixes in any of the boards, let us know. We might not use them, but we might.

So if you'd like to start utilizing these prefixes, please do! If you have an existing thread that you'd like to prepend a prefix to, please do! If there's a really vital string related thread that you didn't start but you feel it's important to be flagged as such, just report it, and I'll pop over and add the "String" prefix.

Cheers!
 
Uke Talk has the most possible Prefix labels so far (thanks to Tim):

Strings
New Uke Day (NUD)
Low G
8-string

Strings is strings, and I'm not convinced that anything we do will ever be enough 🤣 but better to light a single candle, etc.

There's a reason I chose the other three prefix labels. Our forum platform's search engine ignores anything three characters or less. (Pretty typical for other non-forum platforms, too.) That means you can't actually search for "low G" and find anything. You can't search for NUD. You can't search for 8 string. Well you can 🙂 but you won't get anything good, because it ignores the 8, and there aren't many meaningful results for "eight string".

As @ploverwing notes, these aren't just labels. They're also BUTTONS. Click one and you'll see what we mean! It's a one-click sorter! We're just getting started with the new prefixes, so give us time to label more threads to provide more results when you click 'em...

...but the main thing is, play with these! What other search terms have frustrated you? Which other forums could use a label or a bunch of them?

One I'd wondered about is whether it would be good to have a label for the Seasonistas to tag original compositions? I love covers and have no intention of ever trying to write a song, so this particular bit of magic should be celebrated, no?

Just an idea, but that is indeed the idea: think of some stuff and let's see what we can do!
 
There have been quite a few conversations about "how can we organize stuff better?" on various themes and topics, in various boards (the most recent obvious one is to do with strings). Tags have been misused and are worthless as at this moment in time (possibly fixable eventually but not fast). Searching is, as you all know, somewhat lacking in grace and with variable success. We mod squad have been ruminating on various ideas, and decided today to implement a fairly "quick fix" approach: prefixes in some of the other boards.

Uke Talk has the most possible Prefix labels so far (thanks to Tim):

Strings
New Uke Day (NUD)
Low G
8-string

but I also added "Strings" prefix to Buying Tips and Uke Tech Support, too, since both of those boards have a lot of string threads. I've blasted through a handful of threads on a few boards adding the "strings" prefix, so you can get an idea of what we mean.

A cool feature about using this prefix system is that you can sort threads by prefix! That's right! Mind blown! 🤯

For example (since it's had the adoption of the use of prefixes most thoroughly), if you go into the Marketplace forum, and click on the prefix "Price Reduction", you'll see all of the posts that have that prefix applied. This is one tool to improve searching (although if you're really stuck, I cannot emphasize enough using a proper search engine with sites:forum.ukuleleunderground.com in the search bar, plus quotes around your search term, it works wonders for so many things), but of course, that's still a backlog item to improve the built in search tool generally (we've not forgotten!).

As with all of our implementations, we want your feedback. Is this cool? Is it too much? Is it not enough? We don't want to get completely out of control, but if you have ideas for other prefixes in any of the boards, let us know. We might not use them, but we might.

So if you'd like to start utilizing these prefixes, please do! If you have an existing thread that you'd like to prepend a prefix to, please do! If there's a really vital string related thread that you didn't start but you feel it's important to be flagged as such, just report it, and I'll pop over and add the "String" prefix.

Cheers!
This is a great idea, thanks guys!
 
How about a tag to be able to sort by uke scale? Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Alto, Soprano, Other
 
How about a tag to be able to sort by uke scale? Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Alto, Soprano, Other
That's a good suggestion too. We don't want to overwhelm everyone with too many labels, but it's definitely a reasonable suggestion.
 
Can multiple labels [within reason, 2-3] be used?
Edit: Or have the search function be able to search the filter selection, ie., filter = strings; search engine = baritone == displays posts id-ed for baritone strings.
 
Last edited:
Can multiple labels [within reason, 2-3] be used?
Edit: Or have the search function be able to search the filter selection, ie., filter = strings; search engine = baritone == displays posts id-ed for baritone strings.
The improvement of search is high on our list, the prefix option is a quick "solution". For now I think it's one at a time but I'll do some research when I've got a moment.
 
The improvement of search is high on our list, the prefix option is a quick "solution". For now I think it's one at a time but I'll do some research when I've got a moment.
With full respect for the workload you have taken on, I'd take on a personal 'short term' solution by just learning how to use the current Search feature! To wit: is there a tutorial "somewhere" that describes any of the condition search capabilities or hierarchies? Provide me with the link and I'll mess about to learn how it 'might' work. ... for at least some of the basic built in functions. Don't take too much time to locate -if not obvious, say so, and I'll continue to be patient !! : -)
 
With full respect for the workload you have taken on, I'd take on a personal 'short term' solution by just learning how to use the current Search feature! To wit: is there a tutorial "somewhere" that describes any of the condition search capabilities or hierarchies? Provide me with the link and I'll mess about to learn how it 'might' work. ... for at least some of the basic built in functions. Don't take too much time to locate -if not obvious, say so, and I'll continue to be patient !! : -)
It's a very limited search tool built into the forum and not yet do we have how to documentation (definitely on my list!!)

Best suggestion: Go to google (or search engine of choice) and use sites:forum.ukuleleunderground.com after your search so it looks something like:

"baritone strings" sites:forum.ukuleleunderground.com
 
I learned how to do something new. Your example above is just what I needed.
Thanks
 
For now I think it's one at a time

Definitely one at a time, sorry!

How about a tag to be able to sort by uke scale? Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Alto, Soprano, Other

Doable, but for now, those terms are all easily searchable. We intentionally started with terms that can't be found any other way, as in Low G.

The thing I like about this idea though is that some people do indeed have size preferences, so why not highlight 'em?

Note, though, that there are literally tens of thousands of threads for each of these sizes (think I'm kidding? I'm not), so it's not reasonable to ask even a large group of volunteers to take this on... and we don't currently have such a thing. 🤣

So when I do get around to adding these, and I will, please don't expect us to go too far back adding them to existing threads! It will be for threads going forward. Search can pick up the older ones. ☺️
 
Is it possible to go back to a thread I started and ad a prefix? For example, strings?
 
Is it possible to go back to a thread I started and ad a prefix? For example, strings?
I think the original poster can edit their own thread. I'm not at my laptop so this isn't a great how to, but there should be a ... near the right hand corner at the top of the thread. If you click on that, choose Edit Post. If it's in a board that has prefixes enabled, you can change "no prefix" to the preferred prefix (e.g. strings) beside the title of the thread.
 
Thank you for all your work, you guys are amazing.

Related question: If I put the search term, or part of it, in quotes, i.e. Koaloha “8 string” does that work?
 
Related question: If I put the search term, or part of it, in quotes, i.e. Koaloha “8 string” does that work?

The technical answer is that any search term that's three characters or less gets ignored, even if it's in quotes or part of a hyphenated term. That said, if somebody has talked about 8-string ukuleles recently, you'll get a couple of results because of "string", which is the case if you try that search now...but if they haven't, you won't.

This is also why "Low G" won't return anything useful except by accident. Neither "low" nor "G" meets the minimum threshold.

This is pretty typical for search engines that aren't actually Google or Bing or similar. Wordpress, for example, has the same three-character threshold. That's why Amie's suggestion in post #9 up above to use Google to search the forum works: they'll turn up things that our search engine can't, and that is indeed how we're finding threads for 8-string and Low G to label!
 
The technical answer is that any search term that's three characters or less gets ignored, even if it's in quotes or part of a hyphenated term. That said, if somebody has talked about 8-string ukuleles recently, you'll get a couple of results because of "string", which is the case if you try that search now...but if they haven't, you won't.

This is also why "Low G" won't return anything useful except by accident. Neither "low" nor "G" meets the minimum threshold.

This is pretty typical for search engines that aren't actually Google or Bing or similar. Wordpress, for example, has the same three-character threshold. That's why Amie's suggestion in post #9 up above to use Google to search the forum works: they'll turn up things that our search engine can't, and that is indeed how we're finding threads for 8-string and Low G to label!
Thanks. Too bad, but yes, when I’m serious about finding something on here, I too use Google. I’m going to have to try Bing, too.
 
From a functionality and design point of view I have a few questions and some observations/suggestions. Also, let me apologize in advance if I get terminology wrong. First the questions
  1. What is your goal with prefixes? Is it primarily to help find related threads in a forum (sub-forum) or is it primarily to find threads that are scattered across sub-forums?
  2. What is your conop? Do you want the OP to assign a label or are the mods going to do it, and in either case are mods going to curate prefixes? Are mods going to assign prefixes to past threads?
The answer to the first question could well be different for different prefixes, but I think it is worth thinking about whether some or all prefixes should be forum specific. If NUD belongs in Uke Talk, then perhaps it could be a prefix possibility only in that forum. Strings might be a broad enough prefix that it makes sense to have it in multiple forums, but still not all of them. I expect that a luthier's discussion, a beginner's dicussion and a more general Uke Talk discussion might be very different, but all be focused on the topic of strings. I presume that OPs and mods will use prefixes differently, and it is worth thinking through a few scenarios for each of them.

I appreciate that you are discussing the issue broadly, but prefixes need to be chosen carefully by the mods. If they proliferate too wildy or are chosen freestyle you will be back to the labels problem very quickly. I think of a prefix as the main topic of a thread, particularly since you only get one prefix. For that reason, it strikes me that strings and NUD are more topical prefixes than Low G, 8 string, soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone. While I can imagine a thread whose main topic is 8 strings in general (or Low G, soprano, concert, ...), aren't those things more often descriptors or qualifiers? For instance about low G strings or low G arrangments, or how low G works on a soprano, I get the part about creating prefixes for things that the search engine rejects, so perhaps those are special cases.
 
First, thanks for your thoughtful reply! These are all great questions! The RIGHT questions.

What is your goal with prefixes? Is it primarily to help find related threads in a forum (sub-forum) or is it primarily to find threads that are scattered across sub-forums?

Within forums, primarily because that's a limit of how it works. 🙂

Do you want the OP to assign a label or are the mods going to do it,

In the marketplace, we require the OP to add a prefix. We didn't go back to add any, so every now and again, an old one will resurface without a prefix. When that happens, we add one.

I'm especially fond of the Price Drop prefix. I don't know about you, but wherever I shop, whether locally or online, I start by looking at the stuff that's reduced. 🙂 Not everybody remembers to edit their thread when they drop the price, so I keep a particular eye out for that condition, and I'm always happy to make that change myself.

I think it is worth thinking about whether some or all prefixes should be forum specific.

They all are forum-specific by design. That is, by Xenforo's design, rather than ours... but it works out about the same either way. For example, the Price Drop prefix makes no sense outside the Marketplace. Likewise in this particular forum, something like In Progress is a good message to send, but doesn't really make sense anywhere else at UU.


For that reason, it strikes me that strings and NUD are more topical prefixes than Low G, 8 string, soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone.
Low G, 8-string, and NUD were chosen because those are impossible to search. As noted in this thread end elsewhere, anything below four characters is simply ignored by our search engine, so any short terms cannot be searched but our search engine. They CAN be summoned by prefixes, though.

Strings struck us as useful because the people who feel strongly about strings keep asking about having their own forum, but when we put it to vote in the community at large, it keeps getting shut down. There's no denying that the community as a whole wants those conversations kept in the Uke Talk forum. A prefix seemed a way to reconcile the two impulses, to keep those conversations in Uke Talk, but to summon them by thread.

This is a big deal, because searching for "strings" returns the individual posts, rather than the threads -- functionally returning more results than is actually useful! Clicking on the prefix bead just brings up the threads, which is actually much more helpful.

One thing holding me back on adding the prefixes for the sizes is, as you observe, I'm not exactly sure what it will improve. Those terms are all easily searchable and say somebody only wants to read about baritone or soprano ukuleles in every subforum, it's super easy to do that with search as currently configured.

That's not to say that I'm unwilling to add them. Just that I'm deprioritizing it while I'm trying to figure out what the goal is. 🙂

I think of a prefix as the main topic of a thread, particularly since you only get one prefix.

That's one reason why size-related prefixes won't show up in the Marketplace. It's easy enough to search for any size you want, or to see it a glance, whereas the other prefixes (sale, trade, price drop, no longer available, etc) are all more relevant and otherwise not as easy to pull up.

btw, nobody at XenForo has said, "We got this idea from Reddit", but I'm pretty sure that they got the idea from Reddit. There, they call it "flair", which I'm all but certain is from the movie Office Space (an all-time classic, imo!), and I think it works better there. For one, you can assign more than one piece of flair (beaded prefix widget thingies) to a given post, and often, it's the combination that's the thing. (Think "soprano" + "Low G" as an example for our community.)

Most reddits (what we'd call subforums) also display them in a sidebar, so that you can see all the options all the time, and can even call them up from the sidebar. This is helpful for when a topic can't be called up via search (say, NUD), but isn't quite frequent enough that it's showing on every page. I don't know of a way to get to it! So really, I feel like the feature set is incomplete at XenForo...noting that it may also be more feature-complete than I'm aware of! LOL I'm still learning some of the deeper nuances too!

The thing is, I can see where there might be other forums and topics that are worth pulling up with prefixes, and I don't think for a minute that we've come up with 100% of what might be useful in the forums where we're using them. So I really am up for talking about this, and am open to considering pretty much anything that might be amusing even if not exactly useful, because fun for its own sake is kinda what we do here. 🤣

Thanks again!
 
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