Closed Where did the "Members" tab go (was: Members)

EDW

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Did the section for "members" where you could look up people disappear or is it hidden somewhere? I don't see it. If it is gone that is probably ok, since there was a massive number of people, many who have not been on the board in ages
 
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If it is gone that is probably ok, since there was a massive number of people, many who have not been on the board in ages

That's it exactly. You want to take a guess how many members are in the database?

Guess higher.

Higher.

The answer: just over 160,000!!! 160,084 to be exact. Too big to manage as a raw list, and it was also a bit of a mess to search.

That's not to say that we couldn't put it back if lots of people were using it, but in looking at site statistics, that honestly didn't seem to be the case at all.

The thing I DO use, and I check it multiple times a day, is on the front page, the box on the right side showing who's online now. I drew a little arrow to point to the number of actual members online, which is 32. That's about what I expect to see most of the time. A lot more folks who aren't logged in for sure, which is also what I expect to see. (Typically about 2-to-1.)

ppl.JPG

Goodness knows that I really, really want to grow our membership, but that also suggests that the Members tab in the menu might even become less useful over time as it continues to grow!

I'm up for considering anything. Now that I've cleaned up some menu items that nobody has mentioned missing yet, and I'll bet you an everything bagel that nobody ever will, the fact is that we've got room for it...but I dunno. I think that that feature was designed for forums with either fewer members overall, or a member database that wasn't 15 years old.

Looking at generally 30-ish members online at a time, I'm thinking that our most active membership might be closer to 1000? Just a guess, but that's considerably less than one percent of the total, right? So a database that's 99.4% out of date isn't really worth exposing in the menus as if it were actually useful. That was my thinking, anyway.

Having said this, I wonder if there's a way to ONLY include people who've logged in during the past, say, year, maybe two. That might make it kinda useful...but I don't know if it's possible. And I certainly don't mean to cast any shade at people who've moved on for whatever reason, or who have every intention of coming back next year or something.

Just thinking aloud if there's any way to make this work, because I LIKE us, and being able to find each other is GOOD. That menu wasn't the best way, at least as it was configured.

I'm rambling now, but that's where I'm at. Nothing's written in stone, other than my assessment that menu as configured wasn't as helpful as it should be. Could it be? I'll try to figure that out!

Any thoughts as you read this? I'm always up for talking about anything. 😁

Mahalo,
Tim
Mod
 
Having said this, I wonder if there's a way to ONLY include people who've logged in during the past, say, year, maybe two. That might make it kinda useful...but I don't know if it's possible. And I certainly don't mean to cast any shade at people who've moved on for whatever reason, or who have every intention of coming back next year or something.
Yeah perhaps. I knew it was massive.

It can be handy, but maybe not essential
 
I've been on this forum since late 2013 and never thought of seeing a list of all the members. I think I may have looked at who's on now maybe two or three times as well.
 
I'm looking at some of the settings beyond the defaults, and I'm seeing a few ways to improve it...but I'm still not sure how to clear out the names of people who may have left years ago. Not that their posts aren't still helpful to all of us, but just in terms of making that one menu a little more useful.

I'll let you know if I come up with anything, and always happy to hear more ideas!

thx,
tw
 
I have no need now, likely ever, to need a list like this. Perhaps a dialogue with the OP might be better than trying to put in a lot of work for little payoff. There are probably other greater needs (maybe 160k?) that could use your efforts.
 
I've used forum member lists in the past but never in one with 160k members. Even then the feature was more a nice to have rather than a necessity. More a way to satisfy my curiosity than a way to get in touch with members.
 
The thing I DO use, and I check it multiple times a day, is on the front page, the box on the right side showing who's online now.
I don’ see this. Went to home page (is that what you mean by “front page”!) and can’t find it.
 
I suggested this a while back in the site suggestions thread and I think it's on the list of things to look at. So, apologies for repeating it but: A small floating live text chat box could help forum members communicate with each other real time. This was the case years ago on the MacJams forum. A "live" text chat box floated off to one side of the homepage and it became like a hang out that resulted in a bunch of collaborations, tips, sharing of knowledge, etc. I was active on MacJams both before and after the chat was added and it was night and day difference with the live chat in terms of activity. Friday nights were particularly fun. 🥳 I hope you staffer types can add it to your short list to try for a bit and see if it adds value to the users experience? And, again, thank you for all your efforts to make this a great community and ukulele forum.
 
I suggested this a while back in the site suggestions thread and I think it's on the list of things to look at.
Suggestion thread is here:

It's a lot easier to track if we keep each suggestion in its own thread. This one's on the todo list but non-trivial so it may be a while.
 
If you remove names of people who haven't participated/posted in two years or so, will an unintended consequence be that their past posts will disappear?

I'm thinking this is a solution in search of a problem.
 
Erasing the posts would have to be done deliberately.

I’m just handwaving here, but we’d probably leave the users in the database and limit the search presented in the UI, so no disconnection. Even if we wiped the users, the posts would remain from “unknown user” or something like that.

I'm thinking this is a solution in search of a problem.
Ditto. Unless somebody presents a compelling use case for this there are many things I’d prioritize first.

My read on this thread is that it’s more curiosity about where it went than people missing something they used often
 
My read on this thread is that it’s more curiosity about where it went than people missing something they used often

Agreed. There are a bunch of other generally weird aspects to the Members that I've seen in other forums (including the home forum for XenForo devs). One of my least favorite was a list of bots currently online. "Ooooookay, so there's 2 Google bots, 3 Bing bots, 2 from Amazon, and 6 for Brandsearch." That's pretty low-grade information, and for our particular forum, not at all germane.

There's also a whole panel for viewing Guests....who are by definition anonymous, so there's really not much to say. Here's a (gently redacted by me) screenshot from the XF forum to tell you what I mean.

guests.JPG

Uhm, so I've learned that some of the anonymous guests are looking at...stuff? And others of them are looking at unknown...stuff?

The thing is, XenForo, or any other platform developer, creates a bunch of features that fit with a variety of use cases. Imagine if this was a forum for people who do photography, drawing, painting, and artsy kinds of video. Well for THOSE folks, a bunch of easy tools to create standalone galleries where people could comment would be a nifty thing. That's not us.

I mean, I guess we theoretically COULD create a bunch of galleries of instruments on member profiles if people thought that would be fun, but as it is, the "galleries" feature as it was configured in the old Members section only included screenshots and other uploaded files that all make perfect sense in the context of the posts they're associated with, but that context was entirely missing! There was no way to see the post that the image should be associated with! Turning these "galleries" into piles of uncurated junk that I think most people didn't even know was visible to the world from their member profile pages!

There's an engineering term I've always liked, called "signal-to-noise ratio". You kind of know exactly what it means just by looking, right? Well, the Members page as it was configured was wall-to-wall noise, with virtually no signal.

You know what it didn't have? A very good member directory, and as far I can see from other sites who've set them up, no real way to opt out. If you have a public member directory, you need a way for non-public members to opt out.

That is, if you've posted, you're a public person. People can find your profile by clicking on your name or avatar next to your post...but somebody who wants to join mostly to control their feeds and enable preferences for watched forums, ignored threads and such rather than post, may not be inclined to have other people know that they're here. That should be an option!

So I'm not saying that there's no feature set to be built around who our members are and what they're doing. I'm open to considering anything. But I can say without hesitation that I didn't see anything worth the effort to salvage from the default configuration of Members, and most of the things that I'd want to see there aren't even an option.

Having it up there in the top nav right next to the Forums link suggested that it was something worthy of that much esteem. It just wasn't, and I didn't see anything short of building the feature set from scratch getting us there. Better to remove an entirely unfinished junk feature (for US, as configured, or not configured) rather than treating it like something important, I think.

Again, I'm not opposed to showing something of an aggregate view of our members of some sort, but I can't articulate an especially worthy goal for a handful of volunteers to tackle, relative to the value of fulfilling requests for things like dark mode and chat that are potentially going to offer a lot more options for everyone. :)

Once again, more of an answer than I think most people are looking for, but that's a little more context.
 
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btw, having said ALL THAT, I swear, I'd LOVE to hear from anyone who was using and enjoying Members for anything at all, no matter how arcane. PM me! Tell me what you miss, and let's see if we can't find a good way to implement it!

I'll note in the meantime that in the period where I was investigating this feature, our (admittedly incomplete) analytics suggested that I was the only one who touched those pages. Regardless, I'm not here to take anyone's favorite toys away! I'm just trying to find the balance between getting existing features that people clearly are using to work their best, and to answer some pressing member requests for new features. Getting some busted ones out of the way helps, but "better" is the goal. What can we do better for you?

So please PM me if you want to talk about this, or anything else!
 
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