User Forum is Terrible

  • Today is not the first time I've had problems with the SQL Server Central forums since they were changed (not sure how long its been).   The new/current view is like a dumbed down view of a more complex user forum. There also is no FAQ or HOW-TO for the forum at least not that i can easily find on the forums page itself and I did do a Ctl+F and searched the page just to make sure I was not over looking the links to these.

    I love the website and have been using it for over a decade but the current software,format, system (whatever you want to call it) for the user forums is just terrible.  It looks like a User Forums Lite.  Its fine if you just want to post something but if you need to find something or get help on how to use the forums, good luck. There are also a number of missing features that according to older posts are supposedly here but I can;t find them like My Recent posts. According to an old post the Recnet poast are ..

    Recent posts - When in the forum pane, upper left is "Control Panel". They're in there.

    But I can;t find any such Control panel and that post, due to its age, may be referring to an older iteration of the user forums and thus no longer applies but there's no way to know because there's nothing in that post to indicate version or anything else that would let one know if its applicable to the current user forum.

    If there is a User help, FAQ or How-To for the forums its not easily located and thus might as well not exist.  I love the site but the user forum is very anti-user IMO.

    Kindest Regards,

    Just say No to Facebook!
  • Your recent posts can be found here. Just clicking on your name takes you to the right place.

    As far as I remember, there has never been an FAQ area (not that this wouldn't be a good idea).

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.
    See https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/forum-etiquette-how-to-post-datacode-on-a-forum-to-get-the-best-help/ for details of how to post T-SQL code-related questions.

  • It's ironic that the best forums on SQL Server in the world are also the worst.  I've given up on making suggestions.  If it were the usability of the forums that was the only thing keeping me here, I'd have left in the first raft of changes they made nearly a decade ago.  And, yeah, it's gotten progressively worse and here we are today.

    The only thing that keeps  me here is the quality of most of the community that frequents these forums.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • I'm sorry you find these hard to use. We've adopted different choices for software over the years, so old posts might reference things that no long exist. It's not practical to go edit old posts.

    There isn't a user manual, which is something I've seen go missing in recent years for a number of forum software choices. It might be something worth creating. I'll see if I can start to put something together that makes sense.

    For every complaint, like Jeff's, I find lots of praise. No software is going to please everyone. That's certainly true of the different types/flavors of forums I've been on. Someone always dislikes how things work. I don't think this is that user unfreindly, but you are welcome to give specific items that you don't understand or don't work for you. Not saying we promise to address them, but we do read the complaints and suggestions.

    What you listed above is a specific complaint, but not very well described. No URL of where you got information, and what you wrote is somewhat rambling for me to read.

    Most of the forum data for your account is in your profile. This is in the upper right, your account name at the top of the page (YSLGuru), click the down arrow and select Profile. You can see your topics, replies, etc. there.

  • So why did the "new" forum software suddenly quadruple-space old posts?  Why does the new forum software not even come close to the right color coding of SQL code especially when you use something like the word "don't" in a comment in the code.  And who is giving you all this praise?  I'm thinking that it's not most of the posters.  I know a lot of them and and a lot of them have said they won't even bother anymore because the forums are so bloody difficult to use compared to what they used to be.

    I love the people on these forums but these forums are proof positive that "Change is inevitable... change for the better is NOT".  Take off your rose colored glasses and put your self in our place because even this great community has lost a shedload of people because of the changes.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • The formatting of lines was a render issue. Old coding v new coding, and it took time to fix. Despite what you see here, this isn't a high priority item for my employer. It falls below other changes, and that change falls way below some other bugs. It's a bug, it happens and every system I've ever worked on that had data migrations has issues. I know this was a big one for you, Jeff, but it wasn't a big one in my eyes.

    The color coding is surprisingly complex, and SSMS does some weird things. It's part of the reason MS has struggled to update it (and the break coloring at times, too), and why ADS and other clients have struggled. Again, for most of our users, that color coding isn't a big deal. I know it is for you and some others, but that's your view.

    Plenty of users, not heavy posters, though some of them, but regular users like the spread out cleaner format. I've listened to them complain about other views that some long time users preferred. UX is a very personal thing, it's also not my area. I prefer the oldest forums for many things, but we made a decision on changing this for a variety of reasons.

    Not better is your opinion. I find this a wash. Some things are way better, some are way worse for me.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor wrote:

    The formatting of lines was a render issue. Old coding v new coding, and it took time to fix. Despite what you see here, this isn't a high priority item for my employer. It falls below other changes, and that change falls way below some other bugs. It's a bug, it happens and every system I've ever worked on that had data migrations has issues. I know this was a big one for you, Jeff, but it wasn't a big one in my eyes.

    The color coding is surprisingly complex, and SSMS does some weird things. It's part of the reason MS has struggled to update it (and the break coloring at times, too), and why ADS and other clients have struggled. Again, for most of our users, that color coding isn't a big deal. I know it is for you and some others, but that's your view.

    Plenty of users, not heavy posters, though some of them, but regular users like the spread out cleaner format. I've listened to them complain about other views that some long time users preferred. UX is a very personal thing, it's also not my area. I prefer the oldest forums for many things, but we made a decision on changing this for a variety of reasons.

    Not better is your opinion. I find this a wash. Some things are way better, some are way worse for me.

    Then eliminate the color coding.  Go "All Black"  for code.  That would be better than doing it wrong.  But the "color" isn't the only problem with the code windows.  Trade the time and coding effort removed by going "All Black" with some intelligent control over line spacing so that we don't end up with quadruple or even unwanted double spacing.  Also, make the code windows so that you don't have to scroll to the bottom of a really long bit of code just to get to the horizontal scroll bar.

    And, yeah... I agree... apparently this isn't important to your employers but it damned well should be because they've lost a lot of followers that have a heavy purchasing and recommendation influence.  I've previously told that that I've had a couple of people balk at my recommendations to use some of RedGate's tools and their reason was that RedGate can't even manage the code on the website so why should they trust them to manage their real code?

    Of course, you've also stated that you've gotten "more" people and recommendations than you've lost but I'd love to know what crystal ball to look in to find the lost business that has occurred by the unrecorded and untraceable rejections such as those that I've described.

     

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Steve,

    I did not provide any specifics like a link to the exact post because it was meant as an example of a bigger problem and not a specific instance to correct.  The quality of information and feedback on this site is top notch IMO; it's the non-user friendly interface to the user forums that is the problem.  I know now thanks to Phil Parkin where I can find My Recent Posts but for anyone who does not already know how to do something like this the forums is not structured in a way that makes it easy to find the answer short of posting a request for help.

    I checked my profile tab and it never occurred to me that Topics Started is the forums version of My Recent Posts.  It would be a little more clear if this were part of the forums page itself since one would assume that anything on the forums page is for forums use.  No 2 sites that I use have identical forum structures but most do follow a common theme so that its users, especially newer ones and ones that don't use the forums often are easily able to find what they need with a little exploration.  At the very minimum they have an FAQ or How-To section on the forums for users to reference.

    The way the forum is setup here its as if its for the regulars only, those who know the in and outs of how to use it and thus need no help. That's fine if you are a regular but its frustrating for the rest of us.  In addition to the Recnet Posts I was unable to find a way to delete a post and I have no idea if its because the forum does not support deletion of posts or if its just buried somewhere else like my recent posts is.

    Forums need to have an easy to understand structure that follows a similar layout or pattern to most forums so that there is little to no learning curve for basic use of the forum.  If the software being used for the forums does not allow for common features like My Recent Posts and or support a means to provide a more common layout then at the very bare minimum it needs some kind of FAQ or How-To section. Not an old post or set of posts within some other section of the forum that provide tips on how to use the forums but a section all of its own. That would provide a central place for basic information and an easier means to keep that information  up to date.

    In summary, when someone is on the SQLServerCentral.com forums and they can't figure out how to do something they should be able to hit Ctl+F and find that help either via FAQ or How-To.

     

    Kindest Regards,

    Just say No to Facebook!
  • How do we search the forums?

    I went to the Search box at the top and it gives you the choice of all the other post types on the site except Forum and searching everything does not search the forum.

    If we could easily search the forum you'd probably get less repeated questions.

    Maybe time for a change of forum software again?

  • Is it me? Do you not see Forums in the drop down?

    2020-05-12 07_21_09-You searched for sequence – SQLServerCentral

  • I see this:

    2020-05-12_08-35-02

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.
    See https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/forum-etiquette-how-to-post-datacode-on-a-forum-to-get-the-best-help/ for details of how to post T-SQL code-related questions.

  • OK, clearly something is wrong then. I'll check and see why the forum search doesn't show up.

  • Thanks. I see what Phil sees.

  • OK, I chatted with the dev. This was supposed to be deployed, but somehow never was. It's live, but only for admins.

    Should go out later today or tomorrow.

  • Any chance that's not the only thing that's available to Admins but no one else? That could help explain why regular users have problems with the forums functionality while the admins seemingly do not feel the same.

    I'm trying to understand how such an incredible site with some very talented people and amazing users can have a user forum that feels like a huge step backwards from the user forums norm. I personally have had issues with the forums functionality on more then one occasion but have opted to not say anything until now because I thought it was just me. Jeff Modens reply shows me that its not just me and I can't help but believe we're not the only ones.

    I don't know if Red-gates involvement has any impact on this but I do know that at some point in the past the user forums were just as easy to use and reliable as any other websites. Why did the forums have to change, why did we have to take several steps backwards?

    At my previous job we changed support tracking software a few years back switching from something reliable and easy to use that was not free to something made by Microsoft that was free to use because of our subscription with Microsoft. It was marketed to employees as being just as good as what we previously used.  It was terrible, trash-ware, and we all knew and management knew it but because within the corporate world out spoken stances on software like this are seen as "not being a team player" everyone was required to use it, smile and say "this is great stuff".  I hope that's not whats happened here with the SQLServerCenrtal user forums..

    Kindest Regards,

    Just say No to Facebook!

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