Posts overview - Participants avatar

(Nádia Ferreira) #1


I have seen some discussion going on in regards to the clutter in the forum threads overview (let’s say that Discourse already cleaned most of the haunted house of forums) nevertheless i am keen to know what is the reason behind showing the participants avatars in this overview.

Considering that it is limited to 5 and can definitely go way beyond that number, what is the usefulness of having such a feature compared to the scalability of the posts overview?

And more, what is the real key information that an user needs to scan trough a big list of posts and will help him/her take a decision on what to read? Topic title, number of likes, number of views…?

Continuing the discussion from Cluttered interface, progressive reduction, ideas…:

(Lowell Heddings) #2

You know, I was right there with you. I really didn’t understand the point of the avatar list.

But after running my own forum on Discourse for a week, I’m starting to really like it. I can see if one of the more well-known members answered a post, I can see immediately who was the last post, and who is dominating that thread. The most important thing is the blue glow (for last poster), and the left-most avatar, which is the person that created the thread.

It ends up being incredibly useful.

As far as the reason why the forum is intimidating for new users, I think it’s because you are dropped directly on a big fat list of threads. There’s so much going on, it can be confusing for new users.

The only real solution for that would be a welcome message area, perhaps something like this, but styled to not look terrible:

Although, in a conversation earlier today, it was pointed out to me that perhaps because it is intimidating is actually a good thing: it keeps the less techie people away, so you end up with less dumb threads.

(Jeff Atwood) #3

In addition to what @geek said:

  • you can scan the front page and it is the “cast of characters” for this forum. Recognize any of the faces or avatars? These are the people who tend to hang out in this clubhouse.

  • you see the crowd immediately after walking in the door. Hey, forums are people!

  • if there are a lot of “default” avatars you can tell this forum either has a lot of new users versus regulars. Or regulars who want to look anonymous…

It is very powerful, and gives you a lot of IMO essential information in a relatively efficient way.

(Nádia Ferreira) #4


I must say that is not clear to me that the first avatar is the one that stars the topic and last avatar is the last reply. But it is clear that there is indeed the need and interest in knowing:

  1. User that started the topic thread
  2. User that last replied
  3. Users participating in that discussion

So, if this is the information that an user wants to see, we might think of other ways to do it. Because:
the user that started the thread is not more rewarded than the others (avatar is not bigger, for instance) neither is the last reply (expect the blue glow). And if the last reply is important, show it be previewed? Is it needed? To show activity? in regards to the people participating, it doesn’t make it fair if only 3 are shown.

For me it is already a big win to understand that those might be the relevant needs of users when scanning the forum. Also recognizing the avatar is key. But once again, what users could look for is indeed: who started and who last replied. It is indeed about people.

(Lowell Heddings) #5

FYI - you can hover over elements on the page anywhere in Discourse to learn what they mean. It’s the best way to figure out what some of the complicated elements mean.