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One Click and boom! - Random Topic






Would you like to see Frihost include a "random topic" feature at the top of each page to improve the navigation experience?
Yes, I see no problems.
13%
 13%  [ 2 ]
Yes, but I see some problems doing this.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
No, because I don't see a point for this feature.
73%
 73%  [ 11 ]
No, because I see problems doing this.
13%
 13%  [ 2 ]
I'm completely indifferent.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 15

peaceninja
My mp3 player has a random song feature.

Wikipedia has a random article feature.

How possible is it for Frihost to add a 'random topic' feature? Personally I have a lot of interests and if I can just click one button to display a random article and navigate frihost forums that way, then it would kind of make my experience richer on this site. Just my thoughts....

Second question is, is it breaking anything in TOS or some other rules to write scripts to crawl frihost? Maybe I'll implement my own random topic generator. I also turned on the poll feature to see how many people would be interested in this kind of feature added to frihost. If you see any problems with this then I'd like to know what they can be (such as people somehow misusing this system?). Thanks,
peaceninja
After some more surfing of the site, there's a feature that has "View posts since last visit", however this does not display any old posts. Any feedback appreciated, whether that's through polls or through discussion.
ocalhoun
Having a feature like that would result in lots of zombie threads coming back to life after not having been posted in for a year...

Also, if you want a random thread, you could just search for a random word, and pick the first result.
peaceninja
What's wrong with having a 'zombie' thread? Why are only recent threads meant to have comments? I'm more apt to call it a resurrected thread than a zombie thread, the latter suggests that the topic is dead whereas it's only dead because nobody is seeing it.

As for your suggestion, this is a bad navigation technique in terms of UI. I could put that effort forth, but having a "random topic" link would be much easier. Writing my own scripts would be even greater effort but hey, at least I'm learning something.
guugu
nah there isn't any point having random topic button. Just pumping up old topics
peaceninja
any other thoughts? i find it interesting that everyone is saying no!
ocalhoun
It's completely and utterly pointless.
Why do you want to find a random thread again?
mathiaus
People tend to post in topics they like. People have reported finding good topics hard even when sorted into categorized forums. Having a random topic thrown at them will either result in it being unused or some pointless reply being added just for the sake of it.
Besides, Bondings is far too busy with other stuff to create this.

I don't believe there is anything set in stone about crawling the forums though it would be a waste of bandwidth (both at our end and your own) to do so. If you want a random topic finder just use a normal random number generator and add the generated number to the url and hope it a) works and b) is in a forum you have permissions to view. Storing data on valid topic_id's would be rather useless for something so small.

-moved-
SpellcasterDX
I see absolutely no point in this at all. Yes, Wikipedia has a "Random article" feature, but Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. You can't compare an encyclopedia to forums. Laughing

A "random topic" feature would be pointless and useless in a forum. On forums, you post in threads/forums you like, not just any old thread. Besides, like ocalhoun said, it would revive long-lost old threads that haven't had posts in a year. (And there's already quite a bit of that)
mathiaus
SpellcasterDX wrote:
Besides, like ocalhoun said, it would revive long-lost old threads that haven't had posts in a year. (And there's already quite a bit of that)

Reviving old topics is fine ... so long as there is a good reason behind it. If it was a deep discussion which can be carried on, good. If someone diggs it up to say "Yeah, I think the same" (or something similarly pointless), no.
(though a random topic viewer would promote the latter)
peaceninja
it was an idea, i have never posted to forums before and I am thinking of ways to improve the experience. Based on these responses I suppose frihost is representative of the structures of many other forums. To me it's very linear and static.
arkebuzer
I dont really see the use of that kind of function.
If people want to read a random thread they can just simply pick a random (well, more or less) thread and read.

And as ocalhoun said, it would bump up old threads with discussions that were finnished a long time ago.
peaceninja
define what a finished thread is? to me threads are 'finished' when nobody sees them anymore. Somebody starting a thread a year ago on any topic has perfect relevance to a topic from today.

if somebody just posts "i agree" then this constitutes as spam according to the moderators.
ocalhoun
Besides, you'll run a good chance of randomly getting one of these:
*Thread that has been locked
*Old contest/marketplace thread
*Old computer problems and support thread
*Old denied suggestion
*Old introduction

For those who have been active for a while, the chances of getting a thread that they have already seen would be high.
peaceninja
very good points...i understand there being problems with it and am confused why everyone is saying "no there's no point" rather than "no because there's problems"!

the forum experience is addictive but im learnin' :-p
ocalhoun
^Okay, here's my question: If there is a point, what is it?
peaceninja
Everyone seems to be against resurrecting 'zombie' threads, but if this is the case then what's stopping me or anyone from going to a topic a month or a year ago and posting comments? If so should we not be suggesting a way for the topic to expire automatically? If this already happens then excuse me, I'm learning.

I've done this several times already by browsing through all the topics that have '0' tied comments to them, and I haven't had any complaints, in fact people are posting to the same topic I resurrected!

The random topic thread would just make it easier for browsing these potential conversations. Having to click on one single link to randomly show a thread is easier than clicking 4 or 5 links to find my own random one. This is one of the heuristics of UI design (minimizing the number of clicks).
ocalhoun
But wouldn't browsing through the older threads and picking one out that catches your eye be more likely to bring up one you actually want to post in?
Arseniy
No, dude, it will be not actual. There will be really many topics that was buried months ago and recreated.
And reason is just in General Chat random topics. So I don't think that it's suitable.
peaceninja
browsing through the old topics are still chronological, it's not completely random (let's say another 9-11 happens, God forbid, then a lot of topics that day would hover around that 'meme').

regardless i see your point. however there are still a number of click i have to go through to browse whereas it's easier to have one single link.

on my browser i already created a link that does this, but it does not sound like it's a question anymore if the majority of people would want this.
Dark_Tiger
The purpose of a forum is to provide a forum for thoughts and ideas on various topics to its users. Over time, the nature of people's thoughts about a subject, heck the very subjects themselves, may change. For this reason, it is considered rude to dredge up very old topics (refered to as "zombie topics" or an act of "thread necromanacy").

A random topic button would either not be used or would result in a large number of useless posts and decrease the usefullness of the forum as an expression of the posters' opinions.
peaceninja
I think it's silly to use the classic definition of the word "forum" as a basis of your argument. Classic forums and online forums are entirely different, and the fact that you say that it's rude to post to any zombie topic is obviously a very implicit rule that I have not run into. Please see the context of my perception, as this is the first forum community I've ever belonged to.

It's also silly to keep saying that zombie threads should not be resurrected without also saying that threads should expire and nobody should be able to post to them after some time of inactivity, especially considering this implicit rule.

It's pretty safe to say that the general culture of online forums do not constitute the use of an easy 'random topic' link regardless of whether or not zombie threads expire, since clearly it's only a small percentage of people who want to browse randomly. Maybe I've worked on wiki's for too long, it's an entirely different culture and to me forums are very linear.

Maybe if frihost upgrades their search feature, (regex regex regex!) then I would be able to find thing most relevant to me.
ocalhoun
^Well, I don't really mind zombie topics, but they are often:
1: Annoying to people who didn't like the topic to see it back again.
and
2: Bringing up things that people said that the same people would rather have forgotten.

As for upgrading the search engine, it seems likely that it will actually be downgraded. The search feature uses up a lot of server resources (compared to other activities) and on a forum as busy as this, that becomes a problem. Most very large forums have reduced or no search capability.
Diablosblizz
This is completely pointless. If you want to see what new posts there are in different forums then just look at the icon to the left. If its white then no new posts. If its orangish, then theres a new post!

Its a lazy mans idea.
peaceninja
it's not an idea belonging to a lazy man, its an idea belonging to someone sincerely trying to understand things.

duh-h
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