My complaints/suggestions in using Faithlife to replace the forums for iOS beta support

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Apr 23 2015 8:33 AM

Kevin asked us to place our complaints/suggestions related to using the Faithlife group Faithlife Mobile Apps beta closed group in place of the iOS beta hidden group on the forums.

Here is my list so far, there may be more. I am in the group that is strongly opposed to deprecating the existing forum in favor of Faithlife, as I don't think that Faithlife is anywhere near as convenient or appropriate as the forums for this job:

1. The section that "posts' would be entered into is a tab called "News". This is non-intuitive and misleading.

2. On the web site there is no threading support in that you cannot collapse and expand posts. One thread of posts and replies that I don't care about can take up a whole page in my browser. It is very inefficient on page real estate as it takes a long time to move through a small number of threads.

3. The web site has no filter capability. Sometimes, on some groups I can't easily get to true posts as there countless status messages like  ",...> has joined the group", "...has left the group", and probably other status messages. Existing forums let me see posts by date range too - no way to filter out old posts.

4. I can't attach anything but photos/image formats. That's really not going to work in a forum where we may need to post other file types (certainly true if this evolved to other support groups which I suspect is the desire).

5. I don't have the power to easily look across all the forums, see unread only.  I do get an aggregate of all posts in "My Faithlife", and I can see a lot of posts under Notifications (with absolutely no context as to which post, title, content etc.), but if I can tell what group the posts are from under My Faithlife I haven't figured it out. 

6. There does not seem to be a capability to mark messages as read, or all messages as read, and filter them all out so I don't have to keep looking t them until something new is posted. Also, there is no easy way that I can tell, to know quickly which posts have I already read, and which are new. They all look the same to me. If this gets used at all and has any significant quantity of posts, it will be very difficult to find new posts. 

7. The Notifications badge seems misleading. Right now for example, it just said 13. When I click on it, the 13th is 4 hours ago. I have been in Faithlife and have clicked the Notifications bar in the last hour or so. Plus, 10 messages are highlighted in white, is this supposed to be the 13? It is miscounting if true.

8. I am a big user of email to suibscribed forums, so I don't have to go visit the forums unless I want to post. It is much more efficient for me. While I can and have set up th iOS beta Faithlife group to send me emails, there are a number of problems:

a. Posts have no titles. Everything comes across with the title "<username> posted in Faithlife Mobile apps beta." I have no idea what all the posts are without clicking on them. With the forums today, I can from within GMail quickly scan all the posts that came in, and click on the ones I want to read.

b. The emails that come across have no context - it is just a reply. When an existing forum post comes through, I see a threaded conversation open to the first post I have not read. If I don't know what it's about but the Title intrigued me, I can just click on the first post, or click on the "expand all" button and re-review everything. Now I can get an email post that says "Me too." How is that helpful?   

c. There is no ability to thread conversations in a tool like Gmail (which supports it wonderfully from the forums). I don't know enough to know how this is done, I suspect it is based on a matching email Title. So Context and Threading might actually be available if there was a post Title that the person had to enter when creating a new thread on the web site?

d. There is way too much real estate taken up when an email subscription post comes across. I have a 1920 x 1080 screen, and as you can see from the attached picture, a small-ish post is 1351 x 791, taking up most of my vertical display space! On the existing forums I can see titles from easily 20 titles and click around; here I can see one post so it will take a lot of clicking and scrolling to move through posts even if they are threaded in a conversation.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2015 9:25 AM

I'll add to the list.

  • MJ mentioned something about a discussion tab. There isn't one. 
  • don't want people adding a bunch of notes to my resources. Turn off community notes to groups which don't make sense to have community notes. 

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2015 9:48 AM

Thanks, Don. You expressed my thoughts on the matter far better than I could ever have done. 

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Jacob Hantla | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2015 10:29 AM

Don Awalt:

 Posts have no titles. Everything comes across with the title "<username> posted in Faithlife Mobile apps beta." I have no idea what all the posts are without clicking on them. With the forums today, I can from within GMail quickly scan all the posts that came in, and click on the ones I want to read.

 The emails that come across have no context - it is just a reply. When an existing forum post comes through, I see a threaded conversation open to the first post I have not read. If I don't know what it's about but the Title intrigued me, I can just click on the first post, or click on the "expand all" button and re-review everything. Now I can get an email post that says "Me too." How is that helpful?   

 Huge points. I'm hopeful that this is a necessary step to fix faithlife though. When the devs have to use it, I think this will be the speediest path to optimizing what could be a very flexible and powerful interface. I'm using faithlife for my smallgroup and hope to use it across many areas at church and would love for it to be the powerful tool I know Logos can make it. I think that moving functions there, even if cumbersome and less than optimal for a time will ultimately be best...

Jacob Hantla
Pastor/Elder, Grace Bible Church
gbcaz.org

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Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2015 8:47 PM

If there was a plus one button is click it. Great list. 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2015 10:16 PM

When FL first came out, I tried to create a group that I was going to use as a location for doing an on-going Bible study with my kids. I got as far as creating the group...after that, I literally had no idea what to do next. As far as I can tell, there is no user interface for communicating and interfacing with other users. There might be one somewhere, but I've looked a few times over the years and still haven't figured out what to do or how to do it. In my opinion, FL is one of the worst designed "things" (I don't feel right calling it a "site") I've ever encountered on the internet. When it was first announced, I envisioned amazing integration with my library and the ability to do amazing things. Instead, I have been unable to do anything. I know other people do stuff on and with FL, but I can't help shake the feeling that communicating with participants using snail mail would be a more effective means of engaging with other parties. I honestly doubt anything can be done to "fix" FL, since as far as I can tell, nothing works or is even "there" to work. IMO, it should be scrapped entirely and redesigned, like with an actual design.

Someone mentioned the idea that the forum could be replaced by FL. Ha! April Fools was almost 4 weeks ago, but that's a good one! Stick out tongue

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