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How am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing? RRS feed

  • Question

  • In the old design, if I was browsing a forum, which you've made exceptionally difficult in this new design, there was a breadcrumb trail at the top of the page showing me which forum I was in, and where it sat in the forum hierarchy.

    That seems to have gone, making it virtually impossible to tell which forum you're looking at. Was this a deliberate move in order to make life harder for us, or did someone make a mistake?

    Either way, how am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing?


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    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:28 PM

All replies

  • In the old design, if I was browsing a forum, which you've made exceptionally difficult in this new design, there was a breadcrumb trail at the top of the page showing me which forum I was in, and where it sat in the forum hierarchy.

    That seems to have gone, making it virtually impossible to tell which forum you're looking at. Was this a deliberate move in order to make life harder for us, or did someone make a mistake?

    Either way, how am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing?


    FREE custom controls for Lightswitch! A collection of useful controls for Lightswitch developers. Download from the Visual Studio Gallery.

    If you're really bored, you could read about my experiments with .NET and some of Microsoft's newer technologies at http://dotnetwhatnot.pixata.co.uk/

    In general, you can't (other than checking the URL).  That being said, when you're in any view, you can see which forum the posts belong to.  For example, here, you'll see (under each post title):

    "Using Forums Forums Forums Redesign - Q&A / Discussions"

    When you're in a single forum, all posts will be from that forum...


    Reed Copsey, Jr. - http://reedcopsey.com - If a post answers your question, please click Mark As Answer on that post. If you find a post helpful, please click Vote as Helpful.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:45 PM
  • In the old design, if I was browsing a forum, which you've made exceptionally difficult in this new design, there was a breadcrumb trail at the top of the page showing me which forum I was in, and where it sat in the forum hierarchy.

    That seems to have gone, making it virtually impossible to tell which forum you're looking at. Was this a deliberate move in order to make life harder for us, or did someone make a mistake?

    Either way, how am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing?



    In general, you can't (other than checking the URL).  That being said, when you're in any view, you can see which forum the posts belong to.  For example, here, you'll see (under each post title):

    "Using Forums Forums Forums Redesign - Q&A / Discussions"

    When you're in a single forum, all posts will be from that forum...



    BUT when you are NOT in a single forum, ALL POSTS WILL BE MIXED TOGETHER.  Regardless of anything like...oh I don't know...RELEVANCE.  This single issue has stopped me from even trying to read posts from the forums I need the most.
    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:14 PM
  • BUT when you are NOT in a single forum, ALL POSTS WILL BE MIXED TOGETHER.  Regardless of anything like...oh I don't know...RELEVANCE.  This single issue has stopped me from even trying to read posts from the forums I need the most.
    Yup. This is why I'm trying to keep up my old method of having each "individual" forum open in its own tab. Hard to keep track of which is which though, with the tab titles being exactly the same thing...

    Don't retire TechNet!

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:39 PM
  • I've also noticed that thread url's no longer indicate which forum the thread resides in. For example, the url for this thread is:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/c170edf5-1346-4ec4-ae2e-d15fa3cab088/how-am-i-supposed-to-know-which-forum-im-viewing

    I just checked. Even that GUID in the url is not the same for all threads in the forum.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services


    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:43 PM
  • Oh wow. Richard, you just gave me the key to seeing bolding for new/unread threads in the Windows Server categories.

    The way I've been keeping the forums apart is by looking at the url, but not for the name. Scripting Guy's should have /scriptcenter/ in the url, while Windows PowerShell should have /windowsserver/. I just recently noticed that if I start from /windowsserver/ and change to a new forum, that new forum kept the slightly smaller text of the Windows Server branding and bolding didn't occur. Removed /windowsserver/ from the url, and voila, back to normal.

    For giggles, I just tried changing the url of the Windows Powershell forum from /windowsserver/ to /scriptcenter/. Magic. Wonder what the Windows Server forums look like with bolded threads? See this link:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/scriptcenter/en-US/home?forum=winserverpowershell

    EDIT: I also ran into an issue last night where I found myself lost when I clicked on the Learn link in what I thought was the Scripting Guy's forum (since that's all that was selected). I must have had /windowsserver/ or something else in the url instead of /scriptcenter/.

    EDIT2: I should have realized this earlier. Adding in /sqlserver/ still helps to fill threads out to full width. As an example, here's this thread in a view that actually uses most of the available screen real estate:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/sqlserver/en-US/c170edf5-1346-4ec4-ae2e-d15fa3cab088/how-am-i-supposed-to-know-which-forum-im-viewing

    EDIT3: The width only expands on TechNet sites, not MSDN. Sorry MSDN folks.


    Don't retire TechNet!




    Tuesday, July 2, 2013 11:31 PM
  • @Mr Yossu

    If you are on the Forums home page you can see which forum is selected by doing either of the following:

    1. On the left side of the home page there is a list labeled "Forums".  This is the "forum hierarchy" you were asking about. The top level items in the list are categories, and nested within the categories are the individual forums.  Any forum you have selected will have its checkbox ticked.  The category that contains your selected forum will be shown at the top of the list, and its name will be bolded. 

    OR

    2. As @Reed suggested you can look at the breadcrumb within any thread summary on the page.  The breadcrumb will tell you the category and forum in which the thread resides.

    HINT: The left "rail", where the list of categories and forums is shown, is snapped open in the default home page view.  The state of the left rail (i.e., snapped open, or snapped closed) is remembered across visits.  So if you look at the left side of the home page and you don't see the Forums list it probably just means you snapped the left rail closed sometime previously.  Simply snap the left rail open again to view the Forums list.

    You can choose to select multiple forums from the forum list at the same time.  When you do, each forum will have its checkbox ticked, and all of the categories that contain selected forums will be shown at the top of the list.  If you do this you are not "in" any single forum per-se.  You are looking across forums.  You will see threads from all of the forums you selected.  You can sort and filter them to read and/or answer them in the order you find most useful.  When mixing threads from multiple forums, looking at the breadcrumb in each thread is the best way to tell the category and forum that contain the thread.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 9:32 AM
  • You can choose to select multiple forums from the forum list at the same time.  When you do, each forum will have its checkbox ticked, and all of the categories that contain selected forums will be shown at the top of the list.  If you do this you are not "in" any single forum per-se.  You are looking across forums.  You will see threads from all of the forums you selected.  You can sort and filter them to read and/or answer them in the order you find most useful.  When mixing threads from multiple forums, looking at the breadcrumb in each thread is the best way to tell the category and forum that contain the thread.

    Yes, you can do this, but the fact that the selected list is not persistent makes it useless (by itself) for monitoring a group of forums.

    However, the good thing is when you create a list of selected forums, an URL is generated which you can save as a bookmark/favorite. Even better, you can save different groups of forums in this way, which makes it more flexible than "My Forum Threads" was in the previous version.

    Another benefit of viewing multiple forums together is that it gets rid of the sticky posts.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:12 PM
  • Um, Dave.  Click the link I just posted.  Which forum is it in?  lol.

    Here's one good thing about the bug that causes the thread you're in to appear at the top of the related threads list. That thread is in the Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11 Preview forum, you can see that if you hover over the thread title.

    Don't retire TechNet!

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:40 PM
  • @Mr Yossu

    If you are on the Forums home page you can see which forum is selected by doing either of the following:

    1. On the left side of the home page there is a list labeled "Forums"...

    Yup, seen that, but it's a very painful experience having to go through all of those threads and deselect all the ones I don't want, which then affects any other forum pages I have open in other tabs. Also, after I've done that, I then have to go back and reselect all of my fave forums, assuming I can remember which I had selected.

    Of course, if I click a link on a page in one tab, it will muck up the selection when I click a link on another tab.

    2. As @Reed suggested you can look at the breadcrumb within any thread summary on the page....

    Which doesn't tell me if I'm browsing a specific forum, or multiple forums where it happens that most of the recent posts are from one. Plus, this doesn't help me browse a single forum, it only helps (or not) me see which forum(s) is/are being displayed on my current page.

    So you've really made life difficult haven't you? What was previously a quick and easy task now becomes a jump through several hoops, ending up in something significantly more difficult to read than we had before.

    Didn't you do any user testing on this design before forcing it on us? I mean real user testing, not people inside Microsoft who seem determined to destroy all the decades of user design guidelines we've followed. This redesign is a complete disaster. I can't see a single benefit to it, and it's full of serious usability issues.


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    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 2:27 PM
  • Yep.. I am lost..

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 2:29 PM
  • OK, using the example posted above by @curiously idle I see the problem. It's a bug in the CSS on the TechNet forums. I will open a high priority bug on it.

    The category and forum of the thread should be displayed at the top of the thread page.  It looks like it's not being shown on TechNet-styled centers, but is being shown as expected on MSDN-styled centers.  For example:

    The thread page shows the category/Forum when styled for MSDN centers like these:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsapps/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    ... but not when styled for TechNet centers like these:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    Particularly coming in from Bing or Google, landing on thread page where the breadcrumb is (unintentionally) suppressed would certainly be disorienting.

    Thanks for providing a clear example of the problem you were seeing!

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 2:34 PM
  • But when I clicked the breadcrumb, is says Not Found.     : P

    That's an example of my  No results were found  problem

    The cause is branding.   You were starting from a TechNet context and trying to look at an MSDN forum.  In that case all you need to do is switch brands in the Address bar.  E.g. just overtype the (incorrect) TechNet level with MSDN.  It's disconcerting until you get used to it.   ; )

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 3:28 PM
  • But that very TechNet breadcrumb gives "No results were found" and you see some sense in that?

    Yes.  Look at the Status bar/tooltip.  That is showing that it thinks it is a TechNet link.  I don't think it is.  I think it is an MSDN one.  So, what happens if you replace the TechNet portion with MSDN?  FWIW that fixes your problem for me.   ; }

    Please don't put broken links in MyThreads for us to click on.

    I just checked.  It's not broken.  For me it opens here:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/mvpforum/en-US/619132a6-486d-41f2-bddf-98a089931910/no-results-were-found

    So, it is another example of branding redirection not working (if it is supposed to).  E.g. in order for you to see it you would have to (and assuming you were getting a TechNet level in its host name) you would have to delete that from it to see it.

     

    Oops.  Now I see what may be the problem but it is more branding.  Apparently an MVPForum level brand was inserted.  Ok. Sorry for that.  You will have to delete that too.  E.g. try this instead:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/619132a6-486d-41f2-bddf-98a089931910/no-results-were-found

     
    Better?   <eg>

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:50 PM
  • Are you saying this TECHNET link doesn't work for you?  It works for me.  It works for Doug.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    I'm saying it works here

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    I got that one simply by overtyping  TechNet  with  msdn.

    So, if you want to find it in a search change your category to MSDN.

    Here's the mated TECHNET breadcrumb for that very same thread.  Right there in MyThreads.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=iewebdevelopment

    It doesn't work.

    .

    But this does.

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=iewebdevelopment

    And, again, I derived that from your failing link simply by overtyping  TechNet  with  msdn.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 7:52 PM
  • You are correct, @curiously idle, the breadcrumb behavior is not correct.  The link should ensure that MSDN forums are rendered in social.msdn.microsoft.com, TechNet forums in social.TechNet.microsoft.com, and Microsoft brand forums in social.microsoft.com.  I've entered a bug on this.

    Most pages in the forums are designed to only show categories, forums, and threads for one brand (e.g., MSDN, TechNet, Microsoft) at a time.  This is true of the home page, thread page, Ask a Question, and View all forums, for example.  In contrast, the "My" pages are designed to be more permeable.  Forums from all 3 brands can be mixed in My Forums.  Threads from all brands can be mixed in My Threads, and so forth. The result is that clicking links in those pages may take you out of the brand you are currently viewing and into a different brand.  The problem you identified is that the breadcrumb is linking to the selected forum as though it's in the current brand, though the selected forum belongs in a different brand.  The breadcrumb should link to the forum in its canonical brand.

    All Robert is doing is fixing the "wrong brand" problem after you've clicked the breadcrumb.  It should be right in the first place so you don't have to do that.

    • Proposed as answer by Naomi N Friday, July 5, 2013 4:34 AM
    Friday, July 5, 2013 2:32 AM
  • It's similar to adding /sqlserver/ into the technet urls. Here's this thread with the sqlserver branding and width:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/sqlserver/en-US/c170edf5-1346-4ec4-ae2e-d15fa3cab088/how-am-i-supposed-to-know-which-forum-im-viewing

    I've been playing around with different brandings in forums that aren't the default. /sqlserver/ is good for width. I use /scriptcenter/ instead of /windowsserver/, because it allows for new/unread threads in the Windows PowerShell forum to show in bold and the text is slightly larger.

    EDIT:

    About the issue of the forum/thread location link not appearing - do we know if this fix affects only new threads or if older threads should now appear properly? If it's the latter, something is still wrong. See these two links from above:

    Has a location link:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsapps/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    Doesn't have a location link:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/8540fd02-0388-43de-8b75-e3e89aa39db5/httpfolder-not-working-in-ie-11-preview

    If it's the former, move along, nothing to see here.


    Don't retire TechNet!



    Friday, July 12, 2013 4:05 AM
  • This thread is posted in a forum that is available in all 3 brands (Microsoft, MSDN, and TechNet) because it is applicable to all Forums users regardless of whether they are a dev, itpro, robot enthusiast, etc.  Since My Threads displays a given thread only once, and this thread could be displayed in any of the 3 brands, we have to choose a default brand in which to display it.  In this case it was displayed in the Microsoft brand.  Let me anticipate your next question: no, there is no per-user configuration setting that lets you control the brand which a "My Thread" is displayed if its forum is associated with multiple brands.

    Yes, as you have noticed the network-level CSS for the Microsoft brand supports viewing at a wider page width than most of the other brands/centers.  Max width is a fixed attribute of each brand. 

    Friday, July 12, 2013 4:35 AM
  • @Mike Laughlin - the fix that ensures the breadcrumb is visible on the thread page should apply to all pages - new and existing.

    Regarding your screen shots, I think there may be something residual going on from today's deployment.  I'm checking into it.

    Friday, July 12, 2013 4:46 AM
  • Thanks, appreciated.

    Don't retire TechNet!

    Friday, July 12, 2013 4:52 AM
  • @Mike, the URL provided in the earlier post by @curiously idle had en-au embedded in it.  When you clicked through it, your language setting (cookie) was changed to en-au.  So you'll keep viewing the site in en-au until you use the language picker to set it back to en-us, or manipulate it in the address bar which will also modify the cookie back to en-us.  Once you set your language back to en-us you will see the breadcrumb on this page as expected.

    It appears the breadcrumb is not showing up in the example provided by @curiously idle because the locale in the URL is en-au but the thread lives in an en-us forum.  The mismatch between the two appears to be causing the breadcrumb to be suppressed for some reason.  To be clear, the breadcrumb should show up even if the thread is in a forum for one lang-locale, and you've chosen to view the site using a different lang-locale.  The team will investigate that as a potential localization issue tomorrow.

    Friday, July 12, 2013 5:28 AM
  • The links I initially clicked on to see if the issue had been fixed were from your post (7/3 @ 2:34PM). The url I posted above does contain en-us, but I tried switching the language to something else and then back to en-us to test. No change, though, I still don't see the breadcrumb.

    I posted another link with a missing breadcrumb in some other thread a few days ago, I'll see if I can find it in the morning.


    Don't retire TechNet!

    Friday, July 12, 2013 5:55 AM
  • @Mike - the links you reference from my earlier post were created by manipulating the URL to put a thread from MSDN into a URL for the TechNet brand.  That was specifically so I could show you the problem that was occurring in the My Thread page at the time.  Those were artificially created URLs.  Such a mismatched combination of thread ID and brand should *not* occur in the wild.  I have seen plenty of posts where others have also manipulated URLs to create variations that should not occur naturally either.  So my recommendation would be to just use the Forums normally and if you see such a problem occur under normal usage then report it in the Forums Issues forum.
    Friday, July 12, 2013 6:36 AM
  • Those were artificially created URLs.

    Mine weren't.   Guess how I got here

     
    ---



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Friday, July 12, 2013 8:15 AM
  • Max width is a fixed attribute of each brand. 

    Can I jump in here and make a strong request please. There is absolutely no reason on Earth why in 2013 you are fixing the max width of the page content. This isn't 1995 anymore, we've grown up since then. The user should be allowed to resize their browser window as they see fit, and have the content fill that width, not leave large wasted areas of white space at the sides, because some dee-ziner thought it was a good idea.

    What's even worse is that we are talking about forums that are used primarily by developers, where code is very often included in replies. You even have a special toolbar button for inserting code, but the fixed width fiasco means that you end up needing horizontal scrollbars for the code, with all that white space around it.

    For me, this was the only thing wrong with the old design. You've broken a whole load of things that were fine, confused us all with a lousy, unfriendly design[*], and not fixed the one genuine problem that existed before.

    Please do something to rescue this disaster, and remove the dumb stupid fixed width.

    Thanks

    [*] In case you still want to fool yourselves into thinking that people like the new design, take a look at this survey, specifically the post from Martin Binder on July 11th '13, in which he says...

    We are pulling a vote that results in negative voters being 22 times more than positive. Negative voters POINTS are 102 timesmore than positive voters points. Negative voters points, in addition, are high above 10k avg. - and still they tell us we are only 0.02% of active users.

    I know you don't want to hear this, but as much as you want to ignore reality, it isn't going away. Please take notice of the overwhelming opinion of forum users, and fix these design mistakes.


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    Sunday, July 14, 2013 1:57 PM
  • Clearly you are passionate in your opinion on the use of fixed width.  In fact you already started a voting thread on this very topic over here: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/5cf3e6b5-55db-440c-9085-0b590bd069c5/are-you-going-to-remove-the-dumb-stupid-narrow-body-width

    Rather than hijacking this or other threads to restate your opinion on fixed width, I would recommend you focus on asking people to vote up your thread I link to above.  That way votes are accumulated under a thread whose title matches the point you are trying to make.

    Sunday, July 14, 2013 4:40 PM
  • Clearly you are passionate in your opinion on the use of fixed width.

    I am not passionate about it, I'm fed up of poor design decisions that make using these forums harder. These forums are (or were) a tool that I use as part of my job. I'm just fed up of the way you're making them so hard to use.

    In fact you already started a voting thread on this very topic over here: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/5cf3e6b5-55db-440c-9085-0b590bd069c5/are-you-going-to-remove-the-dumb-stupid-narrow-body-width

    I didn't (knowingly) start a voting thread, I asked a question, which was ignored by Microsoft. As there wasn't much else to add to the thread, it sank off the bottom of the threads list. Why did you think I started a vote?

    Rather than hijacking this or other threads to restate your opinion on fixed width, I would recommend you focus on asking people to vote up your thread I link to above.  That way votes are accumulated under a thread whose title matches the point you are trying to make.

    I didn't hijack this thread, I started it. If anyone hijacked it, it was the other posters who introduced related topics. Not that I mind that, I'm just clarifying the point.

    As far as accumulating votes, I don't see the point. Microsoft have made it quite clear by the total lack of response that they aren't interested in listening to the voice of the users, so why should I waste time asking people to vote on a thread that I never intended as a vote, and which is evidently not going to make the slightest bit of difference.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but if you spent more time listening to what people are saying about this new design, and less time criticising anyone who dares speak against it (when you don't ignore them completely), you might end up pleasing people instead of annoying the heck out of them.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but this whole redesign has been an obvious disaster (obvious to everyone outside of Microsoft that is), and it's very frustrating that you ignore our feelings, and then attempt to denigrate people with comments like this.


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    Sunday, July 14, 2013 5:09 PM
  • There was/is no denigration intended on my part.  In fact the opposite.  I'm trying to ensure that your post on fixed width is not lost because it is embedded in a thread about "How am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing".  I'm also trying to steer you to an approach (voting on a thread with a title that's clearly related to page width) that will help to quantify support from others in the community who feel similarly about the fixed page width.

    Sorry I ascribed intent to your creation of the other thread.  Even if you did not intend to create a voting thread, it can still serve that purpose.

    We are listening carefully to feedback.  Please look in the "Announcements for all Forums" forum.   You will see we have updated the Forums 3 times since the new design was introduced less than a month ago.  Each time we addressed multiple issues that the community expressed were pain points.  All of these changes were in response to user feedback.  We have work to address additional feedback items in progress now. That said, not all changes can happen that quickly.  The feedback provided by different users/stakeholders is often contradictory and needs to be rationalized to identify the best course of action.  That does not mean the feedback is not being heard.

    Sunday, July 14, 2013 6:19 PM
  • There was/is no denigration intended on my part.  In fact the opposite.  I'm trying to ensure that your post on fixed width is not lost because it is embedded in a thread about "How am I supposed to know which forum I'm viewing".  I'm also trying to steer you to an approach (voting on a thread with a title that's clearly related to page width) that will help to quantify support from others in the community who feel similarly about the fixed page width.

    Sorry I ascribed intent to your creation of the other thread.  Even if you did not intend to create a voting thread, it can still serve that purpose.

    We are listening carefully to feedback.  Please look in the "Announcements for all Forums" forum.   You will see we have updated the Forums 3 times since the new design was introduced less than a month ago.  Each time we addressed multiple issues that the community expressed were pain points.  All of these changes were in response to user feedback.  We have work to address additional feedback items in progress now. That said, not all changes can happen that quickly.  The feedback provided by different users/stakeholders is often contradictory and needs to be rationalized to identify the best course of action.  That does not mean the feedback is not being heard.


    Not to hijack this thread or get in the middle of this diatribe, but I am curious why all the previous functionality was removed with the new redesign, which has spawned numerous complaints and requests to put them back, instead of incorporating them into the new design?

    Ace Fekay
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    Sunday, July 14, 2013 7:05 PM
  • Those were artificially created URLs.

    Mine weren't.   Guess how I got here

     
    ---



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    I got here by googling "new technet layout sucks".

    It's absolutely unusable, and the "my forums" workaround is fine for finding forums, but inside of that, navigating to individual threads is still a nightmare. Fire the 12 year old girl who dreamed this nonsensical layout up. This is a technical forum, not twitter or facebook. Which I might add are more usable than this.

    Monday, July 15, 2013 2:41 PM
  • Good point, Ace. The previous design had a few known bugs, but it was OK to work with. With this design my participation in the forum is so down, I can not even describe :( Prior to the re-design, I kept track of all threads in T-SQL forum, I read all of them (my first unread threads were in July 2010). Now I can read no more than 10 threads per day in that forum with this new design :( I have lots of them unread and no chance to ever catch up.

    And also, Erland is gone from T-SQL forum now (and other SQL Server forums) which is a big loss for that forum as he was a tremendous help.  


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles


    • Edited by Naomi N Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:31 AM Note about Erland
    Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:26 AM
  • My participation has lacked also lately, partially due to the redesign, and partially due to being busy lately. I haven't been on in the past two weeks, so as I get back into it, I'll see how it goes and possibly post back to see how I like the changes, additions that were recently added, etc.

    Late edit: I'm having problems with the URL. It does not tell me what forum I'm in, rather it only tells me the thread title, which is NOT helpful at all.


    Ace Fekay
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    Saturday, July 27, 2013 1:38 AM
  • Late edit: I'm having problems with the URL. It does not tell me what forum I'm in, rather it only tells me the thread title, which is NOT helpful at all.

    But do you see the "breadcrumb line"--what this discussion has been about?

    Alternatively, something which hasn't been mentioned yet, even if you don't see the breadcrumb line, do you see this thread's RSS feed button?  (Hint: it's the same icon but no longer orange so much less obvious.)   Then you could see the thread URL (not a Message URL) by hovering over that icon.  Alternatively, I just noticed, IE apparently is aware of this, so, even if you couldn't find the RSS feed button in a message URL page, if you have a Feeds button configured in its Command bar you could click on that, go to the RSS feed for the thread and see clues about the originating forum in its URL.  Etc.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 2:32 PM
  • Robert,

    The reason I use the URL is for posting a reference link to a forum home for say, when someone posts an Exchange question in the Directory Services forum. That happened last night. I had to dig for the Exchange forum home. What you described may be a way to Di it, but it's now additional work. After all, most of us are posting to help others one way or another, which now we must work harder to do that.


    Ace Fekay
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    Saturday, July 27, 2013 3:27 PM
  • someone posts an Exchange question in the Directory Services forum.

    I had to dig for the Exchange forum home.

    Without the breadcrumb line?  That does seem difficult to imagine doing...

    E.g. just to find your original context I had to use the left "rail" and the new Forum category search tool...  Oh dear.  First problem might be whether there would be a need to switch brands.  I'm now in TechNet, though for this forum would probably be in just the plain Microsoft "brand" forum.   Is Exchange an MSDN category?  If so, one way to switch from this (brand neutral) page is simply to replace TechNet with MSDN or insert it between social and Microsoft.

    Fortunately, that was not necessary for this case. E.g. it was sufficient just to open the View All search in a TechNet brand page and type Exchange.   Then hover over one that you would like to go to, see the RSS feed button for it and click it.  See that forum's feed.  Now unfortunately, there is no direct link to the forum's message list from this view and clicking on a message URL would just get you back into the problem that we are discussing in this thread about not having a breadcrumb line to see.  But fortunately, the pattern of the URL in the Address bar is very conveniently similar to the pattern of the URL that you would want to get from the breadcrumb line anyway.  Therefore, in IE at least, you can simply press Alt-d, End, and a sufficient number of Ctrl-Backspace to eliminate all the RSS details and then press Enter...   For example, converting this

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchangesvrgeneral/threads?outputAs=rss

    to this

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchangesvrgeneral/

    which then redirects here

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/home?forum=exchangesvrgeneral

     
     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 8:30 PM
  • Robert, I don't see an RSS feed, unless I'm missing it. And Exchange is in the TechNet forums, not MSDN, since it's technical, not developmental, unless that line is now blurred?

    From what you're describing is additional work. I used to just type in http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ and I can see the whole list of the TechNet forums in en-US, and then simply find the forum for the poster and right-click, copy, and paste it for them in my response. Now it sends you to an obtuse page that you have to do additional work to find it. Not fun anymore.

    And my bad on the DS forum, which is what I thought it was going by memory. The poster posted the Exchange question in the NIS forum. Here's the thread:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/8a19aa43-79a7-4e43-9d23-164212dab759/unified-messaging-not-configuring

    -

    My point is navigation is a difficult now. The old way was easy, unless I'm not seeing the whole enchilada.

    -

    -


    Ace Fekay
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    Sunday, July 28, 2013 8:51 PM
  • Robert, I don't see an RSS feed

    Like I said we don't have its distinct orange color to catch our attention any more.  Now it is camouflaged as other links.

    The poster posted the Exchange question in the NIS forum.

    Provided a switch of brand is not required it should be the same technique wherever you are:  

    1. Click on Quick Access
    2. Forums Home
    3. View All
    4. Click in the Search forums input box
    5. type something which identifies the target, e.g. in this case Exchange
    6. Hover over one, e.g. the first one:  General Discussion
    7. See the description of it pop up on the right
    8. Click on the RSS feed button at the end of the forum name on the right
    9. See the RSS feed of that forum
    10. Press Alt-d, End, Ctrl-Backspace x3
    11. Press Enter
    12. See the target forum with its redirected URL in your Address bar
    13. Capture the URL from your Address bar (Alt-d, Ctrl-c)
    14. Paste URL wherever it is needed.

    My point is navigation is a difficult now.

    I don't think it is really difficult.  Just different and slightly arcane.  Also, notice how much easier it would be if we didn't have to take a detour through the RSS feed just to generate the URL.  E.g. being able to do a right-click Copy Shortcut for the actual forum URL as well as clicking on the RSS feed icon would be appreciated.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Monday, July 29, 2013 5:30 AM
  • Arcane/difficult, tomatoes/tomales, same thing. At least you see my point. I agree the ability to simply right-click and grab the shortcut would be nice.

    Ace Fekay
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    Monday, July 29, 2013 5:56 AM
  • My point is navigation is a difficult now.

    I don't think it is really difficult.  Just different and slightly arcane.  Also, notice how much easier it would be if we didn't have to take a detour through the RSS feed just to generate the URL.  E.g. being able to do a right-click Copy Shortcut for the actual forum URL as well as clicking on the RSS feed icon would be appreciated.



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Robert,

    Curious, how would you find the original URL that states which forum it was posted in for the following old thread?

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/forums/en-us/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/implementing-twofactor-authentication-with-windows-2008-r2-

    -

    And looking back in my old emails, I see the original URL was the following. I also see that is the same URL when you right-click on the RSS feed icon.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/

    -

    Will that RSS feed remain, or will that be going away?

    I just wonder why the URL format was changed. Maybe there is a reason in the overall scheme of things, but I don't see it yet. Maybe a better way is to have the forum in the URL along WITH the thread title.

    What do you think?

    And I noticed that the new URL is MSDN now, and not TechNet. I guess that is part of retiring TechNet?

    -


    Ace Fekay
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    Monday, July 29, 2013 5:03 PM
  • how would you find the original URL that states which forum it was posted in for the following old thread?

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/forums/en-us/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/implementing-twofactor-authentication-with-windows-2008-r2

    Are we being constrained by a rendering problem?  If not just click on the last element of the thread's breadcrumb line

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=winserverDS

    Otherwise I have never seen the actual problem scenario to know how much of my workaround is really needed.  E.g. perhaps the real URL is actually in the HTML and could be extracted via View Source or the Developer Tools (F12) DOM Explorer?

    And looking back in my old emails, I see the original URL was the following. I also see that is the same URL when you right-click on the RSS feed icon.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/

    -

    Will that RSS feed remain, or will that be going away?

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c?outputAs=rss

    That was carried over from the old implementation so who knows?

    But again, what is the real problem symptom?  I don't know if affected users get the RSS feed button or not.

    noticed that the new URL is MSDN now, and not TechNet. I guess that is part of retiring TechNet?

    I'm not sure what you're seeing--some kind of mixed brand scenario?  AFAIK the only part of TechNet which is retiring is its Subscription service.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Monday, July 29, 2013 6:39 PM
  • how
    would you find the original URL that states which forum it was posted in for
    the following old thread?<o:p></o:p>

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/forums/en-us/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/implementing-twofactor-authentication-with-windows-2008-r2<o:p></o:p>

    > Are we being constrained by a rendering problem?  If not just click on the
    last element of the thread's breadcrumb line.<o:p></o:p>

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=winserverDS

    -

    I'm not sure what you mean or where you got that URL. Can you do me a big favor and provide a screenshot?

    And looking back in my old emails, I see the original URL was the following. I also see that is the same URL when you right-click on the RSS feed icon.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c/

    -

    Will that RSS feed remain, or will that be going away?

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/6dc8fff6-1cce-4ff2-a8a3-4799a33fc54c?outputAs=rss

    > That was carried over from the old implementation so who knows?<o:p></o:p>

    > But again, what is the real problem symptom?  I don't know if affected users
    get the RSS feed button or not.<o:p></o:p>

    My problem, or concern, whatever you would like to call it, is the URL is not descriptive enough of where the thread actually exists without having to look for the RSS feed URL or finding a breadcrumb. So if I post the URL without the actua forum name in it as a response to a thread,  no one will know what forum it's in unless I state it (whcih I usually do but not everyone does), or I click on it and find the RSS or breadcrumb.

    Again - It's extra work.

    .

    > noticed that the new URL is MSDN now, and not TechNet. I guess that is part of retiring TechNet?

    > I'm not sure what you're seeing--some kind of mixed brand scenario?  AFAIK the only part of TechNet which is retiring is its Subscription service.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    The first URL I posted is an MSDN URL with "MSDN" in the URL: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com.

    The second one I posted is a TechNet URL with "TechNet" in the URL: http://social.technet.microsoft.com. And both URLs are pointing to the same exact thread.

    So it is mixed branding? I have no clue. But I know it's confusing and extra work.


    Ace Fekay
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    Monday, July 29, 2013 8:54 PM
  • The first URL I posted is an MSDN URL with "MSDN" in the URL: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com.

    The second one I posted is a TechNet URL with "TechNet" in the URL: http://social.technet.microsoft.com. And both URLs are pointing to the same exact thread.

    So it is mixed branding? I have no clue. But I know it's confusing and extra work.

    Yes it is.  I'm sorry I missed that.  So the MSDN example demonstrates that the breadcrumb line is not there but the RSS feed button is.  Good to know.  Also, I have inspected the source and can find only the RSS feed URL in there, so that answers that question too about whether the breadcrumb line was actually missing or just not being rendered.

    However, that, plus the clue about the poster's threads being from TechNet leads to another workaround possibility:  overtyping the  msdn  in the host name in the Address bar with  TechNet (preferably lower-case, where AutoCorrect won't be able to change it <w>).   When you do that you can see the breadcrumb line and then click on the last element of it (as I mentioned) to get to the forum's thread list.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 2:14 AM
  • The first URL I posted is an MSDN URL with "MSDN" in the URL: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com.

    The second one I posted is a TechNet URL with "TechNet" in the URL: http://social.technet.microsoft.com. And both URLs are pointing to the same exact thread.

    So it is mixed branding? I have no clue. But I know it's confusing and extra work.

    Yes it is.  I'm sorry I missed that.  So the MSDN example demonstrates that the breadcrumb line is not there but the RSS feed button is.  Good to know.  Also, I have inspected the source and can find only the RSS feed URL in there, so that answers that question too about whether the breadcrumb line was actually missing or just not being rendered.

    However, that, plus the clue about the poster's threads being from TechNet leads to another workaround possibility:  overtyping the  msdn  in the host name in the Address bar with  TechNet (preferably lower-case, where AutoCorrect won't be able to change it <w>).   When you do that you can see the breadcrumb line and then click on the last element of it (as I mentioned) to get to the forum's thread list.

     



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---


    Once again, additional work. :-(

    Ace Fekay
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    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:47 AM
  • Once again, additional work.

    Compared to how many steps the old way?   In particular I don't recall having a nice search tool the old way, so opening a huge list and doing a Ctrl-f (especially the way that IE implements its Find) was not fun either.  Pluses and minuses.



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:54 AM
  • Once again, additional work.

    Compared to how many steps the old way?   In particular I don't recall having a nice search tool the old way, so opening a huge list and doing a Ctrl-f (especially the way that IE implements its Find) was not fun either.  Pluses and minuses.



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    The old way? All I did was right-click the URL and copied it. And the URL told me where I was. No need to hunt down a crumb, find an RSS link, or change "MSDN" to "TechNet" in the URL.

    So I'm not sure what you mean that this is easier.

    As for searching, yea, the old search tool had much to be desired. The internet search tools (Bing, Google, etc) did a better job finding threads.


    Ace Fekay
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    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:53 PM
  • I don't recall having a nice search tool the old way, so opening a huge list and doing a Ctrl-f (especially the way that IE implements its Find) was not fun either. 

    The old way? All I did was right-click the URL and copied it.

    Once you found it to click on.   I think you are neglecting to specify some steps in your procedure which may have been as manually intensive (and irritating) as the ones that we have now.



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 7:25 PM