ITKE Community Blog

Aug 7 2013   7:05PM GMT

Welcome to the (slightly) new ITKnowledgeExchange

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

As you may have noticed, we introduced some new page designs today which we think give the site a refreshed look and more intuitive navigation.

In addition to the cosmetic improvements, the new IT Answers landing page has been streamlined – instead of separating content into IT Questions, IT Answers, IT Discussions and Unanswered, we’ve simplified the design to show all Questions in one place, whether they are answered or not. This makes it easier to see what’s happening on the site at a glance.

new itke homepage

We’ve made similar changes to each tag landing page; so for example, if you visit our “DataCenter” tag page, you’ll see all Questions related to that tag – the multiple tabs separating “Answers” and “Unanswered” have been replaced with a more straightforward view.

new itke tag page

 

The questions on each page are ordered based on recent activity (whether any users have asked, answered, commented on, edited, or re-tagged them).

Otherwise, everything functions as it always has, so you can use the site as you always have. Of course, let us know if you have any issues, either by commenting on this post or emailing us. This is just the first of several updates that we’ll be rolling out over the next few months, so we’d love to hear what you think.

18  Comments on this Post

 
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  • TomLiotta
    Are you saying that there no longer is a separate 'Discussions' view? How can we keep track? That was the primary view that I used. For me, there is far less usability of ITKE without a 'Discussions' view. -- Tom
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  • TomLiotta
    Maybe the re-ordering based on activity will work. -- Tom
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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Yes, that's what the re-ordering is meant to do - help you quickly find the questions with recent activity so you can respond as makes sense. Let me know how it works for you; we're continuing to work on improvements, so any feedback is very helpful. 

    Note that we will soon be re-introducing a 'Discussions' view, which will showcase broader discussions on IT topics, rather than comments on technical questions (which will continue to be reflected on question pages). I'll explain more about the difference, and how those will be displayed, as we get closer to that release.   
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  • TomLiotta

    I just tried my 'Watchlist' to see if it might be a workable replacement for 'Discussions', but it doesn't seem quite right. A major problem is that it will not show past "page 1". If I click for "page 2" or "Next", it just redisplays page 1. And of course only specifically flagged items are listed. That means that every recent discussion now must be searched out and flagged if I want to keep track.

     

    The problem is that the previous 'Discussions' view actually showed the comments made by others. Now, every individual item in the new view must be clicked (opened) and scrolled all the way to the bottom just to see if there is reason to add anything. And that means effectively means EVERY item, not just specific ones of interest.

     

    In some threads that otherwise need no comment, a new comment may be added that I know has factually incorrect info. If possible, I'll add a comment that links to vendor documentation or other corroborating item. Without the 'Discussions' view, a full thread scan is needed for almost everything that shows as being updated on dates since the last visit to ITKE.

     

    Tom

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Ok, thanks for the feedback - I'm curious to find out if others relied on this 'Discussions' sorting as well. There may be some options to display this in another way (for example, we show the most recent comments for blog posts in a sidebar widget). We'll look into it.
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  • Michael Tidmarsh
    What does everyone else think about our new and exciting changes?
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  • TomLiotta

    I see that paragraph breaks are now mostly working as expected. I select the first paragraph before pressing [Enter] and choose the 'Paragraph' Style. From then on, it seems to work well. I'd probably vote to have that be the default style.

    Tom

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  • philpl1jb

    Because of clean-up we get old questions at the top of the stack.

    We sometimes answer them with a question ... only to realize that we're talking to dead air.

    Most anoying  ..

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Got it, Phil. We've heard that from some others, too - looking into a way we can display the newest questions (perhaps in a sidebar), or at least make sure to note the 'creation date' of the question more prominently. Would that help?
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  • philpl1jb

    or somehow your clean-up needs to reset the last activity date back to where it should have been. 

    We've had some experts that felt that they just had to add comments to very old questions .. just for the points or just because they are smarter than anyone who answered.  Now these will float to the top.

    To help current users, I need to find current questions.

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  • carlosdl
    I fully agree with Tom about the now missing 'discussions' tab.  Having to click on each question to see what is the activity it has just had is not very efficient.

    I also agree with Phil, regarding the cleanup and the effect it has on the questions displayed as recent.  I think the cleanup should not change the question's 'last activity' date.

    Additionally, it is now not very easy to find unanswered questions, and I think that is very important, maybe not from the perspective of people asking questions or looking for answers for previous ones, but for the users that work answering them.

    It would be interesting to know why this change was done (users' feedback, experts recommendation, staff idea, etc).
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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Hi Carlos,
    We're working on some different ways to make sure you can easily find unanswered and/or recent questions to answer, so will keep you posted on how that will work. These changes are just the first step of many to come on the site, as we expand the scope and function for everyone - as I mentioned in an earlier comment, you'll see discussions re-introduced in a new way, along with revamped blogs and other user content that we think will make the community more active and vibrant overall. You're helping with that by answering questions in your areas of expertise - both new and existing questions have value for the community as a whole. That said, we do want to make sure things are easy to find for you, so expect an update soon on how that will work. 
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  • Michael Tidmarsh
    Good news everyone! Our development team is working on a widget that will show the most recent unanswered questions on ITKE. This widget should be coming out within the next few weeks.
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  • philpl1jb

    Then I'll be back in a few weeks...

    good luck

    Phil

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Hi Phil - don't want to lose you for a few weeks - other users need your help! If needed, we can help with highlighting new questions for you to take a look at based on your areas of interest (until we have that new widget running). Would that be useful?
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  • philpl1jb

    I would never change processes without participation and approval from key users. 

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    I do appreciate the feedback, and we're working to incorporate all these comments into our updates. This is an ongoing process (and we're just at the beginning, so this stuff is really helpful as we consider the next steps). I know the homepage re-ordering is a bit of a challenge right now, but we're working to improve that experience for you - and you should still be able to access any of the most recent questions on the tag pages as well (for example, the AS/400 page).  

    In the meantime, we'll continue work on the widget and look into how we can adjust how our back-end activity gets reflected. 
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  • Ben Rubenstein
    Hi all, 

    In case you hadn't noticed, there's now a new "Recent Questions" widget in the right sidebar (just below the 'What's New' box) where you can find the latest questions added to the site. This list shows only new questions without answers; once a question is answered, it will drop off the list. 

    This should help you to keep on top of the latest questions if the main page gets filled with comments or answers to old questions. 

    Let us know how you like using it, and whether you'd like to see the widget on places other than the homepage (on tag pages, for example). 
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