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What would you like to see more of on Travelfish?

Posted by somtam2000 on 12/6/2009 at 19:10 admin

Call me a glutton for punishment...

I'm wondering -- what would you like to see more of ... or less of ... on Travelfish?

Bear in mind that it's largely a one man show (on the tech side) so I do have my limits -- but I'm always open to more suggestions -- and ideas -- of other "stuff" we could/should have on the site.

Yes SBE, I know you want an edit function... so I'm asking what so you all want EXCEPT for an edit function on the forum?!

As always, thanks in advance.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by busylizzy on 13/6/2009 at 04:47

TRAVEL SECTION:
- Mentioned before, but coverage on Indonesia please!

eFISH GUIDES:
- Better/more consistent naming of the eGuides. When I start researching areas to travel, I like to print these out to read. I struggle to figure out which guides cover which areas. The name in the drop list doesn't always mean anything to me, and the droplist name is different to the name of the first town shown on the guide. Maybe somehow have a map which indicates which eFish guides covers which area?


FORUMS:
- Add a Quick Link to Indonesian forum - it is going to grow in popularity, and I would use it lots! :-)
- "New Posts" functionality - that allows me to see all the new posts made since I last logged in. (I often go into threads to see whether there has been an update, only to find out there hasn't been).
- As an alternative to 'New Posts' function, what about including a 'last update' date/timestamp on the forum home page that lists the more recent posts.
- When I go into a thread, it would be good to be taken to the first unread post.
- Ability to PM or email (without exposing email address) other forum members
- Edit function (oops - not allowed to mention that!)
- Ability to format text (simple bold and underline would be sufficient. And maybe some bullets, cuz I'm a 'bullet list' kind of gal!)

(These are features of other forum software that I have seen that I find particulary helpful)


Some some initial, top-of-head random thoughts!

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 13/6/2009 at 04:48

See... if I had an edit function, I could get ride of the double 'some' at the end of my last post. Grrrrrrr...

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 13/6/2009 at 06:11

Just came across this post that Somtam made on another post:

"Re the edit thing for the forum, that's probably not going to happen. Primarily because spammers make "normal" posts, then go back and edit in spam stuff later on -- makes it very difficult for me to keep on top of what is a growing problem on the site"

Here's a suggestion: why not get one or two of your long-term, faithful, 'proven' members to act as moderators to help you keep an eye on the rogue spammers. It means giving them a level of admin rights, of course. Just a thought...


PS. A 'quote' function would also be nice!

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by somtam2000 on 13/6/2009 at 07:52 admin

busylizzy -- that's quite the list -- thanks!

Some are easy and already done, others less so, and others even less so! Here's the breadown:

eFish: They're named by province. That makes prefect sense somewhere like Thailand, where, in most cases, the main destination shares the same name as the province, but somewhere like Vietnam it's a nightmare (Hey, where's Hoi An province?!) -- I know. The entire eFish thing will be changing soon -- the problem you raise is one of the things being addressed.

Forums:
1) Quick link to Indo (and others): TICK! that was easy

2) Last updated posts: This is effectively what you see on the front page of the site -- well, it's not tagged to your login, but it is the most recently updated/added 25 posts -- is that close enough?!

3) Timestamps -- we used to display these, but removed because it was looking too cluttered... In the section pages, eg here: http://www.travelfish.org/board/topic/thailand you can see the datestamp -- but you're asking for a timestamp yes?

4) Last read post - you mean last unread by you, when logged in right? Ahhh might be a long time for this!

5) PM - A common request. I've half built this, but the other half is, ahh delayed.

It's on my list.

I have a very long list!

6) Edit function: Yes, most likely not going to happen, unless it rains non-stop for a month and I just can't get out of the house.

7) Once you've passed a certain posting threshhold (which you have), you can use BBCode to format posts. Google "BBCode" and you should be able to find the syntax pretty easily. It's a bit inscrutable, but it does work. The BBCode also allows quoting I think. If you post a web address you should see it go live without you needing to do anything. For example: http://www.travelfish.org/

Intermission here.
The reason that the forum doesn't have some of the "fancier" features that you see on other forums is because I wrote the code for it myself -- so it's a bit of a stone-age back to basics kinda place!

Regarding Indonesia
We're in the process of adding Malaysia onto the site, while some Indo material maybe going on piecemeal -- we're really focussed elsewhere at the moment -- and the ahhh global economic meltdown, reducing tourist numbers, piggy flu, thai political chaos etc really isn't helping our bottom line just now!

Thanks for the thoughts -- they're appreciated and if you've more, please post more.

Cheers!

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by exacto on 13/6/2009 at 11:19

Hi Somtam,

I tend to think in terms of logistics, so I'd like to see you continue your recent efforts to upgrade the maps sections as well as increasing the getting there and away information for various destinations.

I don't have specific destinations in mind necessarily, but I randomly picked Nan and Mukdahan as examples. Your Nan info has a nice map, but no getting there and away section. Mukdahan is just the opposite.

I like to have this style info available so I can keep my itinerary loose and still get an idea on my travel options for getting from A to B, and a quick orientation for when I arrive at B.

I guess that's a long way of saying continue what you doing, only more please! Cheers.

#6 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
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Posted by SBE on 13/6/2009 at 14:36

"Once you've passed a certain posting threshhold (which you have), you can use BBCode to format posts. Google "BBCode" and you should be able to find the syntax pretty easily. It's a bit inscrutable, but it does work. The BBCode also allows quoting I think."

I bet I've passed a certain posting threshold too. ;-)

What is this mysterious code we have to google for and then decypher the syntax in order to do quotes? Why can't YOU do it Somtam? (I wish I had a bold print button ... caps don't do emphasis and tone very well do they) Or how about least translating the inscrutable syntax into plain English for those of us not fluent in IT gobbledygook.

Interactive Thailand weather map ...did you cobble that together yourself too? If so there is hope cos it's really useful and was a pure stroke of genius. Why don't you do it for all the countries you cover? (and Indonesia please so I can plan my next trip as it's going to involve a lot of boats and I don't particularly want to hit a typhoon on an Indonesian boat)

I don't suppose you could do an interactive map showing all possible ferry routes in Indonesia and what days the leave/arrive could you. That would be unique market niche for you too...I might even consider forking out $5.25 for it!

#7 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by SBE on 13/6/2009 at 16:31

PS. What busylizzy said about not seeing if anyone has added a post...I have the same problem. You only see the total number of posts when you look at the main forum page so unless you can remember exactly how many posts there were in each section the last time you logged in you can't immediately see if anyone has added anything. Instead of total number of topics and replies how about a poster name and a date stamp?

http://www.travelfish.org/board/

#8 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by SBE on 13/6/2009 at 16:43

Or a post title and a date stamp.

...at least a date stamp anyway.

Sorry about 3 posts in a row. If there was an e**t function I could add afterthoughts seamlessly until the next poster says something and not clutter the place up so much. ;-)

#9 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by DLuek on 13/6/2009 at 20:29 TF writer

Just one from me...

Sometimes I like to take my time while writing a post. You know, start writing one, get sidetracked by something, and then finish writing it a half hour later. There have been many, many times when I've written a post, particularly a longer one, and then go to post it and find that I've been automatically logged out and everything I'd written has been lost. I've gotten in the habit of copying the text if I think its been longer than 20 or so minutes, but I don't always remember, and it can be quite frustrating to have a nice long post that I put some thought into be washed away just like that.

So, maybe no automatic log out? Or a longer time? Or a way of saving the text after the automatic log out?

Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing.

DL

#10 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,121
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Posted by mattocmd on 20/9/2009 at 11:10

I would love to see info/travel guides on the Philippines! ;-)

#11 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365

Posted by furneburner on 20/9/2009 at 11:48

I second that, but make sure they are here in time for my Jan7th departure from BKK.

Moreover, surely you can do Bali seeing as you live there!

Or, i will just stalk you in Sanur and make you handwrite a "guide" for me...

#12 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by mattocmd on 20/9/2009 at 12:00

furne what did you pay for the flight (assuming it's not first-class)? I will probably also fly there from BKK in February.

#13 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365

Posted by furneburner on 20/9/2009 at 12:13

haha smart ass.

Seeing as i'm now "backpacking" (i even bought one, and you'd be happy i only paid $77AUD) i paid $150AUD approx.

That was the cheapest i could find.

Cebu Pacific.

Moreover, i didn't have any problems booking online unlike many others, but my card uses that verified by visa thingy.

#14 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by mattocmd on 20/9/2009 at 12:23

Sounds good. How long are you staying there and where are you getting the travel information/travel guides from?

#15 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365

Posted by furneburner on 20/9/2009 at 12:27

Im staying for 15 days.

My plans at the moment are not solid, but at this stage im gonna fly into puerto princessa on Palawan and make my way up to El Nido and then do a tao expedition through the islands to coron and then fly back to Manila.

If that doesnt work out, i think i will explore the visayas.

Might be a lonely trip for me, my GF is staying with her family in Nakhon Pathomn :(

#16 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 08:12 admin

furneburner - We may be announcing something about Bali shortly -- have not quite made up our mind yet. If we don't end up covering it, please let me know your dates in Bali so I can make sure I don't wear a Travelfish Tshirt while down on the beach ;-)

#17 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by somsai on 21/9/2009 at 08:58

SBE regarding your first question it's not that hard, just need to "get it" with one and the rest are all the same. If you look down below the Your reply box where it says BBcode primer he kind of gives examples using him (or her) self. If you cut and paste the whole text with all the funny paranthases and dots and whatevers into the Your reply box, then replace the words "Make it bold" with whatever you want it will become bold. I never memorize all that code junk, just cut and paste then substitute what I want. Similarly with all the other stuff. Watch.

I wish there were preview and edit but it's not that alfired important, maybe a live video cam up top of waves breaking, dust settling or paint drying:

#18 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 567

Posted by busylizzy on 21/9/2009 at 09:48

We may be announcing something about Bali shortly

Any chance of this happening in the next 6 days?! :-/

#19 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by SBE on 21/9/2009 at 13:11

Somsai if you look at the OP by Somtam you will see he wrote this:

Google "BBCode" and you should be able to find the syntax pretty easily.

My reply (written back in June) was in reply to that remark. At the time there was no clue how to do BB code on the site and nothing to indicate when you'd passed the threshold allowing you to use it.

In August Somtam made another post explaining the code and it so happens that it was me who suggested that a primer be put under the reply boxes!

Post #10 here.

http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/aboutus/7234_how-do-i--add-html-formatting-to-my-posts-

As you can see I can manage to use the code but I do find C&Ping it a bit cumbersome. If you miss one of the brackets when you C&P then it doesn't work and it's easy to C&P the colon just after some of the code by mistake too as there's no space between it and the bracket.

Isn't it possible to have the code as live links at the bottom of the page (HTML?) so that you can C&P the text you want highlighting and then click on the link to apply the code?

#20 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 13:34 admin

OK I've added some space in between the closing bracket and the colon.

Your second point, while possible, is probably a long way behind the edit function in "list of things for me to do" -- sorry!

Buzylizzy - only if you buy me an awful lot of beer... ;-)

#21 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by SBE on 21/9/2009 at 14:11

"OK I've added some space in between the closing bracket and the colon".

Wow, that was quick! Thank you Somtam, much better.

Busylizzy, bon voyage, you're off in a couple of days I think? I'll be in winging my way to BKK this time next week too. See you at the pissup, if not before!

PS. I have another cunning plan. (Plan C) I'll have a drinking contest with Somatam. After 20 large Bintangs I expect he'll fail to notice you fixing all the remaining minor blips. ;-)

#22 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by KazAussie on 21/9/2009 at 14:41

Firstly, great site but you asked for comments so here you go...

- I second (or is that third) the request to be able to see which posts you haven't yet read, that would probably need to be tailored to the user account, which would probably be hard. Alternatively, maybe we could subscribe to a forum and get an email whenever that forum is updated?

- One of the most difficult things to get your head around when you have never been to a place before is the place names, and lets forget all about navigation by province. A click on map would be great (you could probably use googlemaps for this)

- With the content, more detail is needed regarding travel times. I asked a stupid question about travelling from Hoi An to Hue - didn't know it was only a three hour trip. Maybe something like a grid for each country with average bus travel times, I have found these elsewhere but had to do a bit of digging.

- Also on content, more on suggested itineraries, lots of people come up with some good ideas.

But as I said... great site, thanks very much.

#23 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by busylizzy on 21/9/2009 at 14:41

Thanks SBE! I head out on Thursday for S'pore, then arrive in Bali on Sunday. Funnily enough, I don't think it has really sunk in yet. It probably won't sink in until the plane lands, the door is opened, and the hot and humid air hits me in the face.

Somtam - I'm sure a few beers can be arranged in trade for some inside Bali info.

Will be in touch...

PS - I like Plan C. It will be amusing for me to watch, if nothing else!

#24 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 21/9/2009 at 14:53

Maybe something like a grid for each country with average bus travel times, I have found these elsewhere but had to do a bit of digging.

Hey Kaz - if you haven't already come across them, there charts at the end of the 'Suggested Itineraries' on this site. It gives bus and train times.

At the top of this page you will see a scrollbox called 'Before you leave'. Scroll down until you get to the suggested 'Trip' options. Select one, then scroll down towards the bottom of the itinerary to see the travel times.

#25 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 15:21 admin

Thanks for the suggestions, please do keep them coming:

KazAussie - thanks -- glad you like the site!
Unread posts: yes this can be done, but you'd need to be logged in to see if you've read the threads or not. Obviously if you've already replied to a topic and "subscribed" to it, then you should get an email whenever new posts are made...

New topics: there are RSS feeds for all the forums, so if you use a blog reader like Google Reader or Bloglines, you can drag the feeds in. The feed page is here: http://www.travelfish.org/feeds/ I should write a tutorial for this...

The problem with having an "email subscription" to a particular forum, is you'll get a LOT of email, plus you'll get emails whenever a spam message goes on (as I'm not always around to delete it), so it's not really an ideal solution.

Navigation by province:
Yes am aware this is an issue. We're staring to better integrate Google maps, see this page as an example:
http://www.travelfish.org/map_detail_region/malaysia/northern_peninsular_malaysia/33
At the moment it is just bubbles, but plan is to have them linked to the individual sections... is this the kind of thing you mean?

Travel times:
Yes that's a good idea, leave it with me. As BL says this is in the itinerary section (sort of) but is very hidden away.

More suggested itineraries:
Yup sure, but what sort of itineraries are people looking for? I could write an itinerary on how to walk around Ko Pha Ngan in a week, or what to see in Laos in seven days! The problem with the countrywide ones, is there are so many different things to do...

BL: It's cold and wet in Bali at the moment... though as you're in NZ, it's probably still a good deal warmer than there!

SBE: I'll go into Bintang training today.

Cheers!

#26 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by christay2009 on 21/9/2009 at 15:23

I like it the forum the way it is personally. I don't really like the post rating thing though...

I think building up the Malaysia section while keeping the others up to date is a good idea; stronger first then bigger. Maybe trying to do to
much at once might reduce the high quality already established here! Also, it seems keeping uotodate is the most important thing (maybe some Laos updates??)

overall, great job.

#27 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by furneburner on 21/9/2009 at 16:20

Look, maybe i'm stupid, but i can't find how to private message.

#28 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 16:52 admin

There's no private message facility unfortunately, which is a problem as I'd really prefer people didn't post their email addys online, but at the moment there isn't much of an alternative.

Christay, we just did a big update of a lot of much of remote northern Laos, though missed LNT and Muang Sing...

#29 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by SBE on 21/9/2009 at 17:24

It's cold and wet on Bali?? It's a bit early for monsoon season to be starting isn't it?

Oh dear... !!!

#30 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,002
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Posted by furneburner on 21/9/2009 at 17:36

GOOD! get it out of the way and maybe it will be dry when i go!

#31 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 17:46 admin

Yes unusually cold - raining now actually and on and off much of today. Rode home yesterday in the heaving rain after a few beers with Ayesha (who is looking forward to meeting you SBE) and almost froze to death...

ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it is very cold!

#32 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by Manticore on 4/11/2009 at 21:14

Posted from within Vietnam.

How about featuring a bunch of travelers photos on the home page?

A modest space that scrolls through photos at a rate of 1 per 4 seconds or so. Readers submit and you simply select which ones you want to feature.
Add details in small print like:
Location [somewhere in SEasia], Pic by [username]

Each photo is featured for X amount of days before being replaced. Keeps the home page looking like new!
Photos that show someone wearing a TF shirt get a free eguide! (limit 1 per account of course)

#33 Manticore has been a member since 9/11/2006. Posts: 67

Posted by somtam2000 on 10/11/2009 at 08:26 admin

Hey Manticore,

We actually started doing something like this on the homepage -- see the "Catch of the Day" in the left column. We take a pic each day from the Travelfish pool of Flickr and stick it up. (You can read more about the Flickr pool here)

At the moment there's no way to see the previous day's entries, but i'll see if I can whack something together in the coming days and them we'll make a competition or something out of it.

Thanks for the tip!

#34 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by Archmichael on 13/3/2010 at 12:08

Maybe I overlooked this in the posts above, but it would be nice to be able to follow a post (that is, be notified of new thread posts) without having to post a reply to the thread.

Sometimes, I don't have anything to contribute to the thread at that moment, but would like to keep up with it and see what others have to say.....without having to stick something on there, just to be able to tick the "Check this box if you want to be notified..." box.

That's about it. I think it's a great site --- a work in progress, yes, but a collective work, which is what makes it so interesting and useful.

Now I can go check the "Check this box..." box. ;)

#35 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Babalugats on 7/4/2010 at 22:35

I like your site. I'll be traveling around Indochina in a couple of months, and the information I'm getting here is of great help. I'm thankful for that.

I wish you'll have more information on the Philippines. I wonder if you've been here. It doesn't have the historical landmarks that Vietnam (or even Europe) is renowned for, but it has lots of natural attractions to make up for. Diverse set of ecotourist sites, which I'm certain that backpackers would love.

Of course, the Philippines is an archipelago, which means both the beach and the sea are its main attractions. And there's no shortage of white beaches in this part of the world. Those safety warnings are exaggerated.

Going to a new place is an adventure. I hope you'll give the Philippines a chance.

#36 Babalugats has been a member since 21/3/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 73
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Posted by busylizzy on 14/5/2010 at 16:09

Hey Somtam.

You know how on the home page there is a list of threads with recent post. Under the name of the thread, we can see who created the thread, and who last responded. Is it possible to put the date and time of when that last responder responded?

It would make it so much easier to quickly scan for recent updates that I haven't yet read. So often I open a thread to see that I have already read the last post.

Just an idea.... :-)

#37 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 15/5/2010 at 12:41

Thank you!!! :-)

#38 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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