Photo: A walk in the fields near Tetebatu, Lombok.

About us forum

Forum upgrades on the way

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/12/2012 at 06:35 admin

Hi All,

As some of you may know in early December I did a two week motorbike trip in the Mekong Delta and while much of the time my mind was occupied with matters such as "watchout chicken/pothole/truck/lunatic/pho stall" I also spend a good while firming up some changes I'd like to make to the Travelfish forum.

So, just as soon as I am vertical again (I put my back out on Xmas day showing the kids "how" to use their new boogie boards... and so am bedridden and dosed to the eyeballs at the moment) I'll be making a few changes to the forum. Some are cosmetic while others are a bit more involved and focused on you all getting a bit more out of it.

This is my hitlist -- and your suggestions are, as always, much appreciated. The one oft requested change I won't be making is changing the default fro private messaging to ON, but I will make it more obvious how people can turn it on.

These changes will be rolled out piecemeal over the coming month.

So, in no particular order, here goes.

General appearance:
* Forum is switching to full screen width (so no left column anymore)

* Summary pages, for eg this one: will also show the latest thread in each section.

Related reading
* At the moment we try to suggest links to related reading, but these link just within the forum. So if you ask a question about weather in KoSamui there may be some links displayed to other similar questions. We're going to add to this links to the various Travelfish blogs, as they're goldmines of information that are not really getting all the attention they warrant. Again hopefully this will help people better get the answers they are after.

* We'll build out the FAQs linking to the most commonly asked questions which will hopefully save everyone a bit of time and bother.

* Sorry, but the default setting for this will remain off, but it will be made more obvious how people can change it in order to send and receive private messages.

* If you're an Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Google+ user, you'll be able to add those details to your Travelfish profile. This will make it easier for people to contact you (should you wish them to).

* The currently very brief profile pages will be expanded and you'll be able to enter more information about yourself and your travels (should you wish to).

* Finally setting this up so others can help me in this regard -- I will be in touch privately by email regarding this. Ideally I'm looking for a moderator for each of the country boards for starters.

* If you subscribe to a thread you have not commented on it will now (belatedly) be possible to unsubscribe from it. Sorry for the long delay on this.

Signature links
* Basically anything commercial isn't allowed. Personal travel blogs and that kind of thing are fine, but if you're link goes to a travel insurance, cheap flights, hotels in Atlantis, condos in Lisbon or whatever it will be removed.

Signup page
* We'll better clarify our terms of use and explain that Vietnam-based travel agents are not permitted as members - hopefully that will see some of the spam drop off (currently about 90% of the forum spam originates from Vietnam).

There are a few other minor things, but these are the main ones.

If others have thoughts on any of the above, or suggestions for further improvements/changes, please comment below.



PS Welcome to the handful of Thorntree members who have joined in the last couple of days -- please feel free to add your input to this :-)

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by altmtl on 28/12/2012 at 07:31

Sounds good :)

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by daawgon on 28/12/2012 at 14:31

Sounds good to me, and especially since TT and TA have become so very problematic!

#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113

Posted by busylizzy on 28/12/2012 at 14:33

Looks good - and covers off my major wish list items.. (wider forum page, unsubscribe and more info about how to set up messaging).

Only other suggestion is to give users the option to {Post} or {Preview} when submitting a new post. If I do a quick short post, there is generally no need to preview and it's just an extra unnecessary click and page load.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by UsTwo on 28/12/2012 at 17:27

Can we have a "Next" & "Previous" button in the Blogs?
I am following one particular blogger, and tend to lose my place with the current way.

#5 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 71

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/12/2012 at 19:00 admin

Hi UsTwo,

Do you mean a next/previous button on blog entries like this one?

Thanks :)

#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by exacto on 28/12/2012 at 23:09


currently under each of the forum categories, at the bottom of the page, there is a "next page" link to click for paging through the category. is it possible to place this link at the top of the page as well to quickly page through a category when searching for an older post?

thanks and get well soon.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,657
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Posted by SBE on 28/12/2012 at 23:19

I like reading the blogs too, but where are you going to put them if the forum fills up the whole width of the screen?


Ah, sorry. I always look at the homepage to see what's been happening on the forum so I thought you were referring to that. I think you're talking about the page you get once you've clicked on a post?

Good idea. A lot of people must be reading TF on very small screens nowadays and the left hand column doesn't contain anything particularly vital.

#8 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by UsTwo on 29/12/2012 at 00:10

Yes, Somtam.

I am following the HaNoi blogs, and when finished a particular blog by that person, I want to be able to go directly to the next ( or previous) one.

Make sense?

#9 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 71

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/12/2012 at 07:43 admin

OK, as some may have noticed a few (mostly cosmetic) changes are now up.

Main improvement is the pagination on the summary pages, for eg here: Previously you just had to click "next" forever and a day. Now it is a little easier with the numbered boxes to click on. As requested by @exacto, the pagination links are at top and bottom of the page, so no scrolling unless you want to!

@SBE yes talking about the main forum page here: not the main page of the entire site -- glad to hear you're enjoying the blogs! :)

Another minor change is I've better placed the search box on the summary pages (like the Thailand page ref above) so hopefully a few more people will search before they ask...

More to come soon, suggestions welcome.

If anyone gets display weirdness with any of the above, please let me know.

@Ustwo Ahh ok gotcha. The blogs aren't really written in a consecutive style (the writers write about whatever they want pretty much) but will see if I can plonk something in next coupla days. Glad to hear you're enjoying the Hanoi one :)


#10 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/12/2012 at 02:07 admin

Have made a bit more progress with this. Following changes have been made, again if anyone gets any odd display issues, please let me know.

* Post pages are now on wide screen layout. Eg This one :)

* Member join dates are now displayed by default

* I've done away with the labels that changed as you made more posts (newbie, hippy etc)

* If you have not made your profile public or have not enabled private messaging, it now says so. I'll be adding in a link to this so people can more easily figure out how to enable either (go to Member Centre and select edit). I've done this as it seems many didn't realise there was scope for direct messaging and a personal profile page.

* Members will be able to add any social networks they are a member of, At the moment it is Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram & Pinterest. These have not been set up in member admin, so you can't add them in yet, but should be done by tomorrow. You can see how they are displayed though on my profile -- basically as a row at the bottom of any comment I make.

* Related posts have been moved to the bottom of the page and have more information, including when the post was made, how many views/comments it received etc -- hopefully this will help you to decide if the link is worth clicking on or not.

That's it for now -- suggestions welcome :)

#11 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by busylizzy on 30/12/2012 at 03:24

Lovin' the new wide screen! Less scrolling = less wear and tear on my mouse! :-)

#12 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by swag on 30/12/2012 at 22:40

Hi Somtam love the wide screen layout. I primarily use my Ipad to view TF so that's great.

Like the idea of more relevant links to the Blogs. Really enjoy the blogs, tend to look at them first now.

Would like to see the Companions link to have its' own tab rather then the main forum page. That's just a personal preference as I don't tend to travel without my wife. Also there seems to be a lot more of that.

Overall good constructive changes.

Hope to catch up again in Bali early June if your about



#13 swag has been a member since 28/3/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 331

Posted by somtam2000 on 1/1/2013 at 17:40 admin

@UsTwo: Ok done -- you can see an example towards the end of this blog post -- I assume the previous/next links are what you meant?

@Busylizzy: glad to see we've saved you needing to buy a new mouse every year ;-)

@swag: Thanks for the feedback, still tossing around thoughts re the companions section. See you in June!

More changes on the way :)

#14 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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