Welcome to GTP16: Dark Mode, Emojis, Reactions, Bookmarks, and So Much More...

  • Thread starter Jordan
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396
Germany
Germany
I still think news articles not spawning a forum thread but a comment section is a big mistake. BIG.

Porbably subjective (or just wrong), but it seems like forum activity has gone down overall.

I wonder what´s the motivation behind that change?
 
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Jordan

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I still think news articles not spawning a forum thread but a comment section is a big mistake. BIG.
Yeah, I'm building a new system to integrate news articles with forum discussion threads again. It will be rolled out in a few weeks.

I wonder what´s the motivation behind that change?
Well, since you asked... there's a lot of things that go into a decision like that.

First, the old article/thread system was very fragile. It would break at the worst possible times and required constant maintenance. Because much of the code only ran when articles were published, troubleshooting and debugging was extremely difficult. The fully custom bridge required getting WordPress and XenForo — two software platforms that really don't want to talk with one another — to talk to one another. It also required additional work of the writers, when threads needed to be moved and merged. Snarky comments from users upset when their own thread wasn't associated with articles certainly didn't help.

Second, while browsing other sites I was frequently reminded of how nice it is to simply scroll down below the articles to start reading the comments. We had that arrangement for the first 8 years or so of GTPlanet's news blog and it worked really well (there are hundreds of thousands of comments on those older articles). I thought returning to that and lowering the barrier to entry into discussions around articles would be a good thing. You may be surprised to learn there is actually not a lot of overlap between our forum users and news article readers. Articles get tons of traffic from Google News and Search, but it's hard to get those users to stick around, much less leave a comment. I want to expose them to our community as much as possible and eliminating that extra click to get to the discussions was part of that.

Third, the unusual and unique article/thread combination resulted in some weird and unexpected consequences in Google Search. Google is obviously an important source of traffic for us, so mitigating issues in that area is a priority.

Fourth, the forum software update was so significant, the entire article/thread system would have to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Rebuilding it would have added at least another month to GTP16's development and added another layer of complexity to the already complex upgrade process for me.

In short, this was a good opportunity to experiment with the original comment system again. However, I really miss the associated comment threads, and the sudden drop in article comments suggests many of you feel the same way, too. (Having said that, this is the weirdest/slowest time for Gran Turismo and the sim-racing niche that I've seen in 20 years, so I'm not sure the drop in participation can be entirely blamed on the comment system. There's just not a lot to talk about right now.)

So, I'm rebuilding the article/thread system while attempting to address a lot of the problems we had in maintaining it, but it's going to take a while.
 
396
Germany
Germany
Yeah, I'm building a new system to integrate news articles with forum discussion threads again. It will be rolled out in a few weeks.


Well, since you asked... there's a lot of things that go into a decision like that.

First, the old article/thread system was very fragile. It would break at the worst possible times and required constant maintenance. Because much of the code only ran when articles were published, troubleshooting and debugging was extremely difficult. The fully custom bridge required getting WordPress and XenForo — two software platforms that really don't want to talk with one another — to talk to one another. It also required additional work of the writers, when threads needed to be moved and merged. Snarky comments from users upset when their own thread wasn't associated with articles certainly didn't help.

Second, while browsing other sites I was frequently reminded of how nice it is to simply scroll down below the articles to start reading the comments. We had that arrangement for the first 8 years or so of GTPlanet's news blog and it worked really well (there are hundreds of thousands of comments on those older articles). I thought returning to that and lowering the barrier to entry into discussions around articles would be a good thing. You may be surprised to learn there is actually not a lot of overlap between our forum users and news article readers. Articles get tons of traffic from Google News and Search, but it's hard to get those users to stick around, much less leave a comment. I want to expose them to our community as much as possible and eliminating that extra click to get to the discussions was part of that.

Third, the unusual and unique article/thread combination resulted in some weird and unexpected consequences in Google Search. Google is obviously an important source of traffic for us, so mitigating issues in that area is a priority.

Fourth, the forum software update was so significant, the entire article/thread system would have to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Rebuilding it would have added at least another month to GTP16's development and added another layer of complexity to the already complex upgrade process for me.

In short, this was a good opportunity to experiment with the original comment system again. However, I really miss the associated comment threads, and the sudden drop in article comments suggests many of you feel the same way, too. (Having said that, this is the weirdest/slowest time for Gran Turismo and the sim-racing niche that I've seen in 20 years, so I'm not sure the drop in participation can be entirely blamed on the comment system. There's just not a lot to talk about right now.)

So, I'm rebuilding the article/thread system while attempting to address a lot of the problems we had in maintaining it, but it's going to take a while.
Yay! Thanks for taking the time to explain. Very much looking forward to the new solution.

Thank you.
 

Wolfe

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(Having said that, this is the weirdest/slowest time for Gran Turismo and the sim-racing niche that I've seen in 20 years, so I'm not sure the drop in participation can be entirely blamed on the comment system. There's just not a lot to talk about right now.)
Refreshing to see this being said out loud.
 

LeGeNd-1

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GTP_LeGeNd-1
I think we're just in a lull between GT and Forza games, and the site being called gtplanet, obviously most traffic are going to be from those 2 games. Sure we also have sections about other racing games and general discussions but those are just a small minority in the grand scheme of things. I imagine diehard Assetto players are mostly going to go to RD or the official AC forums for example. Also, I feel we are in a "post-lockdown" rebound now. Judging by the Assetto mod thread, forum activity was at an all time high last year (it moved 40-50 pages each week). Now we are down to 10-15 pages each week, similar to what it was before covid. People spent so much time indoors last year, I think we are all getting a bit sick of games and online entertainment. So it's only natural people are spending less time on forums too. Once new games start rolling in, big names like GT/Forza start coming out with next gen releases and the console shortage ends, I am sure things will look up again :)

RE: News page integration, personally I don't mind not having any comments for the articles, but if the forum integration does come back, we just need better policing so duplicate threads aren't created (as already mentioned). Also, I feel with some games it can get a bit spammy sometimes. Sometimes we would have a news/thread about an announcement date, and then the announcement itself, and then the actual post when the actual game/DLC comes out. But all that are already discussed in the main game thread in the forums (so we end up with 1 big thread and 3 smaller threads, all discussing similar things).
 
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10,393
Australia
Australia
I_IGrayfoxI_I
Anyway to swap the Attach files button and Post reply buttons?
I keep clicking the attach files button when trying to post.
 
1,896
Australia
Adelaide
Happened to stumble across this bug when viewing a status from @MisterWaffles :
Screenshot_20210830-235345.png


Ironically linking to this thread :lol:
This was using Kiwi Browser (Chromium) on Android 11, using a Xiaomi Mi9T.
 

IfAndOr

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the sudden drop in article comments suggests many of you feel the same way, to
Maybe removal of the down-vote might help. It introduces some easy 1 click negatively that's not available on the forum itself - which might not be apparent to those dropping in.

People like being liked but don't like not being liked. If you see what I mean :-)

(Actually a lack of a voting system might encourage more comments, since people might write their views then instead.)

I really miss the associated comment threads
Yeah. After seeing the threads pop up on the forum I think maybe they helped in users reverse tracking back to the news articles which they might have otherwise missed. Which in turn created more posts.
 
21,885
United States
Southwest Eastnorthernton
TexRex72
Gotta say, I really love how quote alerts stay highlighted until they're clicked. I shudder to think how many I've missed prior to the update.
 

Jordan

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Gotta say, I really love how quote alerts stay highlighted until they're clicked. I shudder to think how many I've missed prior to the update.
You can also mark them as "unread" as well by clicking on the blue circle that appears in the bottom right corner of each alert.
 

Danoff

Who is John Galt?
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30,249
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I love the "Like button" emojis, use them a ton. Not just to react, but to see reactions to what I've posted. :cheers:

I would like a facepalm one though. It's probably what I would use most. Something like this:

189-1891646_another-n-word-facepalm-emoji.png
 
555
Sweden
Hell
schlafhund
On the contrary, I really do not like emojis. The like function was enough in my view but oh well. Not much I can do except air my opinion, is there?
 
5,540
United States
Home
I like the new design and happy to be back after my year long time out.

One thing i just notice is the price of premium has increase from 12 a year to 19.99 a year 😢
 

Jordan

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Rounding up lots of recent changes.
  • New (old?) comment system:
    • As of today, the comment discussion for articles will once again be hosted in forum threads.
    • The article/thread system has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to address many of the issues that plagued the old system, most of which affected our writers and editors.
    • The automatically-generated posts which appear when a new thread is created (or when an article’s comments are associated with an existing thread) will now be posted by the article author’s forum account instead of @GTPNewsWire.
    • When existing threads are used, the comments link in the article will now take you directly to the automatic reply made when the article was posted instead of the first post in the thread. This allows you to jump in to the most relevant discussion posted immediately after the article was published.
    • All older comments will remain visible on article pages but can no longer be edited and no new comments can be posted to them.
  • Emoji changes 😃
    • The custom emoji set we were previously using has been disabled, so the emoji’s appearance will be controlled by your operating system. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Not all emoji are supported on all devices, but it will create a more consistent appearance for users per device and, because they are part of the operating system, they will reduce network requests and will load instantly.
  • Articles: fixed broken links on thumbnails in older news articles
  • Articles: font adjusted
  • Articles: related article previews displayed below articles
  • Link previews: fixed bold link preview descriptions when inside bold post text
  • Light mode: fixed colors of hovered menu elements that were showing dark mode styling
 

IfAndOr

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they will reduce network requests and will load instantly.
Er, it takes even longer now! About 6 to 7 seconds and then looks like this...
Screenshot_2021-09-17-13-45-24-759.jpeg
I'm assuming the missing ones are not part of my operating system.

On a 2nd press to access the emoji oddly it takes even longer, about 11 to 12 seconds!

I've tried clearing out the cache but that didn't improve things. Any other suggestions? Cookies maybe?
Android and Chrome. It's quite an old version of Android - v5 so sorry if that's causing problems.


@TB I remember you mentioned on the other thread that yours took a while to load, is that still the case?
 

TB

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@TB I remember you mentioned on the other thread that yours took a while to load, is that still the case?
I usually don't scroll down to those emojis but it appears there are a few that aren't showing up for me, too.

Screenshot_20210917-081700_Chrome.jpg


It took about 6 seconds for them to load.
 

IfAndOr

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It took about 6 seconds for them to load.
Thanks for giving it a try.
As a matter of interest try a 2nd load. And no I haven't been using those either since our old emoji have been updated.
 

Jordan

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Oh, interesting.

I looked into it more and this is a widely experienced but little-understood issue. I had assumed the slowdown you guys were experiencing was some kind of network issue or bottleneck from loading those thousands of little images at once, but now I see it is more complex than that. More talented web developers than I have tried to figure it out, but to make a long story short, it's an Android bug. For some reason, Android can't display even its own native emojis in large batches inside of web pages. Older versions of Android seem to be even slower.

There is nothing I can do about it, but the solution is simple: just use your device's native emoji keyboard. It will always be fast, and it will only show you emoji that are actually available on your device. There is no particular reason you need to use the GTP post editor's smiley menu to select emoji unless you really want to.
I'm assuming the missing ones are not part of my operating system.
That's correct. A lot of emoji have been added to the emoji specification since Android v5 was released. Because the GTP editor tries to display many of the latest emoji as of a year or so ago (I'm not sure exactly which emoji spec we are displaying), you're seeing those blank spaces. Different operating systems and different operating system versions have different emojis. Windows 10, for example, does not have any country flag emojis. This is one of the reasons we had been using a replacement emoji set before inside of posts before.

As I mentioned, there are various advantages and disadvantages to both techniques. Neither is perfect.
 
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IfAndOr

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There is nothing I can do about it, but the solution is simple: just use your device's native emoji keyboard.
That's fine Jordan, thanks for looking into it. It's good to know it's not just my old steam powered tablet. I'll do as you suggest and just use my devices emojis. 👍 < that was very quick.
 
555
Sweden
Hell
schlafhund
I don’t seem to be able to return my signature to italics. All of it was previously italicised and I just made a small adjustment, after which I lost it. Adding text with the BBcode isn’t doing it and I’m not sure why.
 

Famine

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I don’t seem to be able to return my signature to italics. All of it was previously italicised and I just made a small adjustment, after which I lost it. Adding text with the BBcode isn’t doing it and I’m not sure why.
I just edited it (admittedly through the Admin panel) and it seems fine.

When you're editing it are you using the BB code editor or the visual editor?
 
555
Sweden
Hell
schlafhund
I just edited it (admittedly through the Admin panel) and it seems fine.

When you're editing it are you using the BB code editor or the visual editor?
Thanks!

I was using the BBcode editor. Well, I tried the visual one as well but didn’t see any button or any other way of italicising.