Blogging

Friday, Jun 12 2009 by
1

We are planning to add blogging to the site - any comments or suggestions?

How can we make it work well? This is the place for Stockopedia members to discuss and debate Blogging ... Be honest, be frank  - it's the only way we are going to get better!

 

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As per our Terms of Use, Stockopedia is a financial news & data site, discussion forum and content aggregator. Our site should be used for educational & informational purposes only. We do not provide investment advice, recommendations or views as to whether an investment or strategy is suited to the investment needs of a specific individual. You should make your own decisions and seek independent professional advice before doing so. Remember: Shares can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to future performance & investors may not get back the amount invested. ?>


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21 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

doverbeach 23rd Jun '09 2 of 21
2

Do you mean inaddition to the current <boring> <moribund> Spedia Blog?

Do you mean letting users each have their own blog? or a common blog?

My main concern is spreading info too thin. When someone with a bit of news could post a news item, tweet, update a wiki, post on the forum or blog about it, how are they supposed to choose????

My view is that at the moment you need critical mass more than sexy new ideas. I think the idea of user blogs and user generated news should both be put on hold (and yes, that means removing the news faciliity). Twitter with its 140 character limit is an acquired taste, it may catch on, but is is always likley to be in addition to longer debate elsewhere so it won't dilute things and can be left to sink or swim. And there is no sign of anyone updating wikis at the moment, so no need to worry about that :( So people with something to say will use the forums.

Then if in a few months if hings are really taking off and the forums are getting so much chat that doesn't neatly fit in, then revisit the Blogs idea.  And/or usergenerated news.

db

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doverbeach 23rd Jun '09 3 of 21
6

In reply to Murakami (post #1)

I posted before I read your first post, M. I don't think this is a good idea as my previous post explains.

I don't think you guys have yet taken on board how COMPLICATED this site seems to newbies.  And how very off-putting that is!

Do you mind sharing what your priorities are at the moment?  Personally I would say that top of the list should be a Favourites facility - if you aren't sure where to go with this then perhaps start a thread about that and gather ideas?  That is going to be crucial as soon as the site gets busy!

Second on the list from my point of view would be getting decent mobile access sorted out.

Blogs are nowhere :(

You did ask for frankness...

db

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Murakami 23rd Jun '09 4 of 21

Hi,  the current Spedia blog will go since it's really just a way of making site announcements which we can do through the forums plus maybe an RSS feed.  The idea is that each user will have their own Blog if they choose to set it up. I take your point about content fragmentation but some members may be willing to contribute on a Blog but not in an open Forum. We have basically built it so I suggest everyone takes a look at it in a few weeks once we release it and see what they think. We are in a beta phase so we are keen to test out as many ideas as possible to see what works. If it doesn't work, no probs.

On the user news front, we are thinking of integrating that back into the Forums so that people can tick a box when they submit in order to identify a post as "News". Thoughts?

Cheers, M

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Murakami 23rd Jun '09 5 of 21

In reply to doverbeach (post #3)

Frankness is good - we like it! Happy to share a list of priorities shortly although we are still debating things so it isn't yet finalised.

FYI, we are also doing a site redesign which will be ready in a month or so which should help simplify the site presentation. And mobile access is very much on the list!

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marben100 23rd Jun '09 6 of 21
6

In reply to Murakami (post #1)

Whilst the idea of personal blogs is nice, I would suggest that limited resources are focused on getting the "basics" right. Besides reliability, the most important features, IMV are:

  1. The ability for users to easily select which threads/stocks/sectors/themes they want to monitor
  2. Showing the number of new posts on the threads that the user has chosen, and the creation of any new threads, when stocks/.sectors/themes have been selected.

You've done a great job :0), but now that the site has some momentum, making sure it's really usable and can move beyond "beta" rapidly is crucial, IMO, to avoid losing that momentum. Blogs are really something that can be added later.

Incidentally, a "poll" feature would be nice - then users could vote on which features they consider most important.

Looking at db's post #3, I see we're thinking along similar lines - and I strongly agree that the site looks too complicated/daunting for newbies (and for me. :0)).

Best regards,

Mark

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tournesol 23rd Jun '09 7 of 21
2

I do like the idea of personal blogs - it would be great to see the stream of consciousness of successful investors/stockopedes

I do however have a couple of concerns

1) I am still not finding this site easy to use - perhaps that's not quite right - any particular aspect is easy to use but the overall functionality is a) extraordinarily rich b) very densely packed c) not immediately/intuitively obvious to novices. (more on this later)

2) I echo the concern expressed above about the multiplicity of locations in which a comment/post could justifiably be placed.

The last thing we need is to have so many places that a posting could be made that we find it difficult to locate and/or follow the logical underlying stream of discussion that weaves in and out of different locations.

Would it be possible for the personal blogs to encapsulate all of the contributions made by the individual?

So I might post onto thread A and thread B and also contribute to a wiki. I might also use the personal blog to record bloggy type musings. But when anyone looks at my blog they see not only the bloggy stuff but also a copy of whatever I've posted on other headings/threads/wikis - a kind of necklace where my contributions are strung along the thread of my blog activity as it were. With, of course, links which let the reader jump across to the discussions of which the posts are part.

just a thought

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doverbeach 23rd Jun '09 8 of 21
1

In rely to Murakami

some members may be willing to contribute on a Blog but not in an open Forum

that I find hard to believe. It may be that there is stuff that doesn't neatly fit into forums but I find it hard to imagine the sort of person who would blog but never post.

Tournesol suggested

Would it be possible for the personal blogs to encapsulate all of the contributions made by the individual?

So I might post onto thread A and thread B and also contribute to a wiki. I might also use the personal blog to record bloggy type musings. But when anyone looks at my blog they see not only the bloggy stuff but also a copy of whatever I've posted on other headings/threads/wikis - a kind of necklace where my contributions are strung along the thread of my blog activity as it were. With, of course, links which let the reader jump across to the discussions of which the posts are part.

Do the proposed blogs allow others to comment on the blogs (as is normal)? If they do, then bringing stuff together in the blog risks people replying on the blog rather than on the original forums.

db

 

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promethean 23rd Jun '09 9 of 21

I think everyone has to be aware that they see things from their own perspective - which doesn't necessarily mean that their own perspective is the only way of seeing things.  The 'blogging' is part of a grander scheme, which we won't elaborate on until it makes itself clear.  I hope you can trust that we are doing things in our users best interests.  We aren't just here to replicate other sites' feature sets, although I'm sure you can tell that we are doing our best to build out the features that matter to you most.

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doverbeach 23rd Jun '09 10 of 21

I think everyone has to be aware that they see things from their own perspective - which doesn't necessarily mean that their own perspective is the only way of seeing things. 

no problem with that at all.  But you guys asked for our views and told us to be frank!

also I worry about the complexity putting newbies off.  It won't matter when there is enough momentum and content - people will be so impressed that they will persevere - but if there is a very complicated looking site with not a lot of content, people won't be bothered.

db

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promethean 23rd Jun '09 11 of 21
1

re. not a lot of content

The issue with Forums generally, is that so much good to great content gets lost amongst the heaps of filler - and often gets lost forever after a few days or weeks!  People tend to write in forums in a conversational manner, not in the type of format that could be viewed as a story palatable to the average browser who may have arrived via google or who wants to find out the backstory of a company in a swift manner.

The motivation to start stockopedia was to try to find ways to pull that content out and make it more easily accessible to the average browser.

We'd like to encourage our users to write in such a way that their contributions could be more widely read... wikis, blogs, stories and articles are formats that encompass a different style of writing - and we'd like to encourage people to write in such a way  in order to promote those stories around the site and possibly the wider web.   

Hope that's understandable!  These are key design goals.

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marben100 24th Jun '09 12 of 21
1

In reply to promethean (post #11)

Hi Prom,

With that objective in mind, I think the Wiki concept, anchored to a company, is a great idea - and one I intend to make use of when I come to do some full stock write-ups. Can't quite see how the blog adds so much value (though it's a "nice to have"). Users can always create personal threads if they want to record blogs.

One idea for Wiki authors: it'd be really useful to include links to key analytical (or documentary) posts in the Wiki. That'd really be a great resource for anyone wanting to research a stock.

Cheers,

Mark

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Murakami 24th Jun '09 13 of 21

We were thinking of having a "Would you like to submit this content as a Stockopedia Article?" button at the end of any particular thread/wiki/blog creation form... The idea is that higher standards would be applied to that kind of content but that, if it was sufficiently well written and well referenced, it would then feature in a "Stockopedia Articles" or "Best of the Site" type area which would be more easily browsable by people coming fresh to the site who aren't necessarily au fait/comfortable with the bulletin board format. Any thoughts on this would be welcome...

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doverbeach 24th Jun '09 14 of 21
2

Articles? what on earth are Articles?

So there will be the the forums, wikis, blogging, twitter, user generated news and articles? And you are proposing to duplicate content from some of these to others? To be honest, it sounds like a PITA to navigate for experienced users, let alone newbies.

people coming fresh to the site who aren't necessarily au fait/comfortable with the bulletin board format

these people you may need for revenue in future, but you do not need them at the moment. Lurkers are not going to help get Spedia off the ground. At the moment you need to concentrate on making the site work for the active users.

It's great that you have big plans for the site. But people will come and stay because of the content. Lots of content and poor site design is liveable with - hence advfn and TMF. Poor content and great site design isn't. And complicated site design that makes sense in the context of a thriving active, large community , is not necessarily a good way to develop the site.

At the moment you have to make the forums more workable, encourage people to post in the right places and start updating wikis. Get this right and the traffic will arrive.

And when experienced bulletin board posters are saying that things are already too complicated, this is not the right moment to introduce additional features!

db

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promethean 24th Jun '09 15 of 21

db - could you elaborate on what you are finding too complicated... ?  It would be really helpful.  Thanks.

Regarding articles - yes!  We are planning on having articles, and editorial content... just like at TMF, FT.com, Investors Chronicle or any other publisher.  It won't be hard to navigate as they will be on the front page of the site (which nobody in the forums goes to anyway because currently there isnt anything there!)

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doverbeach 24th Jun '09 16 of 21
2

And when experienced bulletin board posters are saying that things are already too complicated,

by that I meant mainly new people arriving here from TMF or other bulletin boards. (Although I am still having trouble finding things - I am sure I saw a request from you for comments on Portfolio/Watchlist but I had a hunt when I wanted to reply and failed to find it.)  And I was referring to the impressions they have after reading and possibly thinking about posting for the first few times. IMO the problems they face are:

a) where to start. Instead they see loads of tab across the top of the page and a pile of Your page options on the right.  It looks cluttered and confusing. There is no hint here as to what is important and what is working. Of the tabs across the top of the page, Index comes first but is basically boring - have a look at your stats and I bet it is hardly ever used - I think there should be a general Search tab and this index is part of that. Then there is wiki - which won't mean anything to some older users at all and anyway isnt much used - even when it is, it will always be less used than the forums. Then there is the Forums link, buried in the middle. Then there is News, which is too slow to be of much use at the moment, with the confusing option of people adding a News item instead of posting on the Forums. Funds is a hopeless label - to new arrivers it will sound like unit trusts and switch most of them off! Investors is also a confusing label - you may want to think your USP is that your users are all serious investors but newbies aren't going to realise that and it just looks odd - I think it should be renamed Users or Members. Help is fine in theory but in practice there is no FAQ easily visible. The Feature tour (which no one will ever use if they think they are an experienced bulletin board user) is techy orientated and contains references to things which aren't live eg "Premium users can chart forum sentiment as easily as stock prices"  (BTW  fascinating, that is the first reference I have seen to a category of Premium users - so thats where you are hoping to get money from!).  Blog is a waste of space at the moment - but I suppose you want to use it for entry to the new blogging stuff. Invite defintely doesnt need to be on the top line, stick it under Investors. Fewer options are needed!

b) how to post Sorry, the clicking on the sentiment bar is just weird to new users. you need a simple post button.

c) how to find things and keep track of them - the book marking facility sounds useful but isn't. The active threads page is ok just at the moment, but people dont want to see the damned Phorm threads every time :(  The favourites page is very badly needed here.

d) when to reply to a thread or start a new one. Even experienced users are struggling with this. Hence the current chat about BA's major problems is going on under the entirely inappropriate lable of problems with the Iberia merger. For a newcomer expecting to see some up to date stuff on BA, this looks odd.

e) where to start a new thread So davjo got it wrong this morning. These things are NOT obvious to experienced bulletin board users.

 

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promethean 24th Jun '09 17 of 21

By the way - before I get started, It would be helpful if you can actually put these requests into the feedback page on the right column... we can't know your frustrations unless you really do let us know and aks others to vote for them.

 

Firstly - we've changed the top menu... agreed on that front. 

a) where to start. Instead they see loads of tab across the top of the page and a pile of Your page options on the right.  It looks cluttered and confusing.

Agreed.  The site is undergoing a significant redesign behind the scenes - and this particular slight will be remedied.  the 'personal' toolbar in the left column is going to be fixed to the bottom of the screen - out of the way, but always available.

Then there is wiki - which won't mean anything to some older users at all and anyway isnt much used - even when it is, it will always be less used than the forums.

I doubt that would be the case if the wiki was full of content.  But agreed that at the moment it is the case. Regarding having 'forums' as the most prominent link...  if we do that now and eventually change it back due to other site features trumping the forums we'll get in lots of trouble from all the forum users... so it's probably best to leave it where it is for now... previously the funds were the most popular feature, but we left that where it was!

 (BTW  fascinating, that is the first reference I have seen to a category of Premium users - so thats where you are hoping to get money from!). 

We'll make money from advertising and premium subscriptions - this is an internet web-site after all - but we do have our own angle on this front that is designed to lean on companies rather than users.  The less said on that right now the better.  We will also reward top contributors with less advertising and a less cluttered interface...

how to post Sorry, the clicking on the sentiment bar is just weird to new users. you need a simple post button.

Oh  not one of those boring 'submit' buttons... I was thinking we could make it a square with 64 options - from bearish to bullish on one axis and timeframe on the other. Maybe push it out into 3D with confidence on the z-axis... that really would be cool. heh heh

how to find things and keep track of them - the book marking facility sounds useful but isn't. The active threads page is ok just at the moment, but people dont want to see the damned Phorm threads every time :(  The favourites page is very badly needed here.

Agreed... in development...

when to reply to a thread or start a new one. Even experienced users are struggling with this. Hence the current chat about BA's major problems is going on under the entirely inappropriate lable of problems with the Iberia merger. For a newcomer expecting to see some up to date stuff on BA, this looks odd.

I personally agree to a certain extent, but this kind of design issue hasn't hurt advfn's popularity.  Personally I'd like to see more threads, and less long ones.  The ease of starting threads etc does need looked into... Some older members aren't quite getting the 'auto-complete' idea and the forum browsing isn't ideal and IS going to be improved.

Please be patient as we roll out new features and keep letting us know by inputting your concerns and feature requests into the feedback forums.

Thanks.

prom

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marben100 24th Jun '09 18 of 21
1

In reply to promethean (post #17)

Hi prom,

It would be helpful if you can actually put these requests into the feedback page on the right column...

 I tried to use the red feedback thingy on the RHS but found that it seemed to be asking me to login again, which I wasn't able to do, so I gave up. I did report this problem. Does it work now? Using the "feedback" help menu item seems to work fine, however... but why are there two completely different ways to do the same thing? Again adds to the confusion db & I are banging on about. :0)

Cheers,

Mark

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promethean 24th Jun '09 19 of 21
1

Mark - You don't have to log in to use it.  Just post your requests anonymously. It isn't our software, it's a plugin that saves us a month of development... I'd rather use software as a service for things like this.

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marben100 24th Jun '09 20 of 21
1

Hi prom, thanks for that.

Regarding simplification, a classic illustration of the current usability problems has just arisen as I tried to talk a new user through using the "following" feature of the site. Once you've reached the network page, you are faced with three menu bars: the main one at the top, one against your login name and a third one relating to the network feature. All of these have a "news" menu item! Hence the inexperieneced user is faced with three different "news" selections, all with different functions. Whilst it may be perfectly logical for the experienced user, it appears hideously complex to the newbie (or non-techie person): wherever possible, the number of possible options should be kept down.

Cheers,

Mark

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SW10Chap 24th Jun '09 21 of 21

I agree with doverbeach, and will repeat the quote that I stole earlier from Colin Chapman: "Add more lightness!"

In reply to marben100 (post #18)

 I tried to use the red feedback thingy on the RHS

I've read about it a couple of times - thing is though, I can't even see it...

I guess it's driven by another site and that it's being blocked by the NoScript add-on on my browser :-)

SW10

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