Free feature suggestion for forum developers

Discussion in 'Forum Software' started by bernard, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. bernard

    bernard Enthusiast

    Maybe this exists in some forum software already, but I haven't seen it...

    I think it would a nice feature if forum software recognized whether members were posting to a forum from a mobile device versus a computer and displayed an icon somewhere in the post header to indicate such (near the member's username/avatar/etc.). Yes, that would require one more item to store in the database with each post (to remember if the post was mobile or non-mobile).

    It would provide some context to a message when there are typos, obvious errors with auto correct, lack of link or image references or otherwise incomplete responses. Sometimes members on mobile devices can't really respond to a topic as comprehensively as they could from a computer and they respond via mobile just to get a reference point for follow up later.

    But for folks reading the thread, it's not always obvious that the member was limited (by their device) in their ability to respond. A small icon could be helpful in providing context for a post.

    What do you all think?
  2. haqzore

    haqzore Devotee

    Personally, don't care. Pointless.
  3. southernlady

    southernlady Coder/Designer

    I agree. I do have the ability to see the IP address and that sometimes lets you know the member is posting from a mobile device but I really don’t care about the statistics. All I care about is, “are members posting?”
  4. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Desktop and mobile browsers are already differentiable by their useragent if you're querying currently online users, most software's just dont store that information with posts since there's no real purpose - you only needed browser distinction to present a compatible interface and style t users, wether theyre browsing from mobile, IE6 or a desktop chrome. The online status message/icon commonly used to show wether a user is currently online could still be used to differentiate wether one is currently logged from mobile or desktop, as most scripts do not make this distinction at all.

    As to wether posts have been made from desktop or mobile, unless membership at a forum is held to a high academic standard, I dont think anyone really minds short and autocorrected messages as long as the ideas expressed are understandable. Could there be other benefit of permanently storing that information for every post?
  5. JQP

    JQP Dork

    I saw a plug-in for phpBB that did that. It even had little icons for the various phones. Apparently somebody thought it was important; I thought it was an invasion of users' privacy.
  6. southernlady

    southernlady Coder/Designer

    The ONLY use I can see for knowing what the different mobile phones are is in troubleshooting an issue for a particular user. And if that’s the case, asking them works just fine.
  7. bernard

    bernard Enthusiast

    You are thinking strictly from an admin/mod perspective. The idea is to facilitate better communication amongst members.

    I have seen many conversations in the various forums I visit where some members get upset at someone because they post assertions without references, links without quotes or serial reply posts (because multi-quoting and formatting messages isn't easy) simply because they were on a mobile and it wasn't convenient to do so at the time. The idea for an icon is to avoid the feather ruffling and ensuing garbage posts arguing about it.

    Interesting. I didn't know anyone had ever implemented such a thing. I know it wouldn't be difficult to do from a technical standpoint.

    Oh, and for the record, differentiating the different mobile devices isn't necessary for what I'm suggesting. Merely indicating that the post was made with a mobile device vs. computer should be sufficient.
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  8. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

    I think the better longterm solution is to improve the mobile posting editor. This is just a crutch to explain away poor mobile typing.
  9. haqzore

    haqzore Devotee

    Really? How so?
  10. Morrigan

    Morrigan I put the Cute in Exe"cute".

    I don't necessarily agree with this. While I understand the reason you would want it I personally wouldn't want people to know the device I'm posting from. I'm an avid poster from wherever I am and that could be lazing about in bed from my phone, in the bath with my tablet, or at my desk on my PC. I don't need a user to know that my first post was from my phone and then they said something that got my ass out of bed (or the bath) and went to my PC to continue the conversation (perhaps this answers your question haqzore ).

    If that's an issue I agree with Joel R that perhaps the issue is more with the editor or the site layout than the actual referencing. I quote posts and link from my phone all the time if it's relevant and necessary. Feather ruffling often happens because of confusion which should be quelled by intelligent conversationalists or staff members not by an "idiot id" of whether you are on mobile or desktop.

    This, at least to me, gives jerks the excuse to say "i mistyped and so you didn't understand my post" in conversations if they decide to post from their mobile device just to circumvent the issue of being wrong in a conversation.
  11. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    Maybe if it was only viewable by admins -- then it might have some purpose in limited circumstances like when the member is looking for help with the site and cant find something. (desktop and mobile look a little different)
  12. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    Not necessarily, quotes are one thing and a good quote/editor system is definitely important there. But searching for sources or other threads you want to reference or even outside sources can be a ball ache on mobile, hence why I often don't source them. Search is the biggest one. It's much more difficult to execute and refine a search on mobile to find the exact content you want. As a result, I do occasionally say that I'm on mobile hence why I haven't quoted perfectly or sourced exactly what I'm explaining about. It's not that I'm (necessarily) lazy (at that moment in time), it's just that I feel it's too much hassle to do so in my current situation, while using a mobile device (potentially one handed).

    I suppose a feature like the one proposed could help explain help in this case.

    It's not that different from the old 'Posted from Tapatalk' signatures you used to get on posts too.

    I don't think it's a problem, and could definitely be useful or a good idea for many sites. I can see how some sites might not like it. But I don't think it's necessarily a massive privacy issue to have a feature that says your post is from a mobile device or tablet. I guess it depends on how detailed it is.

    It would certainly help explain some very odd autocorrect sentences you see arising from mobile posts. They can be pretty ducking confusing ;)

    - Sent from my ancient Macbook Laptop, typed with two hands, on a QWERTY keyboard, sitting at my desk, in my room, at home, with the lights set at 50% dim and some Netflix playing in the background
  13. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    Just went on Hot UK Deals for the first time in a while it it looks like they have an icon in posts to highlight when comments have been posted from their app

  14. Paul M

    Paul M Limeade Addict

    I seem to recall that when mobile detection was first added to vbulletin, it added a note saying "posted from apple mobile" (or similar).

    I think that got dropped over time as no one really found it that useful.
  15. Lala

    Lala Participant

    I would use an icon if I were trying to promote app, so that members would see that someone uses it and try it out too.

    Otherwise this would be a needless distraction for our community. I want users to stay focused on the reason they joined us, and to have an easy experience on site, so I strip the front off all features we could survive without. Doesn't really matter why someone makes a lot of typos. Maybe they are on phone, maybe drunk, maybe not a native speaker, maybe their cat just died and they are distraught about it - who knows, can't have icons for all these reasons. Got editable titles, profile pages, shoutbox, community hangout forum - if it's important for a user to announce their reason for typos, they can do it in one of those places. Otherwise nobody cares. If it's a chronic issue and the amount of typos makes their posts illegible - some users will put them on ignore, regardless of reasons...
  16. enivid

    enivid Aspirant

    This could be a really useful add-on to any forum software. The privacy issue is easily solved by making this feature opt-in.
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