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SteveD | 18:38 Sat 31st Jul 2004 | Site Suggestions
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Elsewhere in the News section, it has been suggested that it would be very useful to have an "Edit" function so that mistakes in submitted postscould be corrected. I am sure that Answerbank users could think of other improvements. What ideas do you have? I would like to see a "Miscellaneous" section for posts such as this one. It would also be very useful if a way could be found to indicate how many replies a given question has received; this would avoid having to click on "All Unanswered Questions" or "All Answered Questions"


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Steve, we've been asking for an 'edit' function and a host of other improvements to AnswerBank for years! I actually imagined some of these would appear with the recent revamp of the site, but - whilst there were one or two small improvements - not a lot has altered.
Question Author
QM, I see that there is a "Contact Us" link at the bottom and I assume that this is what has been used in the past to request improvements to the site. Is this correct? It's all very well someone like me sending them a few suggestions, but what would be better would be a coordinated proposal. For this reason, the absence of a private message function is a pity; it would allow collation of input from several users and a "one voice" request from "us" to "them".
Many sites I visit make you log in (if you want) as soon as you go there. That way, a "New since last visit" system could be implemented. It would be fantastic here. Just imagine if on every question on each subject page, there was a number next to the title like "[2/12]", which whould mean "12 posts in total of which 2 have not been read by you yet." It would be heaven!
I also think the Search facility should be made good. It should be able to search the replies as well as the title and the question. It should also have the simple "AND" requests. At the moment, if you search for "cheese biscuits", it throws back 181 results with the word(s) "cheese" and/or "biscuits" and - as far as I know - there's no way of asking it to only return the results which contain both. It doesn't recognise the boolean format or inverted commas (like Google).
Also, a "Search by author" option would be great. Say, for instance, I wanted to find all of brawburd's answers or questions. Or this could be incorporated into the main search function and I could tell it to find all replies containing the word "cheese" and the word "biscuits" written by brawburd, in the last month. Or something. Maybe not many results for that particular request, but you get my point.
And *sigh* an "Edit" function to correct over italicisation...
A thing which says

as well as the thing which says


so that we can go back up the list of questions as well as down.
! Where did all that bold come from? I never said bold!
How about using the spare space on the right hand side of the screen? It would be useful to be able to see the list of questions on one side, AND the list of answers to one question on the other side. Then it would be quicker to jump to a different question in the same section without having to do lots of next/back. Especially if one only wants to look at a few questions in the section rather than going down the whole list.
Apart from a short period allowed for editing out silly mistakes in answers, the main change I'd like to see is one whereby - every time an answer is posted to a question - that question goes back to the top of the page. In this way, "popular" questions would remain easily accessible and those attracting little or no response would rapidly 'disappear'.

Yes, Steve, you can use the 'contact' approach, though many of us have simply done what we are doing right putting our thoughts in full view of the editor(s).

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I have sent a message to the "Contact Us" link drawing attention to this thread. Do they usually reply to these messages? For a site which is free to use, I suppose we can't complain about value for money, but how is Answerbank financed? Does one ad for Thomsonfly cover its costs?
I would like to see a 'My Answerbank' section where I can see all the questions and answers I'VE posted in one place. User profiles would be nice as well so we can see a bit more about other members. Optional of course.
Don't hold your breath people...QM and I and a few others have been banging on about this for over three years now so changes ain't quick in happening around here.

I have to say for once i disagree with you though QM with the go to the top suggestion as this would allow silly annoying questions as well as valid ones to hang around for ages...the system now is democratic enough in that all questions are treated equally and hang about for (roughly) equal amounts of time.

Dear S, The 'go to the top' system worked extremely well on AnswerPoint. That was the good 'human' half of the Ask Jeeves website...the half they threw away a couple of years ago whilst retaining the rubbish 'computerised/robotic' half!

Your fear that silly and annoying questions would also hang around did not happen there. Nor would that happen here, if only people decided simply to ignore them rather than complain about them.

Believe me...'good' questions did hang about prominently and 'bad' ones didn't. The democracy that comes into play is the one whereby we decide what we - by our actions - want to read about and respond to. Cheers

Problem with the Recent answers to the top is a question might be missed due to a quick spread of a answer with lots of answers. A better solution to this would be to have a option to show this rather than have it as default. Also in answer to bernado the wasted space is so that the site is viewable in smaller resolutions.
It would also be nice to see how many AB members are online.
And be able to earmark questions which you're interested in but which aren't your own. I always spend ages trwling through trying to remember what cuahgt my interest a couple of days ago, and it's very frustrating i you can't remember what the wording was so it's impossible to find.
Also, something which warns you 'either your keyboard is not working, or you have lost all control of the english language. Look at your answer before you post it, you p1llock.' :-)
Yeah a "Keep me posted" check box would be great so that you could get e-mail alerts even to questions that aren's your own.
Hi AnswerBankers, You have all noticed a variety of changes to the AnswerBank over the past few weeks, some good and some not so good! As many of you know, the AnswerBank was acquired in June by Crystal Guides Ltd, an independent online publisher of sites such UK Net Guide Most of the work we have done so far has been on the technical infrastructure of the site, and so far we have only made minor improvements to the 'front end' such as removing pop-up advertising and creating the Quiz channel. The primary reason for the change in the 'feel' of the site, which many of you regular AB users have noticed, is the increase in traffic. Up until June the AnswerBank was visited by around 10,000 users a month. In July that figure reached almost 400,000! This will inevitably produce a broader range of questions and answers, some of them intelligent, thought provoking and in keeping with the spirit of AnswerBank - and others rather silly or downright bizarre! While we welcome this new level of users it has meant that we have been stretched to the limit as far as editorial resources are concerned and we apologise if certain things have slipped under the radar and not been picked up. This is where the moderating influence of the regular AB users is so important in maintaining the quality of the site. Please bear with us as we adjust to this new found popularity and rest assured that we at Crystal Guides are very committed to developing the site in conjunction with you - the loyal and regular users. With this in mind we are launching a new 'Suggestions' channel next week to open the debate (which has already started in certain areas of the site) on what you want from AnswerBank. From all the team at AnswerBank, thank you for you patience and we look forward to hearing your suggestions! Regards, AB Editor

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