needle wrote:I'd suggest that URLs only be allowed, for several reasons;
1 - the only other links that should be allowed are property-bee links.
This would allow legit users to start a thread, comment and drive traffic to the site.
Perhaps this should be the only comment allowed?
Hosting the comments on the site is the right way to go I think. Not only cause of the traffic, but because adding more complexity to the add-on could mean more bugs and hence problems / more updates for users.
Having just written a support guide, so someone else can take over the 1st line support... my mind has been somewhat focused on how to make the add-on simpler not more complex and have a few ideas on how to do this;
Things that may happen soon (in the next version or so)
- Remove "Options" > "Show timings" as most people don't need to know - plus I often get emails about how do I turn off this annoying pop up.
- Remove "Options" > "Work in a Bee", ie if your registered you will always work in the bee, if your not registered then you won't be in the bee - I often get support questions about I can't see the history either because they are not registered or work in a bee has become unticked
Things that may happen a bit or much later
- Remove the install/registration wizard Lots of support questions are due to being able to register via either the add-on (for working in a bee and the forum) or the website (for just the fourm), so think I may remove the install wizard and all registration will be done on the website
- Possibly a bit controversial but I'm thinking whether to get rid of the toolbar (the bit with property bee | styles | filters | wizards | sidebar | options | help at the top of the screen). Now that people can now interact with the property bee on the webpage (ie change "tabs"), there's the chance to move some of the items on the toolbar (like styles, filters and help) into the widget itself.... ie something like hoover the mouse over the description and the add-on gives you an option to hide it.
- Obviously it doesn't make sense to move everything on the toolbar into the widget, for example "Export data to CVS file" could move to the sidebar and export everything you currently see in your sidebar; the add-on could prompt you to "Compact your database" each month or so; other options could be accessed in a more Firefox standard way via Control-Alt-A and clicking on Options next to Property Bee.
I seem to have gone off at a tangent, but gives an idea of where I think I'm going
Back to commenting on properties....
Yes, hosted on the site... starting a forum thread, possibly. I've sort of discounted in my head using the forum as is for this feature as;
- It would mean logging in to post which I don't think is great - ideally the effort someone needs to go to to comment should be as low as possible (so that people are more likely to make comments). I could change the forum software, however its more or less standard off-the-shelf stuff, and modifying it is a real pain, as any upgrade (of security issues etc) to it means reapplying all the mod's to it - so I'd like to leave it as unchanged as possible!
- I'm not sure that many people realise that when they signed up for PB, the username/password can also be used for the forum.... so that may restrict the amount of comments if they need to login.
So, although its more work to start with (I think its less work in the long run tho!), I'm thinking a custom webpages for this feature as
- it could use the same authentification that the add-on uses when talking to property bee when sharing data - that way there's no need to sign in, the add-on/website talk to each other and confirm you're allowed to post comments.
- rather than 2 people starting a thread on the same property, PB takes the unique property reference number and/or information (ie postcode or lat/long) and decides which "thread(s)" the comment should appear on - this makes it easier for people to find the relevent information. It also allows PB to organise the comments, so that potentially we can automatically provide links to other comments to properties nearby.
Storyboarding my thoughts in how a user would access the feature;
- They'd browse the property listings as they do now.
- In the property bee widget, there is an link/icon saying something like "comment on this property", "there are comments on this property", or "someone has replied to your comment".
- Clicking on the link/icon, displays a webpage hosted on PB with the comments. I think that it would be really good to see the property listing and comments side-by-side, so I'm hoping that the comments although hosted on PB can appear in the sidebar (in effect as another browser window)
- The user can read/post comments on the property via the sidebar without the need to log in
needle wrote:2 - People like myself who have figured out how to use the Google cache could post links to previous listings of the property.
(See point 1)
3 - links posted could be part of the database, and would stay in perpetuity. Any long winded comments and/or moderation wouldnt then clog up the PB experience.
It could all take place here.
Food for thought if nothing else?
I agree, I don't want to "winded comments and/or moderation wouldnt then clog up the PB experience".. I think using the sidebar, and being able to see both the property listing and (if you want) comments side by side in the same window is the best solution I've come up with so far.
I'm still not quite sure how the comments page will look, in my mind there's
- comments/questions on the property itself
- potentially comments/questions on the area the property is in (which maybe applicaticable to nearby properties)
- peep like yourself, posting links to other listing of the property, whether they are from google cache or the EA's website.
- possibly other stuff I haven't even thought of
- (and maybe at a later date, tho I'd like to consider it now so its slots into the feature) stats and information about the area the property is in, whether its sold prices / crime figures / who lives there...
(You still owe me that beer next time I'm in London btw
Definately, did I give you my number? I'm always up for a few beers... even if I'm paying!