I’m not going to OOW (maybe one day!) but I thought that the badge icons that Justin Kestley put in his post might be usable as some icons for lj! I’ve updated the posts I’ve already written with the applicable icons (I’ve nabbed the OTN and SQL ones), but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my dearly beloved, who basically did the magic to extract the icons from the sample shown on Justin’s post!
As for the forums, I can’t help but feel that the lack of a Beta site for testing forum upgrades has kinda bitten Oracle on the bum. From the complaints I’ve seen, a lot of people rely on the Oracle forums and I can’t help but feel that the Forums have a low priority in the overall structure of Oracle-the-company. However, it’s just like how I feel about spelling mistakes and little low-priority niggles in front ends: sometimes it’s the minor details that influence people’s perceptions. A site that is usable but contains loads of spelling mistakes and extra clicks and key presses will cause the site and the team/company behind the site to go down quickly in people’s estimation. This is what I think is happening with the forums – as people lose faith in the forums due to down time, slowness, incomprehensible formatting, etc, they’ll leave and their faith in Oracle to get things right will go down.
I know that part of the trouble comes from the Jive software (I had a scoot round their site the other day; scalable and performant… ?!) and the host of extra “features” that comes for free. However, in a technical forum, I really, really don’t think we need all those bells and whistles – I mean, you need to be able to quote previous text, write your own text possibly with bolding or italics or containing links, but much more than this is not needed – I’m never going to write and need different sized headings, for example!
The other bug-bear that people have is the new reward system. They’re upset that they no longer have the “golden turnip/radish/medal/whatever” next to their name and are now reduced to being called “Newbie” and are no longer in the top user section in their particular forum. The people that have complained are the ones that look on answering things in the forum as a competition, so it’s more about ego than it is about helping people. I’ve no problem being labelled a Newbie (and I suspect that many of the people I would consider to be experts aren’t bothered either), because I post a) to help people and b) to learn. Sure, it’s nice to be credited, but it’s by no means a right that I expect! I’d rather people looked at my answers and took them to show my level of expertise, rather than how many points I have. Heck, I’m far from being an expert! I’m good at searching, and I like helping, but I still make stupid mistakes! So looking on the number of posts I’ve made does not show any indication of how much of an expert I am!
I do have one problem with the current reward system, and that is when a question is marked as Answered, I find that I am less willing to bother looking at that post, especially if the site or my network is being slow at that point. If I’m doing it, I’m pretty sure others are also doing similar, including experts. Now if no-one is going into these answered posts to check that the answer is right, who is going to correct the wrongly marked answers?
I’m sure this won’t be much of an issue now, whilst things are new, but over time, I think less people will bother checking answered questions, meaning that when people do searches, they’re going to see answers marked correct when in actual fact they aren’t correct – or, whilst being technically correct, aren’t the best solution.
Oh well, maybe it won’t be much of an issue, but I think it’s human nature to expend energy on something that’s apparently been marked as completed.
I think that if a Beta version had been in place, a lot of these arguments could have been worked out in advance and my suggestion of having a post rating similar to that of the Amazon.com review rating system (1 out of 10 people found this useful) might have been implemented – and that would sort some of the complaints out!
Ah well, maybe next time there’s an upgrade a Beta can be set up first – if it’s truely Oracle’s intention to involve the community, then that would be a good way of doing so in the forums!