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OFFICIAL: Redesigning the "Debates" Page

SObszanski
Posts: 102
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10/1/2012 5:01:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Good afternoon, DDO'ers!

One of the central initiatives on our list of enhancements is to redesign the main "Debates" category page (http://debate.org...).

As users, what would be the ideal structure for this main "Debates" page? How do you want it to function? What information do you want provided? What modules/sections would you like to see added, and in what order?

Things to Consider:
-Adding a "Leaderboard" section (again)
-Making the "Start a New Debate" button more prominent
-Adding an "Accept a Challenge/Debate Now" section which displays debates currently in the challenge period
-Adding a "Vote Now" section which displays debates currently in the voting period
-Adding a "Debates Happening Now" section which displays debates currently in the debating period
-Adding a "Popular/Featured Debates" section which displays debates currently receiving a lot of attention
-Updating the Search/Filter/Sort by module

Pictures and hand-drawn sketches are both welcome and encouraged. Here is a very rough sketch I made of what I personally envision the page looking like: http://d.pr...

We recommend using the free program droplr (https://droplr.com...) to take and share images of a specific web page. Even hand-drawn pictures work, and you can share these via links with droplr (as I have done above) or other free services such as TinyPic (http://tinypic.com...). Please PM me if you would like to send us photos a different way.

As always, thank you for your continued help and feedback!

Have a great day!
Suzanne
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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10/1/2012 5:16:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I personally don't care much about the layout. Only important features like integrating the ELO system.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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10/1/2012 5:16:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
That drawing looks pretty nice and I wouldn't be opposed to having the page look like that. But there should also be a category for finished debates that have had the voting period expire.

I also suggest an idea thats been thrown around before: to have the front page of the site show only Popular debates that have finished instead of any debate thats finished. While there's a lot of high quality rounds here, there's also a lot of poor ones, and showing any debate that recently ended on the front page would cause a lot of the low quality ones to be shown to people first looking at the site. Since debates with a lot of views (popular) are generally high quality, having them exclusively on the front page gives a better impression.
SObszanski
Posts: 102
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10/1/2012 5:25:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 5:16:56 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
That drawing looks pretty nice and I wouldn't be opposed to having the page look like that. But there should also be a category for finished debates that have had the voting period expire.

Yes! I have that as a side note as well, with the title "Finished Debates" or something similar.

I also suggest an idea thats been thrown around before: to have the front page of the site show only Popular debates that have finished instead of any debate thats finished. While there's a lot of high quality rounds here, there's also a lot of poor ones, and showing any debate that recently ended on the front page would cause a lot of the low quality ones to be shown to people first looking at the site. Since debates with a lot of views (popular) are generally high quality, having them exclusively on the front page gives a better impression.

We actually have this on our list of things to do, and we will address it during the homepage redesign, if not before. Our goal is to display popular debates that are of the highest quality.

Thank you!
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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10/1/2012 6:41:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 5:25:33 PM, SObszanski wrote:
We actually have this on our list of things to do, and we will address it during the homepage redesign, if not before. Our goal is to display popular debates that are of the highest quality.

So your goal is not to display debates that don't have a lot of votes yet? On the one end of the spectrum you're trying to encourage lots of people to come to the site with opinions, but then you're also blocking out visibility for newer debaters with less experience and creating a disincentive for more experienced debaters to notice them. Voting is still the biggest problem on this site, in my opinion, and I feel the design should reflect that.

I would favor a compromised, filter-based approach, that allows you (perhaps with a dropdown) to see either the most popular, the least popular (for a laugh), the most voted, the least voted, most and least commented, highest/lowest ranked debaters, and newest debates. I'd also put "happening now" underneath "vote now".

From a design perspective I have some concerns that the three-column layout, with the homepage's sidebar to the side, could start to get very cramped, but I guess you'll have to see how it looks on screen.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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10/1/2012 9:08:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 8:45:12 PM, Viper-King wrote:
Add the ELO rankings system and delete the old one.

Don't delete the old one. Keep them both. It's nice for stats.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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10/1/2012 9:09:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 9:08:17 PM, phantom wrote:
At 10/1/2012 8:45:12 PM, Viper-King wrote:
Add the ELO rankings system and delete the old one.

Don't delete the old one. Keep them both. It's nice for stats.

And you can see how your placement varies per ranking.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
SObszanski
Posts: 102
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10/1/2012 9:11:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 6:41:27 PM, larztheloser wrote:
At 10/1/2012 5:25:33 PM, SObszanski wrote:
We actually have this on our list of things to do, and we will address it during the homepage redesign, if not before. Our goal is to display popular debates that are of the highest quality.

So your goal is not to display debates that don't have a lot of votes yet?:

This is not our goal at all. Let me clarify: the only thing on our "to-do" list in regards to this issue is to figure out a better way to decide which debates are displayed on the homepage. This necessity became especially apparent last week, when we had what appeared to be a class or debate group who were all starting debates about stoicism at the same time. As a result, the entire homepage was filled with debates about stoicism, all by brand new members, all with virtually the same content. This is what we mean by showing debates "of the highest quality." See this forum thread for clarification: http://www.debate.org...

On the one end of the spectrum you're trying to encourage lots of people to come to the site with opinions, but then you're also blocking out visibility for newer debaters with less experience and creating a disincentive for more experienced debaters to notice them. Voting is still the biggest problem on this site, in my opinion, and I feel the design should reflect that.

Our upcoming design improvements are all aimed at encouraging user participation and fostering the mentorship of new members. As far as changes to the homepage go, we will not simply be showing completed debates by veteran members. This is not what we mean by "debates of the highest quality" (see my comments above). Ideally, the homepage will feature a variety of modules/sections similar to those mentioned here for the "Debates" page, including a prominent "Vote Now" section to help address the lack of debate voting.

As these redesigns will all be based on user feedback, we could certainly also consider a "Debates by New Members" section or something similar to encourage the visibility of new debaters. This is something that could potentially be included on the "Debates" page as well as the homepage, if enough members are in favor of the idea.

I would favor a compromised, filter-based approach, that allows you (perhaps with a dropdown) to see either the most popular, the least popular (for a laugh), the most voted, the least voted, most and least commented, highest/lowest ranked debaters, and newest debates.:

Just to be clear, is this in reference to the search/sorting feature specifically?

I'd also put "happening now" underneath "vote now".


Noted.

From a design perspective I have some concerns that the three-column layout, with the homepage's sidebar to the side, could start to get very cramped, but I guess you'll have to see how it looks on screen.:
The drawing you mention is simply the roughly-sketched results of one employee's brainstorming session. It is entirely possible that our designer might find this layout to be too cramped, though I believe it was somewhat based off of the current homepage (which has a similar three-column layout). If you have some ideas, we encourage you to sketch them out yourself and share them with us. It always helps to present our designer with a variety of different ideas and options.

Thanks so much for your great feedback!
Suzanne
Viper-King
Posts: 4,822
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10/1/2012 9:15:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 9:09:11 PM, phantom wrote:
At 10/1/2012 9:08:17 PM, phantom wrote:
At 10/1/2012 8:45:12 PM, Viper-King wrote:
Add the ELO rankings system and delete the old one.

Don't delete the old one. Keep them both. It's nice for stats.

And you can see how your placement varies per ranking.
I absolutely disagree. The current leaderboard is flawed. If you participate in 1 debate, you are automatically better than 53% of the site. The leaderboard should be according to only debaters instead of the non-debaters.
SObszanski
Posts: 102
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10/1/2012 9:29:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 9:05:16 PM, UnStupendousMan wrote:
I personally don't see the need to redesign the "Debates" page.

Presently, without searching or sorting, the only things the "Debates" page showcases are the categories, the most popular debates, and the "Start a New Debate" button. From the perspective of a new user, I would imagine it would be somewhat difficult to understand how the complex "Debates" feature works with so little initial information.

Moreover, from the perspective of an existing user, it seems somewhat difficult to locate debates that are in the voting and challenge periods. To encourage involvement it is necessary to have clearer calls-to-action, such as "Vote Now" and "Accept a Challenge/Debate Now" modules.

So far, then, the fundamental goals for the "Debates" page redesign seem to be:

a) To encourage greater member activity and involvement, specifically in regards to voting
b) To make it easier for new users to understand exactly how the "Debates" feature works

However, if users believe the "Debates" page is functioning properly as-is, we are of course open to other ideas and goals for the redesign.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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10/1/2012 9:36:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 9:15:10 PM, Viper-King wrote:
At 10/1/2012 9:09:11 PM, phantom wrote:
At 10/1/2012 9:08:17 PM, phantom wrote:
At 10/1/2012 8:45:12 PM, Viper-King wrote:
Add the ELO rankings system and delete the old one.

Don't delete the old one. Keep them both. It's nice for stats.

And you can see how your placement varies per ranking.
I absolutely disagree. The current leaderboard is flawed. If you participate in 1 debate, you are automatically better than 53% of the site. The leaderboard should be according to only debaters instead of the non-debaters.

Out of all the flaws, you named one of the least important. 53rd percentile is considered a very low percentile by any member so it doesn't matter. We look at percentiles based upon what you do to get there, not on the number itself. I definitely advocate Elo but would be annoyed if they took the current leaderboard down. It has stats on it that are nice to look at.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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10/1/2012 9:42:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
If we're updating the debates, it'd be awesome if we could add some feature for live debates, video debates, or tag-team debates.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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10/1/2012 11:03:14 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Here's a quick sketch to show how I imagine my idea looking: http://snaps.htmlchat.net... (sorry I couldn't hold my webcam straight)

Notice that the "main" area has three tabs at the top, and like it has right now, a single extra column to the right. The tabs are supposed to say "Vote Now" (the initially selected tab, which is why it's shaded), "Happening Now" and "Finished". Beneath these tabs is another row with a single drop down, labelled "Sort By". When this is changed, the debates below should be updated to be sorted by that criteria. In the right column is the "Debate Now" section, plus a second button to create a new debate. Beneath that you could have forum or blog updates (I'm gathering the blog is not so much a blog but a kind of news source for debaters, a bit like http://thedebatingnews.com...). I've also moved "Categories" to beneath the twitter and facebook links. The "leaderboard" in this design only displays your current rank (and maybe percentile?) with a large button to view the full leaderboard. The design should otherwise be familiar enough.

I'm really glad that some thought has been put in to this, and in particular the overall direction in which you're trying to take this site sounds very much like the right one.
Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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10/1/2012 11:13:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
when looking for someone to challenge, DDO could introduce a reputation system. I have no idea what the best way to do that would be, only that if you troll or forfeit you lose reputation as decided by voters.
Also, this was suggested by 16kadams as a joke, but its actually quite brilliant, a like/dislike button for comments on debates and forums.
Music composition contest: http://www.debate.org...
SObszanski
Posts: 102
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10/3/2012 10:49:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/1/2012 11:03:14 PM, larztheloser wrote:
Here's a quick sketch to show how I imagine my idea looking: http://snaps.htmlchat.net... (sorry I couldn't hold my webcam straight)

Notice that the "main" area has three tabs at the top, and like it has right now, a single extra column to the right. The tabs are supposed to say "Vote Now" (the initially selected tab, which is why it's shaded), "Happening Now" and "Finished". Beneath these tabs is another row with a single drop down, labelled "Sort By". When this is changed, the debates below should be updated to be sorted by that criteria. In the right column is the "Debate Now" section, plus a second button to create a new debate. Beneath that you could have forum or blog updates (I'm gathering the blog is not so much a blog but a kind of news source for debaters, a bit like http://thedebatingnews.com...). I've also moved "Categories" to beneath the twitter and facebook links. The "leaderboard" in this design only displays your current rank (and maybe percentile?) with a large button to view the full leaderboard. The design should otherwise be familiar enough.

I'm really glad that some thought has been put in to this, and in particular the overall direction in which you're trying to take this site sounds very much like the right one.

This is a PERFECT example of the type of feedback we need! Thank you so much for all of your time and thought, and great suggestions!

We are taking all of your ideas into consideration, and will keep you updated!