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OpenStudy Feedback Session 4/25/2011 - Come one come all and talk with the OpenStudy Team!

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We just made some changes. What do you all think?
I think... there should be a link to somewhere on the page so that people don't waste other people's time
Hello all! We just released some new features - a new study group design, new reward features like medals and achievements - what do you all think?
Pretty nice. I'd like the font size to be a bit larger (tiny print is hard on the eyes with small indexes or exponents).
who has gmial
hmmm so far so good except im waiting to u do the feature so that we can view our asked questions!! ^_^
@tryceo good suggestion - we may contact them to see if we can do that
the achievements is a nice touch, but glitchy i have the achievement for answering 100 questions, but not the one for 10
haha yep =) it's coming this week @I<3Fun
What would make you tell your friends about OpenStudy?
Yeah, I agree. It'd be nice to be able to keep track of questions in an easy to use interface (either ones you've asked or ones you've answered).
chiaroscuro whoops... That's definitely a problem we'll look into, thanks!
i don't if it is kindof problem on my part, but everything I answer a question I have to leave to question and come back to type something new.
polpak, as Chris mentioned, that's definitely coming to a profile near you sometime this week (both questions you asked and questions you've answered).
see i have to come back
shadowfiend tell people to use this ok?
myininaya we've seen that occasionally, but not as persistently as you're saying. What browser do you use?
I would really like a way to disable the auto-preview and seeing when people are typing, as the box for typing in jumps around alot as people start typing things, or when you're writing in an equation. I'd prefer a preview button I can click once I've finished to show the preview, but doesn't change as I'm typing.
fox fire
Notifications do not load. Please fix.
or fire fox lol whatever
myininaya, okay, we'll have a look. We haven't been seeing that problem much lately, so it's very surprising.
Do you guys have the source code for this website? Cause it is somewhat buggy... There are a lot of misposts?
i agree with polpak on the previewing also, this might be my browser (chrome) after i type an equation, typing regular words (or even equations) makes the textbook jump
hey tryceo - what do you mean by misposts?
It does that in firefox and chrome chiaroscuro.
tryceo what do you mean by misposts? (And yes, all the code on the site except for the math typesetting is written by us.)
polpak, fair, we're looking at a way to keep the box steady, but I haven't quite gotten all the bugs ironed out of the implementation.
Will i get a notification for every post that comes after mine now? WTF?? Why would you make it that way????
When I answer 1 question.. it would sometimes appear on another post.. It disappears when you refresh the page, but stilll.. I don't like bugs.
could you somehow make these open sessions separate somehow? i just got 42 notifications :D
What new features would you all like to see?
chiaroscuro, yeah, that's a related symptom that I also hope to fix with the aforementioned change.
tryceo, yeah, that's a known one. We're posting a fix in the next few days.
hey shadow how can I ask you somethign one on one
But you will get notifications on the site.
I'd like to be able to ignore people to be honest. There are a few individuals who are either bothersome or rude that I'd just prefer not to deal with (mary1000 in this thread for example)
myininaya we don't have private messaging, but if you want to ask something outside of this context, post it to the openstudy feedback group and I'll have a look :)
lols ditto
ok anyone else missing the ignore feature?
It would be nice to have messaging system, as currently the only way to privately contact someone is to give your email, but you have to do it on a public question so everyone would have it.
Also, private messaging is a great feature that you should add. It's not hard, just implement a few buttons and download the scripts for messaging.
okay, i'm totally for hte ignore.....
Seriously.. ignore.. This is why.
i just wanted to say how do we deal with spammers i have only seen one, but it is annoying
Yes ignore is cool
yes i agree with Tryceo bc i mean when u ask a question certain people either rly rly help u or they just confuse u more :P so its good to be able to ask the people that rly rly help u ^^
Or if there was another way to self-moderate I'd be ok with that too.
shadow, or chris, you said i shouldn't get notifications if i'm on the thread... i'm on the question and i'm still getting notifications browser problem
yes i am too
polpak how do you mean self moderate?
We're actually working on on-site moderation, yes. We'd love to hear thoughts. Some ideas: - community moderators who can delete posts and suspend users - everyone can `report abuse' and after a certain threshold (say three reports) the question/post auto-hides or auto-suspends for a user
Woah.. this is a company? didn't know that... How do you even make money? Ad spaces?
Well, like redit for example, you can downvote responses and after a certain threshold they would not be visible unless you click a link to see them etc.
chiaroscuro you shouldn't be getting *emailed* notifications, but you will get them in the browser, sorry :/
Thumbs up for reddit!
And to be clear, we have stuff in the works to reduce notifications, too. Including only emailing you once per question until you visit it again.
oh no biggie, i understood you wrong, thanks i turned off my email notifications :P thanks
Only notifying you once per question until you visit again*
polpak exactly that concept, yes.
@tryceo - we're actually not making money at the moment - we're funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the NGLC initiative by the Gates foundation. While we're a for-profit, our main goal is to build the most engaging, free, open learning community we can - and then worry about it. But what you use today will always remain free.
this might be count as spam but... I GOT A MEDAL FOR THIS QUESTION ^_^
Also, you should add private messaging.
you know what would be cool. an instant messenger you could type math equations on easily.
myininaya - currently we manually moderate by deleting inappropriate content. We also, when necessary, suspend or ban users.
Tryceo, I see you refer WolframAlpha a lot. Do you think WRA explains answers better than people?
lols mininaya, i imagine that to be very hard
instant messenger would allow private chat
myininaya there's actually already some scripts to add that functionality to Google Chat; I forget what the project is called.
I will sometimes refer to wolframalpha to show a graph or something, but I think most students will go there if they just want answers. They should be coming here if they want explanations of answers.
WRA answers way better than people, because they don't make mistakes and they show the steps for 90% of the problems
tryceo, not attacking you or anything..but if you like wra so much....why are you here??
Private chat has quite a few issues, including concerns with abuse. What's the kind of thing you would think you'd want to discuss over private chat?
Not really though. Sometimes the steps can be confusing, and other times it will (for example) pull something from a table of integrals instead of showing how that formula is derived.
Also @chris... You should really add a PM system... here is a PM script I just found.. Take a look at it or something. I'm pretty sure there are tons out there, but the implementation should be of little hassle.
in the equation section can you add equations for combinatorics?
I don't think implementation of private messaging is the problem as much as making sure it fits with the use case of the site.
No one is here trying to learn how to prove integration formulas, if they wanted that, they can go to wikipedia.
polpak, tryceo, precisely. That's why I'm asking about the specific interactions you would like to resort to private messaging for. We're not opposed to it, and effort isn't the problem. It's a question of whether we think it's important to the fundamental OpenStudy experience.
@polpak that's correct - that it's needed for our site and it won't be abused by our users (e.g. harassment) . We want to be very sure that stuff isn't happening on our site.
But people can be abusive in public chat just as easily.
deeprony7, you can use any LaTeX in the equation editor, but we only have toolbar buttons for a subset of the functionality.
polpak yes, but it's easier to catch then, and particularly as we add the moderation features it's easier to take care of.
I don't know why it won't be good? Most of the time, questions will get lost in the answered place, and when you have a private messaging, you can fully engage with the student, and answer any private follow-up questions.
Polpak, people are much less abusive in the public chat, just because they know others are watching. Also, public chat allows us moderators to easily curb offensive content.
Additionally, the public aspect is typically a strong disincentive (though it doesn't eliminate abuse entirely by any means).
i think the ability to return to your asked/answered question takes care of the problem of following up
tryceo that's hiding content that could be useful to others in a private discussion. We'd rather people ask follow-ups in the conversation so that it's there for all to benefit from.
Yeah. I've had a few people interested in contacting me via email though, and I had no way to give them my address without typing it into a question for all the world to see. Perhaps that would be sufficient. If you want to share your email address with someone (your fan for example) you should be able to click an option. Then if they like they can message you privately via email
And as we mentioned earlier, finding your already-answered/asked questions will become much much much easier in the next few days.
The public aspect is an option.. And users should be able to choose. Of course not everyone will use the private messaging, but if the implementation is so easy and the some people will probably get help from it, why the hell not?
polpak hmm, fair. Would you think that being able to delete your own post would help in that regard, too? e.g., post it, and once they have it, delete it?
how about adding some formulas related to mathematics in here somewhere.. guess that can really help
Also the exchange of emails is also a big factor.
Yes, that would kinda work, though I don't like the race condition, or the fact that people can be lurking in the question and see it before I delete it.
be a quick deleter lol
tryceo, it's about the community we're trying to build and the attitude/stance toward learning that we are taking, more than it is about providing help for every possible use case. We don't want OpenStudy to become an octopus, we want it to be incredibly good at getting you real time help right now.
I think the ability to delete your own post would be good sometimes you make a mistake and you don't people to see it (1 + 3 = 5)
Right, definitely fair enough polpak.
Yeah, it's definitely in our pipeline (deleting your own post); that one we're not arguing on, we're going to do it as soon as we get a chance :)
or edit your own posts
Come on.... Don't give me this community aspect and sending a message bullpellet... It's a torturing website, that's what it is. And private messaging can help...
... What do you mean, a torturing website?
i think this site was a really cool idea. i told all my students about and I'm addicted to coming here for some reason and helping. Thanks for the site. Later
tutoring * sorry
Tryceo, there are many one-on-one messaging tools already available. We want our users to get instant help, and to make this happen, their questions/content should be available to the maximum number of people possible. This is the main use-case that we are trying to build the site for - to get help asap. Private messages are either not help-centric, or reduce the potential audience for your question.
@myininaya thanks ! great to have your support!
i'm out i love the site ^_^ just saying
Thanks chiaroscuro!
I don't think PM is really needed if we have an easy way to share our private contact info with individuals. Plenty of other solutions to 1 on 1 communication we can use for that.
tryceo, I understand your point of view. As darthsid pointed out, there are other tools that are useful for private messaging. And we have a ton of features that we want to add to make this site Better (tm); on that list, we consider private messaging to be of fairly low use to the reason *most* people come to the site, and the concept that we have for it.
polpak, yeah, we're definitely discussing that amongst ourselves right now and probably will for the next couple of days :)
Do you truly believe that if you implement the private messaging feature, no one will post in the comments section? Of course not. Some people need to use PM to share private info, or link to cool math stuff. Just because a useful feature does not coincide with your belief of what a "study help website" does not mean that it should not be implemented.
Ok cool. Other than that and the auto-preview I have few complaints.
It's not our belief of what a study help website is. It's our belief of what *our* study help website is. And that is the *only* reason it shouldn't be implemented :)
How about suggestions polpak? What would you like to see us build in next?
Oh, one other thing.. It'd be nice to be able to see the source of equations to copy them after you've posted, cause retyping them can be a bit of a pain when you want to add or change something after the fact.
Which isn't to say that we aren't going to take what you're saying into account, by the way. Like polpak's suggestion, I suspect we'll be discussing private messaging intensively over the next few days.
Something like a small icon to copy the equation into the post text box so you don't have to retype.
We have had a number of requests for it, so we know it's important to people, but it's a matter of finding the right place for it on OpenStudy, if there is such a place.
Oh right.. it's your website.
polpak, try right-clicking on your equations... And you will find magic!
\[3x^2\] Or any equation, for that matter. `Show Source' is what you're looking for ;)
Oh, nice! Never occurred to me to right click.
Yeah, it's a bit of a hidden feature. But it's there :)
What do you guys think about achievements? Do they excite you, and make you want to participate more? Does anyone actually try and go for some achievements outside of their normal course of usage?
Other nice features would be a way to filter the messages on the right by poster, date, number of responses, etc. To quickly find new questions or questions that are old but not answered, etc. And for people to be able to mark a question answered.
polpak, we're actually hopefully rolling out unansweredness later this week as well. In particular, we're going to base it on the number of medals that responses have received.
I'm not a fan of the achievements personally. Particularly the ones for commenting, etc. One of the other posters was spamming 'tag' in old threads just to get the achievement and I got a bunch of annoying notifications that way.
Medals was a nice idea though.
polpak, we were afraid of that. We're considering hiding certain achievements until you receive them, including the ones that induce spamming.
Yeah, I think it's less of a problem now that the achievements are more personal and not advertized in group chat.
You're obviously one of the more prominent answerers. What can we build to make your job easier?
It was a bigger issue on the first day.
Right, absolutely. We're finalizing that change tomorrow. The idea initially was to make it so you could see when a new user asked their first question; we'll be doing that differently soon.
Other than what I've mentioned already, it works very well. I can't think of anything that would make things work better offhand. Just a few kinks with browser compatibly vis a vis equations. For example I've switched to using chrome for the site because the latest version of firefox makes the equations look so ugly. But I know you're working on that.
Font size is too small! Go easy on my poor eyes ;p
Haha :)
Polpak, right now we consider a question "answered" when it gets one reply. Obviously, that's not really a great way. What do you think are some criteria we can use to consider questions answered?
chrome does have a nicer zoom feature than firefox, so I can use that also if you guys are really attached to this smaller size. I like the old size better though ;)
Actually the font-size hasn't changed, I don't think
I think that the original poster should be able to decide for themselves if it's been answered satisfactorily
Cause sometimes people just throw in a link to wolframalpha, or slap the answer down with no explaination but the student may still have additional questions or want to see how to do something, etc.
Well, the problems with that are : 1. A lot of original posters don't come back (or get their answers via email) 2. A lot of original posters don't know whether they have gotten a correct answer or not.
The biggest problem with that is the issue of the people who won't mark it as answered, which overinflates the ones that look like they're unanswered. That's why we're considering going by medals, where getting medals from several people that aren't the poster would mark it as answered, but getting a medal from the original poster also marks it as answered. Do you think a mechanism like that might also work?
That's true, but if they had a way to see the questions they've got open they'd be more likely to clean them up.
Definitely true.
guys is it possible to put equation editor in the "ask a question" spot?
We've heard that request a couple of times, right now we're still trying to figure out how to make the design present it well. We definitely agree it would be useful though.
why is it that the physics section doesn't get much attention as the mathematics? its really weird!
The math section is featured on a lot more math sites; we're working on it! :)
not jus physics, others too
sites such as?
Right; basically, the math section is by far featured on more sites. Such as Paul's Online Math Notes, FreeMathHelp, Purple Math, and others. We're still pushing for the other groups at the moment, but they will be getting some love.
glad to know
Thanks for all the feedback everyone! That was a super-informative session. As Chris said the last time we had one of these, we'll continue to try having them every 1-2 weeks so we can see what everyone's thinking about OpenStudy!
long live openstudy ;)
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to give feedback
lol. I think this was the first time I talked to you guys. A lot has changed since then. Good work you guys! :)

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