Don't care for the new home page

3:08 p.m. on July 14, 2012 (EDT)
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IMHO it focuses to much on reviews. Is that what TS is going to be, a review  only site? With only a secondary form area? 

6:42 p.m. on July 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I dont either, used to be you could go from forum section to section by clicking on the top of the page for that link, now you have to go back to forums and then go to the link.

4:04 p.m. on July 15, 2012 (EDT)
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+1 to what Gary said...much more cumbersome. Why not two lines?...One with quick-links to review sub-sections, and one with quick-links to forum sub-sections. Keep them separate colors for differentiation.

9:22 a.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I love that this site reviews reviews reviews, but if the forum is not the focus, it becomes amazon.com and not the community I have come to love over the last year. After all, it says TRAILSPACE OUTDOOR GEAR COMMUNITY. Is the community feel being lost? There is a noticable absence of some of the people that used to contribute most to the forums.

9:23 a.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm with Mike.  As always I will grant that it isn't my site and the owners can do with it as they please.

12:39 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the redesigned navigation bar.

I recognize that the loss of the inter-forum links in the second row is a problem for many of you, and I'll see what we can do to restore some version of that functionality in the forums.

Our main goal with the navigation redesign is to begin breaking down some of the long-existing barriers between different type of content (reviews are over here, forums over there, articles in somewhere else), and to make it easier for all community members and visitors to get to the information that's most relevant and interesting to them.

We also want to better expose the depth and diversity of activities that the Trailspace community is involved in. A lot of us explore the backcountry in different ways, and that's something that we feel deserves more attention.

To that end, the new navigation scheme reflects a shift to grouping content based on the subject, rather than the type of content. Ultimately we will integrate much more forum and article content into the main activity-type pages (Hike & Camp, Climb, Paddle etc.), so those pages serve as a subject-focused entry point into all areas of the site, including the forums. For example, if you're reading climbing gear reviews, you'll also see forum threads and articles related to climbing. Same for hiking, paddling, and so on.

This is just the first step in a larger process. Please bear with us as we roll out and refine these changes.

The new scheme also attempts to do a better job serving the majority of users (~75%+) who are on the site primarily for the gear reviews. To the extent that the new navigation scheme shifts the focus to reviews, it does so because that's how most people are using the site, and even if they've never posted in the forums, those people are part of the Trailspace community too. Ultimately,  we're working to provide the most relevant mix of content to all community members.

Community takes a lot of different forms here, and our ultimate goal is to more tightly integrate those different forms. For example, a while back we added the ability for members to comment directly on others' reviews. I'm psyched that people are taking advantage of that functionality to ask questions and share insights right within the context of the review, where that kind of discussion can live on to be useful for other people reading the review, rather than getting buried somewhere in the forums.

The old main navigation scheme (Gear, Articles, Blog, Forums, People) remains accessible in the second row of links on every page, and all the content that those links leads to remains unchanged. And again, I'll see what we can do to restore some version of the inter-forum links that used to appear in that space.

Thanks for all your feedback. Keep it coming.

-Dave

12:58 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for that explanation Dave.  It's interesting to hear where things are headed with the site.

I'll just throw in another vote for restoring the quick links to forums.  Not only does the current (new) layout add a step when navigating, but it also de-emphasizes the availability of the forums, possibly reducing the odds that new users here to see the Reviews would then decide to try the Forums.

I was thinking about this over the weekend.  Based on the re-design I figured it was something like what you described ... giving more of a focus to the Reviews sections.  And I hope this doesn't indicate a phasing out of the forums - that would be a big loss, at least for the ~25% of us who use them.

One thing I thought about was making links to forums and reviews context sensitive.  For example, if one is in the Camp Kitchen forum, having link(s) to the appropriate sections of Reviews would be handy.  And visa-versa, a prominent link to the Camp Kitchen forum from the appropriate review sections.  Maybe this would increase "cross pollination" of the sections of the site.  Maybe this is what you already have in mind by "grouping subject areas".

12:59 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Dave addressed comments above, but I wanted to emphasize that the Trailspace community and the forums are not going away. Overall we're working to increase the visibility of relevant content across the entire site, and that includes forum content.

Currently we have a silo effect, where you only see one type of content at a time, but we want to bring together all the relevant info, including forum topics, for members. So, if you're considering reviews (as 75% percent of users do), you'll also see related forums and articles on the site, encouraging more participation.

These things happen in steps though.

Thanks.

1:01 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

One thing I thought about was making links to forums and reviews context sensitive.  For example, if one is in the Camp Kitchen forum, having link(s) to the appropriate sections of Reviews would be handy.  And visa-versa, a prominent link to the Camp Kitchen forum from the appropriate review sections.  Maybe this would increase "cross pollination" of the sections of the site.  Maybe this is what you already have in mind by "grouping subject areas".

 Exactly, Bill.

1:11 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Cool! :)

1:19 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Cool. I like Bheiser's "cross pollination" metaphor :)

5:22 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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That's a great idea. So you're saying it would be possible (and practical) to highlight links within the context of a forum posting so that an item mentioned there would lead the reader to a gear review? Or could the same be done the other way, so that a piece of gear would have a link to places it's mentioned in a trip reports or other forum postings?

Example: If I said I treated water with my Camelbak All-Clear then cooked supper on my Traniga Mini, those names could be cross-indexed to reviews?

Surely that would encourage the 'cross-pollination' we've been talking about. Very cool idea!

5:23 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Change. I am old. Change is hard. :)

6:05 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the feedback. I for one love the forums. I would hate to see them get buried by the reviews. Thanks Dave and Alicia for sharing. And if I might add VERY COOL!!

TS leading the way. :)

8:56 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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C'mon giftogab...change is the only constant. I have to say, while still pretty new here, I'm with the rest of the posters in that I liked the previous configuration better, but I'm sure I'll muddle through (the occasional expletive notwithstanding).

10:17 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I had the same reaction. Didn't like it. I feel putting the reviews front & center like that kinda cheapens the community part not to mention makes it harder to get around. It's the same way I feel about getting out in the backcountry, it's not about the new "this brand or that" coat or whatever other gear, it's about the experience, about the place and the connection we find in the woods & hills that comes home with us.

I'm sure some of it has to do with that change thing, the way one of my favorite places seems a little foreign right now but I just don't like having product shoved in my face like I just walked into wallyworld or something.

As always, I thank you Alicia/Dave and others for having this Trailspace for us and support you with all that you do as well as caring about our concerns. I'd really hate to have to go back to that other oversized, over commercialized site/forum to get my fix from my desk.

While we're on the subject... While I do read them on occasion, one thing I don't like about the reviews is that when you look, it seems like nearly everything has five stars. I think it would be better if it were a 10 point scale, people less likely to give something 10 stars then they would five. Four stars on a five star scale almost seams like a bad rating, but 8 stars on a ten star scale still seams pretty good while leaving differentiation for something that really really excels. Probably pretty hard though to convert it now that so many things are already rated. Just my $0.02.

10:23 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Also... There should be some kind of restriction to do a review. Like you have to have been using/owned the item for at least three months.

Too many five stair reviews out there that start off with "well I haven't really used it yet" "but I just took it out of the box and I'm so excited to have it that I just had to do a review"

2:41 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Just a quick update to let you all know that we've restored the inter-forum links at the top of the page. (As if you hadn't noticed already!) Thanks all for the feedback on that.

2:55 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Great, thanks Dave!

8:34 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Dave, the new forums bar appears when one is in a forum, but it doesn't appear on the home page.  Is that by design?

[edit] oh, never mind, it makes sense now that I think about it :).

9:43 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Yes, that's the same way it used to work when those forum links appeared in the beige bar.

10:45 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Dave...the yellow letters that say WRITE A REVIEW on the left appear with the Gear | Articles over the top of it, obstructing it. I run Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

11:21 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Dave said:

Yes, that's the same way it used to work when those forum links appeared in the beige bar.

 Heh, I guess I never noticed, because they were always there when I needed them.  Until they weren't :-D.  But now I'm noticing in more detail :).

12:40 a.m. on July 18, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

Hey Dave...the yellow letters that say WRITE A REVIEW on the left appear with the Gear | Articles over the top of it, obstructing it. I run Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

 Unless Dave is being super efficient and has already fixed that, it may be local on your machine. I'm running Firefox on a MacPro and it looks fine here.

9:32 a.m. on July 18, 2012 (EDT)
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I see.....Jersey...On my Work Computer, a Dell running Explorer, the Write a Review is clear over on the right. So I am assuming, my macbook is wrapping it? I have no idea what the machine does that causes that sort of thing.

9:27 p.m. on July 18, 2012 (EDT)
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I like it again now with the forums listed across the top so I can go directly to each without going back to Forums each time.

10:00 a.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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JerseyWreckDiver said:

I feel putting the reviews front & center like that kinda cheapens the community part not to mention makes it harder to get around.

Just a comment, but I suspect most people come here for the gear reviews, and rarely move on past that. If you google 'gear reviews' for any piece of hiking equipment (try 'gear reviews hiking'), this site pops up. I know that's how I stumbled on it!

For me, the community aspect is just a nice extra.

1:53 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

JerseyWreckDiver said:

I feel putting the reviews front & center like that kinda cheapens the community part not to mention makes it harder to get around.

Just a comment, but I suspect most people come here for the gear reviews, and rarely move on past that. If you google 'gear reviews' for any piece of hiking equipment (try 'gear reviews hiking'), this site pops up. I know that's how I stumbled on it!

For me, the community aspect is just a nice extra.

 I specifically googeled blister care and got here direcetly to the forum first. IT has always been the central point of the site with all the rest extra for me. The community is far more important and personal to me. Gear reviews here are great, but without the community, quite anonymous and detached. Same as amazon as I stated above. That doesn't reduce its utility. I like that the site is trying to get people in further than just the reviews, but again, I see people missing that have been great helps to me and others and that is disconcerting.

8:49 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Personally, I put much more into a recommendation or a review from someone who's opinion I've come to know & trust through the forum here. There are tons of reviews out there on all kinds of things, not knowing the person behind them, you don't know that they weren't done by a complete imbecile. 'cept of course for the "I haven't had a chance to use it yet, because I just came in the mail this morning but..." I've completely discounted easily 90-95% of the reviews I've ever read as being completely worthless.

 I would just rather have personal conversations about gear, with people whose opinions I respect.  You gotta remember, at least half of the world out there, has below average intelligence.

9:16 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Jersey...

I have my eye on this tent. I have yet to buy it, or even look at it but its an awesome tent.

Sorry man, I just had too. :p

10:18 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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LOL - Wiseguy.

Hey, it was you that got me to try Obenaufs LP, not a review. and I have my new pair of Scarpa SL M3's sitting on my desk, right here next to me. Wish [somebody] had told me that they run REALLY small. I might actually find time to send them back this weekend.

10:32 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Uggghhhh, have them stretched lol. They actually can be stretched no problemmo. 

Alot of Euro boots run small...

Now that I think about it most of the Euro boots I have owned run small. :p

You are aware that they make that boot in a wide(BXX) version. 

You can always tell the wide while on trail. It looks "blurry." :p

http://www.scarpa.com/scarpa/products/TRAIL/TRAIL-BACKPACKING/p_66002W-S07

9:38 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Just my opinion, of course, but we have to remember:

The new scheme also attempts to do a better job serving the majority of users (~75%+) who are on the site primarily for the gear reviews. To the extent that the new navigation scheme shifts the focus to reviews, it does so because that's how most people are using the site, and even if they've never posted in the forums, those people are part of the Trailspace community too. Ultimately,  we're working to provide the most relevant mix of content to all community members.

Like commercials on TV, the reviews (I assume) help pay the bills. If not, at least they get some gear out there to be tested.

They must also to some extent encourage participation. Has anyone looked up the items they already own just to see what other people say about them? If you read something that disagrees with your opinion (whether you're a long-term member or a guest) you're more likely to post your own review. Even those 'I just got it...' reviews can be edited later on when the poster realizes there are a few flaws in their new toy.

Not putting down the community or the forums, by any means - for me those have now become the main reason why I visit. There are some great people here and a lot of knowledge and experience, but I think we have to respect that other 75%, too.

10:05 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

Has anyone looked up the items they already own just to see what other people say about them? If you read something that disagrees with your opinion (whether you're a long-term member or a guest) you're more likely to post your own review. Even those 'I just got it...' reviews can be edited later on when the poster realizes there are a few flaws in their new toy.

I personally read alot of reviews on here as they hit the boards. One thing I never do is base whether or not I review an item on past and previous reviews. 

I approach a review with a clean slate, and an open mind. 

Not putting down the community or the forums, by any means - for me those have now become the main reason why I visit. There are some great people here and a lot of knowledge and experience, but I think we have to respect that other 75%, too.

I have to agree w/you here Peter. 

10:07 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Peter said:  I suspect most people come here for the gear reviews, and rarely move on past that.

I come here to read the Forums, rarely do I look at the gear reviews. I don't buy new gear very often. Last time I bought a new item for backpacking was 10 years ago.

10:12 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

Hey Dave...the yellow letters that say WRITE A REVIEW on the left appear with the Gear | Articles over the top of it, obstructing it. I run Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

Sorry I wasn't able to get to this down sooner, but I think I've finally tracked down and been able to reproduce what you're seeing. I suspect that probably you have your browser zoomed in, but set to "zoom text only." (In the View->Zoom menu).

This is probably not an uncommon setting, so I'll need to find a fix on this end. In the meantime, you should be able to fix the view on your machine by unchecking Firefox's View->Zoom->Zoom Text Only option and/or selecting View->Zoom->Reset.

1:24 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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"Trailspace, Outdoor Gear Community"

9:25 a.m. on July 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Dave said:

giftogab said:

Hey Dave...the yellow letters that say WRITE A REVIEW on the left appear with the Gear | Articles over the top of it, obstructing it. I run Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

Sorry I wasn't able to get to this down sooner, but I think I've finally tracked down and been able to reproduce what you're seeing. I suspect that probably you have your browser zoomed in, but set to "zoom text only." (In the View->Zoom menu).

This is probably not an uncommon setting, so I'll need to find a fix on this end. In the meantime, you should be able to fix the view on your machine by unchecking Firefox's View->Zoom->Zoom Text Only option and/or selecting View->Zoom->Reset.

Thanks, Dave. I looked at the view to fix it, however, the Zoom Text Only was not checked. As a matter of fact, nothing was checked. The situation still exists. I will play with the views. If something does it, I will let you know.

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