JCC5: Twitarr Feedback
edited February 2015 in JoCo Cruise
I've been really sick the last week, and was not capable of dealing with Twitarr-related things. Better now, and I even lost the ten pounds that I gained on the cruise!
First thing: I know that @origamislayer and @gbadsen spent a TON of time the first day getting people up and running at the shadow IT desk, and I'm personally grateful to them for it, since I wasn't able to be there at first. I get the feeling that they don't get to unpack their bags until at least day two.
I haven't seen a CruiseMonkey feedback thread from @RangerRick, and most people have trouble differentiating the two, so you can probably post such things here. (I do know that @RangerRick could use some assistance on CM this year, if any mobile developers would like to pitch in!)
I hope these don't come across as defensive, but there is some feedback every year that is consistent. I'd like to save some time by responding to it early. 80% of the work on this app isn't always obvious. Getting the app working on everybody's phone, choosing which features are NOT important enough to add (or how best to display them if they are), these things take a huge amount of time, but don't have as much immediate impact.
First caveat: This is a mobile webapp. Screen real estate is at a premium. There are features I would love to put in to Twitarr, but there simply isn't the room. If this were a desktop app, it would be MUCH more feature-rich. (One of the things I hated most about status.net is that you couldn't see more than one post at a time, and sometimes you couldn't even see an entire post at once.)
Second caveat: This app is used for a week. Most people use it for about an hour during that week. Any complex "following" features are going to be ignored by 99% of the population, since they just don't use the app enough. Instinctively, people are not going to spend time adding social network data into an app that won't be usable in the future. I think profiles are a nice middle ground, and I'd like to have ways of remembering a profile, but it needs design work.
The *BLEEPING-BLEEPED-BLEEP* DNS server pissed me off. I don't think anyone else was as angry about it as I was, but as far as I'm concerned it indicates a complete lack of support by the RCI IT personnel. I'm willing to accept evidence to the contrary, but I'll be very surprised if any exists.
Twarts design - I made the design decision this year to change from facebook-style replies to twitter-style replies. It seemed to work in beta, but once on the ship the twarts feed became a firehose of noise. (Which is my Dragonforce cover band) I'm really tempted to switch this back to facebook-style inline replies. The downside is that replies wouldn't be first-class posts any more, but I think it would make things clearer.
Autocomplete didn't work. That was just something we ran out of time for. It would have made hashtags and username-references much easier. (and therefore people would have used them)
The seamonkey didn't get distributed - @rhaje and I had plans to post the Seamonkey every day, but they sort of fell apart - I couldn't ssh in to the server, not sure if THO was having the same problem.
There were probably over 400 different device type / browser combinations that used Twitarr & CruiseMonkey this year - it worked on most of them, and I think it was better than JCC4. I don't know who figured out the proxy trick, but that seemed to help a bunch of people. If you used a different trick to get your Twitarr working, or just weren't able to get it running at all, please share here, especially with your device configuration.
Performance seemed really good. The forum list and a couple of the forums got bogged down when there were too many things to display, but I think us devs probably noticed it more than anybody else. Anyone have problems scrolling? - that's usually the first sign that your phone can't keep up with the page.
Were profile pics too much? I liked having faces to go with the posts (when people had them), but they use a LOT of real estate. We kind of put them everywhere.
Facebook-style replies vs twitter-style replies. Discuss.
Did people find the forums useful?
What is the average flying velocity of a sparrow?
A request for future versions is day selection, where you could tab through and see just what's happening and particular day.
The fact that these things are used by maybe 400 people or 850 at most for a week a year I am amazed that they work as well as they do and I'm very appreciative of the work that into them even though I don't take part in most of it.
Will you be making the Twit-arr archive available as in years past? I'm guessing it will be at https://jccc5.rylath.net/ or https://jcc5.rylath.net/.
-The Twitter style feed without threading or context for replies felt incredibly messy, and made a majority of posts meaningless. I think inline replies function much better for the way we rapidly communicate.
-Getting to a full twarrt thread required at least two clicks, which did not help with the above point.
-Getting to your own user page was also not an obvious process. I'm the type of user who pays a great deal of attention to my own posts, so I felt that was more frustrating than it should have been.
-Along the same lines, limiting the posts on my own user page to recent posts made my older posts very difficult to track.
-Also along the same lines, "5 people liked this" is fine for display purposes, but I would love a separate way to see a list of who those people are.
-The twarrt stream, even on a fresh view, appeared to be based on the device's local time. This meant that if my device's clock was out of sync with the server's clock (which happened frequently with the hour jumps), then I would not see my own posts on the twarrt stream for a few minutes, which made urgent posts frustrating to track.
-It wasn't too bad, but the alert flag seemed to want to stick around for a bit after checking my new alerts.
-Your posts displayed your Display Name, but your replies displayed your Username. The inconsistency also contributed to making the twarrt feed hard to follow.
-I'm sure that we're already aware of the unfortunately case sensitive hashtags.
-It was not terribly clear if a photo was still uploading, especially when you could still post in the middle of the process.
Hope that all makes sense. Again, love the tool as much as I always have, and I look forward to what you guys come up with for 2016
I'm apparently too old to "get" Twitter (or Twitarr) but i LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED the forums. I could follow posts, go back and find the original easily, find the newest post easily, see who was actually responding to ME and not some other twart. Gods I loved the forums. Seamail was useful ... twice? but I don't know that a lot of people actually realized it was there.
Next year, if SeaMail remains part of Twitarr I plan to get a list of friend handles so I can Seamail them as necessary instead of throwing messages out into the Twartsphere and hope they look at the right time. And I will definitely be creating and using forum posts (if the forums stay as well) to look for games, chat with people who share my interests and so on.
Thank you for all your hard work on this. - Phone is a Droid Bionic running... something Androidy
Profile pics were great. I am surprised that people wouldn't want them.
I like the Twitter-style replies. I'll agree with the request to act like Twitter and "expand the whole thread" on the details page for a single twarrt and auto-show all the parents/original tweets. As for the "noisy-ness" of replies, I'm a twitter deluge user (I follow way too many people) so I'm okay with it, but I understand those that want some options to maybe filter it. One option might be an ability to mute/unmute threads(perhaps similarly to mute/unmute forum posts).
I also think hashtags should be case-insensitive. I'm also crazy and like using emoji hashtags and feel those should be searchable as well.
Finally, it's a shame that the weird word "twarrt" is now mainstream, but I'm on "Team I don't think we can do anything about that at this point". That said, I do think "Like" is too pedestrian a word for Twit-Arr and have sent a PR with this year's best suggestion for a better word than "Like" ("Meow").
Dear god, that was a word salad. Sorry, my brain is way too tired to do better.
A giant *hug* for the server issue. I know Kvort and I talked on the boat and I could definitely feel his frustration at the IT people (and desire to get to the servers himself so he could fix it ) Nothing can quite match that frustration of knowing what is wrong, that you can fix it, but not being allowed to do so.
I agree that it would be nice to have an expansion of who liked what if you clicked on it would be nice.
I mentioned this in the official feedback thread, but I think THO should consider paying you somehow for your work on this since it has become such an integral part of communication on the cruise.
As for an app for Twitarr, I would think we should just continue the integration into CruiseMonkey instead of making another app.
@mikesphar - Twitarr does store everything as UTC (since that was what the server timezone was set to). We sent all twarts times in ISO 8601 in zulu time. The problem on displaying time was users changed their hour, not their timezone, so the timezone math was wrong. As to @thalandor46, yeah, if the app was using client time, instead of server time for requesting newer tweets, that should be consider a bug. I think the server sent back the timestamp, that the latest tweets was given, so the client should have used that time for requesting new posts, instead of "refresh" time.
I already fixed the hashtag being case sensitive :-) I totally missed that while developing, whoops. That was unintentional.
The meow thing, I think instead of always replacing meow, maybe only change, "like" to meow after the use click a small "cat" icon on the bottom right of the page to get that view.
RE: "I mentioned this in the official feedback thread, but I think THO should
consider paying you somehow for your work on this since it has become
such an integral part of communication on the cruise. "
- Not sure on the other developers/IT folks feelings, but I don't want to be paid, this is a good way for me use my talents for the SeaMonkey community. Others give ShadowCruise events to teach people their art, or to perform for people, this isn't much different other than the art is created before the cruise, and we just get to see people enjoy the art after its creation on the ship.
@arenson9 Indeed there was! If you clicked on the little hamburger menu in the upper left corner, it gave you access to the twaart feed, seamail/direct messages or forums. The forum community was pretty robust, and one of my favorite new features.
I will say that reading Twittarr on the full sized screen on the server was easier than on a phone screen, as I sometimes had problems getting it to page down to older posts on my phone. That may have been a function of issues with the RCI connection, not a Twittarr issue. It did make me think that if I weren't sharing a cabin with the server, I might prefer reading Twittarr on a tablet rather than on a phone, even given how big my phone is.
I enjoyed the Twittarr flow of the Twarts, but being able to switch to a threaded version to follow conversations would definitely have been helpful. But again, I prefer forums for meaningful conversations, and view Twitter and Twittarr as more of a random comment stream anyway.
As for another term for "Like", wouldn't "Arrr!" be more thematic, for a positive affirmation? It seems to be what we all do, anyway!
Being on a Windows phone, CruiseMonkey didn't work for me, so I accessed Twittarr through the web page. Although occasionally, when I couldn't get the web page to load, I discovered I could access it via the CruiseMonkey webpage, which was roundabout, and weird, but worked.
I tried to use CruiseMonkey through the webpage route, hoping to at least view the schedules and maps and such, but I could never get the calendar to load, and I could only load the even numbered deck maps. Which was really odd. Only the Twittarr link worked for me on CruiseMonkey.
From the side menu, my display name is in text and does not link me anywhere. Seamail, Forums, Tweets, Search, Help, and Logout are almost certainly not what I'm looking for. If I go to Profile, it takes me to a page where I can edit my information, but nowhere to view my user page. Alerts is the only page that actually gets me where I'm trying to go. The Tweet Mentions section lists 20 posts in which I'm replied or otherwise tagged, each of which contains an @username, and clicking on that @username takes me to my user page, the only place where I can see my 50 most recent posts and their Like status. That got me as far back as Fancy Shmancy Ice Skating, and as far as I can tell, there is no way to view any more of my posting history.
tl;dr: To view my own user page, I have to go Home -> Menu -> Alerts -> Embedded link in a post. I think it should be Home -> Menu -> [Menu item to my own user page].