Request: Forum changes — Bulb Community

Request: Forum changes

Hi all,

I'd like to request a couple of changes to this forum to make it easier for community members to help each other:

* Pagination to be added to the default 'Help & Support' forum and 'Recent discussions'
It's currently in place at the top of of the less busy 'About Bulb' forum (although it's not too obvious what the numbers are for) - this will allow people to easily find unanswered messages and reply. [btw: you can add /p2 , /p3 etc to the end of the forum URL such as https://community.bulb.co.uk/categories/help/p2 and https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussions/p3 to see previous pages ]. (should be small design/template tweak).

* Stickied posts to appear at the top of search results/improved search
When using the great big search box on https://community.bulb.co.uk/ , it neither searches the Help pages (which perhaps it should) nor does it highlight stickied posts (so a search for 'smart meters' just lists thread names, last poster and date). Search on each forum board also doesn't restrict the search to that board. Could we have stickied posts have a higher priority then anything else and have a precise of the topic included?

* New discussion page [ https://community.bulb.co.uk/post/question/help ] to have FAQs listed
Perhaps just links to the stickied posts can be added (should be small design/template tweak for 'static' links).

* Add an ability to mark things as 'resolved'
Perhaps only for admins/original poster/moderators, there should be a way of just indicating by the post title that something is resolved (Monzo's forums can have ticked box shown). Members should ideally be prompted to 'Mark this topic as resolved' when going to reply to their own thread/viewing it.

* Existing topic suggestions
Another idea stolen shamelessly from the Monzo (Discourse powered) forums - when you go to start a new topic/thread, there's a 'Your topic is similar to...' box appears which would be good for common queries (smart meters, how to contact etc).

* Moderator team
Monzo has their 'coral crew' moderator team who can mark threads as resolved, remove private/account specific information etc, this might be an idea to introduce as the forums get busier. It'll be good if they had a way of highlighting posts to Bulb staff (such as big complaints/emergencies etc).

I perfectly understand if Bulb is unable/unwilling to do all of these, but as a certain supermarket's slogan goes, Every Little For Less (erm, perhaps I'm getting my slogans confused). ;)

Adding 'Register for a smart meter' and 'Your Economy 7 hours' sections in the Bulb account portal would help reduce account specific queries as well (including the Eco7 hours on the produced bills would be good).

Comments

  • Thanks @RichyB. I've added this Community post to our Open Road Map. We'll be sure to check it before making any changes to our Community platform.

    We're aware that there a few things we can do to tweak the Community forum and make it more navigable. @Will at Bulb and myself will be looking at ways to fix this. For now, we want to make sure there is interesting content and that we can get to member queries quickly. In an emergency, members should call 0300 30 30 635, from Monday to Friday (9:00am to 6:00pm).

    I like the idea to 'add an ability to mark things as 'resolved'' - this would help us identify which posts to go to first.

    The Economy 7 hours are slightly tricker. There is no 'standard' E7 time - it really depends on the set up of the meter. We will be working on putting E7 timings on the Bulb account. The difficulty we face with this is that it takes a few weeks to receive meter technical details from the previous supplier.

    Keep your comments coming.
  • Have Bulb considered a different forum hosting platform (like Discourse)?

    I might be the only one: but I dont find the current forum very user friendly. The rendering on a mobile device with the large amount of wasted white space makes the reading experience a noticably frustrating one.

    I feel this for me is my reason for a fleeting interest in this forum (compared to other forums I visit), despite being a huge advocate of Bulb.

  • Cheers @Frank. Yes, Discourse has been discussed as one of the new platforms we could use. @mowcius made the suggestion in this discussion. We're really committed to getting more content on Community before we think about which platform we use. There are some bugs on this one that could be fixed first.
  • edited October 11
    @Frank, you're not the only one. I think the "forum" is horrible and it is a big reason why I no longer really spend any time here.

    There are some bugs on this one that could be fixed first.

    If you're going to switch to a new platform, surely it makes little sense to fix the bugs on this one. There are dozens of bugs that I have noticed and even the ones I mentioned around a year ago are still here. Fixing them wouldn't really get the user experience to a decent level, just marginally better than it is right now.
    RichyB said:

    Every Little For Less (erm, perhaps I'm getting my slogans confused).

    As they say, you can flick a switch but you can't polish a dead lightbulb to make it great again. :wink:
  • @Eleanor at Bulb surely if you improve the usability of the forum you'd get an increase in return visitors and content volume would grow from there?

    @mowcius makes a valid point - spending development time on a platform that could (/should) be replaced is a wasted effort.

    How about you start "taxing" all the referral credits earned from links posted on this community: all the money goes into a new forum fund? ;)
  • Hmm... not sure our members would be too happy about that! Hehe.

    The current platform we use is Vanilla 2.0. It's a bit basic but there are a lot more open source add-ons that we can install to make it much more user-friendly.

    A new platform is not off the cards though.

    @Frank - it would be good to join this discussion. We've wanted to give Community a facelift for a little while. Having been distracted by other projects, we've not given Community as much time as we'd like to. I'm on the case!
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