A while ago, we teased you all about some upcoming changes we were going to be making to our community-facing features. We said that we were working on them and that they were going to be very cool if and when we were able to get them running.
You may have noticed the renewed vigor that TheSixthAxis has been putting in to our community interaction recently. The first step was the formation of the Community Team, a group of enthusiastic members of the TSA community who would take the lead in setting up events and competitions with the site’s backing and encouragement. That team is working hard and doing a great job. You may have noticed the multitude of little competitions and fun events we’ve been running? That’s thanks to our Community Team.
We also worked on a couple of new ways to view the site. Hopefully by now everyone has seen the newer options in our left hand menu.
As you will notice, it’s handily categorised. The top section contains all the display methods. As well as our traditional view, you can view us from most mobile devices in a lightweight form, view the blog format where things tick by at pace or look a the new catchup page which shows every article from the last few days with the featured stuff in bold.
Further down the menu, beneath that temporary specialist link for the live updating NGP page, you’ll notice that we have options to filter in the content you want so you can drill down through the masses of stories and articles to find the ones about the subject you’re most interested in. Beneath that, we have options to get at our community-facing content so you can keep yourselves abreast of the events or competitions as well as checking out our original content.
Finally, we have a little separated section of menu for our site features. This is where our newest option resides.
Yesterday, we quietly switched on our Pinned Posts system and began a kind of stress test to see if the site would cope with it. We got some positive response and the system seems to be holding up well but we’d like some more people to get involved and give it a more comprehensive test so I’m going to explain a little bit about it now.
When you open up a story (as long as you’re logged in), you will notice the information bar which runs along the top of it. This bar tells you who wrote the piece and what category it is kept in. On the right of this bar is a little pin icon.
It all looks like this:
Here’s the clever part: when you click that little pin icon you’ll get a quick page refresh and it will change to be struck through like this:
This means that you have successfully pinned the post to your own personal notice board where it will stay until you go back and unpin it. You can return at any time to your Pinned Posts section using the menu link on the left and everything you’ve pinned (up to ten items) will be kept there for you to peruse at your leisure.
We think it’s really cool and will enable our users to keep an eye on the things they want to follow more closely as well as providing a handy little memory space for the things they want to see but haven’t got the time immediately to read through it.
Read the opening paragraph of a story but need to rush off and want to finish it later? Pin the post! Seen something really cool on TSA that you want to show your mates/wife/dog later? Pin it! Interested in our latest Weekly Discussion and want to keep track of it? Click that pin! TSA’s review of the latest blockbuster gone live but you’re about to go into a meeting? Pin it up for later!
That’s all pretty clever, right? But there’s a little bit more. If you’ve pinned a post to follow the discussion that’s taking place in comments section, you will be able to see how many comments have been made since you pinned it (and who made them!).
See the list of user names in the screenshot below? If you go to your own pinned posts page and see a list like that you will be able to click on each name and it will take you to their comment.
I’m not allowed to talk about specifics just yet but there are a number of new features which are almost ready to be shown. We’ll let you know when those things go live and when they need to be tested. We’re not just monitoring what these features do to our server, either, we want to hear your feedback and suggestions in the comments below.
We’ll even pin the post to keep up with them!