Testing out a new FanFare front page June 14, 2019 12:26 PM   Subscribe

We're rolling out a test of a revamped front page for FanFare, that we're hoping folks will find a lot more useful as a starting point to find media and conversations you're interested in on the subsite. Come on in for the details!

Our goal with the design has been to find a way to reasonably concisely highlight both newly posted threads, aka "New Posts" (so it's easy to catch some of what just hit the site if you're in a browsing mood) and threads with recent/ongoing discussion, aka "Current Converations" (so it's easy to see what stuff folks are actively discussing). We have both of those sections for each major media type currently supported on the site (TV, Movies, Books, Podcasts). We'll also highlight Special Event posts at the top of the page, and some active Clubs at the bottom.

Search, FanFare Talk, and MyFanFare are all still in the sidebar as they have been; we've stripped out the sidebar content for "Recently Added TV Shows" and "Recently Added Movies" to save some visual clutter, since the new layout puts that information front and center.

If you continue to want access to the original FanFare front page's MeFi-style reverse chronological listing of posts, you can access that from the "Recent Posts" link in the menu up top.

We've made no significant changes to the rest of the subsite with this; this is just a rework focusing on the front page itself.

It's been a slow catch-as-catch-can process getting together a layout we feel reasonably good about, and we're considering this more a road test than a finished product, so feedback on what works and what doesn't and what feels like it'd benefit from some polish is wholly welcome. But we're hoping this will be a marked improvement on the usefulness of FanFare's landing page.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 12:26 PM (193 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

OMG, I just went to it and thought I had broken something until I realized it was a new layout.

Now I'll go have a closer look. But initial impressions are good.
posted by nubs at 12:31 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


I had it opened in a tab and when I went to it I just assumed I had clicked on some back alley summary page I'd never been to before.

It looks really good. If I could make one suggestion it would be that at the top of the page you put a permanent link to a discussion thread about the 1977 Richard Benjamin sci-fi series Quark so that we could all talk about it forever.
posted by bondcliff at 12:38 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


The side bar isn't appearing in Classic. Is that intentional?
posted by tavegyl at 12:47 PM on June 14


I'm definitely looking to hear what other people have to think about it. For MetaFilter, it's a big departure, and one that tries to not only finally acknowledge that Fanfare isn't a chronological list of discussions, but also keeps a new Netflix release, all episodes at once, from burying everything else on the page.

To me, it's just what the FanFare front page looks like, because I've been staring at it for ages – this does mean that I'm a little bit overused to it and interested in hearing where other people are at with it, but also that I had to remind myself that people in the last MetaTalk about FanFare changes didn't see it yet.

As a final note before I listen for a while instead of talking: anywhere where it's available, I use reverse chronological order as the ordering I want for posts. Twitter and Facebook trying to tell me algorithmically what posts I might be interested in drives me nuts. So while the lists on the new front page are not purely chronological, the goal was to answer the twin questions of "What's new on Fanfare?" and "What are people talking about at the moment?" without trying to guess what you might want to talk about.
posted by frimble (staff) at 12:48 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


The side bar isn't appearing in Classic. Is that intentional?

No it's not. And it's definitely there for me. Can you refresh and, if it's still not working, send me a screenshot at admin@mefi.us, please?
posted by frimble (staff) at 12:51 PM on June 14


Just sent the screenshot. It's also not appearing in Classic mode (desktop view) on my iPad running Safari.
posted by tavegyl at 1:00 PM on June 14


I have the Classic theme, and on my phone the font is gigantic compared to other MF sites (and now that I logged in on my computer, I see the same thing). The content looks fine - I like how it's arranged - but I'm not keen on the giant bold font.

I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally like being able to jump straight to the archives on the sidebar on the website/quick scroll down on mobile. I used to have to do a bunch of steps to get to the archives (maybe there was an easier way, I'm not sure) but now it's easy.

PS I am using Classic theme on Chrome on Windows 10, and I can see the sidebar just fine.
posted by Gray Duck at 1:04 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Was Quark the one where he was a space garbageman? ‘Cause that show was awesome as a 9 year old kid.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:09 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Has there been interest in having games on FanFare? I guess I don't spend much time there just curious.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:09 PM on June 14


First impression: nice and compact.
posted by Pendragon at 1:11 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


also keeps a new Netflix release, all episodes at once, from burying everything else on the page

Neat, thanks! I was about to post a series of episodes, but was going to spread it out to not overwhelm the page.

On Mobile, FF Talk is an option you see only after clicking on Recent Activity. It's not that this is a step too far, but that it's much more notable on the Desktop view versus Mobile. Could you move this to the bottom of the list of sections and posts, below clubs, perhaps as a single link? Or it could be a header with links to the individual posts. If the goal is to boost the visibility of discussions, FF Talk is a bit tucked away.

Thanks again for this update, I'm really digging it!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:11 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Looks fantastic!
posted by sallybrown at 1:14 PM on June 14


On Mobile, FF Talk is an option you see only after clicking on Recent Activity. It's not that this is a step too far, but that it's much more notable on the Desktop view versus Mobile. Could you move this to the bottom of the list of sections and posts, below clubs, perhaps as a single link? Or it could be a header with links to the individual posts. If the goal is to boost the visibility of discussions, FF Talk is a bit tucked away.

Recent posts to FanFare Talk should be at the bottom of the page on mobile, between Categories and My Fanfare
posted by frimble (staff) at 1:17 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Has there been interest in having games on FanFare?

Yep, that's in the long-term plans. We've been holding off on more media addition stuff until we got at least this bit in place since it's been a big usability/discoverability issue with the original design; a lot of other stuff on the FanFare todo list will be able to move closer to active work once this feels solid.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:20 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Saw this in plain, and thought that something wasn't loading correctly. I think part of that might have been the headers being the same font size as the conversation links - only the conversation links are bold and in color, so they stand out more than the headers. But I really like the general idea of it!
posted by dinty_moore at 1:21 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I have Modern Dark (ftw) and my opinion is that it needs more frames or borders or something around each chunk of stuff under a heading to better separate them from each other.

Under Current Conversations, the image is close to the next column which is New Posts. So close, it almost looks like the image belongs to the New Posts cluster.

Maybe instead of
ragged line of text_____[image 1] ragged line of text_____[image 2]

have
[image 1]__ragged line of text _____[image 2]__ragged line of text

(edited: apologies, the comment removes my extra spaces for between chunks, so *shrug*)
posted by jillithd at 1:23 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


If you continue to want access to the original FanFare front page's MeFi-style reverse chronological listing of posts, you can access that from the "Recent Posts" link in the menu up top.

Oh, thank goodness for that. Without it, the new Fanfare was just kind of broken for me. I like to go to the Fanfare page and see the list of ALL the new posts about TV, movies, books, whatever, with the poster's little summary. I get introduced to things I never would have known about otherwise. It's a lot like browsing the main Metafilter site, but specifically about media. The new format kind of assumes you know just what you're looking for and isn't really conducive to the kind of browsing I like. I'd actually like to see the "recent posts" link made more prominent and maybe even changed to something like "Fanfare Classic"!

(Oh, crud. I just looked on my phone and I can't find a "recent posts" link in that layout.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:30 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


I am digging the shininess.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:30 PM on June 14


I have two very small suggestions along the lines of jillithd's.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:32 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I like being able to browse recently posted TV episodes. Not sure if that was possible before, but I like it. I would have put it it in the "New Posts" column because that's basically what it is. (Or have the TV header link directly to that.) "New Posts" in TV doesn't seem to be the shows with the most recent posts: at this moment, after Fear the Walking Dead it skips a bunch of shows with recent posts. I'm not sure why it does that, but it is a little confusing. Like, if I want to go to FanFare to see if someone has posted the recent episode of a show I watch, it seems like the home page maybe won't tell me.
posted by snofoam at 1:33 PM on June 14


Thanks, Wobbuffet. Your visual encapsulates my suggestion nicely!
posted by jillithd at 1:43 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I've toned down the boldness and font size in Classic.

I'll dig into your suggestions a bit more, jillithd and wobbuffet, but that'll take a little longer.

at this moment, after Fear the Walking Dead it skips a bunch of shows with recent posts. I'm not sure why it does that, but it is a little confusing.

The New Posts column ultimately shows a combination of shows with new posts and newly posted shows. For instance, When They See Us was posted 8 days ago, but is a series that had never been posted about on FanFare before. The goal was to make brand new shows drop off the front page a bit slower than before, so that there was more time to see them.
posted by frimble (staff) at 1:45 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


I like it! Much better way to find new stuff to talk about than the unfiltered chronological list.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:45 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


oh my god i love it thank you it's beautiful and i will cry

Seriously though not having it just be an undifferentiated firehose of information is an excellent change and it is good and you should feel good.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:59 PM on June 14 [20 favorites]


Thanks for the explanation, frimble. I understand, although I would personally still prefer if it were a list of shows with new posts that didn't skip like that. (I feel like this would also be closer to what the new posts section is for other media.)
posted by snofoam at 2:05 PM on June 14


frimble: Recent posts to FanFare Talk should be at the bottom of the page on mobile, between Categories and My Fanfare

Ah, right you are! I didn't scroll far enough down ;)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:07 PM on June 14


I am using the modern dark theme and I like this. I'd like a bit more vertical space between the sections or an actual line make it clearer. TV is such a short word that it hardly sticks out as a headline. Maybe change it to Television?
posted by soelo at 2:27 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


This is great and it will lead to me using FanFare more. The only posts which pull me in are McElroy podcasts, but the endless scrolling to find episodes was a turn-off. I’m sure there are various visual design niggles, but this organizational concept is perfect for me. Great work!
posted by thoroughburro at 2:39 PM on June 14


I love it!
posted by lollusc at 2:55 PM on June 14


I'm sure there will be tweaks and changes, but this looks great.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:00 PM on June 14


Thank you, I love it.

My main fanfare use case is to watch something, usually years after its release, go to the fanfare main page and search in the special fanfare search box for the thing I just watched. I use modern theme on mobile so I'd either have to scroll all the way down to the search box or click the down arrow which opens in a new tab.

This is perfect for me because now I open fanfare and that search box is just about right there with barely any scrolling.

Also, I might actually use it to find new things to watch, which I've never done before.

Great work you all!
posted by mosessis at 3:09 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I like it!
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:14 PM on June 14


I don't love it but I am not a heavy FanFare user so I'm not sure how much my opinion matters. A few bullet points

- There's weird white space and it's hard for me to tell how items are groups. So like the "recently posted movies" link is closer to the Books header than it is to the list of movies.
- The New Posts boxes don't seem to be obviously grouped with the things they are new posts of/with.
- I really like the special events links right up top
- I REALLY want My FanFare to be above FanFare Talk, I have no use for FanFare Talk

I DO see the sidebar in Classic but the text is too large relative to the other text on the page.

My only "I think this is important" suggestion would be number-of-comments next to the individual conversations. So like

Good Omens (4)
Black Mirror (111)
Big Little Lies (5)

I think if you want to show there is stuff going ON in those links you need to show the number of comments, the same way you could see them before.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:15 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]




I have to say, I'm not really loving this. It may just be 'old man yells at cloud'-level stuff, but this layout is not speaking to me.
posted by hanov3r at 3:40 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


My only "I think this is important" suggestion would be number-of-comments next to the individual conversations.

100% agree.
posted by rue72 at 3:43 PM on June 14


Looking sharp, thanks for the revamp. FanFare deserves more eyeballs.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:44 PM on June 14


I really dislike that there are not descriptions or even episode names/numbers for the tv shows in the list of posts on the main page - is it supposed to be like that?
posted by primalux at 4:06 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I'm curious about improving discoverability of clubs - I started a club and posted a club talk post this morning, but it doesn't show up anywhere on the first page, and I don't see an obvious way to click through to all clubs. I guess "clubs with recent posts" is specifically for recent scheduled events, but it might be worth including club posts too.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:23 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Sorry, but I'm not a fan. Like nuba, I thought originally the page didn't load correctly or it was somehow broken.

Ursula Hitler does a fabulous job of summing up my thoughts on this revamping. There is a lot more visual noise but a lot less information. I have no idea what any of these shows or movies or podcasts or books are about when I look at the page. At least before, I could skim the descriptions and figure out if there were something that might interest me (assuming that I hadn't heard about them before).

Okay, I get that there is the recent post option that I can use to revert back to the traditional way of seeing things, but it's an extra step. (I know that sounds so whiny, sorry.)
posted by sardonyx at 5:11 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


What's going to happen when shows are released in full-season flights and people start binge posting episode reviews? Will the New Posts section or the Current Conversations section just say Same Show Name, Same Show Name, Same Show Name? Without episode numbers it will be pretty hard to tell what episode the new post is about. I suspect Jessica Jones will be the most current test case for this.
posted by sardonyx at 5:14 PM on June 14


I’ll need to look at this on a full screen to fully check it out but I like that there’s been some work done in fanfare, that’s great!

In the meantime, what is everyone’s thoughts on considering renaming Movies to Films and renaming TV to Shows or Series?

The reason I ask is that the current labels seem outdated and very American-centric.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:35 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Search ("Find a Show, Movie, or Podcast") isn't working for me in either Firefox or Chrome. I type something in and hit return (there's no button to click next to the field) and nothing happens.
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on June 14


So, IS there a way to get the "recent posts" function on a phone? I like to browse Fanfare when I'm waiting at the doctor's office and stuff, and the new format doesn't really allow that. I'd have to click around to the TV and movie and book sections separately, and it's kind of cumbersome at best. Without specific episode names I have to do some clicking around before I know if the "new" content is about the episode that aired five days ago (sometimes it takes a while for people to post a thread) or the episode before that. Without a general "recent posts" function I'm afraid Fanfare is just kind of unusable on my phone.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:33 PM on June 14


I've got mixed feelings on this redesign. As a Classic user, I'm most happy that the 'Find a Show' search box is now visible in Mobile, that was probably my most-longed-for pony. On the negative, I'm sad that the movie/tv poster images have been reduced in number and size -- while the newly-posted movies & shows will linger on the front page longer in text form, the movie/tv sidebar images used to linger for at least a few days, and were eye-catching.

I don't think 'Current Conversations - TV' titles linking to the Show pages is particularly useful, since it doesn't actually point you to which episode has current activity.

And it looks like the Fanfare Talk is still unsearchable (that is, it's not an subsite option in the search menu, and since there's no pagination once you get to the bottom of the Fanfare Talk page, once something has scrolled off the current page there's no finding it again unless it's in your posting/favorites history somewhere).

I'm glad I can still get back to the 'firehose' view from the 'Recent Posts' tab in desktop view, I have a feeling I'll mostly revert to that. But I agree with Ursula that I'd prefer a 'Recent Posts' all-categories option for mobile (Classic) too.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:35 PM on June 14


Thank you for your work on this. Now, I am using classic (and dark mode), and I will understand if that style isn't a priority any more. Some of the following is relative to classic.

It seems like there are a number of font issues on this page. Some have been mentioned already (the very large titles under Fanfare Talk). On MetaFilter (classic), the title font appears to be Verdana (".posttitle"). On FanFare, the main headings appears to be just Arial. They lack verve. Even the FanFare sidebar retains Verdana. Just getting those headings to Verdana would solve some of the dissonance I felt when I saw this page at first.

I also feel that visual differentiation among the Special Events/TV/Movies/etc sections would go a very long way, in both the old and new designs. Maybe I'm talking about heading backgrounds like the sidebars have throughout the site. In the "modern" design, each FPP has a light gray that visually indicates the end of that post. That kind of thing...

My final comment is further afield, but I feel that subsites would benefit from the ability to (rarely) "pin" posts at the top of the page. I would do away with the Special Events section altogether and just "pin" any of the relatively few special events at the top (there aren't that many historically, although this format will likely improve convo in them!). So the mods pin "The Oscars" and it gets a bit of highlighting, and the manual intervention/pinning makes people feel like this is something we've all been waiting for --> ++engagement! MetaTalk could very rarely benefit from "pinning" as well (e.g., right now, actually).

Thanks for reading my stuff.
posted by sylvanshine at 6:51 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]




What's going to happen when shows are released in full-season flights and people start binge posting episode reviews? Will the New Posts section or the Current Conversations section just say Same Show Name, Same Show Name, Same Show Name?

No, each show is listed just once.you can already see by comparing the new page to the previous view.
posted by snofoam at 8:15 PM on June 14


If you continue to want access to the original FanFare front page's MeFi-style reverse chronological listing of posts, you can access that from the "Recent Posts" link in the menu up top.

Could you re-add the poster display to the righthand sidebar?
posted by reductiondesign at 8:20 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


As others have said, the concept has merit but the graphic design still needs some work. Perhaps it's part and parcel of ensuring its legible on different platforms and devices, but there's so much wasted space. I'd like to see:

  • Bigger poster images, perhaps as tall as the number of bullets
  • Consistent number of bullets for each category (movie, podcast, etc.)
  • Each category corralled a little more. Perhaps a thin line going across to separate categories or as a heading feature under the word describing it (TV or whatever)?
  • Clearer font size/effects hierarchy

    It's a good start though, and I'll probably use it. Thanks for working through all of it!

  • posted by carmicha at 8:40 PM on June 14


    Also, is the category "TV" useful any more what with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc? It seems like it's really "Small Screen" or perhaps "Series."
    posted by carmicha at 8:43 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


    I agree the layout in Classic seems off as mentioned above, with the font sizes being kinda screwy, and I'm more on the side that the modification showing which threads are active doesn't offset the loss of info on the things being linked.

    I wouldn't mind any of that though if there was a way to set preferences so the recent post option could be my default instead of the new layout since it appears others like the changes.
    posted by gusottertrout at 10:32 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


    Thanks frimble, cortex, et. al. for taking the time to work on improving the FanFare experience.
    This image shows my humble suggestion for an alternate approach at achieving the core goal.
    I focused on the TV section, since those entries tend to have more info at the top level. But the principles would be essentially the same for the other media types.

    The key ideas:
    • Rename “TV” to “TV Series,” per others' suggestions
    • Avoid columns-within-the-column, and instead use typographic hierarchy to group the sections.
    • For each media type, “New Posts” first, followed by “Active Conversations”
    • Set a modest maximum number of items in each section (5 in my example)
    • Forego the poster images, leaving space to...
    • Include episode titles and season / episode numbering*
    • Include poster name and date / time stamp
    • and for “Active Conversations” items, make the number of comments the first thing below the title, followed by who commented last and when.

    *“New Posts” would show only one post for any given show, even if the newest FanFare posts were all for the same show.

    I know this isn't as bold a reimagining as the version you've put forth. But I think that providing a little more info at this level, and organizing it in a somewhat familiar manner, will help keep the conversations churning.
    posted by D.Billy at 10:54 PM on June 14 [15 favorites]


    I dunno who D.Billy is, but he makes FanFare look good.
    posted by cgc373 at 11:03 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


    I like it, I think boosting visibility of clubs and highlighting comments, much like on other pages is a good idea.
    posted by smoke at 12:47 AM on June 15


    Could you re-add the poster display to the righthand sidebar?

    That was actually my biggest objection. It made for a very convenient shorthand "where's the recent thing I was interested in" locator system.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on June 15


    If you don't make the images change on mouseover I am NEVER going to let you design my Quake clanring page.
    posted by fleacircus at 4:41 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


    The main thing that's kept me from reading Fanfare in the past is the way posts are sorted by time-of-FPP, because it basically guarantees that any interesting conversation will die as soon as the post falls off the front page. I guess it makes sense for ever-renewing episodic TV serials, but I don't think it works for anything else. I don't think it's an accident that, for example, almost every videogame forum sorts posts by recent activity.

    The new design moves in the direction of fixing that, but at the same time it takes away the text of the post. This is something else that probably makes sense for TV shows, but like a few other people have said it makes it much harder to find anything that you don't already know you're interested in; I've heard of exactly one of the books in the "Current conversations" bit (and that's the Mueller Report) and from the titles alone I have no idea what any of the others is about.

    To be honest, if I was going to redesign Fanfare I'd go back to the old design but with sort by recent activity as the default, maybe with some visual changes so that new visitors don't expect it to follow the pattern of the rest of the site.

    I also like the mockup D.Billy posted above, although I think if you put the books/films sections into that style it would be more obvious how useful it would be to have the post text there as well as the title.
    posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:01 AM on June 15


    I found it jarring at first. The page is presenting something very dynamic, but in a way that looks kinda like a static directory.

    The "Recently posted foos" link looks really out of place, I think it belongs at the bottom of the bulleted list like:
    NEW FOOS
    • UnboldedLinkToFoo1
    • UnboldedLinkToFoo2
    • UnboldedLinkToFoo3
    See all Foo posts
    There is no matching "See all Foo Conversations" page, but maybe there should be, operating like a phpBB forum page where it's just straight up a list of Foo posts sorted by the most recently commented-on.
    posted by fleacircus at 5:11 AM on June 15


    I reckon the link could just go on the title (so "NEW FOOS" would be the hyperlink text) instead of in a separate line at the bottom of the list.
    posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:15 AM on June 15


    I dunno, when I see an excerpt of something I naturally expect to see a link like "see whole thing" at the bottom which also lets me know that's the end of an except.
    posted by fleacircus at 5:37 AM on June 15


    Minor problems with layout

    1. Cover image under "Current conversations" appears to be associated with "New posts"
    2. Is it necessary to have the same posts appearing under both headings? Avoiding duplication would make better use of the space, or provide room for more posts, whichever is preferred.
    3. Post titles that span more than one line look the same as two posts.
    4. The "Recently posted" link is a long way away from the section heading.

    Minimal redesign
    posted by cyanistes at 5:47 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


    So this might not be related to layout, but why is Deadwood categorized as a new movie post when it is for the Deadwood TV show?
    posted by Literaryhero at 7:19 AM on June 15


    The only thing I really hate about it is the lack of description of the episode titles and for books. I wouldn't have read half the nonfiction book club books I have if not for the description out on the front page. As it lays out now I'm kind of wishing Special Events was in the side bar and that my fan fare was above fan fare talk.
    posted by kanata at 7:31 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


    I guess the main difference was before it was a bit more easy to find new shows and read new discussions while now I have to know what I'm looking for.
    posted by kanata at 7:32 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


    Yeah the lack of description might kill people's interest in the books I post. Or it might not. I don't have a new one to post for a few days, we'll see then if more or less people are interested in my books.
    posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:46 AM on June 15


    For such comprehensive redesigns, it may be worth having a one-time banner or alert of sorts explaining that no, you didn’t crash the site in half, we’re doing something new. Had to come to metatalk to figure it all out.

    Otherwise love it! Much easier to scan on mobile.
    posted by rosary at 8:23 AM on June 15


    For such comprehensive redesigns, it may be worth having a one-time banner

    I agree. US Friday afternoon "Hey we've changed the whole thing" surprises are more of a mathowie approach.
    posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:28 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


    Oh, man, y'all are totally right. That fell off the checklist in the shuffle of the last couple days; we'll get a note up on the page so people don't have to find their way here manually.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


    oh god, it took me until this morning to figure out that it wasn't some sluggish Kindle Fire bork. I like that I can find my favorites easily; before I just scrolled down and down. I didn't really mind because I knew I could've done a search or gone though my recent posts.

    But I do miss the short descriptions. I've found other shows to watch based on that. But hey, I had no idea that Jessica Jones had started again!
    posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:42 AM on June 15


    Seconding D.Billy's layout ideas.

    I think this new layout is a mess; it needs typographic hierarchy and and get rid of the columns.

    I'm very excited to discuss Star Truck: Jeep Space Nine.
    posted by weed donkey at 12:24 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


    Absolutely love this!!

    Good job everyone, it's perfect. Particularly like being able to find what I'm looking for without an above-thread sentence, bc ppl aren't always very good at avoiding spoilers in them.
    posted by likeatoaster at 1:07 PM on June 15


    I think it looks very nice and it might make me use FanFare more even.

    73 comments deep in a MeTa about a feature roll-out might be a weird time for a Pony-request adjacent question, but is there a reason there's not a video game section for FanFare? Is this a discussion that's been had before? I'm not always great at keeping up with MeTa.
    posted by Caduceus at 1:54 PM on June 15


    Personally I don't think it's very engaging (I'm looking at the mobile site). If I was a random visitor coming to this page via Google, I wouldn't have any idea what the site was for. truthfully, I think the general metafilter design esthetic is very dry for a media subsite. As an occasional user, the 'new posts' vs 'current conversations' distinction isn't intuitive to me and the lack of descriptions is a loss. I would also like to have the 'find a show' search bar at the top of the page.
    posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:11 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


    Don’t love it or hate it. I think it looks weird on mobile, and I thought it was a error when I first saw it, but I suppose I’ll get used to it soon enough. I like the suggestion of (# of comments) to see activity.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 2:12 PM on June 15


    I like it. Fanfare is a hidden gem in metafilter and I'm all for anything that increases the size of the community.
    posted by Nelson at 3:09 PM on June 15


    I appreciate your work, but it really just looks like the coding is broken to me. I closed my browser and reopened it. The consensus seems to be so overwhelmingly positive that I wonder if maybe everyone else is on an iPhone (I have an Android, and no offense, but it looks so bad I don't want to visit the site).
    posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:22 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


    Not liking this. The amount of information has been substantially reduced, so I would be apt to gloss over anything I hadn't been looking for in particular. What I like about the previous design was glancing over new show/book/podcast/movie titles, and getting an idea of what they are about. Not really going to happen with the new one.
    posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:14 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


    I think D.Billy's mock-up has the inherent advantage of retaining the page structure that MeFi users are familiar with. One can argue whether that structure is "ideal" for FanFare, but I think there should be a strong reason to depart from it. The mock-up shows that the conventional page structure can be retained while focusing more on "current conversations". And the lack of metadata in the new design, the longer I use it, becomes burdensome.

    For example, last night I posted a literally new TV show (S1E1, 2019)--so it's new as in "new in the world" and also new to FanFare. That's different from someone posting a new episode of a show that isn't new to FanFare, whether currently running ("2017–", say), or historical. Both types of these "new" things show up in the new "new" area with no distinction. If I'm honest one of the main things I use FanFare for is seeing what brand new TV series are around and how they're being received. We have lost the ability to eyeball that information. And then when you do click on a TV show, you get another landing page rather than being brought to the conversation. Having thought about it for a day, I think this is way more likely to decrease TV-related interactions with FanFare than increase them. (I am thinking of the newer user who isn't deeply familiar with MF and who isn't so invested in the site that they always arrive at their destination.) D.Billy's mock-up, as far as TV goes, gets rid of all these problems, I think. (It would be great if there was a way to incorporate a few images somehow.)

    On FF Talk, I believe there have been various requests for more metadata to be added, and this would be a good time to integrate more metadata, especially if a variation of the new design is kept. People have asked for "year of work" for movies and possibly also books. Recently someone requested that people include "TV channel/streaming service" when they post, which I strongly support whether it comes from user text or IMDB. I wonder what metadata is included in your IMDB subscription(?) that would benefit the FanFare site. I often can't find out what channel something is on even when I go to IMDB (I kind of hate that site tbh).
    posted by sylvanshine at 6:05 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


    Yeah the lack of any metadata on the convo is the biggest problem for me. I generally use Fanfare as a barometer of sorts - when I go to fanfare and see something has more than 5 comments, I'm instantly intrigued. Generally, my interest level in media scales with community conversation around it. So when something has a lot of people discussing it, I'm much more likely to jump in, read the convo, and maybe watch the show/film/etc.

    Looking at the new layout, there's non of that info. It's just a random list of media, of which I have no idea what is new, what is old, and what might be interesting. I now have no framework for how to interact with FF, and this redesign will totally decrease my lurking there.
    posted by weed donkey at 8:59 PM on June 15


    It may have been mentioned, but it's late and there's a lot to digest here - I would absolutely miss how Fanfare provided a reminder for stuff that is released irregularly or that doesn't necessarily survive my scheduled recordings from season to season. I'm not sure that "New Posts -> Jessica Jones -> S3E1 -> (4 new)" is necessarily preferable?
    posted by Kyol at 11:51 PM on June 15


    (and I accept that that element might totally be obvious once the site is in full swing, but no foolin' a new fanfare thread about a show has reminded me that there's a new episode available more often than I can remember.)
    posted by Kyol at 12:07 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


    I shall try to like it :-{
    thank goodness for the recent posts button
    Thanks for all your work on this frimble
    posted by glasseyes at 2:21 AM on June 16


    Yes, thank you for the work you put into this, frimble.

    Unfortunately, I'm finding the new layout very difficult to use, though. I don't really understand the difference between something that's "new" and something that's "current," so the lists of titles mean nothing to me. If anything that I do read/watch is on those lists, I can't tell if anyone has posted a new comment or even a new episode since I was there last. The lack of descriptions and near lack of poster images for everything means that anything I'm not already familiar with also doesn't look too tempting to check out. This is more like a search engine for media than it is a workable dashboard.

    I'm really sorry to be so negative, I'm happy that you're putting thought into how to change Fanfare's front page and putting in a lot of work to try out new ideas. I'm a big Fanfare user in general, though, and even I am bouncing off of it now. I think the changes actually significantly decrease usability.

    Looking at the new layout, there's non of that info. It's just a random list of media, of which I have no idea what is new, what is old, and what might be interesting. I now have no framework for how to interact with FF, and this redesign will totally decrease my lurking there.

    Yes, I agree.
    posted by rue72 at 5:21 AM on June 16 [11 favorites]


    Hi. I just wanted to check in and say that I'm reading everything, listening to your feedback, both positive and negative, and thinking about next steps that integrate said feedback without immediately starting to make changes.
    posted by frimble (staff) at 5:24 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]


    One small thing: when i click on recently posted episodes, it opens in a new tab, but i would prefer if it didn’t. I have the option to open external links in a new tab turned on for metafilter, but it doesn’t seem like that should apply to links from fanfare to fanfare.
    posted by snofoam at 5:33 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, the lack of all metadata combined with the loss of the new show/movie poster art sidebar is a real conversation killer. That poster art generally lingered on the sidebar for days after the initial thread had scrolled off the front Fanfare page (aside from when the network fall season begins and I go into my "post all the shows, yes, even that one" mode and the poster art scrolls off pretty quickly too), and surely got people clicking into threads out of curiosity.

    I feel like this design solved the wrong problem somehow. Like, I understand there was maybe too much info in the original format, but now it's all mystery meat.
    posted by oh yeah! at 6:02 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


    I really like it!!! Much, much more easily accessible.

    The sidebar feels very large and weighted heavily now, I'd prefer to see it smaller and de-emphasized.
    posted by latkes at 10:08 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


    The search box is the most useful feature on the FanFare front page for a casual like me, so I think it should be moved to the top of the page on mobile browsers instead of being at the bottom.
    posted by Going To Maine at 10:32 AM on June 16 [9 favorites]


    I don't know how you're going to resolve the Descriptions issues (that's why they pay you the big bucks) but I would appreciate a small formatting change. I think the heads need to be in bold (or caps or a different color or a combo) because the indents are not prominent enough. So,

    MOVIES
    Current Conversations
    • Always Be My Maybe
    • Etc.

    New Posts
    • Duck Butter
    • Etc.

    BOOKS.
    Current Conversations
    • The Rook
    • Etc.

    Well heck, I did indent the subheads and the bulleted list using the space bar but it previewed all flush left. Don't know how to tab in a comment and a block quote is too drastic. PRETEND THAT YOU SEE THE INDENTS.
    posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:12 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


    Why does Good Omens have two entries in the search bar that go to the same page? Is one supposed to be for the book or?
    posted by ODiV at 5:30 PM on June 16


    looks like the duck butter image is broken / giving a 404 error:

    https://d217i264rvtnq0.cloudfront.net/images/fanfare/D8ABBD1E-F550-4697-EBA776BEF5CA2A38.jpg

    It's a weird 200 result from cloudfront, but then the page itself seems to be a server error / 404 error:

    MacBook-Pro:temp th$ curl https://d217i264rvtnq0.cloudfront.net/images/fanfare/D8ABBD1E-F550-4697-EBA776BEF5CA2A38.jpg
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: image/jpeg
    Content-Length: 1245
    Connection: keep-alive
    Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 00:43:06 GMT
    Server: Apache/2.4.7 (Ubuntu)
    Last-Modified: Sun, 16 Jun 2019 22:45:32 GMT
    ETag: "4dd-58b78a318c042"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Cache-Control: max-age=31536000
    Expires: Tue, 16 Jun 2020 00:43:06 GMT
    Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *
    Vary: Accept-Encoding
    X-Cache: Miss from cloudfront
    Via: 1.1 15b0145f4a440167477203d93c9e877a.cloudfront.net (CloudFront)
    X-Amz-Cf-Pop: BOS50
    X-Amz-Cf-Id: OurwqgFnXrjo__wdbSyj18dhbJVlBSLQwDGJRrlKjjID4LEx9_HeYg==

    <>



    404 - File or directory not found.

    <> body{margin:0;font-size:.7em;font-family:Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;background:#EEEEEE;}
    fieldset{padding:0 15px 10px 15px;}
    h1{font-size:2.4em;margin:0;color:#FFF;}
    h2{font-size:1.7em;margin:0;color:#CC0000;}
    h3{font-size:1.2em;margin:10px 0 0 0;color:#000000;}
    #header{width:96%;margin:0 0 0 0;padding:6px 2% 6px 2%;font-family:"trebuchet MS", Verdana, sans-serif;color:#FFF;
    background-color:#555555;}
    #content{margin:0 0 0 2%;position:relative;}
    .content-container{background:#FFF;width:96%;margin-top:8px;padding:10px;position:relative;}
    -->



    Server Error


    404 - File or directory not found.
    The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.




    posted by jenkinsEar at 5:45 PM on June 16


    Why does Good Omens have two entries in the search bar that go to the same page? Is one supposed to be for the book or?

    Fanfare doesn't handle having multiple shows with the same name well, adding the new one seems to devour the old one's threads unless the mods manually differentiate the url (discovered this when I posted a thread for the Charmed reboot series after posting one for original-flavor Charmed.)

    Mods, if you're fixing the Good Omens urls, can someone change the show page url for the new Euphoria series from https://fanfare.metafilter.com/show/euphoria to https://fanfare.metafilter.com/show/euphoria2019 or something? There was a Euphoria book thread in Fanfare before I added the new show to the queue, but it's invisible now.
    posted by oh yeah! at 6:09 PM on June 16


    I would prefer to keep the current version. I like being able to find out about new shows that way.
    posted by bleep at 6:13 PM on June 16 [4 favorites]


    So one small change - it looks like currently the titles that are displayed are coming from the metadata, not whatever the OP specified for the title. Now, 95% of the time those will be the same thing, but I'll sometimes change the title to clarify (volume X vs. the volume title), add the author if it's something that has a pretty common title, or add a second title if it's been published with a different title in a different country. It would be nice for them to be the OP specified title.
    posted by dinty_moore at 6:25 PM on June 16


    I'm mostly in agreement with rue72, and likewise, despite my largely negative reaction, am grateful for the amount of work going into addressing the usability of Fanfare. I hope we end up with something that pleases just about everyone.

    Also, as someone who has been reading Metafilter for close to 20 years now, and values the community here more than any other on the web, the basic reverse chronological strutcure is a big part of the appeal for me. When Digg and Reddit started going down the path of algorithms, and social media soon followed, it all left a bad taste in my mouth. They promote the voting systems as "democratic," but in a community setting, a well-moderated reverse chronological tube of content is the MOST democratic content because time cannot be gamed, distorted, or reverse engineered in the way that votes and algorithms can, nor does it confuse or alienate casual drive-by viewers in the way that complex UIs may do.

    I know algorithms and votes have little to do with Fanfare, but any deviation for the time-tested model of chronological list of posts will be the first Metafilter subsite to do so, and I hope there is a really compelling reason and plenty of debate going into the decision. At least for my own purposes, the oldschool format has been great, as anytime a new show/movie comes across my radar, I can quickly find it on the front page and use the number of comments as a barometer of how many Mefites are bothering to watch, which helps decide if something is worth watching. Anytime I need another way to find content, the search box usually gets me there.

    That said, I get some of the arguments for the redesign, like episode-spam on new season dumps of Netflix shows. But I feel this redesign could be better organized via tabs/filters so that you could fit it all into a redesigned sidebar, or possibly a top-bar above the chronological list (with tabs or drop down to toggle between TV, Movies, etc). Or perhaps even just an advanced filter/sort bar above the old layout that would allow filtering out specific shows, single episodes, certain media formats, sort by recent activity, etc.

    Lastly, a little constructive criticism: On desktop, I didn't even catch right away that the New Posts column on the right was also under the TV heading, so perhaps an underline under TV that spans both columns or a box around the larger section would help to visually group everything correctly.
    posted by p3t3 at 6:44 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


    I commented favorably above, and I need to walk that back a bit.

    Visually, I really like this, and I think it is getting at some excellent ideas (eg, highlighting both active discussions and recent posts).

    But it doesn't work at all for browsing and finding new things -- the old system, imperfect as it was, had enough information that it worked to scroll down and either find things that I had already seen and wanted to discuss, or to find things that I hadn't heard of and wanted to check out and then discuss. The new version doesn't give enough meat to do either.

    I'm definitely not saying that this is terrible or that the old way was perfect, just that this is lacking some of the information that helps.
    posted by Dip Flash at 7:51 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


    I like it. I am not usually into these kinds of changes. My FP is still old school blue, with post titles minimized to invisibility, just as a point of reference.

    I did notice that the sidebar entries must somehow be reading as FP titles because they are now minimized as well, whereas they weren't on the old, and they aren't on the page that appears when I click through to my fanfare. sorry if this has been mentioned, i havent read every post in this thread.
    posted by OHenryPacey at 9:26 PM on June 16


    Today I was stuck waiting at CVS and opened Fanfare on my phone. Instead of wasting a happy 15 minutes or so reading, commenting, etc., I was on for maybe 45 seconds before I gave up. I saw there was a "current conversation" about a show I watch, but it turned out to be new posts on an older thread I'd lost interest in days ago. Otherwise the main page was just a list of stuff I don't watch, with no additional info. I'd have to dig to find other stuff I might be interested in, clicking on the film, TV and book sections separately, and instead of messing around with all that I decided to just wait until I got home and could have a better experience using the "recent posts" link. If the goal is to keep people on the site longer, clicking around to look for the stuff that was easy to find before, it's definitely not a success in my case.

    Months ago I saw a Fanfare post about the movie Border, and it inspired me to check out this fascinating, weird little foreign film. With the new mobile format, something like that just wouldn't happen. That title by itself certainly wouldn't grab me, and I'd have no idea what I was missing. The new design doesn't just make good stuff harder to find, it hides things. I'm sorry to be harsh, but I think mobile Fanfare is a classic example of taking something that wasn't broken and "fixing" it so it is broken.
    posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:07 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


    I think the category headers (TV, Movies etc) should be clickable. My preference would be for them to take you to a recent posts view for that category, rather than the alphabetical list, since the recent posts view is now more hidden.
    posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:09 AM on June 17 [4 favorites]


    One more vote that the loss of metadata -- especially the comments(new comments) counter -- is a major loss of signal in figuring out what's got people's attention and therefore maybe should get mine. I guess it will help temper my compulsive reading of Fanfare threads but so far today I've clicked on the same thread four times for no reason, because it's at the top of "current conversations" but has no new comments for me, and I can't see that until I click the link.

    On iPhone/Safari/classic, returning to the Fanfare main page via the back button is broken -- if you're halfway down the list, click on something, then try to come back, you lose your place and are teleported back to the top of the page, which makes browsing a bunch of stuff a drag. All of the show pages seem to be delivered via a redirect, too (maybe that's true on desktop too but it goes by slowly enough to see on Safari), which was a little disconcerting at first.

    For me anyway the phrases "current conversations" and "new posts" are close enough in connotation that I vapor lock every time trying to decide which is which. I think this is because on Metafilter we don't have posts and conversations, we have posts and comments, and so seeing "posts" without its partner is weirdly disorienting.

    There are probably some edge cases for which this is problematic but having the "current conversations" link go to the show page rather than to the most-recent episode is frustrating in what I conservatively estimate is 99.999% of cases, where the new comments are all in the most recent post. For a show like Good Omens, which only has one episode as far as Fanfare is concerned, it's even more irritating.

    On mobile I think the main element that is signaling "corrupted CSS" to people instead of "page redesign" is the non-handling of the right side of the screen -- there's a lot of dead space over there, and having some kind of visual element consistently span the width of the screen would help us see it as designed behavior. On the main site pages on mobile that's handled mostly by having full-justified text blocks give pretty clear left and right margins -- but on Fanfare, once it collapses down to a single column, everything is so short that there's just a ragged right edge halfway across the screen and I assume the layout data got corrupted en route to me.
    posted by range at 6:44 AM on June 17 [4 favorites]


    Not a big fan of the design.

    How about a compromise? (If this is going to be the prevailing design.)

    How about a hide/show option for each category? Click on the show option for each category and it reverts to the design we're used to or how D.Billy suggested? For those who don't want to know what's going on in TV land they can skip past with the bare details, same for movies, books, or whatever.
    posted by Atreides at 8:57 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


    I do not understand this redesign and the logic behind it.

    The Fanfare page is now just a list. A list of particular tv show, movie, podcast, book titles. Titles. That's it. No data to pique one's interest and consequently, no entry point into each section.

    And the whitespace around the media images is off and seems very unbalanced in the modern theme; is otherwise fine in classic.

    I appreciate the work, and the time involved in this, but at a first glance it is a disaster.
    posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:20 AM on June 17 [10 favorites]


    Another layout idea/ suggestion:

    "Current" display for Gentleman Jack (FF link; screencap) and Black Mirror (FF link; screencap) don't break clearly to me. There are the top 3 "current" discussions, and then the list of episodes, chronologically, but without the most recent/ season filter (see Gentleman Jack), there's no significant break between the "top 3" discussions and the rest. At first I thought it was a display glitch, until I saw the drop down for Black Mirror.

    A (possibly) simple fix would be adding a new header, something like "Chronological Posts," to classify this other grouping.
    posted by filthy light thief at 1:47 PM on June 17


    I guess my loose feeling, after hanging out with this a few days, is that if it's going to be some new engaging design and not the "MeFi standard" set of links with text and a sidebar, it really needs to be design-y and polished. The version I get in Classic theme just looks broken, has less information, and is confusing.

    I think it's good that a lot of people like and also do not like it, but I think there's enough "this doesn't work for me" feedback from people who are missing features or who can't understand a thing, that I think it may need to iterate somewhat.
    posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:59 PM on June 17 [11 favorites]


    For me anyway the phrases "current conversations" and "new posts" are close enough in connotation that I vapor lock every time trying to decide which is which. I think this is because on Metafilter we don't have posts and conversations, we have posts and comments, and so seeing "posts" without its partner is weirdly disorienting.

    I also had this reaction. I think also because Maybe also because Fanfare has it's own "Fanfare Talk" section, so wondering if "Current Conversations" was somehow a part of that. I think simple clear naming like "New Posts/New Comments" would go a long way.
    posted by p3t3 at 3:12 PM on June 17


    I don't venture into FanFare a whole lot although I've posted a bit.

    When I just checked out the new page, I thought that maybe all the other shows and movies and everything were no longer current and so no more conversation.

    Like, I know that it probably doesn't work that way because of my experience on the rest of the site, but the language and formatting is really ambiguous and doesn't have anything like "see all shows." I do see the "recently posted..." link but the language there also implies to me that there some kind of site-wide agreement on what we're talking about now.

    If a show I didn't like wasn't there, I'm not sure I would move over to the right-hand sidebar to check.

    Anyways, I would at least tweak language to be direct:

    "New posts"
    "Most active comments"
    "See all episodes/movies/etc."

    Also FanFare Talk is confusing me that it's actually about the posts, because it's under the search window and the categories so it doesn't feel as distinct.

    I know how difficult it is to put new designs in front of a community and I appreciate the chance to give feedback, and I appreciate all the work that's gone into it to date.
    posted by warriorqueen at 4:00 PM on June 17


    Hard no. I get the notion but it would be really nice if metafilter remained the last place on the internets that just sorted things chronologically instead of having yet another algorithm doing its bullshit.
    posted by stet at 4:12 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


    Lord love a duck... there's valid feedback here, but as a designer I can't read this thread without feeling like I'm in the world's worst client meeting. I cannot imagine trying to design something and get feedback in this big design-by-committee fashion full of conflicting opinions and nit-picking. I know that's how "we" do things here at Metafilter but I'm thanking god it's not how I receive feedback on my work.

    frimble, you're awesome. And I like the redesign. It makes me want to use FanFare. I know there are tweaks to be made (again not saying there isn't valid feedback above) and look forward to them.
    posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 4:57 PM on June 17 [12 favorites]


    Small bug in the old "recent posts" view: the "older posts" pagination at the bottom doesn't account for the new url structure, so the link navigates back to the new design. Looks like the only way to get to page 2 of recent posts right now is manually adding the ?page=2 query string to the url.
    posted by p3t3 at 5:31 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


    get feedback in this big design-by-committee fashion full of conflicting opinions and nit-picking

    I'd like to push back against this comment, especially the idea that anyone is nit-picking. For my own part I felt that I could offer feedback here, in a sort of "what if I was at work" way (and especially in lieu of being a money contributor!)—because we were asked. (Edit: I suppose, looking at the text here and on FanFare's banner, one can argue whether we were asked, but I felt that we were. Maybe I was wrong.)

    I absolutely empathize with the situation of staff listening to all the feedback of the masses when they present a new Thing, but I think this thread has mostly been kind and reasonable toward everyone involved.
    posted by sylvanshine at 7:01 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


    I wonder if just making the headings clickable in a way that would basically lead to the old format (sequential posts by media type) would answer a lot of people's concerns?

    This proposed re-design answers a lot of issues I've always had about FanFare and unearths a lot of buried content for me.
    posted by latkes at 7:20 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


    Hi, so I thought I'd let you know where I'm at with this. The criticism has been extremely valuable to me: I think it's clear that there are significant problems with this version of the front page compared to how people use FanFare and those absolutely need to be addressed.

    In other circumstances, I would be making changes like a hyperactive squirrel and posting, "what about now?" every fifteen minutes in the thread, but I don't feel that that's remotely the right approach here. Instead, I'm embracing the sloth as my patronus and choosing to listen, think, take notes and plan in order to work through the dozens of points raised.

    I'm really grateful to everyone who explained what didn't work for them and especially thankful to people who offered alternative designs and detailed critique. Likewise, people noting what did work for them or how they found the specifics or broad strokes of this version to be useful to them is sincerely useful for finding a next step.
    posted by frimble (staff) at 1:15 AM on June 18 [13 favorites]


    Much prefer old. What lures me to new media is a brief description and the new comments counter. Organizing by date helps me situate releases and conversations in time.

    How long do posts stay New or conversations stay Current now? What are the criteria?

    If you keep this format I would place "Recently Posted" directly under Category Header and make each bullet point clickable with a brief drop-down description and comment(new comment) counter. I really want this metadata added back in.

    Also I just find it... aesthetically unpleasant. Especially in Classic. Category Headers need differentiation. Sidebar font is too large. Recently Posted is spaced too far down to feel part of its category. Posts without images create an odd gap. Ragged edges leave a lot of untidy space in the middle of the page. Modern and Modern Dark are better, though columns force many titles onto two lines which makes it hard to read.

    I do like organizing by media, instead of shunting books in with TV, film etc. Hope you keep that part. Special Events and Clubs could go on sidebar? I don't like them mixed in with rest. They feel categorically different and deserve their own space.
    posted by aw jeez at 1:45 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


    aw jeez: How long do posts stay New or conversations stay Current now? What are the criteria?

    I'm not sure of the criteria for Current Conversations, but New Posts are simply the 7 newest TV posts, 10 newest movies and books posts, or 9 newest podcast posts. (I'm not sure why it's not the same top number, but this is based on the lists at the time of writing this comment.)

    The chronological list of FanFare posts is still available by category -- click on Recently posted episodes, movies, books, or podcasts.
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:12 AM on June 18


    I infinitely prefer the old way. I like being able to see what has new comments since I last logged on. Now I can only see that on the "my fanfare" tab but... thats only if i remembered to add that show to my account.
    posted by silverstatue at 11:31 AM on June 18


    I love it. Zero comment post, followed by zero comment post, followed by one comment post, followed by zero comment post--it made FanFare feel like a wasteland, and then I would feel sorry for the poor shows, so unloved that not even their posters were interested in posting about them.
    posted by betweenthebars at 2:01 PM on June 18 [5 favorites]


    Zero comment post, followed by zero comment post, followed by one comment post, followed by zero comment post--it made FanFare feel like a wasteland

    That was exactly my feeling every time I clicked into FanFare. Sometimes it would be one person posting episode after episode of a show or podcast no one wanted to talk about.
    posted by JenMarie at 2:24 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


    As a note, I'll sometimes wait to comment on something I've posted as a way to let someone else's thoughts guide the conversation. Other folks will include their commentary in the post/description itself - so there's a comment, it's just in the under the fold description.

    Though sometimes I only have time to post something before rushing off to do something else. Or forgot that I haven't commented.
    posted by dinty_moore at 2:29 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


    The Older Posts / Newer Posts page clickers in the old view are broken now, because they still point to the front page - I can manually inject "/home/recent" into the URL (every time) and get it to work, but the navigation needs to be fixed regardless of what version ends up being chosen.

    I don't really have an opinion one way or the other on the new version, because I have no intention of using it, but I am rather annoyed by it being the home page. Every other MeFi subsite uses the reverse-chronological view and I like to skim down the page to see the summaries of shows I don't already know about, which the new view doesn't have (presumably for layout/space reasons). From my perspective, that's surfacing *less* content, not more.

    Semi-related anecdata: the final nail in the coffin of AV Club (for me) was the move to Kinja which is incapable of providing a chronological view of comments (with or without threading) so that you can only get random snippets of a conversation in whatever order the algorithm sees fit to provide at any given moment.
    posted by CyberSlug Labs at 3:37 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


    I don't want to add more feedback and make this more difficult, I really appreciate the challenges of doing a redesign and understand that lots of people found FanFare not that user-friendly in the past.

    Things I personally miss are the episode descriptions and knowing straight away how many comments have been left. I know it's weird but I like to scroll through FanFare to find out what other shows and books and movies are floating people's boats. The new design doesn't give me the flexibility to do that.

    The two columns are jarring and my eyes don't know where to look.

    I use the the white classic theme (? I don't even remember the one now, but basically the one you can use at work so it doesn't stand out so much) and it currently looks like it's a bit broken.

    Having said all that, I really like the idea of breaking it up into tv, movies, books - that makes a lot of sense, and really all I would want to be fine with this is just a bit more information about the threads. I'm still here for the threads, after all.
    posted by liquorice at 8:47 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


    I like this a lot! I've wanted to engage more on FanFare, but found the "undifferentiated firehouse" (often of low-comment-volume posts) kind of discouraging, so I mostly stuck to the threads about one or two big shows. This may not be perfect, but it makes it easier to get a sense of the range of stuff people are talking and posting about, and makes me more likely to find my way into some of those conversations.
    posted by karayel at 8:56 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


    (1) Please bring back the "newly-added" "movie posters" in the sidebar. I judged stuff by their "covers" and used it successfully for discovery. Would be sad if I missed out on great stuff because this discovery vector disappeared.

    I use the recent posts feed for the same thing, even though it's "noisy." Don't care/worth it. I enjoy the noise.

    (2) Could there be a "classic" option to get sent right to the recent posts page versus the new page, when clicking navbar links to switch between subdomains?

    I am using fanfare less after this change, fwiw.
    posted by zeek321 at 6:48 AM on June 19


    betweenthebars: Zero comment post, followed by zero comment post, followed by one comment post, followed by zero comment post--it made FanFare feel like a wasteland, and then I would feel sorry for the poor shows, so unloved that not even their posters were interested in posting about them.

    As a poster of zero-comment FanFare posts, I make posts of things I like and have experienced, but often hesitate to be the first to comment. Then I forget that I made the post, and may even forget enough about the content and worry I won't make a coherent comment. So the posts stay empty.
    posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


    I've got a question about what counts as a 'current conversation' - I was using the posts with recent comments feature, and noticed the list of books with the most recent comments is different than what's listed as books that have current conversations - most recent book comments goes Raven Tower, Catch-22, Calculating Stars, Broken Homes, and Marrow Thieves. Book current conversations is listed as: The Rook, The Mueller Report, The October Man, Tiamat's Wrath, The Raven Tower, Cannibalism, The Calculating Stars. That seems like quite a difference.

    If current conversations is something more complex than most recent comments, I don't think it needs to be?

    I do like the separation of media types and that books and podcasts have their own posters now (it's something that bugged me about the older design). I don't know if I need current conversations and most recent posts on the same page, and I am finding myself missing the descriptions.
    posted by dinty_moore at 7:40 AM on June 19


    Oh! Something else that's more of a pony, but I guess this is a good time to ask for it - the ability to add all fanfare posts with a certain tag to myfanfare.
    posted by dinty_moore at 7:43 AM on June 19


    Oh! Something else that's more of a pony, but I guess this is a good time to ask for it - the ability to add all fanfare posts with a certain tag to myfanfare.

    . . . and I just figured out there's already a way to do that. Whoops. Maybe make it a little more obvious (add it to to the tag page, for example, or maybe even the sidebar).
    posted by dinty_moore at 8:06 AM on June 19


    Also not a fan here. I usually use Fanfare to browse and see what other people are watching/reading/listening to in case there is something out there that I've somehow missed via cultural osmosis. If there's something specific I want to discuss, I can use search easily enough.
    posted by soren_lorensen at 8:23 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


    In other circumstances, I would be making changes like a hyperactive squirrel and posting, "what about now?" every fifteen minutes in the thread

    Thank you for reining in your impulses so people can talk things out, super helpful.

    I usually use Fanfare to browse and see what other people are watching/reading/listening to

    This highlights a thing I wasn't really even aware of until now but there are no usernames with the conversations anymore (as opposed to the original version), just in the sidebars. Like I not only want to know what the threads are, personally, but who posted them and you can't tell at a glance here. I trust you all to come up with something good, but it's worth thinking which pieces of information are no longer on the page and think on whether they're important or not.
    posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:04 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


    I'm not sure of the criteria for Current Conversations, but New Posts are simply the 7 newest TV posts, 10 newest movies and books posts, or 9 newest podcast posts. (I'm not sure why it's not the same top number, but this is based on the lists at the time of writing this comment.)

    It looks like whatever it is that generates these avoids making multiple entries for the same show, which makes sense, but doesn't correctly pull in enough additional series to make it back up to 10. Also it's borked in that it's skipping over some series, but those that do appear are in the correct order.

    As of this comment, here's the "New Posts" TV and Podcast lists on the front page in normal type, with series skipped over in italic, assuming each series is only listed once the first time it appears:

    Six Feet Under
    Perpetual Grace, LTD
    Strange Angel
    Grand Hotel
    Los Espookys
    Euphoria
    Critical Role
    iZombie
    NOS4A2
    Star Trek: Enterprise
    Big Little Lies

    City on a Hill
    Jessica Jones
    Jinn

    Against the Rules with Michael Lewis
    Punch Up The Jam
    The Adventure Zone
    Making Gay History
    My Brother, My Brother And Me
    Chapo Trap House
    Darknet Diaries
    Reply All
    Everything Is Alive

    The Deca Tapes
    The McElroy Brothers Will Be In Trolls 2
    Hi-Phi Nation
    Judge John Hodgman
    Hello from the Magic Tavern

    Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend
    The Truth
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:33 AM on June 19


    I really like the separation by media; that aspect makes browsing a lot more convenient for me, not having to keep skip over types of media I'm uninterested in.

    I miss being able to immediately see season & episode number for television shows, as that is the actual specific thing under discussion.

    Thanks for testing out changes. I like FanFare and want to see it work and engage more people.
    posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:31 PM on June 19


    A minor, if stupid thing - although it doesn't matter on the rest of the site that much, the bare difference (in the plain theme) between cornflower blue and cerulean for followed/unfollowed conversations is too subtle for me in the new layout. If I don't have all the rest of the context telling me "hey dummy, there's a new Star Trek Enterprise rewatch thread", having clearly obvious link states telling me that something I normally read has filtered up into the New Posts block might help.

    Or putting the My FanFare posts right up top, section #1 - "here's the stuff you asked to follow, here's everything else", like. (Shoot, put new posts for stuff in My Fanfare into Recent Activity and I'll never come up for air.)

    That said, I still think a lot of context is lost by not having any above the fold information. I wouldn't have known about Little Drummer Girl if the original post didn't say Le Carre, right? I do appreciate what's trying to be done here, and I certainly know how one can feel that Fanfare is a wasteland when one comes in and someone posted 24 individual episode summaries for a low profile streaming show. The answer there might just be folding multiple sequential posts for the same show into the show's episode list, or only permitting one/two (book vs show only, say) episodes per show per day before they get folded into a link to the show's episode list. Generally speaking I get the tension that posters have there on the one hand (someone might want to talk about a plot development in episode 3!), on the other hand I'm not stopping to comment on every episode in a season if I'm binging 3-4 per night, and I'm not taking notes to come back later.

    That said, it's going to be really hard to tell how good or bad some changes are with the current summertime media calendar. I mean, I think I only have eight shows updating over the summer compared to the 23 or 24 I had back in January?
    posted by Kyol at 6:26 PM on June 19


    Put me down for dislike.
    posted by the webmistress at 8:05 PM on June 19


    Not a fan. I like the media separation, but not being able to see the number of comments or what episode of a thing is being discussed makes FanFare less useful to browse.
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:58 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


    I don't get it. Perhaps the answer is somewhere here in this thread, that I'm too busy and overwhelmed to read. So, I will only say this, can there be some kind of tutorial for where everything is vis-à-vis where it used to be ? I'm turning 39 next month, so I'm not terribly young anymore - perhaps that's why I don't get it? For my living, I teach people how to use scientific web apps and databases - the best ones have a Start Here tutorial with arrows or something and some visual separation between the "easy" and "advanced" sections. Is FanFare now so complicated it needs a Start Here, or again is it just that I'm too old for the internet?
    posted by bluefly at 4:34 PM on June 20


    Quick question: before this change, what percentage of members had Fanfare post descriptions turned off?
    posted by mediareport at 9:25 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


    After having used this one for a week, I would love to go back to the old page, despite its flaws, until another attempt at a new page is ready.
    posted by snofoam at 9:31 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


    This is super minor in the grand scheme of things, but I wanted to mention the placement of the "club" link, as seen in this image. There's no padding to the left. I'm seeing this in Chrome on two computers and Safari on my iPhone, but not Internet Explorer. I don't have any scripts running, just uBlock which is turned off for MetaFilter sites.
    posted by sacrifix at 10:19 AM on June 21


    An apology, first of all, that my initial comment was so glib. That was a knee-jerk gut response.

    I've thought more about "WHY don't I like this", and I think I'm where Robocop is Bleeding is above - I like that the types of media are divided, but don't like that you can't see how many comments are in a given discussion right now.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on June 21


    I just checked Fanfare on my laptop, after days of visiting on my phone and then giving up and clicking away because I couldn't see anything, and it looks like comments are way down on all the posts. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not the only one who just can't with the new Fanfare mobile experience. This could all be fixed with something like a "Fanfare Classic" button up top, not unlike the "night mode" button on the main site. (Of course night mode is mainly an aesthetic thing, while this is about pure functionality.)
    posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:13 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


    I see no one else has really mentioned this so perhaps I'm an outlier, but I immediately head to MyFanfare. Though I know there's a tab to get into it I would really like the sidebar to have MyFanfare posts above FanFare Talk.

    As far as other changes, I don't really browse posts, but if I did I would want more information than just the titles of series or movies or books on the front page. I preferred the big posters in the sidebar to the little ones in the bullet lists. The more I type... the more I think I preferred the old front page. This one is not really inviting me to dig in at all. I'm having trouble articulating why but it just seems sort of lifeless except for the sidebar.
    posted by oneirodynia at 7:06 PM on June 21


    I would like to have the option of setting one of the tabs as my FanFare default view. Right now, you always get the “Current and Recent” tab when you hit FanFare. I would prefer my default view be the “Recent Posts” tab.

    Personally, I find the “Current and Recent” view to be confusing and kind of disorganized. And, while tapping to the “Recent Posts” tab isn’t a huge deal, having to do so every time I want to go into FanFare ends up making me think twice about going to FanFare in the first place.

    All that said, I definitely appreciate that organizing and managing FF is like herding cats, and y’all are doing great work.
    posted by Thorzdad at 7:48 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


    I get the idea and actually like it in some ways but I think it'll kill fanfare. I'd click FF to see if there's something new that I'd missed and scroll down until I'd caught up. The summary page has not changed and has no updates notation and well, who's looking at GoT anymore, eh? So the follow on will be fewer changes, fewer comments, lower interest, but GoT will still be on the summary page. Sorry to snark a bit but media is quite about now, what's up today, unless there's an automated algorithm that tunes the summary to be current to the minute, yes some days literally the minute then recent posts is just better, actually topically current. And I've noticed a real drop off on the recent posts page, oh there will be clever Home Alone rewatches, Chernobyl is deeply worth a lot of discussion but at the moment the 'current discussion' is late May. Folks post new stuff to actually current discussions, too often kneejerk drek but it's a reflection on the now.
    posted by sammyo at 9:26 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


    Just want to add another vote for frimble to restore the original chronological format while the re-redesign is designed, Maybe next time we could get shown something to beta—like when the flagging options were updated to include free-text commenting?

    Regarding some of the earlier comments about posting threads for every episode of a streaming season that generate little-to-no comments, I’ve certainly been guilty of that. The only way to get all the threads rolled up into one binge-mode format is with mod intervention at the start, but that means there’s no time to do any in-depth writeups for each episode, and I find that episode threads for streaming shows really need some summarization below the fold to generate any kind of discussion. I know it clutters up the front page in the short term — but depending on the show, it can be really rewarding in the long run, when new people start watching the show at their own pace weeks/months/years later, and join the discussion. (Of course, sometimes that’s only rewarding for me personally, since I can notice someone favoriting their way through the series, while that activity is invisible to anyone else, so all any nonparticipant is left with is their memory of the slew of low-comment threads spamming the front page, I guess.)
    posted by oh yeah! at 12:13 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


    Yes, please go back to the old format while the next redesign is in process.
    posted by Dip Flash at 5:42 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


    I just wanted to say that I really love Fanfare, and I'm happy to see that subsite getting some care and feeding.

    depending on the show, it can be really rewarding in the long run, when new people start watching the show at their own pace weeks/months/years later, and join the discussion.

    Yes to this. For the series Dark, those episode threads were really useful when I was binging the show and struggling to keep up with characters and plot. I wouldn't have checked a full-season thread until I was finished the series. Yes, totally get the clutter, although the clutter is also what gets me to notice a new series when I click into Fanfare.

    Right now, I'm clicking right into My Fanfare most of the time, and I have post descriptions turned off. Not because of the redesign as much as there are only a few shows that I'm watching posted to FF lately.
    posted by gladly at 10:12 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


    Also, the individual episode threads are great for people like me that maybe only watch an episode or two at a time but feel the need to look up commentary between episodes, and also don't want to be spoiled.

    (I'm watching El Ministerio Del Tiempo now and enjoying reading each episode's post as I go along, even if I don't have much to add except for for 'Julian is a dick')

    I don't use my fanfare outside of the sidebar that much because I mostly use recent activity, but since the redesign I've switched to navigating between recent activity and recent comments on fanfare more and more, ignoring the main fanfare page entirely.
    posted by dinty_moore at 10:25 AM on June 22


    The lists could use a bullet or some other indication between items. When they wrap there's no way to tell where one item ends and the next begins. It's just a column of words that all look like links.

    Six Feet Under
    Swamp Thing
    Strange Angel
    Archer
    Mystery Science
    Theater 3000
    Penn & Teller:
    Fool Us
    Grand Hotel
    Los Espookys
    Euphoria
    City on a Hill

    IMNSHO it would be easier if they had a bullet or indented when wrapping or some such. It gets a bit more weird the longer the titles get.
    posted by zengargoyle at 2:38 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


    My impression is that since the redesign was launched, commenting in individual posts is way down. This is not backed up by data, so any actual numbers would be appreciated. But I feel like people are not seeing individual posts, so they're not commenting, which is killing any discussion.
    posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:40 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


    Yuk, hate it.
    posted by Catblack at 6:54 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


    I like it (it’s made me a lot more aware of FanFare for books, for one) but I’ve got a bug, I think:

    I made a post for Hanna (the movie) but when I click its link under “Movies > New Posts > Hanna” I get a weird screen that shows the movie above, with a backdrop, and the related TV show (that has the same title) below.

    There’s no way to interact with the movie as far as I can tell, except to “add to my FanFare” - neither the title, text, nor backdrop are hyperlinks, and it doesn’t show the number of comments (at least 2 so far).

    The TV show stuff below behaves normally, with a clickable titles and a clickable link to the 5 comments that it has.

    I’m on iOS, and whatever the default theme is.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:46 PM on June 23


    (Apologies if it’s a bug that’s already been discussed in the thread above, I didn’t have time to check the comments so far)
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:51 PM on June 23


    Yeah I think that's the same bug I brought up earlier, with Good Omens. Good to know there's a movie post though. I'll go check that out.
    posted by ODiV at 6:11 PM on June 23


    Visually, I find that it looks unfinished. (Or at least all of the uneven sections and white space is unpleasant to me). Organizationally I find it a bit confusing: I wanted to see if there was commentary on Euphoria and was looking under "TV-Current Conversations" rather than "New Posts." I guess I can understand the logic of such a division, but it seems like a needless division to me and it was something that slowed down my attempt to find a show.
    posted by TwoStride at 5:03 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


    I do think FanFare needed some work, but I agree that this update disappoints in a couple of (I think) important ways. Much of what I am about to mention has already been said, but I want to repeat them for agreement/emphasis. This is in desktop classic (Win 10, Chrome).

    1. There needs to be some way to include the poster's name and the number of comments. This is core to what MetaFilter is, and if the front page of a subsite does not have that information on it, I think it would be better to spin it off into fanfare.com or something.

    2. There should be greater priority on switching seamlessly between two modes: the old "firehose" and the new "curated". Both are valueable and useful. I don't think it makes sense to consider them "tabs" on a par with FanFare Talk and Clubs. Maybe a multi-level hierarchy of tabs:

    SORTED | CHRONOLOGICAL

    FanFare Talk | MyFanFare | Clubs | Recent Comments | Etc

    3. The visual design of the page, in classic at least, is half-baked, at best. Obviously this gets into matters of taste, but I think the images need to be larger or eliminated, the typography needs to be tweaked to increase the hierarchical feel, and the visual separation between the categories needs to be increased.

    I really appreciate all the work that went into this so far, and I especially value your approach to taking constructive criticism, frimble. I think this is great for FanFare and for MetaFilter.
    posted by Rock Steady at 6:09 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


    So far I'm not loving the redesign, but that may simply be my resistance to change. If it sticks, I'll probably default to the "Recent Posts" tab on desktop. The redesign is not a great experience on mobile and I seem to be missing the "Recent Posts" option for mobile.

    FWIW the "curated" view is a little too close to the "algorithm" used by Twitter and Facebook to decide what I want to see rather than simply giving me things in chronological order. Just gimme the firehose and let me sort it out on my own, please.
    posted by jzb at 4:43 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


    Okay, I sort of already complained about this - but the fact that there are only two movies listed in current conversations, and neither of them have had a comment in the last two days makes it look like fanfare is more dead than it actually is. At this point I'm assuming this is a bug or faulty logic?
    posted by dinty_moore at 6:39 AM on June 25


    Or it could be something else. I personally have refrained from using fanfare or commenting further on this topic because I feel that the redesign is poorly timed and there needs to be more transparency and clarity on where and how dev efforts fit into wider and more pressing issues on MetaFilter.
    posted by iamkimiam at 10:04 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


    Movies that have newer comments than Avengers Endgame or Always Be My Maybe (via Recent Comments)

    Murder Mystery
    The Last Black Man in San Francisco
    Toy Story 4
    Fast Color
    Men in Black: International
    The Killing Fields
    American Animals
    The Monster Squad
    Dark Phoenix
    Hanna

    Some of them only have one or two comments, but that's the sort of thing that I would think that 'current conversations' should highlight, not hide. Either something seems like it's not updating, or whatever logic is creating current conversations is missing a lot.
    posted by dinty_moore at 10:11 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


    I would love to go back to the old layout. I liked reading the summaries of all the things when I'm idly browsing on my phone. Reading a little summary of an interesting book is nicer and way more likely to happen than having to read a whole book. I liked that and I miss it and I want it back.
    posted by bleep at 12:16 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


    Given the interest by a number of people to still see the old layout, and frimble's comment that they're taking these comments into consideration, could we have the option of viewing either the new ff or the old in the meantime? Or go back to the old layout, and discuss revisions?
    posted by filthy light thief at 1:28 PM on June 25


    Yep, current plan is to revert to the original with a link to the beta while we do some iteration on it. We'll make the swap back in the next day or so probably, depending on frimble's availability for flipping appropriate switches etc.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


    I've now moved the FanFare front page back to being the previous version. The draft new version is still available, and for now and until we're happy with where it is, any updates will stay in the parallel draft version rather than being directly promoted to being the default or only available front page.

    Thank you for your patience and again, for all the feedback offered.
    posted by frimble (staff) at 2:48 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


    frimble, thanks for all your work on this!

    Just wondering, do you have a list of revisions you're working to fold into the draft?
    posted by filthy light thief at 2:55 PM on June 25


    We'll lay out probable changes before the next iteration if it's workable, yeah; it may end up being the case where we iterate that new version in place and note it up as we go. In any case we'll talk about the next batch of changes as they firm up.

    But this is one of several things going on with the site so it's not going to be the first thing we get to. There's other stuff requiring active dev work as well as stuff just requiring a lot of mod attention that is gonna be occupying us for the next while. But I'm glad that we had the version that folks have been looking at the last week or so 99% ready to go already so that we could get it up for review without much new effort; it's something we've wanted to get eyeballs on so we can do exactly this sort of reaction gathering for a while, and now we can take that and interleave some further work on it with everything else we've got going on in the background.

    Thanks again everybody for the feedback on it, it's been useful to here what works and what doesn't for various folks and why and I think this has gotten us a couple steps closer to landing at a really solid improvement to how the front page of FanFare works.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 3:11 PM on June 25


    FWIW I like the new FanFare page, but I absolutely love the "display=current" option on the show pages. There's a lot of interesting discussion that can happen long after a post about a specific episode goes up and it's nice to see those potential discussions surfaced again.
    posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:05 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


    I gotta tell you I am SO happy the old layout is back. I didn't realize people were unhappy with the old layout, but I like it being true to the classic "metafilter"' layout.

    Do not tell me you're messing with the classic metafilter layout.
    posted by miss-lapin at 12:34 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


    Do not tell me you're messing with the classic metafilter layout.

    Nah, I have neither the ego nor the desire. I'm pretty sure that if I tried to "improve" the MetaFilter or Ask, etc. front pages with sweeping changes, it would absolutely be a Verschlimmbesserung – a supposed improvement that makes things worse.
    posted by frimble (staff) at 12:58 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


    Yeah, that. The concern with FanFare isn't that classic MeFi reverse-chron post indexes are bad for the site, it's that they don't highlight FanFare's flow of content in particular very well; we're taking a wrench to this front page in particular, not the site in general.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:27 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


    A low-impact solution might be a toggle button that lets user switch between sorting posts by post time stamp and sorting posts by if they have recent comments.
    posted by bleep at 9:02 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


    I'm going to put my head above the parapet here about an unrelated Fanfare pony - I would LOVE to have images in Fanfare, maybe tempered by a daily limit per poster. My GoT watching was significantly enhanced by the barrage of memes and the cricket world cup now has some really delightful ones that I would love to share to give a flavour of how Pakistani fans are watching the tournament. Is there any chance that this might be considered in the future?
    posted by tavegyl at 11:40 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


    It's an interesting dilemma! We've talked over the question of images vs. MeFi a bunch of times, in MetaTalk threads and as a team, and it's never landed at a clear "this would be a good change" place because the image-free nature of modern MeFi threads is a huge part of the feel of this place and has positive implications for the site working well on a variety of devices and being e.g. screen-reader friendly.

    The flip side is, if FanFare is a media-discussion space where visual content is for some of that media pretty central to most folks' experience, maybe there's more benefit to making an exception there specifically than there would be in general for the site. We're certainly embracing the idea of "this can work differently" for the FanFare front page, and extending that thinking to the long run in discussion tools isn't out of line. It's certainly something we can talk about more in the long run; I think doing it right if we did decide to do it would have to be more complicated than whitelisting the <img> tag.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 12:18 PM on June 26


    cortex: We're certainly embracing the idea of "this can work differently" for the FanFare front page

    My thoughts exactly -- FanFare is already unique, and definitely a hub of jokes and memes as part of the discussion.

    Crazy thought: if we're not going to host images on MetaFilter (most reliable way, but most costly), perhaps the "Embed" menu pop-up includes an optional alt. text field? That way, meme text or a brief description could be added in, if the MeFite so felt like it, and if the image link died, the text would at least remain.
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


    I'm +1'ing the idea of images in fanfare - it'd be a lot easier to discuss comics if I could embed images.
    posted by dinty_moore at 12:52 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


    I'd also be onboard for small images integrated to the old timeline style layout somehow. Images were the one part of the redesign that seemed beneficial- other features like filter/sort can probably introduced in a less disruptive way. It also seems deserved/appropriate to Fanfare, the same way MeFi music gets embedded audio players.

    Since a lot of folks seem to use Fanfare for ideas and recommendations, images also help jog peoples minds for something you may have seen ads for but forgotten the title.
    posted by p3t3 at 5:19 PM on June 26


    I’m just here to grump since I much prefer the new layout and was sad that it got reverted. I read that there’s supposed to be a link to the new layout, but I can’t find it .... Ohhhh, I have to click ‘current and recent’ in the recent activity drop down. Ok carry on, my grump has now been solved.
    posted by forforf at 6:55 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


    Hmm, actually that drop down option doesn’t show up for me when I first go to Fanfare. Initially there is no ‘current and recent’ drop down option when I first land on the Fanfare page. But, if I select ‘My Fanfare’ from the dropdown, then when the page reloads I do have the ‘current and recent’ option which renders things how I prefer. Confused? Me too.
    posted by forforf at 7:05 PM on June 26


    The only view that should differ is the front page view, which if you want to get at the new version that had been default for the last few days you can get to via the "Take a look at the beta test" link up top.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 PM on June 26


    I prefer the old version, FWIW.
    posted by Coaticass at 1:36 AM on June 27


    I see the link now, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there before. It’s all good now. For what its worth, this was all from my iphone.
    posted by forforf at 2:50 AM on June 27


    Looking back, and forward, can we all agree that making significant changes to the site without advance notification to the members is a strategy best left in the past? Design preferences aside, the process by which this was sprung on users feels deeply wrong, and is something I vaguely recall the site mods had long ago promised wouldn't happen again.
    posted by mediareport at 5:40 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


    We rolled it out as a test specifically for that reason, rather than as "here's the new thing, love it or leave it". That's on the tail end of several conversations in MetaTalk over the last few years about potential changes to the FanFare front page, and this is a synthesis of a bunch of those ideas, and a riff off some of what's going on in the Watercooler experiment that's been in place for a while. We've tried to forecast the idea that this work was happening a lot; mostly what I regret is not managing to get more tests out in front of folks in a shorter time period.

    Basically, I hear you and don't disagree: I don't want folks to feel like they're being bulldozed, and we're trying to take care not to do that. Hence all the past discussion, hence framing this as a test, hence reverting after some time with eyeballs on it for user input. But at some point in the process of trying new stuff we do have to put it front and center and ask people to look more actively. That's the aim here, and it has been super useful to get that level of attention and feedback on the design so we can do some more work on it.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:24 AM on June 27


    Eh, mark me down as someone who would rather not have any part of the site cluttered up with meme images. I think it would encourage “rapid response” on the site, which is bad enough when confined to text.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 8:28 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


    I hate to feel like a wet blanket, but I really would prefer to keep images out of fanfare.
    posted by skewed at 1:42 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


    Ohh I hadn't even heard of Watercooler.

    Honestly I don't come to MeTa almost at all so it would be great in the future if you're discussing Fanfare here to put a post on FanFare Talk because otherwise, I have no idea it's going on. And does seem like it also belongs there.
    posted by miss-lapin at 8:00 PM on June 27


    I forgot we already have images, once you click through to the individual post page. Those, and the sidebar images for recent adds on the main Fanfare page are probably enough and mostly in line with the text-centric MeFi style.

    I'd be curious to see other redesigns that take different approaches to images, but the more I poke around the overall Fanfare navigation, the less convinced I am that it needs much, if any, change.
    posted by p3t3 at 8:58 PM on June 27


    "We've tried to forecast the idea that this work was happening a lot"

    I'd like to push back on this a little and reiterate what I suggested earlier in this thread about needing more transparency and clarity on MetaFilter's development plans.

    The changes you make to the site do not exist separately from its mission or strategy, financial planning or cultural shifts. They directly inform and are informed by these things.

    There are a lot of conversations about what needs to change in this community, many of which could or do involve technical solutions / dev work. It is unreasonable to expect users to extrapolate from mod comments about which of these conversations are going to result in random 'tests' of new changes. I'd rather not assume what the mods' priorities are through waiting to see which forecasts result in random design reviews. I'd much prefer a regular site update on what the development roadmap is and how that fits into wider plans for the community.

    There a number of community questions that could be sufficiently addressed in such an update. That might go a long way toward making visible the alignment of different aspects of running this place.
    posted by iamkimiam at 11:19 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


    I really like how the special events are at the top of the redesign.
    posted by fleacircus at 6:42 AM on June 29


    I didn't like the new design at first, but now that the old one is up again I'm realizing that it's nice to be able to easily skip over book and podcast posts, which are less interesting to me than movies and TV. I vote new design.
    posted by Clustercuss at 12:25 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


    I'm just glad to actually be able to check out FanFare on my phone again. Again, this wasn't an aesthetic thing; with the new design I literally couldn't use FanFare on my phone. For me the new design was like a glitch that needed fixing... and now it's fixed!
    posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:29 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


    Status quo so much better.
    posted by zeek321 at 7:41 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


    I like the new layout. Easier to find out if any has been updated.
    posted by KaizenSoze at 7:51 AM on July 9


    FWIW, I immediately click to the new layout on getting to the fanfare site. I am pretty much always looking to comment on something in particular, after having watched it. So making it easy to get to recently active (either in the sense of conversation or just recency) is an excellent move.
    posted by kaibutsu at 6:28 PM on July 13


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