Fanpop Suggestions and Ideas?

dave posted on Apr 09, 2007 at 10:57PM
Hey Everyone,

The guys and I thought it might be helpful to tap into the brilliant minds of our passionate community of users to make Fanpop a better place. Thank you all for all of your support so far, we really appreciate all the kind messages we've received and helpful feedback. Our goal is to make Fanpop the best place on the web to find content and community that you care about. I thought that maybe we could start a thread with ideas and suggestion on what you would like to see from Fanpop. I can't guarantee that we can implement all of them, but we always take our users suggestions very seriously. So feel free to post your thoughts here!

Dave

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over a year ago harold said…
OK, Dave! I'll bite. I like many of the changes that you guys made a few weeks ago, but some of the changes have raised new feature ideas for me.

For instance, I'd like to have a mouseover of the video links in a spot, similar to the mouseover that you get when you hover over a link in the list of links on the spot home. It would show who posted it, how long ago, their description, and a rating. Right now we don't have any of that information readily available without clicking on the video links one by one.
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over a year ago benji said…
I know it's not a suggestion, but could you explain how the top videos thing works? Seems totally random.
over a year ago harold said…
Here's a future feature suggestion (I know, I know - you have a pile of these from me already!): put a number on the top page of how many users are on the site. This is probably something that wouldn't be interesting before the top spots have 10,000 or more fans (remember when the Office spot had less than 50?), though...
last edited over a year ago
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
Something like a fan of the moment, as well as the featured fans bit.

Other fans could submit nominations and then that fan would be up for a month, or so, and have a small write up done about them.

I think hiro should get one of these for all his contributions really, and it'd make people want to work harder at making Fanpop excellent, to try and become a 'Fan Of The Moment'.
over a year ago papa said…
benji, top videos is for videos that have been rated well in the recent past. at least that's the goal. is there some other criteria or arrangement that would make more sense for you? we've also considered a more editorialized list, but with top videos it's based on what the fans are into.
over a year ago benji said…
Well it just seems that recent videos just go up there after a few votes because not that many people are actually voting. No issues with it.

The featured fans thing seems a little pointless, I'd say perhaps do something like 'most active forum member in last 12 hours', 'most active video uploader in last 12 hours' etcetera might be a better idea.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
Having videos based on what the fans like works, but it needs to be done on a slightly bigger scale. As I was discussing with Benji over the phone, between us, we could have any recently uploaded video on the main page, as long as both of us rate it 5 stars. That's hardly fair to other people. I mean, it'll get more people to join our respective Pokemon and Tekken spots, but it's not really fair.
over a year ago Nav said…
What about seeing the rating on videos and links on the "Recent updates" or "Activity" pages in the member profile?
over a year ago Nav said…
And another suggestion (you asked!) is listing new forum or comment updates in the profile even if the person didn't start the thread or post the link.

Great job so far tho! :)
over a year ago harold said…
Just my opinion: I'm not in favor of a site-wide user recognition, since it would inevitably come down to which spots had the most fans. Even if, say, a spot of which I wasn't a fan had the most fans of all, it still wouldn't make me more interested in seeing the top poster in that spot. For me, I think that the medals that users receive in the spots are sufficient recognition for valuable contributions.

But here's another idea for a site enhancement I haven't mentioned before: implementing threads within the fora, so that conversations like this could be easily identified by users trying to read through the forum and either ignored or called out, depending on interest. Right now, a user has to read through pretty much everything, and it's hard to tell which posting a particular user is responding to. This has become an issue in several of the larger forum discussions, such as several in the Heroes spot, where the conversation has meandered several times way off the mark of the original post. Being able, as a reader, to identify which messages are responding to which other ones would be invaluable.
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over a year ago benji said…
Putting the sign-in box on the main page and/or allowing cookies to keep permanent sessions (so you don't have to keep signing in) would be nice.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
An optional e-mail notification for when you recieve a message on Fanpop too.
over a year ago dave said…
Keep em coming guys, this is good stuff.

Harold: We've talked some about having more video data in a mouseover and we just want to make sure if we do it we implement it properly so it doesn't cover up the title, or obstruct the link etc. It can be kinda tricky, but I agree, a little more information would be nice.

As for threading, we decided early on that it was easier and simpler to have linear discussions. I know a lot of people really like threading, and we could argue this one til the cows come home, but we talked to a lot of people and it seemed that it was less intimidating to them to have single threads like Flickr does. It definitely has it's drawbacks, but we had to go with one or the other and we decided to go with single. Feel free to complain to Michael though. :)

Benji: I know it might seem kinda useless to have featured fans, but our goal was to show diversity of people's interests and let someone who came for the first time see all the things a person could find here at Fanpop. It also gives different fans more of an opportunity to be in the spotlight. We didn't really want to make it a competitive thing. And heck if we did do it that way, you and PkmnTrainerJ would be there all day every day! ;)

Nav: Yeah, we thought about adding rating to the recent updates/activities pages, but we don't have much space to really work with and we didn't want it to get too cramped in there. Some link titles can get really long and we figured if it was recent, they'd all probably just be 5s from the original contributor.

As for the new forum/comment updates that you didn't start, do you mean for any new forum update in any of your spots? I'm worried that might flood your updates section!

PkmnTrainerJ: We've actually had e-mail alerts/notifications ready for a while now, but since we didn't want to spam our users, we're waiting until we do an official launch message just to let them know that they can opt out. We'd rather err on the side of not sending out a lot of mass e-mails like other sites who tend to be really obnoxious about it!
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over a year ago Nav said…
About the link ratings, I meant mostly for the activity tab - that way I could see what my links scored or those of other users (in their profile).

Forum updates would be nice even if it's simply a line saying that so-and-so forum was updated. Maybe it could appear only when you press the forum tab in the recent activity, or maybe just mention if there was an update in the last day or so...?
over a year ago harold said…
Another comment on the recent redesign: I can see that, for many of the spots, having the layout put videos at the top makes a lot of sense. But there are an awful lot of spots that will rarely-to-never have video links, such as any spot in the Books & Literature channel or, for a specific example, say the Parenting spot. So, some way of adjusting the layout of such spots would be nice - either automatically based on the number of video links present, or moderator/spot creator selectable between two templates (videos on top, videos on bottom). I can say that, for our example of the Parenting spot, the one video link there is just in the way of the content I (and I suspect most users) actually want to see.
over a year ago Nav said…
Another idea is an option to "bookmark" forum posts, to get updates on it specifically.
I know I'm kinda stuck to the subject, but if I post something, I'd like to know if someone replied etc.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
Something about the Featured Fans bit on the main page, what determines what spots show up next to the fan? I think it should sort it by most contributed, most popular or something, as seeing myself on there just now, they seemed rather random.
over a year ago tvman said…
We should have somthing that tells you what you won a medal for. I recently won a Dedication Medal for somthing in The Office section. I think I know what the medal is for but, I am not sure. It would be great to find out.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
I saw Hiro explaining how the medal system works. It is based on submitting content which gets highly rated, so the more content you submit and the more it is rated, the more it increases your chances of getting a medal. Also, writing highly rated soapbox articles works, as well as starting discussions that are popular i.e. when lots of fans reply.
over a year ago benji said…
I call for a quote box on the add reply button!

"Yes I agree!"
"Good call Benji!"
over a year ago papa said…
These are all great suggestions. Lest you worry that they are falling on deaf ears, don't despair, they aren't.

That being said, we're currently in a big push trying to get some exciting new features out for all of you. Once that's done, we *may* have a chance to work on various tweaks and enhancements of the sort you've been peppering this thread with.

I just don't want anyone to be disappointed if they don't see anything they've requested in the next day or two. Ultimately, we can't field all requests, though we have had a history of being fairly responsive in the past. Two recent examples of features inspired by direct user feedback are the "my updates" module and the "list|gallery" view toggle for your spots. So we do listen, but we've also got a huge pipeline of other stuff that we're itching to do too (some of which won't happen either).

In the meantime, keep on fanpopping :-)
over a year ago harold said…
Here's a couple more ideas, which may or may not be attractive:

* limit the featured fans to users who have uploaded images for their profiles. For myself, I keep seeing users with a fascinating list of spots of which they are fans, then I go to their profiles and find that they haven't actually had any activity, so they are essentially ciphers. While it's great that there are many users out there who watch for updates in their favorite subjects, I find it hard to connect to such people - I'm unlikely to send a message or to add a user to my fanlist if they haven't contributed even comments...my thinking here is that people who've bothered to upload an image are much more likely to actually comment and/or post other content (but of course that's flawed reasoning, though it would add to the visual appeal of the top page). Maybe my suggestion should just be to feature users with some activity...

* How about sending messages to more than one user at a time? I don't want a mass-spam function, but it would be cool to be able to write a message to a couple of people at a time, if, say, I want to comment on a forum discussion without posting to the forum, or if I want to connect two users of whom I am a fan that I think would get along...

OK, now I have an issue that I'd like to present, which people may or may not agree would be nice to have addressed somehow: if I'm browsing the site and load the top page (which happens multiple times a day) I see the list of updated spots. But I have no easy way of knowing what has been updated in those spots when I look at them. Sure, I can subscribe to the RSS feed for the spot, and if I'm a fan of that spot I can look in the updates section of my profile, but just browsing the site and the spot itself, I can't tell if the recent update was a video or link addition without listing each of them in turn, then sorting by 'Most Recent'. My idea is that it would be nice if there was a quicker way to see this (maybe a mouseover on the top page?)...
last edited over a year ago
over a year ago tarobb1 said…
Got one!

Flash sites!

These update all the time, new features, news, etc. We need a way to share these updates. Any way will do, but I've tried to post about new features, and as I'm sure you know, flash sites don't have individual URLs. How can we update if we can't share that url again?
over a year ago benji said…
The ability to stab people in the eye when they don't use correct spelling or grammar. I dislike when my favourite websites get infested with text-speaking imbeciles :(
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over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
In the 'My Updates' part on your profile, when people post a comment or make a response to your video/topic, it would be great if you could see who it was before checking, as if it were Benji posting on one of my videos I'd read it, however were it a new user called 'IHatePkmnTrainerJ', I may not want to read it.

There are actual good reasons for this, but it's 00:56 and I'm sleepy.

EDIT

Oh! I know! Similar to forums, that tell you if other users are reading the same topic as you are. It would be nice if we could have this kind of feature site-wide, as this would allow you to see if people who haven't joined up to that spot might be worth making friends with based on what they're reading/watching. :)
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over a year ago benji said…
I had an idea, basically, if it were up to me, Spider-Man would be in my die-hard spots (not that I have any yet), but with it not being a regularly active spot, it's a bit hard for me to advertise it easilly as a favourite of mine. So I was thinking, would it be possible to just choose like, your Favourite 10 Spots just above the mosaic of the other spots on your profile?
over a year ago harold said…
Great work! Sometimes I fear that we lose track of all the good in this topic, for all of our suggestions...

That said...I know that this isn't the direction you've been going with the recent site redesigns, but I really miss having the old granularity for links (being able to specify the type of link). Here's two reasons (being the first that popped into my head):

1) Videos. There are many, many video sites out there. You will never be able to set it up so that all links to videos on other sites are set up as embedded players which users can play on fanpop. This means that any links to sites that aren't (identified as) embeddable on fanpop are listed as plain links. Those are then displayed in the wrong section in a given spot (links, rather than videos), which will eventually lead to users gravitating more and more to a small number of video sites that are supported as embeddable. This will have some effect on the diversity of videos that are posted. For example, I see this in the animal humor spot already. Having a tag that sorts the link as a video would help this.

2) Events. You may recall how much praise I lavished on you when you implemented the events function, complete with expiration date. There is still a need for this. Even though most links don't expire, having events that have come and gone remain in the links list just becomes filler for spots, noise through which users shouldn't have to sift, ideally.
over a year ago Temptasia said…
It would be nice if when someone setup a site that they their pic would be posted so people know who set it up!
over a year ago cressida said…
1) With the new addition of images (which is fantastic, by the way) on top of the videos, picks, comments, etc., perhaps there should be a way for users to personally modify one's update news feed so (for example) I might get updates for recently added videos and comments to my picks but not for recently added pictures. Otherwise there might be more "clutter" than highly-active members might desire, as well as missing information that they might view as more important. Papa did alert me that you can currently look at your updates by category but I think my suggestion is still reasonable.

2) Also with photos, I would love to have a kind-of slideshow feature that would group together similar subjects. So if I added several pictures of Marilyn Monroe in the Classic Movie spot, I could have one link titled Marilyn Monroe and viewers could just click their way through the pictures (the way it is done with multi-part videos - moving from clip 1 to clip 2 to clip 3, etc).

3) Finally, I am noticing that when someone makes a comment on my photo and I click on the update to be redirected to said photo, instead I arrive back at the Fanpop mainpage. Perhaps a html error?
over a year ago harold said…
Cressida's ideas are good about customization, which in general is something I've been agitating to have for quite a while.
Further, I have to agree that the pictures implementation leaves something to be desired. Right now, photos are not indexed by user, so if I look at an user's profile, I can't see the photos they've uploaded. This particularly hurts someone like Cressida, who has been awesomely going to town with the pictures - looking at her profile, there's no record of it. In addition, the pictures are essentially noise in any search I perform, since the search results don't have a thumbnail version of the picture when there is a picture result, and the search results seem to be listing matches not by accuracy but in order of posting, which is really quite broken from my point of view.

That said, I must say that the two newer features (questions and the return of pictures) have done *wonders* for promoting active use of the site - the amount of new users I see who joined in May is phenomenal, and I see them because they are posting questions and pictures both. Good work!

But with the new features, I notice that the "recently updated spots" module has completely disappeared from the top page of the site. Oh no! While I know that I use the site very differently from most users, I have to say that the two most useful modules on the top page are the user profiles and the recently updated spots (with recently updated fora following close behind). Each of these allow me to see activity in spots I might not find otherwise, and while I am a fanatic in many, many things, I am also always interested in finding out about new things, too. Discovery of such is a primary delight of fanpop.
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over a year ago cressida said…
Aw shucks Harold, now I'm blushing like a virgin Southern Belle from all of this attention!


About Temptasia's idea of having the pic of a spot's creator on the spot, at first thought I agreed but then immediately disagreed. Spots are for everyone to contribute to and are not the babies of one particular user, which adding the picture of the creator might make newbies think...and thus second-guess their additions. But then, as a person who has created a fair few, I would (admittedly) like some recognition. Perhaps maybe on my 'recent activity' there could be a "spots created" like the "picks created"?
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over a year ago harold said…
I think we know how to see who created a spot with fair accuracy, but checking the age of the links/other content (assuming that there are more than a few fans for that spot). Since the rule about content creators applies here just like everywhere else (10% of users are active participants, and 1% of the users actually actively create the majority of content), that makes it even easier to figure who has created a particular spot. I've used this method to add people to my fan list, actually, since I most admire the people who are adding lots of quality content to the site. (I'm still kicking myself that tweakpotter had to create a pizza spot because no one else had).

But, back to the topic: that is, another suggestion or two.

* please, please allow us to edit questions/picks after we create them! Others have said more eloquently how irritating this is, to find that you've submitted a typographical error, only to realize that you can't change it. We're also forever stuck with my silly pictures for the Michael Bay: good or bad pick, which I would dearly love to be able to change.

We're able to edit pretty much anything else we've submitted; why not picks? You can limit the editing (much as you do the editing of a spot title after it's submitted) to changing text, and not allow deleting picks. This also could allow people to check the box that allows others to add picks to the question, which I suspect some users have missed in their questions, and so we're stuck with choosing between two options when there should be a dozen. Even if the question's creator wants to fix it, he can't.
over a year ago dave said…
Yeah this was a very tricky one Harold. We allow users to change their Pick choices for about 10 minutes after they edit and we're assuming that the preview allows them to see their errors or mistakes before they publish. Unfortunately, we can't allow a user to change an answer because it can impact the nature of their answer. You could potentially be changing a lot of people's choices by just editing an existing answer. You can actually only edit the spot name as long as it's pending, but once it becomes official, you can't change it anymore because again this would impact what people have subscribed to and shows up. We wouldn't want people to abuse this for spots or picks by changing the spot name or pick to something offensive. As for opening the question up to additional answers, I didn't realize that they couldn't change that. We'll look into that.
over a year ago goalstopper said…
i don't know if you heard, dave. but facebook has this new applications thing. it wowuld be cool if Fanpop had it's own application. it would deffintly get new users. just look into it for me :)
over a year ago papa said…
Goalstopper, we've got our eyes on the Facebook Platform and are spending some time thinking about this one and how we want to approach it. If you have any ideas on what you might like to see in a fanpop facebook application, I'm all ears.
over a year ago goalstopper said…
maybe you guys could do something on how many spots the people have joined that would be cool. or some game those are really popular with my friends.i am not sure how you could do that. i will keep thinking.
over a year ago harold said…
I understand the problem with "bait and switch", Dave - thanks for pointing it out. Maybe as users calm down with the picks feature a little bit, they'll start checking their work a bit more. But right now I think it's still a mad dash to get as many questions up as possible.

But some more suggestions:
* ratings for picks? Probably that doesn't appeal to you, but for me, I'd love to provide some feedback on the quality of the question/answers, other than writing comments.

* I'd still like to be able to edit/change pictures on picks, if possible. I am filled with admiration for Cressida and others' ability to crank them out so fast, but for me, I'd put up more questions if I could add pictures over time. It's time-consuming enough for me to get the logo and banner prepared for a new spot before I create it. Then, to have to generate/capture five or so more pictures to represent the different picks before I put up a question? The child-rearing pick I did took me just about as long as writing a soapbox article. But perhaps that's just me.
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over a year ago goalstopper said…
i don't know if harold already said this but it would be cool if fanpop save all the images for picks, so we wouldn't have to look for new images everytime.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
I have a picks folder, on my computer, where I store all the images that I have ever used.

Just keeping something like that, and cleaning it up once a month or whatever, makes doing picks a lot easier in my opinion.

Although, instead of having to use images I have saved on my computer, how about being able to add images by putting in the image url? Would be rather handy.
over a year ago harold said…
Those are interesting ideas. I was surprised when I first uploaded images to a spot that it wanted to get it from my local machine, but then I realize that, if it didn't do that, it would just be a link, and we already have those.

Like you, PkmnTrainerJ, I have a big folder for fanpop (actually, separate ones on each of my systems...<sigh>) with images I've used. Even though I don't make many questions, I do make a lot of spots, so I have to save images for logos and banners...

A different suggestion, of a different refinement to an existing feature...specifically, enhancing the forum feature. More and more often I want to return to a forum comment that I've read before, but I have no good way of figuring out which forum topic has the comment. Two things could ameliorate this:

* a forum search function (for the specific spot's forum, please - I don't think having a site-wide forum search is useful or even desirable, given that it would diminish the value of the existing site search)
* the ability to save a forum topic to your favorites. This seems like a no-brainer (as an aside, I would recommend being able to save any kind of link in a spot to your favorites: an image, a question, a soapbox, a link, or a video).
That way, I'd be able to flag (for instance) the one topic in a TV show spot that I want to respond to once I catch up on viewing the episodes...

OK, a completely different suggestion: make the text formatting tags work anyplace we enter text! I realize that the different widgets have been built at different times by different people, and this would require some retooling, but that's my suggestion. I'd love to be able to have a consistent user experience of putting bold or italics or underlining in my link descriptions, titles, picks, questions, et cetera (and, by the way, all three should work consistently anyplace they're implemented - none of this "you can bold and italicize, but not underline" jazz). Take it as a compliment: I love the text formatting you've supplied!
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over a year ago kathiria82 said…
How do we know who created a specific spot? Also it would be cool to be able to just search for a person by name instead of having to find their picture. Also why can't we change our names?
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over a year ago benji said…
Since we have favourite movie, musician and book, just a tiny addition but favourite TV show would seem a bit missing right there ¬_¬
over a year ago emilee24 said…
I understand that this is a fan site, but I still think it would be great if there was a section in our info where we could post personal blogs, I love blogging. Oh and one more thing, it would be awesome if we could use html in the forums...
over a year ago chunkyrice13 said…
I'd like having a little space in my profile like facebook's status sentence. I'm about to be out of touch for like three weeks, and there's no good way to say that on my profile.

It'd make the profile a touch more current and personal (but unlike facebook, I probably wouldn't want to get updates on other people's status- that twittering gets annoying).
over a year ago cressida said…
Harold, I do believe that you can add images to a pick you've created after it's been published. Just choose the little pencil/edit button. It won't allow you to change the name, but the image upload is still available.

And picks & their pictures do take me a fair amount of time. I usually spend 15-25 minutes on each, between choosing & re-sizing the pictures and making sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. I am starting to try and add my pictures that I've used for picks into the image gallary for any future-pick makers. But all I use is the basic Paint program.
over a year ago tubby2002 said…
I was thinking that we can save things like videos and links and stuff as our favorites but we should be able to do that with forum posts too. There are a lot of games that I like to play in different spots and it would be easier to remember them all if there was a place on my profile for my favorite forums. I think it would be good for everyone because i notices quite a few people play the games too...just a thought
over a year ago goalstopper said…
it would be cool if we could rate the questions on fanpicks. Also, make so that when an images or a pick is added the spot is updated from the profile screen.
over a year ago PkmnTrainerJ said…
Nah, we can't become MySpace aleciane, we have a fan of the fortnight pick every two weeks, that's enough.

Here's what I was thinking about at work anyways.

I know that I already get told when someone comments on a pick I make, but how about being informed when a user adds a choice to a pick I have made? I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to implement.
over a year ago megloveskyle said…
I don't know if this has been suggested or not but I think it would be great if we could rate picks. And maybe like an alert or number counter when someone saves a video you post to their favorites. Also, there is a an error on my profile. It lists that I am a dedicated fan of 7 spots. when I believe it is only 6. Or at least only six are in green on my profile. Anyways, I love fapop!
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over a year ago rookyboy said…
A wall of fame where on each spot the pic of the fan who has added the most to the spot in a month is showen and could give people more of a reason to keep adding.