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Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue May 17, 2011, 01:20 PM

Welcome back to DU3! NEW UPDATES, MAY 2011

This discussion thread was locked by Skinner (a host of the Announcements group).

If this is your first visit to DU3 Preview you might want to check out the thread "What's new in DU3 (updated May 17 2011)" (http://www.du3preview.com/10136), which explains the main differences between the new message board software here at DU3Preview.com and the old software at DemocraticUnderground.com. But for those of you who have visited before, this thread contains a list of changes we've made since the last preview back in February.

Once again, please be aware that since this software is still under development a number of features that you currently enjoy on DU are not available on DU3 Preview at this time, but rest assured they will be included in the final release. Also be aware that this is a public preview of discussion forum software that is currently under development. This is not a finished product; visitors should expect to encounter bugs, broken links, unfinished features, or other issues typical of software under development.


What's new since the last preview

Forum and group rearrangement

Most of the DU2 forums you've come to know and love (and of course, hate) are still present on DU3, but we have made a few fairly significant changes. First, only a few forums are now referred to as "forums". These are:

* Announcements
* Latest Breaking News
* General Discussion: Political Videos
* General Discussion: Recommended Reading
* General Discussion: Soapbox
* The DU Lounge
* DU Help & Meta-discussion

Everything else on DU is now referred to as a "group". There are some good reasons for this that we aren't going to go into a lot of detail about at this time. But don't worry -- unlike DU2, groups on DU3 are now open to everyone. You no longer have to be a donor to post in a group.

New forums

You'll have noticed from the list above that along with a few cosmetic adjustments we've also made some fairly significant changes to the "classic" lineup of DU forums. The most important of these are:

General Discussion
We have separated the General Discussion forums in a new way which we hope will make it easier to find the type of discussions you're looking for. Instead of General Discussion and General Discussion: Presidential we now have General Discussion: Recommended Reading and General Discussion: Soapbox.

GD Recommended Reading is here: http://www.du3preview.com/?com=forum&id=1016
GD Soapbox is here: http://www.du3preview.com/?com=forum&id=1002

The old DU2 forum Editorials and Other Articles has been rolled into General Discussion: Recommended Reading and the purpose of this new forum is for cross-posting stories and articles found elsewhere on the Web. In this regard the forum is something of a hybrid between the old Editorials and Other Articles forum and the General Discussion forum.

The new General Discussion: Soapbox forum is for posting your own thoughts and rants on politics, issues, and current events. Need to get something off your chest? Just saw a teabagger getting demolished on cable news? Presidential speech coming up at any minute? Post about it here.

DU Help & Meta-discussion
You may not have asked for it, but you're getting it anyway -- DU finally has a dedicated forum to talk about DU. Admit it, it's what half of you come here to talk about anyway.

DU Help & Meta discussion is here: http://www.du3preview.com/?com=forum&id=1240

As well as providing a space for meta-discussion, this forum is also intended as a place for newbies and DU veterans alike to ask questions about the site's features and functions and receive answers from those in the know, including the DU Administrators who will participate regularly in the DU Help & Meta-discussion forum to answer questions.


About this forum/group

Confused about the purpose of a specific forum or group? Unsure if your OP will be considered on- or off-topic? Every forum and group now features an "About" page which you can get to by clicking the "About this forum" or "About this group" buttons which appear in the bar with the large blue "Post a thread..." button near the top of the page.



These pages describe the exact purpose of the forum or group along with a wealth of other information and statistics. Note that the forum and group descriptions also appear on the main Forums & Groups page.

My Subscriptions

One of the other major upgrades that's been implemented since the last preview is the My Subscriptions page. You can visit your My Subscriptions page by clicking the My Subscriptions tab at the top of any DU3 page.

The My Subscriptions page currently lists the most recent threads from every group that you have subscribed to (in future versions you'll be able to subscribe to other DU members and keyword tags). Essentially it creates a customized Latest page that only shows you threads from the groups you're interested in. We believe that this will help to make the groups much more active.

Note that you can only subscribe to GROUPS, not to FORUMS. This is because the content in those forums moves so fast that it would quickly flood your My Subscriptions page and make it redundant with the Latest page.

You can subscribe to any group by visiting the group and clicking the "Subscribe to this group" button found next to the large blue "Post a thread..." button near the top of the page.



Once you click that button, the group will be added to your My Subscriptions page. (The button will then change to read "Unsubscribe from this group" in case you subsequently want to unsubscribe.)

As well as appearing on the My Subscriptions page, groups that you are subscribing to will appear in the main site navigation in the left-hand column of every page, as well as on your Forums & Groups page.

Group organization

All group listings have been updated and are now categorized, and groups are assigned to both primary and secondary categories. For example, the "LGBT Civil Rights and Activism" group is assigned to the "Gender & Orientation" category, and also to the "Activism" category. Categories can be found on the Forums & Groups page. (If you think we put your favorite group in the wrong categories, please let us know.)

Navigation improvements

Layout memory
If you view the Forums & Groups page in Browse mode, you'll notice that each of the top-level sections can be expanded and collapsed so you can view the page the way you want it. The software will now remember how you organized the page so you won't have to change it every time.

The main site navigation in the left-hand column of every page has also been programmed to work this way. You can expand or collapse each of the top-level sections and the software will remember how you last left it.

User functions
In order to reduce clutter, the functions that appear next to members' usernames on their posts are now hidden by default, but can be toggled on or off by clicking the username. (This includes the member's post count.)


Self-delete function

You can now self-delete any of your own posts at any time, whether they are an OP or a reply. If an OP is self-deleted, all the replies will remain intact but the thread will be automatically locked with an explanation. Self-delete also completely deletes a post's edit history. Look for the "Self-delete" link in the bottom-right corner of any of your posts (don't worry -- if you click the link, you'll be taken to a confirmation page before the post is deleted).



Automatic mobile device detection and "Preferred format"

The software will now recognize if you are visiting the site from a mobile device, and if so will automatically display the site in Mobile format. If you want to override this setting, you can change your "Preferred format for mobile devices" in the Preferences section of your My Account page. You can also set your "Preferred format for regular web browsers" -- so whether you're visiting DU on a mobile device or from a regular web browser, you can set your default view to Standard, Wide, or Mobile formats. The choice is yours.

For a complete list of updates since January 20, 2011: http://www.du3preview.com/10136

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