Few issues with interesting/ignored tags (on the main page)

asked 2012-06-17 06:14:22 -0500

Basel Shishani gravatar image

First: adding blank/whitespace tags:

The system allows empty/whitespace tags to be added to the list of interesting or ignored tags, and an empty box with an X next to it shows in the list of tags. This should not be allowed, so checks should be done both at the client and the server side to prevent this from happening.

Second: adding non-existent tags:

The system allows users to add tags that are non-existent (non existent on the system and have not been applied to any question). The merit of this could be open to debate (like is the user going to watch for possible future tags!?), but the more pressing thing is that these tags currently have no effect on excluding questions. This creates the following situation: the user adds a tag to the interesting tags, and selects 'only interesting tags', but gets no effect for his actions, which would be confusing. So: if such tags are to be allowed, things should be taken to their logical conclusion, showing no questions if the tag is non-existent.

Third: handling the display of excluded questions:

This is a usability take on the issue of displaying question that have been excluded as a result of the choices made either with the interesting or ignored tags.

One style - as used by Askbot - is to hide the excluded questions. This has the draw back that the user might forget that she had changed the settings on interesting/ignored tags, and wonder why questions are not showing up in a search.

Another style - as used in StackOverflow (I'm not sure if this feature is user configurable) is to dim out the excluded questions and highlight the interesting questions. This has the draw back that if the excluded question are truly of no interest then there mere display is annoying to the user.

I suggest the following style for consideration: the Askbot style of hiding excluded questions can be used with the following improvement: When a selection that causes exclusion of some questions is in effect, we can provide feed back about it by displaying heading messages as such:

"Only showing question from interesting tags" or

"Excluding questions from ignored tags"

Maybe a good spot for these messages is next to the heading for the count of messages - so we can have in the heading:

16 Questions - (Only showing questions from interesting tags)

In short: the selections and tag lists on the side would not be the only feedback the user can get about the current state of the system, as these can be easily overlooked.

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