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I know everything can't be added or everyone can be satisfied.
Heck the one thing I would like the most for Discussion is a "layout" option. That's the very top thing I would like.
For example given how somewhat old-fashioned I am, the one thing I appreciate about FANDOM the most is they kept the MonoBook layout. I'm aware how dated it is and how incompatable MonoBook is with most Wikia features but I still prefer the traditional layout. When WIkia made Oasis the default layout I always feared that someday Wikia will get rid of MonoBook off all wikis and all users will have to conform with Oasis. But I'm glad they haven't and I get to browse the wikis how I like.
It would be nice if there was a layout option for discussion boards for those who prefered things how they were. Don't get me wrong, I understand converting the wiki-based discussions to HTML is ideal for wiki's database, but it would be nice if there was at least a HTML version of the old boards for users like me who have grown so used to it over these years.
So you're missing the old board layout vs. Discussions' current "continuous feed with category filter" layout? That's understandable - certainly other long-term users have said the same thing. Such a layout option would be time-consuming to build, though, and we have to consider what advantages it would bring to invest that time.
It would satisfy users who like the old layout, such as yourself - but would it have any functional benefits? How was the old boards layout better (other than the fact that long-term users are simply used to it). If the Discussions layout is lacking in terms of functionality and is more difficult to use than the old boards layout, then we'd want to know the details!
The same questions can be said for MonoBook versus Oasis.
Like I said a concern I had for years from Wikia (Or "FANDOM" now is it?) that it will someday decide to get rid of MonoBook, that I'll log in one day to find my settings on Oasis and when I check My Preferences find only the one option under Layout.
After all MonoBook is dated, hardly anyone really uses it and it's mostly incompatable with Wikia's modern features.
However MonoBook does has it's perks, being that it presents it's content more clearly, runs smoother especially for older browsers (less to load up) and while less ads vary on MonoBook wiki's these ads are less clutter to the artcles. So I am very thankful for Wikia for keeping MonoBook despite it being reduntant, it's how I've always used it before MonoBook and happy to keep using it.
How I feel on the layout relates to discussions, even the old discussions had perks that the "continuous feed with category filter" lacks. Such as efficiency in navigating threads: For example if I wanted to look over a thread from a month a go, I'll have to click on a catagory and keep scrolling down and down, all the while expanding the discusions board site on my screen until I find what I'm looking for. Also only 10 threads displayed before you "Load more".
The way we had it before, all the threads titles were listed and had 25 threads per pages that you could browse from. If you're sure the thread you're looking for was a long time a go you could just skip a few pages while checking the date stamp next to the thread. Also being that they were wiki-based, you could use the search engine to find old articles to look for.
You can no longer do that with the current layout. Yes the threads are listed out, but so are the original posts which take up large chunks of the screen and if you want to find an older thread, you have to load up all the threads from now until then.
Imagine browsing your favourite Twitter account that posts jokes, memes and what not and you wanted a particular post from 2012 and you can't google the particular post or use a search for it. You'll have to stretch out that Twitter account and all it's image and video files just to scroll back in time to find what you're looking for. Thats what the current discussions are like for the WIki's I browse.
All in all I'm not critisizing or simply bashing the new Discussion layout because "I'm old" but can't deny that what makes the "new" efficient lacks what made the "old" just as good, if that makes sense. And I understand FANDOM/Wikia is a business that encourages progression for it's media but still it's nice to allow the users options to progress just like how it keeps the option between MonoBook or Oasis.
I made a rough mock-up on how it could be made. It can be called "Collapsed mode". The thread displays are compressed and listed out up until... say 25 threads per page.
Instead of a "Load More" option at the bottom, instead there will be page numbers where if you scroll left or right the boards deload the current threads for the ones on that page.
The thread-displays size reduced and easily listed along with a page based navigation would make searching for older threads more efficient just like how how it was before.
Other than that the threads open like how they do now, can still be catagorised like normal (I forgot to add the "In catagory" part on each thread, that can be placed over the Follow icon and left of the three dotted options.) It functions how it was before but can still works with the HTML base thats now and keep the current layout. It would appease to older Wikians simply for how it functions like how it was and works for modern wikians who want more organisation for the discussion.
You're making a very good point about how the current layout really isn't convenient if you want to navigate to something specific, especially if it's older. That's true. Discussions is great for casual browsing and easy contribution from just about any device, but it's not good as an archive.
We're aware of this, and long-term plans do include us making older content easier to find and access (with, for example, a search function). The desktop layout isn't using the space very effectively right now either. There is a lot of unused space and you can't see a lot of posts at once without scrolling - all valid points that we still hope to address. The solution to that probably won't be to bring the board layout back, but it might go into the direction of what you're showing in your screenshot.
I'll pass on your feedback so the team can consider it when they think about how we can make navigating through Discussions more convenient.
Was far as Monobook is concerned: It doesn't cost us much to keep Monobook around for the sake of those loyal few who still love it. It was there before Oasis, so we didn't have to build anything extra. Discussions, though, is a completely new feature, built on architecture that has nothing to do with MediaWiki. That means, we couldn't simply keep the board layout from the old forums, we would have had to recreate a board-style layout from scratch while building Discussions. That would have been difficult and time-consuming, and not as worthwhile as working on other, much needed features (like text formatting). Does that make sense?
Yes I understand why it would be more of a hassle to fake the old MediaWiki way for the new HTML-base. (Plus nostalgia can be a bit poisonous to the mind sometimes and that it's best to move on.)
But I am glad you're forwarding my idea for the "Collapsed Mode". A mode that has the functions of the old discussion board but for the modern layout.
Though perhaps "Collapse Mode" may not be the right name for it. Maybe "Classic Mode" but without the classic mediawiki layout I guess? I'll be looking forward to it if it's met with approoval by your peers.
I am angry over this:
Like, furious about it. I can't describe how upset about this without breaking into vulgar swears over it.
This is the top most, number one thing I absolutely detest for Wikia to ever do.
Turns out after 13 years of use, it's decided this week they'll be getting rid of it, because FANDOM don't want to put the effort to make it acceptable for this GDPR bullcrud that EU pulled out their flanks and expect the world to abide by.
This is why Brexit! Because I'm tired of EUs $#!7 ruining it for everyone.
FANDOM doesn't own me anything but I still feel betrayed and upset about this.
FANDOM wasn't happy to have to take this step, because we know that a small number of active, long-term users really loved Monobook. But the reality is: Far less than 1% of our users were using Monobook. It wouldn't have made sense for us financially to invest in updating Monobook, when so very few of our users used it.
FANDOM is a for-profit company, and so we have to prioritize features, updates and improvements that benefit as many users as possible, or we will go out of business.
Yeah I was off my skits when I found out day-1 but I've mellowed on it. I still don't like it and still upset but less frantic. Doesn't help how it was just three days to say goodbye.
It's especially upsetting as I've been on wikia sites for years, perhaps more than 13 years, and now I feel like I dunno what I'm doing with Oasis, and the fact that it is a for-profit company I'm now putting up with adverts all over the site.
I'm thankful a friend of mine on SNN set up PseudoMonoBook on SNN but still a hassle.
What do you think?