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Dearest LI Commentariat,

We are very happy to be finally rolling out the first public beta of the new commenting engine to replace the previous system that was creaking at the seams and had become unmaintainable, as many of you may have noticed.

The new platform was built from scratch for LI's lovely readers and is starting out on the principle of keeping things the same, as much as possible, particularly in terms of functionality and features. But it is hopefully also more pleasant, delightful and robust to use, and we would definitely love your feedback and ideas about what we should implement next.

A few new features:

πŸ•ΊUser account registrations are finally open again (after spam-problems made the previous system unusable). The new system is an experiment in privacy and participation. First, you are not allowed to provide an email address, since we don't want any of your personal data on our systems (that also means that you absolutely must remember the password you choose, because if you lose it, restoring access is likely impossible, so save it in a password manager or write it on a piece of paper somewhere; or you can just create a new account).

β™ŸοΈAs before, you can of course continue commenting as you do now, from any device, without any registration. But, once you've made an account, you can comment under it immediately. And while logged in, you can also toggle the anonymity mode, to allow you to comment as a Guest despite being logged in.

πŸ‘‘ The most active and helpful members of the community will get their standard accounts upgraded, first to where their comments can bypass future moderation and go live immediately, and then to where they can feature comments (or declare comments as trollish or contested), and eventually to where they can also moderate comments directly if they feel like it. We are open to ideas for how this can work to make LI a pleasant and helpful space for all.

πŸ”Ž LI finally has a native search of comments, so the treasure trove of the archives that are full of useful (and sometimes not so useful) information, are already a little more accessible and we hope to tweak the search engine and presentation further to bring more relevant and useful results.

🎭 As always, we have made maintaining your anonymity and privacy our top priority. As before, IP addresses are only recorded in a heavily anonymised format, even more so than before (for those technically minded, IP addresses are hashed and salted from scratch with a new key that is thrown away every few days, which will let us fight spam but also makes it nigh-impossible to reconstruct any real-world identities from commenters' data trail).

🎹 The User interface is chock-full of keyboard shortcuts, and a few gestures on touch devices - click the Help menu item in the bottom bar to find out more.

In the meantime, please let us know any ideas or suggestions or things that are broken or rubbish. We'll leave a few suggestions that have already come from the community in comments below - please vote on them to nudge us in the right direction.

Lots of Love,

LI & Cetera
[Comment merged with subject: Can't digest the new User Interface]

It seems like I've rather travelled back to time, this is simply outrageous. This UI is more of a downgrade than an upgrade.

I can't get my head around what lead you guys to do this. I knew due to legal issues it would be converted into something that is more 'forum based' but this is like converting a sophisticated professional website into a middle-schooler's journal.

I know that this might be in beta stage or whatever but revert it, please!

LI is already loosing traffic and this might even be it's last straw :(
Thanks for your feedback Ashray. A little surprised you think the old LI website was 'sophisticated' and 'professional', but we'll take it. The look and feel of the new site is a work-in-progress and we're happy to take suggestions, or customisation - perhaps allowing people to choose more sophisticated and professional colour schemes and layouts?

However, we do hope you will enjoy the new functionality, which will hopefully result in faster moderation, at the very least. The old homepage at https://www.legallyindia.com/ will also still stick around for a while.
Hehe.

I see what you did there. In retrospect, I think I might've dissed a bit too much. Suddenly there were all these colours when I opened a thread, I was definitely overwhelmed by it ngl.

However, I like these new features that you've added. I would definitely a fancy an option to select the theme though.

PS: I attributed those qualities to the theme in contrast to the vibe of the site lol πŸ˜‚
Hello, we've added the option to choose a preferred colour scheme with the 'Theme' link in the bottom menu, and added a more muted / professional / perhaps sophisticated ;) option, which is not quite as bright as the default amber. Does that one look better?

If there's interest, we'll look into adding a dark mode too - please leave a comment below and upvote on it, if yes.
Yeah, that would be better.

I thought with time I'll get accomodated with the overall aesthetic of the site, unfortunately that didn't happen. I guess most of us are with the opinion that this is not a good upgrade then why not switch back to how it was before? (If that's a choice)

We could even conduct something like a plebiscite if need be.

Γ—______________Γ—

+ Please look at polishing the interface for mobile users as well, I'm having issues while scrolling. You've to be linear while scrolling, even if there is a slight inclination in the angle then it would take it as a 'next'/'previous' and skip to the next/previous comment depending upon the direction of the inclination. You can consider removing the feature for smartphones altogether since it's practical, I could simply scroll down rather than swiping to see the next comment.

Γ—______________Γ—

Some queries for @legallyindia

a) Can you explain what is the new seniority mechanism?

b) How are you guys planning on expanding the forum, since It is barely 200-300 active users currently?

c) Is there a possibility that it would die if things go south?

d) Would you guys consider teaming up with other legal journalism sites like SC Observer to expand your user-base? (That would be dope)

That's all for now, hehe.
Thanks for your constructive feedback, that's helpful.

We're a little surprised people were so fond of the old design: wasn't it a bit of an eyesore? Reverting to something closer to the old design might be possible, but could be a lot of work so ideally we would prefer to iterate and improve on this current design.

Regarding the touch gestures, you're very right, it was unusable on mobile but we're gradually polishing it and the last two versions have cleaned it up a little so it's less frustrating and more optional. Please do let us know if it's still horrible - we'll keep working at it.

A) the seniority mechanism will allow upgrading accounts to have more privileges. We're looking into doing this on an ad hoc basis initially, before we formulate hard and fast rules, and are definitely looking for feedback also.

B) we don't actually know how many active users there are, but the site is still seeing 1.5 lakh unique readers per month, so there's a sizable community we're hoping can engage rather than lurk (though in many forums, the ratio of participants to lurkers is around 1%)

C) we don't really have any expectations for LI other than it being a useful and fun resource, so the only going south metric would mean that it stopped doing both (which is certainly possible).

D) who is SC observer? We are thinking about useful ways of curating relevant content into the current system, but if you have specific ideas, please let us know.
On phone, it is difficult to figure out which comment is in response to which. The order isn't coming straight either. Voting is also being difficult. The main issue of some threads showing the commentator's name instead of post title on the home page is still there, though has lessened.
Thank you for your feedback, that's helpful, we'll take a look!

Regarding voting being difficult - what do you mean? The size or position of the voting buttons on mobile, or something else?
I opened a thread for the first time, but when I tried to upvote one of the comments, I was told that I could only vote once. Never visited the thread earlier. Could vote on other threads at the same time.

Re the button placement, it may be better to have the two side by side. Given how small the current buttons are, inadvertently one may downvote while trying to upvote or vice versa, especially from the phone.
Interesting, will see if can diagnose this further. It is possible that the difficulty voting is due to the way we are anonymising reader and voter IP addresses, which can theoretically trigger false positives sometimes (happy to share details if interested). If anyone else has similar issues, please let us know.
Yes, this please using the new interface on mobile phones has become an absolute nightmare.
Thanks for sharing. Could you be more specific please on why it's hard to use on mobile? Is it too large, perhaps (smaller font sizes and less white space)?
Hi, the new features are cool. But appearance wise, the old theme and layout - any day!

This feels like I'm using a prototype of some application that we designed in our high school computer lab.
I agree. This looks more like 4chan than an actual forum. What even is this interface from the 1990s?
Haha, aren't forums so 90s anyway? Retro is back again!

Yours, Boomer mod
Haha, that's not far off from what this is :) did you really like the old design, or is it just that you got used to it and it didn't bother you anymore?

Any particular things you preferred about the older design? We can try to replicate some parts of the old one or potentially offer further nostalgic theming options (e.g. we have made the greenish theme the default after complaints about the orange :)
One great suggestion from a previous thread we are keen on:

🌴 Classifying posts into categories (corporate law, litigation, students, and society/culture/politics/other), so that it can be easier to avoid certain topics that are not of interest.
πŸ“Œ How would you feel about users being able to pin / favourite posts on the homepage?
This may be a good idea. Especially to those who have sought help or feedback via a post.
When I clicked 'reply' on this post, the content of the post remained there and the text post appeared over it. Now when I'm typing this, I can see these words and the original post interlaced over each other. Glitch.

+ The thread titles are changing - I think based on the guest name used by the person who last responded to it. See how andrew tate thread and the diwali bonus thread have changed titles.

+ This colour scheme is not easy on eyes at all. Have to agree wtih Ashray here, previous site was more useable. Plus, a post number ("2.1.1") was super useful to identify who is responding to whom.

Lastly, how do I respond to a thread other than the 'reply' button below a comment? Like, I don't want to post a 1.1, I want to post a 2/3/4...?
Hi, thank you so much for your feedback, that's really helpful, we'll take a look at these issues.

Quote:
Now when I'm typing this, I can see these words and the original post interlaced over each other. Glitch.
Was that on mobile or on desktop (and if you could share the browser used, that would be helpful also).

Quote:
Lastly, how do I respond to a thread other than the 'reply' button below a comment? Like, I don't want to post a 1.1, I want to post a 2/3/4...?
To post directly under a comment should be possible by hitting the reply button on the original post.
The 'Home' button at the bottom takes me not to the home page but to some other thread. Clicking it took me to the thread on nationalism/masculinity and football.
Thank you - it should take you to an overview of posts similar to the standard LI homepage, but it does need to be cleaned up a little bit and is a bit too busy and confusing, agreed!
We've overhauled the new 'home' page to be a little neater and more like the older one, while still allowing a sneak peek of the latest posts when you click the little arrow to expand. Please let us know if this doesn't cover your use case or you'd prefer it to work differently, or you'd like a page with something more like the old one (where the latest threads are up top, and a sneak preview of latest comments was in a separate section below that)


πŸ–ΌοΈπŸŽ―

Ps: We forgot to mention that on a desktop you can ctrl+V (paste) pictures directly into your comment box (to get them into your clipboard, you can take screenshots from websites with your favourite handy tool, or right click on images in your browser and click 'copy image', for instance). Do bear in mind this doesn't work with gifs (however, all the old square bracket [codes] like (img) httplinktoimage(/img) should still work - just replace the url and round brackets with square brackets though)


Hey!

Appreciate that you guys are thinking of changing things up but is there any reason why opted for the content to be smack dab in the middle of the page? a little jarring and limits functionality because there do no appear to be any other links than the post.

You could perhaps keep the current overall version but revert to the content being aligned on the left hand side and menu bars at the top. I don't really want the page to be only about the post - it's part of the overall website after all. - that should reflect.
You should consider implementing a karma system like Reddit.
Could you be more specific please about which part is stupid? The 'home' area, individual threads, or something else?