I've been toying with an idea of late; to create an easy way to get feedback in the forum on trips created in the mapping area.
What I'm thinking is something like the following.
- You map the trip
- You click a link to "Get Community Feedback"
- Entry form comes up where you can add any questions about the trip you have.
- Posts to the forum
The thread would include a map of the trip in the side bar and a list of the places they are going.
This would hopefully encourage people to discuss their trip plans in the forum more.
Any thoughts on the concept? I don't actually imagine this being too hard to implement.
One thing I'm wondering though is whether to post it to the usual existing forums, or to create a new subforum called "Itinerary Feedback" or something like that just dedicated to threads created like this.
Sounds pretty useful. I hope/assume the summary of the trip in the sidebar won't depend on google scripts? (I completely block everything google nowadays, so that'd mean I wouldn't be able to participate with giving feedback, which I think would be a shame, as I really like giving feedback on itineraries.)
Replies might get confusing to later commenters if/when people change their map based on earlier feedback. "Why is X saying not to go to Invercargill? Invercargill isn't anywhere in that list?!" Might be useful (and neat!) to show a link "x places added and y places removed since original posting" on the text-based itinerary, which - when clicked - shows a (color-coded?) diff on the itinerary compared to the state it was in at the time of posting? (So copy the list of places at the time the feedback thread is created. In the sidebar, always show the current state of the trip, but when this diff-link is clicked, show insertions and deletions between these two versions.)
I'd start with putting these threads in the regular forums for discoverability (mostly from people who make the threads to see what else is in that "category" of the forum) - but also for forum posters to this feature (an explanatory link "How do I create a feedback thread like this myself?" would definitely be needed).
If the concept ends up being wildly popular, and becoming more than a 20% of the threads in the forums or so, then you can always still move them to a separate forum as the next step.
The summary would be both. A map (dependant on Google) and a simple list of stops which will just be straight from our database so not reliant on Google. Possibly with links on them to the guide articles.
Good point on how it would react to changes. I agree it would be good to be able to at least see a note saying "Changed since this thread was first created" . I'm not sure that making diffs available is worth the effort. Maybe a log of changes? Ie.. Stop x removed. Stop y added. Although even that does mean logging a lot of history info that isn't currently stored. So maybe this will have to be a step 2 to first see what take-up is like.
Sound like a good idea... I think it would help people a lot - both visualising they trip might solve/change the questions they wanna ask and it will give everybody on the feedback side of things a(n often) much needed overview if things (is in "oh he/she is close to this awesome place that should be done in a side trip)...
With this a "Itinerary Forum" might be called for.. As other itinerary-threads could be pick up by it as well...
If creating the whole system is to much work, would a "post-my-map"-button that would enable people to post their maps in the forum manually, be a nice touch...
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jun-2013, at 13:38 by askgudmundsen ]
Thanks for the feedback Ask. I don't think it will be too complicated to create. Just started messing with it now and, as suspected, it's pretty straightforward to get the basics working.
The part which might be more complicated is if we want to keep track of changes since it was first posted. But the basic - "here's a forum thread linked to a trip" functionality, showing a map and list of stops will be easy.
I think Sander is right; we can wait until there are too many threads before worrying about splitting these into different forums. It does make sense to have threads about trips to Europe posted in the Europe forum I think.
Ok, well this is now live.
So - to start a trip thread there is a link in the Pre-planning section of the Planner. It prepopulates the subject with a best guess, but you can change this if you want.
Once the thread is started, there is a link to the thread from the planner.
There are of course lots of ways this can be improved. Feel free to add ideas
What happens to the thread if a trip is deleted?
[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jun-2013, at 04:53 by Sander ]
Yeah, that's an awkward situation because the question could really be relying on showing the trip details.
I've made it so that it will replace that whole block with a little info block saying "There used to be a map and trip outline for this trip here, but it has been removed."
So I just used this function to post a question. Now for starters my trip was called Australia 2012, and not 2013, so that was a brain fart at some stage when setting it up Noticing that, and wanting a more helpful subject anyway as the question was about one specific stop on the trip, I changed it before posting, but that clearly didn't override the subject set from the Planner. Could this be updated?
I also think it should be possible to ask a question about a specific stop on a trip rather than the whole trip. It looks kind of weird with 'australia 2013' as the subject in an Asia thread for example. That would be fixed with the ability to update the subject, but then you still end up with the issue that you show a map for say 30 stops when the questions are just about 1. Bonus points if the map could then zoom in on the stop and maybe highlight it in the list on the right
It looks like I have now further broken things by deleting my own thread, which then gives me a link to a deleted thread in my planner and no way to put up a new one linked to that trip. Sorry!!