Clubs upcoming films schedules and more
September 22, 2015 8:41 PM - Subscribe

Hi world. I am loving talking to folks about old films on fanfare through the "clubs" feature. Also appreciate the "Water Cooler" feature. Lovingly wondering about potential ongoing improvements?

A few things:

1. I keep forgetting how to look at what is scheduled for upcoming viewing in clubs. I know there's a way, but it is hard to find. Feel free to remind me, but would mods consider making the ability to see calendared but as-yet unwatched films more accessible to club members? Maybe the option of reminders?

2. General fanfare layout still feels pretty hard to navigate for me. Right now we have 4 layers of menues at the top of the page. Then additional menues along the very wide right side bar. It feels like the layout is trying to do a lot but maybe not doing it as effectively as it could? I think adding the new menues and the "water cooler" option have addressed a lot of concerned people have raised, I still think fanfare could be easier to navigate if it was organized by type instead of just most recent on top... Maybe other's disagree?

3. Still have my fingers crossed for books - through clubs only maybe at first?

Sorry, this is a little of everything, but wondering if there's bandwidth for more design work on fanfare and if others would appreciate that work...
posted by latkes (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the suggestions. For your first question—you just visit the club page and look in the sidebar. That's really the only place right now. No plans for alerts but we'll give that some thought.

Sorry you're having trouble navigating things. It mirrors the way all MetaFilter sites work. So we're hoping people bring those years of knowledge to FanFare. You can filter to type in the sidebar by clicking on a category: TV, Movies, or Podcasts.

No immediate plans for a books category, sorry. Our most recent discussion about books was the thread you started in MetaTalk: Books books books? The Cannibal Club had an experiment recently discussing a book in a Club Talk post: Hannibal Rising (Book). That seemed to go well and it'd be interesting to see more book-related experiments.
posted by pb at 9:05 PM on September 22, 2015

While we're talking about Fanfare Club features we'd like to see, I'd really love a general thread for each club, where members can plan upcoming viewings, etc.

Right now the options are either: start a new thread that 99.9% of Fanfare will have to ignore, or post in an older thread and hope everyone still has it in Recent Activity. In the Criterion On Hulu club we do the latter, but it seems odd to post in a thread from four months ago to determine what we're watching next week.

I know that Metafilter historically shies away from general-purpose threads, but it would really be useful here.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

We have something called Club Talk that will post a new thread just to a club. So you won't have the 99.9% of FanFare problem. Just head to any club page that you are a member of and look for the Club Talk section in the sidebar. The text there says, "Have something to discuss with club members? You can add a post to this club." Click that link to get started.

Alternately, you can just click the New Post link and choose "Club Talk" as the post category. Then you can choose which club you're posting to at the bottom of the new post form.
posted by pb at 1:53 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's weird about Club Talk though: I posted there thinking it would somehow "alert" my fellow club members, but it didn't. The founder of the club didn't even see my post for weeks(?)

So people have to go looking for that post and even as a well-versed metafilter member, I do forget how to find stuff (like the above mentioned upcoming film dates).

Not trying to be overly critical - I am super psyched about fanfare - but I just do think it could be more usable if the team had the inclination/resources/bandwidth/etc to make some changes.
posted by latkes at 2:19 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Club Talk posts go right on the club page and in My FanFare. If someone is subscribed to My FanFare or the Club via RSS they'll see it there too. I'm sorry someone missed your post. I think that's going to happen from time to time, especially with a new feature like clubs where people are still getting up to speed on how everything works. Clubs have been around for four months or so as I write this and we're still watching to see how folks use them. We deliberately move slowly and I know that can be frustrating.

MetaFilter is fairly alert averse and we might need to adjust that. We've always felt that the post showing up on the site is the alert. That might be an outdated sense of things because many sites these days alert users to new content via email, text, site messages, etc. We've always tried to err on the side of less contact. I think that's just because the site was founded by old school web nerds who don't want more email. New information is on the site and we make tools like RSS available if you want to put together something beyond that. (IFTTT is a great service that can email new posts to you based on an RSS feed.)

We do have the inclination and resources to make changes to FanFare. We're also slow and deliberate about how we do it.
posted by pb at 2:38 PM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Favoriting the suggestions by latkes so hard. Which ones? ALL OF THEM.

Latkes' description of how they use the FanFare site and what they find clunky MIRRORS MY OWN. So thanks for typing that out so I don't have to. :D I have limited energy / time right now.

(I'm sorry - that may have been me that missed your comment, latkes, Idk.)

FanFare Talk post for clubs
I checked my initial announcement Talk posts for the two movie clubs I started for a couple of weeks, then stopped because 1) there appeared to be no further traffic and 2) it grew tedious for me to check and keep checking (I'm afraid I'm one of those users that has never taken to the 'recent activity' feature here).

So, as someone running two clubs, my feedback is: I don't check my club talk posts after a certain window. That's my feeback.

Also: I am really loving the idea of a visual calendar that would show you at a glance what movies are being scheduled for posting on what dates, with (and this is optimisitc) maybe little movie poster icons. So, an itty bitty "Some Like it Hot" movie poster icon on the date it's scheduled to be posted as part of a club (in this instance, the Old Timey Film Club).

Navigation has been improved (and I really like the watercooler feature although it is more of a treat than something I regularly visit)

Sorry for the over-the-top comment but I'm so happy someone is continuing to give feedback on possible FanFare improvements. Interested in what others think. And I just want to reiterate that I appreciate all the hard work that's gone into building the site in general and FanFare in particular, great stuff.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

(Shit I meant to preview not post. :P)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2015

Thanks for the thoughtful reply PB. I get the warriness about notifications. But I wonder if there's a middle ground between sending me a million email updates and sort of burying the parts of "clubs" that make it, well, most "club-like". I mean, if we have a film club, then members of that club probably all want to know what movies are coming up to watch, and they probably want to hear about any general, club wide discussions. So I think that argues for making those features much easier to stumble into for club members. They could always quit the clubs if that takes up too much screen space for them. But like joseph conrad, I also want to temper my suggestion with a lot of appreciation for what you've done already for fanfare!
posted by latkes at 9:24 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah I mean more input does not mean "I hate your work" - it just means, "hey this can be improved, I'm finding x, y, z still clunky, here's why..." sort of thing. I get the impression cortex, pb, and everyone are still very much open to hearing ideas about how to improve the various aspects of the site.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:01 PM on September 25, 2015

Understood, thanks for that.

It sounds like there are some different expectations around the word "club" and it sounds like that's something we can improve. Keep in mind that you're joining a MetaFilter club which is probably the most laid-back club you can imagine. It's more of a "stop by when you have time" situation rather than a "be here at this time" commitment. It sounds like that's not what everyone expects and maybe we can find some middle ground between constant extra-site alerts and no alerts.

We have My FanFare for tracking things like clubs and subjects that you're interested in. Maybe we could publicize this feature more or make it more clear what it's for. This tab narrows the site down to just those things you care about most and it might address a lot of the clunky feeling that you're both mentioning. In the previous thread I mentioned, folks felt that 'repeating posts about things they don't care about' made FanFare hard to navigate. My FanFare is the answer to that. By adding favorite shows, tags, or joining clubs, the site becomes focused on things you do care about.
posted by pb at 1:30 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

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