/ Money, Technology

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation

Fireworks

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation website. Read on to hear about some of the site’s new features.

Following feedback from our community, we’ve been hard at work redeveloping Which? Convo. I’m very pleased to unveil it today, and I’d love to hear any feedback you have. Here’s a brief round up of some of the new features, but I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments.

Finding conversations you’re interested in

There are now nine Which? Convo topics – find them at the top of the site or on our homepage. So if you want to chat about slow broadband speeds, head on over to Technology. Peeved about supermarket special offers? Shopping’s where you need to be.

Within each topic you’ll find communities of people interested in the same stuff, so watch out for car enthusiasts in Motoring or financial experts in Money.

Your own profile

Everyone now has their own profile, not just authors!

Sign in with your existing Which? Convo credentials, then have a look at your profile to find a list of all the comments you’ve made. If there have been any replies to your comments, you’ll be notified of them here too. You can even @mention people in your comments – try @patrick and I’ll be alerted!

You can add some information about yourself, including any hobbies and interests. This will help others with similar interests find you in our new Community Members search page. And if you find someone you like, you can add them as a friend – this means you can more easily see what they’ve been talking about by filtering by ‘My friends’ on our Recent Activity page.

Recent activity

What’s the Recent Activity page? Well we heard you loud and clear that you were fed up with only being able to see just nine of the latest comments on our homepage. So rather than just increasing the number of comments you could see by a small amount, we thought we’d let you access all the comments that have ever been made in the past five years. That’s what the Recent Activity page is for – you can filter by comments, Convos, what your friends are saying, and more. If you want to come back to one of those comments so you can reply later, add it as a ‘favourite’ then you can filter by just your favourites too.

Got an idea for a convo?

You can now share your ideas for new conversations in our Ideas lounge. And if you’re not feeling inspired, why not vote for the ideas others have shared?

We’ll regularly check out your ideas and will be interested to see how popular they are with the community. We’ll let you know whether we’ve picked one of your ideas and may be in touch to ask if you’d like to write it!

Much, much more

You now have the chance to edit your comments for 15 minutes after you posted them, meaning you can now say goodbye to those peskey pesky typos. If you feel so inclined, you can sign in with your Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account – that makes registration all the quicker and will use your name and photo from your chosen account.

There are all sorts of other new things that I’ll leave you to discover, but in short welcome to the new Which? Convo! I know it’ll take some time to get used to, but I hope you like it. Of course, as with any new site launch there will be things we need to fix, so if you spot anything, please just add a comment here and I’ll look into it. Finally, a big thanks to all those who were involved in testing the website – we couldn’t have done it without you.

If you need any help finding your way around the new Which? Conversation, we have a Help Getting Started guide as well as a Frequently Asked Questions guide.

If you would like to discuss the closure of Which.net, you can do so in this dedicated discussion area.

Comments
Member

In no browser can I now report a comment under ‘other’, and give a reason, but I can – apparently in this topic. In the Brexit debate (which shouldn’t be about leaving, anyway) I have tried to do it but in all the bowsers no submit button appears when I try to report the comment.

Member

That’s odd. Works for me – you need to type something into the box to do so. Perhaps clearing your cache will help?

Member

Let me explain. It works in here. It may well work elsewhere. It doesn’t, however, work in some other topics, and shows the box, but the submit button – or where the button should be, is off the screen and it can’t be scrolled. Nothing I can do brings it back.

The cache is never a problem, although it’s the most fingered suspect, but if it works on some topics and not on others there’s an underlying issue.

Member

It doesn’t help that I’ve just come off Thornton’s, where I tried to place an order for my wife’s birthday, but although everything went through as it ought, apparently the website lost the order, so I’ve had to give it manually, over the ‘phone.

This website was performing very well, until a recent update, and since then things have been going wrong. It’s not as if it’s programmed in Malboge, but sometimes it seems as though it has been.

Member

Unfortunately the ‘Your ideas’ section is not working properly. Clicking on ‘Read more’ takes me to the top of the page. The other problems we were experiencing a few weeks ago seem to have disappeared.

Member

It’s now working again. Thanks to whoever kicked it in the right place.

Member

The intermittent issue which manifests itself only in The Lobby continues to be a nuisance. For completeness, it happens when clicking on one of the links in “All Recent Activity” and, in my case, anyway, is when I direct the comment to appear in a new window.

Member

Although we are only on the fourteenth page I am convinced it is a consequence of the volume, with over 3,000 comments here so far many of them quite lengthy. For whatever reason the software or servers cannot handle the number of posts and provide quick and easy access on demand.

The Lobby opened in September 2015. Why don’t we just ask Which? to detach the first two years and park them somewhere else? Very little [if anything] continues for longer than a year in here.

Member

Did you not read my post John , I know it was short but Which has already emailed me agreeing with my findings , against some opposition, that that is exactly what they are going to do -as the server cant cope –add another server and another Lobby , more info to come in the future.

Member

Yes, I seem to recollect it, Duncan, but I can no longer find it. It looks like Which? are doing the right thing in response to the many comments.

I can’t understand why there was some initial resistance as it was fairly obvious to a number of us that there was a capacity problem. They could detach the first two years of The Lobby immediately and normal service would then be resumed. Installing a new server and joining everything together could take some time and will cost money, but it is necessary.

There will need to be a closing announcement on The Lobby Part One and an opening announcement on The Lobby Part Two in order to guide readers to continuing topics but other than that The Lobby must be the simplest Conversation to divide.

There are other Conversations on the same or similar subjects where it would be a good idea to amalgamate them but I expect that would be an editorial nightmare. Good cross-referencing is the answer there.

Member

John-They have hinted they might do as you say, make similar types of technical information /advice in its own grouping.

Member

Would you care to copy the email into here, Duncan?

Member

Why Ian ? it was personal and I dont ask for any of the personal emails you or other regulars get from Which and DONT speak of . Do you honestly think I am lying Ian ? Considering Which could pull me up about it ? Many times you speak of intercommunication between you and Which never divulging the email on Which convo and hoisting a “members only ” sign . I dont question any of that .

Member

The reason I asked, Duncan, is that a major change such as the one which you claim Which? has divulged only to you is something that surely we should all be informed about. I was curious to see the precise wording, that’s all.

As far as I’m aware Which? does not send out personal emails to do with major changes to W?Cs as any changes will affect all contributors.

Member

I must admit I cannot see the harm in copying and pasting the technically relevant text from the e-mail into a comment here. The felicitations can remain private.

Member

Look just go on saying “its gossip ” that will make everybody happy. I have never been part of any Quorum here when its something vital ,always on the fringes. Dont believe me I can live with that.

Member

Duncan, perhaps you could ask Alex to put the email here.

Member

Morning all, we’re currently looking at the best way to deal with the issues of The Lobby and opening a Lobby 2.0 is being considered.

Of course, as soon as we know more on this we will be updating you all. I was thanking Duncan for keeping an eye out and reporting the issues which we are aware of due to the large number of comments in The Lobby.

Member

@awhittle. thanks Alex.

Member

I was interested (and had some time free between video edits and renders) to see how comments were distributed on a brand new and seemingly unrelated-to-anything-else topic, so I looked at the slime topic.

In just two days (17th – 18 July) it had racked up 41 comments by 1100 today. These were from five commentators: in the lead was Wave, with 11, closely followed by Malcolm and Duncan with 9 each, then Derek with 6 and finally John with 5.

It’s never been made clear what the idea behind W?Cs was, but I suspect the main agenda is to bring more people into the Which? arena. I say that because the (for me, mistaken) argument is often put forward that newcomers might well be ‘put off’ by the ‘wrong type’ of posts.

But I suspect that very, very few who visit ever return, and certainly almost none returns on a regular basis.

The email exciter shots that run from time to time about contentious issues, such as Brexit, do attract a lot of visitors but the retention rate (I suspect) is close to zero. Okay – this is a common issue for online media but I’d be interested to know how the hit rate for the W?Cs site as a whole translates into new subscriptions. After all, WFS needs more money to squander.

I’ve been with W? a while, and witnessed a gradual deterioration in the way the members are treated; it’s not new, and if I had to put a date on it I’d say it was round about 2000 that things seriously began to decline.

But it was – once – a fine organisation with huge potential. Somewhere – along the way – the aspirations of its founder have succumbed to the corporate desire for gold, I suspect, and decisions are now being taken on the basis of short term gain, the email betrayal being the latest example of that.

We don’t know why PV-S has thrown in the towel but the smart money is on finance – or some unpleasant financial news for the future. But that he has could be good for the organisation. It’s a chance to choose someone who believes in what Which? once stood for: not the consideration of lofty debates and projects but in reviewing products themselves in detail and by so doing empowering the consumer to make the right choices in their day to day lives.

Which? has been trying to do to much for some time, and the drift away fro the very consumer base that enabled its rise to prominence is worrying. With the choices available everywhere, now, never has a Which? that is truly Independent and tests its own purchases been more necessary. Let’s hope those choosing and appointing PV-S’s successor bear that in mind.

Member

If I may be provocative I think the fact that many topics are swamped by the clique of regulars and often taken well off-topic discourages input from visitors. At its worst a newcomer makes a comment that is relevant to the topic and then two or three regulars use this as the basis to have a discussion that may not be relevant and if it is will leave the original poster out of their depth. Thankfully we do have some long-term contributors who appear occasionally but have lost quite a lot of people who I believe had something useful to say.

Given the amount of criticism that Which? receives from us collectively I suspect Which? Convo is seen as useful but an embarrassment at times. I suspect that Which? will become more of a campaigning organisation over consumer issues, but it needs to do more to achieve its goals if taking problems to the relevant organisations is unsuccessful in achieving a solution. Given the choice of spending money on testing toasters or tackling product safety I know which would be my priority.

I would be very happy if Which? had no connection with sales of products or commercial services but that seems unlikely to happen.

Maybe the slime Convo will bring in some comments from those who have bought the stuff.

Member

A visitor in the Lobby just posted a question asking about Washing powder. Trying to be helpful I decided to see how easy it was to find topics about washing powders.

It doesn’t help that the latest search box is only inside each topic, and not at the top of the recent activity listings, as well – the obvious place, if you think about it. That notwithstanding my search on “washing powder” returned only five results, the most recent being five years ago.

I’m sure Adam’s well aware of this, but I wonder if authors routinely submit their scripts for meta tagging? I’m thinking specifically of the titles of the topics, as one issue can be that searches for ‘washing powder’ return topics on detergents, which is okay, as the naming isn’t precise, anyway. But perhaps the titles need more careful consideration.

Nothing about this is particularly easy, and it’s all time consuming – that I appreciate. But meta tagging is the only easy way for someone finding something trough the search engines.

And we possibly do need some more up to date topics on washing clothes…

Member

The issue regarding posting seems to be getting more confused. Sometimes it takes logging in for every comment; other times, it appears as though we’re logged in, but then it wont permit editing. Other times, it tells you a comment can’t be edited (despite it only just having been posted) but then it allows the edit, anyway.

And now, although I’m logged in, this comment box isn’t showing any name or submit button. And after a page refresh I now have to log in – again.

Member

The log in issue has not been solved. It has, in fact, reverted to an earlier manifestation of the problem – the intermittent logging out.

It happens like this: despite the menu bar showing that you are logged in, when you’ve created some input in the relevant box, no ‘Post Comment” or “Submit” buttons appear, nor does the user name or icon.

This can usually be resolved through a refresh, but it can also become rather more stubborn and take several refreshes. Once it’s sorted it’s usually okay for the rest of the day. This problem seems to occur first thing in the morning.

Member

Agreed. It also happens late at night . . . and the thumbs remain inactive, hence my need to post a response.

Member

I was able to log in and post automatically in Yandex as I was “recognised ” but since I changed a few security boxes in the initial set up cutting out some automatic tracking by Yandex I now have to log in but as the login is saved it only takes two clicks , otherwise I dont have any problems . Are your browsers fully open ?

Member