/ Money, Technology, Which? Membership

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation

Fireworks

Welcome to the new Which? Conversation website. Read on to hear about some of the siteโ€™s new features.

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

Finding conversations youโ€™re interested in

There are now nine Which? Convo topics โ€“ 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? Shoppingโ€™s where you need to be.

Within each topic youโ€™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 youโ€™ve made. If there have been any replies to your comments, youโ€™ll be notified of them here too. You can even @mention people in your comments โ€“ try @patrick and Iโ€™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 โ€“ this means you can more easily see what theyโ€™ve been talking about by filtering by โ€˜My friendsโ€™ on our Recent Activity page.

Recent activity

Whatโ€™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 weโ€™d let you access all the comments that have ever been made in the past five years. Thatโ€™s what the Recent Activity page is for โ€“ 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 โ€˜favouriteโ€™ 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 youโ€™re not feeling inspired, why not vote for the ideas others have shared?

Weโ€™ll regularly check out your ideas and will be interested to see how popular they are with the community. Weโ€™ll let you know whether weโ€™ve picked one of your ideas and may be in touch to ask if youโ€™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 โ€“ 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 Iโ€™ll leave you to discover, but in short welcome to the new Which? Convo! I know itโ€™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 Iโ€™ll look into it. Finally, a big thanks to all those who were involved in testing the website โ€“ we couldnโ€™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

Hi – can you be clear about how this “conversation” site relates to the Member Community which, like Which?Conversation, has a discussion/bulleting board. Are they complementary, does this one replace the Community (note that your drop-down selector at the top of the page is headed “Our community”.
If I post a comment or a question on the Member Community board, will I get a different response? No response? Do you still have staff who monitor the Member Community board? Do these different media have different objectives/ terms of reference?

“The Members forum is for Which? members to discuss matters related to your membership, whereas Which? Conversation is where everyone can debate and discuss consumer issues.”

Well, not strictly true. Which? Member Community debates a number of issues, ranging from how things are tested to how Which? itself is run and managed. It does, in fact, deal with a number of consumer issues but is rather more broadly-based.

Thanks for transferring my avatar, Patrick. Pity it does not still work as a QR code for Which? Convo but it will do fine.

I should be interested to know whether people think that stating the elapsed time since a comment was posted [which will be changing continuously] is more useful than having the date/time as a unique identifier [which from the following day became a constant]. Personally I found the dates of comments helpful when going through a thread with multiple reply sections to find recent or latest additions. I don’t recall any requests for the new presentation.

I just noticed from your previous post, Patrick, that the absence of a date makes a nonsense of “tomorrow”!

Thanks Patrick. I’m sure there’s still lots of things to be incorporated or fixed before you get down to minor details like the time/date reference.

I like the ‘edit’ function after posting a comment. That works well.

If I leave a funny I might not fix it . . . !

I don’t recall that anyone has been reprimanded for the odd humorous comment, John. ๐Ÿ™‚

Latest comments are a bit “hit & miss” in being displayed on various pages.

On the front page, my post says 32 seconds ago, opening the actual comment says 16 minutes ago, Comments, 32 minutes ago, ALL, 36 minutes ago.

Other comments don’t seem to filter at all onto some pages.

F5 refresh does not seem to work.

On the front page if you press the red arrow above beside Latest Comments the “minutes ago” do change to what is probably their actual “minutes ago”, but no new comments appear.

F5 on Recent Activity also does not work and the “minutes ago” do not change switching between “All” and “Comments”

“All” seems to stay one minute behind “Comments”.

Editing…
The “All” and “Comments” did update when this post went live and also revealed another entry .

Not sure what is going on but can the edit box be bigger please?

I think until the site reverts to actual posting time the time references will always be a bit haywire and completely useless for navigation, but there certainly seems to be a problem with populating the various locations synchronously.

I have a tiny gripe about the ‘Latest Comments’ on what I suppose is the home page. We grumbled that nine was not enough so now we get three! I know a further click gives us more but we now have to do a lot more scrolling and I realise that when I bought my latest mouse I should have got one with a spare wheel.

I would still like to see the ‘Latest Comments’ side-by-side with the ‘Latest Convos’ which are now lost somewhere down the page. I assume that the decision to focus so heavily on the pigeon-holing of Conversations and giving so much space to the pigeon holes on the front page was research-led; it doesn’t seem to me to be particularly helpful but perhaps it appeals more to a newer audience.

As I type this I also find the tiny blue font on a pale blue background not the easiest format to use. I can live with the brave decision to have primary school styling and motorway size text throughout the rest of the site but I think the parts the correspondents actually operate in should be much more user-friendly.

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve had the biggest laugh all day with your description of primary school styling and motorway size text.

I also find the text too big and have to sit back to read it.

I also agree there should be more relevance and latest comments on the front page.

If you make your web page narrower, you get more text on a line !!!!!!

Edit1
And my second reply to your post goes before my first one.

Edit2
And now I have revisited the page, my second reply is under my first reply.

Thanks for the explanation Patrick.

When I clicked on your reply from the comments page, I was not taken to your comment but whizzed down to the bottom of the page and had to scroll back to find it.

Do you mean decrease the font size? ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Thanks Patrick. So farewell old homepage. “Over one hour ago” was your catchphrase . . . R.I.P.

Alfa – This relates to the text size in the box we write our comments in. It is too small for ease of writing and I am glad that Patrick can increase it.

Oops, I didn’t read it properly.

Reading this reply and reading the post above, If the reply box text was larger and the post text smaller, it would all be a lot kinder to the eyes.

Patrick, anything you can do to change John’s post above so it doesn’t say R.I.P. me in the Recent Activity? Gives me a funny feeling……….. :mrgreen:

Thanks for your responses Patrick. As you know I had plenty of improvement suggestions in respect of the old website so I am not averse to the changes being made now and it’s obviously still a work in progress. Now that I am more familiar with it I go straight to the Activity Room when I enter the site to see who’s still suffering from balsamic vinegar anxiety, wandering about with a smelly metal kettle, or crossing their legs waiting for the HMRC to come to the phone.

Thanks Patrick,
Hopefully the site will work better when the niggles are fixed.

Do you really need a pop-up that says I am posting too quickly?

@patrick โ€“ Please can you explain when and how you would like us to report problems with the new Which? Convo? Obviously it would not be helpful if there are numerous reports of an obvious issue such as the fact that the dialogue box cannot be expanded at present. I see that Alfa has already mentioned this. ๐Ÿ™‚

There are also benefits from the re-jig. We now learn [under the ‘all activity’ label] that, with effect from around 9:00 am on Saturday 5 Sept 2015, “Vanessa Furey and Patrick Steen are now friends”. I do like to see harmony in the office. Pictures please. This could give Hello! magazine a run for its money.

Which? staff comments were always obvious as they were highlighted.

If they are no longer going to be highlighted, perhaps they should be renamed..
i.e. Patrick Steen – Which? Staff

We did until you moved to the next desk along!

Mmm. This is a place to express opinions. “Friends” smacks of social media and all the horrors that go with that. I don’t want to be “liked” by anyone, just allowed to say what I think now and again. People can agree or disagree without “liking” me. Incidentally, everyone on the site is likeable otherwise they wouldn’t be here, would they? Like minded wouldn’t you say?? Ps. Why can’t I read what I’ve just written up above? How does one scroll?

I’ve been using Facebook for some months to support a charity and involve supporters but I don’t use FB for personal purposes.

I presume that on Which? Convo, having a list of Friends is just a convenient way of keeping in touch with what selected users have been posting recently.

Maybe one day we will have the opportunity to engage in long exchanges with selected Friends without them interrupting the flow of a Conversation.

Thankfully Patrick has several more Friends now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Over the years I’ve acquired the odd ‘enemy’ on this site and I would be more interested in seeing what they have to say without worrying about what fellow travellers are conversing about, but since it requires prospective ‘friends’ to reciprocate their desires, and that isn’t going to happen with certain individuals, I cannot use the ‘friends’ facility for its potentially most useful, albeit contrary, purpose!

Perhaps there should be an”enemy” option as well (temporary, hopefully, as even enemies can agree and friends disagree ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Personally I’m not keen on personal information being disclosed – whether profile or whatever – not being a fan of Facebook. Best to keep your powder dry.

Not sure either seemed possible, but will try again next time. Thanks for your reply.

I am sure we are all trying to feel the love Patrick – honest.

Going to the next page is easy, but one can not jump pages. On a long thread it will take for ever to get to the middle pages -from either end. What about a ten page option on the page moving tab?

Yes.

It’s just a little laborious jumping back one page at a time, especially if the comment being looked for is ten pages behind the front page. Most sites have an option to move a set number of pages from the present one -Google for one. It isn’t something that worries me greatly if the process causes too many headaches for you.

No, just talking in general terms as something noticed when I was browsing the new site.

Just back from hols and deleted most of my emails. Glad to see the new-style conversation is up and running and gradually finding my way around its features. I still don’t like change though – it takes up too much time relearning! However here it is for the better.
I still, though, am not convinced by the new layout. Text too large, too much white space, and contributions can get too narrow so time spent scrolling trying to follow a conversation. A pity you can’t choose a text size to suit your eyes and device (or can you?) particularly when the text you type is 1/2 the size of that you read.

Thanks Patrick. You haven’t seen my mobile. It is strange that in these days of miniaturisation phones continually get bigger and bigger. Mine has a screen the size of a postage stamp. However I take your point – phubbing seems to have become the norm.

Lots of good features on the site and it pays to read FAQs – as I have just found. If all else fails, read the instructions.

I’m curious about the word ‘convo’. What does it really mean? Surely it can’t be meant as a juvenile word-abbreviation? Or is it short for ‘convocation’? Or is it a secret appeal to the under 12s?

It is the abbreviation for conversations.

I still prefer real words to unnecessary abbreviations and jargon alfa! Perhaps we could have a convo discussing the preservation of the Eng. lang.?

Not a bad idea. You could add it to the suggestion box.

Thanks alfa. I’ve already suggested Parking Fines (extortion) and Consumer Protection (enforcing retailers obligations) which I think are more important at the moment but I sometimes think I get too serious and should lighten up!

We could have this Convo now that Malcolm is back from his “hols”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Perhaps we could agree not to use ‘text-speak’ (I am sure u no wot I mean) but to be tolerant of those who do. On the other hand, our use of English has nothing to do with the new website.

Oxford dictionary:
Definition of hols in English:
plural noun: British informal
Holidays: heโ€™s away on his hols

Definition of convo in English:
noun (plural convos): Informal, chiefly Australian
A conversation

I suppose my new world avatar means I should accept international English so I willingly relent on convo . ๐Ÿ™‚

From the same source, a convo is a conversation.

I don’t recognise user ‘carneades’, but welcome and please do join our discussions.

I suspect my objection to this abbreviation is twofold: firstly it seems…a ‘cringe-worthy’ attempt to be ‘with it’ on the part of the organisers. Kids abbreviate things, whereas adults normally use the correct terminology.

Secondly, however, it’s not even spelt correctly. ‘Convo’ is no more appropriate an abbreviation for ‘Conversation’ than ‘Pato’
is for Patrick. And thank goodness Patrick has not bent to this particular, worryingly juvenile fad.

Ah. So it is a secret appeal to those under 12.

Although I dislike the word, and never use it unless I have to, there is a good precedent for “convo” as an abbreviation for “conversation”, for example “compo” is frequently used as a short-cut for “compensation”. I don’t like that either.

I am glad this site still has a place for Dictionary Corner – you can’t have a civilised conversation without occasionally having to define things or look up the meanings of words.

My view is that Which? Conversation should attract new faces and that is a reason to avoid having jargon that will be understood only by regular users.

Which? Convo is already used on the site, so the meaning should be obvious, but Coco’s is not.

Coco was a clown, wasn’t he? ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I agree with avoiding jargon. People understand plain language.

Things could have been worse presumably. I daresay someone in the Which?’s lair suggested “chat”, or “banter”, or “bantz” [which would have been total pants].

Clicking on a comment in “recent activity” doesn’t always take me to that comment in the particular topic. Is that a glitch at my end or a known teething problem?

Looking at the last page (460) if (not so) recent activity has a big gap between 1 year ago (Tempting treats….Aldi…) and 4 yr 5 mths (….nuclear power). What has happened to those topics in between? The previous format gave me a list of all those conversations I’d contributed to. Useful when a recurring or related topic came up as I could look back at previous conversations where, for example, information and useful links had been posted; could save a lot of new investigation time!

Related to this is the ability to search for information. i used the browser “find” button to search the list of conversation headings and their content. Can this tool be included in the Conversation facilities? (Or is it and I’ve not yet discovered it?

There seem to be quite a few glitches that hopefully will get sorted out in the not too distant future, some are mentioned further up the page.

If you click on your name, you will get a list of all your contributions. Perhaps that could be developed to also be a list of conversations.

I’m sure I have duplicated glitch comments, but it is hard work trawling back to see what has been said where with the new format.

My contributions are only listed back to a year ago. Topic titles were more useful and went back to the beginning of my contributions.

I’m disappointed that there’s still no easy way to insert an inline URL. For example, if I want to insert a link to the main Which web site like this, I have to create the HTML myself, which is not something that most contributors will be able to do.

NFH, perhaps you would explain how to do it?

Inline links would not be held in a queue for inspection by the moderators, so that we might see some dodgy links posted if there was a link tool. I use inline links on another website where new pages are inspected before they are published.

Can all links not be subject to inspection before release then?

Web links are automatically identified by the presence of http or www, so inline links would not be picked up.

@wavechange – I notice that my above post with an inline link was indeed published immediately without first needing a moderator’s approval, but on the previous system all inline links were subject to moderation, just like a standalone URL.

Thanks NFH.

@malcolm-r – If you want to know how to do this, then just learn some basic HTML, particularly the “a href” tag. It’s very easy to do but I can’t explain it here because any HTML that I post would automatically be turned into a link and you wouldn’t see the source HTML.

Web browsers generally have a way of viewing the ‘source code’ (HTML) of a page. Now that we have the opportunity for editing posts, I might be prepared to give it a go if the URL link was very long.

The easiest way would be to put the instructions on a web page and give a link to it from the FAQ. An embedded link would be appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just add spaces. Stops the browser automatically parsing the result.

I like the responsive design, whereby the site optimises itself for the type of device on which it is viewed. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the site optimises itself better for mobile devices than it does for a PC web browser. In particular, I would like to see a doubling of the width of each post on a PC web browser, as there’s currently too much wasted horizontal space, resulting in increased vertical size of each post, which requires unnecessary vertical scrolling.

I’d go further and say the new layout if worse on PCs and Tablets than the previous version.

It seems to have been designed for smartphones held in portrait mode.

…and indeed with my Moto G, I can only see both the on screen keyboard and any part of the text input window if the phone is held in portrait mode.

I’m happy with scrolling on my Apple laptop, which has a decent trackpad. In contrast, my old iPad is a pain to use because I know of no way of moving quickly down a long page.

Patrick you have opened up a whole new can of worms re computer analysis and avatar names. Did my own analysis come anywhere near the computers? And I am left with the onerous task of analysing everyone else`s. Scary stuff to say the least!

I have to say that I think the avatars are suffering in translation. Being compressed and viewed through a bullet hole has taken some of the visual appeal – and much of the character – out of the site. I fear that quite a number of avatars will not survive the transition.

The avatars now look very uniform so I think the discs should be much bigger [there’s loads of space] so that once again the images can be liberated from the confines of the frame and express something of the owner’s identity.

On the upside, this does provide another source of harmless amusement. I can now trawl the site looking for somebody else with the same design on their tea-plate but in different colours and eventually make up a set.

As there are many people with the same name, wouldn’t it have been better to have based the avatars on email addresses? Then they would be unique.

I tend to agree, John. Your cuckoo clock avatar fits best in a square, and so does mine. Perhaps a circle would suit Dieseltaylor if he chose a (winter) tyre as an avatar. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though I’m impressed with how easy it is to find my way round the new site, I cannot remember on which page I found examples of the old square avatars.

Are the avatars being converted progressively or do we have to do our own? I have a feeling I am never going to see my little cuckoo ever again.

Overall I think the content and accessibility of the new website are brilliant but the design of various elements is imposing itself on the content rather than adapting to it. And is it just me or are the proportions of features on the site out of scale? Things that should be big are small and vice versa. In the box for reporting a comment there is now a menu of reasons for reporting [good idea] but when you have selected one, the “report comment” button is almost invisibly small. And just look at the enormous quotation marks either side of the Reply or Comment box whereas the box itself and the text are too small [and it is now impossible to scroll vertically within the box and you have to use the up/down keys]. This is no criticism of Patrick Steen who has done a huge amount of work to improve the site and make it work better for its users. There must be dark forces at work in the background.

I did upload my avatar to the development site but then removed it because the corners were clipped. I have no idea if this is why the avatar appeared at a later date.

Thanks Patrick. I’ll redo the avatar when I get home.

Alfa deserves an award for achieving three avatars on the new site. Searching for “alfa” produces an entry for alfa and Alpha. Clicking on “alfa” and the avatar changes.

๐Ÿ˜†

A gold star for observation wavechange.

It took me a while to find the 3rd avatar. I presume you when you typed Alpha, you meant Alfa with a capital A. Or are there 4 of me?

The generated avatar seems to have come from the convo I wrote on the old site.

The other 2 are from the test site. One of the tests I did was changing avatars, and the second one did not change the first one.

I’m only aware of the three, alfa. ๐Ÿ™‚

No rush. I quite like being unique!!!
๐Ÿ™‚

I have been analysing my newly appointed avatar (albeit temporary), in such terms as one would expect when presented with the Rorschach Test (The ink blot test) to find out who you are and how you visualise the world.

First thing I noticed was a very dense square within a broken circle comprising four diamond shaped eyes, symbolising a propensity to retain a large amount of information and processing it into an equal number of four insights. Four white epaulette like shapes remove the sharpness at the corners allowing an array of fatuous data to enter the fray in order to balance the seriousness of a topic with the lighthearted and humorous. The deep pink colour denotes accurately that I am indeed a fully fledged female.

John W – I can only assume that your cuckoo has now flown the nest and returned to its rightful home in Zurich and my tea ceremony lady has returned to her native Kyoto to resume her preference for brewing a more healthy green shade of tea.

Thank you Beryl

I think Eccles the cuckoo is still alive and well in my desktop PC. Please forgive me if I point out that he probably came from the Black Forest originally – the Swiss horologists get offended if you associate them with the making of cuckoo clocks; precision timepieces is their trade, but Eccles had been very reliable until someone took him down last Friday.

I also miss your Japanese tea ceremony lady. And Sophie Gilbert had a striking avatar that probably will not adapt to the new format.

Some things in this life are best left undisturbed.

I suppose it did not occur to the designers that people are somewhat attached to their icons and resent interference with them. And with no prior warning as well.

My goodness โ€“ Eccles is now a free-range cuckoo.

Yes, he’s flown the coop, been away for a well-earned rest, and come back with a spring in his step.

They are not really avatars, more like digital doilies.

Without my reading specs I misread wavechange’s comment as digital dollies. Tried to work it out but can see now. Yours could be a commemorative plate Patrick – just needs the dates added.
I think they are a bit small for the detail some like to include – but I do like to see that VynorHill has abandoned a keyboard to write his comments.

Please don’t do that Patrick

Beryl says:
7 September 2015

Your avatar is an easy one to analyse Wavechange. It demonstrates a marked preference for all things small enough that can only be viewed from a microscopic viewpoint. I am not sure about digital doilies or what they might reveal if viewed under a microscope ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps you can enlighten.

Beryl says:
7 September 2015

Ummm no I only have one email address. I thought someone was having a laugh or the cyber gremlins are turning green with envy. Will work on your suggestion Patrick.

Beryl โ€“ My avatar was nothing more than a simple QR-code. The main use for QR-codes is to act as a sort of barcode allowing smartphones and tablets to access websites without typing in the web address. I did a QR-code for Which? Conversation for fun and I hope that a few of our members have discovered this. Unfortunately my QR-code has had its corners cut and it is now non-functional. Whereas there are various websites that allow you to produce a standard square QR-code, the only one that produces circular versions is not free to use. It does not matter that it does not work and I’m not planning to change it.

Having written the FAQs for the very first Which? forum, back in 1996, and having been with every forum, since, in one guise or another I suspect what surprises me most is just how much better this one operates than others in the same overall site.

We do need Bold and italic buttons – I suspect they’re essential, but this site scrolls smoothly, displays well (although a serif font is better for those of us with poor eyesight), is very obviously set up for multiple platforms (although in FF on Macs the reply-expander doesn’t expand the reply box) and I do like the page length for responses.

Wonderful! bbc code works, Patrick uses his full name, spell checking takes place in the reply box – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Congratulations to you, Patrick, and your team for having devised a usable, fluent and effective forum software package. Now, if you could only extend this level of expertise to other areas of Which? (oh, and perhaps conceive of something a little more elegant than… Convo (ugh!)) I shall be putting my recommendation for Which? staffer of the Year in the post as we speak.

More seriously, good job. Can I ask – is this an ‘off the shelf’ package, or done by W? staff from the ground up?