/ 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

My first proper visit to the revamped Which? Conversation site – Have to say, great work to Patrick and the team! ๐Ÿ˜€

Apologies to all for being rather dormant, too! We’ve received lots of interesting suggestions/ideas for future reports from members, via the Which? Email Mailbox, which has taken all my time away from Which? Convo. I’ll try to make an appearance more regularly now ๐Ÿ™‚

With the new Which? Convo, a search turns up relevant article including Convo topics. Unfortunately the dates of the Convo topics are not shown, meaning that users wanting to find the most recent discussion would have to click on links to find the dates. For example, I searched for ‘appliance fires’ and this provided 13 relevant Conversation topics.

Would it be possible to add dates in future? Articles and news items turned up by searches already have their dates shown.

Right. Got it. Thanks. I am not sure why this produced fewer hits but may be able to work that out for myself.

Patrick,
On the previous page, I am getting an error:
which.co.uk is not responding due to a long-running script.

Your wildcard convo suggestion is an excellent idea. The main rule should be “Keep It Clean”.

I now look at Which? pages at 75% size – much easier to read and scroll through.

Have you thought how you are going to keep the ideas section tidy? As this section grows, it could get very messy and recent suggestions get lost. My suggestion is to move chosen ideas to a separate page for reference, list the latest 1 or 2 weeks ideas first, then the rest in order of popularity and maybe remove unpopular ideas after a certain period.

IE11 on Win7 and yes page 1 of this convo.

75% is good for me. I was struggling on the big print and finding it very difficult to read.

I even get 7 lines in this text box !!!!

I think 75% is too small. A reply I submitted recently came up in a smaller font size than the adjacent ones and was just right for readability and made for a more compact presentation. I can’t remember which Conversation it was in now but if I come across it again I’ll report it.

Would you believe it?! My immediately previous post about reduced font sizes has appeared in a reduced font.

Alfa โ€“ From your wording, it seems that this is an Internet Explorer problem.

The site seems to be unstable tonight. Like others, long running scripts freeze pages and page one of the New Which Conversation page is inaccessible. Hope it’s just something in the air and will cure before long.

Yes on my lap top which usually works without any hitches. IE 11 I think, definitely Windows 8.1. I left the site to do other duties and haven’t tried it since. The long running scripts kept coming back to freeze the site. This is the first time this has happened.

I’ve just been frozen by a long running script. This stopped me typing. Now I’m on page one as requested, so there seems to be something amiss this evening.

Now on Firefox and everything is perfect!

I haven’t had the problem with Google Chrome on the desktop but it happens occasionally with IE on the laptop when clicking on a comment in the Activity list. And it is still hit and miss whether you go direct to the comment or, after a bit of stuttering, go to the end of the Conversation and have to trawl back to find it.

Another point: I thought we were going to have the page numbers [previous/next etc] shown at the top as well as the bottom of Conversations. I support Vynor’s point – we need more than just the next page number shown – if a Conversation runs to eight pages, why not show all of them?

I have noticed one more good thing – we can now scroll up and down in the comment box with the mouse instead of having to use the up/down keys. Thanks for that. It is always pleasing to see productivity on an upward trend.

Further to the last paragraph of my previous comment, I have subsequently noticed that scrolling in the box when composing a comment is not available with every Conversation.

I can’t recall now. It might have been some older ones, or maybe it depended which browser I was using [Google Chrome or Internet Explorer], or it might have been a case of the thought anticipating the deed. I have tried to find other examples where it works but have failed so it might be best to regard my testimony on this as totally unreliable and conclude that there is no scrolling within the comment boxes.

I still cannot expand the comment box, despite the fact that it is shown as an expandable box. From memory, this problem was fixed prior to the launch of the new site.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thumbs – Whereas before ups and downs accumulated separately now you they work against each other, so you can cancel a positive vote by making a negative vote. Whilst it gives a similar result you have no idea how many have voted.The same applies to ideas – I’d like to know if contributors have voted one way or the other. On balance I would prefer only positive voting or, failing that, a return to showing both types of vote.

Patrick,

Have you considered people might actually be put off using the site if they have not registered and logged in before posting?

I have noticed people registering but not logging in before posting.

Underneath the front page it says โ€œView all latest commentsโ€.

Supposing you had registered, but not logged in before posting, then went to see all the latest comments but your post is not there.

What do you see? Could it be what looks like a private club? Most of the posts are very often from the same few people who can be very opinionated at times. As regulars understand each other to a certain extent, they might be perceived as being offensive as discussions develop, not something many would want to be involved in or want the same tone used on them.

If you are new to posting on the site, it could be very daunting and I stopped using one forum because it was dominated by just a couple of people.

If all the posts from the regulars, especially heated discussions, were spread out more, the โ€œView all latest commentsโ€ page would look a lot more friendly and inviting.

My apologies for spelling your name wrong in a recent post. Like this post, I do tend to write first and log on later, but, to be fair, immediately after my comment has been accepted, I am directed to the log on page and asked to do so.
Being relatively simple minded, I tend to comment on things as I see them and as they affect me. When things become too technical or folk have done research and know more than I do, I drop out and become a reader. Sometimes these “experts” are driven off course and the conversations become technical for their own sake and lose the underlying thread of the topic under discussion. However, their intelligent insight does make for informative reading, and gives a certain class to this eclectic talking shop. I don’t feel quite so alienated by the “private club” provided they remain polite and respectful of each other.

I don’t seem to be able to give you two votes for that post, alfa, but someone had to say this.

Perhaps there is a case for our moderators to pop in and ask the frequent contributors (often just two or three) to stop posting in the heated discussions you refer to. It would be good to have a chat room for those with a passionate interest in a subject to explore it in depth.

Alfa, as an opinionated regular i take your comment on board. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps there could be designated topics for new members (or potential ones) to which regulars refrain from commenting (other than perhaps adding a thumbs up)?

There is no problem with heated discussions as long as they are polite which is nearly always the case. We just need to make sure newcomers and the occasional posters don’t feel excluded or alienated from the site.

Good point, alfa. If people feel excluded or alienated we might deny ourselves useful input. I’m glad to see that ideas are shared and recycled but infrequent posters can bring new ideas and approaches to the table.

My record on avatars might have just gone up to 4 !!!!!

My problem is that I find the protracted discussions quite stimulating and I would not waste my time in arguing with M and others if I did not value their points of view. But it’s a bit selfish and as Vynor has said topics sometimes go off the rails.

Patrick conferred on us the opportunity to invite Friends. I’m not sure what a Friend is in the context of Which? Convo but I’m going to send my first request to M as a peace offering. ๐Ÿ™‚

I wonder if we can use tags like @patrick in a more relevant Conversation in the hope that the discussion will continue in the appropriate place.

wavechange (friend ๐Ÿ˜€ ), I agree with what you say, except I would subsitute “converse” (or “conv”?) for “argue”. I treat these conversations as places where I can learn, and try to find information to help the topic. But it would not be a convo unless we put forward opposing points of view, sometimes strongly held, at other times to help the discussion along. I hope none of this puts others off. People from different backgrounds and experiences often see things from a different angle.

Thank you Malcolm, my new Friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree that we are conversing but I expect that it looks like arguing to some of our fellow members.

On another forum I have seen examples of two or more contributors supporting each other to criticise comments of others, particularly new faces. I have not seen any evidence of that problem.

wavechange, you’ll know when I’m arguing if I shout in CAPITALS. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Going off topic, your post is out of sequence. I’ve noticed this in other Convos too.

Hopefully it’s just me who is confused. Must try harder.

. . . err, actually no. Even this little exchange has gone haywire at the end.

Are you proposing to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut Patrick? ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

The ban hammer?! Sound’s rather scary, Patrick!

It’s all very civilised here these days, Andrew. I’m wondering if Which? has tested Christmas pudding emojis, for seasonal use of course.

Thanks Patrick. I’ll put up the decorations nearer Christmas.

I’m glad to hear that, wavechange ๐Ÿ™‚ Those emoji’s are excellent, Patrick! Are they on the link you mentioned previously?

Please don’t be so BOLD as to do that, Malcolm.

I suppose that we could use make more use of emoticons and emojis to lighten up our discussions. No doubt it will attract some off-topic comments from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells about using such childish things. ๐Ÿ™‚ Is there an official list that works on this flavour of WordPress?

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜ณ ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ™„ โ— โ“ ๐Ÿ’ก โžก :mrgreen: are those I’ve found.

I found this one of a chicken ๐Ÿ“ but I’ll bet it’s infected with campylobacter.

Neigh, I don’t think so.

Great link to the emojis.

๐Ÿต ๐Ÿ™ˆ ๐Ÿ™‰ ๐Ÿ™Š Might be appropriate to the above comments.

And we might not be eating too much of ๐Ÿ—

Patrick, I am sure John W wouldn’t mind a few to separate R.I.P. from me in his post a couple of weeks ago. It still gives me a funny feeling to know it is there.

Patrick – A paragraphing space got compressed out of existence leaving “Alfa” adjacent to the “R.I.P.” from the previous para. This only remains in the abridged comment in the activity and comments lists, not in the main Conversation, but I certainly have no objection to your editing it if it puts his mind at rest.

I am dismayed to learn that my brass ‘three wise monkeys’, inherited from my grandmother, need a hardware update. Obviously emojis should be used sparingly.

I thought there were now only two wise monkeys. The silent monkey was taken to Milton Keynes but never a cross word was said.

Loving the idea wavechange, and thanks to Malcolm who’s already supplied lots of these. Comments can never have too many emojis/emoticons! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ah, didn’t scroll down enough! Woah, loads of new characters Patrick!! ๐Ÿ˜†

Welcome back Andrew. I thought you had left us without saying goodbye โ€“ as others have done. I hope you are going to carry on welcoming new faces.

The new site is great, though it has a mind of its own at times.

Thanks wavechange, and sorry it’s taken a few days again to respond! Been awfully busy here at Which? ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you’re well, too?

I’m still here, although primarily in the Hertford Office. We’ve received lots of member feedback about company complaints and membership queries which had taken me away from visiting Which? Convo recently ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure Patrick will nudge me if he needs any help again.

๐Ÿ˜ก

wavechange, your chicken doesn’t look to have been cooked properly. Or is it a goose?

It came from a supermarket so I popped it in a ‘biohazard bag’ for safe disposal โ€“ standard practice for contaminated waste.

Best be careful with in jokes or Patrick will have to re-write the Commenting Guidelines to keep us in order.

It has been mentioned somewhere before although I can’t find it, but there are some good contributions coming into the site and being listed under the Latest Comments section on the Home Page but then disappearing into the depths of the relevant Conversation hardly ever to be seen again. These are from new visitors or others who have not registered. To see them over even just the last twelve hours one has to click through page after page after page because there are only three comments on each page. Unfortunately, after going to a comment in its Conversation, the back button then takes you to the start of the sequence instead of to the page you were in so you have to click through all the pages again . . . and again . . . and again!

I try to go back once every day to see what has come in through that channel and I have from time to time made a comment just to get the topic back into the mainstream in case anyone else wants to reply or add something, but that is a pretty hit-&-miss way of doing things and some days I don’t have the time to reply or am not sufficiently informed to do so. The lack of a date stamp on the comments doesn’t help either with finding them. I know people are encouraged to register and some newcomers do but for the rest they probably wonder what they have done wrong since there is no visible answer or feedback to their enquiry or comment other than through pure luck.

Is it really not possible to have just one Activity list containing every comment received?

Thanks Patrick, and for the tip on opening a new tab for the latest comments. I often have Conversation running on two windows simultaneously to allow for a bit of further exploration while I compose a comment but I think the second tab is a better way of keeping that page open.

Good news on the registration of new commenters.

AFAICS it seems to be because the link from the extract in ‘Recent Activities’ returns the viewer to the Topic end post instead of the actual comment posted, which may well be part of a thread within a topic. That’s why I don’t really like threads as such; they can muddy the waters too much IME. It’s also too easy to miss replies to individual posts within the topic. I’ve long thought that was an inherent flaw in WP.

Strangely there are only a few Conversations where clicking on the comments takes you to the end post, but they seem to be some of the most complex threads being followed at the moment. Personally I find the ‘Reply to a Reply’ function quite useful but I must say that, because of the spacious architecture of the pages with large amounts of white space, and the oversized typeface and symbols, it is now difficult to get any sense of where you are in a Conversation and lots of scrolling is required. There is so little to see on a page now that finding something within a thread has become quite difficult once it has run into more than two pages. It reminds me of the difference between reading the news in a broadsheet newspaper and trying to do the same thing in Ceefax on TV.

Thanks again Patrick. Given that desktop/laptop is the most popular browsing method [by a considerable margin] according to your recent poll, I think it is important that it works well in those formats.

I don’t suppose we will be told the comparative traffic counts between the previous and the current Which? Conversation sites but my general impression is that there are fewer comments coming in each day now [and there could be several sensible reasons for that if it is the case]. I wonder whether the people who used to drop in, have a look round to see what’s occurring and maybe leave a comment or two are still doing so. I am not sure that the new Recent Activity list [accessed via the rather weak-looking ribbon across each page] and the Latest Convos list somewhere down the Home page are quite the right answer at the moment.

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I take your point Duncan, but I thought a large number of us were already paying for the upkeep of Which? and all its derivatives.

Since we have been asked for our comments I think it is in order to offer constructive criticism and I am trying to see how we can attract more people to the site and make their visit rewarding – especially first-timers and recent newcomers.

The layout is never going to satisfy everyone, any more than a new incarnation of Windows does. Like other websites it has to cope with users using computers, tablets and phones, different screen resolutions, different browsers and different user experience.

For me, it’s a bit like buying a new car or installing a new operating system. I look for the positives and hope that either I will either get accustomed to what I don’t like or that some tweak will be applied.

Just being able to look at all recent comments and what individuals have been posting are big steps forward and we can stop making off-topic digs about not being able to correct our mistakes.

I wonder what new visitors to the site think about the layout and functionality.

I am pleased that the volume of comments has gone up with the new site. Launching in the holiday period was obviously going to produce less traffic, and I suppose if I recalibrate my impression by adding the comments of the ‘unregistered’ to those of the ‘registered’ it would correspond with your perception. Numbers of comments is a useful statistic but so also would be number of commenters per day/week/month as some of us regulars do have a tendency to bang out a lot of stuff which puts quantity before reach.

I think the regulars are well into their stride now and posting as much as ever, but Which? staffers seem to be a holding back a bit perhaps??

“Power User” !! I’ve never been called that before. It’s not exactly a workout; a slow form of mental circuit training perhaps.

A common problem I have always had with Which? Conversation is that it sometimes takes me some time to compose a comment and post it. I might be interrupted by a phone call, or I spend time looking for relevant information to include or I have a sudden desire for caffeine. โ˜•๏ธ

I’ve seen a forum where there is an alert to new posts in a topic and it is possible to view these before posting.

Good point. I’ve been caught like that sometimes and wished I could have amended my intended comment to adapt to a new one that has come in since deciding to reply. I’d like an alert.

The lack of space to see what you are developing in the comments box plus, as you say, distractions, can make composing a comment more difficult. and probably too lengthy! I recognise that problem :-). I sometimes compose the comment in Word in another window and just copy and paste.

If there has been a delay or it is an active discussion I just copy the text, go back into the page and paste the text back in, after checking for new comments.

The non-expandable comment box is annoying me, so I might go back to composing longer posts outside the site, as I did in the early days, before the comments box could be expanded.

I’ve lately had a problem using copy and paste from comments – whether other contributors or my own.

I would like to see the thumbs down count as well as the thumbs up rather than an overall total.

6 thumbs up and 6 thumbs down give a total of zero giving the false impression of no interest.

My first post in the latest feline convo must have attracted a few thumbs down from the ๐Ÿ˜ผ ๐Ÿ’• and I like to see both.

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On balance I’d prefer to see thumbs up only. I’d like to see why someone disagreed, rather than just posting a thumbs down. The American consumer website that dieseltaylor pointed to (under campylobacter) just has a “like” button. The layout was much like our old conversation – more comments a page and easier to read – but I suppose we must compromise for other types of hardware.

I’m quite happy not have a dislike button, or a thumbs down button. Dissenters need to explain themselves.

I don’t ๐Ÿ™

But then again as long as it is not called “un-like”. and you don’t become an un-friend I might change my mind. ๐Ÿ˜ for what it is worth. A poll perhaps?

I do try not to be disagreeable @patrick_convo

@patrick – sorry right Patrick. A pop-up list gave a lot of Patricks and I chose – but wrongly.

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I have not given the thumbs up/down voting much thought. Experimenting on Patrick’s frivolous post I have discovered that you can change an up vote to down and back again. That’s helpful for those who have occasionally clicked the wrong thumb.

I can see the advantage of having separate scores for up and down. As others have said, a zero may mean a balance of opinion or a lack of interest. In one way it’s a shame that all the votes have disappeared with the launch of the new site, but at least it gets rid of voting that has obviously been fiddled.

So, I’m strongly undecided and perhaps it’s what people write that matters most.