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Holy Double-espresso, Batman! Where's my Javalobby?

01.24.2008
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Do not worry, Boy Wonder, the Javalobby and EclipseZone sites you have known and loved haven't gone away! They have simply become more fully a part of the DZone Network. Javalobby and EclipseZone have both been merged into a broader system of developer communities operated by our parent company, DZone.

We weren't really ready for this transition, but perhaps we never would have been anyway. As Dan Wilson, one of our outstanding new Zone Leaders, told me last night, "There's perfect software, and there's software that actually gets finished!" I know what Dan means. It's the kind of wisdom that comes from experience. This isn't perfect, but it runs, and you'll be able to post better content through this imperfect system than was possible in the old one.

So, thanks for your patience, and please stick with us as we fix and finish the rest of this job to make the new Javalobby/Java Zone the best ever. We have some really great new features, and most of all we have some really great new Zone Leaders to make Javalobby useful, fun and worth your time!

NOTE: The discussion has been moved to the forums

The discussion was moved so individual issues can be discussed in separate threads. Please join us there...

Comments

James Imber replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 2:54am

Obviously I'm surprised. Now I'm looking at this thing and there is something that I want you to implement. I want to go to one page and see the content I want to see. Let me explain myself. I might be interested in reading the content of several zones but I don't want to click on each zone to see its content. I want to be able to go to a page an see the articles on the zones I'm interested in. You can find an example of what I'm asking on infoq dot com. The implementation doesn't have to be the same but I would appreciate that I don't need to log in to be able to filter the content.

Rick Ross replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 6:00am

Thanks, James - this is helpful feedback, and that particular idea is a very important one. If the DZone Network is carrying a wide variety of content types on a wide range of developer topics, then it makes a lot of sense to let each member countour his/her experience to grab only what he/she wants - not the entire firehose.

Soon, we'll have our forums ready for action, and I hope this will be a topic that can benefit from ome community-driven ideas and innovation. I am personally strongly in favor of what you suggest, and I'll have to post a small piece I wrote a month or so ago caled "The Bloggy River Forum" in which I tried to explore how I'd like it to work.

Thanks,
Rick

Alex Blewitt replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 8:17am

Hey, congratulations on getting the new look and feel up and running.

Alex

Jeroen Wenting replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 9:48am

I'm not too happy with all the mugshots, but they seem to be all the rage elsewhere so I guess you had to keep up with the rest of the world :(

 Looks pretty nice otherwise.

 P.S. I notice the accounts aren't synched with other dzone accounts?

Serge Bureau replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 9:53am

I am also surprised, and not that interested in getting an intermediate page before getting to what interest me.

 Nice interface, but I have no interest in many zones. Now I have to loose time to get where  I want.

 Plus you can now flag this message as "Flag as offensive",  can I myself flag this flag as being offensive. Call it what it really is, censure.

Serge Bureau replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 9:55am

Now I am sb80469 instead of Serge Bureau, so even after I logged in it does loose my previous JavaLobby ID ???

I hope it is only a temporary bug ??? 

Jeroen Wenting replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:13am

hmm, I kept the same screenname, possibly because I had identical account and screennames already (but if so, why aren't those accounts merged?).

Andrew McVeigh replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:19am in response to: James Imber

i appreciate that the layout is new and will take some getting used to, and that things need to move forward, but I can't help but feel something very special has been lost.

the thing i most appreciated about javalobby was participating as a community on a narrow, focussed set of topics. i just don't "feel" that the current discussions leap out at me at the moment. it's like a wealth of riches, but feels much less focussed. and i think that focus was the intangible quality i loved about the old design.

I think at a minimum it would be great to get the announcements back on the front page. but, hey, to paraphrase the royal tanenbaums: "that's just one man's opinions"!

Cheers,
Andrew

Andrew McVeigh replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:21am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

it's very nice how you can hide the ads in preferences.  doesn't this potentially radically cut any income stream?  we all turned off our adblockers after rick's last plea.

Andrew 

Matthew Schmidt replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:23am in response to:

Hey Serge.  I'm happy to change your username to whatever you would like.  That one is the result of a long ago change, that we generally kept hidden in the old design.  Please send me a private message and we'll get your username straightened out.

And no, Flag as Offensive isn't censuring :)  It's more about keeping out the spam - we'll make sure it isn't abused.

Matthew Schmidt replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:26am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

Hi Andrew.  We appreciate your feeling about the narrow focus and Javalobby will continue to be narrowly focused on Java :)  That much hasn't changed.  The new system allows us to focus on more easily adding features that help improve the community.  As for the announcements, they'll be flowing into the main stream now instead of being separated out, and we plan to allow you guys to filter what goes into the main stream for those that don't like them.

Rick Ross replied on Fri, 2008/01/25 - 10:28am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

It's very nice how you can hide the ads in preferences. doesn't this potentially radically cut any income stream? we all turned off our adblockers after rick's last plea.

Andrew, you are correct that it could potentially reduce revenue, but we've decided to experiment a little. Our basic thinking is that people who participate in the community are making a valuable contribution, while the anonymous viewer is passive, by definition.

Our choice to make it easy to reduce the ads is a nod of recognition to those of you whose contributions are really the core value of the community. You shouldn't have to be aggravated by those pesky ads if you don't want them.

Rick Ross replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 10:58am in response to: Jeroen Wenting

[quote=jwenting]DZone is mostly a collection of blog referrals. By pulling JL into that framework you're at least giving a strong hint that that's what you're planning for the future of JL as wel.

Maybe you're not, but you have to understand where the worries come from.[/quote]

Thanks, jwenting. I understand what you mean, and it does help to understand where the worries come from.

Don't worry too much, however, because there's a clear distinction between the DZone.com "social bookmarking service" and the new set of DZone Network content destinations. If you think about it, the articles published at Javalobby have already sometimes risen to the DZone.com front page and sometimes not. They go through the same collaborative filtering as articles from any other content destination, and if the community votes them up they can reach the front page. This same principle is still at work, and articles from Javalobby and the other new zones will all have to go through the process much like any others. Javalobby is still a place for content, not referral.

What may not be clear is that DZone is investing in Zone Leaders to help motivate and fuel a steady stream of high-quality content. We want this community to be a rich resource for knowledge sharing and thoughtful editorial perspective. The fact that we have attracted well-known personalities to help lead is a good thing, and IMO we can all expect to see a higher standard of content quality from both the leadership and the community at large.

Nothing could be more natural than a healthy dose of skepticism, but don't jump ship too quickly, or you may miss out on some really good things we're trying to do. You can trust that Matt and I love this community and care deeply for its genuine welfare. We're not here to destroy it or drive it to uselessness. We truly value positive and negative feedback, and we're only partially through a series of changes which I believe will help Javalobby continue to meet the needs of Java developers everywhere - even into the next generation of them!

Rick

Will Hartung replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 11:28am in response to: Rick Ross

Well obviously we'll have to wait and see, but with a glance at the initial list the most telling thing is that the most of it has no commentary. To me, the engagement of the community is more important than the article themselves, most of the time. That doesn't mean folks should just post trolls, but if folks aren't responding to the articles, then there's not a lot of value to me.
I'm also concerned about Matt's statement of a "fast moving site". One thing that's nice about the old JL is that it wasn't a rocketship. You would get a story or two each day, and then the commentary from the other stories. So you could see most of the last week on the front page.
I don't know about others, but as a rule I will almost never go to the second page of most any site. Once it's off the first page, the story is effectively dead to me. So if stories are moving that quickly, I'll be less engaged in the conversation and watching the issues be explored and discussed.
I appreciate how JL may have been "a little slow". There's little worse than having a story on the board for 3 days with no comments. Heck, if I see a story with no comments, I may not even get past the headline. 
I haven't clicked on most of the current JL stories for just that reason. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd, and a good story will do that automatically. But at the same time, I'm loathe to go in to an empty room with the presenter sitting alone next to the lectern in an otherwise busy place. "No one else is here, it must not be interesting."
If the stories are moving that fast, they simply may not get traction.

Mladen Bucan replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 1:24pm

Congratulations for the opening of your new site, we all know that you put a lot of effort in this.

I like the concept of zones, it reminds me of borland.public.* at best times. I also like intersection of zones on dzone.com.

What I dislike is that javalobby itself has lost its first page that IMO made it so popular - sort of control panel effect it had: carefully picked discussions, announcements, etc. everything together. Sort of "state of java on the glance" effect that enabled me to quickly check if there is anything important that might affect me, without drill-down.

 I also think that zone leaders pictures are nice, but that they should have not been put directly on the first page.

So, what I want to say is that I liked old javalobby look, and that it was better than this one.

Kind of shocking emptiness, after richness of the old design. :)

 

Steven Devijver replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 1:59pm in response to: Floyd Marinescu

[...] I do hope that dzone doesn't clone InfoQ [...]
I hope the same thing.

Fred Grott replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 3:56pm

Its a welcome change in most areas..

 

 For those of us use to where stuff was at in the old site..can you provide some type of map now where to find it ??

 

 

Florin Gheorghies replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 5:09pm

I don't get it. 

When I first hit the site I thought I used the wrong browser again. 

Very displeased with this new format. Very. A content website's homepage should give me a quick overview and access to the various topics it addresses. You mean I should go to the top menu and navigate? You're kidding me. I have 1001 things to do in a day. I need a summary and headlines. I need product announcements, topics intros, blog titles, news briefs. 

This site is like going back to 1998 when dhtml menus were new and fresh. Pictures? I could care less about the faces behind the content - no offence. I need the issue in my face and not the face behind the issue.

My guess is that this site format is a fad. You will be stuck with a dwindling faithful and acquire very few new readers. I personally will take this as an opportunity to search for other competing sites that can provide the community and news I need. Any suggestion?

Again, I am actually angry about the change. An idiotic move. I cannot believe how it ticked me off.

Florin 

Andy Tripp replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 6:46pm in response to: Richard D. Jackson

OK, I gave it a couple more days, hoping I'd get used to the new look and take a deep breath before I told you how I really feel. Stand back...you're not going to like it :)

I also prefer "story" sites to "blog aggregate" sites. I've tried to get used to dzone.com, but it's just not working. 95% of the blogs are just not worth reading. 

 As for the new look and feel, I won't go into all my complaints. As I've said here many times, GUIs (including web sites) should be designed by UI experts, not developers. I don't know for sure that's not the case here, but that's my guess. Why didn't you have a beta and get feedback on the new look ahead of time like slashdot did? What testing did you do to see what people think of the look?

 Also, I agree with the point about the URL, new look, and changed focus making it "no longer the original Javalobby". Remember Gamelan? It was a great Java site for a few years. THen it got incorporated into some bigger network, stopped using its well-known URL, and the UI got "improved" to the point where it was pretty unusable. It also changed focus from a list of Java libraries to a "developer news" site.

 Some things just were never meant to expand into something bigger and better, and I think JL was one of those things. I think you should have looked to slashdot and theserverside as role models: fairly small changes in UI, no change in general focus, no aggregation into something bigger, and well-tested beta trial versions of all UI changes.

Rick Ross replied on Sat, 2008/01/26 - 7:30pm in response to: Andy Tripp

We're listening actively to ALL the feedback here, both positive and negative, and everyone should please be clear that we are far from finished with what we are doing in this transition (just like every other time we have made major JL changes!)

What is happening in this discussion, however, is that is is becoming a turkey shoot for all the legitimate complaints and concerns people may have about issues of design and presentation. I'll just remind everyone another time that:

  • We aren't finished, but basically got into a soft-launch by circumstance
  • We are very open-minded people and will listen to all input
  • There's no reason it has to be "one size fits all", so multiple UIs are possible
  • A "one strike, you're out!" policy won't make for an interesting game
  • Be nice :)

I'm going to close replies here and open a thread in the new (also unfinished) forums, so we can provide a more appropriate and relevant context for discussion of multiple aspects of how things may still be able to be improved and what should be prioritized.

NOTE: The discussion has been moved to the forums

The discussion was moved so individual issues can be discussed in separate threads. Please join us there. Your existing JL/DZ credentials should allow you to login directly.

Thanks again for all the input. If nobody cared, then nobody would have said anything! We're grateful that you do!

Rick & Matt

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