Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thoughts On "Fixing the Fray"

What few people seem to realize is that nobody has any intention of fixing the Fray.

What they are talking about is creating a whole new forum, with a completely different look, different tools, different capabilities, and different ways of interacting with other Slate readers.

What they are not talking about is making the font bigger, or the page longer, or...just about anything about which people are commenting.

Sure, there will still be something called the Fray, but it won't be a threaded bulletin board.

The old Fray, the Fray we have known, loved and hated for the past seven years, will be gone. It may be accessible in an archive form, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it weren't.

So...what they really want you to talk about is:

1. I want to upload audio of me reading my own poetry.
2. I want to upload video of me and my friends acting out the Battle of Antietam with hockey sticks for guns.
3. I want every post of mine to carry a picture of my cat.
4. You get the idea.

You're failing them.

They're failing you, too. I'm guessing that Geoff or Adam wrote the survey questions, which are oddly disconnected from the actual initiative - they're administrative issues/decisions, not features for readers.

The Fray is dead.

Long live the Fray.



JohnMcG said...

It does seem unlikely that cisco would lend its name and Slate would put this publicity blitz behind another attempt to patch the search engine and change the number of posts that can appear on the page.

On the other hand, I'm not sure why Slate would attempt to do what others are already doing and doing well.

I do agree with you that the substantive part of what's going to happen has already been determined, and this whole "gathering feedback" thing is a charade. There's just no way they could switch gears that quickly and deliver something May 31.

The survey questions are probably things that are easy to tweak -- parameters that are already built into what's been developed.


It ocurred to me that a fun name for this effort would be "The Fray Surge."

maximo said...


*i mean this to be read in every conceivable way--even inconsistently.

topazz said...

well I for one cannot wait to clean up my mbtu history. Kind of like Spring Housecleaning in Congress

Keifus said...

Depends on your point of view, Schad. I'm sure my cat didn't think she started out with any problems.

I expect you're right, but when they reformatted Slate to big fanfare not long ago, it amounted to a whole lotta nothin'. So who knows? If they really mung it up, it'll mean more people here.


twiffer said...

the best feature of the fray is/was the tree control for threads. i'm sure they'll scrap that.

ah well. i can barely muster the level of interest needed to lurk.

bright said...

Click on greatest hits. Editor's picks thus far show preference for posters who have promoted:

keep stars and checks
longer mbtus
hit counts on posts
poster profiles
active threads rise
rich text editing, emoticons and pictures
login fix
threads link back to articles
search upgrade
RSS/Atom feeds
more author interaction

Schadenfreude said...

These are all PnP features in any modern forum software. Seriously, they could have implemented that (and fixed the login problem) with a free download from several different sites.

Archaeopteryx said...

John: Re "The Fray Surge": Does that mean that we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here?

Also, somebody get back to me about the placement of the second colon in that sentence.

JohnMcG said...

"The second colon" is precisely where I thought that sentence should be placed. (:-)

JohnMcG said...

Sorry about that -- the patriarchy has conditioned me to be homophobic, and thus grow uncomfortable with any discussion involving "placement" and "colons," and attempt to cover it up with weak attempts at humor.

Archaeopteryx said...

Hey, don't worry about it. In fact, Schad's got a new feature on his blog to make you feel more comfortable about being a part of the patriarchy.

Bite oftheweek said...

Sorry about that -- the patriarchy has conditioned me to be homophobic, and thus grow uncomfortable with any discussion involving "placement" and "colons," and attempt to cover it up with weak attempts at humor.

John, I believe there is more truth to that post than most would like to admit/

Proconsul said...

The Fray is a dead letter. My sole hope is that they don't end up erasing the older posts, from 2001 or so, when the Fray was still good.