How To: Recreate Favorite Boards. Mostly. Kinda

Edit: I added some screenshots in the next post

I’m sure I’m not alone in being a frequent user of the old favorite boards. That page was my home page for TMF. I had my familiar list of boards there, with the count of unread posts guiding me in my navigation around TMF. I could pick a board to read, I could hit up a favorite that hadn’t seen any posts recently and post something, I could quickly and easily navigate around the board to my heart’s content, always returning to Favorite Boards to guide my travels.

That simplicity is gone. Funeral services are pending. In lieu of flowers, buy yourself a harpsichord.

Rather than continue to mourn, I decided to figure a few things out. I have no idea if this is the best way or the easiest way to replace Favorite Boards, but so far it seems to be working for me. (Pending the ability of computers to count unread messages, but that’s a different problem.)

Quick review. Boards are now Categories. Posts threaded together are Topics. Unthreaded mode is gone. TPTB have decided you must read in a threaded mode. (That’s not actually terrible - the other common bulletin board software I’ve used is phpBB (now known as XenForo) and it is strictly threaded.)

Importantly, there doesn’t appear to be any main hub that has lots of good info. There’s just one rather bland spot on the Community where you will get dumped when you start your journey. So where you start doesn’t actually matter too much. You can be pretty much anywhere to start following these instructions.

Helpfully, the TMF coding gurus - with some help from apparently recalcitrant hamsters who didn’t want to run that fast - brought your old favorite boards (at least the ones that survived “The Purge”) into this brave new chaotic world. But the location isn’t exactly what I would have chosen. So let’s find that and see what we can do. I’m working on a desktop computer with a nice big screen. You can do all of this (at least I think you can) on a mobile device as well. With one notable exception. Let’s start there.

Step 1. Go to the Side Bar. … Wait! Stop right there! The Side Bar is NOT a tavern down the street. So as much as this new site is tempting to you hit up the local tavern, that’s not where we’re headed. Yet. :grinning: Look at the top of your screen, in the dark blue bar. Desktops users, look at the left end. Mobile users, look to the right. In that location you’ll see three parallel lines, affectionately know as the “Hamburger Menu”. Click on that. Desktops should see a menu on the left side of the screen. Clicking the hamburger again will close the menu. I see no reason to ever close it on a desktop. Mobiles get a pop up menu that covers the screen. You may need to close it from time to time, and it will definitely close when you choose an item from the menu. To close it on your mobile, tap outside of the white area of the menu.

This Side Bar will have three bolded headings, COMMUNITY, CATEGORIES, and TAGS. Under COMMUNITY, you’ll see a couple of sub headings, one of which is Tracked. Next to Tracked is likely a count of unread posts. Mine currently says “2 unread”. If you have no unread posts, it will be blank, leaving you to wonder if there really are no unread posts. (Hint, there probably are, but they won’t show up here. Again, a different problem.)

This is where the TMF coding gurus chose to put all of your favorite boards. The unread posts here are those from your favorite boards. If that’s good enough for you, that’s great. You’re done! Go hit up your local Side Bar and drown your sorrows. But I’d guess most of you are still reading because this isn’t what you want. So let’s move on to that.

Step B. Edit the Side Bar. What we’re going to do is put your old Favorite Boards onto the Side Bar so that you can see them all of the time. But we’re going to have a small issue. Some boards will have to go under the CATEGORIES heading. Some will have to be under the TAGS heading. In general, boards discussing a single stock will be under the TAGS heading. Boards discussing things like investing approaches and personal finance will be under the COMMUNITY heading. But I doubt that this description is perfect. So if you can’t find your board under one heading, look under the other.

So how do we edit the Side Bar? Desktop users will have to move your mouse over to the Side Bar and hover the pointer over or just below the CATEGORIES heading. Over any existing entries there will work also, but you probably don’t have any yet. The TAGS heading works the same way. When you do that, a little gray pencil will appear to the right of the heading. If you’re eyesight is as bad is mine, it’s a gray line running on a diagonal, looking a bit like an out of focus / character. Mobile users have that pencil there all the time. Lucky them.

Click on this little gray smudge. You will miraculously be taken to a place where you can edit what appears on your side bar. See that “Categories Section” on the new page? That’s a drop down box, looking (and later we’ll find, acting) unlike any drop down box I’ve ever used. Not that I’ve been out all that much - being an old luddite and part-time fuddy duddy. But there it is. Click the “+” in the drop down box. If you have any Categories (or Tags in that section), you’ll see them in individual boxes with little colored boxes and an X next to them. I have no idea what the colored boxes are for, but the X will remove that Category or Tag from your Side Bar. To add one - which is why we’re here - the word “Search” will be there just below the drop down box. Click in there and start typing the first few letters of your desired favorite board. Stupid design time again. Matches to your search will appear below the search box and below any existing selected categories. When your board appears, click on it. That will add it to your personalized list. You can add as many or as few as you’d like. And again, if you know there’s a board you want but it doesn’t show up, switch to the Tags Section.

Once you’ve added all you want (or even if you’re not done and just want to have a couple to test things out) there is one more critical step. We have to deal with one of the stupidest bits of design I’ve ever encountered. Opening this drop down box has caused these lists to cover up the all important “Save Changes” button. So you MUST click or tap outside of the drop down list to close the list. Then click on Save Changes. If you don’t do this step, all of your work will be lost. And you will be frustrated (for good reason IMHO) that nothing happened.

Step III: Test it out. Desktop users should still have the Side Bar open. Mobilites will need to reopen it. Then click on one of your favorite boards. But you’re not done being annoyed yet. If there are unread posts on the board, you will be presented with only the unread posts. If there are no unread posts, you’ll get a list of all posts. When you get that list of all posts, you’ll almost certainly have some unread posts (topics the stupid computer thinks you’ve read will be in gray, topics with unread posts will be in black).

By doing this I find I have something approaching the utility of the old favorite boards page. It’s not identical. But I think it’s pretty close. Hope this helps a bit. If nothing else, I’ve written it down for me so that next week when I want to change something, I’ll have a reference.

–Peter

31 Likes

Decided to add some screen shots. Let’s see how this works.

Hamburger Menu

Hamburger Menu

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Sidebar and edit location (Why don’t YOU give a shot at writing with a mouse!)

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Sidebar editor

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Where’s the save button? Under the menu - about here
Also, the search box

12 Likes

Thanks very very much :slight_smile:
(Needs at least 20 letters - who knew?)

Jeff

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

:clap:

Yes, really helpful summary. Thank you. I was beginning to become frustrated with my finding my way around the new board changes, so your post is very timely.

Thanks

Jonathan

I’m going to add on to this - partly to bring the thread up in the current list, and partly because the count of unread posts that will show up in your sidebar is not reliable.

One problem that you’ll find after adding categories and tags to your sidebar, is that when you click on one of the categories or tags, you really don’t know if you’re seeing all of the threads with new posts. In fact, if the sidebar says there are unread posts, you probably are NOT seeing all of them.

My latest workaround is to take a look at the top of your screen after clicking on a category or tag. It will look something like this (without the ugly green arrow - that’s my graffiti on these overly slick looking boards):

You’ll see that the word “Unread” has a gray box around it. That means you are looking only at “unread” posts. Which is not really unread posts the way most folks would define it. It’s some subset of unread posts meeting some silly and arbitrary additional criteria. (I’ve had it explained to me, but it makes about as much sense as including only the posts that were written by left handed posters where the post content includes the letter “Z” but not the letter “Q”.)

What you need to do is click on the “Latest” button. This button doesn’t really give you only the latest posts, either. It gives you ALL of the threads on the board, sorted by the ones with the most recent post on top. But in the one tiny bit of good design here, the post topics will be either in Gray or Black. The black ones are the ones you haven’t read. They grey ones you have read.

One other tip, in the sidebar - where we put all of your favorite boards, that count of unread posts is probably wrong. If you haven’t visited a board in a while, you might want to check on it to see if there are new posts that these crazy boards have decided they aren’t going to let you know about. I’ve been surprised on more than one occasion to find multiple new threads going on.

–Peter

8 Likes

Thanks so much for this. I was just about to post here to ask for advice, because one of my highly important community groups keeps indicating “1 unread” post, but nothing new appears. And the only thing that DOES appear is a thread I had contributed to back in January. I cannot believe how user-UNfriendly this newly configured website is. There is nothing intuitive, nothing visually satisfying, nothing that has worked easily for me. I’m not a tech smartie, but I’m not a dummy either. And coming after the wrenching loss of the vibrant community that was such a productive joy for so many years, and the promise that the new tmf would be great…it’s like your beloved food-and-friends hangout of many years has transitioned to new-and-improved, which turns out to be no place to sit with your friends any longer, and you can get a bag of meh crackers to eat if you can figure out how to find them.

I’ll see if any of your guidance works for me—and thank you for it in advance!

=sheila

4 Likes

For any new thread the system knows where you left off reading, so when a new post is added that is where you will be positioned when you open it.

BUT, when a new post is added to a thread that was started on the old system, the system doesn’t have a record of where you were last there because that happened in the old system. So it starts you at the top, at least the first time in the thread. Once you’ve read the new post at the end it remembers that.

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Not mine. A bunch of boards, in addition to Brk.b which was a fave, that I had never participated in. If I were not locked inside in the middle of a tropical storm raging around me, I wouldn’t even be here. Whatever I stumble upon is TOTALLY random.

2 Likes

INHO, It’s a mess!

| inparadise
September 30 |

  • | - |

ptheland:

Helpfully, the TMF coding gurus - with some help from apparently recalcitrant hamsters who didn’t want to run that fast - brought your old favorite boards

Not mine. A bunch of boards, in addition to Brk.b which was a fave, that I had never participated in. If I were not locked inside in the middle of a tropical storm raging around me, I wouldn’t even be here. Whatever I stumble upon is TOTALLY random.

1 Like

Don’t stop reading there. That “helpfully” comment was highly sarcastic. Keep following the instructions and you’ll get back to something approaching your old favorites.

It seems that way at first. (And frankly, it IS that way compared to what we’re used to.) These boards have an entirely different concept of organization - one that I don’t like either. If you stick with it for a bit, hopefully you’ll at least learn your way around.

I’m learning to tolerate them. For now. I may still give up - that will depend more on the content that remains than the boards.

–Peter

Your favorite boards were migrated to this platform as tracked tags, which you can find at the link below:

The “Tracked” link in the left sidebar will show you unread replies to existing topics or new topics in your tracked categories and tags:

image

1 Like

No doubt that must be true because you TMFers keep on saying that. However I see very few of my faves and a good number of those I never faved are in there. Perhaps no one from those boards, like Retirement Investing, Building/Maintaining a home, Budget Travels, for non-comprehensive example, have found their way through the mess and have yet to post. I am sure you have the ability to look at the old faves I had and check the new to see if I am delusional. I added BRK.B when I stumbled on it. It wasn’t originally in the new set up.

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But that hadn’t been my last thread/post on that board. Not remotely. And I have continued posting since the migration. Yet this ancient January post remains front and center. Farcical.

=sheila

1 Like

The old system kept track of where you left off on the board; read the last message and it remembered you had reached the end of the board. The new system keep track of where you left off in the thread. Until you finish reading a thread it is going to indicate it is not read.

That makes me suspect you haven’t scrolled to the end and read the last message - the new message - of the thread.

1 Like

I hear ya! Lots of stuff that makes sense to some people and not others. You and I are apparently part of those “others” who don’t get whatever kind of organization this is.

As to your ancient post (which can’t be that ancient, since they only migrated posts made on the old boards during 2022), you have two choices.

  1. Give up, click on it, scroll to the bottom, take two deep breaths promising yourself that you won’t scream (apparently if you click away too quickly - which is some undefined length of time - you haven’t “read” the post and it will continue to haunt you), then continue on your way.
  2. Leave it be. I’m told it should go away in two days. I haven’t had the patience to try that yet.

Is this a rational way to deal with a post you don’t want to read and don’t want to see? Nope. Not at all. But at least it works.

Best of luck to you, no matter what you choose.

–Peter

4 Likes

With Peter’s helpful guidance, I was able to find four of my old faves. There are more faves, but four is a good start. One other point, after that “Save” action, it took about 10-15 minutes for my categories to populate

Thanks Peter!

2 Likes

Just retrieved three more favorite boards - this time it was almost immediate

Thanks much to Peter for taking the time to share how to navigate around and add Tags, Categories. Saved me a lot of poking around time!

This is super helpful! Thanks @ptheland !

2 Likes