Old Fool Site Navigation post mortem

Many people prefer the old Fool site that might be disappearing in a few days. What did the old site do well? (This topic is only about recording what people liked about the old site, and so I would prefer to avoid complaints about the new site in this topic.) The people who generously post are the most important part of any forum, but this topic is more about the nuts and bolts of website navigation. I am posting this in MI, because this is the board I most often post in.

7 Reddit-Esque Stock Message Boards 2021 says The Motley Fool “discussion boards and The CAPS Community sections feature user-generated investment ideas and exchanges. With roots going back to the early days of the internet, The Motley Fool’s discussion boards are lively with engaged users posting ideas in a traditional message board format. CAPS, for its part, is a novel idea in which a community of investors can rate a stock as “buy” or “sell,” building up a track record over time that follows the performance of their picks. This allows members to prove their stock-picking skills over a period of years, decades even, and for users to see what stocks the best of the best like over time. Although tailored to a more casual community than the previous two investing forums, it’s still a good place to generate and exchange ideas.”

7 Top Stock Market Forums 2021 says “The Motley Fool is a high-profile site that covers many financial topics. Their investment forum is called the “Motley Fool Community Discussion Boards .” There are boards for financial planning, learning to invest, real money stock picks, and stocks A to Z, among others. The Motley Fool Community is focused on investment discussions, of course, but in addition to the typical financial topics, there are boards for things like food and drink, fun and games, religion and culture, and even relationships. This top stock market forum has a place to discuss almost everything under the sun.”

The type of discussion I enjoy is something like Subject: GTR1 Total Shareholder Yield or Why does PEG work? There is a robust discussion of valuable ideas, with strong opinions shared.

The Old Fool Site has 2 main views: a list of posts to find posts, and a thread page for reading posts. All pages have Previous/Next buttons for navigation, and Threaded/Unthreaded buttons for organization. Posts are given Recs. Threads do not get Recs.

The List Page is sorted by Date and includes Author and Recs columns so it is easy find popular posts of interest. The Threaded button allows viewing by thread. The Next button allows quick browsing through time. The List Page is compact, with 20 single lines listing 20 posts. This compact view makes it easy to read quickly. Clicking a post leads to the Single Post Page.

The Single Post Page only has a single post. Again, easy to read with no scrolling needed. The Threaded button brings up the entire thread. The Next button moves to the next post or thread. Simple but effective navigation.

List of Posts with a duplicate archive
Thread Page with a duplicate archive
Single Post Page with a duplicate archive

Important features:
Posts get Recs. Threads do not get Recs.
Can navigate in Threaded or Unthreaded mode.
Buttons are used for navigation, with little need for scrolling except for long threads.
There is a Next button on every page. Similar to turning the page of a book.

7 Likes

Great post. I’ll add a few:

  • The Next button allows quick browsing through time.

    You can also easily find your way to a specific point in time:

    image

  • You can bookmark and link to a specific point in time. Great for picking up were you left, for example. Random example of link to a specific point: https://boards.fool.com/sauls-investing-discussions-120980.aspx?mid=35147829

  • From any post or thread, clicking on the board name takes you back to the board to the point in time where the post/thread was. In other words, you have context. Don’t wanna derail this thread, but find it easiest to illustrate this by using a thread in the new layout:

Clicking on the board title (on the old site) takes you back to where the post is located and you can find out what the fuzz was all about.

  • The list of posts/threads displays absolute dates, making it quick and easy to connect posts to important events, e.g. a Fed meeting or a company reporting results for the quarter.

  • The layout within a thread is compact with minimal padding between posts, and most of the screen space is used for the actual content. This makes it easy to fit long posts or discussions and get an overview with minimal scrolling. Or see the whole post.

6 Likes

This must have been configurable by user preference. Because my List Page was 50 lines/posts.

In addition (and better than) the Next & Prev buttons, you could hit keys. Comma = Prev and Period = Next.

4 Likes