Forums » SEPHP Feature Requests

Acitivity Feed Search/Filter option

  • gs
    • 857 posts
    July 11, 2017 3:19 PM EDT

    Description: Search/Filter field to help locate desired content

     

     

    Rather than complicate things, I'd just like to keep it simple -> a Search field for text input.  This should filter across all content in the viewed Activity Feed.  (please disregard the other items in the screenshot as they don't pertain to this specific FR).

    Your thoughts?

    • 626 posts
    July 14, 2017 7:39 PM EDT
    gs said:

    Description: Search/Filter field to help locate desired content

     

     

    Rather than complicate things, I'd just like to keep it simple -> a Search field for text input.  This should filter across all content in the viewed Activity Feed.  (please disregard the other items in the screenshot as they don't pertain to this specific FR).

    Your thoughts?

     

    Hi GS. I think what you're trying to do may need to be achieved via a search widget, which only searches the activity feed for specific posts within a given time period. But no other content type.

  • gs
    • 857 posts
    July 14, 2017 8:26 PM EDT

    ==>"I think what you're trying to do may need to be achieved via a search widget, which only searches the activity feed for specific posts within a given time period. But no other content type."

    yes, a search widget may b even btr. i was just aiming for quick basic things like a simple search field and ability to sort like github (a separate FR here).  im already using a 3rd-party adv search which works great 4 other purposes.

     

    • 626 posts
    July 14, 2017 8:30 PM EDT
    gs said:

    ==>"I think what you're trying to do may need to be achieved via a search widget, which only searches the activity feed for specific posts within a given time period. But no other content type."

    yes, a search widget may b even btr. i was just aiming for quick basic things like a simple search field and ability to sort like github (a separate FR here).  im already using a 3rd-party adv search which works great 4 other purposes.

     

     

    I know. That's cool. Perhaps this is something which could transform the activity feed into its own post module like blogs or forums complete with its own landing, post and manage pages. Search would be a part of this.

    • 33 posts
    July 19, 2021 9:22 AM EDT
    This is a huge deficiency. SE does not index posts, either new or as comments to enable a search of same. This is the opposite of every single social media platform on the planet going back to BBS days 30+ years ago.

    "Posts", especially new posts - new threads are the very foundation of Social Media Content.

    Now, I see this issue addressed 4 years ago with no resolution.

    This makes me believe that platforn developers like myself are simply abandoning SE and moving on.
    • Moderator
    • 5919 posts
    July 20, 2021 5:06 AM EDT

    This is for an activity feed search. That sort of function is very heavy. If you are speaking of forum posts when you mention threads and BBS which was a bulletin board - similar to a forum. Two different things. The activity feed is the heaviest item on a social network. The only feed searches I've ever seen in a script are third party plugins and again, they are very heavy. As we serve all sorts of clients with all sorts of budgets, this sort of item would make it so that our clients who cannot afford high end dedicated servers would not be able to use the script.


    This post was edited by Donna at July 20, 2021 5:30 AM EDT
    • 626 posts
    July 20, 2021 5:38 AM EDT

    One way to make this implementation not so heavy, is to use a static cached file for searches already retrieved via the database. This helps if it's loaded on demand.

    The way this could work is that it doesn't use the activity feed module itself to display searched filter results. But rather the hashtag function in relation to already followed topics. So that rather than receiving notifications about comments to a specific group of topics someone follows, they could receive it as a feed instead. this function is completely separate from user notifications, which acts as a personal feed. The idea of this is that it could be extended to cached feed data from the activity feed, divided by interest, divided by module.

    Essentially combining the function of hashtags and notifications into posts divided into seen, not seen and interacted with. Similar to how Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram and other modern chat apps work when messages are read, bookmarked or noticed within a group.

    Actually search results take the longest by far to load on any site period because you're doing a database query that has to load the entire contents of the database for answers to a specific text. So for any site, the longer the database takes to perform a query, under all relevant tables the search function has access to, the slower the site performs while reading other tables in relation. Making the concurrent user experience something to be desired while this is going on.

    Again, one way around this is to ditch the concept of the activity feed entirely, and replace it with a united system of hashtags, notifications and search results that get cached every so often. Twitter does this effectively and the feeds get cached every x minutes where a user has to manually refresh the feed to display the latest content, rather than auto updating. Freeing page loads to be just that, without anything checking for updates while the user is on that page in the background.

    I've long since felt the need to replace the activity feed on my site altogether with something that better resembles user context. I mean, scrolling endlessly is nestalgic for a number of reasons. Primarily being due to the fact that you don't have to do much, until it comes time to click on a post you like. Thereby leaving your spot in the feed you were currently scrolling for updates. this means more time spent trying to navigate to the posts that interest you as a whole.

    Having an activity feed filter is a great precursor option to exploring different types of ways content can get pushed to users, rather than users having to pull all site content for large networks and manually sifting through it to reply at random to someone within the first 10 posts or so they see. With that in mind, content filters should be applied based on what the database is able to sort natively, before being pushed as a cached feed when the user isn't trying to load the page.

    I've noticed, that people are most active the closer a notification asks them to get involved on a personal level. Accepting friend requests, replying to mentions, and other first level transactions. So perhaps the best filters to start out with, are ones that define the level of activity a user makes on the site to date. And perhaps suggest things they haven't tried yet when browsing other module types users have made based on viewing preferences. Yes, less is more in this case.

    • 33 posts
    July 20, 2021 12:16 PM EDT
    Thanks for being active on this thread. Your last paragraph resonates the most with me.

    How do we influence SE to fill this Big Gap and make it happen?

    Right now, my users simply leave the search function scratching their heads thinking that it is broken. 
    ElsharaSilverheart said:

     

    I've noticed, that people are most active the closer a notification asks them to get involved on a personal level. Accepting friend requests, replying to mentions, and other first level transactions. So perhaps the best filters to start out with, are ones that define the level of activity a user makes on the site to date. And perhaps suggest things they haven't tried yet when browsing other module types users have made based on viewing preferences. Yes, less is more in this case.

     

    • Moderator
    • 5919 posts
    July 20, 2021 12:51 PM EDT
    ElsharaSilverheart said:

    Again, one way around this is to ditch the concept of the activity feed entirely, and replace it with a united system of hashtags, notifications and search results that get cached every so often. Twitter does this effectively and the feeds get cached every x minutes where a user has to manually refresh the feed to display the latest content, rather than auto updating. Freeing page loads to be just that, without anything checking for updates while the user is on that page in the background.

    I've long since felt the need to replace the activity feed on my site altogether with something that better resembles user context. I mean, scrolling endlessly is nestalgic for a number of reasons. Primarily being due to the fact that you don't have to do much, until it comes time to click on a post you like. Thereby leaving your spot in the feed you were currently scrolling for updates. this means more time spent trying to navigate to the posts that interest you as a whole.

     

    Bingo as far as I'm concerned. We don't even have the feed here. Too heavy. Hashtags are a tool that was intended to work as you mention. A way to filter specific content and find it easier. But this thread is for an activity feed search/filter. A new thread, if one doesn't exist, would be towards changing things from activity feed to the former Unite method of doing things. Though it looked like a typical feed, the items being added were in ONE database table of Posts. That was able to be searched better and utilized better (third party apps for example - a dev only needed to find one database table rather than a separate one for each feature - blog, photo, etc). I don't know the limitations of PHP in regards to that though. Unite was react - too expensive for current clients to afford. Anyway, hashtags would work for searching.

    • 626 posts
    July 20, 2021 6:51 PM EDT

    One thing I have noticed about the activity feed, that's unique to Social engine in comparison with other similar platforms,. Is that when ever you place it on an object profile page (blog view, topic view, group view, photo view, etc) the feed only shows items native to that object. However it doesn't replace the comment wall, making it not ideal to be used as one if members were able to post status feeds. Yet that's exactly how it's used for member profiles, rather than adding the traditional comments module that loads a separate list of comments.

    You're right. Too many database queries and tables exist for the current activity feed module to effectively keep up with. If hashtags could be used site wide, rather than module wide, we could ditch the tagging system entirely. Then use a new module, content filters, to replace the current system of recent and popular (enter module name here) which takes up the majority of space in layout editor.

    One implementation I use to get people interested in first level transactions on the site, is by combining the function of a poll with a notification about a topic. Based on their response, I do a broadcast message, and ask them in an email about various comparisons in real time. For instance, if we were talking about shoes. I would create two topics in the forum. One would be about favourite brands, and the other, favourite types of shoe. Then I'd send out a newsletter asking members what they enjoy most about shoes. Two links would be used to automatically get them interested in the topics that I posted. If they clicked on the answer (style choice) I knew they wanted to see different brands of the same shoe. Versus the answer (heals and boots) then they would likely be interested in a broader discussion about shoe dressware.

    The reason I bring this up, is because I tell members it's a poll, when really it's two separate topics. That way their vote or answer isn't final and they are able to reinteract with (secondary level transactions) a discovery they made on their own. This helps with the system of pushing content to users in ways they can relate to. The next thing I do, is create a network for various interest groups, create a page with the categories based on the forum they replied to, add the user to the individual network and allow certain networks the priviledge of seeing certain forums right on their home page.

    That is in place of the activity feed filters I have set up for my community. It automatically lets the member know they're special, and only they can see the tab container with the categories of the forums inside. This way they get to see a preview of the post, along with other posts in that category that were only made possible using first level transaction notifications. From there, they bookmark the thread, and I do it again with other categories.

    What's the benefits of a curated feed? Well since we're talking about filters, hashtags preliminarily focus on adding all contents to a feed. But if you want more than one, categories should be used after someone posts something, not before. So in this way, what matters most to me, is figuring out the best way to create an activity feed that unites notifications and categories that dynamically update as users make themselves at home.

    The best implementation of this I've ever seen, is through polls. Currently the poll module in SE leads to a sepearate page that records anonymous votes. The only way to even know someone voted in a poll, is by looking at the personal profile's activity feed of every user. One way to get around this, is to do what Instagram does in asking users for topics to follow. Then when ever they're tagged or mentioned, in their personal settings area, they should in theory get a notification when ever that tag is used. The way this would work, is by adding all site categories as tags, then allowing members to pick which ones they wish to follow. Have those linked with networks, so that categories to network mapping is available. Then use that to instigate the filters for transactional and leveled emails for users to be notified of new activity. Using new posts belonging to users of a specific network as a way to generate a notification where a new comment or post was made.

    If this was set up correctly, this could be the new way of collecting profile information. Rather than having users fill out the same questions over and over again. Having links to categories users follow instead of basic information about a user, would help them to automatically fill in network or category related information. If members were able to simply click on a category, add a few lines about themselves depending on if categories could have sub fields, and then follow that category for any matching key words. those sub fields would be based on user generated interests. "I like (object name) what do you like?" Things like this. This would create a kind of interactive activity feed. Where the emails that get sent out notifying members of what's going on, is the display output for the activity itself rather than a module on the site. This way the hierarchy of categories replaces the filter options for search and provides you with a fast, scalable activity feed that unites the concept of polls with network category mapping for members to receive and provide information relevant to them.

    right now, the absolute best way for this to be achieved is by using the classifieds module. You'll need to rename it to something else for this to work effectively. However it's the only module that allows for profile fields to be addressed. Classifieds has category integration already. The only thing that's missing is the activity feed, which you could easily add to the item view page. It won't give you instant email ntoifications when ever a new item is listed, but it gives you an overview of how the framework would be set up on the user form level if something like this were to automatically be set up. Forget icebreaker questions, this is simply people reaching out in the same room and noticing all the hands in the same space for someone to grab on to to create a chain link web. Which is precisely the kind of thing you want for a community to know itself and gain absolute traction. The exact way Quora and discord works.

    • 33 posts
    July 20, 2021 7:32 PM EDT

    Okay... I am from the extreme represented by my users, whom are all older folks, that the Facebook interface is the best. I do use Discord and Quora - a bit. My members would hate Discord.

    In simplicity, they all just want to know what their "friends" are doing and what is going on in the "groups" they subscribe to. That's about it. 

    Where the search function breaks down is: 1) member receives a notification that a friend has done something, a post etc.. 2) member scrolls by and does something else. 3) member wants to go back and find what that friend did an searches for a keyword that they remembered, such as "beer". 4) because that friend simply made a wall post, SE has no search result. 5) member is frustrated. 


    • 626 posts
    July 20, 2021 8:34 PM EDT

    I've said this for ever. The second Social Engine comes up with a way to add one form to post a topic in all forums rather than having to browse to each category to post a separate thread likely in a separate database, the activity feed itself really would be history. The reason is because this is exactly how blogs work. And so combining those two modules would mean that we had better control over how posts get viewed.

    Both blogs and forums show up in search just fine for me. One thing you could try to solve your unique use case, would be to disable posting to the feed and just take out that module entirely. Instead, put a link up that says add post. Redirect that to a forum of your choosing. That way, it's a discussion thread that won't as easily be excluded from search.

    Just to let you know, both comments and status feeds do get excluded from search. Forum replies and posts do not. What I would do in your case, is limit the activity feed to just status updates if you just use the wall for mainly sharing posts. The problem with that is that there's a character limit in status updates, which can only be solved by using another module. Add to that, well search works great if you are able to display results by recently added. But as it stands right now, both options leave a whole lot to be desired.

    I know from experience, my mother exclusively uses Facebook because she doesn't want to ask anyone else to join a site. that's half the hurtle right there, because Facebook is somewhere she knows she can go to get status updates from all the people that she talks to. And you know what it is about Facebook she checks? It's not live feeds, it's not groups. It's messenger. The branding alone, says it all. If I don't need to talk to you, I don't need to live connect at all somehow. And the majority of users think along these lines when using apps now days. Because the age for forum discoveries has long since past. Accept for people who use the internet in ways that they need to sign up to be able to see content that would otherwise be behind a pay wall or a registration form only a search engine took them to.

    How do you compete with that? When 90% of the internet runs on brand recognition? And even then it's because you have to look for where someone is, before talking to them. They don't think about the environment, or the brand, so long as they know it's the only place to go where you can give them what they're looking for? And if an interface doesn't let them express or find it, they leave you in the dust.

    The solution is first level transactional notifications based on relative one click results. I actually took the search widget off my site because it had problems displaying everything and I had no control over what it could actually search for. Honestly the best results you could ever get from search, would be the forum module when in relation to Social Engine right now. As for an activity filter, well you'll need to go into the activity feed settings to customize just what gets sent in the main feed. Then for any other kind of updates, well, just instruct people to look at wall feeds. Or get a custom advanced plugin.

    The only way to get what you want natively from the custom feed plugin, is to put everything in a tab container. Recent blogs, recent photos, recent status updates (limit activity feed to this) etc based on the plugins you actually use and set the default to status updates. I do believe that you can still get away with putting the activity feed on object type pages and profile pages by leaving the items you want to see checked there respectively if you wanted to see more than status feeds by limiting those to just the main feed view as opposed to viewing a blog post or a forum thread.

    Will SocialEngine ever build an activity feed replacement, who knows. You know that the search widget can be customized so that if you put it in a tab container, the defaults can search whatever modules you use most often in case you want another quick fix for finding posts of a specific type. Maybe that would get people to use them more, and increase the chances of the older people having a better time on your site. If all else fails, create custom menus and spam them everywhere on the pages that get most visits based on the best interface that allows you to define a decent scrolling experience for anyone on a mobile phone and desktop computer alike.

    If I didn't have literally almost a decade worth of information stuck in Social Engine, I would have transferred everything to a forum software already for the convenience of not having to deal with separate modules. But they can't display media in an optimal way. And people love the ability to log in, post a photo, leave a status update and then get on with their day. something the activity feed alone, takes full responsibility for displaying as a primary module that I can only get rid of, if I replace it with 5 modules for photos, search, albums, members online and comments (most likely a forum category) with a custom menu for good measure to have one link, to add a comment.

    Ideally this could be streamlined but honestly, MVC based php apps are complicated and the only way around using them is suffering the consequences of using the web without the ability to embed posts and view media. In actual honesty, Word Press surprises me with some of their plugins what can be done to mitigate this requirement on the blog level. but their ecosystem is so saturated with ads, that it's worth it to have a custom solution like that which has a development team standing between us and the naked code browsers uses to help us stay connected.

    Suffice it to say though, that if anyone came up with a better way to display relevant information, not necessarily having to redefine what's already been posted, but just the capability to interlink posts themselves. That would be the master fix for all of these problems.