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What information should be displayed on a network profile?

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I want to design a network profile (and then possibly implement it). There was already discussion about that in Community dropdown and profile information, Understanding how posts were possibly received by the community --- network wide and there is an issue with when single site accounts should be created and a discussion about user preferences.

Here I want to present my thoughts on the network profile and ask you for your feedback on them. What would you like to have on a network profile?

  1. Ways to access the network profile: from each site profile and from codidact.com/users/12345

  2. Available tabs when it's another user: Profile, Activity, Vote Summary (as in the site profile)

  3. Additional available tabs when it's me: Account, Edit, Preferences

  4. Content of the Profile tab: top-left: a free text field and some links like for the site profile, below a list/table of all communities where the user has an account with links to their site profiles and statistics (number of questions, answers, edits, votes, reputation). Possibly sortable by name of community or stats mentioned above. On the right side the avatar and a summary (total number of questions, answers, edits, comments, votes across the whole network).

  5. Content of the Activity tab: same as for the site profiles only with content from all sites of course

  6. Content of the Vote Summary tab: same as for the site profiles only with content from all sites of course

  7. Content of the Account tab: I'm not sure, do we have site specific accounts here or is there only a network wide account, if so, that Account tab should vanish from the site profiles and only appear on the network profile

  8. Content of the Edit tab: I'm not sure, do we have the ability to have a different profile for each site?, if yes, maybe we could use the network profile as a way to copy text quickly to all site profiles if needed, but do we really need a unique profile text section/avatar for each site? If it's not unique, it should be moved from the site profile to the network profile.

  9. Content of the Preferences tab: The site profiles' preferences tabs have network preferences and local community preferences. Simply split them and put the network preferences on the network profile's preferences tab.

Some questions I asked myself while designing this:

  • Do Activity and Vote Summary need to be separate tabs? One could call it History instead and then have filters and sorting on it or expand the number of tabs into a larger list (questions, answers, ...).
  • Do you need to have a profile page text and avatar image that is specific for each community? Why not, I'd say, but then with potentially tens of communities this might be a nightmare to manage.
  • Is there one account (email/password) for the whole network or one account for each site?
  • What else would be nice?
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1 comment thread

Working on QPixel? (10 comments)

4 answers

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I would like to see a place that links to the sites I care about, and therefore want to check in on regularly.

I currently have to bring up the main page, then click on the sites I want to visit while skipping over the stuff I don't care about. That wasn't much of a problem when there were only a few sites and they all fit on one screen. The sites are displayed on the main page using a lot of space (unnecessarily so in my opinion, but that's another issue). This problem will get worse as more sites are added.

A sustainable solution is for each user to have their own succinct list of sites that they have chosen. Then it's easy to go thru the list.

Whenever you participate in a site beyond just viewing, the site could be automatically added. Of course you'd have the option to remove it, and you need to be able to manually add sites. For example, I'm "watching" one site now that I haven't participated in, so would want that on my list.

Added about Dashboard

Several comments mentioned the current dashboard. It's not really what I'm looking for, and I didn't know it existed. I went to my profile here and looked around for anything called "dashboard" in any of the sections, but found nothing. I can't figure out how I was supposed to know of this.

In any case, this only addresses some of the problems. The two biggest problems I see with the current dashboard as opposed to what I'm proposing is:

  • It's way too verbose in its use of space.
  • I can't customize which sites I see and in what order.

Being able to quickly see where there is anything new is very useful, and that's the sort of summary info I'd like to see, but only for the sites I choose, and in a more compact form. When you click on a link to a specific site, you should get to a page that shows recent activity relevant to you. This would include any new votes, comments to your posts, and explicit replies to any of your comments.

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1 comment thread

Customizable landing page? (6 comments)
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I thought the best way to respond to this answer would be with a sketch.

The answer raises a few key points:

  • Show me my communities (not all of them), in an order I choose.
  • Show me where there's new stuff I should know about.
  • Compactly.

For the "list of communities" part of the network profile, I was imagining something like this:

mockup

Each community in the list shows the following info:

  • Logo and name: drag up or down to re-order communities in your list.

  • Reputation: tooltip shows when this number last changed, and the number is a link to the Vote Summary tab on the profile on that community.

  • Number of top-level posts (in all categories): probably needs a better label, but it's not just questions because there are also articles and there could be others.

  • Number of answers: even if there are other types of posts that are not top-level posts in the future, I think it's ok to lump them in here.

  • For the owner only: the "silver dot" indicator like you see in the category list or on the dashboard, and the tooltip indicates which categories have new activity since you last visited. I'm assuming that since we compute this for the category list already, it's not arduous to compute and show here.

  • (Edited to add:) For the owner only: number of pending notifications from that community. (Not shown in the sketch.) We don't have anything to link to yet for community-specific notifications, but at least this tells you what's waiting in your global inbox.

  • For the owner only: number of flags raised (link to your flags page), with some visible indicator if there are new responses to your flags. We don't currently indicate new responses anywhere (you have to know to go look), so I don't know if this is hard. I'm including flags here as an extra reminder of/affordance for "whatever happened to that flag I raised?".

Not shown here, but could be useful if we can figure out how to do it: pending notifications for that community only, or at least an indication that you have some.

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1 comment thread

Great start, I'd like a few more details. (5 comments)
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Do Activity and Vote Summary need to be separate tabs? One could call it History instead and then have filters and sorting on it or expand the number of tabs into a larger list (questions, answers, ...).

I think of Activity and Vote Summary as being pretty different. Activity is "stuff I did"; Vote Summary is "feedback I received". Usually when I'm looking at one I don't want to have to sift through the other.

One thing I've been wanting to do on the profile pages for a while is to be able to filter the posts list by type and/or category. Right now you have a list of all posts, which you can sort by score or age. I'd like to be able to select "answers" or "blog posts" or even "meta questions" and only see those posts. I'd also like to be able to see breakdowns by type and category, maybe a grid of categories (across the top) and post types (down the side) with numbers in the cells. (One way to implement the filters I want would be to add row and column totals and then make all the numbers clickable.) And/or maybe the "answer" and "meta" (etc) labels are clickable and become filters. As you can see, I haven't really worked this out yet; on a draft roadmap that you haven't seen yet (coming soon), I pencilled in "profile filters" after filters for the post list, thinking there'd be reusable code. The list of posts in the profile is a specialized post list, after all.

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0 comment threads

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Is there one account (email/password) for the whole network or one account for each site?

There is one account for the whole network. Profiles on individual communities are auto-created when you visit a community for the first time while logged in.

It would take some work to create separate profiles on each community, so before we do that I'd want to have a discussion about the benefits. It sounds like the main thing people would like to be able to vary per-community is the "about" text. Since we now have community-specific preferences (we didn't when profiles were first implemented), there might be a way to allow per-community "about" text without creating separate profiles. (I'm speculating; I haven't asked.)

As you surmised, the Edit and Account settings are network-wide. (Account is stuff like passwords and 2FA; Edit is to edit the stuff shown in the profile.) While these are network-wide and should be editable from the network profile, let's be careful about removing them from the per-community profiles. For someone who joins and participates in one community here, the experience should be coherent.

One possibility is to mirror those tabs (like they're mirrored on all communities now) on the network profile -- you can edit those fields from anywhere. Another is to provide paths from the community profiles to the network profile where those can be edited -- and also provide a path back. I suspect the redundancy of having them everywhere will be easier and less confusing than centralizing them, but that's just my gut feeling and maybe I'm wrong. (In other words: just my opinion, not a directive from the staff.)

We should probably add some text to those pages to the effect that the changes you make here apply across the network.

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2 comment threads

Other (more important) reason to allow separate accounts (3 comments)
Don't split the "about" text by default. (1 comment)

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