Hold that thought!

The new version of IdeaStorm that I have been talking about for the last month is almost here.  The good news is the new site will bring some new features many of you have been asking about for quite a while.  The bad news is the site will be in a Read Only mode for a few days.  We’re focused on minimizing the interruption as much as possible, but now might be a good time to take a few days off and come back to see us on Monday (Oct. 27th).  Please share your thoughts on the new site by either posting new ideas next week or discussing them in the Storm Room.  As always, keep all your ideas, votes and comments coming!

Update from Lionel: Vida just published a post that says the new IdeaStorm site is live. Replication may still take some time, but you should be able to see the new site soon if you can't already.

So, What's Changing???

1) The Look.  The Feel.  The Layout.

We have been told before that Ideastorm should get a new look.  One of the biggest requests was to Change the COLORS!!!  I'm happy to report that we will have a new look with new colors.  We are also rearranging the page layout to be easier to use.  For example, the categories will have more prominent placement on the left navigation instead of the lower right.  And when posting your ideas, we have laid out the page in what I think is a much easier way to select categories, while also limiting everyone to 3 categories per idea.

2) Text editing

You have asked us to Add an HTML Editor Windows into IdeaStorm and Don't Disable HTML!.  We are adding a Rich Text editor to include bold, underline, italics, linking, picture upload and more.  This will be included on both idea posts and comments.  This is something that I am very excited about and believe will make the site easier to use while much more engaging to read.

3) Duplicates and Merges

How many ideas can I find asking for us to do a better job in both finding duplicate ideas and in how we merge them together??  Unfortunately – there are way too many which shows just how true the problem really is!!!

I am sure I didn't catch them all, but you get the point!  We have 2 great things going on here.  First, we will have an improved "Duplicate Suggestor" that suggests similar ideas immediately after you input your idea title.  This should cut down on the number of duplicate ideas and encourage people to vote on current ideas rather than submitting a new one.  Here's a brief look at how it will work (as well as a sneak peak at the new colors)

IdeaStorm post 

And when duplicates are merged, they will truly become a child idea of the parent idea and be presented together, rather than merged within the comments.  You'll just have to see this one in action and let me know what you think. 

4) Idea Point Value 

The first piece of feedback I expect to hear is that the data is wrong or the point totals are off.  Some of them will in fact be different than before, but they are indeed correct.  Our dedicated long time users of IdeaStorm will remember that we initially allowed guest voting.  In other words, we didn't require people to register to vote.  This was changed within the first week as ideas were receiving multiple votes from the same address.  We have chosen this opportunity in a data migration to exclude all guest votes.  The key place you will see this is in the Top ideas tab as some of the order of Top Ideas have shifted.  dhart's idea to Pre-Installed Linux | Ubuntu | Fedora | OpenSUSE | Multi-Boot has been moved down to the #3 spot while his idea to Pre-Installed OpenOffice | alternative to MS Works & MS Office moves up to #1.  I think this will actually make dhart happy to see.

5) Profile Pages and Points

We have changed the lay-out of the profile pages so you can more clearly track your activity and the activity on your ideas.  In addition, instead of listing the recent replies to ideas you have previously commented on below your log in box, we will now show you the number of recent replies and you can link to the detail on your profile page.  

You may also notice a difference in your point value.  There are 2 reasons for this.  Points are awarded based on other people voting your idea higher.  For ideas that have points adjusted from the situation I reference in #4 above, your points will be decreased.  We have also added in a bonus of 500 points for each idea that is either Implemented or Partially Implemented.  Some of you will see an increase because of this.

Again, I'm looking forward to seeing the new site and all your comments next week!

About the Author: Vida Killian