Since this is already a heavily customized BBS,how about adding some of the fancy new syntax things that the kids are all using these days?
We can already be notified if a thread we are watching has activity, but what if someone wants to draw our attention to something we may not have seen yet? Throwing in an @MichaelWelter or something and the system will send an email similar to the watch email when it sees the @ and an actual user name.
This would need a user control panel update that would let users subscribe/unsubscribe from notifications (default unsub) in addition to the other code.
The process could happen on demand during the save action or in a cron job at night looking at the posts from “today”
The #tag thing would throw a post reference into a new tag_search table. Presently you can search for keywords (any or all) or you can search for author, this would add a third search box for tag and there could be an ajax that would assist users as they begin typing that search keyword that would hint with hits from the tag_search table. Results there would be really fast since the table would be two columns (tag [no need to normalize with a tag_list and a tag_id - just store the raw text], and post number). Might want a soundex on that ajax result in case someone has a different idea of how to make a phoneme.
Two more tangental ideas.
When you’re reading (not just editing) a post and you think someone ought to see it too. Make a column to the right of each post with a place to tag users. Type in @user (no ajax help here so that a list of user ids cannot be grabbed via brute force) and, depending on alert settings, when that user next logs in there will be a prompt that they have things that they may want to watch. (On second thought, this is what happens when whether users unsub from email alerts or not, there is always a notification of things they may wish to see)
There could be a second type of tag (again on the right hand side of the post column) - readers of a post may add a topicality tag to it. Some of these may be obvious (like the subforum it’s under) and some might flag a post for potential to move to a more correct subforum. If we did have an available_tags table [sigh, normalization is always better in the long run] then it could be seeded with the topics from the forums we already have. Other categories for tags could be OS, DBMS, #timesavers, SAP version number, and we might need a #defunct tag to throw on things that have stopped being relevant no matter how useful they were in that one strange post or way back in 1998. This is sort of served by locking some forums presently.
Would a reply automatically get the same tags applied as the original post? Are tags just one type of metadata about a post that might warrant an expansion? Instead of a tag_search_table have a post_metadata table - now with three columns where one of them is meta_data_type of which tag is just one type…
kbrazell (BOB member since 2003-08-19)