the last one is just an afterthought I had that would make things a bit better for people.
I mentioned notifications in place of an inbox count before, and how it could contain private threads and subscribed threads and other things. Another thing I came up with is IM logs/IMs to offline users. This allows people to send short quick messages to individuals without having to open up the private messaging system.
You know how Facebook has a newsfeed, Google+ has a stream, Steam community has a blotter, that sort of thing? There's even activity feeds in users profiles to show you what that user did on Jaxboards. Let's get something like that for users to use for all kinds of messages. Private messages (now private threads), subscribed threads, IM logs all in one place. Sorting by what type of message you want to see would be an option but by default having all that kind of thing in one place would be great. The inbox counter would just be replaced with a notification counter- probably will be a lot more active than the current system too.
Why private threads?
Well, most forums actually have something like them now. As far as I know phpBB and MyBB work on private thread type systems rather than the old private message deal. JaxBoards however has the backwards old PM styled system. I hate the personal message style approach to this, and here's why: It's identical in purpose to email while being functionally inadequate- I understand that years ago people didn't want to share their email with people since there weren't adequate spam filters and 'hackers' were some kind of super scary thing but none of that matters anymore. Email is universal and a great way to contact people no matter the platform, but every site has their own stupid private message system- if we're going to have private messages we need to handle them in a way that isn't just a site specific email. Private threads is the perfect solution to this:
- It can still function the same as private messages for those who want to use it that way.
- It allows people to share content only with specific people on the board in a user friendly way that enables an easy way to discuss said content, no more forwarding emails to multiple people- and don't even try to have a conversation with all of those people either, I have no idea how that'd even work with private messages!
- It keeps a consistent style for messages across the forum- in a lot of cases private messages are styled differently from threads- it just looks ugly and often just means more pointless work for people who skin.
- Don't need separate inboxes and sent boxes, it'd all be in one place. If you want to see threads you started, you could sort by that, if you want to see threads by others you could sort like that too.
This is a feature I've never really used on any forum. It just never seemed really convenient to subscribe to threads and then go to your user CP when you want to check them or have some email notification- just seemed like a hassle when you could just check the thread yourself if you're interested in it. With the notification stream I think it could be a lot more useful. There should also be a way to subscribe to threads by default when you post in them.