Release notes for March 20, 2009

Ok,

So after what seems like ages, we're happy to announce that we've just released the first round of enhancements to Oracle Mix that are actually visible to you, our esteemed Mix members.

As I had mentioned previously, over the past couple of months a lot of work has been required on the Mix backend as we further familiarize ourselves with the application and also try to get things fully operational after the hardware upgrade back in December. All very necessary and important stuff, but nothing really that our users should have to care much about.

Today's release is about making Mix more useful.

Without much further ado, here's the list of changes. As always, please let us know (in the comments below of via our feedback form) if you spot any aberrant behavior, and tell us what you like or don't like (and how we can make it better). Thank you!

1. Tabs for groups

Up until now, the groups page contained four lists that were spread across different sections of the page:

  • My groups

  • Most popular groups

  • Groups matching your interests

  • New groups since last month

Navigating those lists could be a bit cumbersome at times, so we decided to turn them into tabs. Each tab shows ten items per page and comes with our standard navigation bar at the bottom which should make browsing them a lot more convenient.

2. Hot groups

We added a new tab that shows "hot" groups. For now, "hotness" is based simply on the number of people who have recently joined the group as new members. Over time, we will take into account content creation events as well. So even if the member count in your group is pretty steady but your members are posting and commenting a lot, that would also increase the "hotness" factor for this group (and might land you a spot at the top of the list).

The feature is intended to make it easier for both new and existing users to discover interesting groups, and activity is one of many filters people like to apply. On the community management end of things, it will also allow us to identify less active groups to see if they need any help getting things off the ground.

We know leader boards can sometimes have unintended side effects (e.g. favor those who are already very popular) so we'll keep a close eye on how this develops and will make changes if need be.

3. Improved group activity log

Up until now, the "group activity log" showed all activities from all group member no matter where on Mix these activities had occurred. In an effort to make this stream a lot more relevant, we've changed this so as to show only those activities that relate directly to the group (i.e. new group members, new posts or new comments).

We've also added this stream as the new default tab for groups. So now when you go to a group page the first thing you'll see is what's been going on in that group lately.

4 Improved group recommendations

We tinkered with this a little bit but will probably have to do more fine-tuning over the coming months. This feature was always intended to give users a list of groups that they might find interesting based on the self-assigned tags and products in their user profile.

Up until now, it just looked for groups with the same tags or products as the user's and then ordered it by creation date of the group.

Again, we wanted to increase relevancy.

First, we have added a weighting mechanism. For the time being, a matching tag or product will be worth 10 points, a group member who is also in your personal network will be worth 3 points.

Second, we have reduced this list to show only ten items. These ten groups displayed are the ones that have the highest combined score and should be most relevant.

Once you choose to join any of the recommended groups, that recommendation will be removed from the list. New recommendations are generated once every 24 hours.

5. Group activity digest

This is a new feature that allows you to receive a daily activity digest for one or more of your groups. The digest will be sent via email and will include news from all groups for which notifications have been turned on.

A common complaint we've heard is that Mix makes it way too hard for users to follow the conversations and activities that are happening both in their groups as well as on the site in general. This new feature is a first of several steps to make it easier to stay in the loop.

We're expecting that this will have a positive impact on active user levels as well as the number of comments people leave on Mix.

* * *

Hope you find these useful. Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Comments:

Good... that's way to make Good Groups;) I joined and Error;) Oops, something blew up (Error 500) For one reason or another the page you were after caused a minor catastrophe :-). This site has recently undergone a major re-working, so that might explain why you got this page instead. The proper officials have been notified so rest assured that the issue will be looked at and resolved ASAP. What to do now? You could try to: Go to the Home Page and browse around Get in touch with the Mix team to voice your opinion :)

Posted by Surachart Opun on March 21, 2009 at 01:40 AM PDT #

Where exactly are you getting the error? Upon joining a group? Thanks.

Posted by Tim on March 21, 2009 at 02:52 AM PDT #

Can we get a vanity URL for the OPN Mix group? How? Thanks.

Posted by Lydia Smyers on March 30, 2009 at 08:37 AM PDT #

Sorry, no support for vanity URLs on Mix at this point. Anything else we can help you with?

Posted by Tim on March 30, 2009 at 08:55 AM PDT #

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