Feature Requests/feedback from a Kbin magazines' moderator.

Been helping moderate some many huge communities here on kbin such as m/AskKbin, m/Redditmigration and so on, trying to contribute in ways I can.

And over the course of my time here at Kbin, here are some of the features I really, really wish comes to Kbin one day.

  • Banners for magazines: Right now we moderators are only able to make new logos and use that for our communities, but unlike Reddit or Lemmy, Kbin has been lacking the ability to make a banner apart from the Logo, the banner would help a lot more with not only the customization of the magazine but the overall appeal to it. This of-course should be optional as not every community would be going for this kind of look based on it's topic, but for the majority, this can really add more to the experience.

  • More optional applicable permissions to moderators when owners add them: Right now, when I add a moderator, they can only delete, ban and moderate posts in general, but accessing the mod panel is impossible unless you are an admin, so this means, moderators can't help owners with community rules, description, or even attach a new logo. There should atleast be some kind of supermod option or role that I could enable for the mods, so that this remains an optional but needed feature for some (and I am one of them).

  • Community Engagement: This is just, to put it lightly, lacking. For example, if someone make a really good post, everyone else is immediately ready to upvote/downvote and jump on the comments, but taking that first step of posting a good thread is just really, lacking. One of the reasons I believe for that is also because the platform feels very stale or dead in plain sight. To solve this, we could implement online status (OPTIONAL, I know not everyone will be into this), but we seriously need to figure out a way to make the site look more live and active, online status like Discord or Reddit (oh yes, reddit has this too, but this is optional and can be disabled) can really help add a more live and active feel to the community, this can in-directly encourage more engagement and the users will feel more inclined to particpate when they see others online.

Reddit also has some other features like showing "X number of people are viewing this thread", again adding that more of a live engaging feeling to the platform.

  • Wiki: I seriously hope we can get a dedicated area to put our wiki stuff similar to on Reddit, right now I have so far done this by making a thread and pinning it, but a wiki built into the sidepanel would a lot more seamless and integrated, plus people wouldn't have to look for in multiple places and will be good to have rules, description and everything in the sidepanel.

If yall have more, add them in the comments, this is what I remember so far.

Thank you for reading!

ghostatnoon,
ghostatnoon avatar

I second all the suggestions except the currently reading/online one: in my experience, seeing "currently reading" statistics just makes dead places feel more dead. It's also not a useful statistic: it doesn't tell you how good a post is, or provide any information about the poster, or even show how popular it is (because you can't really extrapolate about the average engagement from only one datapoint). You can't do anything with the number.

Essence_of_Meh, (edited )

I'm not a mod, just an active user so my opinion on the first two doesn't really matter (even though I do think these would be good additions). I agree with the need for wikis as well.

That said, personally I could not care less about whether someone is online or how many people are reading specific thread - what I care about is actual interaction with other users, i.e. discussion. I treat kbin/lemmy like a forum rather than a constantly moving social-media site like Twitter so take this as you like. It's not like it would affect my use of the platform in any meaningful way.

Edit:
I think that if you really need some kind of publicly visible active user count the already existing lemmy approach would be a better idea since it displays number of users actively participating in the community. That's a more useful metric in my opinion.

Other than that I agree with the point raised by @ghostatnoon. Low (perceived) user numbers can lead to a death spiral even in environments where you don't need tons of people - just look at any online game without thousands of players.

CoffeeAddict,
CoffeeAddict avatar
  • More optional applicable permissions to moderators when owners add them: Right now, when I add a moderator, they can only delete, ban and moderate posts in general, but accessing the mod panel is impossible unless you are an admin, so this means, moderators can't help owners with community rules, description, or even attach a new logo. There should atleast be some kind of supermod option or role that I could enable for the mods, so that this remains an optional but needed feature for some (and I am one of them).

This is something I have noticed. It would be nice to have the magazine panel open to more moderators than just the owner (though, I understand why it may have been set up like that to begin with.)

Also, are reports also submitted and viewed under the magazine panel?

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

Banners for magazines

You should be easily able to add a banner using the magazine CSS. Though that's not being federated currently, I hope magazine CSS federation gets added in the future at least between kbin/mbin instances.

This should give you a banner above the threads section:

main > header {
    /* Change both of these */
    height: 100px;
    background-image: url(https://i.imgur.com/zWuVa7U.png);
}

While this should give you one that also extends over the sidebar:

#middle:before {
    width: 100%;
    display: block;
    content: '';
    /* Change these two: */
    height: 100px;
    background-image: url(https://i.imgur.com/zWuVa7U.png);
}

Changing the #middle to #header would put it above the kbin header (with the logo, the threads/microblog buttons, etc).

Community Engagement

There is an Active People section in the sidebar.

I think the issue here is that kbin simply doesn't have a lot of users yet.

One of the reasons I believe for that is also because the platform feels very stale or dead in plain sight.

This won't improve if you show people "0 people are viewing this thread" on every thread. Actually, it would worsen the impression that the site is dead.

minnieo,
minnieo avatar

what is mbin? keep seeing it but dont know what it is

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

A while ago, kbin's development came to a standstill because ernest was gone for weeks and the project's contribution guidelines are very restrictive.

Many contributors, including major ones, decided to leave the project and work on their own fork which uses more open contribution guidelines based on consensus.

They adopt all the changes ernest makes to kbin, but have their own features on top of that. I believe fedia.io, for example, runs mbin now.

conorrr,

According to information from matrix channel, they have stopped synchronizing the Kbin code. They does not have the latest changes introduced on kbin.social

https://kbin.social/m/kbinMeta/t/701678/Kbin-badly-needs-a-facelift#entry-comment-4119478

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

I wouldn't say restrictive, but based on previous threads and his conversations with Melroy (guy who forked Kbin and brought Mbin), Ernest has been cautiously approving contributions in a more patient manner, and along with that the brief few weeks of absence of development from Ernest's side (and as a result, no approval on new contributions during this period of time) because he had some personal issues he had to deal with, this for some reason led some of the contributors to fire away and create a fork, I still question this move considering the pause was only briefly for a few weeks and Ernest, as always, did a great job at communicating about why things got slow during that period.

I've already mentioned my personal opinion in another message in this thread itself, so not going to repeat myself but that is what happened as far as I know.

BentiGorlich,
@BentiGorlich@gehirneimer.de avatar

The thing isn ot that ernest was away, that is fine and he had his reasons. But a public open source project should not come to a halt because one guy is away for whatever reason. But that was/is the case with kbin

"cautiously approving pull requests" is a huge understatement. My PR for adding a subscription sidebar just layed there for 5 months, not getting any feedback from him, before I jumped ship. I am very grateful that melroy created the fork. Contributing finally feels rewarding, because your work is not just fired into the void never getting approved, but people actually check it out and give feedback.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Thank you so much! I will make use of this, what you can do with CSS is amazing although not so newbie friendly which I am to CSS, so a user-friendly option to add a banner similar to logo would be good still.

And regarding my suggestion about user engagement, showing how many people are viewing live actually does not work like that, it only shows the number of people viewing it live when the post is brand new/24 hours and when nobody is viewing it, it won't say 0 but simply not be shown at all.

Again that was a mere example, just like the online status was as well, my main reason to mention those things is to possibly spark an idea of something even better that could help kbin, but not really copy what reddit already his, they were mostly just examples of what we could have similarly or just get the thinking process going on there :)

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Update: unfortunately the banner CSS given did not work, here is the imgur link I was trying to add to m/cars for reference: https://imgur.com/a/SDy0s5O. The issue is that even after I followed your instructions and posted it on the CSS box from mod panel, I tried refreshing, banner just does not pop up.

Maybe if you could help me out here, i'd really appreciate that, thank you again!

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

Okay, so I've created a magazine and tested some stuff out.

In the first code I posted, I used the child selector (>) to select <header> elements directly inside <main> elements. For some reason, custom CSS doesn't seem to support the child selector. No matter where I try to use it, the style isn't applied.

The following code worked for me on my magazine:

main header:has(h1[hidden]) {
    height: 300px;
    background-image: url(https://i.imgur.com/wbZa4eI.png);
    background-size: 100% auto;
    background-position-y: -150px;
}

I removed the child selector and instead used :has(hi1[hidden]) to make sure I only get the target element. Without it, it would also replace the background of the individual thread titles.

The image you're trying to use is a bit large, so I've included an example usage of background-size and background-position to change the size of the image and what part of it actually gets displayed.
With background-size, the first value is how wide the image should be, while the latter value is how high. Percentage values are relative to the element's size. So the width and height properties. You can also set absolute values, like I did with height in pixels in this example.

The big issue with this one though is that it'll only apply to the Threads and All Content views. Other views, including Microblog and individual threads, don't have the <header> element I'm looking for here.

I modified it to apply to more views:

h1[hidden] {
    height: 300px;
    background-image: url(https://i.imgur.com/wbZa4eI.png);
    background-size: 100% auto;
    background-position-y: -150px;
    display: block;
    color: transparent;
    user-select: none;
}

The last two lines are there because this actually displays the name of the magazine on the banner. Since that's kind of redundant, since it's already in the bar at the top, I'm hiding the text and making it not selectable.

This one does work in all the views I tested except for when looking at a thread and its comments.

Though, something worth considering in case you intend to just use this code as-is: I just used pixels for simplicity. But the result might look entirely different on other screen resolutions than mine. Here's a list of better units to use if you want it to look the same on all screens. You can use percentages, pixels, and these other units interchangeably anywhere.


About the second code I posted, for some reason :before, much like the child selector, doesn't seem to work. I can very much target the #middle and #header elements from custom magazine CSS, but :before doesn't do anything.

I'm not sure why this is. I see no security reason to block them, so I assume it's not intentional. It's a bit hard to debug :before specifically because I don't know any way to get its styles without making it visible. So I have no idea if something is overwriting the style or if the selector just doesn't work, like is the case with the child selector. I'll have to look into this a bit more over the weekend.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

I tried both the ones you mentioned, unfortunately it still does not work, is it because the image is Jpg instead of png? I also copied the image's address and pasted it.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

The CSS is still there, maybe could you check m/cars and see if you can see it? maybe this is an issue from my side?

Pamasich, (edited )
Pamasich avatar

I can see it. Maybe it's the point I mentioned here:

Though, something worth considering in case you intend to just use this code as-is: I just used pixels for simplicity. But the result might look entirely different on other screen resolutions than mine. Here's a list of better units to use if you want it to look the same on all screens. You can use percentages, pixels, and these other units interchangeably anywhere.

Maybe the values I gave are too small for you to see on your screen?

edit: wait, why does the image not work, I literally just uploaded it

edit 2: not sure if you can view this since it's blocked in some countries, but here's a catbox upload.

edit 3: right, I just noticed that, because I'm mixing percentages and absolute units here, the image actually moves around as I change the screen size. I'll refine the example with more reliability later today.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Can't appreciate you enough, thank you again.

I can see it

The linked imgur says 404 and doesn't work.

Here's a list of better units to use if you want it to look the same on all screens.

Honestly, I pretty much suck at CSS and I honestly don't understand how i'd use it, but what I can tell you is that I am using a 2017 iMac, so you should be able to tell the screen size based on that. I am also using Firefox on MacOS.

not sure if you can view this since it's blocked in some countries, but here's a catbox upload.

OMG Wow, it looks so damn good! I wish it worked for me!

right, I just noticed that, because I'm mixing percentages and absolute units here, the image actually moves around as I change the screen size. I'll refine the example with more reliability later today.

No worries or hurries, take your time on this and let me know :)

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

I'm currently using this code on /m/pamasich:

h1[hidden] {
    height: 12vh;
    background-image: url(https://i.imgur.com/wbZa4eI.png);
    background-size: cover;
    background-position: center;
    display: block;
    color: transparent;
    user-select: none;
}

To me, this works both on pc and mobile.

Though, the one on /m/cars right now works for me too.

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

Say, do you see any custom CSS anywhere? I mean, I'm not even sure which magazines use it anyway, do you see something on /m/pamasich? Besides the test banner, I also made the magazine name in the sidebar red.

If you don't see anything changed there, do you maybe have custom CSS turned off? In your settings, there's an option Ignore magazines custom CSS under a text field that lets you enter personal custom css. Make sure that's not checked.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Yup so I can see the banner on your magazine! And nope, CSS is not disabled in my settings, ill try using your CSS.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Although is it possible to make it bit bigger to fit more of the car? As you can see the lambo in the center is kinda cut off.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

check m/cars! Works now!

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

Good to hear!

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

Ive also figured that increasing height value works, if you want to fit a bigger banner.

Pamasich,
Pamasich avatar

That's weird. I was testing it out with a userstyle, which worked, so I assumed it would work with custom css too. But I guess there might be some restrictions in place? Seems very restrictive though if that's the case here. Not even the first one I gave works. I'll see if I can find anything out.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

No worries, thank you again, you trying to help me itself is appreciated.

kglitch,

Good ideas 👍

However due to the way activitypub works there is no way to know how many people on other instances are reading a post, only on the same instance.

SamXavia,
@SamXavia@kbin.run avatar

Just a user but the Ability to Mute People & Magazines instead of just ban them would be really helpful.

TheArstaInventor,
TheArstaInventor avatar

I second this as well, as a moderator, we don't have to outright ban everyone, will be easier to give people a 2nd chance.

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