I may need some clarification from you all to understand some of your wish list items. I have some too so I'll describe some of mine as well. This may turn into a bit of a ramble...
Looking back, I would like to have pulled those ideas into a new thread so that that conversation would have stood alone as a focus.
Currently only facilitators who are bumped up with editing privileges can "split" a thread. But, as Derek pointed out (Debriefing Potpouri) we have the feature turned on which allows anyone to start a new discussion topic. As you've all witnessed and Jay pointed out in the informal learning seminar, when many many people take advantage of this feature it can cause navigation to be a frustrating. To steal Nancy W's phrase, this can be a bit "like heaven and hell all rolled into one" (I totally cracked up when I read that!).
Jay also mentioned not being able to easily zone in on the new messages. There is a setting in your profile that will help (click on your name or image anywhere on the site, click edit profile) -- under "forum tracking". I'm glad this was raised because I think the default setting may be to turn this feature off. Something to look into!
I personally like new subject headings and fresh topics being pulled out of other threads, but I miss some features I've seen in other tools where you can view ALL posts in a forum by date, subject heading, author, etc, and view full messages or just subject headings. I also would like to more easily link to other posts. RSS helps, but when you get over 50 posts in a discussion the older ones stop dropping off the radar. I'm no expert here so throw me a rope if I've missed something!
Jay doesn't want linear text and hierarchical discussion. Elhanan suggests tagging or concept mapping to improve navigation between topics. But I think what we're craving is a way to view the discussion in different ways, rather than create new views using maps or other summary tools. I've seen several mock-ups and design specs on variations of this, but does such a beast exist? One piece of software we're experimenting with is dataface, developed by Steve Hannah at SFU. I wonder if there is some potential there to address this need. I need to tinker with it some more. It's described as "a flexible and shapeable skin that sits on top of MySQL". It's open source so if anyone has the interest and know-how to try it out don't forget to report back! .
Christie prefers plain text emails to web-based forums, and maybe others do as well. I think we can have both, although the plain text may have some unwanted bits. Go to your profile (click on your name or image then select the "edit profile" tab), then change the settings for email format to "plain text". Also, Christie mentioned attachments. Just so you don't think these are all filling up your hard drive, attachments to forum posts are really just links to files stored on the server; they aren't downloaded to your personal computer when posts are received by email. This doesn't address the issue of having to go to the SCoPE website to post. So far we don't have an option to respond through email.
During this seminar one SCoPE member wrote to say that he is loving the discussion, but can't handle the email volume just now. I advised him to change the settings in his profile under email digest type so he receives a single message per day rather than one for every post. That solved the problem, but it's a good example of how we're all working these days. It takes time to explore and figure out how to change settings organize our participation.
Derek hinted that it's difficult to find messages through the search tool. (From Debriefing Potpouri . . . by derekc on Sat Jun 3 01:24:00 2006: I cannot find it now (!@#$%^#$$% Moodle) I'm curious, have others found this? I confess that I rely more on the gmail search tool to find what I'm looking for in SCoPE forums!
I've squished a lot of things into one post! One item for the wish list is to have better resources to help SCoPE members make the most of their time in the community environment -- FAQ, a few quick tutorials/demos. That's doable. As for the software, developing that wish list is more challenging but hey, small steps. We can do it!