Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 9 2013 11:34:54

What Do You Think of eBay's New Discussion Boards?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay.com brought its discussion boards back online today after a week of being in "read-only" mode. The boards are on a new platform from a company called Lithium after eBay and LiveWorld parted ways, and eBay has been rolling out the new forums over the past few weeks, starting with Canada.

For some reason, they've made the navigation more difficult - instead of being able to see all the boards on one page, you have to drill down a level. But the main index is not intuitive. "Community Help Boards" was the last place I looked when searching for the always interesting "Seller Central" board.

I often visit the PayPal, Technical Issues, Buyer Central and Search boards when looking for background for news stories or blog posts, and these and many more can also be found under "Community Help Boards."

Another time waster with the new format is that it doesn't give you a preview of the first post when you hover your mouse over the title of a thread. That means you must click on a thread to get the gist of it and hit the back button when you find it is not of interest - which is off putting, especially for threads where people don't use descriptive titles.



It's worth exploring the settings. In this thread, eBay moderator Jeff explained:

"To enlarge your font size, click on the "My Settings" link near the top left of the page. Then click on "Preferences" and then "Display". There's an option for Text Size in the middle of that page."

I found changing text size to large made the formatting much easier on my eyes. While there, I discovered there are lots of settings you can adjust to your liking, and you can add information about yourself if you choose.

eBay's Director of Community Jeff Terrell shared some of the new features with EcommerceBytes last month, including the ability to "like" individual posts in a thread, and for original posters to indicate which posts have answered their questions, which will then be highlighted in green. Users will also be able to tag posts with keywords, which will help surface them in forum search results.

I'm not sure the red dots that indicate a thread is a "hot topic with new content" is all that useful, but some of the new features may grow on me over time.

Let us know what you think of the new format and what features you like and dislike.




Comments (33) | Leave Comment | Permalink

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 13:15:08 2013

I don't think it is up and working yet. I tried twice to help answer someone's question and both times i was told that the page doesn't exist. Maybe they will get that fixed. In the meantime they are scolding a buyer for asking the seller when will he mail the item out. Not one of the seller's have any problem that the seller did not ship the time when he stated he would or the fact that the seller told the buyer to F#$# off.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Jul 9 13:37:36 2013

Is there a Powerseller board? This what I got with a Lithium logo on the page, "The page you are trying to access was not found. Please check your URL for typos and try again."  

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by: Bethofvt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 15:21:04 2013

They might as well have just shut the boards down. They are totally useless now.  

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Jul 9 15:41:00 2013

Sounds as if the ebay forums are going to be even worse than they were.

I only ever used the Seller Central forum.

Maybe this site's forum and a few others will get more members!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jul 9 16:14:03 2013

What a typically complete eBay cluster frack.

I am guessing, but from the way this new format appears eBay must be paying for moderation based on the volume of use and traffic since the new layouts and design appear to be purposefully formatted to annoy and distract users to the point they simply stop going to the boards.

The less traffic, the less to moderate. The less to moderate, the less eBay pays.

As Ina mentions, the front discussion board page is as useless as it is annoying. The categories are vague and in some cases counter intuitive. Drilling down to find groups is a time waster.

The light blue font color against a white background is difficult to read - perhaps intentionally - and appears part of the design to discourage use concept.

The font on the topic pages is slightly too small and the light blue font is a major fail.

The addition of the latest topic added to a thread is useless and distracting.

The Powerseller Discussion board has been relocated to Groups> Seller Groups> then scroll down the page to find the Powerseller section where old topics from the old board are as yet nonexistent.

I am sure there is lots more to dislike, but one thing is for sure....

Overall, eBay earns 1 star for this latest designed to fail debacle.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jul 9 16:45:36 2013

What was wrong with the old boards?  I swear, they must LOVE paying people and making busy work.  I am sure the new design is just another way to wear people down so that they don't use them.

Another "community killer" from the CEO that seems to never tire of putting another dagger in the community.

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This user has validated their user name. by: kirk_detweiler

Tue Jul 9 17:00:33 2013

There's some good and some bad as usual. Worst is they still hide the ''Community'' link as much as possible. Now they've segregated the boards instead of having them all on one page. Before you could see a Buyer central and PayPal boatd and look to the right and see Category boards like Clothing and Motors. Now you have 6 sub categories keeping them apart, newbies may never see the category boards and just post in the first forum handy.

They'll do a lot of tweaking I hope if they listen to suggestions. Every online community is different and there's only one eBay community! They're going to have to find that out day by day!

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This user has validated their user name. by: WatchCount.com
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Tue Jul 9 21:23:16 2013

Overall I think it's a very, very positive, welcome change. The LiveWorld platform was buggy and outdated, and this new Lithium-powered forum really trumps LiveWorld in many ways. It's clean-cut and includes many more options for keeping track of, and viewing, posts.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jul 9 21:45:12 2013

I agree completely with Ric.

The light blue font against the white background really is hard on the eyes. Really miss the preview topic bubble and this will curtail my visits to the new discussion boards. This is probably what ebay wants to get rid of the community once and for all.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Jul 9 23:20:36 2013

Wouldn't it be easier for JD to simply discontinue to forums in one fell swoop?

Just kill it! Grit your teeth and rip off the band-aid! Boom! Done!

Why do they ALWAYS go through this song-and-dance of making something difficult to find, or difficult to use... and then FINALLY, AT LONG LAST, they'll discontinue to feature based on ''lack of use'' or claiming that people aren't interested in it anymore.

Good grief!

They're not fooling anyone.

They're only pissing people off.

Which, in the end, may be a good thing. Perhaps those angry sellers will finally wake up and venture out on their own or explore other opportunities... Lord knows it took me long enough! I suspect that the latest round of changes will give many more the courage to leave too.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Jul 9 23:46:28 2013

It's all about damage control. Ebay is about to drop a big one on us and they don't want us to be able to communicate with each other.

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This user has validated their user name. by: kirk_detweiler

Wed Jul 10 01:21:30 2013

The latest quote from ebay staff -

''While we have a large and outspoken group of regular members, there were issues with the community that have made some eBay members stop visiting the platform. Likewise, many new members reported feeling lost as to where to go on the boards to get information, and when they did post, they sometimes felt that members already on the boards discounted their opinions or sometimes made fun of them for asking a question.
So, I am working to build a platform that serves not only our current community members, but also create one that welcomes new members. What we had wasn't doing that.''

So basically out with the old timers and in with the new, dumb innocents.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Wed Jul 10 01:56:05 2013

Ha ha They should have been around when Powersellers on the discussion boards needed personal protection orders just to go to the post office. I duck in there once in awhile to see if the nasties are still maintaining real estate there and I never post there but I don't think eBay can change any of that behavior. It has actually gotten much better.  

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by: lapidary This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 04:44:21 2013

The new layout sucks, in my opinion and the old worked just fine.

My group had a valuable resource of images from years of research and these have not been and will not be ported across.

We had a list of links as a resource for our members but that too has gone.

Pinned threads are no longer pinned and so one of has to delve through about 140 pages of threads to find them to try to pin them again but I guess to do so you have to be a moderator of the group and yes, you've guessed it, Lithium/eBay have screwed that up too and we no longer have a group leader or a moderator - of which I was one.

I contacted Jeff from eBay about the moderator issue but he didn't bother to send a reply, so I have published this problem in a number of discussion threads and I have left some suitably acerbic comments  on Lithium's Facebook page.

All in all, this matter is a mess and a farce.  

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by: lapidary This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 04:46:55 2013

By the way, as an example of Lithium's risible attempts at moderation, it prevented me putting the word "garbage" in my comments but allowed other and stronger criticism. I am speculating that the word has been used too often in conjunction with Lithium.

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by: mmellinger This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 06:13:02 2013

The level of incompetence with this is just astounding.

About the worst so far has to do with Groups.  eBay previously allowed private or closed groups.  That's no longer the fact.  Groups of friend who, while having discussions about eBay could do other things ... like Christmas Card exchanges.  Now all that information is disclosed not only to other eBay members, but anyone who wanders through the site ... people's full names, home addresses, and the like.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Wed Jul 10 08:45:04 2013

i think anyone who has time to waste trolling those worthless ebay boards has too much time on their hands.

as my sales manager once told me many years ago - "git off yer a*s and sell something"

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by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 09:24:19 2013

When I first started selling on ebay I was foolish enough to try to ask questions...only to be shot down by the ''experts'' mostly letting me know how foolish I was....they were right, it was foolish to ask in the forums and not go directly to customer service.  Now it is foolish to even bother getting answers....now if I list I just muddle through on my own.
 

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 09:24:45 2013

I refuse to go to the boards any more!  They exist only for nasty members to prey on those asking for help!  They attack the member, doing all they can to make one feel stupid!   Another reason to hate eBay!  I doubt the boards have changed one whit!  You can dress up a turd & call it a suit, but it remains a turd.  Sigh!

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by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 09:58:47 2013

I would suggest that this question be asked a month from now. My first impression is always bad. It is human nature to dislike change. It is a shame that they cant seem to get such a possibly valuable asset running in a way that is generally pleasing to all. The posts will always be a problem with some liking it and some not. The ability to read, follow and post though should be simple as pie. For the moment that doesnt seem to be the case. Maybe a month out it will be viewed differently.

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