March 5, 2019

What's going on with Indie Hackers? (March 4th, 2019)

I'm going to post #meta updates about IH more regularly.

A couple weeks back I worked with @anuragg on improving the website's performance. We did a bunch of things, including moving the site to Render.com and making it fully static. As a result, IH is significantly faster than it was before! There are still many more improvements to come, but you should have already noticed a big difference, especially those of you on slower mobile connections.

As a side effect, there's a loading screen when first booting up the site. I'm using this time to show inspirational and educational quotes from indie hackers. If this works as intended, you may wish for the site to load even slower rather than faster. 馃槆 Always open to new ideas here.

Last week we brought on @rosiesherry and @meesterfox in contract roles as our new online community manager and Twitter social media manager, respectively. I'm super excited to be working with them, and I think both parts of the IH community will be much better as a result, especially once they've each had a few weeks to find their groove. In the meantime, expect to see lots of experimentation, but trust that we won't stick with anything bad for very long. Feel free to ping them with questions or suggestions at any time.

Yesterday I brought back the forum filters for viewing the best posts by week, month, and all time. I accidentally broke these a few weeks back, so I had to remove them until I could fix them, which pretty much involved rebuilding them from scratch. In the meantime some of you thought they were gone foreverI made a slight improvement now that factors comments into the rankings instead of only counting likes. A lot of these old posts are difficult to open because of the massive number of comments and lack of pagination. That's on my roadmap to fix.

Today I've been working on bringing back titles to posts. The last few weeks were an experiment to see if people could make good title-less posts, like you see sometimes on Twitter. The answer was yes and no. Longer posts are better with titles, but the existence of titles also prevents people from making super short posts, many of which are great. What I'll probably do is add an optional title field that's hidden until after your post surpasses a certain character limit. That way people won't be dissuaded from creating short posts, nor required to go title-less for longer posts.

We've got our second-ever office hours video coming up this week with the one and only David Phillips. I highly recommend signing up to attend if you have a company and could use some strategic advice from somebody who's done it successfully several times before. It'll be a video call hosted on Zoom this Thursday. I'll be there as well, live-streaming it on our YouTube account for those who want to tune in to learn.

Reporting spam posts should be coming back soon, too. Hopefully this week! @codeofficer is on the job.

The bigger thing I'm focusing on for the next few weeks is improving discussion quality. Among many other things, I'd like to add some helpful prompts to the post creation process to guide everybody in the direction of making more useful posts. Also, for product pages, we ask everyone to add three posts to their product's historical timeline when they create the page, but so far the quality of these posts has been mediocre at best. Perhaps I will suggest something more specific, for example asking people to select from a list of 10 things I know are useful.

Feedback is always welcome!

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    I like how you are taking the quotes from Indie Hackers of all revenue levels and not just the MEGA successes. Very cool.

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    Among many other things, I'd like to add some helpful prompts to the post creation process to guide everybody in the direction of making more useful posts.

    Nice! And thank god for bringing the titles back haha

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    Just wanted to report an annoying issue: scrolling on mobile is really broken since the popup navigation was added. Sometimes you can scroll the discussion contents but not the page preventing you from using the browsers buttons in safari mobile. Other times post scrolling is broken and nothing works. Is it just me having this problem?

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    Thanks for doing another of these!

    We did a bunch of things, including moving the site to Render.com and making it fully static...
    As a side effect, there's a loading screen when first booting up the site.

    I'm not sure I understand. Why does a static site necessitate a loading screen? This sounds like the opposite of what static means. My main issue with the site that others care about is the really slow page loads, so anything you can do to get it under a second will be great. (My overall #1 issue is the decline of accessibility for those with repetitive stress injuries like me and keyboard users in general)

    Here's an unrelated feature request:

    It would be great to be able to mute specific users from showing up on the news feed. Sometimes it gets old seeing the same person post the same kind of thing again and again. Especially now that pagination has been taken away, filters would help a ton.

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      Previously the server would run the JS app, generate the resulting HTML, and send that back to your browser, which would display the HTML temporarily while the JS app runs again (but on your browser this time) and draws the app, replacing the temporary HTML. However, now the server simply returns the static files and doesn't do any rendering of its own, which makes the server's response much faster. Of course the downside is that the screen is blank while the JS app runs on your browser, so that's why I put a quote there.

      Muting users is an interesting idea, haven't heard that one before. Will add it to my (very long) to-do list.

      Sub-1 second loads are possible. Working on it!

      Will probably remove these post modals at some point if I can't get them working better. They seem to be the biggest accessibility issue at the moment. It's not that a modal is particularly hard to code鈥 rather, these modals are special in that they are both their own unique route/URL, but they can also open over the top of any other URL on the site, and I'm using an Ember plugin that makes that possible. Unfortunately the plugin kind of sucks in other ways (the HTML/CSS it forces your modal into), so perhaps I'll just get rid of it and either do away with modals or write that code myself.

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        Ah that makes sense. SSR can be a pain sometimes.

        Been there WRT plugin edge cases and I understand the vast majority of indiehackers are free of the accessibility concerns I have.

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    The website is loading faster!

    Great improvements.

    Thank you

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    Really appreciate the time you took to update us.

    Love the comeback of some of the broken stuff.

    And cook that you've found some great peeps that are going to help you with the community 馃挭馃徎馃憣馃徎

    I'm going to improve my game on the product updates part.

    Perhaps post some articles like "5 of the best product updates " to show what's a good update and as a nice incentive to show that it's rewarding to make them high quality?

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    The quotes are great!

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    I am enjoying every minute on Indie hackers. The tips and tools including community members are helpful and creative. Indie Community administration Team has also helped and assisted me in regard to using this community to make the best out of it. Thank you, Allen.

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    The quotes appear and disappear so fast that I don't get the read them, i vote for removing them completely! :)

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