OK, here's what I have really liked about Ning so far:

1. One place to store and comment on photos/videos
2. Flattening of discussion (all voices can be heard, even beginners)
3. Ability to use tools of Web 2.0 with low learning curve
3. Photos of everyone in the network

Some thing that I think need to be improved, and that I've emailed them about:

1. Some forum posts don't have a reply link underneath them
2. Not clear if you can change the license (to creative commons) if you pay for
the upgrade
3. Not clear if you can remove all ads if you upgrade
4. Doesn't seem that you can search the forum topics

Tags: ning

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I'm going to have to check out your editor solution.

Can't wait to see the article!

I actually agree with Ning on this one. If the default behavior was to open in a new tab/window, that could be really problematic for a lot of their users. I just use the scroll-mouse click on my mouse when I want to open in a new tab, or if I am at a machine without that, I right-click and open new. As the network administrator, any text boxes that I have built links in I will often add the "target=_blank" code so that I don't take people away from the site. But most linking in Ning's regular features is best done in the same window, I think.

Thanks for the great contributions!
Ning is lovely. It successfully builds communities, and that ain't easy. My personal priority list to make it even better would be:
1. Speed. When Ning emails me a link I often don't open it simply because I know it will take too long to render the page.
2. Forward whole messages by email, don't just send links. I feel mistrusted somehow.
3. Mobile support. I am currently looking for a whitelabel social network for a new project, and will undoubtedly choose the one that shows the strongest commitment to mobile.
4. Speed.
Hi, Ian! I agree, Ning is lovely. My original post was over a year ago, when Classroom 2.0 was just starting. Fun to see what the issues were then!

I don't have the same speed issue, even when I'm on my cellular broadband. I wonder why it's slow for you. What's your connection speed? Do you experience the speed problem wherever you are when you connect? I have a family computer that's a p3 1ghz running Linux, and Ning displays quite well on that... ?

Ning now does send the whole message when someone sends you a message. They don't when it's the notification of activity on a thread, but an easy way around that is to use the RSS feed for reading those instead. I blogged on using PageFlakes as a Ning "dashboard" recently--you might enjoy: www.stevehargadon.com/2008/05/ning-dashboard.html

Hi Steve, I have a 24MBit connection - about as fast as you will get outside Korea. There may be an issue of latency if Ning's servers are all in the US.

> use the RSS feed for reading those instead.
One Ning feature I really like is the automatic follow-by-thread. In fact, I like it so much that I copied it in Yacapaca. Can that be replicated in RSS, or do you have to manually add a new RSS feed for each thread you are following. A single feed of 'all my threads' would certainly be a very attractive feature to me.

I forgot to include the link to the editor -- www.fckeditor.net
Try the demo at www.fckeditor.net/demo

Just remember, it won't open in a new window :)

FYI, we had FCKedit in Yacapaca but slung it out in favour of NicEdit, which is simpler but much faster. Even if you strip out a lot of features, FCKedit remained very slow to load in our tests.

I actually like the spartan Ning editor. If you know rudimentary HTML you can do what you want with it anyway. We see from the majority of posts that most people in any case prefer to use plain text, and this does lead to a more visually consistent page for the reader.

And I love the '15 minutes to edit' feature!
Actually, I would like to see the '15 minutes to edit' feature extended to an indefinite opportunity to edit any post. Other threaded discussion tools I have used allow unlimited editing of one's own posts, which I appreciate very much. I can imagine an argument that there is the potential that a substantive change after someone else has posted a reply could confuse readers. However, I think many people would be much more comfortable posting to a discussion if they knew they could edit a typo or otherwise improve upon their original post whenever they felt the need. I believe that in principle, a Web 2.0 author should have control over all that she publishes, whether a blog post, a discussion post, a wall post, or a profile post. Does anyone know the rationale behind limiting control over discussion posts?
I think it is just what you have said, with unlimited editing time the whole theme of the strand could change.
is there a way to upoad documents?
You can upload documents in any forum discussion--if you start to reply to this thread, for example, you'll see an "upload file" link below the text input box. :)
It would also be nice to be able to upload documents as freestanding objects (with folders and/or tags for organizing purposes) on profiles, group pages, etc. If you can add photos and videos to your profile page, why not PDFs? I know you can link to them elsewhere on the web, but it would be handy to be able to upload them, too. I envision a "Files" option added to the menu under your profile picture. Might this be a possibility?
I think it might, but you have to remember that Ning was not built as an educational tool, and there are the competing interests of 1) please make this work well for education, and 2) please make it free / ad-free for educators! :) Ning has done a great job building a tool which has shown the educational potential of social networking, and then been great about providing support for educators.

I'm hopeful that some of the more unique functionality that we want for education will come through good OpenSocial or other widgets. Should be interesting to follow those developments!



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