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Walter Roberson

[DISCONTINUED] MATLAB Answers Wish-list #2 (and bug reports)

Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
Latest activity Reply by Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020

NOTE: this discussion is continued at MATLAB Answers Wish-list #6 (and bug reports)
This topic is for features you would like to see for the MATLAB Answers facility itself, and also for bug reports about the MATLAB Answers facility.
This topic is the follow on to the earlier Wish-list for MATLAB Answer sections. That topic grew large enough to become unwieldy; and Mathworks has made enough changes to make a number of the past points no longer of relevance. There was also a more limited purpose <http://uk.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/216662-new-design-of-the-forum-grey-on-white-wish-list-3-bug-reports
I suggest one wish (or bug report) per answer, so that people can vote their wishes.
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
For easy navigation and for the historians,
Anyone with edit privileges should feel free to update this whenever needed.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 14 Aug 2015
Please post new discussions to MATLAB Answers Wish-list #4 (and bug reports)
Chad Greene
Chad Greene on 6 Jul 2015
I sure wish Answers pages would load faster. Navigating the Answers section and sorting forum posts is remarkably slow, especially considering it's only text. And with the recent redesign of the site, there isn't even very much text at that.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Jul 2015
Renato, this particular topic is about changes to the MATLAB Answers forum software, not about MATLAB itself.
Renato Costa
Renato Costa on 2 Jul 2015
Matlab lacks a more robust object oriented architecture that is related to how the majority of the myriad of functions are not structured in a hierarchical model, but rather exist on their own, loosely coupled one to another, even when there is a clear relationship between them.
In my simples example above, I compare the "Document Object Model" in a MS Office application (ie., Excel) with MatLab.
As you can see, if I want to graph a simple function, and at the same time change its axes, labels, and title... first, I have to know upfront the exact names of the specific five functions that would provide me those functionalities; Secondly, as I use the 'plot' function (the 'parent' function) by typing its name in the command window, the interface does not prompt me to the dependent ('child') methods and properties associated with the parent function; only allows me to complete the spelling (<Tab>)
What happens in more structured applications such as MS Excel, as you well know, is that beyond helping complete the spelling, there are more strict parent/child relationships between their (VBA) commands (objects). In such environments, a user could assume that typing 'plot' (or other meaningful command) in the command window's prompt, placing a period after the object handle and WITHOUT even pressing Tab, a dropdown list would appear revealing all of the associated / dependent commands (properties and methods) for the particular object/function to be immediately available for use.
In other words, there is no easy way to know what other commands I have available to use to manipulate/modify the graph/plot/parent object being used.
ashish ahir
ashish ahir on 1 Jul 2015
i wish matlab answer forum was quick and responsive as TI e2e community.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 1 Jul 2015
Are you talking about the speed of the forum software, or about the time it takes before a volunteer replies? Your post over here suggests that it is the time it takes people to reply that is your concern.
You have been posting questions about Simulink, PWM, Buck converters, PID control, and the like. There do not happen to be many volunteers who work on those topics. That is not the fault of the forum software or of the MATLAB language design.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 22 Feb 2014
The "Flagged Content" page is broken. It shows items that have been flagged but there is no way to get to them. When you click "an answer" it should take you to the answer that had been flagged but instead it just reloads the "Flagged Content" page.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 Feb 2014
It appears, on further reflection, that the case is this:
A Comment or Answer is flagged. The Question is deleted without deleting the individual Comment or Answer. Then the record of the flagging might still be in the list.
You can determine whether the comment or answer is still there or not by hovering over the "a comment" or "an answer" link: if it shows answers/flagged at the end of the URL then it is gone; it if is there it will have answers/######-Title-Here where ##### is the question number.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 22 Feb 2014
So at least the behavior is unexpected. I would expect that if a post has been deleted, that it would also be deleted from the "flagged content" list.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 Feb 2014
It is not always broken. As best I have deduced, if someone flags something and then someone else deletes it, the "flagged" entry in the Activity Log does not get removed at output time.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 17 Jan 2014
The contributor's page is broken, and currently only displays a bunch of # and commas.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 18 Jan 2014
Fixed.
Cedric
Cedric on 2 Oct 2013
I think that it would be better to have the forum adding automatically a target attribute
target="_blank"
to links present in threads, because we often want to keep the question/comment under our eyes when we click on such links.
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 2 Oct 2013
I like it the way it is now.
Too_many_windows = clutter;
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 2 Oct 2013
I just put in my vote!
Cedric
Cedric on 2 Oct 2013
@Walter: I know, but when it seems that we almost never want to open a link in the same window (which is often the case on forums where people answer questions), I think that it legitimately raises the question of whether it would be a good thing to have "open in new tab" implemented as a feature of the forum (by automatically adding a simple target attribute).
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 2 Oct 2013
In Windows I have to right click and select "Open in new tab". I'd like that to be the default. On most web sites if you leave that site and go to another totally different site, it will open in a new window or tab, and if you stay on the same web site, it will open in the existing tab. Answers doesn't follow that de facto standard for some reason.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Oct 2013
Firefox can be configured to either open links as tabs or windows. Then when I want to keep the original I open the new link using mouse-2 click (I think it is middle-button -- command-click on my MacBook Pro). Mouse-1 click (control-click, left-click) gives the menu option that includes the choice of new window or new tab for the link.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 16 Aug 2013
I don't know if it's just the two totally different computers I've tried it on (Dell desktop and HP laptop) or if it's due to some Java "upgrade" but in the last few days whenever I try to type an Answer or Comment into an edit box, the "Preview" box covers up almost all of the Save button. Disabling it doesn't help. All I can see is a tiny sliver of the left side and top side of the button. I've tried two different browsers (Firefox and IE) and tried changing the zoom level of the displayed page (control-mouse wheel) and nothing helps - it's still covered up. The Cancel button is totally covered so I can't see that button at all anymore. I have Java 7 update 25 (the latest version according to http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp)
Is anyone else experiencing this problem with Answers?
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 16 Aug 2013
I came back in to Firefox, without clearing the cache, and the problem has disappeared. All is normal again. So I guess you fixed it somehow, at least for now.
Matt J
Matt J on 16 Aug 2013
Clearing the browser cache worked (on Chrome).
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 16 Aug 2013
I have the same problem.
Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 16 Aug 2013
Please try clearing your browser cache and reloading an Answers page. Let me know if things are any better...
Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 16 Aug 2013
Others are experiencing this issue as well (see this Newsreader thread). I am looking into it. Thanks for reporting the problem, I will respond here with any updates.
Cedric
Cedric on 22 May 2013
I think that it would be very interesting to have the possibility to tag/flag/mark/attach/bookmark threads so we can keep track and follow them without posting an answer or a comment in the threads.
"Bookmarked" threads could appear in an additional (private?) tab in our profile, e.g. at the end of the current series of tabs:
/ Profile \/ Questions \/ Answers \/ Comments \/ Bookmarks \
Ideally, we could add a label (a string with same size limitation as threads titles) and have entries sorted by label, which would allow us to implement the classification scheme that we prefer (date, name, tags, main topic, etc).
At this point, I print relevant mature threads as PDF, which is not possible when threads are just starting; in such case, I leave a tab open on each relevant young thread, hoping that I will remember to look at them before I mess up with my browser and lose all my tabs, .. which is not ideal.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 22 May 2013
I understand. I use Firefox so that's not an issue with me. I set up the syncing (it takes entering a code at first) so now syncing bookmarks between home and work computers happens automatically - it's really a nice feature.
Cedric
Cedric on 22 May 2013
Just because I am working from/on several computers, and if I am sync-ing files, I find it more difficult to sync bookmarks (especially because some of these machines have restrictions on browser types). I might just jump on this occasion to learn how to sync them I guess, but I also think that this could be a feature of the forum in the sense that most of our forum activity and interests would be centralized here.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 22 May 2013
Why not just bookmark discussions in your browser, like I do? For example I have a folder called Tutorials (under my MATLAB folder), and in there I have bookmarked links to common tutorial discussions, like how to ask a question, how to upload files, how to format questions, how do I get help on homework, etc. You could have a folder "Discussions to follow" or whatever you want to call it. It seems certainly better than exporting to a PDF.
Matt J
Matt J on 30 Apr 2013
It would be interesting to be able to cast votes AGAINST Answers (or Questions?), as well as in favor of them :-)
I haven't decided whether this should affect rep points negatively, but it should at least help sink the Answer to the bottom of the display. It would be a good way for the community to collectively warn someone away from a bad approach (e.g., abuses of EVAL)
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Apr 2013
I'd like to buy an argument.
Matt J
Matt J on 30 Apr 2013
I like it!
Cedric
Cedric on 30 Apr 2013
Actually you missed it, but the feature exists already ;-p
Matt J
Matt J on 30 Apr 2013
Ah well, too bad. I'm all in favor of a negative forum ;)
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 30 Apr 2013
I used to (pre-MathWorks-employment) just write "-1 vote". This was discouraged since we want a positive forum.
Instead now I politely write why an answer is not the best...
Matt J
Matt J on 28 Apr 2013
Apologies if this has been suggested. The list has grown long and difficult to search....
I think there should be a privilege (earned at 1000 reputation points or so) that allows contributors to transform an Answer into a Comment (and vice versa?)
All too often, newcomers to the site don't understand how things work and instead of responding to Answers with Comments, they respond with Answers of their own. It would be good for trusted contributors to have the power to fix this.
Matt J
Matt J on 29 Apr 2013
On my display this is currently directly over my duplicate suggestion.
I knew I couldn't have been the first... Oh well, I +1'ed it. :-)
Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 29 Apr 2013
@IA, I think it sorts by number of votes (high to low) and then date (oldest to newest). It looks like you up voted my answer and it is now higher in the list...
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 29 Apr 2013
Same here. I always wondered how it sorted the items. Like how this one could be added at some arbitrary place in the middle of a big long list, rather than at the end.
Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 29 Apr 2013
On my display this is currently directly over my duplicate suggestion.
Cedric
Cedric on 28 Apr 2013
+1 !
Voting for comments would be a great feature to implement at the same time, by the way.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 28 Apr 2013
I think that's a great idea, and I voted for it. And I've always thought that the wish list and the bug list should be separate, rather than combined into one giant list.
Cedric
Cedric on 28 Mar 2013
An optional chat room with a main channel and thread-specific channels or user defined channels would be awesome. The rational is that sometimes/often we would be able to pinpoint much better the needs from the beginning after a short chat, than when we refine the question statement iteratively through dozens of comments (and it doesn't always converge!). The quality of answers could be significantly improved.
For thread specific channels, the log of the discussion would be saved in the thread in a way that we can edit (e.g. remove irrelevant entries and edit remaining entries, so we keep only relevant content).
It isn't the easiest feature to implement though, and it would be difficult to prevent people from just chatting without saving answers if they can create user defined channels. A solution could be to limit the creation of user defined channels to Editors, and keep the main room as well as thread specific channels for the rest of us.
Cedric
Cedric on 28 Mar 2013
I agree with that and this is why I added "optional". I didn't explain it well, but the typical situation that I had in mind was: I see that the OP is present on a thread at a given time and I propose to switch to chat if I am in the mood for that, in order to refine the question more efficiently. This interaction is logged (it ends up e.g. in the body of the question) and if I cannot answer on the fly, I can always say that I will think about it and post an answer later, and close the chat.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 28 Mar 2013
I know some people like chat systems a lot, and find them to be quite useful.
Speaking entirely for myself: I do not happen to like to use chat systems for technical matters, or use them with people I do not know relatively well. I end up feeling "locked in" to the conversation window, with its slow progress. With posting systems, I can concentrate on the material solidly, flipping windows as I need to to check something in help documentation or to run an example in MATLAB... or to go down and pick up a snack in the middle of doing something.
Jan
Jan on 6 Feb 2013
A failing formatting of code:
Here the formatting fails, when the space between "BC" and ">=" is removed:
|find(BC >= 2) .* find(BC <= 36)|
Working: find(BC >= 2) .* find(BC <= 36)
Failing: find(BC>= 2) .* find(BC <= 36)
Cedric
Cedric on 7 Feb 2013
Well, when dealing with regexp in MATLAB, aspirin is more important than even "indexing" itself ;) Therefore, I have a toolbox full of them..
But I should explain this pattern. Even if you are familiar with the topic, it might be useful to someone else.
The pattern can be seen as
(?<=expr_1)\|(?<content>expr_2)\|(?=exp_3)
----------- ------------------ ---------
look-behind token look-forward
where
\|(?<content>expr_2)|\
defines that I want to match something that lies within pipes "|" (that have to be escaped because pipes have a special meaning otherwise). This "thing" will be characterized by the pattern expr_2 and I want to save it as a named token (which I chose to name "content") that I can reuse later in the replacement (see in the def. of rep). In the expression
.*?[^\s\|]
. is a wildcard for any single char, * means that it can be repeated between 0 and infty times, ? makes the * lazy, meaning find as little as possible, otherwise we have a greedy expression that will roughly take everything between the first and the last pipe of str. The [^expr] matches any character that is not listed in expr, which means that we won't match pipes as closing pipes if they are preceded by a whitespace \s or a pipe.
The first part
(?<=\s|^|\<.)
is a positive look-behind; (?<=expr_1) defines that whatever comes after the look-behind is a match only if it is preceded by something that is matched by the look-behind. Here, expr_1 matches whitespace \s, or the beginning of the string ^, or the beginning of a word \<..
The last part
(?=[\s;,\.])
is a positive look-forward; (?=expr_3) defines that whatever comes before the look-forward is a match only if it is followed by something that is matched by the look-forward. Here, expr_3 is a set [expr] of possible matches, that contains whitespace \s, any punctuation ":", ",", and "." (that has to be escaped because . have a special meaning otherwise).
Jan
Jan on 6 Feb 2013
@Cedric: I do not have the toolbox, which contains the aspirin command. However, '(?<=\s|^|\<.)\|(?<content>.*?[^\s\|])\|(?=[\s;,\.])' looks like something harder than aspirin, or like you have rolled an angry armadillo over your keyboard.
Cedric
Cedric on 6 Feb 2013
I played a bit just for the fun of using regexp+aspirin..
EDIT: last update 02/06/2013 @ 3:22pm EST
str = ['|A|, \t |A| \t |A|..\n', ...
' |A|, \t |A| \t |A| ..\n', ...
'|A B|, \t |A B| \t |A B|..\n', ...
'|A|B|, \t |A|B| \t |A|B|..\n', ...
'|A||B|, \t |A||B| \t |A||B|..\n', ...
'|A | B|, \t |A | B| \t |A | B|..\n', ...
'|A || B|,\t |A || B| \t |A || B|..\n', ...
'|()|, \t |()| \t |()|..\n', ...
'|[]|, \t |[]| \t |[]|..\n', ...
'|{}|, \t |{}| \t |{}|..\n', ...
'|32|, \t |32| \t |32|..\n', ...
'||, \t | \t |..\n', ...
'"||", \t "|" \t "|"..\n'] ;
pat = '(?<=\s|^|\<.)\|(?<content>.*?[^\s\|])\|(?=[\s;,\.])' ;
rep = '$<content>' ;
newStr = regexprep(str, pat, rep) ;
fprintf(newStr) ;
Output:
A, A A..
A, A A ..
A B, A B A B..
A|B, A|B A|B..
A||B, A||B A||B..
A | B, A | B A | B..
A || B, A || B A || B..
(), () ()..
[], [] []..
{}, {} {}..
32, 32 32..
||, | |..
"||", "|" "|"..
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 6 Feb 2013
That's maybe why I never use monospacing formatting. It never seemed to work right. If I want monospaced text, I format it as code. I wish we had the ability to specify whatever font (color, size, font name, underlining, etc.) we wanted.
Cedric
Cedric on 2 Feb 2013
Another feature that I would really appreciate is a select instead of the checkbox "Email me when answers are added to this question", that would offer more options. For example:
  • Email me when answers are added to this question
  • Email me when answers or comments are added to this question
  • Email me when there is any activity on this thread
With that (and because the 3rd option could generate a lot of emails), I would also be interested in being allowed to choose the frequency of the emails with a second select (or something in my profile options), e.g.
  • Email instantly..
  • Daily summary..
  • Weekly summary..
The rational for me is: I don't ask that many questions, but when I do I am genuinely interested in any piece of information that I can gather from anything on the thread/page. I don't really make a distinction between comments and answers in fact, in the sense that I could often define The Answer as the outcome of multiple answers and comments. I am also interested in being warned if any answer or comment is edited, because if the person who answered/commented believes that it is worth bringing a modification, then the update is important to me. I would therefore set my default to be the last item of the list/select mentioned above.
Cedric
Cedric on 3 Feb 2013
I am game for receiving these updates as well; that would teach me English in addition to MATLAB! ;)
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 3 Feb 2013
Though with respect to editing, the Community Editors often edit for format or to correct typos.
Cedric
Cedric on 31 Jan 2013
As mentioned here, I think that having the possibility for the OP and high rep. members to add a top entry in the thread (like an answer but with a different design, e.g. greenish background or some frame) called "Synthesis" or "Conclusion", that would contain a synthesis/conclusion of the thread, would be interesting. This should be optional and worth no reward, so we have only valuable information, but highly prioritized by the search engine. The name of contributors should also be recorded in the sense that, at least to me, they are often a search criterion as important as keywords.
You can find an example of what I have in mind here, where I edited the question with a top part that synthesizes the thread: http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/59491-is-it-possible-to-set-watchdogs-memory-exec-time-in-matlab
The idea is really to allow people who care for that to bring added value to their threads. This could be especially useful for complicated threads, where finally a person is able to draw a conclusion out of dozens of answers/comments. The conclusion is really important information, yet it doesn't appear in the thread ultimately.
As a side note, I think that having the option not to prop. the thread at the top of the list when we edit the synthesis could be useful.. in my case, for example, I am pretty sure that people will start being tired about my "watchdog" thread if it comes back at the top of the list each time I add a coma to the text.. ;)
Cedric
Cedric on 31 Jan 2013
I think that if people were reminded (e.g. weekly) on a verified email that they have to come back to "close" their threads (or to actively indicate that they could still use help), more people would at least come back and see what was answered/commented. I am saying that, because I really suspect that many people actually find some way to do what they want after posting the question, and never come back to check their threads. All of you folks who have been active here for a long time, have roughly a 1/3 ratio of accepted answers, but when I look at the threads it seems that a significant amount of the answers that were not accepted are just a consequence of people not coming back..
Associated with this mechanism, there could be a special type of threads for open questions, in some sense a "discussion thread", like this one or any of those that should not have a particular answer chosen to be The answer.
Cheers,
Cedric
Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 18 Jan 2013
I am trying to find unanswered questions with 0 votes, but I want them listed newest to oldest. If I search for unanswered and sort by votes, I get all the questions with 0 votes sorted by date, but oldest to newest, followed by all the questions wit 1 vote, again sorted oldest to newest.
I am trying to close unclear and inappropriate questions which are unanswered. Basically I am trying to work through the unanswered questions. If the question is reasonable, I vote for it. If the question is inappropriate or unclear I add a comment saying what is inappropriate or unclear and close it. This leads me to needing the odd sort order/search capability.
I guess the first question is, is this filtering useful?
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 18 Jan 2013
@Daniel, thanks for doing this!
Let Randy know if you notice any trends or anything else noteworthy or that could be useful to you.
Jan
Jan on 18 Jan 2013
I've asked hundreds of times for code formatting, but I definitely did not want the questions to be deleted, the users to be scared or the editors to waste time for checking.
But to stay on topic: More powerful search options would support your useful project to cleanup old not answered questions. And I appreciate your work.
Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 18 Jan 2013
According to about closing means that if the OP does not edit the question within 10 days, the question gets deleted. My feeling is that when we add comments like "format your code" or "what is your question" or tag it "doit4me", we should close the question. This has two effects. First the question disappears from the front page and other won't waste time looking at the question. Second, if the OP doesn't deal with it in 10 days, it gets deleted. I think both might cut down on the noise.
I have decided that what I am saying when I vote for an unanswered question is: Hey other contributors this question is not rubbish. There is potentially enough information to answer it.