Doodle Grouper: A How-To

Posted 28 November 2011, 23:00 | by | | Perma-link

Doodle Grouper LogoWhile it's clearly perfectly understandable to me how Doodle Grouper actually works, I'm occasionally reminded that it's not as intuitive for others as I'd like, so here's a little "How-To" guide, that covers most of the features that currently exist in

Adding Users to a List

The easiest way to add a user to a list is to use the "Add to list..." action the plugin adds to the actions on the User Icon:
The "Add to list..." Action

This brings up the "Add User To List" Dialog:
Add User To A List

Here you can add the user to an existing List by selecting it from the list, or create a new List, press "Add a new list" and then select it and press OK.

The Lists you create with this plugin appear in the User Lists tab of Seesmic:
User Lists

You can display or hide the columns by clicking on them - the order they appear in the main Seesmic space is determined by the order you show them.

Modifying a List

Once you've displayed a list, you can modify it through the column settings, selecting "Modify this list..."
"Modify this list..."

Then on the "Modify List" dialog, you can rename the list, add more users manually (it's Case Sensitive so be careful doing it this way), delete the entire list or remove a user by selecting them from the list and pressing "Update":
Modify The List

The remove function only removes one user at a time at the moment.

Advanced Functions

On the Settings pane for the Doodle Grouper plugin, you can import and export your lists for example for use on a different computer. While you can export the file to pretty much any location you like, note that you can only import a file from within your "My Documents" folder.

Doodle Grouper Settings

The format of the xml is as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ArrayOfUserList xmlns:xsi=""
    <Name>List Name 1</Name>
      <string>User Name 1</string>
      <string>User Name 2</string>
    <Name>List Name 2</Name>
      <string>User Name 3</string>
      <string>User Name 4</string>

I tend to leave Seesmic running, and have encountered memory issues when running with too many lists, so I added the ability to throttle the number of updates that the plugin keeps in each List.

If you "Enable logging", the plugin will add more verbose details into the Seesmic log file to tell you what it's doing.

At the time of writing ( the "Enable grouping of retweets" doesn't currently work.

Filed under: Plug-ins, Seesmic is now live

Posted 16 November 2011, 15:43 | by | | Perma-link

It's finally here: After 12 months of other people defining, and committing to support it, one of the latest StackExchange sites to enter public beta is LEGO Answers -*, the place to ask all your LEGO and compatible brick building questions.

This is the first time I've been really actively involved in the private beta of one of these sites - I was in the WebMasters one enough to fulfil my obligations and earn the Beta badge, but not as much as this time, so here are my thoughts on the process.

Remote collaboration is hard

Working with a group of others remotely, on a site that doesn't encourage "chatter" is hard - Chat is there, but it's not that heavily used at the moment - when what you really want to do is sit down with a few drinks and discuss some of the issues: I had to remind myself on a few occasions not to take things personally, especially as there is a large group of users for whom English isn't a first language - they're doing a lot better than I would do if the site were in German or French Wink, I just hope I didn't cause any offence either...

Moderation requires effort - let us help!

One of the features of StackExchange sites is that as users gain reputation, they gain access to tools and features on the site that give them more say in the running of the site - as is pointed out on the FAQs:

At the high end of this reputation spectrum there is little difference between users with high reputation and moderators. That is very much intentional. We don’t run LEGO® - Stack Exchange. The community does.

But also, during the beta phase, the reputation requirements are lowered so that the actual users rather than CHAOS moderators do most of the day to day running of the site.

During Private Beta, the reputation requirements are very low, around 1000 rep gets you access to moderation tools - by the end of private beta, we had three or four users who were just over this threshold and helping out Dori and Robert (the two mod's I've really seen around, no disrespect to Geoff, Emmett or Rebecca). Suddenly the site goes into Public Beta, and the threshold's instantly raised to 2000 rep, and a load of new users join the site (that's a good thing Grin) but suddenly, it's left to Dori and Robert to manage the influx (it probably wasn't that big) of flags, suggested edits, etc., and my edits suddenly need approval again - I mean, I've proved myself already haven't I?

I guess part of this would have been resolved if the influx of users had actually been asking questions that people could answer and vote on - then the reputation would have risen fast enough to counter this - as it is, after nearly two weeks in public beta, I've nearly regained access to the moderation tools Wink.


We need your help - come and ask questions - come and give better answers - and don't be put off by thinking your question is silly, or someone's edited your answer - we're here to help, and craft the best resource for LEGO Q&A's there is - we really need to increase our daily question rate for example.

As some examples, I've had some great answers to building graveyard rooms for Heroica games and building a roof with a 60º pitch, others have been trying to work out how to invert the direction of bricks so that the studs are touching.

* The name may well change - The LEGO Group understandably don't want "LEGO" in the title. Vote for your choice over on the meta question: Site may not be described as LEGO Answers - call for alternative titles

Filed under: Lego, StackExhange, Websites