Hide deactivated items for a cleaner schedule

Like the update it represents, this newsletter entry is going to be quick and concise. Short version is this. We are pack-rats. We keep everything. Many of our users have noticed this proclivity, some to the point of commenting. But there is a reason. As we all know, there is always a reason.

The things we are unable to throw away are any professors or courses or classes ever added to the system. Users of ofCourse know that we never delete but instead 'de-activate' things. Everyone was fine enough with this except for one facet. When things were de-activated, they didn't really go away. They hung around in their directories with strike-throughs and NOT ACTIVE designations.

The roots of this de-activation approach came from some early experience, now almost a decade ago, where a scheduling team was deleting each others work. One person would add something and another person, not knowing why or where it came from would delete it. This obviously caused all sorts of mayhem, as you would expect, and then my phone rang, which is typically what happens when things go sideways.

Not seeing a cleaner form of compromise at the minute, that is how and when the de-activation system took root. In the early days, we wanted to be very overt about what was happening. If someone had something they added get deleted, we wanted them to see that it was still there and was easily recoverable. Hence the well-advertised and struck-through NOT ACTIVE items. This worked swimmingly for a bit.

But as schedules went on and semesters piled up those de-activated items started to dot the faculty and course directories giving the sense, at times, that there were as many inactive items as live ones. People would ask what could be done. I would say it was one of those necessary evils, and the alternative was worse than scrolling past a few legacy items. Until it wasn't. Schools that had been with us for three years, five years, seven years had a lot of these digital dust-bunnies littering their pages. In some case, it reached the point where even I became unsettled by the level of clutter.

So. We went in there and found a middle ground. We still don't delete anything as people still bump toes on the scheduling dance floor. It is just part of the collaborative landscape. But now, Now, NOW you have a handy little button you can hit to hide and show your de-activated items. This is admittedly one of the most simplistic updates we have ever made, but I trust it will well received.

To all who had tolerated this pebble in their dance shoe, I apologize, and I thank you for your patience while we got it sorted out. To those who hadn't noticed, your favorite scheduling system just got a little bit better, once again.

As always, see you on the (now much tidier) scheduling pitch.


Troy Dearmitt

Troy is the CTO & Co-founder at ofCourse.

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