[I got a cold so my brain isn't working 100%, but as a UI programmer this is too much for me to pass up.]
The premise is that most users read all the comments attached to an article at once, and after that are only interested if new comments are submitted. Same goes with replies to one's own comments. Occasionally, a user wants to have more control over what's been marked as read, perhaps when the article contains a lot interesting commentary and the user does not have the time to read all of them at once. Based on this, here's my suggestion:
On the interactive UI side: add a checkbox to every comment (right beside the rating drop-down), so that when you click on the Rate All button all checked comments are marked as read. Also add a "Mark All Read" checkbox on each story page to quickly mark all comments so far. This gives the user control over what is marked as read, and when.
On the presentation UI side: in the story statistics, show only the number of unread comments, OR show the number of total comments and unread comments, e.g.
Full Story (15 comments, 2 new). Same goes with the number of replies to Your Comments:
Old joke (Score: 4.00, Replies: 1, 0 new). Or basically anyplace where numbers of comments are displayed. Also perhaps, when viewing articles, have an option to show unread comments only (with read comments presented as hyperlinks), or use a different bg color for the new comments' header box.
On the server and db side: create a new table with these fields: uid, sid, readcomments. The readcomments field contains a list of cids marked as read, in the same manner as in most .newsrc files.
On the ease-of-use side: a User Preference to have scoop automatically mark all comments as read whenever a story is viewed. Also have a way to "unmark" comments and revert the story back to all unread.
Hope this makes sense.
I'll be glad to help implement this if the scoop developers find this feasable.
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