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Viewing replies to one's posts

By Smiling Dragon in Meta
Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 02:59:39 AM EST
Tags: Scoop (all tags)
Scoop

Is there a simple way to view replies to posts? I seem to spend a fair amount of time running through the 'Your Comments' section looking to see if anything new has popped up and to see how people rate my blabs.


I find myself wishing for something a little more automated. Is there anything in place already to let me see new replies to things?

The current system for looking at scores seems fine to me, I can scan down for particularly high or low scores and both re-read my own drivel and then check out any comments people have made. I love feedback - be it favourable or argument (I especially love an interesting argument) <grin>.

Its not knowing when something new has come up that bugs me, I can't figure out a way to see if the number of replies has increased without having a good memory. At present it's not so hard, I get stuff-all replies so I leap on any with great enthusiasm and can thus remember them :) But as time goes on, I imagine this will become harder.

Another related problem I've hit (I guess this one isn't so simple to fix) is when I comment on a story that gets dumped afterwards. I see in the 'Your Comments' section a score of 1.00, "Oh wow, do I feel stink. But wait! There is a reply, let's see what they have to say". Click the link, watch it bomb, the story's gone already. The entry in my comments list stays but the actual comment is history. Maybe it would be nice to have it one way or the other completely? Utterly remove all trace or somehow store the old erased post in a different section (call it 'crap' or some such :) Can see this getting really massive though, perhaps just changing the link in the comments screen to indicate it is to a dead post would be cleaner and simpler.

So, is there some way of showing a summery of new answers to a user's post? Should we have one? Is it even possible in scoop? Do we care enough to look? I know I would.

<Meta Rubbish>
This posting is a second attempt. The first was a bit of a mess and was blown away by a friendly admin to allow me to clean it up some. For those that commented and voted, cheers! I'd love it if you could put those comments back in, I reckon it was really valuable input (I got to read them but I doubt many others had a chance).
</Meta Rubbish>

-- 
Smiling Dragon
Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neil Stephenson

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Poll
I find other's comments:
o Great! So long as they are nice, ego-stroking ones. 17%
o Great! Good or bad, bring 'em on! 71%
o So-so. I like to see what people think but I don't live for it. 5%
o Boring. I really don't feel the need to defend my views. 3%
o Nasty, I'm off to sulk on The Other Site :) 1%

Votes: 57
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Viewing replies to one's posts | 20 comments (15 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Any suggestions on how to implement this? (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:22:22 AM EST

You may or may not be a programmer but it would be very useful in the future if you were more specific when making feature requests. Vague and improperly specified requirements are a bane to all software development.

That said, exactly how do you suggest new messages are recognized by scoop? Replies posted since the last time you checked your user page? Replies posted since the last time you clicked on the article? Replies posted since you clicked on your comment? Replies posted whose URLs you've never clicked? Replies which you never replied?

Each of these definitions of a new reply has different semantics and can probably be implemented in a different way. Which of these do you want? Do you want some combination or all of them? Please tell us.

NOTE: I am not a Scoop developer, just a concerned third party.



Steady on, slow down and read it over there eh? (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Smiling Dragon on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:39:30 AM EST

You may or may not be a programmer but it would be very useful in the future if you were more specific when making feature requests. Vague and improperly specified requirements are a bane to all software development.
Nope, not a programmer (well, not since a good few years ago anyhow)
<sigh> Vague and improperly specified? Hmm, I'll respond to each bit in turn.
That said, exactly how do you suggest new messages are recognized by scoop? Replies posted since the last time you checked your user page? Replies posted since the last time you clicked on the article? Replies posted since you clicked on your comment? Replies posted whose URLs you've never clicked? Replies which you never replied?

Let's not be silly here. For starters, I'd take what I could get with this feature, it was doubling as a check to see if the feature is actually here and I simply missed it.
If it's a feature request, then the effect I'm after is well enough defined in my opinion and the going about would depend on how scoop does its thing.

My take on K5 and scoop: Users appear to view pages by submitting requests to a bunch of cgi scripts (or something like it) which serve up the bits wanted after running them past the user prefs.

I imagine if I was developing this feature I'd have the cgi save the comment's ID (when I serve it up for that user) out to the User DB and when we go round the 'Your Comments' and 'Your Stories' screens, it can check these fields in the user db before it displays the lists. I'd have though that 'unread replies' is about as accurate a nomenclature as you get: replies I haven't seen, or from K5's view, replies it hasn't served up to my userid before.

Each of these definitions of a new reply has different semantics and can probably be implemented in a different way. Which of these do you want? Do you want some combination or all of them? Please tell us.

Yes, you are right, each definition has a different meaning. Some of the ones you listed would be ridiculous and I'm now accusing you of picking them for effect rather than genuinely thinking I could possibly wish such a thing. As for the rest, yeah ok I'll grant that any of those could be suitable methods although that's kind of the point of a discussion is to come up with that kind of thing. My preference is for the clicked ones - not far off what an html browser does but a little cleaner seeing as it would be done on the server-side. It might also be interesting as a statistic of how many articles/comments a user has read (although I imagine that would get complicated as one can view more than one entry on a single page).

This was not a bug-report.

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
You may not like the methods but they get results (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:52:19 AM EST

Yes, you are right, each definition has a different meaning. Some of the ones you listed would be ridiculous and I'm now accusing you of picking them for effect rather than genuinely thinking I could possibly wish such a thing. As for the rest, yeah ok I'll grant that any of those could be suitable methods although that's kind of the point of a discussion is to come up with that kind of thing. My preference is for the clicked ones - not far off what an html browser does but a little cleaner seeing as it would be done on the server-side.

You may have been offended by me asking for more detail in your feature request but without it there can be no proper discussion off exactly how the feature will be implemented.

My examples may seem contrived to you but this is merely because probably have never observed how scoop handles things (and why should you, leave that to the college students with nothing but free time like me). The problem with your suggestion is that the URL's scoop servers up do not accurately reflect the comments read. E.g. this URL is for comment #35 which is a reply to #28. If we go by the suggestion of only looking at links clicked then scoop will assume you didn't read the other replies even though they were on the same page served up (unlikely). On the other hand if scoop assumes that every time you clicked on a comment in the article or the article itself you read all your replies then the above problem is avoided.

My questions may have been annoying or seemed contrived but they were questions aimed at eliciting the proper requirements/needs for the feature that you wanted. So which implementation would you rather have?



[ Parent ]
Food for thought (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by Smiling Dragon on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 02:19:29 AM EST

A very good point indeed! I hadn't noticed the url problem you pointed out there. I was in the process of building up an example to illustrate why you were right there but in the process found a few ways round it. (Sort of)

If we were to go with my idea of storing the link to each comment (I see that not being such a crash-hot idea now): Even if you were to list each reply id next to the comment in the 'Your ...' lists, it would not be a one to one mapping of reply to link and so would result in the user clicking one, reading the page of answers, and the server storing that link. The user would then find that other 'unread' comments were ones they read along with the one they clicked.

So we could instead try for an idea you suggested I might have meant: Only show replies that arrive after the user views the 'Your ...' pages. Not quite as good, and it assumes the user didn't click it by mistake (but then again, the replies would not be hidden, just over in the 'seen' list) but would give sufficient consistancy to be of use.

<meta>
I believe I owe you an apology for over-reacting :) I still don't think my original post was ill-defined, and that I wasn't the only party over-reacting a little, but I certainly made some poor assumptions about the method of indexing. And may have taken your response a teensy-bit personally <grin>. No offence taken though, definatly keep argueing with people like me, it's what makes K5 great. :)
</meta>

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]

My suggestion (none / 0) (#17)
by ZanThrax on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 02:30:18 AM EST

First off, IANACompetentProgrammer
That said, I think that a single cookie value could be added to whatever existing cookie(s) K5 is using indicating last login at a minimum, preferably since the last time the user page was viewed. Add the flag (or whatever, see disclaimer) to comments that tracks # of replies and descendants. Bold the number of replies/descendants on comments which have had an increased count, and possibly add a sort box into the search to allow comments with new replies/descendants to be brought to the top. I should mention that I support AdamJ's request for the addition of descendant tracking (along with antizeus' naming scheme).

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

A suggestion (none / 0) (#19)
by loner on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 03:52:46 PM EST

[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.

[ Parent ]

Copy other sites. (none / 0) (#20)
by static on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 06:18:10 PM EST

EZboard has a way of keeping track of what messages you've read and not read. It's done by time-stamps. The software stores a timestamp for each user for each forum and if there are any messages newer than that, it displays a little "unread" icon for you for that forum. And when you go in there, it displays the same icon against each message that's newer than your timestamp.

Note that this relies on each registered user remembering to select a link called "Mark forum read", thus making it into more of a "forward-only" site than Kuro5hin is at the moment. This aspect of EZBoard happens to work, however, despite other, more recent problems.

Wade.

[ Parent ]

What I would like.. (3.85 / 7) (#4)
by AdamJ on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:29:29 AM EST

Is the ability to see the number of Direct Replies and Total replies. For example, if you look at my Recent Comments, you'll see the comment titled Or they might bring other people out..., which says it has 1 reply. Which it does, kind of - but the reply has a reply. It would be nice to have a display like "Replies: 1/1", for 1 direct reply, 1 reply further down in the tree.

Feature does not scale at all (2.66 / 3) (#6)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:43:32 AM EST

So exactly how will this seemingly simple feature represent a thread like this or even this one where each reply has several replies which each have several replies which each have replies, etc.

Frankly something seeing
    Replies:4/7/3/2/2/1/6/7
would quickly get irritating and serve no purpose except as a means of information overload.



[ Parent ]
Possible other interpretation (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by Smiling Dragon on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:53:44 AM EST

My guess is that AdamJ means something more like:
4/28 (To use your above example)
4 Direct replies and 28 Indirect replies.
Just a guess of course :) If so then that would scale pretty well.

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
Right, I think! (2.00 / 1) (#10)
by AdamJ on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:18:05 AM EST

I'm not going to go through the links and actually count, but that's basically what I mean. :)

Adam

[ Parent ]

number of descendents (3.14 / 7) (#9)
by antizeus on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:58:14 AM EST

If every reply points to its parent, then each message can know how many descendents it has in a message tree. When a new reply is posted, the fact is propagated up the parent chain, incrementing that field along the way.

Sure, you lose the depth information, but with this you get more info at low cost.

Message <Blah>, 3 replies, 47 descendents.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]

neener neener neener (none / 0) (#14)
by Smiling Dragon on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:53:09 AM EST

Looks like I squeeked mine in first <chuckle>.

Now this definitaly isn't a feature request (way too bloody hard) but it's a pity we don't have some kind of soft locking so we know if someone else is already composing a reply to a comment we are responding to (to avoid the sort of this we two just pulled off here).

Hmm, on second thought's I guess maybe not too hard, just sort of useless. One could make an temporary field in the comment's DB entry containing a list of userid with soft-locks and have a periodic check to timeout old locks from people that gave up on the post.


-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
Don't worry (none / 0) (#18)
by leviathan on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:35:20 AM EST

Your comment was more user oriented, whereas antizeus' comment was from an implementation POV.

So, even if you were to post comments making the same point, they'd be written by different people. Good comments (well written, considered - not sucking up!) are always worthwhile. You'll note that both your comments got better than average votes (for the moment, at least).

--
I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert
[ Parent ]
Agreed (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by Pakaran on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:48:04 AM EST

I actually think that displaying actual numbers of replies, rather than the .5e notion of read/unread, would make it easier for me to see at a glance whether there was something on one of my comments that I had not noticed; I tend to remember how many times each was replied to when I last saw it.

[ Parent ]
Viewing replies to one's posts | 20 comments (15 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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