For your consideration and especially your comments…

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CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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283 Responses

  1. Avatar James K says:

    These all sound like good ideas CK.

    Also, I’ve tested the comment editing and it works.Report

  2. I hope others can offer their input on “Since Last Visit Formatting”. This is a great feature, and I’d like to see it retained. If it were me though, I’d make the darker background three-fifths of a tad darker. I know the difference should be subtle to not affect readability, but I think it could stand to be a little less subtle than it is right now.Report

  3. Regarding, “Higher Max-Depth On Nested Comments (MD)”, I just looked at my relatively tiny iPhone, and it’s very, very readable. I suggest you up the limit from 5 levels of nesting to 7. I don’t see a downside to it.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    IR: Fantastic, amazing, stupendous.

    SCE: a bit of a revolution for OT. Wondering whether a Best Practices for Comment Editing statement should be developed. That’s a question for the editors. If it were, I would try to heed it. If it’s not, I won’t.

    BAF : Sounds cool.

    SLV: Very cool indeed.

    DM & MD: Excellent. Fantastic. I’m wondering about bringing back something that was in place for a shot period years back: a deletable (eg.) “@ck_macleod” tag, maybe even “@ck_macleod @ 3:20 pm,” (with a link that jumps to said comment) that appears in replies (maybe starting at a certain depth), to clarify what comment is being replied to. Balloon Juice has this these days. It sounds like greater MD is going to lead to some considerably deeper, more complex threads, and I’m thinking that it will be useful to know exactly what comments replies are replying to. Maybe we don’t want that – just a thought.

    Fantastic work, CK. I’ve also appreciated scroll-to-top from the moment it was installed.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      …Oooo.

      On the edit function, would it be possible to move “Cancel” far away from “Save”? I just hit Cancel after editing that comment (you know me!). As I drag the cursor (arrow) from the combox down and from right-to-left over to Save/Cancel, Cancel is what I cross over first, and I out of reflex hit it rather than Save. Then I almost did it again after re-doing the edits, when knowing this was coming and preparing not to do it.Report

    • I’ve used different versions of reply-to and also quote functions at other blogs, and like them. Currently, this site has its own peculiar reply-to function called, not exactly informatively (the plug-in author is a native French speaker) “Mention comment’s Authors” that I call “Hinky Reply-To.” It’s “hinky” because there are a couple situations where it fails, and because it creates a formatting irregularity that shows up on certain browsers (ask Michael Cain).

      It’s not impossible, but it would be a bit of a strain, due to Javascript fratricide and other complications, to combine McA with one or another reply/quote function. Since for practical purposes (since there are other things I’d rather get to), it’s one or the other for the short term, I’d personally vote for adding the feature you mention, and retiring McA for now, but I do know that some people do like it or at least use it.

      Anyone have a strong opinion?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I’m a little worried about the “Edit” function. Given the fast flow of conversation, things can get haywire quickly. Yes, we should assume positive intent, but we’ve seen things get hairy a time or two where someone with edit privileges edited comments after replies to them and then claimed otherwise. Because of it being done through the dashboard, we could suss it out, but that seems impossible now. The new reply feature and the already-imposed time limit make me think the former should suffice. If you said something mistakenly and realize in 5 minutes, just hit reply and offer a follow up comment. You don’t have to worry about the previous issues with scrolling and nesting.

      I just fear someone saying XYZ, someone responding to XYZ, and then the former person editing XYZ to ABC and now we’re arguing about who said what and when with no paper trail.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        You can edit only your own comments, @kazzy – so I’m not sure I understand your concern.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          @ck-macleod

          Here is what I fear:

          Joe says, “Obama is a commie.”
          Bill says, “@joe Why’d you call Obama a commie?”
          Joe edits his initial comment to say, “Obama is a dummy.”
          Now Bill looks like he has no idea what he’s talking about. Doof!Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

            As someone who has asked for this too often, I would suggest that you can edit for five minutes, or until someone hits the “Reply” link associated with the comment, whichever comes first.

            Here’s an edit addition.

            And another one. Would it be good if the comment was marked “edited” in some fashion?

            So I can apparently edit as many times as I like, as long as I do it within five minutes.Report

            • you can edit for five minutes, or until someone hits the “Reply” link associated with the comment

              Oh, that’s a nice one. You could still have the problem that someone could be reading an old version of your comment and replying to that old version, but it’s still an interesting idea.Report

              • It’s a complicated problem. Once upon a time I worked on protocols to allow multiple people to edit complex documents at the same time, and trying to handle all the wrinkles associated with fine-grained locks is flat-out hard. Real time updates seemed to be important, ie, your view of the previous comment would change the moment the author of that comment edited it. Still allowed some degree of confusion, but got the window of time when it could happen small enough that it was an infrequent occurrence.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kazzy says:

        He means where Peerson X says “XYZ,” gets criticized for it, wants to go back and change what he said to “XYZ-prime” and then deny having changed it. I’ve never personally had a problem with it, though perhaps I’ve presented others with that problem (though I never to my knowledge have denied changing previous comments to better reflect what I was trying to say).

        In any case, this is what I was referring to with a “Comment Editing Best PRactices” statement. Included would almost certainly be an instruction to label any changes with any substantive import at all (i.e. greater than fixing typos and maybe – maybe – confusing – phrasing, no matter how seemingly minor.

        I will admit to being pretty bad with this (again, not to the point of denying changes I’ve made, but not necessarily noting them if I do it quickly, trying to make that change before responses come in), to the point where realistically, I probably won’t do it consistently unless it’s made a formal admonition. So I think we should probably do that.Report

        • If possible, I think it would be reasonable for an edited comment to say in small type or gray type or small gray type “this comment was edited by its author” as a way to clarify.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

            At the least, I think that would be appropriate. I’m guessing that all editing will in fact be traceable, even if that tracing is not accessible to non-dashboard types, or even non-editors.Report

          • +1 to Will’s suggestion of a discreet “this comment was edited”. But if that’s not possible, I still wouldn’t kill it. At most, I’d say change the time limit to one or two minutes so it’s less likely someone will make changes in response to a negative reply and that it will instead be used to correct grammatical problems and tags that weren’t closed.Report

            • Everything’s doable. Will examine to see how hard to implement. My take on it for now is that, if a practicable solution doesn’t appear to me (or someone else!) immediately, we should keep the function and monitor for abuse. However, I’m not sure that bad behavior will be traceable. I’m not aware of any reason it would be. I just don’t see it as likely a major problem. Could be wrong, of course.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

            Okay, feeling I was misconstrued a bit.

            1. I’m not proposing anything wrt to traceable editing, certainly not a system usable by readers. I’m just saying my guess is that, push comes to shove, these edits are probably traceable even now on the back end of WordPress in some way or other that accessible to editors right now (even if revealing that would require some work). Maybe I’m wrong, though.

            2. I don’t think we have or will have a problem with this either. Nevertheless, editable comments are a fairly big change for the site, and that’s why I think a Best Practices statement would be in order. But that’s up to the editors.

            3. “This Comment Was Edited” is perfectly appropriate to implement, but keep in mind it won’t indicate anything with any more specificity than that it might have been edited to correct one spelling error, or it might have been edited to completely reverse the meaning of the comment. Or both and everything in between. Nevertheless, I agree it’s perfectly sensible to do.

            4. By no means am I suggesting that failing any or all of that, I want editing killed. I’ve long thought we should have it, and I would want it with or without any of the suggestions I’m making. I’m just making suggestions.

            5. But if there are problems, please don’t try to solve them by shortening the commenting window. I don’t think that accomplishes anything, and just makes the process of editing one’s comments more stressful imo.Report

      • ck in reply to Kazzy says:

        Looking for SCE on AndroidReport

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

        Go fvck yourself.

        EDIT:

        Have a nice day!Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    First off, thanks for all your work, CK.

    Second, most of these seem like major improvements. So, wahoo!

    Third, if you are taking suggestions, I would say that links in the header or top of the page that jump to OTC and GoG would be great. Sometimes, if I want to see what people are commenting about on mobile, I have to scroll for days on mobile. Basically, the reverse of the jump-to-top button (which is generally awesome but sometimes gets in the way on mobile).

    More generally… I’m amazed that all this is so hard these days. That isn’t to say that I think you should be finding it easier, CK. I just assumed that this point everything would be drag and drop. If you want this type of comment, you check Box A. If you want that type of reply system, you check Box B. I’m surprised all the coding isn’t doesn’t behind the scenes and then channeled through a bunch of toggle buttons. But what do I know? As I said elsewhere, I’m still figuring out how Chrome works… as a web browser.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

      CK can correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that WordPress by this point is such a massive piece of software that even if what you want just requires you to check Box A, it helps to have the expertise of where Box A is. And that’s before you get to the thousands of extensions that have been written.Report

      • Sounds about right. Plus there are many different ways to solve the same problem, some more brittle than others, some more efficient than others, some more easily customizable than others, and some more customizable in one way that makes customization in the other way more difficult, and so on, and so on. In commenting in particular, there are now several 3rd Party commenting systems that bring a range of different advantages, but all or almost all have significant downsides for some purposes. In addition, desirable commenting display and functions for a discussion-oriented site like this one, with comment threads frequently going into the multiple hundreds of comments between commenters who know each other and are often writing what amount to virtual posts will be radically different from what’s desirable at other sites.

        Keeping things customized also means – as I hope to show you all soon – that we can do unique things with commenting that using a 3rd Party system or an over-developed box A or drag-and-drop interface wouldn’t help with at all, or might make more difficult.Report

  6. The dots work for me, accomplishing what I was looking for.

    RSS still isn’t working for comments.Report

  7. Awesome work, CK.

    Without the DM lines, the per-level indent amount is good. With the DM lines, it seems too much. Because I’m a helpful sort, I’ll write an answer for you:

    You’re the smart aleck who’s reformatting Web pages on the fly, aren’t you? So how do you know what it actually looks like? And since you’re reformatting anyway, just fix it on your end :^)

    Report

  8. By the way, I don’t seem to be getting e-mailed comments despite its saying I’m subscribed to this entry.

    I’m not getting comments on the post I authored today either, so maybe that’s not related to this stuff.Report

  9. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    Intermediate observations:

    IR – the relief, as anticipated, of not having to scroll and scan to to top of column for last repliable comment is great enough, for me at least, almost, but not quite, to justify those long, horrible years of having to do that… Many questions that appeared unsolvable and discussions that seemed too laborious will now suddenly yield to solution, spreading mutual acceptance, peace, and joy throughout the universe.

    SCE – needed some tweaking, but useful and appreciated. Monitor for possible abuse. Implement site-wide in tweaked form.

    BAF – no one has commented on it, may stand out more after other design changes, or should be made to stand out more so that people can assess reasonably (or may be more useful for authors than for commenters)

    SLVF – a little too gray in current implementation, but a useful feature. Reverse polarities and brighten highlightin? Can test here, or just implement site-wide in that format.

    DM – better for mobile-only, but may try out an alternative formatting approach after change to SLVF

    MD – undecided about going deeper. Not much harm in trying it out, as long as margins are adjusted a bit for desktop display.Report

  10. Avatar Glyph says:

    This may be overkill with the improved nesting (though it would still be helpful IMO, once you pass the nesting limit and enter the infinity zone) but would it be possible to get an “in reply to (username)” notation next to each comment’s time stamp? That seems to also help resolve threading/conversation ambiguity, in my experience. Obviously you can do it manually, by using the @ function or being really polite and clear and explicitly addressing your interlocutor by name each time, but who’s got time for all that foofraw?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

      I want to see how far a quote-comments link gets us. There may be some hassles making the regular reply-link work the way you want, but I’ll look into it again.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I don’t need it to be an actual link, if that helps. I just think (particularly once you pass the nesting limit), that it can be helpful if there are multiple people on a thread.

        So for example, the top of your reply to me would have read “CK MacLeod April 11, 2015 at 8:16 PM, replying to Glyph” (or “in reply to Glyph”, or even just “Glyph” in grayed-back italics. Just something that lets anyone know, at a glance, who you were actually talking to.)Report

  11. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    BAF doesn’t seem to be working consistently, at least if I understand how it’s supposed to work. I’m only seeing the border on the right side if your first comment is to a first level comment (so there’s no more than one border line on the left side.

    I’ll leave a comment above to indicate where I’m expecting BAF formatting and don’t see it.Report

  12. Avatar Ronald Huereca says:

    Testing for SCE.Report

  13. Avatar Kolohe says:

    This was really great work, CK MacLeod of the clan MacLeod.Report

  14. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    Will I be able to edit this comment?Report

  15. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    We really appreciate your using your time and effort and expertise to benefit the site, @ck-macleod .Report

  16. I’m personally getting rather fed-up with the prominent placing of emoji on Swiftkey on my smartphone. I want to switch keyboards, but can’t find a suitable replacement as my backup, Kii, was taken off the Android market.

    I wrote this post only as a test.Report

  17. Avatar Zac says:

    Just wanted to chime in as a semi-lurker and say that I really like all of these changes and agree that they greatly enhance my experience as a daily reader of this site.Report

  18. I know @ck-macleod is noodling around right now, but the Link & Quote function he was using a moment ago actually preserved the formatting of the quoted text. That’s fantastic.Report

    • @michael-drew

      Thanks for that report – interesting to note it was working for you. I didn’t even know it was working for anyone – it wasn’t working at all on Firefox or on Chrome – I’m assuming you’re using some other browser? Or potentially one of those two on some other system (Mac something or other, Android…)

      There’s a problem with certain Javascript-enabled functions (like that one) that we’re encountering, that in my experience (and in the experience of at least one other informed observer – the designer of the editing plug-in) is somewhat unique to this site. Some of these same functions work fine on my own WP blog, or on the version of the site that I have mirrored on my desktop, but do not work properly “here.”

      So I’m now wondering if it is something I need to take up with the web host, and if they can’t help… well the alternatives get more complicated… Stay tuned!Report

  19. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    I like the lines for depth-marking, but now that we have them, I think the indentation per level of depth can be reduced to a fraction of its current size. This would also allow for deeper threading depth.Report

  20. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Overall, much improved. Are these the only changes planned as alluded to in OP? Or are bigger design changes afoot.

    I think the BAF is a little too subtle.Report

    • I’ve been contemplating my feelings about BAF. I’m not sure it adds much. Maybe it’s just because I’m a regular, but I always know who is the author of the post. I would rather see that blue highlight used to highlight new comments.Report

    • Planning changes as big as imaginable, @rose-woodhouse, given world enough and time, but I want to build up to them. You can use this thread as a suggestion box for now. I’ll shortly be addressing other site features, including some of the basics like functional contact forms for suggestions/glitch-reporting/help requests, but don’t want to get too far out ahead of my skis, as they say (aint never skied, but it makes sense to me). There are some very basic problems with the site configuration that need to be assessed and addressed before it becomes reasonable to aim very high.Report

  21. Avatar ACIS says:

    Try widening the site. Right now I see it with giant white bars to the left and right.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to ACIS says:

      @acis

      Widening the site is something I would address in a different context, but it is something very much worth considering, in my opinion, along with many other re-design possibilities. In the meantime, I may very soon do some adjustments that it will make things less crowded.Report

  22. Avatar ACIS says:

    I like the little dotted lines separating comments here. But it isn’t in the other articles?Report

  23. Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    These are all good changes, and Since Last Visit formatting is something that I have wanted to see here for many years.

    If it is possible to reduce the indent between each comment level, it would make level 5 comments less constricted — the indents are much deeper than is necessary to make the dependencies clear.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      “Promise wonders; deliver miracles!” @tod-kelly

      If only…

      Since I got you here – I’m hoping you won’t mind if, in the process of fulfilling some user requests, I do a couple things that might be a teensy bit disruptive to the rest of the site – like going higher on nesting levels and adjusting indents to keep non-ridiculous, also trying out a quote/reply function that I could restrict just to this thread, but would be easier just to turn on site-wide.Report

  24. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    Nesting now at Warp 7 – I’m not sure she can take much more, Captain.Report

  25. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    Nesting indent at 50% (i.e., 28px) of prior setting.

    iow:

    .comments-area ul.children {
    padding-left: 28px;
    }
    Report

  26. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    actually meant prior comment to go here – hope I’m not encountering something brand new and weird, anyway: quote/reply links enabled and buttonized, regular reply link buttonized and moved, comment editing link moved but not buttonized, probably something else not coming out right but what can you do? – haven’t checked mobile display yet and have fingers crossed it’s not all jumbled together…

    EDIT: Actually, it did get jumbled together on mobile screen size, but I think it’s fixed.Little problem with edit box button covering over floated-left reply button when editing comment… not one thing is thousand others…Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      Unfortunately fixing that little problem may be a tad complicated… maybe can sweep it under the rug… I blame @michael-drew

      EDIT: good enough for now but a tad sloppy… considering edit function wasn’t working at all last night due to as yet unexplained evil magic… it’s pretty good, but could be better fersureReport

  27. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    sorry, will stop with the play-by-play, now on to trying different NSLV/BAF/MD formatting…

    All user experience (UX) reports not in by ca. 1100 PDT may not be gotten to until not-sure-when. Is Hillary announcing now or something (near plum forgot)Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

      Ok, I see what this ^^^ is. Personally, I think this is overkill, compared to what I was asking for – yes, it does add a link that someone can use to jump back to the original comment, BUT it also unthreads the reply, so that seems like a wash to me in terms of overall thread comprehensibility. All I really wanted was for replies to note (whether as a link, or not) the name of the commenter who posted the original comment that is being replied to.

      Also, the “Cancel Reply” button appears to be missing – we are going to need that, esp. if there will be multiple “Reply” buttons, as ppl will invariably get trigger-happy and hit the wrong one.

      Also also, I know Road Scholar asked for the “Copy” function to take the headache out of copypasta’ing (especially on touchscreens) and I get that, but I do worry that will become the default “reply” button for ppl out of habit, resulting in often-unnecessary text duplication in comment threads.

      Also also also, thanks so much CK for looking into this stuff. Sorry to be a pain.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

        Glyph:
        Ok, I see what this ^^^ is.Personally, I think this is overkill, compared to what I was asking for – yes, it does add a link that someone can use to jump back to the original comment, BUT it also unthreads the reply, so that seems like a wash to me in terms of overall thread comprehensibility.All I really wanted was for replies to note (whether as a link, or not) the name of the commenter who posted the original comment that is being replied to.

        Also, the “Cancel Reply” button appears to be missing – we are going to need that, esp. if there will be multiple “Reply” buttons, as ppl will invariably get trigger-happy and hit the wrong one.

        Also also, I know Road Scholar asked for the “Copy” function to take the headache out of copypasta’ing (especially on touchscreens) and I get that, but I do worry that will become the default “reply” button for ppl out of habit, resulting in often-unnecessary text duplication in comment threads.

        Also also also, thanks so much CK for looking into this stuff.Sorry to be a pain.

        Not sure you’re using it right, @glyph, or that I’m following – I think it only “unthreads the reply” if you click one of the gray buttons first with the bottom-of-thread reply box open. The “Cancel Reply” link is still there, but I think should be buttonized, too.

        Automatically noting the replied-to commenter likely requires PHP coding – not sure yet how easily practicable – so a bit beyond the scope of this set of changes, which more answer separate requests for the quote/reply functionality rather than your original request.

        No need to apologize for being a pain – I invited pain.

        Report

        • That’s what I did, intuitively. Might case confusion. (Might still be worth it, but thought I would note.)Report

          • Will Truman,

            I just did it, too! But I think it’s something that people may have to learn… tried to disincent it by sticking ’em in a different color off to the side. Could be ideal functionality would be for them to remain invisible until Reply has been clicked, but that would be javascripted most likely, so probly “to code later” along with certain other adjustments (and am not 100% sure would be better while community is still being made aware of possibility).

            But this is all good UX feedback to be pondered.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          Ah, so “link commenter”, if used alone, generates a new unthreaded comment at bottom, in which the link appears. If you want to use the link commenter function within a threaded reply, you reply first to get threaded, then use it. Gotcha.

          I suspect others may make the same mistake I did, and that may increase overall thread disarray.

          Boy, I will be generating some unintentional comedy over the next few weeks. I am going to be a complete menace with all these options. Still sussing out how readable/comprehensible threads are in the new world.Report

        • CK MacLeod,

          I’m actually having a slightly similar problem. Here is what I’m doing.

          1. Click on the thread in Safari.
          2. Scroll down to the comments to one I want to comment on.
          3. Click “Link commenter” on a comment I want to reply to.

          When I do the above, it puts the correct HTML in the box at the bottom. I would have expected it to create a reply in-context though. If I add in a step 2.5 to click “Reply” first, then I get the behavior I expected.

          I do think this is a matter of taste. Sometimes you might want to create a new thread but link to an earlier comment. This is great for those situations. Personally, I’m much, much more likely to want to reply in-context, so for the thing I want to do, I have to click “Reply” first and then “Link and Copy” second.Report

          • But these changes are still awesome, by the way. I’m amazed how different this all is now than last night.Report

          • Vikram Bath:
            CK MacLeod,

            I’m actually having a slightly similar problem. Here is what I’m doing.

            1. Click on the thread in Safari.
            2. Scroll down to the comments to one I want to comment on.
            3. Click “Link commenter” on a comment I want to reply to.

            When I do the above, it puts the correct HTML in the box at the bottom. I would have expected it to create a reply in-context though. If I add in a step 2.5 to click “Reply” first, then I get the behavior I expected.

            I do think this is a matter of taste. Sometimes you might want to create a new thread but link to an earlier comment. This is great for those situations. Personally, I’m much, much more likely to want to reply in-context, so for the thing I want to do, I have to click “Reply” first and then “Link and Copy” second.

            Trying the 4-step process out.

            Interesting. Since I copied Vikram’s link to CK and introduced a link to Vikram, the comment went into moderation.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Speaking of link moderation, I understand it’s a spam countermeasure, but is there any way to lift it or raise the link limit for logged-in contributors? Seems like logged-in users with admin rights should be “trusted” by the site not to linkspam.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

                Glyph: but is there any way to lift it or raise the link limit for logged-in contributors?

                could be done, but much easier just to raise the link limit and trust the anti-spam plug-in, then not run away screaming when the occasional bit of it sneaks through.

                So am gonna unilaterally raise the limit to 3 links for now, as part of implementing quote/reply functions.

                Ideally, we’d have a whole bunch of regulars empowered to moderate comments, which is also the best way to counteract trolling at as well-knit a site as this one, IMO. Will get to that someday after running it by the eds.Report

  28. Observations/opinions this AM… I dislike the way changing the background for the comments from the author of the original post works. Marking a 20- or 30-comment exchange between people other than the author just because it falls under an author comment doesn’t provide any useful information. If asked to vote right now on the DM and nesting indent and nesting depth, I would probably vote for no DM (at least on the non-mobile version, which is what I see), the original nesting indent, and a maximum nesting depth of four.

    Just curious, but how smart can the comment screening be? I know it currently strips out tags that aren’t allowed. Myself, I’d like to see it smart enough to collapse multiple blank lines to a single one, but recognizing the cases that generate that “excess” vertical white space could be tough.

    I seem to get an occasional instance where the “Reply” button is indented relative to the comment text. At least in some cases, reloading the page fixes that.Report

    • Could you place the left edge of the “Click to Edit” text block at a fixed position within the comment block? Having the whole thing twitch to the right when the seconds switch to single digits, and even more so when the seconds part of the counter goes to zero and is suppressed, is annoying for me.Report

      • uh… I think I could! I’m still glorying in the sheer facticity of having it back at all – leaving “final” adjustments til we’ve gotten a package everyone who wants to weigh in on has weighed in on…Report

        • Picking nits here… While the edit timeout is running, the Reply button is bottom-aligned with the timeout text. When the timer disappears, the Reply button is repositioned within the comment block to be top-aligned with the “Link Commenter” and “Link and Copy” buttons. My preference would be that the buttons stay fixed in their final place all the time, and the timeout text simply go away when the timeout expires. Not sure if I like having the box for the comment change size when the timeout text disappears or not.Report

          • will consider, but since the Edit/Timer text is a JS-insert, I kind of like or anyway don’t mind that it’s different, even to extent of futzing with layout. Now, a really NICE version of the timer might look more like a clock or digital timer, and that might be both straightforwardly code-able and less disruptive, too – so a nit worth picking, but, then again and frankly, there’s much else about the site at the moment that’s still aesthetically/design-value sub-standard.

            Since the Timer is something everyone will be seeing when they comment, it deserves a relatively high priority, so is a bigger nit than some nits, but, for example, the crowding of post-text and side-bar text is much more of an eyesore IMO, something that everyone sees or contends with whether commenting or not.Report

        • Turning my fudge-the-fonts script off and on, and also playing with the browser’s zoom settings, I see that the timeout text placement issue is more complicated than I initially thought. No matter where you pin it down, there are no doubt browser-specific font/zoom choices that will cause it to overflow the right-side border of the comment column (eg, user zoom-text-only choices).Report

    • Michael Cain: Marking a 20- or 30-comment exchange between people other than the author just because it falls under an author comment doesn’t provide any useful information.

      I kind of like it, from an author’s use perspective. Sure, occasionally will include stuff the author doesn’t really want, but still falls under general category of “discussion under author’s ultra-special unique isn’t it great? contributions.”

      Michael Cain: If asked to vote right now on the DM and nesting indent and nesting depth, I would probably vote for no DM (at least on the non-mobile version, which is what I see), the original nesting indent, and a maximum nesting depth of four.

      Until others who requested higher depth and like the DM-ness, I think you may be in the minority (where you like it?). There is an alternative DM-approach I may exhibit, but probably not implement until/unless the whole site has been re-designed to be more colorful.Report

      • I think what’s actually giving me visual problems right now — particularly on other pages, which seem to have acquired the smaller indent but not the DM — is the out-dent of the gravitar. Given a bunch of nested comments, the left edge of the gravitar lines up almost exactly with the text of the previous, indented-one-level-less, comment. The larger indent is enough to make it clear which block the gravitar goes with; the smaller one, without DMs, does not. My personal choice on that has always been to get rid of the out-dent. At each level it adds “dead” indent spacing that, IMO, creates problems for deeper nesting.Report

        • I agree with you on the gravatar outdent. I’m also hot for de-circularizing the images (as currently on mobile display). Have never been a fan of the circularized images that people started making when the capacity was added to CSS3. Dislike it almost as much as some people dislike Comic Sans. I may just unilaterally go square like the good Lord intended images to be.Report

    • Michael Cain: I know it currently strips out tags that aren’t allowed. Myself, I’d like to see it smart enough to collapse multiple blank lines to a single one, but recognizing the cases that generate that “excess” vertical white space could be tough.

      There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done – could be attempted in a couple of different ways. Will ponder.

      Next time you get the Reply button in the wrong place, could you screen-capture it? Current version is a bit mickey-moused with CSS prior to re-coding commenting functions, but amn’t sure it’s really problematic enough to go high on priority list.Report

      • There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done…

        Back in the days that I did one-off concept demonstration and/or test systems, I was occasionally known to say, “So long as it doesn’t involve New Physics, most anything can be done given sufficient time and money. What do your schedule and budget look like?”Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Michael Cain: There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done…

          Okay, that answered my question. It seems that if you hit “Link and Copy” with some text selected then only that text gets quoted. That’s the behavior I was hoping for. And if you L & C without selecting text then it quotes the entire comment, which is great if you know that’s gonna happen and it’s really what you want.

          The problem is that behavior isn’t really obvious from the button labeling, at least to me. I mean, I’m the kind of user that will play around and explore that kind of stuff and figure it out, but not everyone’s like that. I pretty much have to walk my wife, for example, through that kind of thing.

          Since apparently it also copies the reference link I foresee a metric butt-ton of comments stuck in moderation as a result. Perhaps copying the reference link could/should be suppressed?

          Otherwise, awesomeness, dude!Report

          • Coming up with the exact right label that doesn’t go on and on is kind of hard. Patient and attentive people (I have heard rumors of their existence but have never had the patience to look for them or may just have missed the evidence) may also read the “tooltips” that appear on hover.

            We could pepper the site with information or help links and write up a set of instructions, but my own view is that this kind of feature is oriented toward relatively advanced/motivated commenters anyway. Was about to use a dog-training comparison, but will avoid that. Point is, if you see it happening on the site, then you’ll be motivated to try it if you want the functionality – and will be confronted with the examples of typical results.Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to CK MacLeod says:

              CK MacLeod: Coming up with the exact right label that doesn’t go on and on is kind of hard. Patient and attentive people (I have heard rumors of their existence but have never had the patience to look for them or may just have missed the evidence) may also read the “tooltips” that appear on hover.

              I get that, C.K., and I hope you understand me to be thinking out loud as opposed to complaining. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear. BUT (sorry, there’s always gotta be a but(t) and today that’s me), I’m using touchscreen on Android so no mouse, no cursor, therefore no “hover” and consequently no tool-tips.

              So feature discovery is almost entirely a matter of touching buttons and seeing what happens. And I’m totally cool with that; I’ve beta and even alpha tested software before. I’m just noting consequences you are likely to experience.

              Bottom line:I got what I wanted and I’m a happy camper.Report

              • Road Scholar: Bottom line:I got what I wanted and I’m a happy camper.

                Good! No offense taken and quite to the contrary, I begged for UX reports, and you and others have delivered. Since we’re doing this community-participatory-organic rather than pixel-perfect-proposal-pre-planned, it’s all good.Report

    • Michael Cain: I dislike the way changing the background for the comments from the author of the original post works. Marking a 20- or 30-comment exchange between people other than the author just because it falls under an author comment doesn’t provide any useful information.

      I agree. Actually, I’d go a bit further and suggest that maybe BAF is distracting.Report

      • @vikram-bath @michael-cain

        Clearly the only answer is to take five of your toughest guys and put ’em in a room with five of my toughest guys, and whoever makes it out alive, their side wins.

        Aside from going subtler, I could make it author-optional: Create a default template without it, and an option for turning it on (and maybe some other similar features if I can think of any) for authors. This is a kind of elaborate solution, however.

        To tell you the truth, I’d originally intended to highlight only the author’s comments, and was surprised that what I thought would do that instead was inherited throughout the remainder of a given sub-thread. I do find it useful or potentially useful this way, but, tell ya what, I’ll figure out how to do it the way I originally meant to do it, and we can look at that.Report

  29. By the way, I like the new borders around new-to-me, SLVF comments.Report

  30. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Alan Scott:
    Will I be able to edit this comment?

    Will I be able to cancel this one? Apparently not.

    But at least I can edit it. I suppose to cancel a reply one could simply press the back button on the browser but that lacks elegance to me.Report

  31. Avatar Glyph says:

    Road Scholar: It seems that if you hit “Link and Copy” with some text selected then only that text gets quoted.

    OK, this is true, but what if I wanted to nest my reply also? How do I avoid coming all the way down here to the bottom with this selected snippet?Report

  32. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    As I check results on other browsers, am not loving how the SLVF displays on Threads-Never-Visited. Gonna have to see about that before going site-wide with it.Report

  33. Avatar Chris says:

    Let me just say that CK rocks, and not only because I can now write all my comments about previously banned German philosophers. Well, mostly because of that.

    Thank you for doing all of this.Report

  34. @ck-macleod ,
    I wonder whether one way around the issue of people clicking Link and Copy before they click Reply and it de-threading their response would be to have the buttons read (and function) as
    1. Reply
    2. Reply with link to commenter
    3. Reply with Link and Copy

    Each of the three could be the same color.Report

    • since it stopped working for me this morning, I’m instead going to gnash my teeth and wail. However, assuming, perhaps with the help of the web host or the passage of time, I can get it working again, I think the answer is actually the opposite of what you suggest. Instead of “Link Commenter,” I’ll try entitling the button “Link to Commenter in Reply” and “Copy/Link Comment in Reply” – or some such.Report

      • CK in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        Further to the above, @vikram-bath

        The functionality has dropped out on Firefox 36.x for Windows, but remains on Safari, as below…

        Maybe “Add Commenter-Link,” “Add Commenter + Comment/Excerpt”

        Vikram Bath:
        @CK MacLeod ,
        I wonder whether one way around the issue of people clicking Link and Copy before they click Reply and it de-threading their response would be to have the buttons read (and function) as
        1. Reply
        2. Reply with link to commenter
        3. Reply with Link and Copy

        Each of the three could be the same color.

        Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK says:

          OK – works (today, for now) on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox for Android, but not Firefox 36.x on Windows. I believe that the problem may be some old, clumsily written code that for some reason Firefox is getting sniffy about today, though yesterday it was happy to process it. What’s annoying and perplexing is that the same function which worked perfectly well on Firefox here, yesterday, but fails today, still works on the same browser but on the mirror site on my PC.

          This problem MAY even explain why Glyph can’t get it to work exactly right on one version of iOS, but is able to get it to work on a somewhat similar version. Or may have nothing to do with it.

          I’d meant to work on my Javascripting this year – but not from this angle. Still leaning toward keeping the function in this form, and seeing if some alteration in the environment brings back the functionality on all major browsers (including the one I use the most…).Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

            CK MacLeod,

            Ok, CK, now the thot is really plickening, cuz the function works just fine on Firefox in “incognito” mode. Am now focusing in on some kind of security setting problem relating to clumsy dubious old code… Oi – don’t have time for this now. May instead have to neglect it for a while until someone somewhere else reports a similar problem. Am leery about going sitewide with hinky code, but it would hardly be the first time in the history of blogging…Report

  35. I can’t find the place where I said that sometime the Reply button was indented improperly, and that you asked for a screenshot if I saw it again, so I’m just sticking this at the bottom. Here’s a shot where the problem showed up this AM. In this case, refreshing the page didn’t fix it. Starting at the home page in a new tab and working my way down to this comment, the button was in the proper place.Report

  36. Avatar Glyph says:

    Nitpick time (sorry!):

    As a lover of space in web design, I reluctantly accept these additional nesting lines/borders, colors/shading, and new buttons in the combox, as each offers functionality that some have requested.

    But the dotted-line-bordering of the OPs, especially within the posts themselves (I guess they are OK on the FP), adds nothing in useability/readability IMO, and reduces the “clean”, pro look of the site.

    Do we need it?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

      @glyph: “Do we need it?”

      The intended readability effect is to add to visual separation from the text-heavy sidebars for the main content area or “article” area. Additionally, to me there was an aesthetically displeasing effect of over-emphasizing the comment threads vs the main posts.

      I think what you’re calling “pro look” is flat design, which has been “the rage” for several years now, and has reached down and out and changed the way that interactive TV guides and commercials for furniture stores are presented, not to mention t-shirts and, soon, no doubt, presidential portraits and monumental sculpture, too – as though the whole world has become a smartphone screen.

      I also am a fan of space in web design, and I like flat design, too, but I don’t like the way it makes every site look pretty much like every other site, and I’m not against bringing back or more fully exploiting neglected effects. I’m even a bit of a neo-skeueomorphist, tbh – I like papery pseudo-textures, handwritten titles and other by-hand effects, and even some pseudo-3D especially to set apart buttons (none of which I’ve tried here).

      Ideally, and maybe someday, we’d re-design or I’d re-design or someone would re-design the whole site from a blank screen. I’m not married to any of the things I’m trying out on the fly out here over my skis etc. And please stop apologizing for nit-picking! Keep it up! You’re doing me a favor, and, if you’re the only one who registers an opinion, I’ll probably go with it (and then you can blame yourself day after day for having ruined the site…).

      In the meantime, I did something that I kind of like to reduce the busy-ness of the DM lines (make them appear only on hover). It’s kind of rad, but I think it works!Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        hmm, but why did the quote/link boxes disappear and the reply box crowd up after edit? Not a big prob, and I don’t really want to try too hard to solve it at this point, if it’s just an occasional thing, but unexpected. (seeing what happens when I edit this one)

        Seems to be some kind of residue of the click to edit link/timer, possibly linked to handling of the editing text area… Goes away however when new comment made…

        Reason it’s interesting is points to possible simple way to mark comment “edited” without additional scripting.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          Ah – this appears to be a residue of the Javascript function or functions, so possibly fratricide, but will, I believe, affect display only for the person editing the comment, not for the rest of the universe, and will disappear on refresh. Might also explain the bad Reply box positioning that @michael-cain screen-capped. Less than perfect fersure, probly fixable, but more on the level of a loose end to tie off if the design makes it past the first or second round…Report

  37. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Ooo, the light line boxing around the individual posts on the front page is a very nice touch, CK.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      glad you like it, @tod-kelly – you may notice some other futzes if you look closely, as was just explaining to Glyph (who disagrees with you – which’s fine, we so far outnumber him and probably outweigh him, assuming he’s a him and not very, very big).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I really dislike it more on the OPs themselves than I do on the FP; but I see your reasoning in both cases.

        Looking/thinking some more, it could be the “dotted” part that really bothers me – we use those for comment nesting as a “breadcrumb trail”, and I think a dotted line just looks “unfinished” to my eye, like it awaits a signature, or scissors.

        Would a solid line look any better; more like a finished “frame”?Report

  38. This morning, on my kit (Firefox 37.0.1 on OSX 10.10.2, when I move the cursor back and forth across the column of comments there’s a lot of nervous twitching going on, with DM lines appearing and disappearing and text areas changing width and getting reformatted. Very annoying.Report

    • I’d like to see if anyone else is very annoyed. I wanted a compromise between junking the DM and having it available. The DM lines are set to appear on hover only. Since they take up pixels, they will tend to make the format jump around a little bit, but there’s something I can do about that and will set about straightaway doing.Report

      • Thanks. The lines appearing and not is fine, since they’re not big and bold, and having the comments stay put is much nicer. Just muttering about allocation of horizontal space, but the gravatars seem to be getting an even bigger chunk than they used to.Report

        • You’re welcome – is much better this way so thanks for prodding!

          Gonna think about re-doing the avatar placement within comment design… After saying I hated the circular images – as a subtraction of visual information against the Holy Eternal True Plan for images, merely for the sake of a corny effect – I’m quietly kind of liking them for breaking the relentless rectangularity of this all, but they could still be moved from outdentity, or maybe left with a bit of outdentity but not as much as currently have.Report

        • Draft compromise avatar outdent:

          Report

          • This is back to where they were before the weekend — image center aligned with left edge of the text of the comment. Me, I’d align the left edges of both. And align the name with the center of the image, vertically. But that’s just me.Report

            • I’ll think about it – if you can Firebug and code your proposal into a screen-cap, I’d be happy to look at it and put it before the masses.Report

            • Incidentally, as far as horizontal space, I think we’re already over these-days-generally accepted desirable-max-width by #-characters for text-columns. Lotso designers would be looking to add white vs gray space, not subtract the former in favor of more of the latter.

              And I expected bigger kudos for the Great DM Compromise, but that’s OK… It majorly pleases me.Report

  39. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    A couple issues… First, I like the SLV formatting but I don’t like how the automatic refresh when you leave a comment apparently counts as a visit, thereby wiping out the SLVF for the rest of the comments that you haven’t read yet. I have no idea if that’s fixable of course but it’s a major annoyance to an otherwise great feature.

    Second, OT, but major. Ever since I got that admin mini-blog notification this morning my notifications have been screwed up in general. I only get about half the new comment notifications that I’m signed up for. The notification subscriber page has a different color formatting for the post titles where it’s not working with no explanation for what that’s supposed to mean. Could you look into that?Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Road Scholar says:

      BTW, this topic is one of the screwed up ones so I may never know your answer 😛Report

    • Sheez, Louise – ain’t one thing it’s a thousand others – not your fault @road-scholar – just an observation, since I just had to wait about two minutes it seemed for a call to gravatar.com to execute before I could reply to your comment, and the page is still not displaying correctly… (which I don’t think is my fault… but amn’t sure.)

      First, on the SLV formatting, I might be able to make some adjustments, but it’ll probably be a balancing act, and will at least take some thinking-through because it’s a more complicated ask than may appear at first.

      As for the admin notifications problem – first I’d recommend that you clear your browser cache or restart your email client or try a different browser and so on. I’m receiving all normal notifications. This might be a problem better to pursue via direct email initiated via our brand new Support/Report contact form, at https://ordinary-times.com/supportsuggestionsglitches unless someone else reports or notices similar problems, in which case we can, indeed, go at it here, though maybe after the internet has calmed down.Report

  40. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    The postcounts and timestamps are very handy, and I strongly approve of the simple comment editing (YAY! I can fix my typos!), by-author formatting, and since-last-visit formatting. Thanks for the changes!Report

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