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User Journal

Journal AKAImBatman's Journal: New Comment System 14

Well, it looks like Slashdot has a new comment system. If you're a subscriber, you can turn it on by smacking the checkbox at the top of a comments page.

Unfortunately, I give you about 5 minutes before you'll be smacking that checkbox back off. I don't know about anyone else, but I normally browse at +0 Nested. This gives me a clear view of the discussion, and allows me to quickly browse from comment to comment. Anything else (e.g. Threaded mode) tends to require too much clicking.

The problem is that this new scheme is nothing more than uber-threading mode. It allows you to see the highest rated comments, and/or fold up the comment listings of lower-rated comments. Which breaks up the discussion horribly. It might be nicer for people who *like* threaded mode, but for the rest of us it's not particularly useful. Even worse, it doesn't seem to save your changes. So everytime I go to a new story, I have to lower the threshhold to 0! Fixing this problem alone would increase the usablility by 100%.

Basically, it's a nice concept, but I can't seem to take a liking to it. Perhaps if the threading was a little less clunky, I might like it. One thing I hope they *don't* do is make the comments download via AJAX. When I use a laptop, I'll occasionally load a large page of comments and read them on the go. This can be nice for interesting topics that have generated a lot of comments while I wasn't looking.

If anything, I'd like to see the page overflow feature fixed first. The way the overflow works, comments can disappear into the ether if there are a large number of responses to a top level post. To actually see the comments, you need to muck around with the threading/flat/nested settings trying to find a way of displaying the info so that it doesn't overflow.

Final analysis: I love the attempt and I encourage Taco and Pudge to keep trying. Unfortunately, the current version isn't it. What do the rest of you think?

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New Comment System

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  • well, usability of the new system is terrible. wtf? more? less? better? worse?

    no, these cryptic buttons next to numbers is, well, sheesh... its not just ugly, but confusing as well. i like their willingness to not just fall into a rut, but there is something to be said for elegance, beauty and simplicity (one in the same maybe?)

    this isn't it. this is ugly, and confusing.
    • The buttons are cryptic, but if you read that help section and experiment a little you can figure it out. The More/Less changes the threshold of comments that are hidden. Any comments with a score lower will not even be displayed. The Worse/Better controls comments being abbreviated.
      Basic run-down:
              score < T  : completely hidden
        T  <= score < HT : abbreviated line
        HT <= score      : fully displayed
      • I think his point is that it's not intuitive in the slightest. Even thought I *know* what each button does, I have to stop and think for a moment before I can figure out which one I should use.

        Having a simple spinner for the number would be far more in line with the -1 to +5 rating system that Slashdot uses.
  • What I'd like to have -- and supposedly there's a GreaseMonkey script that does this but I haven't tried it yet -- is to be able to dismiss or toggle closed entire threads while reading in nested mode. I read at +1/nested/by score and can't stand those early, idiotic, offtopic rants about Iraq or creationism that get modded up to +5 and attract 200 posts below them. And, as you say, the brokenness of the overflow feature means that you can go to the next page or the next and still have the same stupid threa
    • But this new thing doesn't fix that problem, does it?

      Nope. To understand what it does, imagine this:

      * Replace the "Threshhold" dropdowns with a set of buttons and numbers that look like this:

      [ Worse ] [ Better ] HT:5 [ More ] [ Less ] T:0
      Hidden=0 Displayed=2 Abbreviated=3

      * Imagine now that the Threading Mode is stuck on. The Threashhold of the Threading mode is controlled by the "Worse" and "Better" buttons. The higher the score, the fewer posts that show their content. (i.e. Abbreviated) The visibility o

    • The Slashdotter [efinke.com] extension does exactly that and I use that feature at least once a day. I also, frequently use a feature similar to this journal entry where '5 replies' link now does an asynchronous call and loads the replies below your threshold in place without leaving the page.
  • What is the difference between nested and threaded again? Nested always shows full comments and threaded abbreviates deeper comments giving you a link to click to read them? I didn't like not being able to see full conversations without repeated clicking either, but nested has that awful bug that full threads get repeated for pages (and some deep comments are never displayed).

    Here are my settings, with explanations. Most of this is guesswork.
    • Display Mode: Threaded
    • Sort Order: Oldest First - Makes Conversat
    • It took me a bit to find a story that went to two pages in comments:
      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/01/154923 4 [slashdot.org]

      Yes it does repeat some comment threads (it repeated 5 on the second page in that story). But I'm pretty sure you never lose comments, because in Threaded mode the entire reply thread is always shown for a given top-level comment.
    • Sorry for replying to myself twice. I keep thinking of things my post was missing.

      One thing I forgot to say is that I never get abbreviated comments with these settings. Ever. Full comment text is always displayed (except -1 scores).

      One annoyance with these settings is that if the thread gets too deep, the parent/child indenting isn't done. The full comments are displayed, but they aren't indented correctly to show the relationship, and they get out of order. I'm guessing it goes back to Flat mode at a cert
  • I really, REALLY miss the "parent" link on children posts. Follow a link into the middle of a discussion, or reply to a comment, and try to get back into the thread without it. I wrote pudge a note; I just hope there is no technical reason it's missing.
    • The only place I don't see a [parent] link is where the parent is the story (i.e. the first rank of posts). Otherwise it's there. Unless I misunderstand what you're talking about...
      • You're misunderstanding. We're talking about a beta feature that's being deployed to subscribers prior to hitting the unwashed masses. There's a link at the top of the journal entry that describes the system, as well as a few posts throughout that give a clearer definition of how it works.

        Trust us, it's very Web 2.0. :-P

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson