Long threads on iPhone? Yuck. December 2, 2009 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Browsing long(ish) MeFi posts on my iPhone makes me want to kick puppies. Every time I hit refresh to see new comments, a little piece of me dies as I look forward to another six minutes of flicking my finger down the screen. I know, I should be lucky to have such problems, am I right? Anyway.

I'm curious about two things.

A. Is there some sort of functionality (related to either the iPhone or Metafilter) that makes this process more tolerable? I am completely down with the fact that there is a solution to this and I am simply unaware of it. In which case, if you could tell me, I would be very happy.

B. If not, I know you guys probably have a lot of other, better things to do, but is there in theory some possible solution that could exist that might be implemented at some point in the future?

Anyway, thanks for Metafilter. It's awesome.
posted by kbanas to Feature Requests at 6:53 PM (61 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I tend to use Recent Activity on my iphone when I know a thread involves 600+ comments.

In the future we might consider pagination of comments for those on mobile devices, so maybe you'd just get 100 at a time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:56 PM on December 2, 2009


Oh, I think we added a skip to bottom link near the top as well, for iphone only users.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:57 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Every time I hit refresh to see new comments, a little piece of me dies as I look forward to another six minutes of flicking my finger

You can click the thing that lets you skip to the menu at the bottom to get to the bottom in a jiffy, and then just scroll up a little to get to the last comment.
posted by floam at 6:57 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's one thing to try. Click the timestamp of the last comment you read, hit reload, and the browser should snap to that comment with no scrolling.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:57 PM on December 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


i run multiple tabs on opera (on a windows mobile device). that way, when i hit refresh, i can go to the other tab and check up on things there while i wait. when i get to the bottom, i hit refresh and go back to the first tab.
posted by nadawi at 6:58 PM on December 2, 2009


ohh, not the refresh time, the scrolling down time - i just use my scroll bar and drag it to the very bottom, but i guess that's less of an option on the iphone.
posted by nadawi at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2009


Any chance of an AJAXy "Load new comments" kinda thing at the bottom of thread?
posted by team lowkey at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2009


Here's one thing to try. Click the timestamp of the last comment you read, hit reload, and the browser should snap to that comment with no scrolling.

Oo. Snappy idea. Thanks, pb!
posted by kbanas at 7:00 PM on December 2, 2009


skip to menu
posted by popechunk at 7:08 PM on December 2, 2009


Here's one thing to try. Click the timestamp of the last comment you read, hit reload, and the browser should snap to that comment with no scrolling.

Does this actually work on an iPodTouch/iPhone in the browser (in the standard version)? I have never been able to make this work on my iPod Touch. Just tried it again with the 348 comment favorites thread, to be sure. Nope. No snap down.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 PM on December 2, 2009


Browsing metafilter on your phone makes you want to kick puppies...sounds like aggression issues. Louis CK had some things on the marvels of technology... honestly if you aren't walking up to everyone around you and saying things like "OH MY GOD! I'M BROWNSING THE INTERNETS!" and "I JUST FOUND OUT HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN POT PIE FROM A GUY IN BULGARIA! NEXT I'M LEARNING KUNG FU LIKE NEO!" you are doing something wrong.

Lower your standards for teh awesomeness.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:17 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Does this actually work...

It works for me on the iPhone, but it's a little tricky depending on the path you take. For example, this is trouble:

1.) Click a timestamp at the bottom of a monster thread.
2.) Tap the top of Mobile Safari to zoom back to the top.
3.) Reload.

You're going to reload the page and end up at the top. BUT, click the back button and you'll jump to the correct comment. That step #2 acts like yet another link in the chain.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:20 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like I said, Nanukthedog, I realize that it's somewhat of an absurd thing to complain about. People the world over have actual things to complain about. I think I may have overstated my aggression issues - it's, in reality, nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Could I shut up and appreciate what I have? Yes. Did I think there was any real harm in seeing if I was missing something? No.
posted by kbanas at 7:21 PM on December 2, 2009


time stamps work on the WinMo device on opera mobile. must be another one of those superior iphone features i keep hearing about.
posted by nadawi at 7:23 PM on December 2, 2009


Any chance of an AJAXy "Load new comments" kinda thing at the bottom of thread?

Not likely.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:36 PM on December 2, 2009


Blackberry browsers let you skip to the bottom and top of pages by pressing B or T.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 PM on December 2, 2009



Blackberry browsers let you skip to the bottom and top of pages by pressing B or T.


You can double-top the top of Safari on the iPhone to jump to the top of a page, but in classic Apple fashion they do not duplicate this functionality for the bottom of the page.
posted by kbanas at 7:58 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "skip to menu" is your friend here. Made a huge improvement for me when it was implemented recently.
posted by chinston at 7:59 PM on December 2, 2009


There's this:
http://www.ipuhelin.com/en/safariplus/

You still have to tap a few times, but that's probably better than six minutes of scrolling...
posted by sentient at 8:09 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hit the preview comment button.
posted by milarepa at 8:15 PM on December 2, 2009


There's a simpler solution here. Just make sure to head down to your local dog park before looking up Metafilter on your iPhone, thereby providing yourself with an ample supply of puppies for kickin'. Enjoy.
posted by mannequito at 8:15 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait. Hitting refresh on the iPhone doesn't take you back to your old position??
posted by kmz at 8:40 PM on December 2, 2009


While we're on the topic of Metafilter for iPhone, I have a related issue - say I've been browsing the front page and I click through to the comments for a link, then I go back to the front page. Instead of keeping my spot, it takes me way back up to the top of the page again.

If I view Metafilter using the normal site (not the iPhone stylesheet) I don't have this problem. It remembers my scrolling when I go back. Can we get this functionality for the iPhone version?
posted by pravit at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2009




Oh, I think we added a skip to bottom link near the top as well, for iphone only users.


I would love you if you did this, though there should be a god damned command to scroll to the bottom in Safari for the iPhone to start with.


Hey fellow iPhonites, don't you love it when you are 300 comments in and you accidentally hit the the INSTANTLY SCROLL THE THE TOP thingy? The greatest frustration for me is there is no INSTANTLY SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM thingy too so it at least balances out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I view Metafilter using the normal site (not the iPhone stylesheet) I don't have this problem.

That is, if I view the normal Metafilter on my iPhone. Or any site really. The not saving scroll position is something I've only noticed on the iPhone-specific stylesheet (which kicks the normal site's ass in all other aspects except possibly comment box edit zooming).
posted by pravit at 8:42 PM on December 2, 2009


Hitting refresh on the iPhone doesn't take you back to your old position?

You can only refresh on the iPhone by scrolling to the top of the browser. So the top is always your old position when you refresh.

Instead of keeping my spot, it takes me way back up to the top of the page again.

hmm, we're not doing anything on this end related to position on the page. This must be an iPhone behavior of some kind. Maybe it's related to setting the viewport size? In other words, I'm not aware of anything we can do for this.

...comment box edit zooming.

I've heard other people mention this and I'm not sure what you mean. The iPhone zooms in as you type so you can see what you're typing. Do any other sites compensate for this built-in behavior by zooming out in some way? I'm not asking you specifically, pravit, I don't want to put you on the spot. I'm just throwing the question out there.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:05 PM on December 2, 2009


I click on the "Skip to menu" link at the top of the page. That's not what it's for, but it works to scroll to the bottom of the post.

except possibly comment box edit zooming

It is difficult to write a comment because the comment box width is wider than the iPhone screen when the zoom-in occurs. If the comment box width can be shrunk to compensate for the zoom, that would make editing comments easier. As it is, the box width makes editing and commenting more difficult (not impossible, just more difficult).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:29 PM on December 2, 2009


If the comment box width can be shrunk to compensate for the zoom, that would make editing comments easier.

ok, we should be able to find the ideal width. I threw together a quick page with various textarea sizes. If you have an iPhone, take a look. Looks to me like shrinking things down to somewhere between 200 and 300 pixels would do the trick.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:43 PM on December 2, 2009


300 pixels looks the best to me.
posted by chiababe at 9:57 PM on December 2, 2009


Thanks for looking into this.

235 px seems to work for zoom-in with the device in portrait orientation. 300 px works for landscape orientation.

Apple has some JavaScript for determining the device orientation, if you choose to implement any of this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:57 PM on December 2, 2009


yeah true, portrait vs. landscape does throw in a bit of a wrench.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:00 PM on December 2, 2009


235 px should work in either orientation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:09 PM on December 2, 2009


So, uh, where's my Android stylesheet? At least the one that turns off the Live Preview javascript? It adds about 400ms between each keypress.

Also, everything is tiny, and links require d-pad navigation. Could links be bigger?

Oh! And the 300px input box is just right in either portrait or landscape mode on my Droid.
posted by Netzapper at 10:21 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops, yeah, forgot to mention, 300 looked best in landscape. I didn't look in portrait because I almost always read Mefi in landscape.
posted by chiababe at 10:21 PM on December 2, 2009


(Frankly, I'd probably be happy with the iPhone stylesheet applied to Android as well. I don't need my own. Although if there *were* a Netzapper stylesheet, I'd squee.)
posted by Netzapper at 10:22 PM on December 2, 2009


Netzapper, use the Steel browser for Android. You can adjust its settings to make it operate using the iPhone user agent.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:00 AM on December 3, 2009


How I currently reload on the iPhone without losing my place:
* click on a timestamp near the end
* click on the time bar at the top to go up
* select the location bar & hit 'go'

This seems more reliable than reloading for me.

I just now posted a draft of a "Mobile" page up on the wiki.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:42 AM on December 3, 2009


I have a couple of bookmarklets, Scroll to bottom of page and Refresh page in place, that I use all the time when I'm reading MeFi from my iPhone. You can find them here:

Handy iPhone Bookmarklets

They're the top two items in my iPhone bookmarks menu, so they're never more than a couple of taps away.
posted by wnodom at 3:01 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Another vote for Android. I'm typing this on my beloved Behold 2. Steel browser is too crashy for me. Plus you can only configure it as iPhone universally, not per-site. Plus I like know that Matt and others see "Android" in their stats.
posted by Plutor at 3:53 AM on December 3, 2009


Took a quick look at stats and I'm surprised to see Android use has overtaken Blackberry use in the last month. Here are some operating systems and their percentage of all traffic:

iPhone - 1.89%
iPod - 0.45%
Android - 0.23%
BlackBerry - 0.12%
Danger Hiptop - 0.06%
posted by pb (staff) at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2009


on my phone, which has a similar problem with the long pages, I usually pick an unusual username or low-frequency word in the thread and do "find in page" to get back to where I was to within a screen or so. Not all that convenient, but satisfying if you like weird words. "ah ha! Perspicuity"
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


pb: "Took a quick look at stats and I'm surprised to see Android use has overtaken Blackberry use in the last month"

I'm not surprised. I expected Blackberry use on MetaFilter to be unrepresentative of Blackberry marketshare, and Android has seen the Droid, Droid Eris, Cliq, Behold 2, and Moment all released in the past month. And the Hero in October and the myTouch in August.
posted by Plutor at 9:06 AM on December 3, 2009


If you download iCab for the phone, you can shake to refresh.
posted by bonaldi at 9:18 AM on December 3, 2009


Interesting stats. I am surprised the mobile device section would be that high, honestly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2009


Here are some operating systems and their percentage of all traffic:

Do you have the stats for logged in users as well?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 AM on December 3, 2009


The stats I posted include everyone. Here are the numbers for logged in users:

iPhone - 1.66%
Android - 0.40%
iPod - 0.30%
BlackBerry - > 0.00%
Danger Hiptop - > 0.00%

On the last two, that's Google Analytics' way of saying some.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2009


Huh. For some reason I thought there would be more logged in users who were reading the site on the mobile. There's no way to tell (without just asking) if people who have MeFi accounts and read the site on their regular computers logged in, but then don't log in on their mobile devices.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on December 3, 2009


I read it on my phone (Windows Mobile...I am a unique snowflake) and don't log in. I'm permanently logged in on all my work and home computers. I might not even know my password.
posted by jacalata at 10:02 PM on December 3, 2009


Use a real computer. ;)
posted by caddis at 10:44 PM on December 3, 2009


I can relate, but on my crackberrry it is even worse that I get a page too large or something error. I can't load Recent Activity on it. This is with the Curve, but the ancient whatever blackberry loaded it just fine.
posted by caddis at 10:47 PM on December 3, 2009


Interesting stats. I am surprised the mobile device section would be that high, honestly.

In general this is a really attractive site to read mobile, great content and no images.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:55 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just made comment textareas smaller on the iPhone with the size based on the orientation. Let me know if that works better for editing while zoomed in.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2009


Awesome, this is much better! Thanks, pb, for setting this up!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on December 6, 2009


No problem, glad it's working.

Just got word from Matt that we're about to get some Android phones to play with, so that's next on our mobile stylesheet tweaks list.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:31 PM on December 7, 2009


HOORAY!
posted by ocherdraco at 5:28 PM on December 7, 2009


pb: "Just got word from Matt that we're about to get some Android phones to play with, so that's next on our mobile stylesheet tweaks list."

You know, there's an emulator in the (free) dev kit.
posted by Plutor at 4:51 AM on December 8, 2009


heh, true, but it's just so much more fun to tweak for a real device.

I turned on the mobile stylesheet for Android user-agents and tweaked a few things. The site is looking better on an HTC Desire ADR6200. I still have more testing to do, but I thought I'd turn it on sooner rather than later. As with the iPhone, you can click the link at the bottom of any page to return to the standard site. And once in standard version, you can click the "Mobile" link in the footer to return to the mobile version.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:43 AM on December 8, 2009


Recent Activity has lost the post text on the iPhone.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:36 PM on December 8, 2009


Not complaining, just FYI. Maybe put the post text between the title & comment text?
posted by Pronoiac at 4:41 PM on December 8, 2009


We did that on purpose to save space. You can always click through to read the entire post. It just seemed too crowded on the iPhone and Android to include the text of the post.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:01 PM on December 8, 2009


pb: Thank you so much for enabling the Android stylesheet. I logged in a couple days ago and was totally thrilled.

One thing, though. Comment entry is still mad laggy. Doing any per-character JS on the comment box?
posted by Netzapper at 11:37 AM on December 10, 2009


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