3000+ Comment Megaponies
April 18, 2013 10:23 PM   Subscribe

So, even outside of election years browser crushing 3000+ post megathreads are now a not uncommon thing - should we be looking at pagination at the 2000 comment mark? And if not pagination what else could be done to make them less of a browser crushing experience, especially on mobile?
posted by Artw to Feature Requests at 10:23 PM (93 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

In the history of MetaFilter we have had 19 threads with over 2,000 comments. That's out of over 100,000 threads. We've had one in 2013. It might seem like they're common, but they're still very much an outlier.

They are a phenomenon and it's fine to discuss it, but I wouldn't call them common. The vast majority of threads on MetaFilter are not megathreads.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:33 PM on April 18, 2013


I say just delete comments until the thread's under 2K.
posted by mazola at 10:36 PM on April 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Cap threads, and every new post randomly deletes an earlier comment!
posted by dhartung at 10:40 PM on April 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


More seriously, mobile is an issue. I don't usually read MeFi via mobile except when it's a megathread, what with the topic being popular and evolving and all. The infinite scrolling really... well, sucks.
posted by mazola at 10:43 PM on April 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


mazola, one option you could try is the "skip to menu" link at the top of the page on mobile. That will take you to the bottom of the page and you can scroll up from there.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:46 PM on April 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I do that. But then I'm just kind of speed scrolling the other way.

I'm not sure there is a good solution to the megathread problem.
posted by mazola at 10:49 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the were a 'skip to mid-point' option in the mobile version, say after the thread exceeds 100 comments. I have no idea if that I feasible, but when I'm reading very long threads that's generally what I wish for.

I think the suggestion of pagination, whatever that might look like, is something worth considering really thoroughly.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:09 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Its something I'd be against almost all of the time, but on threads like these it seems like something has got to give.

In the history of MetaFilter we have had 19 threads with over 2,000 comments.

I'd be curious about the distribution on that - it seems like we've had at least a couple this year.
posted by Artw at 11:11 PM on April 18, 2013


I'm on mobile and this thread loads fine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be curious about the distribution on that...

Just one so far in 2013. Here's the distribution: 2008 - 3, 2011 - 7, 2012 - 8, 2013 - 1.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can I politely ask why the Boston thread hasn't been sidebarred? I find it strange that I have to go pilfering around on page 3 to find an intensely live thread that happens to involve a story that's on the front page of every other news source on the web. Maybe I'm missing something.
posted by phaedon at 11:17 PM on April 18, 2013


We rarely sidebar Mefi posts at all; it's usually for specific interesting comments, or site news.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:21 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, come now. MeFi is not your news portal. Favorite something, stick it in your My MeFi, or just use Recent Activity like the rest of us....
posted by dhartung at 11:22 PM on April 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Literally the first time I've clicked the Recent Activity link. Thanks.
posted by phaedon at 11:24 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Megathread is my new word for 2014.
posted by buzzman at 11:49 PM on April 18, 2013


Megaweapon
posted by Chrysostom at 11:53 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


dhartung, it might not be your news portal. It's clearly been said that it's not meant to be a news portal. On the other hand, Metafilter, through it's commenters and these threads, becomes a pretty amazing source of news, especially as things become clearer with time.

It might not be your news portal. That doesn't mean that some people don't use it that way.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:10 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


We do say all the time that we're not a news site, though. We try to accommodate the news-hunger in ways that are reasonable for the site to function, but when there are complaints that we aren't functioning better as a news site, we do have walk that back to, "well, again – we really are not a news site, and don't have ambitions to be a news site."
posted by taz (staff) at 12:33 AM on April 19, 2013


Use it how you like; the point is don't expect the mods to organize it like one.
Imagines the MeFi portal, with "10 ways you can HACK a Raspberry Pi!", "See the SECRET PHOTOS from under Soviet Kiev" and "How to DTMFA and Regain Your Life!" in the sidebar
posted by dhartung at 12:53 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"In the history of MetaFilter we have had 19 threads with over 2,000 comments. That's out of over 100,000 threads. We've had one in 2013."

It'd be really nice if those 19 threads had had pagination above 2,000 comments. This isn't really about the frequency of the issue, but the necessity of a solution when the issue does occur. And ditto on the mobile site issue mentioned above too.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:12 AM on April 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


at the very least, being able to load just one page of the comments on a smart phone would be a huge boon. Especially for those of us who don't have unlimited internet usage or the latest, fastest phone model out there.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:16 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


How often do you really, really need to read a monster thread on your mobile anyway? Why not wait until you're on a real computer?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:34 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not frequently at all, but when the issue does occur a workable solution would be really helpful. These threads are monsters for a reason, and when you are invested in them it becomes this difficult struggle between the desire to keep up to date and the attempt to weild this massive amount of data.

And for me personally, I've not had internet at my new flat for the last month, so being "in front of a real computer" generally meant my iPhone after 6pm (when I'm free to do other things besides work, and the time difference is more amenable to people being chatty on MetaFilter). Also not a frequent situation, but due to current events and my inability to easily access information a completely frustrating one.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:45 AM on April 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


How often do you really, really need to read a monster thread on your mobile anyway? Why not wait until you're on a real computer?

In my case, when I am sitting at my desk top, what I need to be doing is grading student papers, not reading MetaFilter. I can't get any work done on my bus commute, but I can read this site on my phone. Not that I need to read megathreads; they are usually about something that upsets me, which is not what I need on my commute. However, I bet there are at least some other members with a situation similar to mine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:47 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well I say we scuttle the creakly, leaky starship MetaFilter and beam on over to the all-new Excelsior-class website MEGAFILTER. The USS MegaFilter has full megathread-support, a transwarp drive and cup-holders in every seat. Of course some engineering throwbacks like Montgomery Scott may scoff at transwarp technology, complaining that "the more they over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain". But remember when that guy travelled back in time and tried to speak into his computer's mouse like it was a 23rd century computer, or an iPhone? What a loser. So let's elect #1 quidnunc kid as Captain, invite the Klingons over and hit the self-destruct button on this place once and for all. It only remain for me to say, "pb: destruct sequence 1, code 1-1 A."
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:13 AM on April 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


Two thoughts:

1) Paginate after every 200, not 2,000? Keeps it quick, tight and nimble, even for mobile devices on a slow connection, and a link to the top to jump to "latest (page)".

2) At the end of each page, put a random nice cat video (there's enough online to make for variety). MeFites don't have to watch it, but at least in heavy / angry threads there'll be some periodic relief / positive / nice distraction for those of us who want / need it.

Was kind of saddened to realize after a while that the MetaFilter home page on April 1st wasn't a permanent thing :(
posted by Wordshore at 2:35 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can still access, it Wordshore: metafilter.com/home/metafilterest.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:42 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Since they happen infrequently, how about just putting links at the TOP of any thread that hit's 1000 comments or more, such as "Comment 500", "Comment 1000", "Comment 1500", "Comment 2000", etc...
posted by HuronBob at 2:48 AM on April 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here you go wordshore
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:48 AM on April 19, 2013


Oh.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:48 AM on April 19, 2013


Literally the first time I've clicked the Recent Activity link. Thanks.

*boggles*
posted by OmieWise at 2:55 AM on April 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thank you Taz, FirstMateKate.

Everyone needs a kitten.
posted by Wordshore at 2:56 AM on April 19, 2013


Aftr seeing the breaking news on Reddit I tried loading the MetaFilter Boston thread on my iPad, which crashed not only the browser but the OS. OP is correct... the page lengths here need to be kept in check. The issue is not so much Boston as if there is major, major breaking news in the future on the scale of another 9/11 or Tohoku earthquake, mobile users are probably going to be left behind here, and some of those folks are the ones who may really need the updates.
posted by crapmatic at 2:59 AM on April 19, 2013


1) Paginate after every 200, not 2,000?

Ugh. Ohghodh. hhh. Please no. Not for us PC-users, at least.
posted by forgetful snow at 3:54 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I have a Galaxy S3 and that thread pretty much froze my browser (skip to menu link wont work). I've been checking the thread using recent activity, but of course you can only see handful of comments using it.

I don't have access to a desktop at work so using my phone is the only way I can access the thread.
posted by littlesq at 3:57 AM on April 19, 2013


Couldn't pagination be an option that is (like other preferences) set via cookies, and therefore device-specific per user? I also like the idea of quicklinks at the top to jump to comment #X, Y or Z.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 4:23 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


...a browser crushing experience, especially on mobile?

Loads fine via DSL under IceWeasel/FireFox.

Mobile devices are terrible at displaying useful quantities of information. We don't need to break the world to make your handheld work.
posted by DU at 4:28 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think doofus magoo has a good idea here, but to expand on that why can't there just be a tab at the top of the page under "add to favorites" or in that area that just defaults to "show all", but upon clicking is "show 100/show 200" etc, then when you get to the bottom you can click a "blah new comments" type button just like what shows up when you're in an active thread, and have the JS magic obliterate all the old comments and take you to the next set of 100/200/whatever.

This is a bit of a pony feature, i realize, but some of these threads can get so incredibly large that they turn everything but my quad core desktop to tapioca. My wimpy work netbook pretty much threw in the towel instantly on one of the 400-ish comment threads and had to be put out with a fire extinguisher, and go on a timeout for a few minutes while it thought about it's miserable life. Seriously, i think the battery gauge actually dropped a significant amount in the "remaining time" rating just waiting for it to render.

I seriously didn't even try on the boston thread on my phone or that laptop.

On preview, DU i have to completely disagree. Mobile is the primary method of displaying information for a lot of people nowadays. I think i log more hours on my phone/tablet than probably all the other systems i regularly use combined. I'm also of the opinion that the metafilter mobile site is exceptionally good besides exploding when threads get too big. It's perfectly nice for reading the essay length amazing comments people regularly drop here, which are definitely "useful quantities of information". I don't think it's "break(ing) the world" to expect extremely large lengths of text to be split in to some kind of manageable chunks.

As it is, i feel like these threads can be the equivalent of a run on sentence. Visually a mess, and extremely dense to work through ranging up to borderline impossible in some cases. I definitely don't think we should force some kind of new formatting on everyone, but it should definitely be an option.
posted by emptythought at 4:35 AM on April 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's about 183,000 words right now.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:36 AM on April 19, 2013


Mobile devices are terrible at displaying useful quantities of information. We don't need to break the world to make your handheld work.

I've got no dog in this race and agree with the first half of that statement to some extent, but you say this as if there's not already a mobile version of MetaFilter.

Mine comes with a professional white background...
posted by romakimmy at 4:36 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why not wait until you're on a real computer?

What a strange statement, phones are real computers these days.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 AM on April 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Compression!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:09 AM on April 19, 2013


What a strange statement, phones are real computers these days.

This thread, among others, proves they aren't.
posted by DU at 5:12 AM on April 19, 2013


In the history of MetaFilter we have had 19 threads with over 2,000 comments. That's out of over 100,000 threads. We've had one in 2013. It might seem like they're common, but they're still very much an outlier.

That doesn't seem like the relevant statistic. Long threads might be rare, but given that they're the most highly trafficked threads, the user experience of navigating long threads is not as rare. In other words, the average user does not find herself reading long threads for 19/100000 of her total Metafilter experience. She spends a lot longer in those threads.
posted by painquale at 5:21 AM on April 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Not frequently at all, but when the issue does occur a workable solution would be really helpful

Totally agree.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:23 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that although the threads aren't common, the experience of being frustrated by their length probably is common.
posted by painquale at 5:23 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't chat the answer here?

Although I also think it would make sense to start a new thread at some point, given the tragic and eventful evening: a new thread could synthesize a lot of what's happened overnight.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:25 AM on April 19, 2013


I would appreciate an opt-in, browser-specific option to have comments paginated. It would be fantastic if we could select how many comments per page according to the capacity of our computers. I'd probably keep everything in a single page for my macbook, and paginated at 500 for my phone.

How many 500+ comment threads have there been thus far in 2013?
posted by insectosaurus at 5:32 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


This thread, among others, proves they aren't.

Nah, this proof is simply proof that the CPU power of the phone, combined with the speed and expense of the data plan the user has varies greatly. Just like desktop computers.

Mind you, the original OP's request has nothing to do with mobile devices, so the question of real computers vs uh, unreal, computers is besides the point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:40 AM on April 19, 2013


Mind you, the original OP's request has nothing to do with mobile devices,

Artw's request specifically mentions mobile devices. Go check, I'll wait here.


...

*makes a run for it*
posted by forgetful snow at 5:49 AM on April 19, 2013


Wordshore: "Paginate after every 200, not 2,000? Keeps it quick, tight and nimble, even for mobile devices on a slow connection, and a link to the top to jump to "latest (page)"."

This is pretty well the antithesis of quick and nibble for me. This morning the boston thread had something like 1200 new comments for me. A single page load that happens while I'm on another tab and I can read the whole thing. No waiting and no fuss.
posted by Mitheral at 5:55 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be open to a pagination option on the mobile style sheet. I'm not sure if that's workable; I'm a geologist by training so my fix for a sticky page load is to hit my phone with a hammer.
posted by arcticseal at 5:57 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, we need a MegaThread t-shirt.
posted by arcticseal at 5:58 AM on April 19, 2013


I'd love opt-in pagination for at least the mobile site. I have an Android but it's a bit addled in its little silicon brain, and the browser hangs while loading big threads.
posted by cmyk at 5:59 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Artw's request specifically mentions mobile devices. Go check, I'll wait here.

Whoops, you're right, I was wrong.

*goes for second cup of coffee*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:00 AM on April 19, 2013


Nah, this proof is simply proof that the CPU power of the phone, combined with the speed and expense of the data plan the user has varies greatly. Just like desktop computers.

If you think mobiles are "real computers" then you've never used a real computer to, like, compute. As in, write a program on that device to process some data, also on that device.

I will agree that mobiles are approaching (but as this thread and other similar ones illustrate, have not yet caught up with) real computers as media consumption devices, though.
posted by DU at 6:14 AM on April 19, 2013


My Treo in 2005 had a python interpreter and a telnet client. So yes, I've been computing on mobile devices for longer than you've had a MeFi account, sonny.

Let's not encourage megathreads to get any larger. People should still have a check on their emotional posting urges, and think about whether the comment they're about to add to the thread really adds something to the thread. I'm not impugning anyone's contributions; I'm just saying: slow down and think.
posted by Eideteker at 6:38 AM on April 19, 2013


I might suggest adding on fast-moving/breaking news threads an alertbox at the top that mentions+links to the chat site. Doesn't need to have the flashing lights and sirens of the old "If you're posting about the Iraq War" alertbox on the new post page, but something that calls it out. [Wikipedia has its "this article refers to a breaking news item" box, for example.] People need reassurance and a place to vent or mention that they had a cousin who ran in the marathon once and this is scary, but those things may be "of the moment," and may not be best intended for a permanent record.
posted by Eideteker at 6:45 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can anyone recommend the best mobile (Android) browser for handling large threads like this? I used to use Opera Mini (on Android 2.3.4 on a Droid X) and it had problems with threads of more than ~500 comments.

At the moment I've only got the Android default browser—I had to do a factory reset some months ago and since then I've been cautious about what apps I install, and haven't installed any other web browser yet, but if there's one out there that does better at handling large threads I'd be happy to hear it. (I'm also open to entertaining the notion that the Droid X is no longer the latest-and-greatest in smartphones, and 2.3.4 is not the latest-and-greatest version of Android, and there may be no good answer for that configuration.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:47 AM on April 19, 2013


I've had surprisingly good luck with Firefox Mobile. No clue how it is on older devices, but it actually gives Chrome a good run for its money.

Also, yes. Some kind of pagination on mobile would be super (but it would have to be implemented well... I've seen far too many bad mobile pagination jobs out there).
posted by schmod at 6:51 AM on April 19, 2013


We've gone round and round with this, but leaving the one little "hey they caught the guys" thread open would solve all these problems. We all know the "existing thread" policy, but pretending a 4500 comment thread is not unwieldy is just sticking your fingers in your ears, regardless of what anyone thinks what devices should and should not be able to display it.

And chat is not a solution. It was moving way too fast to use last night, and I think crashed at a few points.

Open a new thread.
posted by Big_B at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think mobiles are "real computers" then you've never used a real computer to, like, compute. As in, write a program on that device to process some data, also on that device.

Eh, people using a computer for whatever make a device a real computer. It may be underpowered or different from a desktop, but dismissing their concerns, especially when they simple want to read text, as not using a "real" computer doesn't make any sense or forward the conversation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh and the "this is not a news site" comments - Last night this was a news site. It was THE news site. No one was covering this on the news when it started. It was mefites (and redditors) contributing information from scanners public that were on the scene, some tweeting. A lot of that information was reliable and useful.
posted by Big_B at 7:08 AM on April 19, 2013


Some sort of "hey, chat exists" alert is not a terrible idea and we've at least chatter a bit about it previously in modland, but there's been the prerequisite question of making sure chat itself is up for primetime and well documented that needs to be answered in the solid affirmative before we make it more visible. So, something we'll continue to look at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:20 AM on April 19, 2013


Sometimes we need to deal with what IS. On that note I think it is kinda irresponsible not to have a mechanism in place for megathreads when this kind of news hits the fan. I think we all agree here that one of the best places about this community is that when the true merde really does hit the fan that this is the place to be for information and links and support. I would like that to be facilitated, even if only for threads like the Boston Marathon thread. Just because this isn't usually a news site doesn't mean it isn't important when truly important news happens.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:23 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


(In other words, let's do what it takes to accomodate mobile devices. Some of us have to share a computer and I detest being knocked off a fastmoving thread when someone in the household has to access the MLS for real estate purposes.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:24 AM on April 19, 2013


Documentation is my bread and butter, so if there's anything I can do to help, just say the word.
posted by Eideteker at 7:30 AM on April 19, 2013


I used to use Opera Mini (on Android 2.3.4 on a Droid X) and it had problems with threads of more than ~500 comments.

At the moment I've only got the Android default browser...


Well, let this be a lesson to me about making assumptions. I had never even tried to load a thread of that size on the Android default browser, just assuming it sucked...until just now, and wouldn't you know it, the whole megathread loaded. Which is more than I ever would have been able to get out of Opera Mini.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:34 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I use Firefox on my Android, and it works fine on big threads.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 AM on April 19, 2013


It was moving way too fast to use last night, and I think crashed at a few points.

Crashed once at least, yeah. It's actually really useful when you use a chat client, it's a little less cumbersome than the web-based version which is fine but strains some under a lot of activity.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2013


FWIW I have had lots of issues with sites freezing or not loading on my 2nd gen iPad, but have not yet had this happen with MetaFilter. It's a huge thread, but it's all text. There really isn't a lot you can do to make it better than that. Pagination is not something I'd like to see on MeFi; I like that the conversation is linear and in one place.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:08 AM on April 19, 2013


mazola, one option you could try is the "skip to menu" link at the top of the page on mobile.

My problem here is the load time on 3G. I was really surprised there was a new Boston thread opened this moring when there is already one. I flagged it prior to the note saying it'd been approved, but secretly I was grateful for it because I could actually load it. That gratitude fades with each new comment.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2013


Cortex: Some sort of "hey, chat exists" alert is not a terrible idea and we've at least chatter a bit about it previously in Modland...

Goes off on trippy fantasy about what Modland is like, can you fly there, what the local cuisine is, is the scenery pretty, can you get a good wifi connection, is there a branch of Dairy Barn, and so forth...

#procrastination
posted by Wordshore at 11:13 AM on April 19, 2013


Paginated mobile-friendly Metafilter. Bam.

(Current Boston thread on MeFi is 242KiB; this takes that down to ~12KiB per page. Almost no JavaScript, and only enough CSS to make it readable.)
posted by schmod at 11:28 AM on April 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


Schmod: oops
posted by emptythought at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2013


I fed the server some more coffee. It should be working now.

Boston thread here.
posted by schmod at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thanks, schmod - I do most of my Metafiltering from my tablet (easier to use while reclining if you have chronic health issues that mean you recline a lot - mobile isn't just for people who are in love with their iphones) in the evening after work and I thought I'd have to give up on the Boston threads. Much appreciated.
posted by camyram at 7:00 PM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I was able to keep up with the megathread on an ipad via gogo's shittastic inflight internet as I flew across the country last night. For the most part it wasn't too bad.
posted by iamabot at 9:01 PM on April 19, 2013


Yeah, those megathreads are definitely stress tests for mobile browsers.

Reason enough to stay out of them, I guess.

Anyway: MegaFilter
posted by notyou at 9:43 PM on April 19, 2013


Schmod, you are my hero. Thank you!
posted by MissySedai at 4:55 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


schmod do you mind if I toss this on the sidebar for people?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 AM on April 20, 2013


schmod thank you for that.
In the last six months I have found myself reading mefi and other sites much more on my mobile than previously. The megathreads are a pain to follow on anything if I haven't commented or bookmarked / favorited anything. Even if I use recent activity, whatever has been going on say overnight could well be five hundred comments or more and in these sort of threads I want to read / glance at them.
pb I cannot fault your statistics on the first comment but maybe they are not the correct figures to be looking at. I should think that far more site members let alone lurkers comment in / follow these fast moving newsfilter megathreads because so many people realize that mefi does them really well. Therefore to optimise both user and lurker experiance schmod's demonstration has proved a viable option and I think that maybe you guys might want to also consider that mobile use will grow and threads will also tend to get larger as the active userbase also continues to grow.
posted by adamvasco at 10:17 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schmod, I love this. Thank you!

Non-sch mods, please consider implementing something like this. My addled little phone will thank you, then shut itself off, then refuse to get texts, then thank you three times because it doesn't know if the other thanks went through.

(It's me. Phone worked fine for the friend who gave it to me. I'm badly polarized or something, I kill watches too.)
posted by cmyk at 10:17 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


adamvasco: "I should think that far more site members let alone lurkers comment in / follow these fast moving newsfilter megathreads because so many people realize that mefi does them really well. "

This should be easy to quantify on a relative basis. Page loads of 2000+ threads vs. under 2000 and comments in 2000+ threads vs under. I imagine the last ratio is very small but I can't hazard a guess on the former.
posted by Mitheral at 10:37 AM on April 20, 2013


Yeah, go for it. It's very bare-bones (but that's the point).

Feel free to post bugs here if you find them (with the caveat that I've never intended for it to be all things for all people -- if you want The Full MetaFilter Experience, you should browse the main site).

I'll try to dump the source onto GitHub later this weekend, so that you can host your own copy after my sketchy $4/month VPS catches fire and dies.
posted by schmod at 10:49 AM on April 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks so much, schmod!
posted by qnarf at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is great!

Two questions: how does it credit comments? For example, the two top posts on MetaFilter are referenced on MobileFilter as having 1 and 5 comments each, though the first has no comments and 1 favorite, and the second has 10 comments and 3 favorites.

Second, why does MobileFilter display material that was below the fold on the front page? This seems counterintuitive for a mobile-friendly interface.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:08 PM on April 20, 2013


Would there be a way to make the comments in the center collapse? Like, once the thread gets to 2000 comments, the first 100 comments stay, followed by links that say "load next 500 comments" and then the last 500 comments still show. When the bottom gets up to 1000 comments, the topmost 500 (of the bottom 1000) get linkified. You could load the whole thing if you want, or you could just load the bottom 1000 or whatever. Reloading could recollapse everything you had opened. Sort of like sites where you have to open the bottom layer of nested comments. I don't have any idea if this is a thing that is doable, but it's a different idea than pages that chop up the thread.
posted by artychoke at 3:55 PM on April 20, 2013


I know that Schmod has helpfully posted the direct link to the Boston thread on Schmod-Filter, but how would one get to the post without this, like next time this happens?

Schmod, could you add a "next page" button on the bottom of the main page, so we could find the thread we're interested in? Or any other ideas on how to get to the thread in question for the future?

I agree with others that the problem limit on many phones is far less than 2000, more like 500. So for me this would be useful for more than once or twice a year.
posted by marsha56 at 4:28 PM on April 20, 2013


The front page of MobileFilter is pulled directly from the MeFi RSS feed, so a lot of the issues/limitations are related to the RSS feed's own issues and limitations.

As far as I know, MeFi's RSS doesn't provide a mechanism to access the "above the fold" summary, or to retrieve old FPPs. (So, no "Next" button on the front page. Sorry, I know that this sucks. However, I could try to whip up a bookmarklet that could let you jump between MetaFilter and MobileFilter, which could solve this problem in a roundabout manner.)

Favorite/comment counts aren't included in RSS, so those are off-limits. No clue how MetaFilter generates the nifty comment-count images in its feed, but they're often wildly inaccurate. That would be a question for the site's admins.

All feeds are cached on a 60-second basis. This is a feature, and not a bug.

I can pipe the "popular favorites" RSS feed into MobileFilter, which is something that seems like people would use... However, I believe that MetaFilter's popularity algorithm focuses primarily on favorites, which won't capture all of our Megathreads (ie. Megathreads about bad things). A "most commented on" RSS feed could solve that problem (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Also, reading through the FAQ, I noticed that RSS feeds for individual threads should be accessible through URLs like:
http://www.metafilter.com/12345/rss
This doesn't work. Instead, you need to resort to some ugliness like:
http://www.metafilter.com/Post-Title-Here/12345/rss
(I'm just now realizing that "Post-Title-Here" can literally be anything.)
posted by schmod at 5:15 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Considering what a crappy week it's been, I'm feeling pleasantly amused by the schmod-schmoopy in this thread. (And I want to nth the "thank you!" sentiment.)
posted by Lexica at 8:51 PM on April 20, 2013


Aw, you guys.
posted by schmod at 12:18 AM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


> As far as I know, MeFi's RSS doesn't provide a mechanism to access the "above the fold" summary

You could take the first line break element. It's hardly perfect, but there are few posts which have more than one paragraph above the fold.
posted by bjrn at 3:07 AM on April 21, 2013


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