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Enhancement Request: Cancel button for comment preview.
November 15, 2013 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to suggest adding a "Cancel" button during comment preview, next to the "Post Comment" and "Preview" buttons.

Often I'll start writing a comment, preview, and then decide I'm better off just not commenting. When that happens, there is no (known to me) way to cancel the comment and get back to where you were in the thread before you started commenting - you'll always be stuck in preview mode unless you leave the page and reenter.

You can use the back button, though that seems to cause javascript issues (preview button no longer works).

Being "stuck" on preview is pretty minor, and may not in itself be worth adding a cancel button for. But I think there could be an added benefit to having an easy-to-use, visual reminder that you can change your mind and not post a comment. When someone starts to think "maybe I shouldn't post this", an easy way to cancel, along with the visual reminder that the button provides, could help sway the decision and prevent the comment. (This assumes that most of the time, when the poster is in doubt, it's better that they don't post/comment)
posted by Bort to Feature Requests at 4:21 PM (56 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Can we have this pony? Please? I promise I'll feed it and brush it every day...
posted by double block and bleed at 4:25 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


This does seem like a nice idea.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:26 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


We can call it the Fuck It Button. " I was thinking of starting a fight but ..Fuck it."
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2013 [36 favorites]


If I get to that point, usually I just close the tab and walk away.
posted by arcticseal at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


I would ride this pony, but almost every time I find myself at the point of [preview] --> "$^%@*#@, I'm better off just not commenting!" I shouldn't be cancelling or hitting the back button, I should be closing the browser window and taking a brisk stroll around the block.
posted by divined by radio at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2013


Sure, we can consider this. My initial hesitation is that a new button would introduce a new error point. I can see people complaining about hitting "Cancel" instead of something else and being upset that their comment is lost forever.

I'm not sure why the back button removes the Preview button for you. Maybe that's something we can investigate and fix. Using the back button should be a good way to "Cancel". Or, clicking the logo at the top of the page will take you back to the main page—and you can go back into the thread from there.

Let me know what browser you're using and I'll see if I can reproduce the back button problems.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:33 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


It seems to be fine in firefox but admittedly I have refused to upgrade from v11.0
posted by elizardbits at 4:35 PM on November 15, 2013


Firefox 25.0.1

Steps to reproduce:

Open thread/post
Type "test" in comment
Click "preview" (preview shows)
Click "back" (back at thread/post)
Click "preview" (preview does not show)

The Preview button is still there and highlights on mouse-over, but clicking it doesn't produce the preview.

I have noscript installed, though I have all the metafilter and related urls whitelisted.
posted by Bort at 4:48 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried the steps in Firefox in Safe Mode and had the same issue.

clicking the logo at the top of the page will take you back to the main pageā€”and you can go back into the thread from there

Given the "new error point" point, that may be the best solution for cancelling.
posted by Bort at 4:56 PM on November 15, 2013


huh, yeah, I'm seeing the same thing in Firefox 25. I'll see if I can figure out why and fix it up.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:58 PM on November 15, 2013


We can call it the Fuck It Button. " I was thinking of starting a fight but ..Fuck it."

Maybe once you click it, it could generate a random automatic comment instead.
"All of your points are equally valid and I will take some time to consider them carefully"
"I am enjoying this debate and hope to learn further from your collective wisdom"
"Cats are great!"
"Screw you guys, I'm going home"
posted by billiebee at 5:00 PM on November 15, 2013 [46 favorites]


ok, took a look. My guess is that Firefox is being helpful here. Typically, once you submit a form you don't want to submit the same information again. If you think about a shopping cart, you don't want to click 'buy' then use the back button and click 'buy' again because you could place your order twice. So my guess is Firefox is trying to be smart about this and disable the submit button if you've used your back button to navigate back to the form.

I just added some code that should work around this by explicitly enabling the Preview button when the page loads. So that should help the back button be a more effective cancel.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:12 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Put a checkbox next to it that enables the cancel button. Like those awesome switch covers on fighter jets.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:16 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cool, from bug report to production fix in less than an hour on Friday night. It's working well here. Thank you, pb!
posted by Bort at 5:19 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This place is awesome!
posted by hippybear at 5:23 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why can you not scroll up to the last comment and click on the time stamp to bring you back to the bottom of the thread? That's what I do.
posted by winna at 5:33 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


there's no substitute for operating the browser, as opposed to the browser operating you.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:42 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "Cancel" button should count the number of characters in the comment box, and send that off to the Big MeFi Database. Prizes should be given to the member who has stepped back from the most/biggest comments. Maybe a Fuck-It Bucket?
posted by benito.strauss at 5:47 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow. pb deserves some kind of awards.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:23 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can we still have the Fuck It button? Also, I would like it to read all of my old comments and retroactively delete the stupid ones. Like this one, for example.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:30 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why can you not scroll up to the last comment and click on the time stamp to bring you back to the bottom of the thread? That's what I do.

Because I didn't think of that. I think that's a good solution too, better in a way. With using the back button, you need to refresh to see any new comments since you started preview, while clicking the time stamp gives you everything.
posted by Bort at 6:36 PM on November 15, 2013


Something else I just thought of is that you could mitigate the accidental cancel issue by saving the comment somehow private to the user. Maybe just memail the cancelled text.
posted by Bort at 6:43 PM on November 15, 2013


bug report to production fix in less than an hour on Friday night

It's easy when the dev server is the production server, too...
posted by killdevil at 7:10 PM on November 15, 2013


Ad hominem: "Like those awesome switch covers on fighter jets."

A molly guard.
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


What I love, besides pb's awesome response times, are his easy-to-follow explanations of why things do/would/wouldn't work a particular way. There are many websites where responses to user requests are completely incomprehensible to me (I suppose experts in a topic perhaps forget just how little of what they know is going to be known by a general audience) but pb always does a great job of it.
posted by lwb at 8:35 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


PB is awesome.


Jelly is pretty good too. Especially Strawberry & Rhubarb.

why yes, I have been out drinking with the guys. Why?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:50 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am enjoying this debate and hope to learn further from your collective wisdom.
posted by dogwalker at 10:06 PM on November 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


A molly guard.
I learned something new! Also, toddlers eh?
posted by Catch at 11:08 PM on November 15, 2013


I want the cancel button to grow larger and start pulsing as certain keywords are entered into the comment field.
posted by contraption at 11:38 PM on November 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


So my guess is Firefox is trying to be smart about this and disable the submit button if you've used your back button to navigate back to the form.

Wow, does mozilla think we're all browsing on these or something? That's really annoying behavior. If they really want to do this, the proper way to approach it would be an "are you sure you want to resubmit the form bla bla bla" popup.... like what chrome and other browsers already have for similar situations.
posted by emptythought at 11:44 PM on November 15, 2013


If I hide the Live Preview, I can Preview, but I cannot Post Comment. Is this new misbehavior?
posted by oceanjesse at 11:59 PM on November 15, 2013


...a new button would introduce a new error point.

Yes, I already have enough ways to lose my comments before they're posted. So my preference is no new button.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Previously.
posted by klarck at 4:39 AM on November 16, 2013


We can call it the Fuck It Button. " I was thinking of starting a fight but ..Fuck it."

In high school we had a pal who worked at the local Pizza Hut. It had one of those last-generation-of-CD-jukeboxes mounted right by the cashier window. One day we were in a booth wolfing down free pizza when a Tiffany song (I want to say it was 'Could've Been' but the memory is a little hazy) came on the in-house speakers. Employee friend was hanging out by our table at that moment and Kevin, sitting right next to me, gave a big arm wave and said "awww, fuck 'dat shit" in his most exaggerated northern NJ mook voice. Employee friend said "okay" and walked behind the counter where, unbeknownst to us, there was an override button for the jukebox. A button that, from that day forward, became known as the FDS (fuck 'dat shit) button. It got quite a workout over the next year or so.

So many situations could use a little, discreet FDS button. Or a huge, red, pulsing FDS button. Because fuck 'dat shit.
posted by mintcake! at 5:36 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do people use the preview button, out of curiosity? The live preview thing seems just as good?
posted by kavasa at 5:44 AM on November 16, 2013


There's a previw button?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:10 AM on November 16, 2013


There's an edit wondow?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:10 AM on November 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wondow wondow who wrote the book of wuvv
posted by mintcake! at 6:33 AM on November 16, 2013


My initial hesitation is that a new button would introduce a new error point.

Seems very wise and very likely this would happen.
posted by Miko at 6:41 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The molly guard concept should be added to the base HTML spec.
posted by sammyo at 7:09 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I use the Preview button when my post has more HTML than usual, or if I've tried putting in some unusual characters, like math symbols or non-English language characters. I seem to remember reading that there are some slight differences between Post and Preview.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:22 AM on November 16, 2013


oceanjesse: If I hide the Live Preview, I can Preview, but I cannot Post Comment. Is this new misbehavior?

Nope, that is meant to happen. You must preview your comment in some form before posting so, if you elect to not use the live preview you have to push the preview button and then hit post from that page.
posted by carsonb at 7:31 AM on November 16, 2013


Whatever the button ends up being called (if we get a button), in my head it will be What am I Doing I Should Know Better By Now.
posted by rtha at 7:41 AM on November 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I seem to remember reading that there are some slight differences between Post and Preview.

Yep, Live Preview is just an approximation of how it will look on the site. The full HTML preview using the Preview button actually runs the text through all of the server-side filters. There's a description in the FAQ but I'm not sure that second paragraph is accurate these days. (Though it's always good to carefully double-check any HTML escaping you're trying to do.)

If I hide the Live Preview, I can Preview, but I cannot Post Comment. Is this new misbehavior?

As carsonb mentioned, this is by design. If you have Live Preview hidden you can post your comment once you've used the Preview button. We'd like people to preview their comment one way or another. The exception to this is on mobile where screen space and bandwidth tend to be more limited than on a desktop.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:48 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Preview (rather than Live Preview) is also useful in a busy thread to see what comments have been posted since you started typing. Sometimes I hit Preview and realize that somebody's already said what I intended to say, only better, and I don't bother to post my comment.
posted by Lexica at 9:47 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never "cancel" any of my comments because if I did, what the hell would the mods do all day? They would spend all their time playing minesweeper or booking holidays - using Matt's computing resources to further their own selfish ends. I, for one, will not put up with such time-wasting on the company's dime; hence I make sure to comment in only the most horrible, irrelevant and insulting terms, allowing the mods to earn an honest pay-check by deleting my foul, bigoted rants. Which makes me a "job creator", I guess. But I don't do it for the adulation - it just feels good to give something back.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:19 AM on November 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


PB is awesome.

Jelly is pretty good too.


Is it PB Jelly Time already?
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on November 16, 2013


I thought about this yesterday; I would like this pony. Maybe the "Cancel" button could be red, or positioned differently than the other buttons?
posted by limeonaire at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2013


I strive to explain things to my clients as well as PB explains things to us.
posted by Mick at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2013


I occasionally want this, though I'm aware it's a bit of a silly impulse as being in preview mode doesn't make any difference (that I'm aware of).

How about if the "cancel" just cancels the preview, so that the comment box itself still has your comment text? If the text was all selected too then you could just delete it, or start straight into a different comment.
posted by lucidium at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I shouldn't be cancelling or hitting the back button, I should be closing the browser window and taking a brisk stroll around the block.

For what it's worth, about half the comments I start writing don't get posted. It's very rarely because I'm upset/angry/etc, it's usually because I'm in Ask and I decide I don't have anything useful to say. There are lots of reasons I might not post something I started writing.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:50 PM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would like this feature, but I would also like the Cancel button to be far away from the Post/Preview buttons, and perhaps also a "Are you sure you'd like to cancel this comment? / Are you REALLY sure?" Because otherwise I will click it constantly by accident. So I guess I don't really NEED this feature; most of the time I cancel a comment by closing the tab.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:50 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Whatever the button ends up being called (if we get a button), in my head it will be What am I Doing I Should Know Better By Now.

Y'know, if we do get the button, I think I'll get some add-on to change the text to "OMG Wat R U Doin STAHP!". Just so I don't confuse it with Post or Preview.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:59 AM on November 18, 2013


So many situations could use a little, discreet FDS button. Or a huge, red, pulsing FDS button. Because fuck 'dat shit.

I can almost perfectly imagine how this button would look.

I was at a pool party at a friends apartment complex a few days ago. One of those places where the actual apartments are meh, but you get a gym and an indoor pool and a gigantic hot tub with 24 hour access.

Next to the pool, on the wall, was the cheesiest 80's action movie red button i've ever seen. Google can't even find one this corny. It was surrounded by a caution striped metal plate and a gigantic flange, and was probably at least 6 inches across of drilled out billet aluminum red button. Imagine what a lovechild of this and this would look like in the pinky and the brain or dexters lab.

No one could even figure out what it was supposed to shut off or stop. The size and exaggerated nature of the thing made me think it was some kind of button to instantly eject all the water in the pool out the airlock into space or something. We all wanted to push it just because it was so ridiculous, but were all genuinely afraid of what the hell would happen if we did.

That, was a fuck 'dat shit button.
posted by emptythought at 3:50 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a good thing you didn't push it. That button opens up the universe's belly button.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:16 AM on November 19, 2013


And the universe is ticklish.
posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on November 19, 2013


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