New user history pages are up May 16, 2007 8:36 PM   Subscribe

There's a new user history interface, at http://www.metafilter.com/activity/(your user ID). It's linked on user pages now and provides a consistent view of your posts, comments, and things favorited by others (including a new most popular favorited list from your history). Three cheers for pb for building it, it should be much easier to use and more consistent than the previous way we did things.
posted by mathowie (staff) to Feature Requests at 8:36 PM (140 comments total)

/3cheers
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:40 PM on May 16, 2007


Seriously though, this is a nifty new feature. I was just on my way here to say I saw the new link on my profile page and how cool it was. Thanks pb... and Matt!
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:42 PM on May 16, 2007


That is fantastic - thanks pb!
posted by danb at 8:44 PM on May 16, 2007


Excellent.
This is super cool.
Thank you.
posted by bru at 8:45 PM on May 16, 2007


one tiny nit: the tenth entry on this page incorrectly reports the comment as being from 13 days ago but it was from september 2006.
posted by quonsar at 8:45 PM on May 16, 2007


This is good. Not just good like chocolate cake or cranberry juice, but good like choccrancakejuice.
posted by purephase at 8:46 PM on May 16, 2007


quonsar, that's when someone marked it as a favorite, not when you posted it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007


Also, we'll work up RSS versions of the pages as well.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007


*lightbulb*

last favorited 13 days ago!

i get it now...
posted by quonsar at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cool! That's great!

BTW, this has probably been covered before, but how come my user info is filed under user ID number rather than my 'name'? ie: http://www.metafilter.com/activity/35270 instead of http://www.metafilter.com/activity/serazin?
posted by serazin at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007


This looks like it was a lot of work, and my gratitude to PB for doing it. Unfortunately, I'm used to the previous version and I'm wondering if there's a way for me to revert?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007


Okay, so lemme get this straight.

matthowie is our benevolent dictator
whitehouse is our benevolent dictator
Check.

matthowie introduces a neat tool to aggregate and analyze online content
whitehouse introduces a neat tool to aggregate and analyze online content
Check.

matthowie is loved
whitehouse is not loved
Checkless.

Okay, no, really, thank you. It's very nice.
posted by nilihm at 8:53 PM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I like it, as it allows me to more effectively put all the crap I have spewed forth in one place all at the same time.
posted by dg at 8:54 PM on May 16, 2007


I have a spare little o in the left margin of this page. I love this. Might it be possible for whatever favorites option we prefer [fuzzy/precise] to be sticky and stay the way we left it?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:55 PM on May 16, 2007


... how come my user info is filed under user ID number rather than my 'name'?
Oh, man, I wish you hadn't asked that. Expect a knock on the door within 30 minutes.
posted by dg at 8:56 PM on May 16, 2007


What do you chop off comments at character-wise on the favorites page? On my monitor [1280x800] all the lines wrap with just the word [more] on the next line. Maybe ratchet it back 5-10 characters?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:01 PM on May 16, 2007


Heck yeah!
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 PM on May 16, 2007


No names, no pack drill.
Nifty is the word for the new features.
posted by Abiezer at 9:04 PM on May 16, 2007


*tries it*

Sweet!
posted by Many bubbles at 9:05 PM on May 16, 2007


Very cool. The most surprising thing to me is seeing really old posts I'd forgotten about being favorited fairly recently. Nice feature.
posted by homunculus at 9:06 PM on May 16, 2007


Feeping creaturitis.
posted by davy at 9:09 PM on May 16, 2007


Unfortunately, I'm used to the previous version and I'm wondering if there's a way for me to revert?

The old URLs still work, but play with it for five minutes and I bet you'll get used to it. It's not that big of a change and we added several new features (and will add more in the future like sorting options and searching within someone's history, etc)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:09 PM on May 16, 2007


Small bug, it's not directing favourite count links for Ask and Meta properly:

When I click on "1 user marked this as a favorite" for my pill post AskMe on the Posts tab it attempts to bring up the favourites for the front page #62734 instead of the AskMe #62734

This results in the Message "No one marked this as a favorite" instead of showing the one person who did mark it as a favourite.

Same thing with my APOD MetaTalk thread #13617
posted by Mitheral at 9:15 PM on May 16, 2007

favorited 6 times, recently by ... 11 months ago
Is 11 months really "recent" or is this still being worked on?

Also, you misspelled "favourited" ;-)
posted by dg at 9:16 PM on May 16, 2007


I'd much rather it be listed by login name. I'm not a number. Signed, 18847. P.S. Ain't that right, User 58?
posted by davy at 9:17 PM on May 16, 2007


goddamnit, now that's a fucking good job.
that's what a compliment sounds when i actually mean it.
posted by phaedon at 9:17 PM on May 16, 2007


Is 11 months really "recent" or is this still being worked on?

It's ordered by date, newest to oldest so if you don't have a lot of contributions marked as a favorite or you page out to the end of your history, "recent" isn't so recent. It's not really a bug, it's just the nature of it. For most profiles the word "recent" makes sense on the first page of results.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:18 PM on May 16, 2007


jessamyn, we're still tweaking the excerpt size. Right now it's around 250 characters depending on where spaces and punctuation are.

dg, "recently" depends on how you view time. In a lifetime, 11 months isn't so long.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:19 PM on May 16, 2007


I'd much rather it be listed by login name. I'm not a number.

davy, the old way of showing history was just a number. I can't make it all work with usernames because I never did URL safe usernames. There are people with slashes and apostrophes and all sorts of wacky shit you can't cram in a URL and expect to get data out of, so the simple ID works.

There are user ID numbers all over the site, just like there were yesterday before I added this. I don't see how anything has changed.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:20 PM on May 16, 2007


BTW, this has probably been covered before, but how come my user info is filed under user ID number rather than my 'name'?

Because it's a lot easier to represent a number in a URL. There are some people that have names that are not representable as a URL, such as kanji characters.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:26 PM on May 16, 2007


thanks, Mitheral, should be linked properly now.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:28 PM on May 16, 2007


I'm sad now because it has become clear that I don't have enough favorites to win the internets.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:31 PM on May 16, 2007


Thanks mathowie/pb - that makes sense. It probably seemed odd to me because of the small number of favourites.

*sob*

User numbers are good - they indicate the status of each user in a way that names simply can't do.
posted by dg at 9:34 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just noticed this and played with it for a few minutes, then wondered if it had perhaps been noted in MeTa. Lo and behold.

Thanks for the newfangled stuff.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:43 PM on May 16, 2007


OMG.

This is the feature I've been waiting for but didn't even know I wanted.

Thank you!
posted by tristeza at 9:46 PM on May 16, 2007


this is rocktacular.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:47 PM on May 16, 2007


Wow, I am so negative. Geez.
posted by interrobang at 9:47 PM on May 16, 2007


I sometimes wonder what is the most popular thing I have ever done.

Now I know. Thanks, pb & j matt.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:50 PM on May 16, 2007


As I was typing in the url I realized my user number is 17654. With those last numbers being in reverse order, you know, 4, 5, 6, 7.... anyways, I noticed that. I thought it was kind of cool or something. Not worth auctioning off cool or anything like that. So that means something's cool about my Mefi account? Right guys?

*shuffles away*
posted by marxchivist at 9:54 PM on May 16, 2007


Awesome. The fact that I wish for a tab to indicate posts I've favorited in no way detracts from the awesomeness.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:56 PM on May 16, 2007


I like it, but can we also keep the old way of scrolling through comments, by the posts instead of by our own comments? It's much eaiser for me to find an old thread I'd commented in that way.

Plus I'll miss the 'best answer' checkmarks, which made my life worth living.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:57 PM on May 16, 2007


I was prepared to not like it because I wasn't too impressed with the last rev you guys floated, but this is pretty much perfect on first glance, I think. Well done.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:03 PM on May 16, 2007


awesome, thanks for the fun toys mathowie and pb - nice work!
posted by madamjujujive at 10:08 PM on May 16, 2007


It's not that I think anything's changed that much, just that I never did like it being sorted by user number anyway. Now that I understand more of why I'll go back to shrugging it off.
posted by davy at 10:10 PM on May 16, 2007


I'd much rather it be listed by login name. I'm not a number.

All alone I bear the shame,
I'm a number, not a name.
I heard that lonesome whistle blow.
All I do is set an' cry
When the evening train goes by.
I heard that lonesome whistle blow.

-Hank Williams
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:11 PM on May 16, 2007


Thanks pb (father of the permalink), this is fabulous. I just put my tongue on it making sure I had firm contact with all three tabs and can confirm it's completely safe.
posted by tellurian at 10:19 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


hydrophonic wrote: Plus I'll miss the 'best answer' checkmarks, which made my life worth living.
I'll miss this too.
posted by tellurian at 10:29 PM on May 16, 2007


miss the 'best answer' checkmarks

An excellent observation. Some number of us read through others' best answer comments as a rough compilation of "the best of" either a user's AskMe posts or of questions answered. Best answer detractors can read "the best of" here as "most accurately targeted to the question-asker's liking" if they prefer. Regardless, the old best answer marks were far more efficient than slogging through thousands of comments and questions to locate the same information. I haven't the time or patience. Some number of us (possibly a smaller value than above) believe favorite votes are very pale replacement for the task and highly inaccurate in comparison.

I am hoping that the redesign originators can provide a means to quickly locate best answer posts for another user or for the poster his or herself. More directly asked: Matt, can and will this latest design be slightly enhanced to keep a best answer tracking feature?
posted by mdevore at 10:36 PM on May 16, 2007


Great improvement - I love that we get to see the actual comment!

It could use more context though.. It would be great if the title of the post that a comment belongs to could be displayed above the comment. It would also be good to have comments grouped by post (under the aforementioned title :P). Finally, is there any possibility of coloured backgrounds based on sub site?
posted by Chuckles at 10:37 PM on May 16, 2007


Glad to see that the earlier idea finally came to something.

And really? That was favorited? I mean it was a throw away joke. Even I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

And that one? Honestly? Ok, I'll take the points, but seriously, that was weak tea.
posted by quin at 10:44 PM on May 16, 2007


I was using this about fifteen minutes ago without really realising. I did think that the info was a lot easier to find and more interesting than last time but there was nothing jarring to tell me that a major change had happened. I think this is a good thing.

But I do miss the best answer tick in the 'my comments' section, they're pretty much impossible to track/discover otherwise, and it would be nice to have favourites noted on there too. Favourites have their own place so they're not such a big deal, but please bring the ticks back.

Also some spacing or something would be good, right now I see big blocks of text that run in together. This would probably be less of an issue if my comments were more succinct. The amount of spacing between comments within an askme thread would be better, these seem closer together.
posted by shelleycat at 10:48 PM on May 16, 2007


Very cool. The most surprising thing to me is seeing really old posts I'd forgotten about being favorited fairly recently. Nice feature.

Very uncool. The most annoying thing to me is seeing really embarrasing posts that I'd been trying to forget about. Bluh.

Seriously, though, well done! May it lead to scads of popularity for you, which can then be tracked through your own creation.
posted by davejay at 10:52 PM on May 16, 2007


Yeah, we can work best answer marks back into it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:58 PM on May 16, 2007


Ooh, I see you just added the dropdown to limit the view by subsite (similar in spirit to what I was hoping for for the My Comments page), and that makes it even better. Rock!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:58 PM on May 16, 2007


Wait, never mind.

Shit, now I'm a little confusified. (Please don't replace the My Comments page with this new activity view -- it's a different view of the data! The two complement each other.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2007


OK, since this is all second look, post-coffee.

Could you move the Favorited tab to the first position -- from a user perspective, the person most often using your activity view will be you, and (I am, and am assuming) most people are most interested in who's been faveing their posts and comments. It kind of makes sense that that'd be the default tab on the history page, I think.

That could just be me, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:05 PM on May 16, 2007


Also, can we call this the Stalker-o-Matic™?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:19 PM on May 16, 2007


This is getting embarrassing. I should have saved it all up for one comment. Sorry.

I see that clicking through from your Favorited by others count on your profile page takes you through to the correct tab on the All Activity page, so ignore what I said about tab order. You done good.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:22 PM on May 16, 2007


If I could have been user 54-46 I would definitely have signed up as Toots. Alas, right now, someone else has that number.
posted by Abiezer at 12:02 AM on May 17, 2007


And really? That was favorited? I mean it was a throw away joke. Even I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

Y'know quin, you're right, that was some weak shit. I'm gonna defavorite that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:03 AM on May 17, 2007


This is totally wicked. Thanks so much, matt and pb :)

*browses through page humming contentedly*
posted by Phire at 12:31 AM on May 17, 2007


Just one small teeny gripe - why, when you use the « Newer | Older » links, does a new tab (or window, I assume) open? Reading through the list results in a mess of tabs opened when it would seem more logical to work within the same window.

Super happy though, that it enabled me to find something I had been looking for for ages!
posted by dg at 1:05 AM on May 17, 2007


I hate this interface. It is completely stupid. I do not need to see the full text of my thousands of comments. I use the tracking feature to see where I've posted and what's likely to need attention. I particularly use this for AskMe.

The new interface means that I can't see quickly and easily where I've posted, particularly where I've posted multiple times.

I don't need to see the text of my own comments. That is completely stupid. it takes up a crapload of screen space of information of no value whatsoever. If I want to bask in the glory of my own writing, I can fucking click the link.

This interface change really pisses me off.
posted by Malor at 1:35 AM on May 17, 2007


I'm very serious when I say that if I can't get a concise, clickable list of where I've posted comments, just like I used to, I'm not going to help anymore in AskMe, and I'll be seriously dissuaded from having real conversations in the blue.
posted by Malor at 1:37 AM on May 17, 2007


And guys? MeFi has gotten big enough, at this point, that rolling out changes like this without prior testing and feedback would seem a very bad idea.

You have completely crippled a feature I'm dependent on.
posted by Malor at 1:41 AM on May 17, 2007


God this just fucking infuriates me. I can't navigate MeFi anymore. I write long posts. Very long ones. Right, if I click on my user profile, and then on my "1184 Answers" link, instead of useful links, I get a screenful of information about how to buy a goddamn stereo.

What the hell use is this? What were you thinking? I need to see the questions where I've posted answers so I can quickly check if there have been followups. I would generally click the last comment link under most of my AskMe questions to see if anything more had been posted. Instead of a concise, highly useful interface, I now have a entire screen of garbage that is useless to me.

I can't figure out where I have posted and I can't follow up AskMe questions properly.

Please roll this back, or at least make a user preference for the old, useful way of doing things.

I thought MeFi was the opposite of Narcissism R Us, but it's sure not looking that way today.
posted by Malor at 1:49 AM on May 17, 2007


I swear a lot more than I thought. Approximately half my recent comments seem to contain the words fucking, shit, or asshole.
posted by sveskemus at 1:51 AM on May 17, 2007


I use the tracking feature to see where I've posted and what's likely to need attention.

Unless I'm mistaken, this new tabbed All activity page is an addition to previous functionality, not a replacement.

There are still My Comments, My Favorites, lists of your comments on various sites just as there were before.

I'm trying to figure out what has gone missing or been replaced that has you freaking the fuck out. Again, as far as I can tell, nothing has been replaced by a radically different interface, and more tracking views have been added. Was there some other UI of which I was unaware?

I need to see the questions where I've posted answers so I can quickly check if there have been followups.

Er, here?

That said, what you seem to want w/r/t AskMe would be more useful in the My Comments view if Matt and pb implemented something like my suggestion (with mockup) here , breaking up the My Comments UI into All Sites/Mefi/Ask/Meta/etc (as I mentioned earlier).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:00 AM on May 17, 2007


I mean, there's not even a way to get back to threads I've posted in. To see if I need to answer any further questions after my screed on how to buy a stereo -- I can't even get back to that thread from my own comment. There's no link to the thread! I have to go manually search AskMe to figure out what question that comment was attached to.

It's giving me all the information I need least. I don't need to see what I wrote. I KNOW that. I need to see what threads I'm participating in, and then quickly jump to my last comment in that thread to see what new items have been posted.

That functionality is just gone, and Mefi's usefulness to me has been crippled.
posted by Malor at 2:01 AM on May 17, 2007


I can't even get back to that thread from my own comment.

Um. Click the timestamp, like always?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:04 AM on May 17, 2007


Stavros, I want the old interface with a nice list of comment links associated with a particular question. I don't need to see what I wrote. That takes up useless space on my screen. I can click on anything I want to read. I just want a very concise, fast way to sort out where I've been participating so I can go follow up. Your link takes up way way way too much screen real estate with unimportant information. On my big 24" screen, I can see precisely two questions and two comments, where with the old interface I could see many many more. And I can't restrict the "My Comments" feature to one part of the site anyway.

If Mefi wants to offer a feature for "give me a page full of my own writing", that's fine, but I don't think it's terribly useful. I know what I wrote. I don't need to see it again.
posted by Malor at 2:07 AM on May 17, 2007


Stavros, I want the old interface with a nice list of comment links associated with a particular question.

I hear that, but for the life of me, I can't remember where we had a list like that before that we don't have now...

And I can't restrict the "My Comments" feature to one part of the site anyway.

Yeah, I know, that's why I made that request a while back (and Matt totally promised he'd build what I mocked up!). I'd still like to see that, or some variation. Having that would fix your problem, though, yeah, if you could have a My Comments view that you could filter to, say, your last ten AskMe comments?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:13 AM on May 17, 2007


I hear that, but for the life of me, I can't remember where we had a list like that before that we don't have now...

Before if you opened your profile page and clicked the number where it said '283 comments' or whatever you'd get a list of posts with a timestamp for each of your comments underneath linked to the actual comment. They didn't have any of the text we see now, were grouped by question then chronologically within each question, and had the best answer tick where applicable. I used to use this a lot, both for myself and to see at a glance where/when other people have been active.

Now instead we get a big list of the full text of each comment just in chronological order (not grouped by question as far as I can see) and not enough spacing. To me it looks like one big block of text and I'm not sure it's better than what we had before. It would be nice to have a per user option to compact them down into just links rather than see the full text, and re-grouping by post/question is necessary.

The favouriting section rules, but the comments section still needs tweaking. I don't have enough posts anywhere to have an opinion about that bit
posted by shelleycat at 2:25 AM on May 17, 2007


They didn't have any of the text we see now, were grouped by question then chronologically within each question, and had the best answer tick where applicable.

Really? I totally don't remember that, but my home base is the My Comments page almost exclusively, and I understand that other people use the site in different ways.

There're still timestamps, though, in the list. You're right about the spacing, I noticed that too, but that's a minor stylesheet tweak.

The problem with an undifferentiated streaming chrono list is one that bothered me about the My Comments view that was demo'd in the previous thread about this, too. I really didn't like that one bit. I kind of thought that this more complex layout solved the problems with that, but I guess not, for some people.

Still, as I suggested to Malor, perhaps an improved My Comments page would provide that functionality (that I admit I don't remember seeing before) in terms of a listing of recent comments on Ask.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:34 AM on May 17, 2007


I agree with Malor on the whole "I don't need to see my entire comment" thought. I know what I wrote, so that screen is just useless gobs of text.

It's a swell feature for navel gazing or stalking, but for the user, it's step backwards
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 AM on May 17, 2007


For the most part this is a good change, but the comments / answers tab would really benefit from displaying the title of the post. Having an expanded or list view would be great as well, but showing the titles is the bigger improvement.
posted by BigSky at 4:44 AM on May 17, 2007


I really like this, thank you for adding it. I've had this thing where someone comes along a month after I made a comment and favorites it. Being such a narcissistic fuck, I need to know which comment was favorited and by which user. I need that. Sometimes I can't find the favorited comment and it sticks in a crack in my brain like piece of food in my teeth after dinner. It drives me fucking nuts. Now it will never happen again. JOY.
posted by The Straightener at 5:00 AM on May 17, 2007


This is grand.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:05 AM on May 17, 2007


I agree with Malor on the whole "I don't need to see my entire comment" thought.

But when I look up all your comments, I do want to see that.

I always thought the My Comments was the one for a user to use to manage their own stuff, since it's not visible to anyone else, and the other pages were for others to use.
posted by smackfu at 6:08 AM on May 17, 2007


I like the "all my activity" page as an additional view, but I really did prefer being able to see *where* I'd commented (list of timestamps linked to each comment underneath the relevant AskMeFi questions or MeFi posts), it's much easier to find with that set-up than all my comments reprinted on a page together - what Malor is referring to. Is it possible to get that back? It was quite useful for checking back on questions/posts.
posted by Melinika at 6:17 AM on May 17, 2007


Malor, the old pages still exist, they just aren't linked anymore. Bookmark this link for AskMe. [MeFi, MeTa]
posted by Partial Law at 6:27 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


<a href="http://ask.metafilter.com/search_comments.mefi?user_ID=###">AskMe</a>, <a href="http://www.metafilter.com/search_comments.cfm?user_ID=###">MeFi</a>, <a href="http://metatalk.metafilter.com/search_comments.mefi?user_ID=####">MeTa</a>

So, you can copy that into your profile area and still have clickable links to the same stuff. Replace the ### with your usernumber.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:44 AM on May 17, 2007


I think keeping a clear link to the old style pages is a good idea, too. I haven't found the new pages disruptive—I quite like them, and they fix a couple things that have annoyed me about the old style—but the chrono lumping-by-threads linkcount style of the old pages is useful for some posting-history things.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:46 AM on May 17, 2007


Partial, that's a good temporary workaround: thank you. It's a little painful, but workable. What worries me, of course, is that it could disappear, what with not being an officially supported feature anymore.

Stavros: see Partial Law's bookmarks for how it used to work. It lists A) questions that I answered, with B) my comments in chronological order. This is very useful. It's the first place I always go for AskMe, even before reading the main page, so I can see what I need to follow up on. A few clicks and a couple of minutes, and I know what needs further followup.

Personally, I like that interface for browsing other people's comments too.... first sorted by subject (thread), then by chrono order.

The current method, chrono-of-all-posts-by-this-user, is really not very useful. It presents too much detailed information with no overview. I'd like to see at a glance that Joe User replies mostly to Linux threads, or mostly to origami threads, or whatever, and then be able to go find out more about what he or she is posting.

A flat view of thousands of posts, sorted chronologically, is just not very sensible. Chrono order is the least interesting possible way to present information. It's sorting by unimportant information. Who cares WHEN it was posted? What it's ABOUT is much more useful.

Jessamyn: thank you, I will add that to my profile posthaste. But I still think this is fundamentally a bad change; it obscures information, rather than revealing it.
posted by Malor at 6:51 AM on May 17, 2007


Extra giftcards for pb!
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:52 AM on May 17, 2007


Malor, we switched from showing posts with permalink timestamps to simply printing your comments out because the old interface caused a lot of confusion among users. Putting aside your personal use of it for finding old activity in AskMeFi, the general feedback I regularly got was that a comment history page should show someone's comment history and lots of people were confused that their comment history printed out other people's posts with small links below. I've gotten loads of "I didn't write that question, why is it in my profile like I did?" emails.

The old interface for comment history obscured the actual comments, and obscured the actual information you'd expect to see under someone's comment history (their comments). The new layout obscures the grouping (and we can think of a way to pool comments under the same post title) but in our private testing, I had an easier time finding old threads based on reading what I'd written. Instead of reading some old ask mefi question and seeing three timestamps, I can see my three comments and remember the question based on what I've said so far.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:11 AM on May 17, 2007


Jessaman,

Thanks for the code, that works good, but the metatalk link comes up with error not found.

Malor, it reveals plenty of info, but not for original user just for other users.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 AM on May 17, 2007


I should say that I do like the ability to see posts-ranked-by-favorites; there have been a couple of times I've wanted to quote myself here on other boards, and that feature would have made finding those posts much faster. That's a good idea.. it's sorting data by a useful criterion. Now that it's there, it'll be handy for looking up good posts by others, too.

But chrono order for everything, blah. You might as well sort alphabetically, for all the use it has. Without the context of the containing FPP, the post text loses much of its meaning.

As an extreme example, say you have Joe Clueless User who posts a series of five "I agree!" or "I disagree!" messages. Without context, those don't mean anything at all; without knowing what he's agreeing or disagreeing with, it's useless. Obviously, that's contrived, but it's trying to show that context really matters; in fact, I would argue that the containing thread is the most important thing about a post.

Chrono order is useful AFTER being grouped by thread, but not before.
posted by Malor at 7:13 AM on May 17, 2007


I think stavros' mockup along with the ability to unsuscribe to posts where you've recently commented that you don't want to see appearing in your Recent Comments would be really helpful for people who want to follow up on threads they've posted in.

Other than that, the new activity thing is sweet. I thought everything was crammed together, but then I realize you can separate it by site. It's really cool, kudos, pb.
posted by micayetoca at 7:13 AM on May 17, 2007


Thanks for the code, that works good, but the metatalk link comes up with error not found.

Thanks for the note, I fixed it in the original comment now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:17 AM on May 17, 2007


Super, thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on May 17, 2007


woah - a nice surprise for a thursday morning!
posted by GuyZero at 7:27 AM on May 17, 2007


Malor, we'll work post titles into the output so that comment history looks more like this:
MeFi post "The Who reunites"
blah blah blah
posted at 4:56PM

Yeah, I agree, and another thing
posted at 5:53PM

Ask MeFi post "what's up with my foot?"

Go to a doctor
posted at 2:13PM

MetaTalk post "new UI for history"

I dunno if I like this
posted at 11:05AM

Here's another thing
posted at 11:06AM

One more thing is that...
posted at 11:07AM
That would mix the new layout into the old one, while letting people's full comments show and giving a taste of what the post was about, without having to print out the whole post.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:38 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


woah - a nice surprise for a thursday morning!

Fuck! is it thursday already?
posted by micayetoca at 7:42 AM on May 17, 2007


mathowie: I understand why users would be confused; they're clicking on 'my comments' and getting back a list of dates and times. That isn't very straightforward, and they were right to complain. But in solving that problem, you've removed the meta-information that makes post history useful. Chrono order is indeed straightforward and simple, but what can I do with it? The only interesting questions I can answer from that grouping is "what did user X post on day Y?" I just don't see that this does anyone any good; it's a useless question.

To solve the dates and times problem, you've made date and time even more central to the issue, when it doesn't actually matter at all... and in fact was the source of the original confusion!

Sorting by FPP/question seems absolutely critical. But instead of date/time, how about doing it this way: print the question in gray, and then, in white or boldface, the first 40 or 80 characters of each post or answer on subsequent lines. In other words, the first line of the post text would replace the date/time field that was confusing people. Include a + sign to expand to the full text, and you're solving several problems at once. Users will know their own post text, so what they should click on will be instantly apparent. They can see where they or other people have been conversing. It provides context to understand what that first sentence means. And with the + sign, they can browse quickly through post history without having to constantly reload pages and move around, which should cut down on the database load quite a bit.

If this page is optimized to save vertical space, like the old one was, it should be both highly readable AND just as useful as the old way. And by removing date and time (or presenting it in a more subtle way), you shouldn't have any user confusion.

On preview: it looks like you're thinking like I am. I'm gonna post this quick to get it out there before you get too much work done. :)
posted by Malor at 7:45 AM on May 17, 2007


Another thought would be to simply suppress the date/time from the printout, at least until they hit +... it takes extra lines and it's usually not very interesting. Grouped by thread and sorted by chrono is very useful, but the actual time for each post probably doesn't need to be on a summary page unless requested with +.
posted by Malor at 7:53 AM on May 17, 2007


(that last post is echoing an idea from the one above... it was in response to the sample you posted, and I forgot I'd already said something about that. :) )
posted by Malor at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2007


Jessaman

Typo there, my bad. Must proofread more.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:48 AM on May 17, 2007


There are user ID numbers all over the site, just like there were yesterday before I added this. I don't see how anything has changed.

If you need a shortcut to do this by username, just go to the person's profile at:

http://www.metafilter.com/username.mefi/their_handle

And then click on the "View All Activity" link, and you're golden.
posted by WCityMike at 10:08 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just noticed this today, & though perhaps less vehemently, had the same reaction as Malor - I had liked the neat little division by how many comments in which thread, and preferred the visual of just seeing that to actually seeing the comment before clicking it. Perhaps there could be a long view/short view option or something.
posted by mdn at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2007


Clearly I am dumb enough to have missed this thread, but the new functionality is still awesome.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2007


Another vote for the proposal to add the questions or FPPs above the comments to add some context. The page currently makes me feel like I'm having a very heated, very disjointed conversation with myself and makes me think that maybe I should go have coffee. Or a drink. Or some valium.
posted by occhiblu at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2007


I vote against said proposal! I love that the comments page actually lists MY comments, instead of the original discussion. I always found the old system quite confusing.

Change is good!


----



Hey, here's a (random other) feature I think would be cool: what if, when you hovered over 'x users marked this as favorites', you could see the names of the favoritors?
posted by serazin at 11:52 AM on May 17, 2007


Hey, here's a (random other) feature I think would be cool: what if, when you hovered over 'x users marked this as favorites', you could see the names of the favoritors?

Ooo that would be cool.

I would like some sort of "anti-favorite" button, for answers/comments that suck, but lo I fear that would not end well.
posted by Big_B at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2007


The Metafilter Contribution Index Calculator seems broken...
posted by acro at 1:55 PM on May 17, 2007


Just set up the comments page to group by post like matt described. It's also now showing a 500-character excerpt of the comment if the original is over 500 characters.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:00 PM on May 17, 2007


Wow! Thanks pb!
posted by taosbat at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2007


And now it's awesome. Thanks pb. Is there a reason links don't appear in the comments anymore?
posted by team lowkey at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2007


Because we're only showing excerpts rather than full comments, I had to strip out all HTML so the page doesn't break due to unclosed tags. I'm afraid you'll have to click over to the original comment to see it in its full-marked-up glory.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:14 PM on May 17, 2007


Fair enough. Nice work.
posted by team lowkey at 2:18 PM on May 17, 2007


The only problem I have with stripping HTML is that it winds up blending together italicized quotes and your own words.

Guess I should start using quoted quotes too.
posted by smackfu at 3:08 PM on May 17, 2007


I agree, it would be nice if you could special-case the handling of italics, because often the first sentence of a comment is a quote in italics and it can be very confusing to see it as if you said it. You could add an explicit &lt/i> tag at the cutoff to prevent an opened <i> from leaking. Crap, I guess some people use <i> and some use <em>, so this is getting much more complicated quickly.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:00 PM on May 17, 2007


Looking good!
Now where are my coloured backgrounds?
I get it, you don't like the way I spell..

Striping the html is also killing paragraph breaks, which is pretty bad.
posted by Chuckles at 4:14 PM on May 17, 2007


Striping the html is also killing paragraph breaks

Or not.. I wonder how I got that impression?!?!
posted by Chuckles at 4:37 PM on May 17, 2007


This looks really good.

I have another suggestion. If someone has ten pages of comments a way of getting to p. 8 without hitting 'older' seven times would be nice.
posted by BigSky at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2007


oh, I just took off HTML stripping for comments less than 500 characters. That's probably why you're seeing the difference.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:41 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay, I get it.. It only strips html when there are more than 500 characters, but when that happens, it gets paragraph breaks along with all other markup.
posted by Chuckles at 4:42 PM on May 17, 2007


I should just shut up now :)
posted by Chuckles at 4:42 PM on May 17, 2007


Much better with the titles! And now those of us who don't use RSS can join the chorus of contempt for poor post titlers.

But MeTa comments didn't always have titles, and for those the comment gets repeated. It's odd seeing the words twice. Can we just leave the title blank?
posted by hydrophonic at 4:46 PM on May 17, 2007


I have another suggestion. If someone has ten pages of comments a way of getting to p. 8 without hitting 'older' seven times would be nice.

Perverse but effective: hack the URL by hand.

e.g. http://www.metafilter.com/activity/1/comments/8/
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2007


But MeTa comments didn't always have titles, and for those the comment gets repeated. It's odd seeing the words twice. Can we just leave the title blank?

That's a good point, too. Blank, or grab an excerpt from the post text?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:51 PM on May 17, 2007


Well, I was going to say grab an excerpt from the post text, but then we would wonder why not use the post text for headers across the board, like the old system. I'd actually prefer that, but now that I'm using the Jessamyn method I don't have to gripe about it anymore. Just leaving it blank would be consistant with using post titles.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:58 PM on May 17, 2007


... hack the URL by hand.
e.g. http://www.metafilter.com/activity/1/comments/8/

Not that effective, either - I used this method yesterday to find something and it is painfully slow, because you have to guess a lot. If the server is calculating how many pages there are (which I assume it does, or the URL-hacking wouldn't work), why not display them, the way that almost every similar function on almost every site does? i'm not very smart, but it doesn't seem that hard.
posted by dg at 4:58 PM on May 17, 2007


This is WAY better, pb. Thank you!! My one remaining request would be an (optional?) super-terse form of that, with just the first 40 or 80 characters. Basically, I'd like to be able to see one post per line.

It's useful as is, and I can hobble along with it ( :) ), but I'd prefer a more concise summary.

I'd think + sign for expanding the text would be a great feature, but I realize that's fairly sophisticated. + is also used for favorites, so it'd need to be something else. Hmm. Text expansion is always + in everything... that's awkward.

In any case, I think I owe you a sixpack. Please drop me a note in email, and we'll figure something out. :)
posted by Malor at 4:59 PM on May 17, 2007


Umm, wasn't meaning to sound snarky there - just a suggestion. I really like the current functionality. nothing's perfect, though.
posted by dg at 5:02 PM on May 17, 2007


+ is also used for favorites, so it'd need to be something else.

Wouldn't have to be—presented in a different context, it'd probably be no issue at all. Or some slightly more verbose version: [+expand] and [-collapse], depending on the current state of the thread block. And I've been lobbying him for a version of that expand/collapse function today as well, poor bastard.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:04 PM on May 17, 2007


And yeah, that's a good point, dg. If it doesn't have any load drawbacks, having a 1 2 3 4 5 ... 15 16 17 set of links would make good sense.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:05 PM on May 17, 2007


Much better with the titles! And now those of us who don't use RSS can join the chorus of contempt for poor post titlers.

Whaaaa? The post title has always been displayed at the top of each post's page right above the date (and additionally as the html title, so in your browser's window title), there's no need to use RSS to see it.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:10 PM on May 17, 2007


Poor post titles didn't make much difference normally, but they were annoying in the RSS feeds because that's all you'd get for a summary.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:20 PM on May 17, 2007


Paging is definitely possible, and will probably be in the next version. Sometimes you just gotta ship and iterate.

No beer needed, Malor, glad the new version is a bit better. :)

If no MetaTalk title is available, it's now grabbing the first 50 characters of the original post as it should have been. That should make more sense.

And you should see a little more markup in comment excerpts now. Your <em>s, and <i>s should be intact to salvage quoting, but your <a href>s won't make it.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:23 PM on May 17, 2007


That latest rev has changed any reservations I had about the new system. There's probably room for minor tweaks, but it is (for me, at least) damn near perfect now. Thanks, pb.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2007



Paging is definitely possible, and will probably be in the next version. Sometimes you just gotta ship and iterate.

Yay! The 'ship and iterate" methods is a good one in the context of MeFi, in my opinion. Because every man and his dog will have an opinion and feel entitled to express it loudly, you will never get things right the first time no matter how hard you try or how clever you are. Better to get it somewhere close and let the users act as unpaid testing drones have their input into the final product.
posted by dg at 5:31 PM on May 17, 2007


Well, I'd email you, but there's nothing in your profile.... after my hurricane of complaints and kvetching, I think a sixpack is the least I can do. :)
posted by Malor at 5:35 PM on May 17, 2007


The new AskMe version of the summary page doesn't show "best answer" checkmarks.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:06 PM on May 17, 2007


every man and his dog will have an opinion and feel entitled to express it loudly

Hey! I used <small>.
The second time..
posted by Chuckles at 6:19 PM on May 17, 2007


I like the new version, a good surprise for a Friday afternoon (I slept in til after midday *happysigh). I would also like expand/collapse, I've thought this a few times when looking at the old style list. If you're gonna expand then go for the full comment, not just 500 characters. Alternatively you could have a user setting where we decide how many characters to show. So Malor could set his to zero, Ethereal Bligh could set his to, like five thousand, and I could set mine just a bit longer than is currently. This is just a 'would be nice' pony though, it works really well as is.

I also still feel like the comments are too close together. The paragraph break between each comment is the same size as within the comments and my eyes have trouble separating them out (I know there's the 'posted by' line but that's not enough apparently). I'm prepared to agree that it's just me and I should deal, but it's not the same as spacing as comments posted elsewhere such as here.
posted by shelleycat at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2007


X or Y could set his[/her] to, like five thousand10...;)
posted by taosbat at 7:25 PM on May 17, 2007


I added a small [best] next to Ask answers marked as best.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:07 PM on May 17, 2007


Would it be possible to add a search window for just the pages in /activity/(your user ID)?
posted by acro at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2007


yep, searching within a single member's activity is on the to-do list.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2007


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