Please improve the coherence, for the kids May 23, 2007 3:10 PM   Subscribe

There's a little clickable tab thingy labelled 'My Comments', as well as a 'My Comments' clickable link in the list-of-things-to-do near the top on the front page. Clicking each identically named thing leads to markedly different pages, one of which is useful (the one which puts your comment in context), and one of which is not (the one which just lists the posts you commented on). This is deeply ontologically upsetting. Also, when you post a thread on Metatalk, the text entry box is labelled 'Description:', rather than, e.g., 'Text:', or 'Post:'. I feel this additional category violation affront is essentially a slap in the face.
posted by felix to Bugs at 3:10 PM (61 comments total)

You forgot this one.
posted by vacapinta at 3:20 PM on May 23, 2007

I feel that having to deal with needlessly melodramatic people is essentially a kick in the balls.
posted by grouse at 3:23 PM on May 23, 2007

Suggestions for alternate titles for one or the other of the My Comments labels?

Also, I find the phrase "This is deeply ontologically upsetting" deeply roflogically enfunning.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:29 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

A kick in the balls followed by a fall onto an unyielding surface resulting in a cracked skull, concussion, and possible death.
posted by Tuwa at 3:29 PM on May 23, 2007

I can fold My Posts and My Comments into a single page linked on the main nav, marked "Recent Activity" or "My Activity" and do two tabs on it for My Posts / My Comments

The front page tab for My Comments actually means "A filtered view of this page showing only threads I actually left a comment in" but that doesn't fit on a tab as well.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:31 PM on May 23, 2007

I feel this additional category violation affront is essentially a slap in the face.

Snap out of it!

posted by amyms at 3:32 PM on May 23, 2007

As I was walking home this evening, a little girl was riding her bike in the middle of the street. She still had the training wheels on as she wobbled and struggled to peddle. It reminded me of when I was little and how badly I wanted a bicycle but couldn't get one. My parents wouldn't let me have a bike until I was 12; my mom was too afraid I'd hurt myself. I'd pass the bike section in the store and just look, having given up asking my parents about it long ago. I eventually did get one after much pleading and begging. Amazingly, getting my driver's license at 16 and the subsequent borrowing of the family car passed without incident. This is deeply ontologically upsetting.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:33 PM on May 23, 2007

"Posts with my comments"
posted by grouse at 3:34 PM on May 23, 2007

I disagree, but feel that it's desperately important that I point out that I am not an ontologist.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 3:36 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think 'My activity' obviates the need for 'posts with my comments'. Certainly it's difficult to imagine a use case where someone needed to see a list of the posts, rather than a well-annotated contextual drill into the posts.

In fact, a 'My activity' which showed both posts and comments, and that alone, would be resoundingly accretive to value while cathartically capping the cognitive cacophony.
posted by felix at 3:42 PM on May 23, 2007

...cathartically capping the cognitive cacophony.

Methinks someone is getting his money's worth out of his thesaurus... Kudos on the alliteration, too.
posted by amyms at 3:51 PM on May 23, 2007

Metafilter: This is deeply ontologically upsetting.
posted by bigmusic at 3:53 PM on May 23, 2007

I can fold My Posts and My Comments into a single page linked on the main nav, marked "Recent Activity" or "My Activity" and do two tabs on it for My Posts / My Comments

As long as My Comments is opened by default. I use that one a lot more than My Posts. OTOH, someone else probably uses My Posts more, and they'll want it reversed, and you'll piss off somebody.

So, I guess my vote is just for different labels.
posted by smackfu at 3:54 PM on May 23, 2007

I don't know about anything else other than that 'roflogically' is a magnificent word.

One that I will be promptly stealing.
posted by quin at 4:08 PM on May 23, 2007

"My Comments" is highly quantum.
posted by bardic at 4:18 PM on May 23, 2007

posted by bardic at 4:19 PM on May 23, 2007

My comments are highly quadrilateral.
posted by hangashore at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2007

So how about I fold the top My Posts and My Comments into My Activity and it looks like this:

On that page it pulls up the recent activity on the My Posts, My Comments (shown by default), and Recent Favorites. The favorites part repeats what is shown in the user history section, but all three of these tabs keep you up to date on what recent activity has taken place on stuff you've done as a post or comment.

This feels like a big improvement to me and I'd get to fold two nav items into one. Is there anyone against going forward with that?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:57 PM on May 23, 2007

Looks good, although I prefer the "fuzzy" view of the favorites.
posted by smackfu at 5:04 PM on May 23, 2007

It had been seven months since the invasion of Andorra had successfully taken place. Agent Howie had been appointed interim administrator of the conquered principality by The Agency. At first everything had gone smoothly, with Agent Howie dutifully submitting progress reports on the subjugation of the Andorran people and the progress of The Agency’s economic projects. But after two or three months, these reports slowly began to drop off. Now, seven months later, they had stopped completely. This had severely distressed the upper echelons of The Agency. Any lack of fresh information updates in the aftermath of such an expensive operation would do this, but the fact that Agent Howie may have been compromised (or worse) was a thought the Agency didn’t really want to contemplate. Not only was he The Agency’s greatest and most dedicated field agent, but he had been privy to a great deal of sensitive information which could greatly harm the organisation as a whole. This meant so much to those faceless men at the top that Agent Cortex, now essentially in charge of Project Metafilter following How’s full time assignment to Andorra, had been summoned to a meeting in Operative R’s office.

Cortex was a smart lad, and one of The Agency’s star new recruits. It was often said that he would one day be a leader in the organisation. And on this day, Cortex knew something was up. Operative R was, of all things, late. R had a reputation for always being on schedule, but here was Cortex, sitting in R’s office 15 minutes past the scheduled start of the meeting. “Something big is going down” thought Cortex. “Agent Howie disappearing, Operative R late to a meeting, and me, a virtual no one in this place, summoned to meet R by himself.”

Cortex blinked as a thought struck him. “God I hope I don’t get fired...”

While he waited, Agent Cortex scanned the walls of Operative R’s office. Pictures of R’s family adorned the walls. There were also many pictures of his pet dachshund, Fluffy McFluffington III, along with many of the awards he had won in dog shows. Cortex wondered why there weren’t any pictures of Sponge Cat, the ferocious feline that R often talked about with such pride.*

As he contemplated that particular thought, he was jolted to attention by the sound of the door to Operative R's office opening. It was Operative R. Agent Cortex jumped to his feet and acknowledged his superior with a stern and forthright “Sir!”

“At ease, Agent” said R as he sat down at his desk and began riffling through his briefcase. Taking out two manilla folders, he handed one to Cortex and kept the other for himself. “Read this son” he said.

Cortex took the folder and opened it. The papers inside were titled “Operation Asesine” and a black and white photograph of Agent Howie was paper clipped to the mission briefing. Cortex began to read. It seemed The Agency was planning a mission to go to Andorra and make ‘contact’ with Howie. Apparently it would be a two man squad, though it did not say who. The file also had a photograph of a woman named ‘The Librarian’ (now deceased) and a dusty, ancient book which The Agency seemed to desperately want to get its hands on. After he finished reading the file, he looked back at Operative R, who was puffing on a cigar.

“So what do you think, son?” said R. “Want to go on your first mission?”

Agent Cortex’s eyes opened wide. He was stunned! He didn’t think he would be assigned to field duty so quickly, although this only seemed to highlight his belief that something big was happening. “Sir, I’m honored” he quickly replied, demonstrating all the appropriate enthusiasm that would demonstrate a wish to advance ones career. “But do you think I’m ready?”

“Of course I do!” snapped R. “Besides, it’s a nice and easy first assignment. Go into territory we control and make contact with a friendly. Couldn’t be any easier.” He took another puff of the cigar as he stared almost blankly at the wall. Eye contact didn't seem to be the order of the day today.

“If that’s true sir” said Cortex, seemingly choosing his words very carefully “then why is it you’re coming with me?”

Operative R turned his head to look at Cortex and grinned wryly. “And what makes you think I’m coming with you, Agent?”

“With respect, sir, you were late to this meeting. You’re never late. And you’re smoking a cigar, something you’ve not done for years but which Agency lore says you used to do every time you were about to set off on a mission. And it would explain why you’re briefing me, rather than Agent Felix, or someone else.”

Still smiling, Operative R put down his cigar in the poorly sculpted clay ashtray one of his kids made for him that sat upon his desk. He leant back in his chair and clasped his hands together. As the smoke from the smoldering cigar wafted up to slightly obscure R’s face from Agent Cortex, R’s expression turned almost deathly serious and he said;

“Son. You’re right. I am going with you. You’re a smart kid, well on your way to becoming one of the best Agents this outfit has ever known. Someday you’ll maybe even be better than me. Better than Howie. Who knows? But the fact is, Howie has gone rouge on us. He’s stopped communicating with us from his palace in Andorra and what little intelligence reports we have say he’s killed all Agency support staff and gathered something of an army of fanatical, devout worshippers.. But moreover, the people of Andorra appear to be worshipping him like something of a minor deity. This is deeply ontologically upsetting. The… upper ranks… of The Agency feel he’s making a play for total power and they’re worried if he’s left unchecked, we could have another Kim Jong il on our hands. Fuck, he’s even got himself a harem, for chrissake. This additional violation is essentially a slap in the face. He’s become a madman and he’s got to be stopped, Agent Cortex. He’s got to be stopped! And if you know anything about How, you know he’s not going to step down quietly.”

Operative R leaned forward over his desk, picked up his cigar and, as if demontsrtaing the seriousness of the words he was about to utter, looked Agent Cortex directly in the eyes. And then, in a whispered, almost frightened tone he said the words that Cortex had hoped he wouldn’t ever have to hear.

We’ve got to go into Andorra, Agent Cortex” said Operative R. “We’ve got to go into Andorra and kill Agent Howie!”

* See The Advetures of Agent How #130: Cat's In The Cradle', in which Agent Howie recalls the time he helped Operative R rig a dog show by throwing R's cat, Spongecat, into a bucket of water in the middle of the show's main event. Cheezburgers were later provided as a means of saying sorry to Spongecat.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:07 PM on May 23, 2007

changed to fuzzy.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:12 PM on May 23, 2007

Felix is Clyde Mnestra's sock puppet.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:18 PM on May 23, 2007

Howie has gone rouge on us

I always knew he was a red.
posted by briank at 5:41 PM on May 23, 2007

changed to fuzzy.

I prefer precise. Can we have this be some sort of sticky preference maybe? In general I think this is fine though. As for the tab on the main page, I think I'd just call it "Mine!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:55 PM on May 23, 2007

Perhaps separating the User specific stuff from the site stuff might help. i.e. "My stuff" or perhaps "My shit"

Currently on Mefi, on the ajax tabs, a user can go to Recent post, My Favorites, Popular Favorites, My Comments, Recent Comments.

Meanwhile, above that, are links for My Posts, My Comments and Favorites (Which are mine also, but don't rate a My for some reason). So My stuff is all over the place and meaning different things.

How about this:

Organize the links based on My (user stuff), Popular (site or subsite stuff) and Recent

My--- Posts Comments Favorites

Popular--Posts Comments Favorites

Recent-- Posts Comments Favorites

But I definitely think you should separate the User's stuff and the Site stuff
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 PM on May 23, 2007

This is deeply ontologically upsetting.

posted by loquacious at 6:14 PM on May 23, 2007

Brandon, the only problem with that is all three don't exist in all three views, and some things have much different meanings in different contexts and sometimes within the same context.

The My Posts and My Comments stuff is actually activity, and activity would include favorites on your posts in addition to comments on the posts and comments you left. That's why I put all those in the Recent Activity pile.

Then we have front page views, with various filters.

Finally, we have a site-wide popular page based on most favorites on posts and comments.

They're three completely different things that can't fall into predictable, easily described piles.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:17 PM on May 23, 2007

Ok, I changed all the headers to include a link to Recent Activity.

Sidenote: I also added a My Profile link since I'm always having to snoop around for it. The total width of the nav didn't change by taking away two things and adding two things back in.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:28 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am an ontologist, but I am not your ontologist. Whilst we're on the subject of minor ontological insults that would be better addressed in email, I am irked, IRKED I say, by the wee sentence fragment at the top right of MeTa that says "x new links and y comments posted since your last visit". MeTa posts aren't links, necessarily. Perhaps "links" could be replaced with "callouts"? Furthermore, I just lied to you. I am not any kind of ontologist; I am however a highly qualified ontogenist and can be your ontogenist for a competitive stipend.
posted by nowonmai at 7:02 PM on May 23, 2007

I would like to send you a linzer torte, date bars, and some buttercream cupcakes.
E-mail me.
I am not kidding.
posted by Dizzy at 7:20 PM on May 23, 2007

I get cookies at my current position. I was looking for cash.
posted by nowonmai at 7:28 PM on May 23, 2007

Hooo, boy. Why change the "My Comments" in the top-left to "Recent Activity"? That implies generalised recent activity, not my particular stuff. Please change it back, it was the only one that was right!
posted by bonaldi at 7:38 PM on May 23, 2007

Actually, as long as mycomments.mefi still works, I'm cool. That's my MeFi link in all my browsers.
posted by bonaldi at 7:40 PM on May 23, 2007

am an ontologist, but I am not your ontologist.

[tea out nose]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 PM on May 23, 2007

"Your comment appears to be blank..."

WTF is going on?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:42 PM on May 23, 2007

This feels like a big improvement to me and I'd get to fold two nav items into one. Is there anyone against going forward with that?

stavros, do a html/photoshop mockup of what your dream version of My Comments would look like and I promise you I'll code most of it up.
postedby mathowie at 12:08 PM on March 29 [2 favorites

OK, quick and dirty. Here's my suggestion, for what it's worth....
postedby stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:32 PM on March 29


I no longer believe your lies, Mr Haughey.

Obviously two sets of tabs on the same page won't work, so if you're going to roll up My Posts/My Comments (which would make sense), I'm going to have to request (in vain, of course) that some other way to achieve the expanded My Comments view I was asking for be considered.

I'd note that the activity pages linked from our profiles do not provide it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:43 PM on May 23, 2007

So unless I mashup or otherwise obfuscate the words 'p0sted by', I get that 'Your comment appears to be blank, please go back and try again". Only on Post, not Preview.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:45 PM on May 23, 2007

You can totally just add extra whitespace between the tag and the word 'posted', stav. FYI.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:50 PM on May 23, 2007

stavros, I took away nor added any functionality today. I merely put the My Comments and My Posts links in the nav into a single link marked Recent Activity, which contains both links, exactly as they used to be.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:51 PM on May 23, 2007

And to be clear, when you proposed a bunch of awesomeness for the My Comments/Posts page, I thought it sounded awesome when you described it, but your mockup was pretty tame and just offered more specific views of the data you already have. I didn't think it added anything super useful for all the work it would require and it didn't seem nearly as awesome as your original description, so I never added it because it wasn't some amazing new thing that everyone was clamoring for, just a minor way to slice existing data that makes sense for pretty much just hyper users of the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:56 PM on May 23, 2007

Woo! A profile link in the header. I'm always clicking back to the front page to get to the link to my profile. (Even affter I figured out it was in the footer.)
posted by smackfu at 8:06 PM on May 23, 2007

Then you might have freakin' said something to that effect in that thread out of common courtesy, Matt, is what I'm saying, rather than letting me (and anyone else following along at home) assume that you were actually going to do something with it, and letting me make an ass of myself subsequently pointing back to it, assuming you just forgot, as you so often seem to do.

stavros, I took away nor added any functionality today.

I'm aware of that. Your mockup (mine was lame, but yours is totally awesome, Number 1!) just combines My Posts and My Comments on a single page. Should have been that way from the get-go and uses the same UI idea as I suggested and mockedup for a different purpose, so I'm somewhat unimpressed. I would still like to see (and I don't give a shit if it's paginated or tabbed or whatever) more than the last 10 sitewide in that My Comments view. I won't hold my breath.

I didn't think it added anything super useful for all the work it would require and it didn't seem nearly as awesome as your original description

I dunno. Took me about 20 minutes to mockup (and clean up all your crufty overlapping inline CSS kludges in the process), and the SQL queries required are already in place for existing functionality. I thought it was precisely what I described. See, I actually tried to make the changes as bogsimple as possible to achieve the aim, because I know how resistant you have traditionally been to making more than incremental changes. Too bad it was lame, though, eh?

I won't bother in future.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on May 23, 2007

Anyone want me to find a way to kill stav in the next (and last) Agent Howie adventure?
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:25 PM on May 23, 2007

stavros, what you described in text sounded more ambitious and "new" than what you mocked up. And to make the mockup a reality, I would have to parse out about 5 files for each of the views, since no one wants ajaxy tab changing, they need permalink URLs to everything. So in the end, I didn't think it was super useful to spread query/views across ten files that I'd have to maintain just to offer a simple filter of existing data.

I didn't say anything before because I knew I was going to be redoing the favorites, user history, and various saved favorites views and I thought I could have worked what you needed into those changes. So I said I was working on it because I was working on other closely related stuff.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:54 PM on May 23, 2007

Also, I just upped the last n commented threads to 25 from 10.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:56 PM on May 23, 2007

also previously
posted by spiderwire at 9:09 PM on May 23, 2007

I get it: there's a learning curve -- and perhaps some tweaks to account for -- but it's all for the best. 8)
posted by taosbat at 9:45 PM on May 23, 2007

Thanks, mathowie!
posted by taosbat at 9:46 PM on May 23, 2007


Elegantly Wasted?...

Seriously, though, I'm completely satisfied with the tabs as they were, and as they are... Makes no difference to me... All of them are useful in their own way.
posted by amyms at 10:53 PM on May 23, 2007

posted by taosbat at 11:00 PM on May 23, 2007

I don't believe that stavros could be killed by mortal weapons. Furthermore, I think if you tried, you would end up in a bad place.

I'm just saying, these are the rumors I've heard. You don't mess with the chicken. He has... powers.
posted by quin at 11:21 PM on May 23, 2007

Is this a reasonable place to ask if we could have the ability to add favorites in the "Recent activity" page?
posted by teleskiving at 12:46 AM on May 24, 2007

If it's not busted ....

The interface is starting to confuse me.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:36 AM on May 24, 2007

So I come to Mefi today, and... "Recent Activity"? You might as well call it "Your User Generated Content". I'd change it to "My Posts and Comments" or maybe "My Threads", and just get rid of the cuckoo "My Comments" down below - it serves precisely zero purpose.
posted by reklaw at 3:50 AM on May 24, 2007

It seems I'm always late to these parties, but I have to admit that I found the AJAX tabs at the top of the page to be dreadfully confusing at first; it's not at all clear that they are meant to provide a filtered view of the page, and also the labels overlap confusingly with other functionality ("My Comments" means something different in that context, for example). So, how about we ditch the tabs and just have a drop-down menu to filter posts? I made a mock-up of what I'm talking about here; it's just a select menu, so it's not pretty, but I'm sure someone could make a nicer DHTML version.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2007

...actually, I guess they're not AJAX, not that it matters one way or another.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:58 AM on May 24, 2007

I propose the use of ordering and if necessary hierarchy to improve the tab situation.

There seem to this amateur ontooncologist exactly three things one looks for when one comes to Metafilter:

1. Please give me an information snack to feed my ADD.
2. Please provide me various other views of information snacks, for the first one was not filling enough.
3. Please allow me to plug back in to whatever conversations I was having when I last left Metafilter.

Generally if you believe in the 80/20 rule or whatever those hamhanded consultant-wannabe web design misanthropes are claiming today, most people on the site will be doing #1 or #2, with #3 being an important-to-the-life-of-the-site but less used situation.

This suggests that the interface should look something like this:

ontological heresy reduction formula
posted by felix at 9:35 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Please note that I am a web designer, but I am not your web designer. Also, Maimonides made me do it.
posted by felix at 9:38 AM on May 24, 2007

whoooo cares
posted by petsounds at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2007

i still say this is exactly what i proposed in the last thread. but whatever. it got implemented, and i'm happy about that.

it was a little weird at first, but i've already adjusted to it. i like.

oh, and the profile thing. is that new? i clicked on it today without thinking about it, and i remember in the past getting frustrated that it wasn't there. but i just did it naturally. you know it's a good new UI element when you just use it like it was always there.
posted by spiderwire at 2:35 PM on May 24, 2007

It should be called "recent replies", as that's what it's actually for.
posted by cillit bang at 2:23 AM on May 25, 2007

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