Feature request: mark original poster comments July 11, 2007 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Feature request: Some visual way to easily tell where the original poster has posted a follow-up comment. Often in reading an Ask MeFi question, I have to scroll back up and down a few times to get the name of the original poster and then do a search to see if they posted a follow-up. Perhaps a different color for the original poster? It works well for comments marked "best answer". (Oh - and a pony)
posted by kdern to Feature Requests at 12:06 PM (24 comments total)

I think this has been asked for enough times to bump it slightly up on the prioritization list.

It'd definitely be helpful, and if people are opposed to the idea, then make it a configurable option to color or not color OP comments differently from the rest...
posted by twiggy at 12:13 PM on July 11, 2007

Oh yea, that's a nice idea. I'd like to see this happen.
posted by Mister_A at 12:15 PM on July 11, 2007

Perhaps a different color for the original poster? It works well for comments marked "best answer"

This would be extremely useful & awesome.
posted by tastybrains at 12:21 PM on July 11, 2007

Isn't there a Greasemonkey script for this already?
posted by pineapple at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2007

Mefi Navigator. It was talked about here.

I've been using it for the last few days (mostly on the blue) and it works pretty well. Needs firefox/greasemonkey though (duh).
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 12:33 PM on July 11, 2007

i like the idea.
posted by modernnomad at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2007

I would again like to suggest that MeFi Navigator (or similar functionality) be added to the site. It's a small change, but it adds a lot.
posted by Gamblor at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why don't we just encourage posters to boldface (embolden?) their replies?
posted by Durin's Bane at 2:29 PM on July 11, 2007

I like Mefi Navigator, and if something like it is implemented, I would prefer a notation for mods/OPs and selected users which appears in that style, as a tag after the username, not as a change in background color. Blech.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2007

Mefi Navigator is nifty. I can see the benefit of adding a feature (or set of features) like it to the site, but I agree with Ambrosia Voyeur.

Using a background color to highlight OP comments seems like a potential bad move to me. Metafilter posts strike me as more about sharing content whereas AskMe is more about the back and forth between asker and answerers. Not that additional comments from the poster don't add something, but in AskMe the question relates directly to the asker, whereas with Metafilter it really is not as poster-centric. Or I don't think it's supposed to be, and highlighting OP comments might feed into making it more so. So the background highlighting seems like a nice touch best used only in AskMe.
posted by Tehanu at 3:31 PM on July 11, 2007

This makes sense for AskMetafilter, and maybe MefiMusic -- there it makes sense to be able to readily identify the poster. The other sites, not so much.

It's a good point that you're already highlighting best answers.
posted by blasdelf at 3:57 PM on July 11, 2007

Over a month ago, I came up with the perfect solution.

But, no one listens. What am I, the invisible man over here? What am I chopped liver? Am I just talking you myself? Huh?

posted by The Deej at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2007

*waves to The Deej* Hi!
posted by misha at 4:26 PM on July 11, 2007

Every post is labeled with the username of the person who wrote it. Every comment is labeled with a username too, same deal. As long as you note the username of whomever wrote a given post, you can determine if any of the subsequent comments were written by the post author by reading the comment taglines and matching. This is a text-based website, and reading that text is (ostensibly) a must to participate.

Matching colors is arguably easier, yes, but making something already so easy as matching usernames even easier is lowering a hurdle ain't needed any lower. I must be missing something though, because this pony gets trotted out all the time.

If you're having trouble finding/reading taglines, a possible solution is to use the Comment Dividers Greasemonkey script. It looks a bit clunky at first, but it's easily modified and you get used to it eventually. What it does is change the background color of each comment tagline, with the result of each comment being more discrete from the previous and following comments.

Now, if you mean you just wanna scroll down the page 'til you get to the poster's comments rather than read the thread, allow me to suggest using your browser's Find function (CTRL+F and APPLE+F [right, macs?]) to search a post for the poster's username.
posted by carsonb at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

[yep, macs!]

Also, Ctrl-G / Apple-G to skip to the next instance of the word.
posted by blasdelf at 6:46 PM on July 11, 2007

Easily my favorite feature of Mozilla/Firefox: Find As You Type. Hit the slash ( / ) key, type a few letters, then F3 through the instances. I've been using it constantly since it was first introduced in Moz 1.2 eons ago.

But I still agree that any comment by the OP should be highlighted with a color ... We've all seen it asked here before, maybe now it'll make it to the top of the stack :)
posted by intermod at 8:02 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, hi Misha :)

*sigh of relief*
posted by The Deej at 8:51 PM on July 11, 2007

I think people are missing the point here. Highlighting the original poster's comments (especially in AskMe, which is what kdern was talking about) benefits the original poster more than it benefits the readers/commenters. People give better answers when they read the follow-up info, but people frequently miss that info because they don't notice the follow-up. No matter how many extensions you install or how often you use ctrl-F, you can't make your potential answerers do the same. Highlighted follow-up comments -> better answers / less noise -> better AskMe.
posted by vytae at 9:23 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I see your point vytae. Askers would greatly benefit if everyone answering their question took care to read the question, the [more inside], and any follow-ups posted. I see a question posted, and if I think I can answer it I reread the question, read the [mi], and then read all of the responses in the thread. Then if it's still relevant I give my answer. That's just common sense! It's all right there, in plain text, and I don't need any baubles or colors to encourage me to do something that should be done every time anyway. I guess I'm just cynical; it's up to the individual participants to make AskMe worthwhile, so jiggering with the interface can only do so much to thwart quick-draw McGraws and their lazy answers.
posted by carsonb at 9:40 PM on July 11, 2007

Mefi Navigator is pretty fantastic, but site implementation of what it does would be fantasticker.
posted by graventy at 10:41 PM on July 11, 2007

You know what would be cool? If people would look around to see if things have been asked for in the past before they kill another kitten1 by starting a MeTa thread about it.

1 - you know that [deity] kills a kitten every time, right?

intermod, that quick find thing is cool! Thanks.
posted by dg at 12:58 AM on July 12, 2007

The thing is, dg, everyone knows that ponies are exchanged on a pound for pound basis for accumulated kitten corpses.

No pussy no pony.
posted by dreamsign at 3:30 AM on July 12, 2007

it's up to the individual participants to make AskMe worthwhile

Totally agreed, carsonb. I try to read as thoroughly as you do before responding to a question, but I've seen plenty of instances where a commenter missed the follow-up and thus gave a useless or even insulting response. You seem doubtful, but I think this interface change would actually do a lot to thwart the quick-draw McGraws.
posted by vytae at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2007

In my gut, I agree pretty much point-by-point with what carsonb has said. In fact, I think I've pretty much written this comment before. It goes back to the notion that there's some value in Mefi being Hard. It's a position that is hopelessly conflated with emotional attachment to my personal model of What The Site Is, but I think there is some truth to it.

On the other hand, on the specific notion of somehow subtly highlighting the asker's comments in the thread, I've found my feelings shifting a bit in favor of it, for the reason vytae argues: it may be something that significantly improves the utility of threads where the asker provides followup comments, without having an otherwise significant effect on the look and functionality of AskMe. If that's so, I think it'd be a win.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:43 AM on July 12, 2007

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