Recent Activity pony? November 14, 2007 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Recent Activity feature request.

After about four days, even active threads taper to a comment or two per day. Recent Activity shows the last ten (unless your last comment is more recent). I just posted an update on the Taser thread, but from past experience I know it's slightly awkward for people to scroll past nine (sometimes very long) comments to get the latest. Easier to scroll back up one or two from the bottom. Is it possible and/or practical to write a script to reduce that number as the thread gets old? For example, display only the last five comments after two days, and the last one comment after four days?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium to Feature Requests at 10:49 AM (15 comments total)

That's a good idea. Scrolling past old comments isn't something that bothers me all that much, if at all, but this idea will make the core-experience just a tiny bit more pleasant. Yay for life's slight pleasures!
posted by Kattullus at 11:04 AM on November 14, 2007

Interesting notion. I wonder if it'd be sufficient to just do it as a binary switch instead of graded, though: if the thread's older than two days, just show the last two comments, perhaps.

I've been pretty happy with the results of our extended Recent Activity time window; when pb put it in place, I thought in abstract that it was a nice enough idea, but I've seen thread updates in the last few days that I would have missed previously and it's great, especially with AskMe.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:09 AM on November 14, 2007

What kind of work goes on in the code behind the "X posts, XX comments since your last visit?"

Is it possible to used something like this to show only Recent Activity you haven't already read? Just wondering.

I'd rather have the ability to set Recent Activity to show a past set number of days. The last ten comments, or comments from within the last two days, whichever is fewer.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2007

It's a great big select statement, AV, and no—there's no meaningful record in the db of what people have and haven't read, so implementing that sort of "only show it to me once" behavior would require storing some additional information.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:24 AM on November 14, 2007

I like the idea of reducing the number of comments shown for older threads. Could you do a binary switch based on how active the thread is, though? Rather than basing it on whether the thread is X days old, maybe basing it on whether the second-to-last comment is more than X days old? That way, active threads still show a fair amount of context, but more-or-less dead threads don't clog up the screen.

(Maybe that's what you were saying, cortex, and I just misunderstood.)
posted by occhiblu at 11:51 AM on November 14, 2007

The last ten comments, or comments from within the last two days, whichever is fewer.

This is a good idea.
posted by brain_drain at 11:56 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

An alternative would be to use some DHTML to approximate this on the client side.

It would be possible, for example, to "collapse" older threads down to their summary info in the Recent Activity view, with a button to expand them.

It would also be possible to encapsulate each thread in its own fixed-height scrolling pane (using CSS) and advance to the Nth message in each thread. All of this could be done using Greasemonkey right now, or could be offered pushed out by TPTB if they so chose. Wouldn't need any back-end tinkering.
posted by adamrice at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2007

I would LOVE to be able to choose a post in a thread and manually mark that as the last post I've read, so that when I come back to that thread, the RA page would start from there, as opposed to the latest X amount of comments.

I'd even shave for this feature.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:17 PM on November 14, 2007

That's a good idea BB. There could be a [#] beside the old [+] for saving favorites.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:32 PM on November 14, 2007

Could there be an option to show just the titles of the updated theads and number of new comments, but not the comments themselves, so it would look more like the sidebar at MonkeyFilter? That way you could see what threads have been updated at a glance and just go to the ones you're interested in while ignoring the threads you've gotten sick of. When a thread turns into a train wreck, it can ruin Recent Activity for me.
posted by homunculus at 12:54 PM on November 14, 2007

How would that be different from my comments or recent comments, homunculus?
posted by Kattullus at 1:07 PM on November 14, 2007

Hah! It wouldn't be. I forgot about recent comments. Never mind.

Just taser me and wheel me off to the nursing home. It's time.
posted by homunculus at 1:14 PM on November 14, 2007

Why not have Recent Comments/Activity just not show comments older than foo?
posted by Eideteker at 5:21 PM on November 14, 2007

The last ten comments, or comments from within the last two days, whichever is fewer.

Ug, no no no. Hasn't anyone figured out that this would kill the recent comments? It would mean only comments posted in the last 48 hours (or less if there are more than 10 that young) would show up, the exact opposite of the recent changes which so many people like. Please don't slash recent comments to such a stupidly short window.

The only way to make it work would be to set the "from within the last x days" to have x be the same as however long the new time window is (i.e. if any comment posted in the last ten days puts the thread into recent comments, then all comments posted in the last ten days needs to show up). Otherwise why bother extending the window if you're not even going to show the comments?

The whole point is to aggregate activity from a decent time frame, rather than only those just posted (which people can find in thread easily enough anyway). Not all of us are here refreshing every ten minutes looking for new stuff, letting it gather up for a bit is a good thing and my metafilter experience has been greatly enhanced by the extension of the 'recentness' of recent comments. Given that those of us not able to browse the site every day are less likely to comment in metafilter threads (as shown by my late reply here) we're more likely to be under represented in threads such as this. But that doesn't mean we should be overlooked, so please don't cripple the recent comments page just because some impatient people can't scroll a little bit.
posted by shelleycat at 5:14 PM on November 15, 2007

So make the time range a profile setting, but keep the cap of 10 max.
posted by Eideteker at 7:33 PM on November 15, 2007

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