Collapsing threads in recent activity March 8, 2010 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Pony request: the ability to collapse threads in Recent Activity.

I've lately been somewhat less employed, and as a result posting here more. But I've found Recent Activity to be a bit of a trial. Is it within the bounds of whatever software is running this place to show us just a list of threads, a +/-, and how many comments have been posted since last we checked? I'm not looking for a threaded conversation, just the ability to roll up the whole mess under one heading.

Sorry if this has been asked before...I've never posted enough to think about it. (And come to think about it, sorry to not to contribute to the community enough....)
posted by nevercalm to Feature Requests at 2:31 PM (24 comments total)

This would be kind of neat, actually.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on March 8, 2010

+1 Though I'll often nix threads from recent activity if I'm not active enough in the conversation or just don't care very much, but it would be nice to have a middle ground between scrolling past the last 10 comments or ignoring the conversation altogether.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:46 PM on March 8, 2010

There's a Firefox add-on that does basically that.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:52 PM on March 8, 2010

Link to the script/addon?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:05 PM on March 8, 2010

greasemonkey script - prior thread

Also, shouldn't your tag be ponyponyPON√Č?
posted by Rhomboid at 3:17 PM on March 8, 2010

I've come back from the future to tell you that this pony will eventually destroy civilization as you know it. I can't explain the details, but if you survive, I'll tell you I told you so.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:17 PM on March 8, 2010

Can you tell us how many gigawatts at least?

Also, the first comment on that previous thread (and the download page as well) says it's no longer supported. April 2008 to now in Firefox years is like......forever. Did they even have web browsers back then??
posted by nevercalm at 3:21 PM on March 8, 2010

I think you're misreading the history. The script was originally written before the site had the ability to remove threads from Recent Activity. After that feature was added, Plutor deleted the script from because he felt it was no longer needed. Someone asked for it back in that thread, and he re-uploaded it.

It still functions perfectly well.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:28 PM on March 8, 2010

Cool, I installed it, very groovy. It's exactly what I wanted, thanks gang.

Hey, what if I won't use Firefox? Chrome, Safari, Opera, god forbid IE....
posted by nevercalm at 3:41 PM on March 8, 2010

All of those browsers you listed have the ability to run greasemonkey scripts, because greasemonkey scripts are just bits of javascript that are injected into the page and every browser can run javascript. However, they don't necessarily offer the full greasemonkey API so some scripts don't work 100%, but there are a number of compatibility hacks that script authors can use and these days if you browse you will quite often see scripts that are labeled as Chrome-compatible, Opera-compatible, et cetera.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:50 PM on March 8, 2010

nevercalm: Hey, what if I won't use Firefox? Chrome, Safari, Opera, god forbid IE....

On Safari at least, it works fine with Greasekit. As does the "Deleted Posts" script.
posted by mkultra at 4:58 PM on March 8, 2010

I still like the original idea.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:19 PM on March 8, 2010

And most ponies I want made into glue.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:20 PM on March 8, 2010

Next pony...a resolved button for Meta threads?
posted by nevercalm at 6:24 PM on March 8, 2010

posted by wheelieman at 6:39 PM on March 8, 2010

I also still like the original idea. This would be genuinely useful for anyone using that page.
posted by Pants! at 6:40 PM on March 8, 2010

It would be useful if the Greasemonkey script remembered the threads I've collapsed. I'm probably not saving too many mouseclicks, which was the original intent.
posted by nevercalm at 6:45 PM on March 8, 2010

Though Greasemonkey scripts are helpful to some people, they definitely aren't all encompassing solutions to problems. I feel like sometimes they're brought and up and then all support for a pony drops. Some scripts are really helpful because they do something that would be out of the question for the site (like the deleted posts one), but for this situation I think that an actual site change is warranted (if it's not crazy hard to enact).
posted by kylej at 9:05 PM on March 8, 2010

If your pony request is approved by the C_B_L and put through, does one get a Mefi shirt? Or does pb come to your house and like kick your chair out from under you at dinner?
posted by nevercalm at 6:04 AM on March 9, 2010

I'd just like to tell everyone that the proliferation of browsers that claim support for Greasemonkey scripts but actually support neither the built-in GM_*() functions nor the @require header directive are seriously a pain in the ass. This includes Chrome and Opera. I'm pretty sure Safari/Greasekit gets it right.
posted by Plutor at 7:32 AM on March 9, 2010

We've been talking about this and I think we like the idea in general. But we still have questions about how it should work. Maybe we could talk more about implementation.

Should collapsible threads replace the existing "remove" feature? Instead of removing a thread completely from view, would it be better to show the title and number of comments? This would remove the whole "mange removed threads" feature, and might be easier to use. Should the collapsed threads maintain state across browsers? Or do you want to collapse a thread on one machine and have them expanded on another?
posted by pb (staff) at 2:29 PM on March 9, 2010

In my opinion, I don't care much about whether collapsing the threads replaces the "remove" feature, but it sure could. I'd want them to maintain state across browsers, and would find it mildly annoying if I collapsed all but my favoritiest threads at work only to see everything expanded once I got home.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:35 PM on March 9, 2010

The greasemonkey script does this when rolled up:

Can Oscar protect dolphins? (MetaFilter)
75 total comments. 43 since your most recent comment, last 10 shown below...

which I rather like. Obviously it doesn't show the comments, that's just a holdover from whatever line it captures from the site.

Maybe you could throw in the time of the last comment? Fresh/5 minutes/whathaveyou. You might not remember how many comments were there last time, but you'd know if it's been 35 minutes since you last checked.

I've never removed a thread from Recent Activity, so I just tried, and got the "This feature requires Java" warning. So maybe that's my answer, that collapsing can replace removing, or not, whatever's convenient.

And I don't know about anyone else, but I personally love it when my view under a site's username doesn't change, no matter what device or browser. I'm not sure if this is a pain for you, it wouldn't ruin my day to not have, but it would be like a bucket of ducklings if you could do it.
posted by nevercalm at 3:39 PM on March 9, 2010

I really like the idea of being able to collapse threads in "Recent Activity on My Posts & Comments" and "Recent Activity on My Favorite Posts." I'd be pro- keeping them in order of most recent comment time, and listing the time of the most recent comment in the collapsed version.

Personally, I think "Remove" could go away, at least for "Recent Activity on My Favorite Posts." If you click on the title of the thread, you can un-favorite it from there, right? That would be good enough for me, at least. And while I didn't know that there was a "manage removed threads" feature (I figured "remove" just did the same thing as un-favoriting from anywhere else), it doesn't seem necessary unless you accidentally un-favorite a thread.

For "Recent Activity on My Posts & Comments," I don't see a need to remove threads from there, especially once you've collapsed a thread. I can't think of why people would want to, especially since they're (1) sorted by most recent comment, and (2) people can easily add threads that they particularly care about to their favorites. Maybe for pseudo-privacy, in case other people are looking at your Recent Activity? I could envision wanting to see Activity only for comments, or only for posts, but collapsing could probably address this.

I don't have a preference in terms of continuity across sessions. I'm not sure, but my guess is that in general, more people would object to no-maintained-state than would object to maintained-state.
posted by sentient at 1:00 PM on March 15, 2010

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