(1 new feature?) December 22, 2010 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Can there be an optional icon which lights up when a new answer has come in to your AskMe question(s)?

One of the nice features of Reddit's internal mail system is that it lights up your mail icon whether you have received a message, someone has responded to your comment, or someone has replied to your post.

I've searched a little bit through the feature requests to find something related to this. I know you can subscribe to the RSS of your question, but if the web site already tells you (1 new) next to threads you've read, would it be much harder to have an on-page notification system to catch your eye?

The RSS feeds are sometimes weirdly delayed, and I'm already hanging around on the main page anyway...
posted by overeducated_alligator to Feature Requests at 5:26 AM (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Yeah. Totally.

Also, i want aol-type sounds that say "You've got answers!".

Then i want a movie with tom and meg...but more. like joe vs. the volcano.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:47 AM on December 22, 2010


You realise some AskMe questions get like 200 answers, right? Do you really want to find out that overnight you received 200 MeMails (and potentially 200 notification emails)?

Also, what's the difference between refreshing the main page to see if the MeMail icon has lit up vs refreshing the AskMe question page to see if there are new answers?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:52 AM on December 22, 2010


As children, we found it hilarious (or, to be honest, tepidly amusing) that George Jetson considered pushing a button to be tiresome labor.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:54 AM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


You realise some AskMe questions get like 200 answers, right?

I think the OP is just requesting the memail icon to be highlighted when there has been recent activity on your question, not to get sent a memail every time.
posted by Think_Long at 5:55 AM on December 22, 2010


Then i want a movie with tom and meg...but more. like joe vs. the volcano.

More indeed. It had Tom and Meg and Meg and Meg!

so much Meg
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:09 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the OP is just requesting the memail icon to be highlighted when there has been recent activity on your question, not to get sent a memail every time.

Yeah. What I was envisioning would look the same whether it was one response or 200, just new ones since you last visited.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:10 AM on December 22, 2010


POST SCRIPT: recent research indicates that the threshold for the number of times you need to say or type "Meg" before it does not in any way seem like a word anymore is startlingly low
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:11 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


1. Subscribe to question via RSS
2. Magically get notified anytime there is a new answer.
posted by COD at 6:11 AM on December 22, 2010


I believe when you post an AskMe question, it's automatically added to your Recent Activity.

Also note that the site doesn't have threaded comments, so it's hard, if not impossible for the system to know when someone has responded to your specific comment. This is a feature, not a bug, to encourage people to read the entire thread.
posted by nomadicink at 6:11 AM on December 22, 2010


But there's already the even more useful Recent Activity feature. (I say "even more useful" because on Reddit, you only get the orangered when someone is directly responding to a comment or self-post you made, but not when someone replies to someone who replied to you, and not when someone comments in a non-self post you've made, whereas our Recent Activity is like magic and tracks every thread you've started or participated in or favorited without participating.)
posted by Gator at 6:13 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Subscribe to question via RSS
2. Magically get notified anytime there is a new answer.


1. Read more inside.
2. Don't post a suggestion the OP explicitly discusses.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:17 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


You mean you post questions and then neglect to refresh the page every five seconds?
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:21 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is what I use Recent Activity for—see the link in the header of every page if you weren't aware of it. It gives you a dynamic-on-every-page-load view of the most recent 25 threads in which you were either the poster/asker or a commenter, ordered by most recent activity of any kind in the thread. It's enormously useful for passively keeping track of stuff, as a new answer from anyone will toss a thread back to the top of that display.

So if you ask a question and it's being actively answered over the first twenty four hours, it'll keep popping up toward the top of the Recent Activity page when a new answer comes in, which sounds like your main interest—getting to see answers quickly even when you're not reloading that actual thread itself.

But it's also handy for when someone answers your question, or replies to a thread you've participated in, well after the fact, a week or a month later: you don't have to go back and look at all those old threads, since Recent Activity will throw the spotlight on the ones where something is new automatically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:25 AM on December 22, 2010


This is what I use Recent Activity for—see the link in the header of every page if you weren't aware of it.

I feel like Recent Activity becomes increasingly difficult to navigate the more you participate in threads. If I have an open AskMe question, but I have also answered questions and commented in several active threads on the blue that day, the noisier threads get bumped to the top, even if I'm not as interested in following them.

Could Recent Activity have two columns, one for My Posts and the other for My Comments?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:43 AM on December 22, 2010


The query for RA is already probably the most complicated and expensive one on the site, so making significant changes to the layout/content of the page isn't likely, no. That said, if you're finding you're annoyed by threads that keep popping up after you've lost interest in them, you can use the (remove from activity) link under any given thread's summary to hide it from your RA view.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 AM on December 22, 2010


I think there used to be a greasemonkey script that allowed you to collapse selected threads in your recent activity so you could easily scroll past them. Maybe it's still around, or can be reconstructed?
posted by prefpara at 6:54 AM on December 22, 2010


This is what I use Recent Activity for

This is where I discover Recent Activity. No, my cellphone doesn't come with another guy to carry the battery. Why do you ask?
posted by ob at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2010


What is wrong with just going to the AskMe page for that category and looking at your question for the little (1 comments) in white at the end?

I mean, if the question doesn't pull up on the first page of results it's probably done, unless it's one of those HALP ME MY HUSBAND DECLAWED MY CAT WHILE CHEATING ON ME WITH A YOUNGER, SLIMMER MAN AND NOW I FEEL ILL WHEN I LOOK AT TATERS things.

1 click to go to AskMe, another click to go to the category, scroll to the question. Much less complicated!
posted by winna at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2010


I shed a sweet tear anytime someone new finds Recent Activity. It changed my life, that it did, that RA.
posted by cavalier at 7:38 AM on December 22, 2010


>: "I think there used to be a greasemonkey script that allowed you to collapse selected threads in your recent activity so you could easily scroll past them. Maybe it's still around, or can be reconstructed"

It's not really per-thread collapsible, but I find the combination of the "Scroll Tag" and "Recent Activity Summary" scripts over yonder on MetaFilter-related user scripts makes the RA page in general easier to use. Puts a summary list of threads up top without posts listed; open them in a new tab and the scroll tag function can jump right down to where you left off.
posted by Drastic at 7:49 AM on December 22, 2010


I think there used to be a greasemonkey script that allowed you to collapse selected threads in your recent activity so you could easily scroll past them. Maybe it's still around, or can be reconstructed?

There's at least a couple of them. There's MetaFilter Hide Threads in My Comments that Plutor wrote, and it allows you to collapse and expand individual threads.

There's also MetaFilter Recent Activity Summary that I wrote, which adds a list of just the thread title and byline of the most recent comment for each thread on the Recent Activity page. The regular page contents are still there under the summary.

The first one is better if you want to control individual threads. The second one is possibly better if you want to see all threads collapsed all the time, thought since it was written by me I hesitate to use the word "better" to describe it at all.
posted by FishBike at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2010


Thanks, FishBike! I looked for the Hide Threads script but I failed to find it. It's ever so handy. Yours is also very lovely. Too bad Hide Threads won't work for Favorite stuff!
posted by prefpara at 8:07 AM on December 22, 2010


This would be nice for anonymous questions, where there's really no way to track the activity on the question without just sitting on it. Then again, I'm assuming the question isn't linked to the poster's account once it's posted, so that may not even be possible.
posted by litnerd at 8:34 AM on December 22, 2010


Yeah, tracking anony questions as the poster is a non-starter because there's no link in the db for RA to latch onto.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on December 22, 2010


It would be nice if you could add random posts to your "Recent Activity" feed. Right now the only way to track recent activity on a thread is by commenting in it. Sometimes I want to follow an AskMe but have nothing useful to contribute.

overeducated_alligator, you can remove a thread from your Recent Activity. You can always do this to get rid of overactive threads.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:39 AM on December 22, 2010


Deathalicious, you can also follow a thread by favoriting it, if you don't have anything to contribute. Updates show up in the My Favorites tab on RA.
posted by Gator at 8:43 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It'd be nice if an errand boy ran up to my door and said something like "Sir, the gentleman from Essex has opined on the matter of the short moving picture."

I'm happy to tip for the service. If were going to do this pony let's do it right.
posted by special-k at 9:06 AM on December 22, 2010


In that case I would like a miniature pony to approach me and gently tug on my sleeve when a reply is posted.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This should be easy, pb. You can just re-use the code that lights the bat signal for Cortex when a new front page post gets more than 4 flags.
posted by crunchland at 9:35 AM on December 22, 2010


Tiny ponies being helpful.
posted by galadriel at 11:16 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm... on the front page of MeTa, I see this post displayed like this:

"posted by overeducated_alligator to Feature Requests at 8:26 AM - 30 comments (8 new)
+"

...with a linebreak before the +. Maybe the + should be preceded by a non-breaking space?
posted by Eideteker at 11:54 AM on December 22, 2010


overeducated_alligator: "One of the nice features of Reddit's internal mail system"

Reason enough not to do it, AMIRITE?!?!?!?!!!!!!!
posted by mkultra at 2:40 PM on December 22, 2010


Maybe the + should be preceded by a non-breaking space?

No, we let the byline break where it needs to. I agree that having the plus on the next line alone isn't optimal, but it doesn't happen enough to worry about.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2010


HOLY CRAP, I never knew that feature existed. This is like a whole new MetaFilter for me...
posted by 1000monkeys at 5:47 PM on December 22, 2010


I feel like this would be overwhelming after a while. It'd be nice if there were notifications starting 24 hours after your question was posted because most folks are done answering by then, but there are some stragglers that you may miss by assuming people have lost interest.
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:12 PM on December 22, 2010


EndsOfInvention writes "Also, what's the difference between refreshing the main page to see if the MeMail icon has lit up vs refreshing the AskMe question page to see if there are new answers?"

I think the problem is, and I know this is hard to believe, some people don't have like a 150 tabs open at any one time (half of them interesting metafilter posts/askmes). They only keep one or two, maybe three, windows or tabs open at a time. I'm not really sure how those people cope with such limited information exchange without nodding off at their machines but it seems to work for them. Because of that refreshing their askme involves several clicks from the front page.
posted by Mitheral at 11:03 AM on December 23, 2010


Also, what's the difference between refreshing the main page to see if the MeMail icon has lit up vs refreshing the AskMe question page to see if there are new answers?

It's the same as the difference between having an email notifier on your browser vs having to open up your email account each time you want to see if there's new mail.

If there's no new stuff, then the effort to get to the recent activities page is wasted and even if there was a reply later, I might be less likely to know because I would have assumed that everyone who's wanted to say something has already. (I think this is more helpful for people who don't have a lot of activity and don't check recent activities all that often.)
posted by fallsauce at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2010


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