how to restore pagination March 1, 2011 1:30 PM   Subscribe

So that new 'more questions' thing on the ask.metafilter front page? How do I turn it off? I don't want to load an ever growing mega page with everything all at once and apparently neither does my computer. Downloading small chunks was easier for the computer's processer and works way better for my skimming, and I want to go back.

I realise that loading stuff inline is the Cool New Way but it's what drove me away from twitter, makes facebook unusable beyond a certain point (i.e I can see today's stuff and give up after that) and cool new stuff is really not what I need over here as well. Please let me turn it off.

Yes it would be nice to get a new computer so I don't need to care about the current trend for client side processing. But that's not going to happen so a profile setting to remove either just this, or even all the ajax if that's easier, would be highly appreciated instead.
posted by shelleycat to Feature Requests at 1:30 PM (211 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I looked for a post about this and was surprised not to find one. So please point me that way if I missed it. I'm sorry for the first mention to be negative, but I really need to turn this off.
posted by shelleycat at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2011


Disable javascript?
posted by misterbrandt at 1:34 PM on March 1, 2011


Not that it answers your question, but you can look at older AskMes using the Archives by date.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on March 1, 2011


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:37 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's being discussed at the end of the 'show new comments pony' thread. The feature is being tested on AskMe only right now, and there's no stock way to disable it. kwine did make a GreaseMonkey script to disable the feature, so install that if you want.
posted by carsonb at 1:37 PM on March 1, 2011


Kwine wrote a Greasemonkey script to disable it.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2011


We added this and are testing it on Ask MetaFilter because we found people complaining that you couldn't see an entire day's worth of questions on the first page, and people were getting tired of having to go to page 2 every day.

So we had two options, either just go up from 40 posts/day/page to 60 or 80, or we could do infinite scrolling via ajax. Instead we decided to try in-page ajax loading of new comments by clicking because some people are thrown off by automatic page scrolling of data. We thought this would be a happy medium, you still click, but you get more questions faster and easier and overall it reduces the "friction" of getting to more questions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2011


people were getting tired of having to go to page 2 every day

Why do you take complaints like this seriously?
posted by banshee at 1:49 PM on March 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


banshee: “Why do you take complaints like this seriously?”

I know. It's silly, isn't it? I mean, why would people who run a web site be concerned with usability?
posted by koeselitz at 1:56 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


koeselitz: " I mean, why would people who run a web site be concerned with usability?"

Surely you see the irony in discussing this on a default white on gray theme subsite.
posted by pwnguin at 2:21 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


In any case the "Show more questions" link should point to the address that is displayed when javascript is off (page=Y&maxid=X) instead of "#". Right now the ability to open a new tab/window is broken which is acceptable for things like favorites but not for navigation links.
posted by Memo at 2:45 PM on March 1, 2011


When JavaScript is disabled you don't see the "Show more questions" link. You should see the old style navigation.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:47 PM on March 1, 2011


pb, are you monkeying around with Recent Activity? My RA threads aren't showing up in the order of most-recent comment.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:51 PM on March 1, 2011


Can we have the option to choose the number of questions per page in our preferences?
posted by Xany at 2:52 PM on March 1, 2011


I read this post and I thought this sounded like a really cool feature, but when I went to try it out there was at least one usability issue (for me anyway).

I found that if I open the link "Show more questions" in another tab or window, it gives me the exact same page I left. In an ideal world it would have loaded more questions and automatically take me to the next (in order; previous in time) question. Also ok would be a new page starting with that next question. Tolerable, but unpleasant, a new page with the additional questions, but I'm at the first question and have to scroll to the new question. However, what actually happens is it loads the exact same page without any new questions ... so essentially it kinda breaks the expected behavior "open link in new ..." feature (remember the link says Show More Questions).

Also, for some reason I have a negative feeling towards a page that grows monolithic-ally, I find that I'm able to keep a better mental picture of how many questions deep I am with pagination, but that's probably more of a presentation preference since I one can use the scroll bar as a guide in the monolithic page approach.

Having said that, I do like instantly having more questions when I'm casually reading. It's when I'm trying to navigate between questions that the wall of questions becomes a chore to sort through (at least for me).

So I like the feature (except for the right click linking behavior) for casual light reading, but not so much for bouncing between several questions of interest (as I'm wont to do at times).
posted by forforf at 3:00 PM on March 1, 2011


pb, are you monkeying around with Recent Activity?

No, but yeah that's weird I saw that too. It should be working now.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:05 PM on March 1, 2011


It really makes things difficult for me. On my work computer, all I have is IE, so I can't use the greasemonkey script. After I visit the comments on a question, after I press the back button IE takes me to the top of the AskMe page, rather than to the location of the story I clicked on.

So now, if I have clicked on the 'more questions' even once, I have this huge long list of questions that I have to hunt through what I have seen and what I haven't. This gets worst the more questions I look at.

I have been trying to remember to open each comments section in a new tab, so I can just go back to the original tab for the next question. However, it is difficult to change my browsing habits.

If I had any control, I wouldn't be using IE. I guess I can disble javascript.
posted by Quonab at 3:05 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh, I see what you're saying now forforf and Memo. Even with JavaScript enabled, you should have access to the "older questions" URL as if it were disabled. Yeah, I think we can do that.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:13 PM on March 1, 2011


Yes disabling Javascript works Quonab. You don't have to do it for the whole site just mefi.us if IE allows that kind of control. It means no favouriting and worse no flagging though.
posted by Mitheral at 3:14 PM on March 1, 2011


in all seriousness:

from the point of view of those who "complained about having to view the second page to see the remainder of today's questions", what's the practical "usability" difference between

a) clicking on a link labelled "older questions" and being directed to page 2

b) clicking on a link which reads "show more" and seeing more content

?
posted by radiosilents at 3:17 PM on March 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


When it comes to thinking fairly huge usability changes don't matter/aren't different, II simultaneously wish people here were my customer/clients and am so glad that they aren't.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:21 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


radioslients, the main difference we discussed was that option b keeps you in the flow of reading. There's no transition in your browser, no page reload, no need to reorient yourself on a new page. You simply keep reading in place. We felt like this would make questions that have scrolled off the front page more visible by limiting the friction involved with reading them.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


radiosilents, it's faster to not have to wait for the page load.

All us mods used the feature for a week or two before it became public and it was just kind of a nice handy time saver. I guess none of us open "page 2" in tabs so we didn't run into that problem on our own.

If everyone hates it we can roll it back to how it was, but we found in testing that it saved a little time and made it easier to use.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:30 PM on March 1, 2011


thank you for that answer, pb. that's fascinating. i can't say i agree with that logic, but the scope of what you guys do is beyond me so i wish you all the best.
posted by radiosilents at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2011


and mathowie as well (should've previewed)
posted by radiosilents at 3:32 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "If everyone hates it we can roll it back to how it was, but we found in testing that it saved a little time and made it easier to use."

What? Everyone does not hate it. I do not think a thread about a new feature that only has 24 responses qualifies for "everyone hates it." I actually love it. If pb can fix the small usability issue memo highlighted, I think it's perfect.

People who don't like it can turn JS off or use the mobile version, no?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:15 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a way to limit the number of posts to that day as opposed to an arbitrary number?

If the first load gave you that day's posts I don't care how you get to the additional content.

I have to say I like these sorts of things. Facebook loads the first group when you scroll down, then you need to hit a link to get more.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:15 PM on March 1, 2011


So, now that the "More questions" link does indeed do what the old link used to when you open it in a new tab, it looks like shelleycat can get what she wants and the new inline page extender still works too. Nicely done, pb.
posted by flabdablet at 4:26 PM on March 1, 2011


shellycat, you can also work around it by 'hard-coding' the url, if you want to stay logged in:

http://ask.metafilter.com/index.cfm?page=#

where #=1, 2, 3, etc.

for example

no, I'm not naturally this smart, I just already whined and whimpered about this via mod contact form
/disclaimer


radiosilents, for me having pages somehow keeps me oriented in what i have and haven't read (i'm usually multitasking) and having one humungous page freaked me the f*ck out. not that i wouldn't have adjusted out of love.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:39 PM on March 1, 2011


What? Everyone does not hate it.

We usually gauge the success/failure based on MetaTalk reactions and so far it's looking like quite a number of people in this thread do not like it. We mods all kind of liked it, so I'm kind of surprised there aren't more people here saying it's a subtle nice addition. That's what we were going for, not just using ajax for the sake of technology.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:40 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it.
posted by special-k at 4:51 PM on March 1, 2011


Well, I'll chime in to say I like the change.
posted by lalex at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2011


to be clear, i am neither in favor of nor against it. if it does what it says on the tin, i'm happy for all involved and it's noty driving me away from metafilter or anything like that. i will not grar. i was just trying to suss out the practical difference between the old way and the new way, as the distinctions are tremendously subtle (to me).
posted by radiosilents at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a nice feature, but I haven't encountered it yet. I typically skim through the AskMe main page really quickly, either open the threads I'm interested in new tabs or favorite the threads, and close the main page right away. So I might not see this much.
posted by grouse at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2011


Oh, I misunderstood what this was. Just used the new feature. It is pretty darn nice.
posted by grouse at 4:59 PM on March 1, 2011


Meh.

No seriously. If not for this post, I probably wouldn't have noticed it for a while. Now that I have, it's not big deal, though I do find the old way more soothing for lack of a better term. It gave information in distinct chunks as opposed to just hitting a button and getting this endless supply of "stuff". The new way doesn't act like filter IMO, it just spits out stuff.

But really, whatever everyone wants is fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 PM on March 1, 2011


I like this.
posted by bondcliff at 5:00 PM on March 1, 2011


We usually gauge the success/failure based on MetaTalk reactions and so far it's looking like quite a number of people in this thread do not like it.

Also, it's far from clear from the front page that this is a post where people should share their opinions on the change. In fact, looks like a post that would mostly draw users who want it disabled. If you want to know what people think of the change, why not just make a post and ask?
posted by lalex at 5:00 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could take it or leave it. The slight speedup it brings to content loading is nice, so I'll probably take it more often than not. The fact that I can leave it by opening the link in a new tab means I'm quite happy to have it there for the sake of others who might like it more than slightly.
posted by flabdablet at 5:10 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it too!
posted by dolface at 5:11 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it, but I love the animated boxy thing.
posted by Big_B at 5:14 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it!
posted by squid in a people suit at 5:18 PM on March 1, 2011


Can you share this code with Facebook? I immediately tried to break it like Facebook breaks, but yours works!

On Facebook, as you scroll down, it adds more automatically. However, if you click on a link on the (e.g.) 3rd "page," and then navigate back, it returns you to the top of your feed.

I like this change. It loads the actual next question for me. Since I tend to kind of graze through AskMe, going to "page 2" tended to load a lot of the same questions I'd already seen, as they'd been bumped down by newer questions.
posted by explosion at 5:25 PM on March 1, 2011


Like, like, like.
I don't suppose that this is the kind of thing that coud be a preference selection?
Just so, you know, the people who don't like it can turn it off and be happy, too.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:25 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do like this, especially after the usability fix.
posted by Memo at 5:29 PM on March 1, 2011


I had to resort to the workaround that Rube R. Nekker mentions above by manually typing in the page=2 query string the other day because the ajax widget just sat there endlessly spinning its wheels without loading new content. There was no other way to get to the next page. Seems like it might be a good idea to build in a time check for the ajax and build in a failsafe link if it doesn't work.

Today it seems to be working but the alternative is to either visit Ask more often or visit one of the other subsites to remind myself how the link is supposed to work so I can type it in Ask the old way.
posted by Jeff Howard at 5:37 PM on March 1, 2011


I would love if the page could just automatically load the maximum of (40 questions|Questions since your last visit), perhaps with some reasonable upper bound (100?).

Since I'm in Japan, the bulk of questions seem to occur while I'm asleep, so the morning quantity of new questions generally hovers between around 40 and 90 depending on the day of the week. If the page just loaded all of the questions I haven't seen yet I would be in a little blissful universe of askme skimming.

Also: Why is the internet so dead on Sundays?
posted by that girl at 5:37 PM on March 1, 2011


But in general I like it!
posted by that girl at 5:40 PM on March 1, 2011


I knid of like it, but I also didn't feel that clicking onto page 2 was too much of a chore.
posted by idiomatika at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "We usually gauge the success/failure based on MetaTalk reactions and so far it's looking like quite a number of people in this thread do not like it."

Okay, I'll bite -- count me in, I like it. It's like the firefox auto-page add-on I use, which I've never set up for this site, as this site isn't as annoying as some (ie NYT Amazon a zillion others). So it's sortof like that add-on but nicer, not as clunky looking and doesn't take as much time to load, either.

Maybe I use ff differently than others -- I just spin down the ask (or any front page on this site) I just spin down the page and open anything that I'm interested in, utilizing a new tab, and close it off after I've read it, or leave it open, and with the other new feature, I can even see how many new responses to each thread since I've been in there -- cool.

So if it really is sortof a vote in here, sortof count me as a "Keep the new feature" vote.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2011


I like.
posted by Atreides at 5:50 PM on March 1, 2011


MetaFilter: Why do you take complaints like this seriously?
posted by Chuckles at 6:03 PM on March 1, 2011


I have been using this new feature and find it quite helpful.
posted by conrad53 at 6:11 PM on March 1, 2011


I LIKE.
posted by sweetkid at 6:15 PM on March 1, 2011


I noticed it the other day, and I really dislike it. I'm sure I will get used to it if it stays, but I don't want a page with a zillion questions, and I don't want to have to open several tabs (I often scroll a few pages back), and I find it a huge pain, generally -- I'd prefer to just show more questions on the main page.

Also, if I show more questions once (not a big deal, the page isn't too long) and then try to right click to open the *next* page in a new tab, it doesn't work for me (firefox here, haven't tried at my IE-only work computer), it opens page 2, not page 3.

If you do keep this, is there any way that Ctrl-click can open a new tab, just like it normally does, instead of expanding the page?

(I do love the new comment notifications.)
posted by jeather at 6:51 PM on March 1, 2011


Count me as a Do Not Like. So much so that it distracts me from reading and being helpful to people. Turning off javascript for MeFi means killing favorites, which is a huge reason I read logged in. Would it be possible to have two links? Like one that says "Load More" and another that said "Next Page"? I know that's sort of overkill, but it's better than disabling important features of the site by turning off javascript. I like the idea of making the page display the last 24 hours instead of a set number of posts, though.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:01 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't like it at first, but then I realized it was just because it was giving me Tumblr flashbacks. But since it actually works here, I'm totally fine with it!
posted by grapesaresour at 7:03 PM on March 1, 2011


Another vote for hate.
posted by equalpants at 7:22 PM on March 1, 2011


Meh.
posted by cashman at 7:28 PM on March 1, 2011


Are we voting? I like.

Just a thought though - isn't it the case where the haters (in general, not necessarily in the case...) are the ones who are usually the most vocal about things? A self-selection bias, perhaps?
posted by cgg at 7:41 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it. I can understand people wanting a workaround, but this definitely works for me.
posted by Forktine at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it, too.
posted by janell at 8:23 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it for casual scrolling but I could see it being really irritating if I'm looking for a post that I know is probably a few back. Why not keep both pagination and a load more link so everyone is happy?
posted by cj_ at 8:39 PM on March 1, 2011


I am in the like it camp.

And while I am at it I would like to reiterate my insane and unbridled love for the Load New Comments feature. Thank you! I don't know how I would ever have made it through all the mideast revolutions without it. Not to mention the ongoing saga of Wisconsin!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:50 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it, but an option to turn it on and off in preferences would be perfect.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:33 PM on March 1, 2011


OK, I'l turn off javascript and see what that does.

Next question: how do I turn off that constantly updating thing to give the new comments link at the bottom of the page. Because this morning's computer meltdown (the computer melted down, not me) made me realise that all the computer problems I've been having recently started when it was rolled out to ask.metafilter (I don't read the front page a lot) and only happen when I have metafilter pages open. Add in the new feature and this morning firefox was using 86% of my working memory, nothing else would run, and it took me 45 minutes to write a basic email. It didn't occur to me then to close the five or so pages I had open because they look like a flat page of text and links so shouldn't *do* anything once the content is loaded. But later testing has shown that yes, it is all the new crap added to these pages that is killing my machine.

Metafilter has now become one of those awful bloated webpages that can't be run on an older computer. Frankly, having to turn off basic web browsing features (like javascript) or install greasemonkey scripts to make a really simple looking webpage run on a computer that's less than four years old and was high spec when I bought it seems really wrong. If you're really sure that being this kind of site is what you want then please please please put in an option that lets me turn all this off in my profile settings. It's not like it's at all necessary or important, metafilter worked just fine for ten years without it. I just want to see the words and links without waiting five minutes for my computer to unfreeze enough that I can scroll down, or to open a bunch of pages at once and read them one by one without the screen going white and making that horrible hard disk grinding for several minutes as my computer struggles every time I try to change tabs. If that means I have to hit F5 to refresh a page then I am totally able to move my finger up to that key.

The upside: I had work to do today and I got it done, since I can no longer read metafilter while doing something else. So productivity win?
posted by shelleycat at 9:47 PM on March 1, 2011


how do I turn off that constantly updating thing to give the new comments link at the bottom of the page.

Go to preferences, uncheck 'Inline comment updates?', click Save. (Repeat for each browser you use.)
posted by pb (staff) at 9:52 PM on March 1, 2011


Was that there this morning? Or am I just really unobservant? It could be the latter, would not be the first time!

(thanks, that's just what I need)
posted by shelleycat at 10:30 PM on March 1, 2011


shelleycat: I could definitely be mistaken, but, from your description, I wonder if something might be wrong with your computer.
posted by box at 10:31 PM on March 1, 2011


Oh, by 'this morning' I mean my morning, so about 10 hours ago.

box, I have been wondering the same thing but I had exactly the same problems when twitter made the same changes (which was a couple of years ago now). And it's been running just fine for everything else for the 3.8ish years I've had it. So clearly just something about this specific type of activity really doesn't work well with it.

And since I haven't done anything special to my computer, and it's not an unusual or weird computer (for an older laptop), I assume that if it doesn't work so well for me than it won't be working well for other people either. Since it's not an important or useful activity I'd rather just turn it off, which I have now done thanks to the simple profile setting which is now really obvious since pb pointed it out, heh.
posted by shelleycat at 10:36 PM on March 1, 2011


I like it. I will use it. A lot.
posted by Night_owl at 10:54 PM on March 1, 2011


I don't like it, and if there's an option to turn it off I will, but if there isn't it's not like I'm going to angst about it.
posted by darksasami at 11:07 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm with shelleycat on this.

In the words of 2 live crew:

Take it off!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:02 AM on March 2, 2011


I'm pitching my tent in the 'hate it' camp, but as other people seem to like it, I'd be happy with the compromise suggested above, where the ajax-y stuff is used, but regular pagination is still available for those of us who like to read AskMe in small digestible chunks rather than with a sprawling scrollbar of doom.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:48 AM on March 2, 2011


After I visit the comments on a question, after I press the back button IE takes me to the top of the AskMe page, rather than to the location of the story I clicked on.

I get this on my Android phone too. Massively annoying, especially on a phone. It did not do this before the feature was added.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:53 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old school, can we have an infinite scroll ?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:01 AM on March 2, 2011


After I visit the comments on a question, after I press the back button IE takes me to the top of the AskMe page, rather than to the location of the story I clicked on.

I get something similar in Firefox; it doesn't take me to the very top of the AskMe page but it takes be back up to where "Show more questions" loaded, and includes a brief pause as the questions load again. The new feature is fine generally but that aspect makes it a pain to quickly take a look at a question, go back (Command + Left Arrow if that makes a difference), and then have to find where I was again.
posted by 6550 at 2:37 AM on March 2, 2011


I like it and if you take it away I will disable my account and eat a hamburger.
posted by Mngo at 2:43 AM on March 2, 2011


If you are taking votes, then I will say that I have stopped going back more than one page on Ask Metafilter because I hate being forced to use the "Show more posts" button. Either add back the "Next page" button in addition, or make it profile-configurable. Your AJAX behaves badly in my Internet Explorer. I mostly used Metafilter to try to help people on AskMeFi, and now I just don't use it except for the first page of questions. (Yes, I know the fundamental whine of the Internet is "Why wasn't I consulted?")
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:17 AM on March 2, 2011


I can see how this is not everyone's cup of gravy. I LOVE GRAVY.
posted by like_neon at 4:44 AM on March 2, 2011


I'm not going to comment on whether I like the change or not. I don't have a stake in whether it stays, goes, or becomes an option. But I'd like to point something out:

What exists now is a different reorientation problem than what was being solved with the change. The old world problem happens on the request for additional content, while the new world problem creeps up after you've already accumulated additional content. If your short-term memory tells you that one question you scrolled past was at the beginning of the previous page, that's easy to deal with in the old world. Hit back, go to the top. When the page continues to grow, your only real hope is cmd-f. A web page a mile and a half long does not scream "usability".

At the same time, clicking a link to load a new page of content and then becoming disoriented when the content view does a complete refresh isn't exactly a bitchin' experience, either.

Basically, the web is a wreck of navigation, transition, state, and spatial orientation, no matter how you slice it. Technology rules. Hamburger.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:07 AM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


If we're voting, I find the new style a minor nuisance because I have one of those meece with a free-spinning scroll wheel and a mind of its own, which causes me to lose my place on extremely long pages.
I understand the need to avoid bloat on the preferences page, but I would prefer this feature to be optable.
posted by nowonmai at 5:58 AM on March 2, 2011


Yeah, please make this into a selectable option on preferences...
posted by yeoz at 5:58 AM on March 2, 2011


After I visit the comments on a question, after I press the back button IE takes me to the top of the AskMe page, rather than to the location of the story I clicked on.

I just checked, and in both Firefox on my computer and Safari on the iphone, hitting the back button brings you right back where you were, not to the top or bottom of the page, no need to reload all the extra stuff, etc. I'm sure PB will do more magic to make things work on more browsers, but for right now the new setup is working well for me. (And if Apple eventually decides to add tabbed browsing to the iphone version of Safari, I will drive to Cupertino and personally kiss each and every software developer there.)
posted by Forktine at 6:04 AM on March 2, 2011


I just want to see the words and links without waiting five minutes for my computer to unfreeze enough that I can scroll down, or to open a bunch of pages at once and read them one by one without the screen going white and making that horrible hard disk grinding for several minutes as my computer struggles every time I try to change tabs.

shelleycat, there is something wrong with your computer.
posted by ericost at 6:11 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


With pb's fix I'm definitely in the like category now.
Another usability issue (I think others have mentioned it too) is that when you load more questions, the browser back arrow is activated, but going back does nothing. It would be nice if going back unloaded what you loaded. But it's not that much of an issue (to me anyway), it would be like getting a double cherry on top, and personally I'm already happy with the cherry I already got.
posted by forforf at 6:35 AM on March 2, 2011


Count me in for do not like. Using FF on my Macbook, if I've clicked "older questions" a couple of times and then go into a question, when I hit the back button to get back to the list of questions, it never puts me at the position where I was. I think this is similar to Quonb's complaint. In fact, it usually acts as though I never did the most recent click on "more questions." This requires me to scroll down and click "more questions" to reveal questions I've already seen and moved past on my last pass.

No, this is not a hardship, but it already has made me stop clicking "older questions" and spending less time on the site, viewing fewer pages.

Same thing happens on my iphone, which is how I read Ask in the middle of the night when I have insomnia.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:52 AM on March 2, 2011


Cool, EXCEPT that on my iPhone, if I'm past the add-more point and I click on a question, the back button does not return me to where I was on the very long page--just to the point where the "more questions" link is. Can this be set up as an optional feature, or disabled on the mobile version?

(I've noticed a similar problem with BoingBoing, where I've been clicking through a lot fewer links as a result.)
posted by mimi at 6:54 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't like it but I would be happy if there were Next/Previous page links as well as the Show More Questions AJAX tomfoolery. I get lost in a huge page of questions.

The AJAXification of plain text pages does bog down low memory systems but I think the mobile site seems like a good alternative for those users.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2011


Metafilter has now become one of those awful bloated webpages that can't be run on an older computer.

With respect, if you are using any website like Google Maps, Flickr, any blogging site, any mapping site, any site with comments, facebook, any news site or basically any site where you need to log in, you will be dealing with some javascript and page loading issues. We have tried very hard to keep MetaFilter usable to as many people with as many different browsing preferences (old browsers, IE, mobile browsing, slow internet conenctions, etc) as possible.

I live in a rural area and I deal with people daily who have terrible internet connections and ancient computers, so I feel your pain. At the same time if your computer literally can not handle loading a page like ask.metafilter.com it may be time for you to make some changes on your side like disabling javascript entirely. We're still exploring whether this "show more questions" option at the bottom of AskMe seems to solve a problem more than it creates other problems and I'm sorry if it gives people Tumblr/Twitter flashbacks, but I'd like people to understand that we're trying to make small adjustments to improve site functionality and now we're here listening to people's feedback [and I agree lalex, it's not clear at all that this is what this thread is doing, but this is what we have] and it would be nice if people were constructive if at all possible.

We get a lot of grief for MeFi being in this super old school bloggy format that hasn't changed substantially since the site launched in '99; we try to balance having features that enhance the site for the people who want them and also allowing people who don't care about them to basically ignore them. Lately we've become aware that the preferences page, which includes turnoffablity for almost everything, is getting a little messy so we've been ultra aware of adding new preferences.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like it, but I didn't consciously notice it in this post, so I won't die if it doesn't stay.
posted by freshwater at 7:08 AM on March 2, 2011


LIEK
posted by mendel at 7:08 AM on March 2, 2011


Metafilter: "a sprawling scrollbar of doom."
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the feature.
posted by biochemist at 7:14 AM on March 2, 2011


I like the new version better than the old -- but, not that my individual answer is going to sway any opinions, but my answer is more about the general usability not if I will actually use it. Because what I'd really like was to be have enough time and energy to read enough AskMetafilter such that I ever had time to scroll down and have the question of whether or not I preferred Choice A to Choice B actually matter.

That's not to say I don't read plenty of questions in the green -- just that for me it's either the 10-20 at the top -- or more accurately those that show up in MyAsk or in the right side bar's suggestions (a feature I didn't start using until very recently that has vastly improved my AskMeta experience) -- or I never get to them at all.

I can't be alone in this, right?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:20 AM on March 2, 2011


shelleycat: “Metafilter has now become one of those awful bloated webpages that can't be run on an older computer.”

I run Metafilter regularly on a ThinkPad from around 2002. It works fine. I agree with the above: something is wrong with your computer. I'm sorry; it's true.

Maybe what you need is an operating system change or something. I use Xubuntu on the ThinkPad. Even if you prefer to use Windows, sometimes it really helps to back up everything and do a fresh reinstall of the operating system.
posted by koeselitz at 7:27 AM on March 2, 2011


I appreciate the change and will use it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2011


I LOVE this new option. Although it was a minor annoyance, I disliked how when I went to older questions I always got a bunch of repeats because new questions had been submitted since I loaded the front page. Like I said, minor, but this way I can just keep reading and there's no extra page load.

Also, I'm glad Jessamyn said something before I did about old computers because I probably would have been more snarky. I come from the blame your computer not the site camp for things like this. Yes, it's good to keep things as compatible as possible, but time and technology marches on. Don't get me wrong, I think it's completely valid to ask for work arounds if something is not working on your computer, but to disparage new functionality as "bloated" because your old computer doesn't like it seems a little extreme to me.

[I'm speaking as someone who has an older laptop (around the age of shellycat's computer) btw. Recently for several months it was being so slow and crotchety that I wanted to throw it up against the wall. It turns out that it needed a new hard drive and a windows reinstall. Now it's chugging away like a champ.
posted by Kimberly at 7:51 AM on March 2, 2011


]
posted by Kimberly at 7:53 AM on March 2, 2011


I'm ok with this now that the link points somewhere proper. I won't use it, abd it doesn't get in my way and I can just use the site how I used to, namely: skim the page opening interesting stuff in new tabs, then opening the "next page" in a new tab, then reading through all the interesting stuff until I get to the "next page" tab.
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on March 2, 2011


As I mentioned in the other thread, the use case that really gave me trouble was going back hundreds of posts: when you hit show more posts five or six times, then click through to a post, then hit the back button, it takes too long for the AJAX calls to redirect you to where you were. I imagine that the problem gets progressively worse the further back you go. If you don't use AskMe in that way, you won't notice a problem, but I like to go through a week's worth of posts at a time, sometimes.

I don't understand what the new way makes better-to me there's no advantage to having a lot of posts on one page vs. having them paginated for AskMe-it's not like they're comments that are related or something. But I'm not too worried about it.
posted by Kwine at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2011


My name is schmod, and I approve this feature.
posted by schmod at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2011


I just checked, and in both Firefox on my computer and Safari on the iphone, hitting the back button brings you right back where you were, not to the top or bottom of the page, no need to reload all the extra stuff, etc.

It probably depends on the speed of your connection, etc. In Firefox, if I hit the back button, it definitely shows the screen first without the older pages, and then reloads them and jumps me to the right place a second later. I imagine it can't use caching because it's all AJAX-y, so it comes down to raw speed.
posted by smackfu at 8:13 AM on March 2, 2011


Yeah, I like this as well.
posted by MustardTent at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2011


I like it! Please don't take it away!
posted by Acheman at 8:41 AM on March 2, 2011


Chiming in: don't really like this change, but will grudgingly use it.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2011


Since the change I have found myself reluctant to read AskMe. And I tend to give up after the first page.

After I click the back button from a question back to the AskMe question page, I'm first brought back to the end of the original question page (page 1), and then rapidly moved to the position where I last was on the big, extended question page. I find this disorienting and it makes the experience unpleasant. I would be ok if I was brought straight back to the final position but the rapidly flickering pages actually make me slighly nauseous for some reason. I also find it more difficult to find my position of the page because of this.

One of the big reasons I like Metafilter is that the user experience is so calm and friendly. The dark backgrounds make it really easy on my eyes and there are no flickering moving things to give headaches. This new feature isn't certainly the worst thing ever and many people seem to like it, but it would be lovely to have the ability to turn it off or maybe have the old style "next page" link on the bottom of the page, in addition to the "show more questions".
posted by severiina at 8:43 AM on March 2, 2011


shelleycat, what computer (year/model/etc) are you using? The only problem I have had with Mefi was when the site went down for a bit yesterday, but I am on a newer laptop.

And I honestly hadn't noticed the difference, so I will go for "on the fence" regarding the new feature.
posted by misha at 8:51 AM on March 2, 2011


I know I like it for comments, but I'm not sure I like it for subsite front pages. I tend to control the AskMe timesink with pagination. Still, this is not the pony I want to die on.
posted by catlet at 8:55 AM on March 2, 2011


This seems like AJAX for the sake of AJAX. What problem is it solving, exactly?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:58 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The inline comment feature is fantastic, as previously you'd have to hit the anchor link of the last comment & then Ctrl-F5 to keep your place & see if there were any new questions. Posts are not paginated and therefore loading new comments with AJAX goodness makes sense.

But changing the bare bones pager links (previous/newer) to loading more questions on the same page feels like AJAX overkill, mainly because it's gone from a somewhat paginated expeience to having to endlessly scroll a never-ending page. It's annoying on my lap/desktop, and a huge PITA on my iPod. And you can't switch off this new functionality without also killing the inline comments feature.

Why not spilt the difference and use the AJAX with the previous minimalistic pager functionality? Click the AJAX link & it unloads page 1 content/loads page 2 content.
posted by romakimmy at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2011


I don't care for it, particularly. My brain tends to keep track of how many pages I go back in askme, and I remember questions by where they are on the page. So this sort of messes up my personal navigation style, but it is not something I would carry on about if other people prefer it. If I had the option to turn it off or not use it, I would do that.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:08 AM on March 2, 2011


I came to note the same problem as mimi -- backing out in iPhone goes back to the beginning of the "more" results.

I'm ambivalent about the feature in general -- if the problem is seeing all of today's posts, why not just have date-based navigation? That would also come in handy for the "oh, yeah, I saw something interesting last Saturday" case, which is one that I have experienced a few times.
posted by bjrubble at 9:15 AM on March 2, 2011


I like it in principle, but was a little disoriented by the location - and new meaning - of the large date header on the left margin. The Month and Day used to be a nice static milepost to delineate the end of one day and the start of the next. Now it just sort of appears - at times - I don't know when or why. As a daily reader with absolutely no flair for the obvious, I sort of miss that part of its functionality.
posted by klarck at 9:16 AM on March 2, 2011


If this has become a voting thing, I'm in the like camp.
posted by Julnyes at 9:25 AM on March 2, 2011


I HATE HATE HATE it, both for Metafilter and other sites that do this, and here's a concrete reason:

You can be multiple pages worth of "load more" down, click on a link (to a actual post or off-site) and then when you go back, if the browser thinks it needs to reload, you're suddenly back at the top / most recent with none of additional material you to loaded to get to however far back/down you were in the first place. You've totally lost your place and the link you went to isn't even loaded anymore so you can't just scroll down to it. This especially happens a lot on mobile devices with low memory, but I've had it happen with sites that use this interface on desktops with plenty of RAM (in theory).

Causing this sort of problem to accommodate users adverse to paging through past posts is a poor solution.
posted by D.C. at 9:29 AM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


You've totally lost your place and the link you went to isn't even loaded anymore so you can't just scroll down to it.

Did you try it here, D.C.? When you click the link, we add a bit of info to the URL that tells the page where you're at. When you click the back button, it loads the questions in again and your browser should return you to where you were. It even worked well in IE6 in our testing.

There will be a lag—depending on your connection speed—between clicking the back button and having the extra questions pop in. I can understand the annoyance with that, especially if you use the back button extensively. As with all options, there are trade-offs. You get slight back button lag with this option, but you get reading in place in return. Don't care about reading in place? The change won't be great for you. We're trying to find a balance and the feedback in this thread has been great for informing that so far, thanks.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:44 AM on March 2, 2011


Causing this sort of problem to accommodate users adverse to paging through past posts is a poor solution.

I want amend that to say that it's not just a "poor solution"; it's a "solution" to something that wasn't a problem in the first place. If someone wants to whine that they can't see an entire day's posts on one page, why not whine that we can't see a whole week, month, or year. Seriously, paging through past posts is not difficult, it is logical, and it accommodates a continuous stream which may vary from day to day on volume and goes back for years.

I shouldn't have to disable javascript (which I can't do on my mobile browser anyway) nor should I have to go out of my way to go to some special archives pages to avoid the problems that this new "feature" introduces.

I also think we shouldn't bump up the number of posts per page to a high number. If anything, make it a user-selected preference for those who want to change the number of posts per page.
posted by D.C. at 9:47 AM on March 2, 2011


What problem is it solving, exactly?

As Matt mentioned, we have had a steady drumbeat of complaints that questions scroll off the front page too quickly and clicking the "older questions" link is annoying. By loading the questions inline instead of requiring a full page load, we're hoping to get more questions in front of more people. It's reducing the friction that goes along with a full page load. People can stay in the mode of reading questions without the break.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:48 AM on March 2, 2011


Did you try it here, D.C.? When you click the link, we add a bit of info to the URL that tells the page where you're at.

I'll have to test it on my mobile, where forced page reloads are common. I'll trust you that it'll work, but still, in that environment longer pages are more cumbersome to browse and exist as a bigger chunk of RAM in the cache.
posted by D.C. at 9:54 AM on March 2, 2011


People. Please. Use tabs when opening up answers/posts from the front page. Completely separate of this feature, it will make your internet life better. I promise. Once you've mastered this on MeFi, take it elsewhere. Newspapers, blogs, anything that you might read that has a bunch of links that you want to visit.

Obviously doesn't apply to IE6 and iPhone users. If the former, upgrade or seek a better employer. If the latter, enjoy your fancy phone.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:13 AM on March 2, 2011


I was actually going to request that MeefEye begin to precache the next X post titles when you reach X position down the page, so that unless you ziiiiiing your wheel to the bottom, there's always more posts!

Mostly because pb doesn't have anything else to work on, right?
posted by TomMelee at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2011


Idle curiosity corollary: Since it's pretty well established that Ask draws the most eyeballs, wouldn't this AJAXian avoidance of page reloading have an adverse effect on page views vis-a-vis the Deck ads & whatever other ads get served up to non/logged out members?
posted by romakimmy at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2011


romakimmy: that's assuming all those extra eyeballs are landing on the front page of AskMe. IIRC, they're not—most of AskMe's traffic is directed to questions linked from google searches, so all those hits go to the individual question pages, not the front page.
posted by carsonb at 10:55 AM on March 2, 2011


If you do decide to keep this feature (which further use of convinces me even more that I dislike it), and do not decide to make it an option in preferences (my ideal solution), please, please, please turn it off for the mobile site. It turns from an irritating UI to a huge pain.
posted by jeather at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My brain tends to keep track of how many pages I go back in askme, and I remember questions by where they are on the page. So this sort of messes up my personal navigation style, but it is not something I would carry on about if other people prefer it.

Yeah, me too. I'm not crazy about it for those reasons but I can probably learn to work around it.
posted by tangerine at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2011


I loathe this with a wild firey passion (the intensity of which frankly concerns me), but I assume I will get used to it eventually.
posted by elizardbits at 11:49 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: Those of you losing your spots coming back to the main page. Heed this advice:

Firefox. Hover "More Inside" link or "44 answers" or whatever link. Click...WITH MIDDLE BUTTON.

Life is made of win.
posted by TomMelee at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2011


Or CTRL (CMD on Apple) click if you're lacking a middle button.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2011


This is why we can't have nice things.

Actually, I'm reasonably certain this is why we shouldn't have unnecessary 'features' that benefit only people so hopelessly lazy that even I--easily the laziest person I've ever met, by far--can't fathom the sort of human slug this cruft is meant for. (Cf. 'share links')
posted by Sys Rq at 12:51 PM on March 2, 2011


Actually, I'm reasonably certain this is why we shouldn't have unnecessary 'features'

Imagine how irritated this makes you. Now imagine that there are other people who are just as irritated but want exactly the opposite thing that you want. And imagine both of them stamping on pb's to do list, forever.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:57 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, maybe that's why this sort of thing should be optional.

(I'm not irritated, though. I'm just non-plussed.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:03 PM on March 2, 2011


And now I feel like we should all send copious thank yous to pb. Because regardless of whether or not it's a feature we like or loathe, it's really great that y'all are always trying to make the site a better place for all of us. And pb rules with the ponies. Mostly, they're the best ponies that have ever been, and even the ones that are sorta not my cup of tea are sparkly and beautiful.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:04 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's "other people"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 PM on March 2, 2011


Hell, I'm told.
posted by koeselitz at 1:06 PM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


One of the problems I've noticed with it is that when I right-click and open a question in another tab, the link shown on the main AskMe page doesn't change color to show it's been visited. Makes it tough to know if it actually registered the click and is loading the page, or if (as sometimes happens on my laptop) it didn't register the click.

And I'm in the curmudgeonly camp who don't think that having to click "previous questions" to load the next page is an unreasonable expectation. Bah. Gerroff my lawn.
posted by Lexica at 1:20 PM on March 2, 2011


And now I feel like we should all send copious thank yous to pb. Because regardless of whether or not it's a feature we like or loathe, it's really great that y'all are always trying to make the site a better place for all of us.

Meh.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:29 PM on March 2, 2011


Great. Now I'm going to have Billy Joel stuck in my head for the rest of the day. pb may deserve thank you notes, but you deserve an anti-thank you. Jeeze.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:55 PM on March 2, 2011


You're anti-welcome!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:01 PM on March 2, 2011


I like it, it's spiffy
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2011


I loved (loved!) the new comments feature, but I dislike this feature. It solves a problem that doesn't exist and I don't like the inifinitely long page trend either. Pagination isn't evil; there's a reason we read books and not scrolls.

But, I installed the Greasemonkey to disable it, so whatever I guess.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2011


Actually, I'm reasonably certain this is why we shouldn't have unnecessary 'features' that benefit only people so hopelessly lazy that even I--easily the laziest person I've ever met, by far--can't fathom the sort of human slug this cruft is meant for. (Cf. 'share links')

One thing I don't get is why people have to insert sly value judgments about those who like features other than the ones that they themselves like. Be reasonable here. My giving a thumbs up to this new tool does not make me hopelessly lazy or a whiner, just that I have different preferences than you do. Simply state your case about why you like it or why you don't and if there are usability issues that bug you, explain them.

So Sys Rq, you ignorant slut. There is no need for you anti-progress, anti-choice, tight-ass right winger types to get all personal about things. Sheesh.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:38 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So Sys Rq, you ignorant slut. There is no need for you anti-progress, anti-choice, tight-ass right winger types to get all personal about things. Sheesh.

Is that some sort of in joke that I'm not getting? Otherwise, it seems a little out of the blue and really intense.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2011


Is that some sort of in joke that I'm not getting?

"you ignorant slut"
posted by grouse at 3:42 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's an in joke I think it's just "Hey don't call people names, it's sort of rude. **calls names to lighten the mood**" That's my take. And everyone knows Sys Rq is none of the things mjjj called him (pretty sure).
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:42 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for clarifying. I was confused and then thought "I bet if I ask a clarifying question I won't have to be upset because it's just a confusion and not a weird attacky thing." I'm glad I went with that.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:51 PM on March 2, 2011


Um. Ok. So, did the page that shows all your things that were favorited by others always have a (show) link at the end of every comment?
posted by Night_owl at 4:16 PM on March 2, 2011


it has a [more] link and I think always did. The (show) might be some sort of greasemonkey weirdness?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:24 PM on March 2, 2011


So I'm just imagining that it's new. Fair enough.
posted by Night_owl at 4:27 PM on March 2, 2011


One thing I don't get is why people have to insert sly value judgments about those who like features other than the ones that they themselves like. Be reasonable here. My giving a thumbs up to this new tool does not make me hopelessly lazy or a whiner, just that I have different preferences than you do. Simply state your case about why you like it or why you don't and if there are usability issues that bug you, explain them.

I'm not really bothered by it. The feature itself, I could give or take--or, rather, I could if only I had the option.

This feature causes more problems than it solves, though; moreover, the problem it solves a) doesn't really seem all that pressing, and b) can be solved the old fashioned way, with a basic "Display ## Items Per Page" thingy that has existed since forever.* This automagical infinite scrolling just seems like trendy flavour-of-the-month website behaviour, and worse, it makes my browser do things I don't want it to do, which is awfully Web 1.0.** What's next, auto-refresh every 30 seconds?

One problem the introduction of this new feature has solved, however, is the painful lack of completely unavoidable Us-vs.-Them GRAR-fests in MetaTalk. Phew! That's what really sets my eyes to a-rollin'. You'd think Them would learn after all the other GRAR-inducing rollouts (and experimental rollbacks, and roll-back-outs) that opt-in user controls make GRAR go away. Why not just do that from the very beginning? The mind--it boggles!

* Yes,
** I saw what I did there.


Mostly, though, I want to know how it is that madamjujujive figured out that I am, in actual fact, Jane Curtin.

(I am not, in actual fact, Jane Curtin. This depresses me.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:34 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why not just do that from the very beginning?

Because at some point, the presence of 100 opt-out options in preferences becomes a form of hostility to users and its own source of GRAR-induction as well. It's a balancing act.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:45 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? Wouldn't it just be, "Here's this new checkbox," and then everyone would just set it and forget it, and schmoopy would be had by all?

P.S. I think you may have leaned on that zero key a little too long there, dude.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on March 2, 2011


Really? Wouldn't it just be, "Here's this new checkbox," and then everyone would just set it and forget it, and schmoopy would be had by all?

Currently there are about 30 things you can set on your profile page before even getting to the IM and Social Apps sections. While some of these are self-explanatory [i.e. "Your name, type it here"] a lot of them are not. Things that aren't self-explanatory need explanation either right there on the preferences page or in the FAQ. Sometimes users who don't understand the preferences, or don't quite get how they work, will ask in MetaTalk. Adding a new preference isn't something that's clear to users at the time, so there's a lag in preference adoption unless we want to do one of those lightbox HEY SOMETHING NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION things the next time people come to the site. And we hate that sort of thing so we'd be unlikely to do it.

So a preference like this one has a default setting, that could be contested. People may not think it's obvious enough. They may think it's too obvious. As I said before, anything we touch will have at least some people saying "I wish you hadn't touched that." so we try pretty hard to anticipate some issues and be gracious about other ones we haven't anticipated. We're as irritable as you all are [except pb who is an evolutionarily new breed of human I suspect] so while we try to hang here and give you and idea of what's happened and what's happening, I don't think we're understating the case to say that this is nowhere near as straightforward as you seem to think it might be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:31 PM on March 2, 2011


I preferred the older version, but I don't care strongly either way, BUT I am interested in the logic of people who strongly prefer the new version.

If having to load more comments was annoying, I could see an infinite scroll being preferable, and I don't see how the new version would be better than the old version - you get to the bottom and click a button to see more posts in both. I get that there's always resistance to change, so I understand why some people might strongly prefer the old version, but can someone elaborate on what makes the new version noticeably better? I'm intrigued, but can't get outside of my own mind enough to understand it.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I wish you hadn't touched that.
posted by Chuckles at 7:11 PM on March 2, 2011


can someone elaborate on what makes the new version noticeably better?

I really like that my reading flow isn't interrupted when I get to the bottom of the page - before I had to wait a few seconds for it to load, then reorient myself on the page, but now I can just keep going and going and going (which is not necessarily a plus from a time management perspective, let me tell you - but I still love it).

I have a crappy computer and the new features work fine for me. I used to have an even crappier computer that totally choked on Ajax in Firefox, though, so I feel your collective pain if the new Ajaxy stuff doesn't work for you. After reading hours and hours of support forum threads and Firefox bug reports, I figured out my problem was some rare unresolvable issue with how Firefox interacted with my video card. Ajax still worked great in Chrome though. Just a data point - trying another browser might help narrow down the problem.
posted by dialetheia at 7:35 PM on March 2, 2011


For what it's worth, I thought about this when I put together gamefilter. I decided to use traditional pagination on the front page†, where regular old blog-style posts live, as they do on the front page of MeFi or AskMe or MeTa, but use the ajax Load More singlepage thing on the Activity stream page, which displays more emphemeral stuff (as on pages like My Activity here on MeFi).

There's something to be said for doing things consistently everywhere, of course, in terms of user expectations, but I figured the different nature of the page content justified it.

Anyway. Here, I don't mind either way, but I would, as others have, strongly disagree that Metafilter in general is bloated or heavy at all. What ajaxery has been added has been done in a remarkably lightweight way, one I wish I had the skills and time to emulate.

† I may end up going to just Older and Newer page footer links in time, actually. Still thinking about it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:02 PM on March 2, 2011


I like that people are continuing the standard progression of reference marks.‡

‡ You know, asterisk, dagger, double dagger, section mark, parallels, number sign.
posted by grouse at 8:36 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always get sad when people put a reference mark and never clarify the reference.
posted by that girl at 9:45 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because at some point, the presence of 100 opt-out options in preferences becomes a form of hostility to users and its own source of GRAR-induction as well. It's a balancing act.

Just have it read my .mefirc file when I log in.

For the record:
# Ajax-y AskMe thing
showmorequestions = YES, PLEASE
posted by ctmf at 10:34 PM on March 2, 2011


I am not, in actual fact, Jane Curtin. This depresses me.

Sys Rq, I am only funnin' with you, dude - hope I didn't hurt your feelings. I thought I was so over the top it would be seen as humor (intended as jessamyn points out). Although there was a point in there.

What depresses me is that my cultural references are no longer common realm. (I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled).
posted by madamjujujive at 3:08 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not just use footnotes?1

1 That way I don't have to open character map.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:08 AM on March 3, 2011


Hey shellycat, what web browser do you use? It can make just as big a difference as the oldness of your computer. Using a crappy old browser with slow javascript parsing can literally slow you down by a factor of 20. I'd suggest Chrome.
posted by floam at 4:38 AM on March 3, 2011


(By the way, powers that be, I like the new system. It's faster and transmits less data than having to get an entire new page for more results.)
posted by floam at 4:40 AM on March 3, 2011


Like.
posted by snofoam at 7:42 AM on March 3, 2011


I don't like very long pages because I often like to skim through a page quickly by scrolling up and down to check things out before deciding what I want to look at. i.e. I don't necessarily want to process things in the order they show up on the page, I want to skim the headlines then process in order of greatest-interest-to-me until I run out of time for messing about on the site in question. That means I jump around the page up and down to where the interesting items were.

Pages that change in length are esp annoying as I then have no sense of how far back up I need to go to see "that thing I noticed earlier".

Btw suggestions like "disable Javascript" and "use a Greasemonkey script" are a pain to the average user. I at least know what those things mean, but I'm more likely drift away from a site I find hard to use than go to those lengths to make it work how I want.

I'd probably use Twitter and Tumblr more if they didn't have infinite scrolling.
posted by philipy at 11:11 AM on March 3, 2011


philipy: “Pages that change in length are esp annoying as I then have no sense of how far back up I need to go to see ‘that thing I noticed earlier’.”

You actually remember the pagination for that? Wow. That's really not something I can imagine ever doing – seriously. Maybe I'm just too ADD, but I have problems with this constantly. I saw something about "monkeys" on page 2 or 3 or 4 or something... I don't know precisely. So that ends up with me going to page 2, then hitting control-f, then typing "monkeys"... argh, no, it wasn't on that page, try page 3... nope, not that page... page 4? Oh geez, I was being silly, it was on page 1. There it is.

This is so much simpler when I only have to search in one page.

Add to that this fact: I'm pretty sure most people orient themselves to a page in relation to the top. I know that might be my bias, but it does seem to me that people do this, particularly with internet pages. Most browsers allow you to return to the top with a keystroke (usually "home") so it's pretty easy to stay oriented even if the bottom keeps extending. Add to that the fact that extending the page doesn't force you to the top of a new page the way pagination does, and I think it's easier to understand why people like this change. I do, anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 11:51 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just have no idea why stuff like this is almost always implemented as a "it's here now, install a script to get rid of it" thing. Why isn't the default thing "add functionality, let user opt-in in profile"
posted by tehloki at 7:50 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's already way too much stuff in the preferences page.
posted by grouse at 8:01 PM on March 3, 2011


Madamjujujuive, rest assured that I got the joke, having recognized the SNL reference immediately. My aforementioned depressed state has nothing to do with you and everything to with God not not making me Jane Curtin.

I mean, hell, I'm not even that other lady from Kate & Allie. WTF, God? (Then again, at least I'm not French Stewart.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"it's here now, install a script to get rid of it"

I don't like this attitude either and I don't like the change.
posted by PugAchev at 12:52 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Add me to the hate group.

I read the green a lot from my BlackBerry and similar to the comments above this has really killed the usability of askme for my phone. Before I could read the questions that interested me, hit back and be on the main list of questions exactly where I left off (making askme my most visited mobile site). This is fine until I've read the first "page" then each time afterwards I have to hit "show more questions", wait for the load, read the question, hit back, go to the very top of the page, scroll all the way through, hit "show more questions", rinse, repeat.

I have given up reading anything that comes after the "show more questions" wall as it is not worth the irritation.

I would love it if this could be a preference thing. Also because it's a phone running scripts (often not possible) or disabling java script causes lots of unexpected errors.
posted by saradarlin at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2011


ok, we went ahead and removed the feature. We felt like it was a nice extra but it's not worth the angst it's causing for so many. Sorry about the inconvenience it caused, and the new inconvenience for those of you who liked it.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:26 PM on March 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sorry to have put you between a rock and a hard place, o great wizard of codetry.

The internet has always had this tension between programming innovation and hardware/system compatibility, and it looks like the landscape, littered as it is with SmartPhones and PDAs and a couple of decade's worth of getting-to-be-obsolete home computers, is infinitely more complex since the late '90s when I was one of the lucky few whose job it was to make sure the eCommerce stores were not breaking in IE.

Is it possible to create three layers of website, with ajax-coolness at the rich end, mobile sparseness at the lean end, and javascript=Y, ajax=N in the middle?

Just a thought. My other thought is 'Can we all just use Lynx now?' Hugs!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:18 PM on March 4, 2011


Sorry to have put you between a rock and a hard place, o great wizard of codetry.

nah, nah, it's all good. There's no magic or wizardry. This is the messy world of web development. We try to balance the desire for improvement with the desire for stability. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong.

It's not as simple as Ajax on browsers, none on mobile. The inline comments feature is arguably most useful on phones. Favorites, flagging, and a slew of other feature are powered by Ajax. It's not a matter of saying Ajax is good for here and not for there. There are no bright lines and solid rules. If there were we wouldn't need MetaTalk.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:06 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


God damn it, this is why we can't have nice things you frickin' whiny luddites!
posted by floam at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2011


(But thanks pb for not making it an option, there's way too many already)
posted by floam at 5:50 PM on March 4, 2011


I thought I was the only one who was hating hating HATING this! Like, it was making me want to never come to Metafilter again. I hate Twitter and Facebook for adopting this style, but I always expected Metafilter to stick to its nice minimalistic, usable style ('infinite scrolling' is the term? good, now I know what to direct my curses towards on those other sites!). I mean, seriously, Metafilter is about the content. It doesn't need a flashy style. Anyway, I'm THRILLED that Metafilter was all back to normal today. I love you, Metafilter just the way you are.. please don't ever change, baby.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:24 PM on March 4, 2011


Oh, for um... I don't know what purpose (statistical?), the above comment is from a person who reads every single post on MetaFilter, AskMeFi, and MetaTalk (at least the outer portion.. I may not click on every single [more inside] but I read everything, so I'm not just a casual skimmer..).. every single day.. The 'infinite scrolling' didn't work well for my computer either (as per the OP's description), but also, it didn't make for easier reading. It really made the site far more cumbersome than going between pages. That's all I've got to say!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:30 PM on March 4, 2011


(But thanks pb for not making it an option, there's way too many already)

Freedom from choice
Is what you get

posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on March 4, 2011


or "want," or whatever
posted by Sys Rq at 8:33 PM on March 4, 2011


I just have no idea why stuff like this is almost always implemented as a "it's here now, install a script to get rid of it" thing. Why isn't the default thing "add functionality, let user opt-in in profile"

We're just lucky that MeFi is the best.. from the people running/moderating to the people doing the coding and the web design. When Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr (etc.) implement anything new (whether it be a gui or a privacy change), they don't seem to really care whether or not their users like or prefer one version over another. Flickr has been especially bad about this, which is maddening to me and many other people who have paid for accounts. At least the people in charge could pretend to care when their paid members say they don't like something. Thank you, MeFi for listening to your members. Whether the members are right or wrong.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:48 PM on March 4, 2011


I just have no idea why stuff like this is almost always implemented as a "it's here now, install a script to get rid of it" thing. Why isn't the default thing "add functionality, let user opt-in in profile"

You have no idea why? If you think the change you just spent hours slaving over is an improvement, why would you disable it?
posted by floam at 10:25 PM on March 4, 2011


Thank you so much. I just reached the bottom of the front page and was about to log of my phone when lo and behold it works again!!
posted by saradarlin at 12:55 AM on March 5, 2011


Definitely kudos to the staff for listening to feedback.

It's refreshing - and downright remarkable - to find a site where the people running it are so genuinely open to feedback.
posted by philipy at 8:05 AM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


But.. but.. just because a coder or designer thinks they've made a massive improvement doesn't mean all users will see it that way.. or experience improvements the way the coder/designer intends it to be experienced. On any site. It's only really a triumph if it vastly improves the user experience, right? Apparently, I'm wrong, but I'll continue to stick to my guns until the internet implodes into itself.
posted by Mael Oui at 7:38 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


We kick things around in the back room a lot before we make them public on the site. We try to figure out what people might not like about them and we listen to criticism. Everyone always has a list of things the site could be doing better. If we think we have a solution that addresses something on this long list that we think doesn't also create more problems we'll try it out here. Often we'll announce it in MeTa, sometimes we don't if we think it's a small thing. We misjudged in this case and we rolled it back. Everything's a balancing act. This isn't us saying "you didn't appreciate our great idea" this is just us saying "well back to the drawing board, that didn't work out exactly like we'd hoped"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:59 PM on March 5, 2011


Oh, yay! I would never have complained, but that really was messing with the way I use the site.
posted by lwb at 5:10 AM on March 6, 2011


Thanks for undoing it. I really wasn't a fan.

I'm still trying to grasp why some people find it so onerous to click to a second page. That's what the Web is.
posted by pmurray63 at 5:35 AM on March 8, 2011


I wonder if a happy medium exists. Can the next page and previous page buttons just swap in the new content page entirely, rather than adding it at the end? Some of the HTML5 history stuff really adds good support for tracking this properly, and I think it is supported on the iPhone at least.
posted by smackfu at 1:41 PM on March 8, 2011


I'm not sure how much that would improve things, smackfu. If you're scrolled down to the bottom of the page as you're reading where do you go when the new content swaps in? It seems like you'd have to go back up to the top which kind of defeats the "reading in place" nature of the feature.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2011


I want to thank you guys for changing it back, though I actaully kind of like the momentary disorientation of being experimented on with no forewarning.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:58 PM on March 9, 2011


I still haven't gotten a good answer re: why not just let people enable/disable it in their profile. "There are already too many buttons" is not a good answer.
posted by tehloki at 3:29 PM on March 13, 2011


Too many buttons might not be a good answer for you, but that's basically it. We don't want our profile page to turn into an impossible-to-navigate sea of options. I know many services do that, but we feel it's a form of hostility to users. We are trying to keep things simple. We'll all probably disagree where that balance point is. We feel we're close to the edge with the existing profile page.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:49 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are already too many buttons.
posted by grouse at 7:13 PM on March 13, 2011


I think it's cute there is a preference on whether to underline links.
posted by smackfu at 2:28 PM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a mechanism in place for culling preferences that 95% of users all set the same way? Are there in fact any such preferences? You might get useful amounts of room for new stuff if so.

Another model you might care to try is something like Firefox's about:config page - any preference that gets its click-and-grunt interface culled could remain in force, and even remain editable via something explicitly designed to be a semi-organized morass.
posted by flabdablet at 7:02 PM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe that's what we'll have to move to. I'd personally feel like that's giving up, in a way. A 'basic' and 'advanced' tab might be enough to let people know that 'advanced' is going to take some work. I still think that's pretty hostile, and if was designing a friendly browser the about:config style of managing preferences is not something I'd make users wade through. Geeks love it because it gives them all kinds of control. But there are a group of people out there that see about:config and run for the hills. We identify ourselves as geeks by our ability to use about:config. Maybe we don't need to fight that interface fight here, but software in general needs to be friendlier and easier to use even if it means giving up some of our geek self-identification.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:56 PM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Point taken.

I do feel, though, that geekness is not a problem. Though most geeks will fail to comprehend how it could be so, most people simply don't give two shits how their available technologies work: as long as they know how to use them to get the job at hand done, and have access to an appropriate geek to help them out when they don't, they're happy. Digital natives or no, the people who care enough about what's under the hood to go poking around in there are always going to be a minority, and that minority is always going to be the ones who get consulted by the 5% of civilians who find themselves wishing that the well-chosen defaults were not the Only Thing.

That's why I'm suggesting that anything that suits 95% of users should be appropriately defaulted and then shuffled off to an about:config-like mess that's well organized and well (though not prominently) documented but makes no attempt to be "friendly" and is in fact generally invisible. There would then be nothing there to frighten the civilians off into the hills, but it would still be possible for a helpful geek (of whom there are plenty here) to answer a plaintive "how do I do this?" in a form something like

Click or bookmark one of these:
Turn AskMe pagination on
Turn AskMe pagination off
posted by flabdablet at 4:03 AM on March 15, 2011


By the way, I think the "basic" vs "advanced" tab thing so beloved of Microsoft UI designs is a dreadful mistake. As far as the user is concerned there's no difference, and the stuff that's on "basic" vs "advanced" generally seems to me fairly arbitrary.

The nice thing about about:config and stuff along the same lines is that everything is there. People who know how to drive it and are comfortable with it and use it to support other people don't need to waste time poking around in the dumbed-down, civilian-friendly UI of the week to get the job done - we just dive straight into about:config or the command line or whatever underlying Does Everything mechanism is available, and use that.

The only tab should be the Basic one, and it shouldn't be called Basic, it should just be the only pointy clicky thing and expose a strict subset of the underlying about:configgy controls. The ability to shuffle ugly or confusing things off to an Advanced tab is what gave the Outlook designers the freedom to make their product as unbelievably godawful as it is.

I don't think a new pony should ever stay in about:config though it might be a useful place to stable them for testing. It ought to be a retirement home for ponies that are no longer popular but still have enough life in them to justify avoiding a trip to the knackery.
posted by flabdablet at 4:59 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't the idea of what amounts to an 'advanced' tab that is hidden from view kind of patronizing for a site like this? To me the idea of saying to a new user, "Don't worry your pretty little head about these settings," is still in the realm of hostile. Maybe it works for a browser, but I don't think it works for a site like this. It leads to another point we have to consider: if a feature doesn't make the "basic" cut because it isn't used enough, is it worth supporting? We have a very small development staff, me. Features don't just lie dormant, they need constant maintenance. One of the hidden features might be used by a handful of people, but when we add something new like 25-hour martian time support, all features that we decide are worth supporting need to be updated. So the presence of hidden features adds weight to new development considerations. If a feature doesn't make the 'basic' cut, how do we justify the weight of keeping it as a 'hidden' feature?
posted by pb (staff) at 7:56 AM on March 15, 2011


To me the idea of saying to a new user, "Don't worry your pretty little head about these settings," is still in the realm of hostile.

My point is that you wouldn't be saying that, because new users would never even see them as options. That's exactly the difference between an Advanced tab and a generalized API back door like about:config.

The only options you'd make API-only-accessible would be ones that you've found by experience end up set one particular way by an overwhelming majority of users, and which you'd therefore decided to remove from the profile settings page. For new users, this would be no more hostile than simply deleting such an option entirely, and it would be less hostile to the handful who do have it set the other way.

Support for features that remain selectable only via the API should naturally be well down the priority list, and should not be bothered with at all until some threshold number of users have complained about breakage; if that doesn't happen, you know the pony is dead and can be safely and finally boiled down for glue.

You might also consider at least partially opening the codebase, allowing people who really, really want their old ponies unboiled to have a crack at doing so themselves. I don't have anywhere near enough information about the state of the code to tell whether the QA this would cost is worth the coding effort it would save.
posted by flabdablet at 9:22 AM on March 15, 2011


Another neat-ish thing about implementing the profile page as a friendly front end to an underlying API is that you can screw about with the API to make stuff like this easily do-able without needing to worry about its impact on people who don't care. If you kept all your message timestamps in UTC internally, and had an API way to apply a strftime format string per user, the profile page could just generate pre-canned ones and anybody who wants to use an unsupported time format could soon find out how to do so in whatever way they liked without any support at all from you. About all you'd need to do to a format string submitted via the API is HTML-sanitize it before storage. It would probably make your timestamp generation code smaller.
posted by flabdablet at 9:38 AM on March 15, 2011


No, I feel like secret features are not feasible for a site this size. We need to make choices about what a majority of people are going to use and present them in a clear way. There might naturally be a divide between power users and everyone else, but I don't think we want to reinforce that divide with our development choices.

And oh, if only our architecture were that organized adding any feature would be a breeze.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:49 AM on March 15, 2011


We've had mass tagging working bees. Open it up, I say! Let's have a mass refactoring working bee.
posted by flabdablet at 9:56 AM on March 15, 2011


That way I could implement my seekrit preference to have "favorites" display everywhere as "bookmarks" :-)
posted by flabdablet at 9:58 AM on March 15, 2011


I could implement my seekrit preference to have "favorites" display everywhere as "bookmarks" :-)

Greasemonkey will do that without us getting a lot of email about it. Since we're a very active and I guess what you'd call "high touch" website, we're usually not that willing to do something that five percent of the users actively hate, for most things and certainly not most changes. We try to get a read on what people like/don't like and then keep that in mind when we make changes. This is not a site that deals with change gracefully, but that's mainly [to my mind] because people are really happy here and feel a sense of ownership of the site. Which is great. But when people don't like things, they can really get in a rut of unliking [see related "why won't you add Tumblr to social sites" thread] and worry it like a dog on a bone. People are sticky on issues like this [see also; favorites] and easily agitated and irritable. This is usually a feature not a bug.

In most cases we're okay just being sort of "we're not going to do that" or we'll consider "gee maybe we really should do that" but there's a lot of back end discussion that happens and a lot of lobbying by users on both sides of almost any implementation we do or have ever done. We try hard not to be the sort of site that says some morning "here's your new redesign and if you don't like it, here's the door!" but this choice that we've made (or pact with the users if you will) does come with a little more reluctance to do change-type stuff. If 5% of the users HATE something that they didn't mind before the change, it's a problem for us because this site IS the users, we don't really have any other goal except to keep it running.

So flabdablet, I get that you're excited about this idea and have a bunch of new ideas, but I'm not totally sure you're meshing that with the fact that we have hundreds of other users who have really strong opinions about a lot of these things and we have to consider all of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


'High touch.'
posted by box at 10:31 AM on March 15, 2011


Also, 'this site IS the users.'
posted by box at 6:47 PM on March 15, 2011


Meshing just fine, and won't be disappointed in the least if it none of my bright ideas for mefi ever come to anything; just thought that this one was good enough to warrant a public airing. Thanks for taking the time to do just that, and rest assured that the outstanding level of care and consideration that you folks put in to every. tiny. aspect. of this site is appreciated and valued even by those of us who know in our hearts that the One True Spelling of favorite/favourite is "bookmark".
posted by flabdablet at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2011


Also, [♥]
posted by flabdablet at 6:51 PM on March 15, 2011


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