Long thread is long October 3, 2012 9:21 AM   Subscribe

With the political season upon us like a vicious ape clinging to our backs, our long, long coupla thousand comment threads are a beast to load, especially on mobile devices. Is there a way to have a user-set preference to fold all but the last, say, 100 comments so that they don't have to load up each time?

In conclusion, Ginuwine makes an excellent case for ponies.
posted by klangklangston to Feature Requests at 9:21 AM (56 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I consider very long threads like the current Romneyan epic being creaky bears that are hard to use as a sort of natural containment feature for ridiculously long threads. Folding out context is more of an incentive for very long threads (something we don't really want to create) than it is a solution to a serious problem (since these very long threads are rare, mythworthy beasts).
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


very long threads like the current Romneyan epic

Or as I like to think of it, the Romneyana.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:30 AM on October 3, 2012 [27 favorites]


I would feed this pony an apple. But that's because my internet access may be partially limited to phone in the near future.
posted by bilabial at 9:33 AM on October 3, 2012


"being creaky bears that are hard to use as a sort of natural containment feature for ridiculously long threads. Folding out context is more of an incentive for very long threads (something we don't really want to create) than it is a solution to a serious problem (since these very long threads are rare, mythworthy beasts)."

I can understand that, but I remember the tsunami thread crashing my phone browser, and I'm sure that the upcoming debates will also spawn a megathread. I think that MeFi has grown to the extent where we can predict a couple of these per year, and deprecating all of them because some of them turn into political grudgematches seems unfortunate.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perhaps you need my argument again, only slower.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As much as I love a birthday pony, we're kind of discussing this in the thread below this one already, and it looks like there are already outlet valves popping up all over. Heck, there's a brand-new debate thread at the top of the front page. I think we'll be okay.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2012


I also tend to think it'd help on any thread over a couple hundred comments, which happens all the time now, but that may be because my phone's browser is butt or something.
posted by klangklangston at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing you might do on your phone is turn off the inline YouTube links preference. Those take some time to process when the page first loads, and if you don't need them it can speed things up.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:37 AM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I also tend to think it'd help on any thread over a couple hundred comments, which happens all the time now, but that may be because my phone's browser is butt or something.

I have a great deal of sympathy about buttphones, but we don't really want to reverse course on major long-standing site design decisions to accommodate the crappy mobile browser stuff of the moment. It's okay in a big-picture sense if some folks spend less time with the odd very long thread than they'd like because their current device setup is suboptimal, much as I sympathize at a personal level with the annoyance.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:38 AM on October 3, 2012


Those are already off on both my computer and phone; I don't like 'em visually. But maybe that'll help some other folks who still have them on.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on October 3, 2012


I have a great deal of sympathy about buttphones, but we don't really want to reverse course on major long-standing site design decisions to accommodate the crappy mobile browser stuff of the moment.

Yeah this is one of those things where we appreciate the technological reasons people want this (and moderating those threads is a pain too) but they come up a few times a year, if less and we'd rather work on developing a general "Hey make a new post about the topic if people are still interested in talking about it but the thread is boggy" approach than building some new thing that will have a lot of other side effects.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 AM on October 3, 2012


I note that every comment thread has an associated RSS feed. RSS readers normally have some way to cope with very long feeds, so you might have better luck reading along that way.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:58 AM on October 3, 2012


Infodumpster! What are the threads with at least 1000 comments?

Looks like they are becoming more prevalent.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2012


What's really surprising, the week of the Japanese Tsunami, there were 2 3,000+ and a 1,700+ thread.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:29 AM on October 3, 2012


Or as I like to think of it, the Romneyana.

The Romneyiad?
posted by atrazine at 10:40 AM on October 3, 2012


With the political season upon us like a vicious ape clinging to our backs...

Yoda is not an ape.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just here for the Golden Age of Timbaland derail.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:04 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That thread is over 3.5 megs! I'll be generous and assume that, say 1 meg of that is cruft like bylines and html. That's still something like 2 books worth of content.

(And yes, I finally gave up trying to read it on my phone a few days ago. Even my desktop gets a bit cranky when I load it up.)
posted by aspo at 11:06 AM on October 3, 2012


"I consider very long threads like the current Romneyan epic being creaky bears that are hard to use as a sort of natural containment feature for ridiculously long threads. Folding out context is more of an incentive for very long threads (something we don't really want to create) than it is a solution to a serious problem (since these very long threads are rare, mythworthy beasts)."

If you guys really want fewer longboat threads, I think there might be better solutions (like a relaxing the prohibition on related topics once a big thread gets unmanageable), then keeping the site broken to inconvenience users with slow connections. For starters, Mefites are stubborn folk and I'm not sure it actually serves as a particularly effective deterrent.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:16 AM on October 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Even my desktop gets a bit cranky when I load it up.

It ate my system alive and so I bought a new computer the other day. I'd be looking at the Romneyan in recent comments, then click through and everything would just lock up. And then typing in it - the letters would come out one by one and when I was trying to get links from other tabs it was just a nightmare.
posted by cashman at 11:16 AM on October 3, 2012


I've noticed that these types of threads are almost always about breaking news. MetaFilter should emphatically not be altered to make current events threads easier.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:23 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


(like a relaxing the prohibition on related topics once a big thread gets unmanageable)

To be clear, we're generally pretty relaxed on that front. There have been other election-related posts since that one. But when people really find a coffee shop they like, well, that's where they keep going for their daily cup I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you guys really want fewer longboat threads, I think there might be better solutions (like a relaxing the prohibition on related topics once a big thread gets unmanageable), then keeping the site broken to inconvenience users with slow connections.

Yes. Everyone has a lot of suggested solutions. This is the one we're going with for now. There is a side effect of these longboat threads that they are harder on people with slow connections. We understand that and at the same time are not at all interested in getting even more relaxed about the "MetaFilter is not primarily a current events/news/politics site" edict than we already are. People who find this intolerable are welcome to get their news and politics fix elsewhere and we hope they will come back after the election season.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:03 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dunno, this election season has seemed less election seasony than previous ones. But it's still early.
posted by Justinian at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2012


"I've noticed that these types of threads are almost always about breaking news. MetaFilter should emphatically not be altered to make current events threads easier."

That's more true about the exceptionally long ones, but comments still move pretty quickly in discussions of, say, fedoras big pimpin'.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on October 3, 2012


People who find this intolerable are welcome to get their news and politics fix elsewhere and we hope they will come back after the election season.

I understand that you have a general antipathy toward politics threads, but I think the issue is broader than that and while I used it as an example, I think reducing it to that — especially with kind of a blunt misrepresentation is unfair. I noted a problem, and just asked for a resolution.
posted by klangklangston at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's good that we're having a new thread for the debate. America wants somebody to lead this nation with intelligence and honor, and hopes in the debate the two candidates will have an answer to the question: Are you that somebody?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fixes for long threads pony comes up a couple of times a year, I think, and is always shot down. Site policy changing on this seems pretty unlikely.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:01 PM on October 3, 2012


Yeah, but when you post a pony thread you know your odds are one in a million.
posted by klangklangston at 1:33 PM on October 3, 2012


Listen, we're not going to change everything because of a few screwy election threads, so don't rock the boat.
posted by Mister_A at 1:42 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Klang, have a bun.
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on October 3, 2012


Sorry, klang, looks like everyone wants to rain on your parade.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:01 PM on October 3, 2012


That's OK, I can always try again.
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 PM on October 3, 2012


Thanks for the earworm, guys.
posted by maudlin at 3:23 PM on October 3, 2012



That's more true about the exceptionally long ones, but comments still move pretty quickly in discussions of, say, fedoras big pimpin'.


True, it is hard to argue with fedoras.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:32 PM on October 3, 2012


The fixes for long threads pony comes up a couple of times a year, I think, and is always shot down. Site policy changing on this seems pretty unlikely

On the other hand, persistent whining finally paid off with the edit window.
posted by TedW at 3:35 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the case of ponies, surely you mean persistent whinnying?
posted by arcticseal at 3:47 PM on October 3, 2012


I actually typed whinning instead of whining, so subconsciously I must have wanted to say whinnying. I even thought about leaving it just so I could use the edit window to go back and change it but chickened out. New features make me nervous.
posted by TedW at 4:19 PM on October 3, 2012


persistent whining finally paid off with the edit window.

We specifically rolled it out nowhere near a MeTa thread requesting it so that people would not say this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:47 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oops, they say it anyway.
posted by klangklangston at 4:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


We specifically rolled it out nowhere near a MeTa thread requesting it so that people would not say this.

C'mon, you know we're crazy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 PM on October 3, 2012


metafilter - a vicious ape clinging to our backs
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on October 3, 2012


More like a viscous ape, amirite?
posted by Forktine at 7:06 PM on October 3, 2012


I'd just like to mention how much I love the word "buttphones".
posted by xbonesgt at 7:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


This just isn't the type of pony people are going to raise up over.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"persistent whining finally paid off"...We specifically rolled it out nowhere near a MeTa thread requesting it so that people would not say this.

You prefer intermittent whining?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:49 PM on October 3, 2012


persistent whining finally paid off with the edit window.

I've got a sneaking suspicion that the preponderance of devices doing auto-correct indirectly influenced this decision. Never have so many suffered typos for so little reason.

It would be interesting to take a look at people attempting to write proper English sentences on the web pre and post auto-correct explosion. I'm guessing misspellings went way down but nonsense sentences went way up.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:53 PM on October 3, 2012


Chrysostom: "The fixes for long threads pony comes up a couple of times a year, I think, and is always shot down. Site policy changing on this seems pretty unlikely."

Yup. Proposals (and rejections) like this make me wonder why the page is titled Customize Metafilter. Why not add more preference check boxes?

/whine
posted by fireoyster at 2:37 AM on October 4, 2012


Smartphones are going to represent an increasing percentage of the site's traffic (I'd guess that I do about 30%-50% of my MeFi browsing by phone and tablet already, and it's 100% some weeks), and at the same time the site continues to grow, meaning not just more threads but more people participating in threads.

Folding long threads is going to be an inevitability, I think, because on touchscreen interfaces it's going to be a convenience for any thread over a few hundred lines. There might be more clever ways to handle it but I'm not clever enough to think of them. Outright pagination doesn't strike me as clever, although it does solve a subsequent problem (returning to a thread you've read the first n hundred comments of).
posted by ardgedee at 3:04 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about super ape?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:15 AM on October 4, 2012


Intermittent reinforcement is usually more effective in the long run, compared with no reinforcement or continuous reinforcement. Intermittent whinnying FTW! Just Say Neeeeeigh!
posted by Mister_A at 8:35 AM on October 4, 2012


We just got a pony the other day! I agree that it'd be nice, but I am sated with my ability to edit for now.
posted by corb at 4:02 PM on October 4, 2012


I'd love a "250 comments per page" or "500 comments per page" version of the mobile theme for my buttphone.

As this is not going to happen I will investigate the RSS feed thing. Not sure if the GReader mobile interface supports adding feeds though, so I may be SOL if tethered to a phone for long periods.
posted by subbes at 6:33 AM on October 6, 2012


Maybe instead of surfing the internet on bitty little phones people should try out experiencing their fucking surroundings. HEYO
posted by threeants at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2012


Oh, pfthrrbfffff.
posted by subbes at 9:41 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But, I was in a conference room.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:20 AM on October 7, 2012


« Older Lies, Liars, and Politicians: Let the debates...   |   metafilter dating media Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments