Ctrl+enter to post/preview? March 8, 2014 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I was wondering what the community and dev team thinks about adding a ctrl+enter shortcut to post comments. It's something that's fairly common elsewhere on the web, and in my opinion it would be nice to have it here as well. Going to the mouse to click on Post Comment is not exactly a big deal, but it would be cool if there were a keyboard shortcut for those of us who are slightly mouse-averse.

The only drawback I can think of is that it would then make it easier to post than preview, and I know previewing comments is something that is encouraged around here. Perhaps then it might be possible to have ctrl+enter as a hotkey for posting a comment, and ctrl+shift+enter for preview? Or vice versa, if we think that previewing by default would be best.

I can't think of any reasons not to do this, but if there are some then I'd be interested to hear them. I know that oftentimes site-defined hotkeys can conflict with browser or system shell hotkeys, but ctrl+enter seems to be used successfully on other sites and I've never found it to cause a problem. What do we think?
posted by Scientist to Feature Requests at 7:44 AM (40 comments total)

Can you tab to the button and hit enter?
posted by Jahaza at 7:49 AM on March 8, 2014


We'll give it some thought. Sometimes having a little friction to a process isn't necessarily a bad thing. An extra fraction of a second can give someone a chance to glance over the live preview on their way to the Post button and catch something they might not have otherwise. Not a big deal with editing in place, but catching an error before post saves that editing time.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:59 AM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Type type type! TYPE TYPE. Typey type?! DTMFA"

Then: tab, space.

VOILA! The post, it is posted.
posted by barnacles at 7:59 AM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes you can! In fact, MetaFilter has sensibly designed the site so that if you hit tab from the comment box you're positioned right over the Post Comment button (with Preview being next) and I applaud that. It's just that since tab order is so often unreliable I tend not to be in the habit of using it. It would be no big loss to me if this feature didn't get implemented, I just thought that it sounded like a minor improvement with few or no drawbacks.
posted by Scientist at 8:00 AM on March 8, 2014


"Being some sort of change" is inherently an end-of-the-world-signifying drawback on MetaFilter.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Forcing some sort of change on others is the end of the world drawback. Being the change yourself is encouraged. However, this feature request does neither.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:10 AM on March 8, 2014


Well, sure. MeFi has a very conservative design philosophy, which has served it very well over the years. Part of the reason why this site is so functional and pleasant to use is that UI changes and new features generally don't get implemented unless the benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks, and change itself is a drawback as it always leads to a some amount of user confusion and frustration.

I personally think that the drawbacks here are very small (pb points out one that seems reasonable to me, though given that only "power users" would probably ever even use this feature I think it'd be minimal) and that the benefits, while also small, would be greater. I have no way of knowing if others agree with me though, hence this MeTa.

And now I will kick back for a little while and let things unfold, lest I be seen to be too aggressively proselytizing my idea. I'll be around – I'm not planning to just disappear from my own MeTa – but I'm going to let the mods and the community have their say for a while without my attempting to steer the discourse.
posted by Scientist at 8:11 AM on March 8, 2014


I have never heard of this ctrl-enter thing. Whereas using the mouse to click or tabbing to the button then hitting space or enter are used on every piece of software I've ever used. I'd say if it does get added not only would it only be used by 'power users', but the number ever using it will be in single digits.

Just practise hitting tab then space a few times and it will very soon feel totally normal. Rather than having a whole extra function coded into the site just so you don't have to bother.
posted by shelleycat at 8:28 AM on March 8, 2014


I've been using tab, enter here for longer than I can remember. And in general it works more often than Ctrl+Enter.

In systems where I can send a message using Ctrl+Enter I find I often do so before I've meant to. I think the extra friction here is a good thing.
posted by grouse at 8:35 AM on March 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I use tab + enter after a preview that almost always fails to pick up my typos. I like the friction. Ahem.
posted by arcticseal at 8:51 AM on March 8, 2014


The present system has not held me back. Not that that matters.




(Also: must be a typo for some other user)
OOOH *slap*. No:


Alphabet thread!
posted by Namlit at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2014


I'm in favor of keeping the very slight friction in the process. I know I am not alone in deleting many comments before posting after rethinking -- speeding up the process doesn't seem like a value-added process.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:56 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Process process process. Geez, someone find me a thesaurus.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:57 AM on March 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Rather than having a whole extra function coded into the site just so you don't have to bother.

What a shitty thing to say and way to totally mis-characterize what is being is asked for!
posted by kbanas at 10:39 AM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I prefer posting not being frictionless but if it were optional preference in the User Settings, then I can't see how it would matter much.
posted by Gnatcho at 10:59 AM on March 8, 2014


I have never heard of this ctrl-enter thing. Whereas using the mouse to click or tabbing to the button then hitting space or enter are used on every piece of software I've ever used. I'd say if it does get added not only would it only be used by 'power users', but the number ever using it will be in single digits.

So just because you personally haven't heard of a thing, that means it's not really a thing and no more than 9 people will ever use it? You seem fairly sure that your experience is the standard for the rest of the world.

What about j/k for page scrolling? Every piece of software I've ever used lets you scroll by dragging the scrollbar. Some people like keyboard shortcuts and not everyone is an unfeeling monster just because they are touch typists.

Personally, I wouldn't use this feature. Most of the typos I catch are in the live preview box rather than in the comment box for some reason, so I like the extra bit of time it takes. But that doesn't make this an unreasonable or a selfish suggestion.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:17 AM on March 8, 2014


Hey, GRAR hour was on Friday. Be gentle.
posted by Namlit at 11:49 AM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


While this is not what I would consider a "value add" request, I'm somewhat taken aback by shelleycat's uncharitable and borderline rude assessment that Scientist just doesn't want "to bother" hitting tab + space, not to mention the condescending "just practice hitting space and then tab a few times" suggestion.

I don't see Scientist saying anything other than "This would be useful to me. Does anyone else agree? Can we discuss?"

My understanding was the whole point of a "pony request" is to see if other people might be interested in the same added functionality as you, and if there is enough interest, have it be considered as an addition to the site. (An example of this leading to a site change would be the favourite limit increase last May.)
posted by dotgirl at 11:58 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those power users who'd rather not reach for my mouse and am generally in favor of this sort of thing (evidence). But in this case I agree with those who think the extra little bit of hesitation and friction is useful.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: everyone is an unfeeling monster just because they are touch typists.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:32 PM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not against this idea. I will say that hovering over the "Post Comment" for a few seconds and then deciding not to add my angry or stupid comment is a big part of the Metafilter Experience for me.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:36 PM on March 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well, I guess I'm surprised by the apparent unanimity of consensus against this idea. To me, it seemed like it would be sort of a no-brainer – a nice, but essentially miniscule modification to the way the site works currently. I'm not offended by those who think that the "problem" (I do not think there is a problem, just a potential for a small improvement) is on my end; that sort of comes with the territory when one starts a MeTa. I can see why people would want to keep the tiny barrier that currently exists, though since as others have pointed out it's already possible to post just as quickly via tab>enter or tab>space, I'm not sure that this would really have a meaningful effect on that. Anyway, I'm certainly not interested in starting an argument here. Assuming that there's not some sudden reversal of community feeling on the subject, I'm happy to let things continue as they are.
posted by Scientist at 1:11 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had no intention of being rude and I have no grar. I apologise if I came off that way. I've just never heard of this thing, it's clearly pretty obscure, whereas there are other methods widely used and known that do that same thing.
posted by shelleycat at 1:54 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


(or I should say I apologise for coming off that way since I clearly did, either way it wasn't my intent)
posted by shelleycat at 1:55 PM on March 8, 2014


I have never considered ctrl-enter on Metafilter until now, but suddenly I think I would like it. (It isn't obscure, is it? It's how I send emails using multiple clients.)
posted by jeather at 2:07 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought this was a bit strange (because of the term mouse averse) till I realized I'm usually on a laptop so posting just requires a tiny thumb swipe and single tap. If I used a separate mouse, a keyboard shortcut would be appreciated as an option.
posted by variella at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2014


I've just never heard of this thing, it's clearly pretty obscure

This is not the definition of obscure.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:11 PM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've just never heard of this thing, it's clearly pretty obscure

You're the worst hipster ever!
posted by aubilenon at 5:48 PM on March 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Wolfdog: ""Being some sort of change" is inherently an end-of-the-world-signifying drawback on MetaFilter."

As shown by the lack of favorites or an edit window.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:25 PM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


As shown by the easy-going unanimity and complete lack of drama preceding the introduction of those features.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the idea (especially when tab, spacebar accomplishes the same thing without the need for a mouse) because I haaaaaaaate accidentally fat-fingering some web application's custom keyboard shortcut I don't know about and having a form suddenly, unintentionally submit out from under me. In general I hate it when web apps subvert the basic HTTP Click > Send > Refresh interaction pattern for submitting forms.

(I'm not saying it's a bad or wrong idea for everyone else because I don't like it... just saying that personally, I really don't like it.)
posted by usonian at 4:00 PM on March 9, 2014


I like the idea.
posted by salvia at 8:30 PM on March 9, 2014


Personally, my poor memory for shortcuts plus my klutzy ability to stumble headlong into hotkey combos guarantees that "intentionally" is the only way I would never ever manage to use this.
posted by desuetude at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


[ignore this]
posted by schmod at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's a Grease/Tampermonkey script that will basically do what you're looking for.

No guarantee that it will work...
posted by schmod at 11:29 AM on March 10, 2014


Thanks for the input everyone. Team mod discussed this and we're going to go with the status quo for now. We felt like accidentally activating bold, italic, or the link dialog is easy to work around, but an accidental form submission is a bigger hassle. We already have a keyboard method for submitting the form via Tab + Space and we're ok with some friction in the posting process.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:22 PM on March 10, 2014


Gotcha! Thanks for giving it some thought, and thanks to everyone in the community who chimed in with their views.

I mean GRAR HOW DARE YOU I'm going to go start my own MetaFilter now, with blackjack and hookers!
posted by Scientist at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2014


I'm going to go start my own MetaFilter now, with blackjack and hookers!

I suggest a $4.95 signup fee. And advertise it on The DECK.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:33 AM on March 13, 2014


On Facebook hitting enter posts your message immediately and you have to use Ctrl+Enter if you want to insert a carriage return without posting.

SO CONFUSING. SO ANNOYING.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:26 PM on March 13, 2014


I believe there is actually a facebook setting to change that.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:17 PM on March 13, 2014


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