Comment truncation in Recent Activity July 30, 2015 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Can I run this pony up a flagpole and see if anyone salutes? Would it be possible to not truncate long comments on the Recent Activity page? It would be nice to be able to read the entire comment without having to click over into the thread.
posted by MsMolly to Feature Requests at 7:49 AM (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Usually I don't notice it that often, but the emotional labor thread has had so many good, long comments that it's been a lot of clicking back and forth.
posted by MsMolly at 7:53 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


We've discussed this a few times over the years - most recently here. Briefly, there are two opposed schools of thought: one wants full comments in RA, the other thinks the current 4,000 character limit is already too long and gets annoying on small screens.

pb will be able to comment on the technical issues pro and con in more detail, but one point against including full-length comments is that RA is already fairly intensive to load and this would make it load slower.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:55 AM on July 30, 2015


This is something we have been discussing behind the scenes. We're leaning toward some kind of click to expand in place option, but we're open to other possibilities too. We've heard from people that comment lengths in Recent Activity are both way too long and too short when truncated, so we're thinking about ways to balance that.

Occasionally people write Treaty of Westphalia length comments—which is great! But it's not so great for the speed of assembling Recent Activity for viewing. Limiting how long comments can be there is a kind of insurance that helps keep the page reasonably quick to put together. Unlike a thread page with hundreds of full-length comments, Recent Activity is gathering posts and comments from across the MetaFilter universe based on a single user's activity. So it takes more resources to put together.

Sending a separate request to the server to grab the full comment when you click 'More' is something that might work. That would keep the initial load speedy and provide a way to view the entire comment within Recent Activity. (There are issues with truncated HTML to work out, but that seems solvable.)
posted by pb (staff) at 7:59 AM on July 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Ooh, sorry for not finding the previous discussion. I searched, but it didn't come up. Yeah, the ability to expand a comment would perfectly solve the problem from my POV, so I guess count me as another vote for that.
posted by MsMolly at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the 'click to expand' approach would also make it possible to shorten the amount of each comment initially displayed, so could solve both the 'RA is too short' and 'RA is too long' problems at the same time?
posted by FishBike at 8:32 AM on July 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah it could potentially solve that, FishBike. Though having to click a dozen times to read RA could be an annoyance too.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can there be a Preference where we could set how much of a comment we generally want to see in RA? "Short" (like we see in the Favorites Activity page), "Regular" (like it is now), and "All", perhaps.
posted by Etrigan at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have found this annoying in the EL thread, too. Click to expand would be great.
posted by HotToddy at 9:07 AM on July 30, 2015


Another vote for click to expand.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2015


I appreciate the trunc
posted by MoonOrb at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Click to expand and shorting the comment length in Recent Activity sounds like a good solution to keep everyone happy. Therefore I am suspicious of it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:27 AM on July 30, 2015 [12 favorites]


Click to expand would be my preference.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:38 AM on July 30, 2015


Absent the (admittedly excellent) click to expand idea, I think the RA comment length should either be truncated further or allow full comments. It seems like 70-80% of the time it cuts off a long comment somewhere in the final sentence, which makes it extra frustrating to click over to the thread only to realize you've basically already read the whole comment.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Having to click a bunch of times to read expanded RA wouldn't be too bad if the thing I was clicking was bigger than the favorite button when I'm reading on my phone. (Uh, in classic mode. I know, I know.)

I'd also be totally happy with a preference I could set to default my viewing to full-length RA though.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Click to expand! Click to expand!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:13 AM on July 30, 2015


pb: "Occasionally people write Treaty of Westphalia length comments—which is great!"

Oh, terrific, I've been wanting to do that!

In the name of the most holy and individual Trinity: Be it known to all, and every one whom it may concern, or to whom in any manner it may belong, That for many Years past, Discords and Civil Divisions being stir'd up in the Roman Empire, which increas'd to such a degree, that not only all Germany, but also the neighbouring Kingdoms [click to expand]
posted by Chrysostom at 10:17 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd also be totally happy with a preference I could set to default my viewing to full-length RA though.

I know there's demand for that, but we're probably not going to be able to add that in the short term at least. Adding full comments would add an extra load on the server that we don't have the capacity for right now. We want to keep things relatively quick to load.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:26 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


pb: "Occasionally people write Treaty of Westphalia length comments—which is great!"

So verklempt now.
posted by Treaty of Westphalia at 12:06 PM on July 30, 2015 [12 favorites]


Absent the (admittedly excellent) click to expand idea, I think the RA comment length should either be truncated further or allow full comments.

I would be okay with full length comments in RA if the either MetaFilter or some Javascripter fixed up a solution that allowed one-click comment/thread jumping in Recent Activity. (As far as I know, Greasemonkey can't be installed on mobie, so…)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:53 PM on July 30, 2015


I like the idea of click to expand, it's got my vote.

MetaFilter: too long and too short
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:19 PM on July 30, 2015


Spanindex.
posted by clavdivs at 4:38 PM on July 30, 2015


I would also love click to expand, especially if we could also use it to view our favorites! (which is a pony I've wanted forever)
posted by triggerfinger at 5:58 PM on July 30, 2015


Just in case you hadn't picked up on the trend, click to expand.
posted by h00py at 5:15 AM on July 31, 2015


I read MF on my iPhone a lot. It's annoyingly too long there.

On my laptop I want it long.

I am both schools.

Lately I spend more time on my phone and tablet though.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:57 AM on July 31, 2015


especially if we could also use it to view our favorites! (which is a pony I've wanted forever)

I don't understand. Isn't that what "My Favorites" / "Recent Activity on My Favorite Posts" already does?
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2015


Chalk me up as another click-to-expand-er.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2015


Sending a separate request to the server to grab the full comment when you click 'More' is something that might work. That would keep the initial load speedy and provide a way to view the entire comment within Recent Activity. (There are issues with truncated HTML to work out, but that seems solvable.)

I would ride this pony and hug it and squeeze it and call it George
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:08 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, click to expand FTW.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:27 PM on July 31, 2015


This also bugs me and I'd like any kind of solution: no limit in recent activity, click to expand, or just making 4000 characters a hard limit on new comments.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:27 PM on July 31, 2015


I don't understand. Isn't that what "My Favorites" / "Recent Activity on My Favorite Posts" already does?

This is what I mean. Basically, I want to see all my favorite comments on one page and not have to open a bunch of new pages to see the whole comment. This is different to what is being asked in this thread, but a click to expand option would be an improvement on the current system of opening new pages to see the entire comment I've favorited.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:51 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


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