(## new) on sidebar threads (feature request)? February 21, 2018 11:09 AM   Subscribe

With all the latest political thread links pinned to the MeFi sidebar, it would be helpful to have a (## new) after each sidebar link (just as on regular MeFi posts) which take users to his/her earliest unread comment in each post.

It is inconvenient to click "Previous Page" as many times as it takes to get back to the latest political post so I can click on the "(## new)" link to take me directly to unread comments. Otherwise these are huge threads and it can take time wading down through 1000+ comments to find the ones I haven't read yet.

Thoughts on ease of implementation/usefulness?
posted by hexaflexagon to Feature Requests at 11:09 AM (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

This is something we'd be unlikely to implement for a few reasons.

First is that those "new comment" counts in the byline of threads are very approximate anyway, and they've been a source of confusion and frustration for people on and off through the years (because, understandably, people think they're meant to be precise but then they're not and people are like wtf?), and adding them in a highlighted position will increase the expectation that they're precise.

Second, the US politics sidebar thing is meant as just a quick "where is the thread" reference, it's not meant to be a main interface or to have any additional features. Third, including "x new" counts is, in a subtle but powerful way, a driver of "engagement" but by way of fostering anxiety or a felt urgency to "keep up", and especially with the US politics/current world nightmare stuff, we don't want to be putting that into members' peripheral vision.

We can talk it over in here if folks have thoughts.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:15 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]

My first thought was: "isn't that what recent activity is for?" So I went over there but it doesn't seem to say "X new", it just says "X since your most recent post". Maybe a nice compromise would be to put an "x new" link in recent activity, and then a user could make the positive choice to add a given thread to their recent activity and opt into the "keep up anxiety"?
posted by dbx at 11:24 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Oh, and, some alternative ways of finding your place in a thread:

- Click on the timestamp in the byline of a comment gives you an anchor to that comment, which you can bookmark in your browser

-Favoriting a comment will put it into your list of recent favorites, which is on your profile page, so you can get back to it in three clicks (click to your profile page, click Favorites, click the comment)

-Adding to Recent Activity will make it easy to get back to the thread, and it gives you a link to your own most recent comment in the thread and tell you how many comments since then.... which is a workable proxy only if you're commenting fairly often.

I asked frimble about dbx's suggestion, if it would work to add the "x new" to RA... but there are two problems. First, RA is already the most computationally heavy page we load on the site and so in general we don't want to add anything to it; and second, as above, the "x new" thing is really a lie -- it doesn't really correspond to what you the individual have actually read, so it would take you to a semi-arbitary spot and cause frustration when that doesn't match up with expectations.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:32 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: causes frustration when it doesn't match up with expectations
posted by Chrysostom at 11:39 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]

IIRC there are also userscripts that do this -- was it Meif Scroll Tag? -- but I know that's a solution limited to people using browsers where that works and who are inclined to deal with installing scripts.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:41 AM on February 21

The politics threads move quickly enough that you can see them in “Recent Comments” on the front page, which includes the new comments count.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:44 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

That is an excellent point!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:50 AM on February 21

Third, including "x new" counts is, in a subtle but powerful way, a driver of "engagement" but by way of fostering anxiety or a felt urgency to "keep up", and especially with the US politics/current world nightmare stuff, we don't want to be putting that into members' peripheral vision.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
posted by not_the_water at 12:32 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]

Thanks for the thoughts folks. I'll take Lobster's suggestions as a way to keep up the engagement anxieties. Should work fine for me to just click the last comment after reading and do a Ctrl+D and pin it to the bookmarks bar. Although having the politics thread bookmark always on my browser could cause nightmares in and of itself.
posted by hexaflexagon at 7:11 PM on February 21

Or, tabs? for each thread you are following? and the politics thread when you come back to it will say "XX new comments" if you left it at the bottom of where you stopped reading? And then you click and you continue reading?

Like, I run a bunch of windows with a zillion tabs for all kinds of things, and one of them is specifically a MetaFilter window with all the threads I'm still participating in or watching, and when I'm done I close the tab and don't worry about it anymore.

Anyway, everyone has their own workflow.
posted by hippybear at 8:19 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]

everyone has their own workflow

and if you break mine I will be super pissed.
posted by flabdablet at 12:21 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]

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