New Post Counter? July 11, 2018 10:33 AM   Subscribe

So, I have a tab open with a MetaFilter post in it, and it will give me an indication if there are new comments. Can I have the front page tab/page open and have an indication about how many new FPPs are awaiting my viewing? I have no idea what kind of server load or technical problem that might pose, and am certainly willing to forego it for either one of those reasons if they are burdensome, but I always have a tab of the front page of MF and I refresh it a lot but maybe I wouldn't refresh it as often (reducing server load) if I had a "X new posts" or a "see new posts" there instead of a black box that only reveals new posts if I click. I don't know what the community feelings are about this, and I'm only suggesting it, but maybe it would be felt to be generally useful?
posted by hippybear to Feature Requests at 10:33 AM (8 comments total)

My feeling on it is that it's not technically difficult to accomplish, however I'd need some convincing to see it as something generally beneficial. At the moment, the front page offers up new posts when you ask for them. This would change the flow to the front page telling you that there's more to read, creating a slight push toward feeling like you have to read it right now and a little more sense of obligation and anxiety with leaving that tab open.

That said, this is my opinion, it's not set in stone, and I'm totally open to hearing what other people have to say about it.
posted by frimble (staff) at 10:41 AM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

So, my own feeling isn't that it would be a push toward reading and would instead be a knowing that clicking refresh wouldn't yield an empty set. I'm not at my computer all the time (I work in a warehouse with limited cellphone use, I'm mostly on evenings and weekends), and so when I am on I find myself refreshing full of hope, only to be often disappointed. If I had a counter, I wouldn't click.

So the same thing, only the opposite. Maybe it could be a checkbox option in preferences.

I'll be quiet now and see what everyone else has to say.
posted by hippybear at 10:52 AM on July 11, 2018

maybe I wouldn't refresh it as often (reducing server load) if I had a "X new posts" or a "see new posts" there

I'm not sure the server load thing follows here. Instead of you refreshing each time, the page itself will be querying the server automatically at some pre-set interval. Which might be better as it scales through the userbase but wouldn't it also depend on when the last time was that someone loaded the page?

In any case, RSS readers can be great for this, but I don't have a really strong feeling one way or the other in terms of the utilty of this since I refresh the front page maybe three times a month.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2018

I only come to the site via RSS, so I never reload the home page looking for content. I will note that being notified of new content on a website is literally what RSS is for. Firefox live bookmarks would do the same thing.

Given the limited dev. hours available, the question in my mind is should we be addressing a problem that is essentially already solved? If it's an hour or two then maybe it doesn't really matter, but if it's days of development and testing, maybe we have bigger hills to climb with the site right now.
posted by COD at 12:16 PM on July 11, 2018

I really love how Metafilter limits counters/notifications (see LobsterMitten’s third point here) and I hope we err in that direction. That said, I only come to the site via mobile so this request doesn’t apply to me.
posted by not_the_water at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2018

My guess about this is the parentheses in the title is just a bonus feature, and the real feature justifying all the plumbing is the little thing about how many new comments there are at the bottom of an individual post's page. And the value of that is that it helps people read the recent comments before writing their own comments, which facilitates better conversation because you don't have have 75 people piling on with the same correction or whatever. But that's not really important for the front page, because FPPs don't interrelate unless it's Elephant Day or something.
posted by aubilenon at 4:27 PM on July 11, 2018

Echoing the general disinclination to add more notification-type stuff. I really like that the MeFi front page is a "hey!"-free zone, basically; I think there's a lot of utility for individual threads having the new comment stuff because it's a specific, narrow scope of following something, but I'd prefer to not have the default experience of MeFi being something always urging you to check a thing and reinforcing a maintenance/FOMO loop.

I do totally understand and appreciate the spirit of the idea, though. In a different ecosystem I might be more down with it. But the pace of the front page is such—heartbeat more on the scale of hours than minutes—that refreshing now and then seems like a good solution. (And for the heartbreak of a refresh with no new posts...head over to Projects! Music! Ask! MetaTalk! Go skim Popular Favorites! Hit the Random link! Stretch those legs a little, see what else is out there, basically.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:23 AM on July 12, 2018

On a related note, I used to like the old “63 new posts” since last visit notification at the top of the page. It nudged me to visit more regularly so it wouldn’t get to big, allowing me to see every post.
posted by bystander at 1:29 AM on July 13, 2018

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