Italicization is significant (again). June 23, 2023 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Should the search results pages' excerpts reflect the italicization of the original comments?

Thirteen years ago, it ended up being a quick fix for pb to get italicization properly displaying on the favorites and Recent Activity pages. But it looks like it's now/still missing from the search results pages. Any chance that might be as quick a fix?

The missing italics are especially troublesome when searching through comments by an individual user, since without the italicization you're likely to mistake the (potentially obnoxious) words they're quoting as the words they themselves are saying.

[Putting this through the queue instead of asking on the contact form so others -- given the site's scant tech resources these days -- can chime in on whether they think this is worth fixing up. Figured it might also be nice to have a low stress MeTa thread for once?]
posted by nobody to Feature Requests at 10:02 AM (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

To me, this would be very, very low on my list of things that would make Metafilter better. If the site was perfect in all other respects, then why not work on this, I suppose, but I think the current implementation of not showing formatting is totally acceptable.
posted by snofoam at 1:09 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

Also, nobody asked for this.
posted by snofoam at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2023 [28 favorites]

I think nobody's asking for it right here HEYO
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:17 PM on June 23, 2023 [16 favorites]

Also, nobody asked for this.

Weirdly hostile response to a mild enhancement request. Also, having the bar set at 'once the site is perfect' is what has lead to our current totally ossified platform.
posted by Think_Long at 1:28 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

Look at the posted by.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

lol woosh
posted by Think_Long at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2023 [11 favorites]

I miss pb. I agree the search results should show italics and close the tag.
posted by michaelh at 1:44 PM on June 23, 2023 [6 favorites]

I suspect it would not be quite as quick a fix for a couple of reasons: A) search results can show multiple excerpts, and from an arbitrary position within a comment or post, not just one excerpt starting at the beginning; B) the results have some markup added, to highlight the search terms. Both of these factors compound the difficulty of making sure formatting tags are (opened and) closed properly in the excerpt.
posted by staggernation at 3:05 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

Ah, shoot, you're right staggernation. It looks to me like each result always starts with the top of the comment, but then inserts a bolded elipsis to skip down to where the searched word is found.

If all that matters is the citation-indicating italics at the head of a comment, it still seems to me like it's not much more complicated than the fix on the Recent Activity and favorites pages (it would just need to close any i or em tags before the inserted ellipses, not just at the end of the entire comment) but it does mean it's not just a matter of applying the previous fix directly to here, which had been my hope, simplicity-wise.
posted by nobody at 4:28 PM on June 23, 2023

What I want to know is what in the Hell happened to the Mobile link at the bottom of the page. All of a sudden everything is Standard -- which means I need a microscope to read the very fine print on my phone. How did that happen? And why?
posted by y2karl at 5:37 PM on June 23, 2023

y2karl did no one get back to you? If you click on this link do you get back to the mobile site? There's a small chance that the work frimble did with the code update this week did something we weren't expecting or it could be something else. Can you try that and if that doesn't work please email the Contact Form?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:10 PM on June 24, 2023

Brandon and I have been in touch over this via the Contact form. The link kinda sorta barely works. All I know is I went to bed a couple of nights ago and when I woke up the next day all the text was truly microscopic -- Brandon has screenshots -- and there was no mobile link at all at the bottom of the opening page. Or anywhere else. As I told him, my laptop is on the fritz and all I have is my Samsung 23 running Android. Also, now there is another grey filled box below the one into which I am now tapping out my comment and it is mirroring my comment letter by letter with a posted by y2karl at 5:41. Is that a new feature? I haven't done anything that egregious of late so I can resist paranoia for the nonce except for the question: Why is it just me?
posted by y2karl at 5:41 PM on June 24, 2023

Oh hey, if you're not used to seeing the real-time preview I bet you usually use the Classic theme and got switched to the Modern theme (possibly with some mobile/non-mobile nonsense too.) If you go into Preferences and pick the lower-left theme that might do it for you.
posted by restless_nomad (retired) at 5:52 AM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

Nope. I use -- or used to use until this happened-- plain white exclusively.
posted by y2karl at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2023

Right, but there's Classic White, Modern White, Classic Blue, and Modern Blue, and they all handle text differently. In that case it'd be the bottom right option in Preferences though.
posted by restless_nomad (retired) at 1:45 PM on June 25, 2023

Except for that Classic White is Plain White on my phone and yours too, yes that lower right White option is what I have used for since forever. Right now things are apparently normal. I say apparently because if I hit on any border of the text box while typing, the tab closes. That has started happening since the recent re-jiggering. And if I log out to the Classic Blue, I cannot log back on. Not at all. Luckily I had another tab where I was still logged on here.

Paranoia aside, I am inclined to think the fault may in part be in my phone or Chrome. Sometimes I open Chrome, it appears as Google, oval search box and two rows of three links and sometimes it is one row of six with only the first three showing. If I try to slide right on the six buttons in a line -- the tab closes. So, I don't know doubleyouteeeff is going on.

All I know is this started after Thursday. Right now everything is working before this all started. Plain white with non-serif text -- have I mentioned that fonts were changing in size and serif/non serif as well yesterday? And, that aside, things were normal if I opened Recent Activity but if I clicked on MetaFilter in the top right corner of the opening page, Microscopic at a distance: I've sent Brandon screenshots. Whatever happened, I am going to muck around here to see what I can do. At least the double text boxes are gone for now.
posted by y2karl at 4:48 PM on June 25, 2023

I have been using Classic on my iPad for ages. Late last week, it suddenly switched to the mobile site, and could not be changed back. I changed my settings to Modern Dark and it’s now back to a desktop view. Switching back to Classic still gives me the mobile site. Mobile on an iPad looks huuuuge.

Also, didn’t there used to be controls for font size? The text in Modern Dark is a tad too small, but there doesn’t seem to be controls for text size.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:51 AM on June 26, 2023

Since this discussion has transcended italicization, I just wanted to note (I’m sure it’s not news to anyone) that having an explicit “mobile” mode is really no longer a best practice and should probably be done away with in favor of media queries, if and when there’s bandwidth for dev work on the site styling.
posted by staggernation at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2023

I've sent Brandon screenshots.

Definitely always do a Reply All for technical issues, so the entire staff can see what's going on. I won't be back on duty for a few days, so I'm not looking at Mod emails.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:03 AM on June 26, 2023

A Reply All to all MetaFilter staff via a Gmail to you is done how?
posted by y2karl at 11:18 AM on June 26, 2023

Just add the admin email to the message manually, which is admin AT the name of this website dot com.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 6:10 AM on June 27, 2023

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