Request: a way to reset 'new' comments. March 20, 2001 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I totally depend on the new-since-your-last-visit feature to determine which threads to read, but sometimes I'll load up Metafilter and then something comes up and I don't have a chance to read those 200 new comments.

I would love a tiny little button somewhere on the homepage to the effect of "Forget I was here," so that I could come back in another hour or two and see all 300 or new comments, not just the new ones since my aborted visit.
posted by daveadams to Feature Requests at 2:26 PM (7 comments total)

I'll second that motion.
posted by accountingboy at 6:30 PM on March 20, 2001

yeah, good idea.
posted by cCranium at 2:14 PM on March 21, 2001

This would go very well with the "mark all read" button I suggested earlier.
posted by kindall at 8:52 PM on March 22, 2001

Let's just make it a newsgroup and we call all use our newsreaders. :|
posted by rodii at 8:58 PM on March 22, 2001

No, I like Mefi's interface much better.
posted by daveadams at 12:21 PM on March 23, 2001

good idea, daveadams - a newsreader that looks like Metafilter...

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:46 PM on March 23, 2001

[Is anyone reading this?? I may have to send this to Matt directly so that someone sees it. I would have started a new thread, but it kind of fits well with this one. Sorry for the length....]

Actually, Mars, joking aside, newsgroups had some pretty cool features. The kill feature being one of them. MeFi could use one if the MeFi that the old-timers know and love is going to be preserved.

First let me explain how I personally use MeFi and what the problems are with each method:

- Show New comments (dropdown on front page)
This thing is a savior because for those of us who read often because it shows only recent activity. The problem of course is the implementation of new comments. See the first post in this thread for why. Furthermore, if you haven't visited in a few hours, there are more than a page of new comments, and, correct me if I'm wrong, no way to go to page 2....

- Search my comments
This thing is also really cool, because in a way, it shows the things I really really care about. It does have two major drawbacks though.

    1) There is no (# new) detail, meaning I need to click into every thread in order to see if there's anything new. On older threads, I would completely miss them. (BTW, I just noticed the Sort by my comments feature on the front page so this isn't such a big deal. I keep finding cool little nuggets of functionality on Metafilter. Nice job Matt)
    2) I don't comment on every thread I find interesting.

- Bookmarked threads
This would be a whole hell of a lot cooler if all of my bookmarks didn't look like this "Metafilter | Comments on 2738". It's just as well. I hate my bookmarks, because I always seem to have a cajillion of them... Need to start a weblog for this. (duh)

I'm probably interested in 35-40% of the threads posted on MeFi. I'm sure there are some that are even less interested. Some more. How do you take care of all of those people and preserve, to some extent, the MeFi that some people knew and loved?

Thread killing...

If I could scan MeFi's front page and kill all of the threads I don't care about, I would essentially create "My Metafilter". It could work in many different ways, but if I were designing it, here's how it would work.

* "Kill thread" link -- This link would be located next to the "Post a Comment" link and also somewhere on the thread detail page. When a user clicks the link, the thread ID gets appended to the cookie (to avoid more strain on the server as MeFi grows). The cookie might be named "killfile" and be a delimited list of thread IDs. When displaying a page configured to use the killfile (the search page is DEFINITELY NOT one of those), any thread matching a thread ID in the cookie is omitted. The user could still go directly to killed threads via a link or URL. Additionally, thread killing increments the thread's kill count on the server side for stats purposes (see last paragraph).

* Killfile configuration screen -- This would probably be the same page as the user prefs screen. The following configuration settings would be present:

    1) Kill file expiration - Set number of days until killed threads show up again in details. This is useful for browsing the archives and also for pruning down the size of your cookie and the processing MeFi has to do. The default might be, say, 2 weeks. This allows enough time for the thread to fall off of the front page and out of discussion. When the kill expires the cookie is refreshed minus the expired kills. Previously killed threads act in all ways like unkilled threads in that they will show new comments, but not all of the comments posted before the last time you visited. I was thinking that a user might be able to set it to Never, but as time went on, going through Jason Kottke's killfile cookie might bring down the server. It would be rare for a two or three week old thread to be a visual nuisance. Perhaps the max would be one month.
    2) Killfile enabled on view - A list of pages where the person would want the killfile to operate with checkboxes next to them. Front page-date sort, front page-new comments sort, front page-most comments sort, archive pages. Killfiles would NEVER BE USED on the search pages, because of the possibility of an increase in double posts.
    3) Disable my killfile - Disables killfile until it is reenabled. Changes to "Enable my killfile" when killfile cookie is present and disabled.
    4) Delete my killfile - Self-explanatory.


I've concentrated here on excluding threads one finds annoying or uninteresting. This assumes that a user finds a majority of threads interesting. In conjunction with the killfile feature, it would be interesting for a user to be able to mark certain threads which they wish to follow. Call them "Favorite Threads" for lack of a better term. This list might reside on the user's profile (which means that it would be stored on the server side and hence may be limited in number to avoid overhead -- think FilePile.) This might be a good replacement for the My comments sort on the home page or a good addition. It would also be interesting to see what other user's are following, much like we can now see what other users are commenting on (by going to their user profile and clicking on the comments and posts links). This would also give me a very easy way to check up on threads I found interesting (but didn't post to). Lurkers would probably find this feature to be extremely valuable.

Finally, using the killed thread counter and a count & GROUP BY on the favorite threads, you could easily come up with a "Top 10" and a "Bottom 10" for metafilter threads. These lists (at least the Top 10) might better reflect the communities thoughts on what is great and important and what is really crappy, and could be a great resource for finding cool blasts from the past...

So that's how I'd do it. I think that these features are not just candy, but could really help reduce the "MeFi's gotten to big" feeling (e.g. Slashdot), preserving the old-timers and the MeFi spirit.
posted by fooljay at 12:58 PM on April 25, 2001

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