Front-page Comments Idea



  • I wrote this note to @mark_bowytz in lieu of email. The openness was appreciated, so, I'll try again.


    Hey @mark_bowytz,

    I was thinking about front-page comments some more. I know the original plan was to have article discussion on the forums, but now that I've seen it in action (granted, it was "just" an Error'd), it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it's the transition from "front page" styling to "forums" styling, maybe it's the lack of anonymous comments (there is just something about the obnoxious captcha quotes), I dunno.

    Anyway, what do you think of this idea...

    1. Keep the same "auto-post discussion / hide / show" forums integration thing
    2. Use the API to pull all of the comments to the front page...
      a. featured comments displayed below article (as current)
      b. all comments display on secondary comments page (as current)
    3. Users can post anonymous comments on front page by entering captcha
      a. this uses a special account we create
      b. community can flag/like posts as needed
    4. Users can post non-anonymous comments by going to forums (as planned)

    This will keep anonymous comments (Which, looking at several moderated pages worth, are actually pretty decent), while also giving some commenters ability to register/watch comment threads, and introducing more users to the forums community, and giving frequent commenters .

    LMK what you think...

    Alex



  • Oddly enough, one of my biggest gripes was having a Reply button when everyone should be using the Quote button. You can quote here, but it's even easier to Reply to a post. You can see the conversation history at a click, but with quoting, it's already there.

    I guess it's one way that we didn't lose functionality moving to the new software.



  • Bonus points if you can make it look exactly like the old commenting system and not tell them that Discourse is involved and they'll just wonder why it's running faster and with less* bugs.



  • I'm not sure if @codinghorror has mentioned a barrier to reading before, but I think that requiring people to register for an account to post definitely makes a (worthy) barrier to contributing. it's not like it's foolproof, but it proves that someone is passionate enough about a topic that they will create an account in order to share their ideas.

    it won't prevent throw-away accounts posting "FRIST", and it will prevent some interesting stories from being posted, but the pros do outweigh the cons, IMHO.

    so, I definitely wouldn't mind anons having to watch.



  • Thinking further... this whole thing is JavaScript, so couldn't we just make a little button on the front-page comments that calls the same API that the JavaScript here does? It's a subdomain cookie (what.thedailywtf.com), so I dunno, would that even work w/ cookies and whatnot?



  • crowd-sourcing featured comments?


  • Banned

    @apapadimoulis said:

    This will keep anonymous comments (Which, looking at several moderated pages worth, are actually pretty decent)

    I would look verrrry closely at this, as letting drive-by anons post with no barrier to entry generally results in youtube level comments. The only exception would be very narrow technical topics, but I am not sure TDWTF is quite that. Might be. But look at a lot of examples first.



  • Well, logged-in people will generally know that Discourse exists, and not-logged-in people can't like things, so I don't really see a use for a front page like button, but the "like" request is basically just:

    POST /post_action HTTP/1.1
    Host: what.thedailywtf.com
    Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=UTF-8
    
    id=6386&post_action_type_id=2&flag_topic=false
    

    with a few other headers mixed in to prevent CSRF.



  • @codinghorror said:

    letting drive-by anons post with no barrier to entry generally results in youtube level comments.

    Don't the classic Article comments already allow anonymous?

    @codinghorror said:

    youtube level comments.

    The crazy of youtube comments has been greatly exaggerated in my experience, but perhaps I only visit the civilized areas? I generally don't read comments regardless, but when I do, they're usually just... people... talking... about the thing in the video.

    In fact, I have even seen one commenter apologize to another for being crass. FYI.



  • Some TDWTF article comments are funny because of their unregistered user names. Keeping that feature would be nice.

    @ben_lubar said:

    Bonus points if you can make it look exactly like the old commenting system

    That would require pagination...



  • @dhromed said:

    The crazy of youtube comments

    And then you have dramatic youtube reenactments of youtube comments...

    YouTube Comment Reconstruction #1 - 'One Direction: What Makes You Beautiful' – 03:15
    — Dead Parrot

    But seriously, it's too late to warn TDWTF about anonymous comments (on the front page). The problem is that they went away. I thought that was obvious from @apapadimoulis' OP.


    Filed Under: Eat a shit


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dhromed said:

    I generally don't read comments regardless, but when I do...



  • @boomzilla said:

    And then you have dramatic youtube reenactments of youtube comments...

    I watched the first guy speak a word and knew it would be gold.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It reminds me of the conversations between John Bird and John Fortune.

    Bird and Fortune - Subprime Crisis – 08:50
    — kerviel88888

    Maybe not as exciting as such, but with something of the same æsthetic.


  • :belt_onion:

    @codinghorror said:

    I would look verrrry closely at this, as letting drive-by anons post with no barrier to entry generally results in youtube level comments. The only exception would be very narrow technical topics, but I am not sure TDWTF is quite that.

    That's exactly what this is, a technical site with a narrow range of topics..... Anonymous replies have worked for the last 5+ years, why wouldn't it work now? Does Discourse inspire anonymous users to be extra obnoxious?


  • :belt_onion:

    @darkmatter said:

    Does Discourse inspire anonymous users to be extra obnoxious?

    Actually, I think it does. I've certainly been extra obnoxious since Discourse was implemented! And I'm not even anonymous.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @darkmatter said:

    Does Discourse inspire anonymous users to be extra obnoxious?

    No. Just the non-anonymous ones.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    We've not been discussing much in the way of politics recently, so the obnoxosity is turned down.



  • @apapadimoulis said:

    so, I'll try again

    Cool!

    @apapadimoulis said:

    1) Keep the same "auto-post discussion / hide / show" forums integration thing

    Yes. I'm on board here.

    @apapadimoulis said:

    2) Use the API to pull all of the comments to the front page...
    a. featured comments displayed below article (as current)

    Definitely.

    One addition - "People's choice" - top 1 - 3 liked comments. There's your auto-feature. Granted, this is open for abuse, but it could have hilarious results.

    @apapadimoulis said:

    b. all comments display on secondary comments page (as current)

    Meh. I'm not so excited on this point. Feels a little weird making a non-interactive copy of the comments. To me, comments/forums are more like a separation of church and state. I come to tdwtf.com to read my story and see the top comments. Talkers head over to what.tdwtf.com to talk n' chat.

    @apapadimoulis said:

    3) Users can post anonymous comments on front page by entering captcha
    a. this uses a special account we create
    b. community can flag/like posts as needed
    4)Users can post non-anonymous comments by going to forums (as planned)

    I like the idea...and keep in mind that I don't like anonymous comments.

    To me, spam and hurtful, jerkwad commenters are a bigger threat than YouTube-style comments and giving the convenience of easy anonymous posting gives them that ability. IMHO, I would much rather see people sign up with a fake account, but I concede that the ability to do a drive-by comment is valuable.

    @apapadimoulis said:

    it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it's the transition from "front page" styling to "forums" styling

    THIS!!! You hit the nail on the head there.

    Feels like there's too much ...whitespace. One sentence comments, for example, are 40 pixels taller on Discourse than on TDWTF and there's also a striking difference between individual comments that make it feel more like...well.. comments.

    Technical question - can CSS for the comment threads be altered into a "minified" version?



  • @VinDuv said:

    @ben_lubar said:
    Bonus points if you can make it look exactly like the old commenting system

    That would require pagination...

    Yah, you're probably being snarky ;) but really - as someone who doesn't make comment curating a priority once the 2 page comment threshold is crossed, is there a benefit of pagination of comments ESPECIALLY when conversations cross multiple pages?

    In my eyes: when I hit a comment page, I want to see the most recent message in a thread before contributing, not (potentially) four messages ago.



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    Yah, you're probably being snarky ;) but really - as someone who doesn't make comment curating a priority once the 2 page comment threshold is crossed, is there a benefit of pagination of comments ESPECIALLY when conversations cross multiple pages?

    In my eyes: when I hit a comment page, I want to see the most recent message in a thread before contributing, not (potentially) four messages ago.

    Hey, people hate change. Leave the pagination on for the comment page on the main site.



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    "People's choice" - top 1 - 3 liked comments

    Yeah I like that; I think having that 5-10 comments on the article page is a good number to get a taste of the discussion, and some additional insight into the industry/whatever (my favorite type of comments). So with Editor-featured and Audience-picked, this could get us there.

    @mark_bowytz said:

    I don't like anonymous comments

    But... freedom of speech, man! Fine fine, apparently I'm the only one who likes anon comments. I guess if we enable google/facebook/whatever auth, maybe that makes it as painless as possible to contribute.

    @mark_bowytz said:

    Feels like there's too much ...whitespace. One sentence comments, for example, are 40 pixels taller on Discourse than on TDWTF and there's also a striking difference between individual comments that make it feel more like...well.. comments.

    Technical question - can CSS for the comment threads be altered into a "minified" version?

    Hmmm ... yeah maybe that's it? I guess too, if the full article was posted as the first comment, people could quote it much easier.

    Yeah we could totally do custom styling for the article discussion. Not sure if it's actually supported, but JAVASCRIPT!

    I'll get our designer to take a look, and see if he has any ideas. Actually getting this place styled was still on the TODO anyway.



  • Oooh another idea. Probably bad.

    "READ ALL COMMENTS BUTTON" pops up an IFRAME with minified comments.

    Something I like about continuity on the main page, having same sidebar nav, etc?



  • @apapadimoulis said:

    Fine fine, apparently I'm the only one who likes anon comments.

    I don't think that's correct at all, Alex. Most of the posters on here, with the exception of Jeff**, seem to favor retaining the anonymous comments.

    Even Mark, who you slightly mis-quoted, actually said;
    @mark_bowytz said:

    I like the idea...and keep in mind that I don't like anonymous comments.

    The captcha will do a decent enough job of keeping most miscreants out.

    ** The note above wasn't a dig at Jeff's view - I agree that most anonymous comments on other forums are a disaster, especially YouTube. But as mentioned earlier, the audience for TDWTF doesn't tend toward random cretins, certainly on the evidence of the last few years.

    I'm in favor of everything stated in Alex's OP, not least because experimenting with less radical changes is going to be beneficial and, if any of the ideas simply don't work, then they can be easily undone.



  • @apapadimoulis said:

    I guess if we enable google/facebook/whatever auth, maybe that makes it as painless as possible to contribute.

    But that's also NSFW! (as in those things get blocked by corporate firewalls...namely mine)

    @apapadimoulis said:

    "READ ALL COMMENTS BUTTON" pops up an IFRAME with minified comments.

    I can see value in that. But it could get big, data wise...maybe "READ MOST COMMENTS"? First 50 comments (a logical page in today's standards ...happy @ben_lubar? :)) ...just a taste.

    Not unlike a van that says "FREE CANDY" on the side. You know there's more candy, just go over there. "Come on in - Have some candy. It's free."



  • @darkmatter said:

    I've certainly been extra obnoxious since Discourse was implemented!

    I know I used more foul language in the first couple of days of Discourse than I did in almost a year of posting on the CS version of TDWTF.



  • @apapadimoulis said:

    apparently I'm the only one who likes anon comments.

    Definitely not. I know I've posted at least once (I'm too lazy to go searching) on the desirability of maintaining anonymity.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    Definitely not. I know I've posted at least once (I'm to lazy to go searching) on the desirability of maintaining anonymity.

    I'm too lazy too, but how do you define anonymity? By this I mean signing up using a one-time use email address vs a captcha based one-off post?

    If we cared, we'd look to the server logs to see that "Joe Blow (unregistered)", mega troll extraordinaire, came in from 12.23.34.567 which traces back to his house. With assistance from the ISP, we'd find Joe's address and send him a box of dog poo.



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    we'd find Joe's address and send him a box of dog poo

    Note that you could have saved a few characters by simply writing 💩. Now I'm having to waste precious bytes by writing this.


    Filed under: Unicode Nazi



  • @apapadimoulis said:

    Note that you could have saved a few characters by simply writing 💩. Now I'm having to waste precious bytes by writing this.

    According to the font my browser is using, the box is empty of any poo.


    Filed under: Failure by Unicode





  • @apapadimoulis said:

    But... freedom of speech, man! Fine fine, apparently I'm the only one who likes anon comments. I guess if we enable google/facebook/whatever auth, maybe that makes it as painless as possible to contribute.

    I'm surprised that OpenID wasn't the core of the login system thanks to @codinghorror



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    I'm too lazy too, but how do you define anonymity? By this I mean signing up using a one-time use email address vs a captcha based one-off post?

    My context was the existing system — being able to post a humorous one-liner or an "OMG! Look at the WTF way we do this at my company: <code snippet>" without having to sign up for a throw-away account.
    @mark_bowytz said:

    If we cared, we'd look to the server logs

    Yeah, of course, but who would want to go to that much bother to out an anonymous commenter? It might be worth registering for a throw-away account to submit a WTF, but those are anonymized (often beyond reason) anyway, so it's not really necessary. Often the comments are more entertaining than the article, and I would not want to lose those contributions by eliminating the ability to write a quick, witty (one hopes) one-liner. Sturgeon's Law, but it is very likely some of the good would be lost along with the bad.

    Edit: Case in point, would Squiggle have posted this comment if he/she/it had been forced to register? Dunno, but if not, a valuable contribution* would have been lost.

    * Well, to the extent any contribution to TDWTF could be considered "valuable," anyway.

    @mark_bowytz said:

    "Joe Blow (unregistered)", mega troll extraordinaire
    Like the moron(s) who post hundreds of "I hate TDWTF" posts? That's the one really good case I see for making an account mandatory.
    @mark_bowytz said:
    send him a box of dog poo

    I have a plentiful abundance I'd be willing to donate to a good cause. It's not like it's doing anything else useful.

    [I just noticed the preview pane now scrolls with the edit pane. Cool!]



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    Technical question - can CSS for the comment threads be altered into a "minified" version?

    @apapadimoulis said:
    Yeah we could totally do custom styling for the article discussion. Not sure if it's actually supported, but JAVASCRIPT!

    This is ABSOLUTELY supported!!

    Write your rules in (S)CSS, then wrap them with this in the admin/customize CSS editor, which accepts SCSS:

    .category-article-discussion {
      /* your (S)CSS code here */
      .blah {
        margin: 0;
      }
    }
    

    That selector covers the entire body of the topic and Suggested Topics, but not the header, by the way.

    (You can also style single topics or posts in a manner very similar to this.)


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @mark_bowytz said:

    Not unlike a van that says "FREE CANDY" on the side. You know there's more candy, just go over there. "Come on in - Have some candy. It's free."

    Seems legit.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    SCSS is awesome, so I'm surprised Discourse is using it.


    Filed under: There, now I've said something nice about Discourse.



  • @mark_bowytz said:

    happy @ben_lubar?

    Hey, I personally like infinite scrolling. I'm just trying to save you from a riot.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    Edit: Case in point, would Squiggle have posted this comment if he/she/it had been forced to register? Dunno, but if not, a valuable contribution* would have been lost.

    Perfect example of what I was thinking!



  • @codinghorror said:

    I would look verrrry closely at this, as letting drive-by anons post with no barrier to entry generally results in youtube level comments.

    I read (and contribute) on several sites that allow anonymous comments, and I've never seen any problems (in fact, didn't youtube always require you to have an account to post, thus proving that requiring registration doesn't prevent youtube-level comments?). I actually started commenting on several sites precisely because there was no need to register.


  • Banned

    @mark_bowytz said:

    To me, comments/forums are more like a separation of church and state. I come to tdwtf.com to read my story and see the top comments. Talkers head over to what.tdwtf.com to talk n' chat.

    Yeah, I agree with this -- there is a huge, huge difference between drive-by commenters and active members of the community. So much so that they really don't belong together at all, and will actively begin to resent each other. Not that the drive by people care, either. Why would they? There is literally nothing at stake for them.

    @mark_bowytz said:

    spam and hurtful, jerkwad commenters are a bigger threat than YouTube-style comments and giving the convenience of easy anonymous posting gives them that ability. IMHO, I would much rather see people sign up with a fake account, but I concede that the ability to do a drive-by comment is valuable.

    How do you enforce this without putting an undue burden on the community? There's a fundamental disconnect: it's near-zero effort to leave drive-by strafing run trash (a negative, hateful, or stupid comment) without some kind of registration system. So the effort to clean up the trash, and the effect it has on the community, is disproportionate. Littering becomes way too easy.

    You could argue as @skotl does that the captcha acts as 'enough' barrier to keep out the bored vandals -- perhaps. The best argument in favor is the existing comment data that allows anons through with the captcha. I'd look closely at the existing posts with an eye on "is this the way we want it", and "is this the way it should be forever?"

    Too much emphasis on easy anon also doesn't encourage people to join the community except in a superficial way, and is kind of negative for the health of the community in the long term. Everyone is "just passing through", so why would they care about anything there?



  • use FizzBuzz as a CAPTCHA on this site


  • Banned

    One thing I really feel is missing is the embed stuff we do at BoingBoing and @codinghorror's blog.

    expands to:

    This allows you to easily quote stuff from the article and live in one spot as a hard core user.

    Have there been any thoughts on adding this here?



  • @sam said:

    Have there been any thoughts on adding this here?

    Yes! What magic powers that feature?


  • Banned

    I am searching hard for the documentation but coming up quite empty :(

    Essentially you just add a magic param when you are creating topics here called: "embed_url" with the origin url.

    We then take care of all the magic.

    cc @codinghorror @eviltrout


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @codinghorror said:

    Too much emphasis on easy anon also doesn't encourage people to join the community except in a superficial way, and is kind of negative for the health of the community in the long term. Everyone is "just passing through", so why would they care about anything there?

    There have been plenty of forums where I was "just passing through" that forced me to register. Sometimes I went through the pain of registration, usually not, but in neither case did that compulsory ritual make me more inclined to stay and participate. I rather resented it.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @sam said:

    I am searching hard for the documentation but coming up quite empty

    I am simply shocked. Shocked, I tell you.


  • Banned

    It's right here

    Search google for "discourse embed static"



  • 10 points to @codinghorror for not using the term "ivory tower" yet.

    the worst part is, the entry to this "walled garden" is a cost that varies a lot with each user.



  • Is there an ivory tower in the walled garden?


  • Banned

    I found that, but its missing documentation on how to use embed_url.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.