Two New Commenter Tools

Two new tweaks for the comments section:

1. The timestamp next to each thread now links to a permalink page with only that thread. This makes referencing specific conversations easier, or you could pass around the link to threads you’ve started and get your friends to reply.

2. The “Most popular” link at top of the comments is a shortcut sending you to a page showing the threads with the largest number of replies. The discussion with the most replies is on top.

(Photo: grendelkhan)

Comments

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  1. snoop-blog says:

    More CHANGE? Rable rable rable rable no like change rable rable.

  2. Bladefist says:

    Cool. I’ll be honest, I’ve already went back to using the class view 100% of the time. The collapsed views are great if you are watching one conversation. But to follow several discussions gets difficult. Just my .02

    • PinkBox says:

      @Bladefist: Same here. I end up looking at the same post several times in a day just to read all of the comments, and there is no way I’d catch all the new ones without using the classic view.

      Going through and clicking all of the threaded replies simply just isn’t going to work for that… maybe there could be some kind of visual indicator noting new replies within a thread?

    • MrGutts says:

      @Bladefist:

      How do I switch back to classic, I hate this format they have going on..

  3. sir_pantsalot says:

    @BladefistThe sign of great software is when you have to modify it(turn off the great features) to make it more user friendly.

  4. bdsakx says:

    Could the threaded comments be indented to the right a little bit–at least for the first level and not the subsequent ones? That wider gap between the left column and the threaded comments would be a better visual cue that I’m still reading threaded comments. Just my .02, too.

  5. Neat. Our Lifehacker friends should come up with a Better Lifehacker FF extension to let you permanently choose Classic View.

    I, for one, like the experimentation. But does #2 reward flaming? Sure hope it doesn’t end up that way…

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Why are there beveled, metallic breasts on the New Consumerist Tools page?

  7. the_gank says:

    whoever came up w/these new commenting style for the blgosmitth network of blogs needs to go back to web 2.0 101. I mean, in some sense it is nice, in another sense it is completely jive. I’m tryin 2 avoid clicking as much as possible…..y should I click so much 2 read replies?

  8. Triborough says:

    Is there a way to simply have the “classic view” as the default? How hard can it be?

  9. strife1012 says:

    Just wanted to say it looks great, its getting better everyday, better than before.

    I also like how Y’all care so much about peoples comments.

  10. Antediluvian says:

    I’ve seen a particularly annoying problem: sometime the reply arrow for the main comment disappears when there are replies to it, and only the last reply will have an arrow. This means you can only reply to the reply, not the main comment, and only the last reply, not any of the earlier ones.

    I can’t reproduce it consistently, but I’ve seen it a lot. Probably mostly under IE6 on Windows XP on a system that’s running low on resources. Right now on FF3 on Leopard it seems fine.

    It could only be me, but I wanted to alert someone and this seemed a likely thread.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Antediluvian: I’ve had the same problem. Usually I edit the reply-to name in the code to be who I want it to.

      • Antediluvian says:

        @Coles_Law: I figure that works okay for the name, but I haven’t studied the new way the links are formed to see whether the link refers to the parent (original) or child (reply) comment.

      • The Warrior-Poet says:

        @Coles_Law: So, I’m not going crazy. May we stipulate that commenters are this empire’s customers, and if these customers could comment efficiently, there would be more traffic? So, did anyone survey and observe the customers before the re-design? Was there a pilot using current and former customers? I suggest a seance with Mr. Juran.

  11. BigPapaCherry says:

    If there’s gonna be any further adjustments, might I suggest:

    1. Allowing users to set their preferred way of viewing comments as standard, whether that be classic view or new view, collapsed replies or expanded replies, oldest first newest first or most popular. Make it an option in the personal each users profile.

    2. Indent the replies, at least for the first level. Also, maybe shade the reviews in a different color? e.g. the top level comment is white and all the replies are a gray color or something. Basically, make the replies more distinguishable from the other comments.

    I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting, but that’s all I can remember.

  12. Ein2015 says:

    I’m loving the changes, Ben! Keep up the good work!

    An indention option (even if it’s a default-off option) would be fantastic.

    And a “view all replies” option (again even if it’s a default-off option) so I don’t have to press the + on every reply (which I wind up doing on every page).

  13. dragonfire81 says:

    I like the changes, but where’s EDIT BUTTON???

    • @dragonfire81: there will never be an edit button.
      i’m convinced of it.

    • Antediluvian says:

      @dragonfire81: A big problem w/ an edit button is that it needs to be time-limited (say, 5 minutes after posting). Otherwise, someone can reply saying “I agree with dragonfire81!” — without describing what they’re agreeing with — and then you can go back and change your post to read “I think the default font on gawker sites should be Comic Sans” or “Yankees suck!” or “Vote McCain.”

      Another way around that would be to prevent editing once someone has made a reply, kinda like eBay prevents editing once a bid is made, but that assumes people use the reply button and not just reference the posting in another way.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @Antediluvian: You know I had this thought this morning, but then I realized there are a bunch of online forums WITH edit buttons that function without much difficulty at all.

        • Antediluvian says:

          @dragonfire81: Interesting. I wonder how they handle the quoting issue? I suppose if I had the answer I could make a fortune selling forum software to gawker media sites. :-)

  14. eelmonger says:

    For everyone complaining about a “view all replies option” it’s been there since day one, it’s “expand all,” right next to the classic/threaded toggle.

    That being said, I still very much prefer classic view and would really appreciate a setting in a my profile that lets us choose our default comment viewing style. As it stands I’m much less willing to go through read beyond 20 comments if I forget to hit classic from the start.

  15. JeffM says:

    Collapsed by default is causing me to spend less time at this site- it really bothers me to have to expand every single comment- folks shouldn’t be penalized for replying to comments- this system encourages people to start new threads so their comments will be read.

    We need profile selectable options to always expand all comments.

  16. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Umm, how about letting the browser store a cookie so those of us who like “Classic View” can start the browser that way and leave it there without having to switch to it ever time we visit the site.

    Also, how about letting us choose how many replies to look at. Scrolling through 20 at a time is a big pain in the tukus.

    FYI…now I read Consumerist and Jalopnik a lot less because it’s really annoying.

    Hey, if people like the fancy comments and threads, fine, but at least let us luddites who like to read things in linear order and who don’t want to scroll through 8 pages to follow a single article…let us do it the old way.

    Reading Gawker sites makes me sad now :(

  17. Marshfield says:

    I like the picture. #2 Phillips bits are one of my main tools these days. Screws are fast on their way to replacing nails in many situations.

  18. Bruce says:

    This new threaded view, it’s the New Coke of web design! Please allow us the ability to set a persistent cookie to maintain our preferred viewing choices. I view each story I am interested in reading in a new tab and having to reset back to classic view for each story is a horrible design choice.

    Please make this change that I and many others here wish to have. I understand that all of Gawker media have adopted this new look but it’s the wrong choice across the board.

  19. alstein says:

    I want an option to set classic view to default instead of having to change it every time. You do that I’m happy.

  20. MissPeacock says:

    I’m going to throw in my two cents as well. The only thing I would like right now is to have “Expand All” be the default for viewing comments. Yeah, it’s just one mouse click when looking at the comments, but it’s still annoying and sometimes I forget to click it. Or like others suggested above, having a dashboard where you can set your comment preferences so they work across all stories and Gawker sites without having to manually apply the settings each time you go to a page.

    • emjay says:

      @MissPeacock: Regarding the Expand All option:

      Using IE6 (yeah – can’t be changed on this machine unfortunately) I can expand any comment individually, but 95% of the time when I click Expand all, it appears to load all the comments but does not display them (sometimes it loads the icons, but not always) Usually refreshing the page and clicking expand all again works (about 50%) of the time. Is this an IE6 issue or some settign I’m overlooking? I don’t have this issue in IE7, FireFox or Chrome on other PC’s.

  21. highmodulus says:

    Actually I would like a vote up/vote down reputation syste, like they use for Slashdot and have those comments hidden useless you expand them. That would provide effective troll control.

  22. johnva says:

    The biggest things I don’t like about the new layout are

    1) The 20 comment page limit on the new format.
    2) All the wasted space. There is way too much vertical whitespace in this new look, and it makes it pretty painful to read all the comments quickly. Maybe it’s just me, but I really prefer a much more compact layout for comments, and this is just about the opposite of compact.