Page 3.14

As you may have heard from one of our bloggers, ScienceBlogs will soon be introducing an optional user membership program. We hope that this will help you, as readers, connect with one another, keep track of the posts and discussions you are interested in, and control how you interact with the site.

To that end, we’d love to hear what you think would most improve your site experience—what would be useful, interesting, or just plain fun? You can help us decide which features to introduce in both stages of our two-part development by responding to the poll below. Bump items up or down to rank them in order of most- to least-wanted.

Thanks for your feedback!


Comments

  1. #1 speedwell
    September 3, 2009

    THE ABILITY TO ACCESS COMMENTING FROM WORK would be good, thanks. I can’t use TypePad from here. By the way, I can’t access your poll functionality from here, either, because some part of it is blocked. (I am not goofing off; I’m on my lunch break.)

  2. #2 Rich Wilson
    September 3, 2009

    How about making sure the site is accessible by not having things like polls that require the use of a mouse?

  3. #3 Mel N
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t have access to the poll or TypePad ID from where I work or home sometimes. I can see all the side ads and plugins.

  4. #4 Trent1492
    September 3, 2009

    I want the ability to reply to a specific comment and receive notification when someone replies to my comment.

  5. #5 Jared
    September 3, 2009

    A profile system would be ok, so long as the “anon” option is available. I would set up a profile and use comment tracking, but anything which adds “clutter” to already long threads such as photos next to the user ID, would take away from the ease of reading. User-to-user just seems creepy, and we can already provide links to personal web pages for those really interested.

  6. #6 stogoe
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t want any of these things, and I certainly don’t want threaded commenting without a way to turn that garbage off.

  7. #7 Draken
    September 3, 2009

    I’ve put a comment ranking system high up in the wishlist, because it enables you to show your appreciation for someone’s contribution without directly posting a ‘me too’ style comment.

    I would also recommend that reactions which get downvoted considerably, become invisible by default but can still be opened by those who care to read them. This would keep the trolls at bay without the need for the blog admin to play police all the time.

  8. #8 Max Fagin
    September 3, 2009

    AN EQUATION EDITOR!

  9. #9 bsk
    September 3, 2009

    Honestly, just keep it as simple and straightforward as possible.

  10. #10 clippo
    September 3, 2009

    Polls suck
    I like it the way it is now.

  11. #11 Divalent
    September 3, 2009

    how about a feedback box that is large enough to display every option *and* the “submit” button. (I can momentarily see the “submit” option when I move something near the bottom, but don’t seem to be able to click it as it disappears)

    I would like easier ability to format a message reply without having to know “geek codes” to do simple things, like bold, quote, italicize, etc.

  12. #12 JefFlyingV
    September 3, 2009

    Maybe change will be good, but I have my doubts. Voting?star sytems rarely work out the way that they are intended. I don’t think I would like user to user connections, alot of abuse can ensue from such a system. Frankly I prefer the semi-anonymity that the present system gives me. I will be interested to see how all the items on the list frame up eventually since this is already a done deal.

  13. #13 Gruesome Rob
    September 3, 2009

    Some differentiation between “read” and “unread” comments.

  14. #14 Will. M
    September 3, 2009

    I won’t use most of what you’ve listed in the poll (which has a really lousy and partially unresponsive format, by the way). I would like to have a way to add hyperlinks, emphasis like italics, boldface or underlining in the comment text. Listing the comments from first to latest is a good idea, also.
    I thought I might like a way to respond to a particular comment might be useful; I discarded that idea as way too cumbersome to be of use. I mostly like the way the site is now set up.

  15. #15 guest
    September 3, 2009

    Please avoid any features pessimized for my browser. I’ve tried to use the “Please rank the following: — Poll by: PollJunkie.com” on two different popular big-name browsers now and it won’t work on either of them.

  16. #16 kevin
    September 3, 2009

    I like pretty much none of these ideas, except possibly for the “recent comments” or “comment tracking” feature, whatever that is.

    Threaded comments, voting, or other crap to clutter up the page: no thanks, keep it simple please, it is nice how it is.

    User profiles, pictures, sharing, connections, etc.: please no, this isn’t facebook, and thank FSM for that.

  17. #17 DuckPhup
    September 3, 2009

    done

  18. #18 Bill Dauphin, OM
    September 3, 2009

    I’ve long wanted the ability to edit my own comments. That would eliminate a lot of extraneous posts (from everyone, not just me) apologizing for typos and tagging screwups.

    Also, a handful of HTML tool buttons (bold, italic, quote) might eliminate some tagging hiccups (and encourage folks to properly identify quoted material).

  19. #19 Kris
    September 3, 2009

    I think threaded comments are a good idea. You don’t need to search for replies, or the posts that a reply is to. But I can live with or without them.

    The most important thing to me, though, is that individual blogs should be able to turn off certain features. Namely, they should be able to disable things like voting and moderation (spam tags and so forth). Aside from being a matter of preference, more controversial blogs (Pharyngula, for instance) tend to get droves of visitors who would censor the kinds of comments they disagree with despite their relevance to the blog posts.

  20. #20 dreikin
    September 3, 2009

    I think it be nice if sb had a forum (with a directory for each blog, and a thread for each post, viewable from the post itself), but what I consider most essential is LaTeX support – at least for math.

  21. #21 Kris
    September 3, 2009

    Reading some of the other comments, I’ll throw in for equation support (preferably including LaTeX). It would seem a necessity on a site called ScienceBlogs.

  22. #22 PoxyHowzes
    September 3, 2009

    This poll, and the creatures who conceived it and created it, and concocted it, belie the absolutely unscientific belief that the ideator is more important than the idea, that the asker is more important than the question, that the expounder is more important than that which is expounded, that knowing who is more important than knowing why or how or where, that the teacher is more important than the lesson.

    If you must make changes, O Overlords, changes whose necessity or whose benefits you deign not to tell us (how very religious, how very unscientific, of you, O Overlords), then it would be my sincerest prayer, O Overlords, that you leave the selection and implementation of such changes to the individual bloggers, who I am sure, will appropriately bend their collective and individual knees before your almighty throne.

  23. #23 Thinker
    September 3, 2009

    Whatever you do, keep it simple and straightforward, with minimal demands on browser settings etc. Make sure graphics always work, frames show up properly and so on. No clutter, please, and absolutely never a pop-up or flyover!

  24. #24 Tom Wood
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t like any of those choices.

    I like the commenting systems like that provided by forum software like vBulletin.

  25. #25 Damian
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t know whether this is at all possible, but I’d rather keep the comments section in its current format (i.e. one long comment section), but allow people to quote comments, which either shows up on the comment that is being quoted (by including the comment numbers of the people replying to it at the bottom of the comment — perhaps linked), and/or allows you to change to a nested format to keep track of conversations within a comment section.

    I guess that I could live with nested comments, but it would seriously annoy some people if that was standard. What you want to be able to do is read a comment section with the least amount of button clicking possible, but also have the ability to keep track of separate conversations and replies. Not easy, I know.

    Being able to keep track of threads and comments is long overdue, as well. Some comment sections run to thousands of comments, meaning that you have to read all comments to keep track of who might have replied to one of your comments. I’ve always admired the BBC sports forum for exactly that reason. It allows you to go to a single page, and in order of last thread commented on, lists the threads that you are taking part in. What it didn’t do, however, is tell you if one of your comments has been replied to, which would really improve the user experience.

    Other things: HTML buttons, as well as the ability edit a post.

  26. #26 jadehawk
    September 3, 2009

    all those suggestions suck. all I want is comment editing.

  27. #27 'Tis Himself
    September 3, 2009

    Being able to edit and delete posts would be nice. But the number one thing I’d like to see, more than anything else, is being able to consistently sign in with TypePad. Sometimes when I click on Sign In, TypePad isn’t an option. Sometimes when TypePad is an option, I sign in on it and instead of going back to the blog I get a page of gibberish and I’m not signed in.

    Fix what you’ve already got, make it reliable. Then we can discuss improvements.

  28. #28 D. C. Sessions
    September 3, 2009

    I was pretty positive about the proposed changes, but this “poll” is causing me to have second thoughts. It’s totally non-functional here, and that’s after I completely switched off all of my browsing security.

    If that’s the quality of site design that’s in the works, I’ll take something that actually does work.

  29. #29 Harley Bimple
    September 3, 2009

    OK, tried to do the poll, didn’t work. I think the rule here, as others have noted, is: if what you’ve already got doesn’t work, try fixing that first.

  30. #30 Jyotsana
    September 3, 2009

    As a daily reader yet infrequent commenter, I just want to say that I like the look of the comments as they are now. They are simple, easy to follow, and uncluttered by silly little social networking-style eye candy. Threaded or unthreaded comments don’t matter to me so much as not having a thousand little pictures and icons and thingies tacked onto each reply. I also think that having the ability to edit one’s comments after posting would be a wonderful improvement.

    As to the poll on this page, it is not at all obvious how it works. I messed around with it for over twenty minutes before I realized I had to drag and drop the choices into my desired outcome.

  31. #31 Margaret
    September 3, 2009

    The poll doesn’t work. The current sign-in system doesn’t work (goes to 403 Forbidden page).

    I want to be able to comment quickly and easily, without a lot of silly nonsense and stupid colors, pictures, etc. Preview is essential.

  32. #32 BG
    September 3, 2009

    Not a great list of options. Where are:

    Edit comments
    Threaded comments
    Email notification of replies to a comment

    Everything on the list presented in the poll is pointless and uninteresting to me.

  33. #33 Marcus Ranum
    September 3, 2009

    Whatever you do, make sure you make the HTML bloat up by a factor of 2 or 3 like every other site seems to be doing. It’s a good way of keeping us dial-up losers away.

  34. #34 Stagyar zil Doggo
    September 3, 2009

    Threaded comments please!

    Posts by commenters you consider Trolls can currently be skipped over using killfile for Greasemonkey on firefox, but its only partially effective. You still encounter (now context free) posts by others responding to the troll. Threaded comments would let you skip past that whole part of the discussion.

    Also, the ability to post mathy things!

  35. #35 chrisD
    September 3, 2009

    I love the way comments are right now. I often use my phone to read sciblogs and prefer the uncluttered, streamlined, single column style. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t want sort of /. style threaded comments, but make sure you don’t forget to disable all that fancy code when the browser someone uses is clearly a mobile one.

  36. #36 Pam
    September 3, 2009

    1) Threaded comments.

    As for the various “social” features which are actually on the (not very functional) poll, I do not believe they will greatly enhance my ScienceBlogs experience. (And in some cases, will detract from it.)

  37. #37 Frost
    September 3, 2009

    I actually like the way the comments are now, the present format is clean and clear.

    Please, no threaded comments, that makes answering more than one comment per post nigh impossible.

    Some HTML formatting buttons would be nice, as would the ability to edit posts.

    Static comment numbering would make it easier to follow conversations even when spam etc. has been removed from in between.

    Just don’t add any unnecessary clutter, and I will stab myself in the eye with a pencil if you implement those godawful animated emoticons.

  38. #38 AK
    September 3, 2009

    I’m not impressed by the options offered. Here are my thoughts:

    1. I’d like to be able to edit my own posts. Some way to track responses, and click back to a post being responded to, would be nice, but IMO the chronological sequence is important: it lets me know what was posted when. Nested comments always confuse me. (If you allowed multiple back-links, so a comment could respond to several previous comments, I would use it a lot, but it might be confusing to most.)
    2. HTML for people who don’t already use it would be nice: I always feel a little guilty putting in blockquotes and links when I know many here wouldn’t be able to follow suit. (Perhaps a system of buttons that enclose highlighted text in appropriate tags.) I suppose some would be critical of calling for such aids in a blog center dedicated to science: couldn’t people figure it out for themselves? But, IMO, if you’re pointing to a lay audience, it’s a mistake to give such advantage to people who already know HTML.
    3. And why not allow comments to use ordered lists?
    4. I’d also like to be able to include images directly in my comment, although experience suggests it would be badly misused by some. (It worked that way on the old HotWired Threads, although IIRC they had to turn it off eventually.) Perhaps you could set it up to include a stub image until the post had been moderated.
    5. On which subject, more flexibility in moderation would be nice. Perhaps letting the blog owner specify how many links have to be in a post before it’s held for moderation, perhaps not counting links to SB posts, or Wikipedia (I use lots of those when I can).
    6. Another issue I’ve had is with using the “preview” function when talking about HTML. (I’ll grant that doesn’t happen much around here.) When I use an ampersand/LT to introduce a tag I want to talk about, it wraps into the preview as a “<”. Then, if I hit “Post”, the tag resolves in the comment rather than showing a tag. This probably isn’t worth fixing, but when I use the back key to correct errors (rather than just fixing and pressing “Preview” again), if I do more than two or three corrections I can rely on my post going into the moderation queue, even if it wouldn’t have otherwise. (Or I could the last time I tried, which was a year ago or so. Perhaps you’ve fixed that.)
  39. #39 AdamK
    September 3, 2009

    I like it the way it is now, too. It would be nice to have easy-to-use style buttons instead of HTML tags, but all that other gimcrackery just makes it a mess to read. Social network somewhere else.

  40. #40 Carlie
    September 3, 2009

    It’s difficult to rank them, because I don’t want most of those options at all. The more bells and whistles, the more clunky and gobbed-up the layout looks. I don’t want my ScienceBlog comments to look like myspace on LSD.

  41. #41 D. Eppstein
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t care about any of those features. What I want is to be able to read comments in the same window as the main post and to be able to write and sign comments using OpenID without having to set up individual logins and profiles on every different blogging host that I might conceivably want to read the blogs of. Oh, and threaded comments rather than one long flat list would be good too.

  42. #42 possummomma
    September 3, 2009

    Tough

  43. #43 The Chimp's Raging Id
    September 3, 2009

    The options aren’t great. What I’d really like are:

    1. Decent responsiveness. Comment submissions time out far too often at the moment.
    2. A simple login system that works site-wide and, preferably, supports OpenID.
    3. Ability to edit your own comments. Reelly gud for ppl lik me who dunt tipe so wwell.

    As many others have said, let’s keep it clean and simple. We don’t need social networking features. Also, if you must implement comment threading, please give us an option to turn it off (and remember our preferences between vists to SciBlogs). This place doesn’t need to turn into myShiteFacebookSpaceTubeBucket.

  44. #44 kevin
    September 3, 2009

    A very simple not-threaded-comments but close enough approximation to satisfy the people who want it:

    Why not just make any text in a comment like @5 (or #5, or whatever syntax is most common arround here) automatically get a link back to the proper anchor for comment 5.

    This wouldn’t clutter the page, leaves it nonthreaded for most of us, but makes it possible to easily jump back when someone refers to another post. Also makes it possible to track when someone replies to a comment of interest.

  45. #45 Gilgamesh
    September 3, 2009

    Whatever format is used, keep it simple so processing time is as short as possible.

    No animation.

    Increase the number of characters per line for both typing and reading comments to reduce scrolling.

    Put a cap on number of characters per comment to deter tedious cut & paste and word salad postings.

    Offer a desktop widget so we can keep an eye on an interesting comment series even when the browser is closed.

    I have read about an effort to create software that would recognize inane comments, by detecting terrible grammar, excessive cursing, missing capitalization, etc., join in efforts in developing such software and if successfully created, using it. It should be flexible to allow comments by people for whom English is a second language.

    I have no interest in reading profiles, the quality of a person’s comments should speak for themselves.

  46. #46 paulemaule1
    September 3, 2009

    The comment system should work like the one over at reddit.
    Where you are able to reply to specific comments and vote for comments based upon the comments quality or whether it adds to the discussion or not.

  47. #47 Matthew Platte
    September 3, 2009

    What Poxy (#22) said. Stupid, stupid poll is a busybox for the easily amused. Threads and edits are all that’s missing from the Sb of today.

  48. #48 debunk
    September 3, 2009

    For the love of $deity don’t enable ratings, I’ve seen too many sites fall victim to trolls and votebots and as a result become completely useless.

  49. #49 tmaxPA
    September 3, 2009

    The only feature that is needed is threading. Nothing else will make any real difference, though I’d prefer to not have lots of glitzy flashy stuff. Just threading.

  50. #50 windy
    September 3, 2009

    I don’t know whether this is at all possible, but I’d rather keep the comments section in its current format (i.e. one long comment section), but allow people to quote comments, which either shows up on the comment that is being quoted

    There is such a feature at Firedoglake. The comments section is much like the one here, but there are some formatting buttons and if you quote someone, it automatically includes a link to the previous comment.

  51. #51 JohnnieCanuck
    September 3, 2009

    Almost nothing in the poll sounds attractive. Some might if I were sure what the cryptic label implies. In general I’d like you to just Keep It Simple, Thanks.

    As others have said: Editing my own comments, but only for a short time, as done at jesusandmo.net for example. After my ill thought-out comment has been fisked, I shouldn’t be able to delete my embarrassment, let alone adjust my words to make the criticism invalid. Editing must set a flag to make it clear it has happened.

    If it were practical, I’d like a mechanism (cookie?) that would allow me to continue where I
    left off reading the comments.

    Threaded comments make it impossible to follow a chronological sequence as multiple parallel threads are inevitable. Not even as an option, please. Rather, give me a way to easily place a pointer to a comment I am responding to, so that others can click and find it.

    I had to switch to Firefox to see all the voteable features, and yet it will only let me promote, not demote. Too frustrating; did not use. And really? A poll to determine if unscientific polls should be a feature on a science site that hosts Pharyngula? Layers of irony!

  52. #52 Marella S.
    September 3, 2009

    Threaded comments to avoid having to scroll through a bunch of insufferable “you’re a troll!” comments.

  53. #53 eddie
    September 3, 2009

    OK, for those of us having trouble using the poll, and my mobile browser won’t even render it, here’s a simpler poll:

    Hands up all those pseudomymous commenter who welcome the prospect of turning up to register their -nym, and finding some charley trollalike has got there first. Worse if it’s your own name.

  54. #54 maddogdelta
    September 3, 2009

    Quick HTML buttons (nothing fancy, bold, underline, blockquote).
    Although if you wanted to get fancy, automatic quoting of a post, similar to what they did at Fark.com would be spiffy.

  55. #55 An avid reader
    September 3, 2009

    More important than all of these is a consistent freaking style sheet for comments and blockquote segments (the line spacing between the first paragraph and subsequent paragraphs is inconsistent), and a better spam throttling system behind the scenes.

    Get what is already here working first, please.

  56. #56 'Tis Himself
    September 3, 2009

    I didn’t see anywhere on the poll where I could put all the choices in last place. Rating the choices on a scale of 1 to 10, most of them would rank about -3, with a couple at -5.

  57. #57 Tzi
    September 3, 2009

    Threaded comments and edits only, please.

  58. #58 Eidolon
    September 3, 2009

    I’m with jadehawk @ 26. Comment editing would about do it. Follow the principle of K.I.S.S.

  59. #59 Heraclides
    September 3, 2009

    The poll as it stands is insufficient: you need to add a “zero” level, below which the poller doesn’t want or doesn’t care for the features. Note this will allow people to say “none of these”, should that be their view. Ideally you need several levels, as there will be things that are such a negative, they’d drive some people away. With this in mind, you’d have been better to do it by attributes, e.g. “would really like”, “would like”, “either way but wouldn’t hurt”, “prefer not”, “No, absolutely not”.

    For myself, I’d rather see a number of things polished/fixed than add new features. None of these add much to my mind, they are trying to move scienceblogs away from being a scienceblogs. Fix what’s broken before adding new things to break ;-)

  60. #60 eddie
    September 3, 2009

    Damian @25, you may very well be a genius!
    The issue with threaded comments have been well documented: they spoil the flow of a conversation with out-of-order comments; it’s not unusual to want to respond to many comments in one.
    These could be overcome if, following Damian’s suggestion, threading was done right.
    Instead of a comment being immediately followed by it’s and only it’s replies, out of sequence, the comment would be followed by a note: “this is replied to in #…” with hyperlinks for those who can’t wait, and a quick return mechanism.
    As this method seems not to have been implemented so-far, consider this and #25 as prior art for patent purposes.

  61. #61 Michael Kingsford Gray
    September 3, 2009

    I second the call for email responses but restricted to additions ONLY to my comment.

    I never use the ‘email me’ as it floods my inbox with comments that have no bearing on mine.

  62. #62 Cath the Canberra Cook
    September 3, 2009

    Poll does not work on either of the browsers I tried.

    Linkback to post being replied to would be good, and easy. (See wonkette for an example.) Bells & whistles should be kept to a minimum.

  63. #63 Heraclides
    September 3, 2009

    So, more practically, things I’d like to see:

    - Editing of comments. (Might need to keep a trail of edits so people can see the old versions?)

    - Threaded comments, but by the user choosing if the comments are to be presented as threads or not. See WWW implementations of most of the “traditional” newsgroups for examples of this.

    - Consistent handling of diacritics.

    Things I don’t want to see:

    - User tracking: trolls/freaks will abuse the heck out of this. It only takes one obsessed person.
    - Voting/stars. Why bother. They can get abused too, FWIW.

    Things that could happen, but only if they’re implemented properly:

    - User profiles, but ONLY if users can present a completely blank profile with not details at all.

    - User-to-user personal messages. These are blogs, not social networking groups, surely? I can understand the motivation, but along with the potential for abuse, you’d have to implement this very, very well. Users must be able to block all PMs and the receivers must be able to “see” that and that this be the default (so that the default is a blog). Point is, I think you’ll find it near impossible to implement this in a way that doesn’t get abused.

  64. #64 moioci
    September 3, 2009

    Make it so when you press the Post comment, you get some kind of feedback instead of browser zombieville (nothing against the undead, but, you know) to minimize double and triple posting.

  65. #65 eddie
    September 3, 2009

    Since my #60, I have read kevin and windy’s comments with interest. I’m gonna have a look at how firedoglake does things.

  66. #66 Heraclides
    September 3, 2009

    @65:

    In my experience, a key problem is that the presentation of the comment needs to be user-selectable, so that users can choose to view it as threaded or not; switching between the two gives most of what is needed, in my experience. The quote link idea is useful regardless.

  67. #67 Anonymous
    September 3, 2009

    Internet poll. Very scientific :)

  68. #68 Fil
    September 3, 2009

    Forums might be OK but the rest I don’t really care for.

    What I WOULD like to see is a WYSIWYG comment text box. Having to use html these days is way primitive.

  69. #69 Ubi Dubium
    September 3, 2009

    Keep it very simple please. Comment editing is important, and no nested comments, too hard to follow. User avatars would be nice, but no signatures on the main blog please, too cluttered. If you institute forums in addition to the blog, then user profiles and signatures there would be OK. On the main blog, we already have so many comments and commenters that it needs to be as streamlined as possible. Fewer widgets please, I already have problems with the pages loading continuously because of errors loading all the extraneous stuff on them.

  70. #70 John Phillips, FCD
    September 3, 2009

    The only items that interest me are being able to go to the latest comments in any post I have already visited and being able to edit posts, even if only for a short time after posting. Everything else? Meh, except for definitely no threading, or at the very least make it an option and not the default.

  71. #71 Rorschach
    September 3, 2009

    From what I read here and elsewhere so far, unless SEED are planning to swap the current scienceblogs readership with another, totally new readership, the current system should be kept, ideally even fixed, e.g. typekey login.

    Threaded comments, the whole blinking bits and social networking crap, and comment voting will certainly turn me away from SB.

  72. #72 articulett
    September 3, 2009

    I’ve often wished I could go back and edit posts after submitting.

  73. #73 BWGranville
    September 3, 2009

    As much as everyone’s railing against facebook-style profiles, how about including the “Facebook Connect” option, where if you already have a facebook account you don’t have to go through the tedium of registering to yet another website, you can just go through your facebook account?

    http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php

  74. #74 Shawn Smith
    September 3, 2009

    Features:
    User profiles no
    User pics absolutely not! It’s a security risk.
    Comment tracking WTF is this?
    Voting/Starring system Only allowed to known non-abusers
    Recommendation feed/widget make it inobtrusive, allow javascript disabled browsers the ability to use it.
    User-to-user connections Not necessary. That’s what the URL field is for.
    Following – users can follow actions of other users meh..no opinion
    User-created groups only with known non-abusers, if at all.
    Sharing content how is this different than what we have now? No.
    “Talk” blogs or forums provide them, but not by default.
    Newsletter/alerts management isn’t that what this Page 3.14 is for?
    Photo galleries No
    Polls and quizzes No
    Most recent comments feed/widget Meh, no opinion, won’t use it.

    I wouldn’t mind nested replies, like Slashdot without so much indentation.

    Note (by number and poster) of deleted comments so that other comments that refer to them make sense.

    No required registration.

    The ability to turn any and all of these features off.

  75. #75 Kobra
    September 3, 2009

    LaTex would be great!

  76. #76 Britomart
    September 3, 2009

    Can you get the search function to filter by dates or sort by dates please?

    thank you kindly

  77. #77 Carlie
    September 3, 2009

    I hate threaded comments.

    User-to-user invites much more potential for abuse and seriously frightening stalking than it could ever be good for.

    User profiles have a similar problem, with possibly giving people more information than they ought to have about another person.

    User pics, NO. Too much bandwidth, too much potential for annoying/offensive pics, too much clutter.

    I do like the idea of tracking comments; it lets you find other things a person has written and determine quickly if they’re a flash in the pan, a regular commenter with a lot of good things to say, have repeated the same thing dozens of times, etc., and doesn’t seem to let on any more information than the person has already provided in the original comment.

    Everything else, meh, no.

  78. #78 Greg Laden
    September 3, 2009

    [38] (and some others) What HTML you can use on a blog is set by the blog-meister for that blog. I have just made it possible to use ordered lists on my blog.

    Sort of.

  79. #79 Greg Laden
    September 3, 2009

    [44]Why not just make any text in a comment like @5 (or #5, or whatever syntax is most common arround here) automatically get a link back to the proper anchor for comment 5.

    That would be nice.

  80. #80 Anonymous
    September 4, 2009

    I want a honkin’ big sig with huge-eyed puppy dogs and pink script with sparkly graphic effects! Yes.

    Just kidding…

  81. #81 Monado
    September 4, 2009

    I’m with Shawn:

    User profiles no
    User pics absolutely not! It’s a security risk.
    Comment tracking WTF is this?
    Voting/Starring system Only allowed to known non-abusers
    Recommendation feed/widget make it inobtrusive, allow javascript disabled browsers the ability to use it.
    User-to-user connections Not necessary. That’s what the URL field is for.
    Following – users can follow actions of other users meh..no opinion
    User-created groups only with known non-abusers, if at all.
    Sharing content how is this different than what we have now? No.
    “Talk” blogs or forums provide them, but not by default.
    Newsletter/alerts management isn’t that what this Page 3.14 is for?
    Photo galleries No
    Polls and quizzes No
    Most recent comments feed/widget Meh, no opinion, won’t use it.

    I wouldn’t mind nested replies, like Slashdot without so much indentation.

    Note (by number and poster) of deleted comments so that other comments that refer to them make sense.

    No required registration.

    The ability to turn any and all of these features off.

    including the fact that you stumped me on the third choice by using an undefined term. How am I supposed to guess what you mean by “comment tracking”?

    Please take a look at the forums in Bookcrossing, where the you can choose to have a flat or threaded display. If you get lost, they’re under the “Community” tab.

    Optional reg. might be good so I could stay logged in.

  82. #82 Monado, FCD
    September 4, 2009

    Oh, yes, I’d also like to be able to edit my post for at least five minutes after you receive it so that I could correct my frequent typos instead of having to post a corrective follow-up quickly, only to be told that I’ve posted too many comments in too short a time.

  83. #83 Richard Eis
    September 4, 2009

    Easy addition of bold, underline etc… and being able to go to what comments i have made previously are all i really want.

  84. #84 strangebrew
    September 4, 2009

    Simple as long as it is affective in so far as can be achieved with the software…but one desperate request….please please include an editing function….it is such a shame that a typo in a good rant can really spoil the overall effect….sometimes it is only apparent when the comment is posted…it is so damnably frustrating for the poster and doubly so for the reader.

  85. #85 David Dyer-Bennet
    September 4, 2009

    None of the things in the poll are terribly important. What’s important is the ability to log in via OpenID instead of having to create another new unique account just for this site.

    It’d be nice if I didn’t have to authorize anything with a different base URL to run Javascript, too; that’s a huge security hole, and it requires manual intervention to even see the poll on your site right now with any sane security settings.

  86. #86 Erin (aka the Overlord)
    September 4, 2009

    Hi everyone. Thanks for all the feedback – nice to hear from you all!

    So after reading all of your comments, it sounds like the simpler the better. Just to clarify, this list is what we were given as a toy box of options from the development company we’ll be using to get the platform up and running. What toys we select from it are certainly up all of us, and we will definitely inquire about the items you’ve named that are NOT on the list, like comment editing, WYSIWYG html for comments, email notification to replies to your comment, forums, etc.

    Additionally, we will try to make everything as customizable as possible; if you don’t like a feature, you should be able to turn it off.

    Keep in mind too that the entire membership platform will be optional. If you don’t want to sign in, ScienceBlogs will appear to you just as it is now.

    Any other suggestions for features we haven’t named are of course welcome!

  87. #87 Fedor Steeman
    September 4, 2009

    Enabling searching the blogs (or a particular blog) on the blog text ONLY, NOT all the comments underneath it.

  88. #88 Owen
    September 4, 2009

    Take a look at http://www.stackoverflow.com – they have good openid support, and a very nice model for commenting, editing your comments, and commenting on comments.
    It’s heavily biased towards ranking posts, which I think is a bad idea on sciblogs, for excellent reasons that other people have already described.
    What I would really like is comment tracking/user following, so I can see what the smart people have been saying on other blogs, not just the subset that I follow, and to look up various nuggets that I know they came up with months ago but I can’t find now.

  89. #89 David Marjanović
    September 4, 2009

    I agree with comments 82, 6, 18, 22…

    …and especially 23. There are threads with 1000 comments out there (mostly but AFAIK not always on Pharyngula); it’s already bad enough that some of the ads and whatever nonsense w.sharethis.com is “good” for cause even IE7 to get into real trouble. Pages should still be able to load!

    (Don’t worry. I got IE8 just to restore my ScienceBlogs experience. Also, Safari for Mac seems to simply ignore all the clutter, so it works, too… except when it crashes, but Safari for Mac crashes easily anyway.)

    Finally, I reiterate the general despise for threaded comments. I usually reply to more than one comment in any of my comments; under a threaded system, I’d have to split them up, and what’s worse I’d have to read the entire page again every time I visit it, instead of just remembering where I stopped and continuing downwards from there. Threaded commenting is madness, and it’s not Sparta.

    Preview is essential.

    Yes, and currently it lies. That is, if you preview and then click on “Post”, what gets posted is not what you wrote, it’s what is displayed in the preview window. This means for example that if you type “&lt;”, what gets posted is “<”, and this and everything that follows it, all the way to the end of the paragraph, gets sent to /dev/null by the posting software. That’s why I never preview. And this, in turn, is why some rather embarrassing mistakes of mine (both in text and in HTML code) have made it to “print” — somehow, blockquote is a surprisingly hard word to type, yet I often need to type it 10 times per comment.

    A simple login system that works site-wide and, preferably, supports OpenID.

    Why any login system at all? It’s just an extra layer of clutter, an extra step that can and often does go wrong. (TypePad especially is notorious for simply not working much of the time.)

    As others have said: Editing my own comments, but only for a short time, as done at jesusandmo.net for example. After my ill thought-out comment has been fisked, I shouldn’t be able to delete my embarrassment, let alone adjust my words to make the criticism invalid. Editing must set a flag to make it clear it has happened.

    I like this, especially because it doesn’t require logging in!

    ———–

    Just one wish: make more HTML available by default. Currently, when I want to begin a line with whitespace, I have to go to Pharyngula and use <pre> elsewhere this doesn’t work. In biology, this is very important, because it’s required for writing phylogenetic trees!

    I think &nbsp; doesn’t work here either. Testing…

    –+–A
      `–B

    Oh, and, the default font is utterly stupid in making the en dash (–) appear identical to the hyphen (-). While I am at it, I bet most people find it too small anyway, and on some browsers (like Safari) the lines of a paragraph are jammed very close together since two or three layout updates ago.

    ——————

    Additionally, we will try to make everything as customizable as possible; if you don’t like a feature, you should be able to turn it off.

    But do we still have to load it? I hope not. I really hope not.

  90. #90 David Marjanović
    September 4, 2009

    I think &nbsp; doesn’t work here either.

    Correction: It works!!! Hooray!!!

    (Also, now that I look closely on a very good screen, it turns out the dash and the hyphen aren’t quite identical: the dash is thinner. Well, it should be longer instead. Visibly longer.)

  91. #91 David Marjanović
    September 4, 2009

    Unsurprisingly, the parallel thread at Pharyngula is already longer than this one. Overlords and -ladies, please read it, especially comments 31, 54, 55, 62, 65, 66, 76, 87, what is currently 100 but will likely become 95 soon, and what is currently 104 but will likely become 99 soon.

    BTW, above the comment box in Pharyngula there’s a line that says “Sign in [link] to comment on this entry”. It’s a plain lie. It merely means “if you want to login anyway, you can do that by clicking here”; logging in is not at all required.

    ———-

    And one more comment on the default font for ScienceBlogs: boldface looks almost the same as normal. Often you have to look twice if something is bold or not — though less so in Safari for Mac than in IE for Windows.

  92. #92 matt
    September 4, 2009

    poll sucks – doesn’t work with ubuntu/firefox – Java FAIL

    make is simpler

  93. #93 Kristjan Wager
    September 5, 2009

    Owen, I don’t find stackoverflow to be a good model for blogs in general – on that forum, a large part of the content is the comments. The same is not necessarily the case on ScienceBlogs.

  94. #94 AK
    September 5, 2009

    Owen, I don’t find stackoverflow to be a good model for blogs in general – on that forum, a large part of the content is the comments. The same is not necessarily the case on ScienceBlogs.

    I’ve been thinking about this, I suspect that Seed wants more content in the comments.  After all, they don’t have to pay commenters.  If it draws readers, and payment for page/ad serves, it’s “good”.

    In that spirit, I have some suggestions:

    1.  A flat view is better (IMO) because it preserves chronology.  Each comment might include links to those it’s discussing/answering, as well as links to those that discuss/answer it.

    2.  Numbering (within the flat view) should be permanent.  Deleted comments should be replaced with a message saying it was deleted and by whom (commenter or moderator).

    3.  Editing should be allowed, and IMO should not have a time limit.  However, previous versions should be preserved, accessible from the current version.  The links from a comment to those other comment(s) it’s discussing could be tweaked (made gray, for instance) when they are pointing to an obsolete version of the comment.  Perhaps, in addition to a link to the current version, there could be a link to the version that the commenter was actually responding to.  Deletion should be considered a type of editing that removes all the text, so the original version, with all text, would still be available to anybody wanting to know what was deleted.

    4.  From a design standpoint, I would recommend the following:

    4.a)  Allow the commenter to specify the comment(s) they are responding to, perhaps with an optional utility to include a blockquote of highlighted text.  The (permanent) numbers of these comments could be displayed in a list across the top of the comment, perhaps in the same row as the comment number (replacing the first line of comment text, which would be lower).  This number would include a link, using a local reference (‘href=”#localname”‘), to the post involved.  This is very important, as AFAIK use of local references will not cause most modern browsers to reload the page, so the reader could jump back and forth (using the “back” key) very quickly.  I’ve used this system on my blog for footnotes, and it works very quickly in both IE and Firefox, and I would guess in other browsers.  As mentioned above, if one of these comments has been edited since this comment was posted, its number would be grayed out or something (but still an active link), and a link would also be offered to the version originally responded to (which wouldn’t necessarily be the first version).  If there are too many to fit in one line, it would wrap, but that wouldn’t really hurt anything (IMO).  It wouldn’t happen very often.

    4.b)  When somebody responds to this post, the (permanent) number of the response could be displayed in a list across the bottom of the post (perhaps under the “Posted by:” line).  As in 4.a, local references should be used to avoid page reloads.

    4.c)  There should be an icon on each post with responses to bring up something nested.  I see two possibilities: 

    4.c)i-  a new page with the full comments, nested all the way down, and perhaps the comments this one is responding to above it (which would load over the existing page, or the reader could right-click on the link and open in a newer tab/window), or

    4.c)ii-  a page in a new window with a map of just the numbers, with each number capable of being clicked on, which would cause the flat view, in the original window, to jump to that comment.  This should be accomplished by loading the local reference (‘href=”#localname”‘) into the URL address input area, or through a local reference and a ‘target=”_original window name”‘ parameter in the link on the nest map.  Again, this would (hopefully) preclude page reloads.

    4.d)  It should be possible to create advertisement areas between posts, and serve new ads into the one above a post when it’s referenced through a local reference (either by clicking on a link on another comment, or using the “nestmap”).  This would allow users to flip from one comment to another very quickly, but ads could still be served (and paid for).

    4.e)  I would recommend a small frame or cartouche around the post number.  When a page has been edited, and the current version is being viewed, a part of one or more additional cartouches would be shown, as if stacked beneath it and viewed from an angle.  Clicking on any partial cartouche would bring up the appropriate earlier version.  If these structures were grayed out, like the numbers here, they wouldn’t detract (much) from the white space effect.

  95. #95 magetoo
    September 5, 2009

    I’m late to the party, but I’ll agree with all the rest and say “none of the above, please”. I came up with a few things though:

    Think through who your bloggers and commenters are. The requirements are going to be very different between one kind of blog and another. Pharyngula, Gene Expression and Not Exactly Rocket Science are not the same. Do we really want comment editing in a flame war? (Do we really want not being able to correct a typo in a quiet discussion?)

    Whatever you do, keep things simple. Ideally you should be able to read and comment using a text-only browser (lynx/links; or screen reader, etc).

    Good comment previewing that works, possibly bundled with some WYSIWYG JavaScript-enhanced comment editor – but don’t, *don’t* make that editor a requirement.

    Unobtrusive reply and quote buttons. Hook them in to some sort of “who replied to what” backend, and then logged in users can easily see comments that have been responded to. Plus, you get a uniform quote style; no more manual typing in of HTML tags.

    Comment editing, at least some way to add clarifications at the end.

    LaTeX support. Seriously.

    #44‘s suggestion of auto-linking to comments in the same thread. It would give a consistent style to replying as well.

    I would personally like threaded comments, but I don’t know any way to implement it well, and it seems to already be a religious war brewing in this thread.

  96. #96 David Marjanović
    September 5, 2009

    no more manual typing in of HTML tags

    That should, however, remain an option.

    BTW: testing: 16O2

  97. #97 David Marjanović
    September 5, 2009

    Oh, good, both work again. There was a short time a few months ago when some update killed the <sub> tag. That sucked.

  98. #98 porno izle
    September 5, 2009

    THE ABILITY TO ACCESS COMMENTING FROM WORK would be good, thanks. I can’t use TypePad from here. By the way, I can’t access your poll functionality from here, either, because some part of it is blocked. (I am not goofing off; I’m on my lunch break.)

  99. #99 magetoo"; DROP TABLE STUDENTS
    September 5, 2009

    That should, however, remain an option.

    Or something more restricted, like some variation on BBcode. I agree that the comment system should not lock you in to its way of doing things.

    (It can be argued that allowing HTML tags to be passed just as they are entered is a potential security hole. We’ve already seen some unintended uses, like posting images in comments, using divs if I remember correctly. That’s harmless, but not everything that gets through unfiltered might be.)

  100. #100 gennette
    September 5, 2009

    I didn’t see this in the list, so I’m writing this here. I often remember something I read on here, but can’t find the article later to send a link to someone. I’d like to have a profile that lists all the articles I’ve viewed and when. I would rather that it not be public.

  101. #101 Pieter B
    September 6, 2009

    It ain’t broke and don’t need fixin’

    I can live without all of those proposed “features.”

    What I would like to see is an option to choose how many comments are displayed on one page. The more active blogs like Pharyngula can get hundreds of comments.

  102. #102 Claire Binkley
    September 9, 2009

    I’m having difficulties moving the options around.

    I agree with a set of above commenters that comment editing and a “threaded comments” option would be lovely!

  103. #103 LorreZ
    September 10, 2009

    I concur with many above. Being able to edit typos or other errors in my own comments would be great. Being able to format, or link to source info, without needing to use HTML would be appreciated. Many of the remaining suggestions are more likely to detract from, than enhance, the current experience. Is this where you really want to devote your resources?

  104. #104 John (Burgy) Burgeson
    September 10, 2009

    Can’t make the poll thingie work. Sorry.

    KISS. (Keep it simple, stupid!)

  105. #105 acı cehre
    September 11, 2009

    I can’t access your poll functionality from here, either, because some part of it is blocked.

  106. #106 v-pills
    September 11, 2009

    I don’t think I would like user to user connections, alot of abuse can ensue from such a system.

  107. #107 acı cehre sipariş
    September 11, 2009

    This would allow users to flip from one comment to another very quickly, but ads could still be served (and paid for).

  108. #108 penis büyütücü
    September 11, 2009

    Some comment sections run to thousands of comments, meaning that you have to read all comments to keep track of who might have replied to one of your comments.

  109. #109 chezjake
    September 13, 2009

    Test all software before using it — the PollDaddy software is totally unresponsive (latest Mac OSX and latest Firefox upgrade).

    An option to view comments threaded or not would be good. User profiles are OK but not necessary. User pics/avatars are nothing but clutter. Comment tracking could be useful. A talk forum might be entertaining on cold winter nights. I wouldn’t use any of your other ideas.

  110. #110 John Phillips, FCD
    September 23, 2009

    The only items that interest me are being able to go to the latest comments in any post I have already visited and being able to edit posts, even if only for a short time after posting. Everything else? Meh, except for definitely no threading, or at the very least make it an option and not the default.

  111. #111 miRC indiR
    September 24, 2009

    Being able to format, or link to source info, without needing to use HTML would be appreciated.

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    October 15, 2009

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