Instructables

new commenting system

So a lot of changes went up on the site today. A lot of it is covered here by frenzy. One that you might not notice at first is that the commenting system has changed.

Instead of comments branching out with replies to replies to replies there is just the parent comment and a line of replies after it that are all indented the same amount. I'm a huge fan of the change since long conversations with multiple commenters got very confusing and very far to the right. This is cleaner for sure.

So have you had a chance to see it in action? If so, how do you like it?

Come on, it's been three months. So I guess we'll just have to wait for the next "upgrade." Home page looks nice.
fungus amungus (author)  JamesRPatrick1 year ago
I'm as sick of it as you are. It's utterly embarrassing and there's zero excuse for it. Sorry.
I assume that "how do you like it?" is a rhetorical question as experience tells me that no matter how unpopular a change proves to be on Instructables it will remain changed because the argument will always come forth that "the majority of users have not complained so they must be happy with it".
With that said I will answer your question, I for one am not keen on the new commenting system, the old system may have looked untidy at times but at least it was easy to keep track of the thread of a conversation, I predict that the new layout will rapidly lead to confusion & very likely arguments will ensue caused by misunderstandings about who's comment was aimed at or in reply to whom.
A few things are worth bearing in mind when making changes to things that thousands of people use & work perfectly well with.
Will this change really improve things or am I doing it because I want to?
Are there things that don't work properly that my time would be better spent on?
If my changes prove to be unpopular or actually make matters worse am I big enough to accept that & revert to the old method?
Have I asked / shown my idea to sufficient people who actually use the system to get a realistic impression of the possible reaction to it (beta testing group) & taken on-board any feedback both positive & negative?
Does making something look tidier actually improve it's usability or does it simply look "cleaner"?
I have also noticed that in spite of my using sentences & paragraphs when I preview this comment it appears to be in a single block, not a good look, so I have to say all in all not impressed, I think that it should have been left alone & the time spent on other things on the site that could stand some attention like perhaps helping Jayefuu to get the Achiev'ibles system running properly.
fungus amungus (author)  Nostalgic Guy1 year ago
The question is definitely not rhetorical. I totally agree with your comment, and others', that this change is not currently working. With most current replies bumped to the top and no indicator of who the reply was to it's a mess. The thread started by JamesRPatrick is a perfect catastrophic example.

As for me, I found the old system to be extremely confusing as well. Once conversations got fractured it took some timestamp forensics to put it back together again.

The text becoming one big block in the regular text editor is also weird. I'll report that one right now. Don't know why carriage returns would get stripped.
Definitely rhetorical.
I think you are probably right considering it's now almost six weeks.
I also get the distinct impression the answer to my third "Thing to bear in mind" is a resounding NO I'M NOT!!!!
Presumably this will be on a list of "things to get fixed" on the next update, not nearly soon enough I'm afraid; I for one have spent far less time in the forums lately because I'm fed up with trying to figure out who is talking to, replying to, arguing with, whom.

Definitely rhetorical.

I have to agree. And the new comments system is still as confusing as a very confusing thing. It's impossible to follow the flow of a conversation, once three or more people are participating.

So having acknowledged that there is a problem & assured us that your "how do you like it?" was not a rhetorical question I have to ask is anything going to be done about it? or do we have to struggle to keep track of conversations until the next round of "Improvements" to the site?
Might I suggest that you simply revert to the old system which although could look a little untidy did in fact work perfectly well until someone decided looking "cleaner" was more important than functionality.
Just be happy you aren't all suffering from a random double posting issue...
my oh my .. my delete finger is tired lol
LOL...
LOL...
i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol
Oh dear...

and I got a notice, that you commented 17 times. *yikes*
Oh dear...

and I got a notice, that you commented 17 times. *yikes*
(removed by author or community request)
lol
i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol
i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol
welll, thats good to hear
(removed by author or community request)
although I don't seem to be able to delete my one comment....
Well my double posting problem is now gone. But I can't seem to delete the doubles either. I tried yesterday when it all started for me, and then gave up and left the site.
Times are tough when you feel your life is all in Beta testing.....
Don't get nostalgic on us, guy. :-) Hey, emoticons work, LOL.
But it would be so easy to change a :-) to a :-) instead of a :-)
Oh, hang on.
Was it Oliver Twist, "Please Sir, may I have some more?"
Jayefuu1 year ago
I'm usually constructive with my criticism and praise. But frankly, the new comment system sucks. The power users are getting around the problem with @s and quotes, but it's still bloody difficult and unnecessary work. New members however, don't know that Instructables has a new non-standard comment structure that you can't find anywhere else on the internet and are either getting hugely confused or are pretty difficult to understand. Definitely a huge step backwards.
fungus amungus (author)  Jayefuu1 year ago
I totally agree. It's not working. I've forwarded these concerns along. The most immediate thing to be fixed is the chronological order. Currently, it's a flattened version of the old system which makes zero sense.
.
I'm afraid I have to agree. The new comment structure is confusing, even harder to use for non-Pro members, and frankly, sucks ping-pong balls through a garden hose.
Hi ya James,
I went on the site with a frame of mind that i am a new user or just someone who popped on the site to have a look. Honestly the main page looks a bit bland and sorta blah so to speak. Searching for instructables seems like it could take days to view what you might be interested in . It just seems like it takes to much effort for some reason.
Then i went on as me , someone who has been here since 2009.
All the things that made this site interesting seem to have disappeared. ( viewing every ones view counts to see how far you have moved up the ladder, daily view counts for each instructable ,
and so on. These were things that made me come on the site more than once a day. Now i seem to come on and look at my view counts and the come here to see if there has been any posts on the concerns people are having . Kinda took all the fun away from it .
To be honest it was clear from the start that something was seriously wrong with this layout & the more it is used the clearer it has become, so will anything be done about it or will we all have to struggle with it until the next round of "Improvements"?
Once again I have to ask why are things put out to the members & major contributors of the site without being thoroughly beta tested by a group of those members?, you know them they are the people who actually use the site, the people who the advertisers & sponsors want to impress.
Every time updates are pushed onto the site & members start to point out faults we are told "this is still being worked on" or "that will be fixed in a later update", here's a free idea
Don't update something that works with something that doesn't, get it ALL done first.
It's hardly rocket science is it? where I worked if we had launched half finished or clearly faulty updates onto our Internet, Extranet or Intranet sites we would have been hauled over the coals & told to get it fixed RIGHT NOW not later on, of course in reality that situation never arose because we had a rigorous beta testing system in place which involved not only the IT team but also people who were users of each & every area of all the systems both the within the company & our client base.
I'm quite sure there are plenty of members who would be delighted to volunteer their time, they wouldn't have to be experts in web design just users who know how things should work & can point out things that need tweaking before it goes live on the site.
TLDR. I like the new browsing and Instructable layout, I just don't like the new commenting system.
Optimized for Internet Explorer 9!
As a web developer of over 16 years I've found one thing remains true: Don't reinvent the wheel, no matter how much "wouldn't it be cool if ..." calls you. There are thousands of message boards out there that have done the work for you to show "what works." Following their lead will help you find a solution everyone is happy with.
So my +1 to a comment to Nostalgic Guy isn't shown indented relative to HIS comment, when it was a reply/.
I guess now your Plus one means your bringing a date. +1, date, +2, one of the kids is going along. +3 = family outing with either a grandparent or the dog.
The commenting system is fine, i preferred the old exploring though.
Although it wasn't perfect, I think the old comment-branching system was the clearest on the internet. There was no question as to at whom each subcomment was directed. With the new, more common system, there is no way to tell if someone is commenting on the original comment or the subcomment without saying "@memberxxxx: blah blah blah". It's just like Facebook.

Example A:

Person 1: I love puppies!
-----Person 2: Cats are by far the superior species!
-----Person 3: You smell and I hate you!

Example B:

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
-----Person 3: This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.

In both examples, it is unclear whether Person 3's comment is directed at Person 1 or 2.

Example C:

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
----------Person 3: This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.
-----Person 4: Yeah I agree.
-----Person 5: I think you should redo your calculation.

In Example C(old comment style), it is instantly clear at which person each comment is directed. There can be any number of subcomments and it is still just as clear. The only downfall with this old system is that a large number of subcomments will push the conversation to the right of the page, but instances of this are relatively rare. The new system may look prettier, but at the cost of functionality.

Also, I think the comment box should expand if you type more than two lines.
fungus amungus (author)  JamesRPatrick1 year ago
I completely agree that by squashing the conversations that it makes the conversations confusing as your examples show. I'd prefer the 2-level system as now, but any internal replies would automatically have a marker as to who he's replying to, like you say for what people do with facebook.

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
-----Person 3: @Person 2 This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.
-----Person 4: Yeah I agree.
-----Person 5: I think you should redo your calculation.
That could work, it's just not as intuitive. I'm glad that Instructables cares enough to actually ask users for feedback. That's increasingly uncommon.
When there's only a few single comments on a page, the new method looks fine. When a conversation is like this page, it really is confusing to read and to figure out who said what to whom.

Now for the million dollar question, can anyone figure out who I replied to???
THIS IS A TEST.
THIS IS ALSO A TEST, BUT TO WHOM AND OF WHAT ?
All my comments were double posting since the new format was introduced. (You may notice at 10:27, (above) I had one of my last double comments). Not sure why it happened, but I gave up using the website until today. Then after a few more double comments this morning, it just randomly stopped.
This is a reply to my "also"
This is another reply to cgirls TEST
There is a world of difference between asking for feedback & acting on it.
I say we call a vote.
I guess Canucksgirl will get two votes then ;-)
+1
Sorry steveastrouk were you replying to me JamesRPatrick or fungus amumgus? ;-)
Do you know, I don't know.....
I don't suppose for a second the point has been made :-)
I think that is moot, the question is will it be taken on-board & have any impact on the powers that be? or will the "nobody else has complained" trump card be played again?
+1 Person 1
+1 Person 2
+1 Person 3
+1 Person 4
+1 or did I high 5 myself?
But now there are ore comments so Person 4 becomes Person 5 and Person 3 becomes Person 4 and so on.
I agree.
When there's only a few single comments on a page, the new method looks fine. When a conversation is like this page, it really is confusing to read and to figure out who said what to whom.

Now for the million dollar question, can anyone figure out who I replied to???
I am replying to fungus as Person 3. I do not see any @Person 2 markers.
This is replying to myself. I would think the user loses focus when reading longer comments and wants to reply and having to need to go back to the top of the comment to find the [ Reply ] button which is grayed as opposed to clicking on the nearest highlighted button which is the red/orange flag button. Yeah, the cramped 2 line comment box that you have to expand manually was probable designed for twits tweeters.
going into rich text mode or preview loses the line breaks that you had in the comment box?
That bug's been there for EVER.
Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
-----Person 3: @Person 2 This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.
-----Person 4: Yeah I agree.
-----Person 2: I think you should redo your calculation.
-----Person3:@person2

...now, which comment is person3 referring to.

Was there an overwhelming demand for change from irate users ?
I really liked the old comment setup. It WAS, like JamesRPatrick said, the most clear on the internet. Why fix something thats not broken?
dreamberry1 year ago
I didn't realize things were so bad. Thanks for changing stuff, now I know how terrible the old system was. I never would have guessed, because it seemed to be working just fine to me. Shows what I know, I guess. Like any other "update" I'm sure I'll live through it. Just don't go all MySpace on us.
This is the long anticipated Ibles 8. Looks nice on a tablet I guess.
I did like it before when it had the contest banner that said it was a winner or this was a finalist. The same icon is used for both. In terms of leading viewers to view more this new icon leads nowhere and has no image note associated with it.
( my Nov 7, 2012. 5:55 AMReply was a reply to Lorddrake. seems there was a double or duplicate comment. I replied to the top one, that disappeared/deleted and my reply got bumped up. )
Also, I noticed the new "Communist military-style" awards icons for featured and contest finalist?
unrelated to actual medal design ...I noticed that the contest winner medals don't link to the contests that the IBLE won. will that be getting addressed?
fungus amungus (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
kelseymh1 year ago
I sort of like it, and sort of don't (and nice of you to create an anchor topic to discuss the new version, for a change!).

The main part I don't like, which applies to the whole new layout, is that the site still does not respect the end user's choice of browser size. Right now, the "You" pull down menu is off the page, and for comments, the [POST] button is off the page. Having to scroll left and right to get to critical content is awkward, and should be unnecessary.

HTML, from the very beginning, has always left positioning up to the user's browser. This attitude that the graphic designer, with his giant screen, knows best and should be allowed to impose his will on the universe, is annoying. It is also discriminatory, since (as with much of the I'bles site) it doesn't take into account any possibly that the end user may require special access (larger fonts, screen readers, etc.).
I am sure that after careful analysis of data collected from the masses is when a decision is rendered to determine the final choice for the outcome...wait, that's the popular vote not the electoral college...
The hover option to bring up the submenu automatically is gone. You have to click on YOU to see the choices.
Is this final? Three thumbs down for my opinion...maybe that is prompted simply because it is a change that I feel is unnecessary. If it's not broken, don't fix it! Specifically, where did today views go? Comments per instructable is gone, and hovering for stats (on avatar) is disabled . This is progress, errr improvement? Seems like the changes are made to keep your programmers busy, perhaps. Well it is a "make" site, and programmers do make things too...as in changes for changes' sake. Weird but on this page the old INFO and STATS boxes are here!
What happened to the "referrals" or was that the stats for the individual ibles? And why do the programmers QA always put up update announcements that are not stickied for all to see and cannot be replied to? I guess they would rather have random bug reports or forum topics than get a handle on all the feedback.
fungus amungus (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
Looks like referrals are indeed gone.
Kiteman1 year ago
On the whole, I like it. The sticky banner at the top of projects is a little awkward on a small netbook screen, but I'll get used to it.

One small gripe - the search function doesn't allow you to search directly for members.
You can close the sticky banner if you prefer, there is a toggle arrow in the middle.
Hmmm, first reaction is to start typing in the already present comment box at the top of the list but you need to reply in the new one that pops up under your comment.