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Slashdot Discussion2 In Beta

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the hey-go-play-with-this dept.

421

Discussion2 has been in beta for a few months now on Slashdot. Initially available only to subscribers, it now should be available to anyone willing to login and click the checkbox at the head of every discussion. It is far from complete: IE doesn't work (patches welcome, but since only a quarter of you use it, it's not a huge priority) and performance is lacking (you want a fast computer for larger discussions) but it's already an improvement for most users. Read on for some notes on what we have planned.

The primary reason for discussion2 was to get beyond the pain in the ass that is navigating large discussion threads on Slashdot. You know the problem: once threads get deep, you have to click repeatedly, waiting for tabs to load. Or even when you encounter a long comment, you have to wait to get the full comment text.

Cool Things D2 Does Now

  1. Allows you to change your threshold, open and close threads, and expand long comments in place, without ever loading a new page.
  2. Allows you to moderate a comment without clicking a save-button that loses your place in a thread.
  3. A new, more intuitive user interface that more clearly displays the nature of comment thresholds.
  4. Vastly Improved threaded view that allows you to see more of the discussion in less space, without clutter.

Some items on the TODO list (more or less in order of priority)

  1. Make it Progressive - Right now D2 simply gets all the comments in a discussion. This sucks. We need to write a task to retrieve only appropriate comments. So if you are at Score:4 threshold, we don't bother retrieving the full text of all comments at Score:-1. And even better, if someone moderates or posts a comment, we need to update the page you are reading to reflect those changes. Again, the goal here is that once you load a page, you don't need to close it until you are done with the discussion. This actually has MANY subtle problems, like how do you notify a user when a thread 10 pages up has been replied to.
  2. Make it Fast Actually I think solving #1 will mostly solve #2 at the same time. Since right now we get the full discussion, we are getting WAY to much data. We need to get say 50 comments at a time, not all 1000. This will give your browser time to catch up and make the whole thing "Feel" faster. Right now, on my machine a 200-300 comment page is very usable, but to much larger and it starts slowing down. This is all machine dependent. I'm sure there are good javascript tricks that would help improve performance.
  3. In-Place Posting You should be able to post a comment without reloading a page. Right now you can just open a tab, but then you are looking at a stale discussion. This isn't that hard either- especially once we finish #1. Just need to open the reply page in a div, and when you save, make sure that the new comment is properly retrieved and inserted into the thread. But there's some subtle stuff here like how to handle previews. We need to change some of our error handling- the current system uses previews as an opportunity to warn readers about things that are "Wrong" about their comment. We need to figure out how to do that without launching new pages. It's not hard, but it'll take some time.
  4. Compatibility ok so Opera's broken Javascript implementation won't work unless they fix their browser, but we'd like to make at least IE work for the trivial percentage of Slashdot readers forced to use IE by their corporate overloads. But since 2/3rds of you use Firefox, fixing IE is just not at the top of my priority list... I'd rather make it work better for the majority. And as every web developer knows, cross browser platform compatibility can be a real bitch. But before we are out of beta, it probably would be nice to get IE functional, if only for other websites using our source code that actually have IE as the dominant population.
  5. Smooth out the UI there are a lot of parts to this problem. Right now the threshold change is buttons but it should actually be draggable, I'd like the widget to toggle from the top to the side, but need to build a horizontal version of the widget. The expansion/contraction of comments and threads have weird functionality that could be improved- for example there is a difference between expanding a comment and expanding a thread. And there's new concepts like expanding a child vs expanding an entire thread vs expanding "Siblings" vs expanding hidden children vs visible children. These are very interesting user interface questions that we'll start working out soon.
  6. Rethink What Old Functionality By this I primarily mean discussion filters and ordering. By default D2 uses a thread ordered, chronological display. The old system had many other sort modes, but I'm not how sure how effective these are once threaded. So I may simply leave the old system in place for users who want to see a flat discussion ignorant of threads ordered by date or score. Since this is only a tiny percentage of users, I figure it can wait.

Conclusion

A lot of the stuff you see in D2 is just javascript you can easily play with yourself. We haven't mangled it or anything so you js haxx0rz are welcome to submit patches for interesting ideas. We don't have a backend for progressive rendering, but there are a LOT of features that we want to implement that wouldn't even require you to touch the perl. Of course if you're willing to hack perl, it's all up on the website not that anyone ever actually bothers to contribute anything more than ideas and complaints, but it sure never hurts to ask!

Already around 13,000 of you are using Discussion2. We're a ways off from flipping a switch to make it the default for everyone, but it's already substantially better for users with fast computers and Firefox. Hopefully in a few more weeks it will be good enough for everyone. Thanks for the help along the way. We hope you like the new system... I sure do. And mad props to Nate & Pudge for their work on this...

cancel ×

421 comments

This is a comment. (1, Offtopic)

Dan Grossman (689470) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106077)

How's it look?

Re:This is a comment. (1, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106458)

Terse.

Dang, I wanted first post... (1, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106084)

Stupid beta software...

hopefully... (5, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106085)

...We get IE functionality soon. Its pretty hypocritical not to considering the majority of slashdot users are against people developing IE only sites. Its also quite a stretch for me to get FF on my work computer. I'm sure the case is the same with many slashdotters.

Define hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106134)

It's not "hypocritical" to shoot for standards-compliant markup, and neglect quirky pieces of software that ignore the standards.

Re:Define hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106285)

No, but it also isn't a great idea to cut out such a huge chunk of your audience. It's just not nice, and in Slashdot's case, they could be losing a lot of potential subscribers if D2 becomes standard without working in IE.

BTW, anyone know if IE7 fixes these problems? I've lost track of when Vista's coming out (as I really don't care that much) but if IE7 has a better Javascript stack and most people get it at launch, this might be a moot point.

Re:Define hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106364)

End-users who choose to stick with a non-standards-compliant browser cause extra work for web developers. This is less than optimal, because it causes fewer features to be developed slower.

The problem is that end-users are the only ones in a position to change this. However, end-users usually have no idea that they're causing a lot of extra work to be done. One good solution to fix this is to develop for standards-compliant browsers first, and fix other issues later (which makes more sense purely from a development standpoint as well).

Re:Define hypocrisy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106520)

IE supports some useful things that the standard CSS doesn't (or that are only in the new draft standard). I don't see why there shouldn't be competing standards. Sometimes "design by committee" doesn't work as well as design by a single development team in the process of developing an actual product, or the former needs a few kicks in the behind from the latter.

Re:Define hypocrisy (5, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106447)

It is most certainly not a bad idea to get people to install firefox.

If you have trouble running it on your computer, install a post-1998 operating system. Upgrade to a 486. splurge for that extra 256MB of RAM. Get your cat out of the computer tower. Do whatever it takes, but get with the program.

Re:Define hypocrisy (4, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106592)

they could be losing a lot of potential subscribers

oh, and by the way, "losing" means "causing or suffering loss" and "loosing" means... oh... wait... what the....
[revery tries to wrap his mind around the concept of a Slashdot poster using the word losing correctly...]

Uhm... carry on then...

--
This is a joke. I am joking. You have been joked with.

Re:Define hypocrisy (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106327)

Agreed, and not that I want to defend MS, but that "quirky" piece of software is still the market leader in the browser business and since everyone must interface with /. using a browser it should be factored into the new discussion system.

I'm assuming that the parent is working in an environment where he can't load Firefox because of lack of admin rights to his workstation? If so, try installing it into your profile where you do have rights, it runs OK for me that way.

Re:Define hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106398)

Hm, it's the market leader and it blows off the standards and actually occasionally undermines them actively.

I have some options as to how to deal with that. 1) Throw up my hands and say "dang, I just gotta play ball". This, by the way, requires a good deal of extra expense as I develop the code forks etc. that allow my site to play ball. 2) Save myself that extra headache and use the (considerable) leverage my traffic affords me to see if others will start to notice this problem.

Don't go into marketing, Taco. Stay in the tech field.

Re:Define hypocrisy (3, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106333)

It certainly is hypocritical, especially if those standards are so new (or so poorly implemented in mainstream browsers such as IE) that a large percentage of folks can't use the new version.

What ever happened to serving the lowest common denominator?? There's a REASON why many sites eschew CSS and other trendy UI-centric crap and focus instead on maximizing the ability to deliver information.

Slashdot is going the way of KDE and Gnome, with too much concentration on flashy UI elements and not enough concentration on service a diverse user base.

Re:Define hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106431)

CSS is "trendy UI-centric crap"? Whatever. CSS is the solution to 80% of the presentation-layer headaches I've ever experienced

Re:Define hypocrisy (4, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106389)

I agree with you on that point - you should code to the standard and making it look right is the browser's problem.

However, I do want to comment that the threshold box tends to load outside of the window on konqueror - which is ACID2 compliant in the version I am using. If I hit the top link to reload just the comments it works fine.

So this isn't an IE-only issue...

it's mostly just embarassing that it doesn't work. (0, Troll)

freejamesbrown (566022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106498)

seriously people. it's not rocket science to write cross-browser compliant code. i expect better from a champion of the open source community. (but of course, it is still in beta, so... ) m.

Re:hopefully... (3, Insightful)

LMacG (118321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106139)

Exactly.

Any site that is developed solely for IE, with that justified because "only 10% use something else" would be loudly decried here.

So because of the stupid policies of the the place where I work, I'm not important. Thanks Taco. Don't go into marketing.

Re:hopefully... (2, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106144)

You've missed the point. If the world's most popular site, Slashdot, stops supporting something, then users will be forced to migrate to new software. That's how it works, right?

Re:hopefully... (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106244)

You've missed the point. If the world's most popular site, Slashdot, stops supporting something, then users will be forced to migrate to new software. That's how it works, right?
Here on Slashdot, I'd be very surprised if even 10% of the 25% are using IE willingly. I'd assume that they are on a work computer or a friend's computer (that hasn't been converted to Firefoxism). So I think it is important to make the JS for the new discussion system work on IE.

Re:hopefully... (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106302)

Agreed. Support is still a MUST for IE on Slashdot. At work my co-workers are "forced" to use IE. Lucky for me, I made them give me local admin rights to my workstation so I can install and uninstall software at will, like FireFox / Opera / Open Office / Gimp / Cygwin.

Re:hopefully... (1)

zeropaper (959464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106344)

you're right... but if you were wrong, web developement (mainly JS) would be so much easier..., IE is a shame, and that's a truth too...

Re:hopefully... (5, Insightful)

Kardnal (471745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106154)

It'd be hypocrital if they said they *weren't* going to provide IE functionality, period. They're not doing that. They're getting the kinks worked out with FF first, and will get around to IE later.

I completely agree with you though if they said they were never going to develop it for IE.

Re:hopefully... (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106276)

Its pretty hypocritical not to considering the majority of slashdot users are against people developing IE only sites.
Since IE was the first example in the "Its far from complete", it seems quite clear that the standard for Discussion2 being "complete" includes IE functionality.

Re:hopefully... (1)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106280)

Its also quite a stretch for me to get FF on my work computer. I'm sure the case is the same with many slashdotters.

Eek. Get a USB thumbdrive, plug it in and go here: http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_port able [portableapps.com] . The thought of people forced to use IE all day chills me to my very soul. With so many necessary peripherals using them, I doubt your place of work has blocked access to your USB ports.

Re:hopefully... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106336)

you would be suprised.. i have seen places where the admins desoder the usb ports on computers before alowing them into the work place.. but then .. in thoughs areas you don't get net access either..

Re:hopefully... (1)

colemanguy (915683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106562)

Yea those thin terminal work well with jump drives, and im gonna risk loosing my job just to read slashdot.

Re:hopefully... (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106283)

They aren't developing a FireFox only site, they just haven't gotten the little quirks in IE fixed yet. It's not like they're posting a message saying that Slashdot won't work in IE, and refusing to load the page.

On a side note, I've been using this for about a month, it is leaps and bounds above the old system. Good work!

Re:hopefully... (1)

McFortner (881162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106505)

Its also quite a stretch for me to get FF on my work computer.
Just how much problems are you having with Firefox? I have never had any problems installing FF to work. Or is it a problem with your works IT department not wanting you to install it? I just can't see how it can be a problem to install it on your home computer.... Michael

Re:hopefully... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106535)

If it was hard for me to install software on my work computer, it would be time to look for a different job.

IE not so important... (5, Informative)

Beuno (740018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106086)

IE doesn't work (patches welcome, but since only a quarter of you use it, it's not a huge priority)

As a follower of firefox since day 1, reading that in a place as big as slashdot really made a tear drop.

Re:IE not so important... (-1, Troll)

wtmcgee (113309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106133)

It also is kind of ironic. The people talking about choice and openess can't even get IE to work with their site. And since it's *only* 25% of the users, it's not a priority.

Re:IE not so important... (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106560)

It also is kind of ironic. The people talking about choice and openess can't even get IE to work with their site. And since it's *only* 25% of the users, it's not a priority.

At the same time, what incentive does Microsoft have to fix their bugs and incompatibilities if everyone just works around them?

It really is about high time that users take MS to task because their web browser isn't fully compatible with set standards. They don't now because every website simply codes in work-arounds -- the web developers go through a lot of pain, but to the IE user everything just appears to work, so they have no incentive to complain to MS.

However, if (potentially) millions of users start to complain to MS that their favorite sites don't work because those sites refuse to expend an enormous amount of development effort to work around them, maybe MS would be driven to do something about the issue, to the benefit of everyone.

Well, a guy can hope at least...

Yaz.

Re:IE not so important... (4, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106577)

It also is kind of ironic. The people talking about choice and openess can't even get IE to work with their site. And since it's *only* 25% of the users, it's not a priority.

Its also ironic when we were "fringe" users and used browsers like various gecko based browsers or KHTML based browsers, had something like 10% marketshare and we complained that we ere not a target, nor a priority since 90% of the people used IE.

Wow, how things have changed.

Now, with the slashdot rewrite, I have 2 suggestions, one is old and one is new.

I know it is the desire for slashdot to reward fast over good, and its OK to have the bunches of pirst fost posts and whatnot, but I think its not worth rewarding earlier posts at the same thread level. By that if someone makes a witty one liner that provokes 10-20 good replies, only the top 3 or so good ones are likely to start a new thread. So, I would suggest randomizing the display of posts at any given thread level to increase the deeper threading and discussions vs the arbitrarily rewarding the top ones simply because they smashed the return button faster, yet faster may or may not be better.

Another thing I would suggest is that the message system be a little more sane and/or having more detailed information regarding the moderations to a given post. Right now if you get a message about a reply to one of your posts, you go to a list of them, and then you can either click on the your post or the reply or the article or other options. To me its an unnecessary click to get that info from the second page, and should be on the first (dunno if ad views come into play here or not), but it seems like an unnecessary hit on the DB and extra clicks for nothing. Another thing are the messages regarding moderation. Too many clicks here too, and too much irrelevant info. Some times I have a laundry list of comments that have + this - that, etc, and its easier just to look at my posting history to see what is going on via a summary. I would however like to know the raw data vs a percentage of how many times something has been moderated. Especially when I post something "controversial" and get bunches of + and - mods, but I would like to know if I had 100 + mods and 100 - mods to end up at 0 or if it was 1 + mod and 1 - mod.

Otherwise, I would welcome the expanding of threads with DHTML/layers or whatever makes that happen similar to the tags expansion. Slashdot has grown up over the years like me, but kinda slow like me too :)

Re:IE not so important... (4, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106160)

As user 740018, 25% of users is 185000 people.

How many visitors on Slashdot per day? I wanna see these statistics. If they only had 8 users, a quarter of them would be insignificant. If they really have millions of hits per day from hundreds of thousands of users, then 25% is enough to start a riot.

However, it's Slashdot, so I guess such a riot would never happen, it's still crazy to say "only a quarter of our users will be broken" :)

Re:IE not so important... (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106161)

I am using IE (I have to at work) and it seems to be working ok.

Re:IE not so important... (1)

stuuf (587464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106474)

As a follower of firefox since day 1

I think I have you beat. Back when I switched from Netscape 4.78 to Mozilla 1.0, Firefox was still called Phoenix. So that would have been Firefox day negative 400 something.

I don't get it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106090)

As a troll, can I ask how theis system will benefit me?

Re:I don't get it (0)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106115)

As a troll, can I ask how theis system will benefit me?
How does reading Slashdot discussions benefit you? Can that benefit be improved?

Comment test (0, Redundant)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106093)

I'm testing this thing out.

Re:Comment test (0)

envelope (317893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106126)

+1 insightful

Yep, Sounds like Slashdot Users (0)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106112)

not that anyone ever actually bothers to contribute anything more than ideas and complaints, but it sure never hurts to ask!

Ceci n'est pas un comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106118)

can the beta handle a french subject?

sweet (0)

punkrider (176796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106124)

as butter.. with some salt.

Disgusting! (-1, Troll)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106130)

IE doesn't work... but hey, only a quarter of you use it! Screw that attitude! Most of the people on here want Linux support, fight tooth and nail to try and get mainstream support for things like video card drivers... and I can assure you that nowhere near 25% of people use Linux as their OS, and those compaines are jerks for not supporting the 5% at most market. Yet hey, the most popular web browser out there need not be supported...

This type of elitist bullshit attitude is why Open source companies aren't mainstream... it's the old, "Help me, help me, I'm little... but screw you if you want me to do something in exchange"...

If you think slashdot can survive with lack of IE support, that sounds like a pretty stupid business decision. You're throwing away 25% of your readers... Real smart! Do you people even know how to run a business?

Re:Disgusting! (5, Insightful)

ctid (449118) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106224)

I agree to an extent about this, but this is ridiculous:

If you think slashdot can survive with lack of IE support, that sounds like a pretty stupid business decision. You're throwing away 25% of your readers... Real smart! Do you people even know how to run a business?

Nobody is being thrown away - IE users simply have a worse experience of the site but they can still read the articles and participate in the discussions.

Re:Disgusting! (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106307)

They didn't say they wouldn't support it, they just said it was lower on the list of priorities, as 3/4 of their visitors use another browser. This isn't "elitist bullshit," this is allocating resources based on the priorities of the visitors of their site.

get out of the way! (5, Insightful)

nomel (244635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106132)

ok, the little control box either needs to be movable, or on the right hand side where it'll be less likely to cover text. It makes a big part of the screen useless as it is now.

Re:get out of the way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106450)

It's on the left so that it never covers comments as the comments are already pushed over from the upper menu items. It also is set not to go over the menu items, it will move up and down until you go up where the menu items are, then it stops. think before talking, dumbass.

Instant Moderation Please! (5, Interesting)

hublan (197388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106152)

Please for the love of <insert deity here>, apply the moderation to a comment as soon as the moderation value has selected from the drop down box. I constantly forget to press the "Moderate" button which is hidden somewhere down the bottom, and therefore comments that I wanted to moderate don't.

Apart from that, it's a vast improvement. Especially being able to selectively browse comments that are below the threshold value, without loosing track of the conversation.

Scratch that. (2)

hublan (197388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106207)

D'oh. Looks like they've added it already. Certainly wasn't there last time I had mod points.

Re:Instant Moderation Please! (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106209)

Seconded. I've figured out the sort of minor hack of opening the particular comment in its own tab, but doing so is still quite a bit of a hassle. I *don't* want to have to scroll 100-some comments down and then back up to some tiny piece of the middle just to moderate.

Re:Instant Moderation Please! (5, Insightful)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106384)

OTOH, I've been using discussion2 for a while now and I find it more annoying to mod with discussion2 because of that instant moderation "feature" -- in short, if you accidently click out of the pulldown box, too bad, your moderation is set in stone. Moreover, I like to take a second look at my moderations before I submit them just to be sure I'm modding more or less well... i.e. I'll read more comments to see if something I initially thought was insightful actually seems wrong the more I and other people mull it over and respond (I'm imperfect, I misjudge, yadda yadda). -tcp

Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (5, Interesting)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106156)

I'm lowly member with a normal account, and I've been able to view the new comment system for like 2 months. Just a minor clarification...

Re:Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106241)

Same here. I've been able to test the discussion system since around June/July.

Re:Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106296)

Yup, same here. I tried it when that checkbox first appeared a few months ago and fiddled with it for about 20 minutes. At that point I said, "This is a joke, right?" I guess I'll give it another shot to see if it's improved.

Re:Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (1)

MadEE (784327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106339)

Me too, for a second reading that I though I might have got drunk one night an subscribed or something.

Re:Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106357)

Yeah likewise I think I'm in the same situation. Maybe it's karma based too? Of course I can't be arsed to check out slashcode ;-)

Re:Hasn't been subscriber only for a while... (5, Funny)

greysky (136732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106509)

CmdrTaco had to post this article several times to get it approved by the editors.

subscribers only? (3, Informative)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106162)

Discussion2 has been in beta for a few months now on Slashdot Initially available only to subscribers, it now should be available to anyone willing to login and click the checkbox at the head of every discussion.
I've had it since July 13th and I'm not a subscriber. Is the above statement incorrect or was I just accidentally offered it?

Re:subscribers only? (3, Funny)

Ralph Yarro (704772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106379)

Discussion2 has been in beta for a few months now on Slashdot Initially available only to subscribers, it now should be available to anyone willing to login and click the checkbox at the head of every discussion.

I've had it since July 13th and I'm not a subscriber. Is the above statement incorrect or was I just accidentally offered it?

The statement is accurate. You're just having trouble getting your mind around the concept that "a few months" streteches back EVEN FURTHER than July 13th.

Initially subscribers only... time passes, things happen... OMG Mini-Geek can use it too ... time passes... we reach today.

Tried it, didn't like it (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106179)

Normally when I read Slashdot, I read the comments page in nested mode from the top to the bottom. With the new system I have to constantly click to open up the threads which got old real quick. Given that you're loading the whole page anyway, it seems pointless to force me to click expand most of the comment sections.

What I'd really like is an option to have them all expanded by default, but allow me to close the comment blocks on discussions that are obviously going nowhere.

Re:Tried it, didn't like it (4, Informative)

jx100 (453615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106277)

Just use the threshold menu on the left to move the threshold down. You'll still keep the capability to close comment threads.

One suggestion... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106191)

Make sure the old discussion is an option... it doesn't have to be default, but I'd like to be able to still use the old way, if I want.

Doesn't work with IE or Opera (4, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106192)

So I have to ask ... why is slashdot rolling its own Ajax library? Why not use Dojo or Mochikit or hell, even Prototype? Those do work on every major browser. You already have help from third parties, they wrote the library for you. All you have to do is accept it.

Man, I sound like a born-again or something...

Re:Doesn't work with IE or Opera (4, Insightful)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106315)

Because it's not the client side that's the problem.
It's the server side.

Ajax isn't some magic spice you can just download and sprinkle into your web code to somehow make it suddenly non-stateless. You need to rethink your whole comment/posting model and then design the interface and interaction between server and browser based on that.

Dojo and Mochikit are little more than pretty widgets to look at (with some liberal use of xmlhttprequest, which doesn't mean jack unless your backend is already structured to use it).

So yeah. Typical slashdot response.

Discussion2 Observations (4, Interesting)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106195)

I've been using Discussion2 for about 2 weeks now, and I, for one, offer my congradulations. As noted above, it has a few kinks, but overall, it is a vast improvement over the previous layout. I find myself reading much deeper into comments, and the "HUD" makes it easy to see how much time I waste here on /. ;)

Few annoyances I must note, however:

  • There is a discrepancy in the UI. To expand a post, you click the title. However, clicking the title doesn't hide the contents, it collapses the entire thread
  • When a post is <blockquote>'ed, you see the blockquote portion of the post in the preview. Since most blockquotes are of the previous post, I don't see any new information. This likewise goes for posters who italicise their quotes
  • A personal nitpick (likely CSS related): you can't use bold or italics inside of a blockquote

Overall, though, it's a vast improvement over the past system. Keep up the good work!

Re:Discussion2 Observations (1)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106251)

Another nitpick: the HUD appears every time you close the window. I have since grown to like it, but is there an option to close it permanently?

Re:Discussion2 Observations (1)

recordMyRides (995726) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106331)

And one last suggestion - I'd like to be able to close a message if I've openned it! I can't figure out how to do this.

Re:Discussion2 Observations (2, Informative)

Inda (580031) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106576)

A personal nitpick (likely CSS related): you can't use bold or italics inside of a blockquote

Sure you can. Well, bold you can.

Using Firefox here if you care.

Please sort the Javascript out fully before implementing this. I like browsing the web on my old, old, old PC. Not all of us feel the need to upgrade our machines into gaming rigs. It plays DVDs, Xvid, MP3s, etc etc - it should be able to handle a bit of nicely coded JS.

Opera (5, Informative)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106201)

I'm not sure what is supposed to happen, but there's no way to adjust threshold and the floating window is just annoying.

I'm using the lastest weekly, 8573.

Opera are pretty good at fixing bugs promptly if you let them know. Use the form if you don't have other contacts:
https://bugs.opera.com/wizard/ [opera.com]

Re:Opera (3, Informative)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106530)

I'm not sure what is supposed to happen, but there's no way to adjust threshold and the floating window is just annoying.
Ironically, the floating window adjusts the threshold. No, it's not readily apparent that it does so, because it doesn't say "threshold" on it, but, there it is.

Re:Opera (1)

dema (103780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106547)

...the floating window is just annoying.

Amen. It covers up a portion of the comments and is just generally annoying to have dragging along. Why is this even necessary?

Off topic question about "Read more .." (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106204)

Why is the size of the "Read more .. " presented in bytes?

To me this is a meaningless measurement that conveys no real information. Are we talking single or multi-byte characters? Does that include line terminators? Does it include HTML formating?

IMHO the number of words is a more beneficial stat. Or is the use of the number of bytes meant to be a throw-back to a "cutesy" geek secret club of "I know so I am 1334!!"

Re:Off topic question about "Read more .." (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106297)

"Or is the use of the number of bytes meant to be a throw-back to a "cutesy" geek secret club of "I know so I am 1334!!"

Yes, it is. Although it's "1337" -- not "1334"

Re:Off topic question about "Read more .." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106337)

Who cares if you are Leea or not?

Re:Off topic question about "Read more .." (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106419)

The number of bytes is easier to calculate and is a measure of the amount of information you will be displaying. If anything the number of lines would be a better indicator but that would be more complicated to work out again.

Re:Off topic question about "Read more .." (2, Insightful)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106454)

Words are less useful to me. Regardless of how they calculate the bytes, I can assume that the definition of a byte stays the same. At least, it better! If they measured in words, I would not be able to tell if there were a bunch of "the"s or "antediluvian"s. I can get a better idea if it's worth clicking Read More over my 28.8Kbps modem connection.

Not the right question about "Read More..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106462)

Why does it still say "Read More..." if there are 0 new bytes of blurb text? By definition, x+0 isn't "more" than x. "Read Comments" would be more accurate.

Re:Off topic question about "Read more .." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106539)

"I know so I am 1334!!"

YOU FAIL IT.

Works very well (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106215)

I was initially reluctant to try it out, but now I like it better than the other views.

I liked Nested view earlier.

I'd like a better way of replying that lets me see more of the discussion (similar to the PHPBB and other forums), and as some mentioned, a way to filter out Funny or by moderation.

PITA (3, Interesting)

killmenow (184444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106219)

I was using the new comments beta system until yesterday. I turned it off because it sucks ass. I see the potential, but it's annoying as shit right now. I know, that's not a very constructive criticism...but, damn. Speed is an issue, the stupid floating "full, hidden, blah blah blah" shit on the left pane, and whatnot.

Maybe after they work out some of the speed issues and the like, it'll be great. But for now, it can't touch "-1, Nested, Highest Scores First" comment browsing.

Bug (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106227)

The floating comments box on the left should have position: absolute before you scroll down to the comments and it gets position: fixed. Right now it always has to be continuously updated in position before you scroll down to the comments, which is slow.

I'm pretty happy with it (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106243)

The moderation-in-place has come in particularly handy. Many times I'd moderate something, then wait until I'd read down the rest of the page to hit "save", but forget to hit it.

The flip side of that is that I don't get to say, "Hey, here was a better way of saying the same thing." The mod point's gone. It's common for me to think, "This was a correct and useful answer, but impolite" and prefer to wait until I found a more polite way of phrasing the same information. If I don't find one, though, the correct answer is sometimes worth modding up if the question is important.

The box for setting viewing levels was kind of hard to get used to, but I think I finally understand it. "Down" doesn't mean "less of this"; it means "expand to take up some of the territory covered by the other box." If they change its behavior, I'd have to learn it all over again, and it makes sense once you've figured out what all of the arrows mean.

All in all I've been using D2 and sticking with it.

Floating Box (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106254)

Is there no way to integrate that weird floating box (with comment numbers for full, abbreviated and hidden) properly with the page? It's distracting. At least it now stays dead after you close it... until you open a new article. Other than the weird floating box that doesn't integrate properly with the page, I rather like the new system.

No thanks (0)

sane? (179855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106258)

Tried it a few months back, didn't like it, turned it off again.

Sure there are problems with the existing system, opening of low ranked replies in-page would be good, as would a better moderation system. However the current suggested replacement isn't really an improvement, the focus is on the wrong place and the approach should be scrapped.

How do I collapse threads? (1)

romcabrera (699616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106279)

When reading a comment, sometimes I want to read all its responses so I click on "X hidden comments". When done, I would like to collapse those comments I have just revealed. Is there a way to do this?

Re:How do I UN-collapse threads? (2, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106411)

> When reading a comment, sometimes I want to read all its responses so I click on "X hidden comments". When done, I would like to collapse those comments I have just revealed. Is there a way to do this?

I have the opposite problem. How do I get "the old "Flat" view" mode? I'm interested in maximizing the number of words on my screen, and minimizing the number of mouse clicks.

From TFA:

Rethink What Old Functionality By this I primarily mean discussion filters and ordering. By default D2 uses a thread ordered, chronological display. The old system had many other sort modes, but I'm not how sure how effective these are once threaded. So I may simply leave the old system in place for users who want to see a flat discussion ignorant of threads ordered by date or score. Since this is only a tiny percentage of users, I figure it can wait.

What makes Slashdot so great is that I can pop open a tab with 100 - or even 5 tabs of 100 posts each - and simply skim the entire discussion, without having to do any navigation more complicated than hitting PgDn every few seconds.

If I have to move a mouse and click on every one of 100 messages, or even 10 seperate subthreads, I'm not going to bother reading any of it.

The fact that I can expand a thread without a page load is cool -- but the fact that I have to expand threads without a page load isn't a feature -- it's a bug. Seriously -- if I can expand a comment/thread with a mouseclick but without a page load, then it means my browser has every word of the entire discussion sitting in RAM, and your UI is getting in the way of the user experience because it's preventing my browser from rendering it.

Opera, and.. it was crap (3, Insightful)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106291)

First, I'd like to know what exactly is wrong with Opera's Javascript implementation that D2 can't be made to work with it - especially Opera 9, I think somebody just couldn't be bothered.

Second, I tried D2 a while ago (I'm not a subscriber though, I guess some non-subscribers got the opportunity too), and I didn't like it much. Slow, slow, slow and did I mention slow.

i've grown to like it (2, Interesting)

Cederic (9623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106305)


I've been using D2 for a few weeks now, and although it's occasionally doing things that surprise me, I've grown to like it a lot.

I used to have to open hidden thread responses in a separate tab; now I can just display them inline. That change alone is worth any pain with the new system.

I noticed inline moderation yesterday too. That surprised me, and I'm not certain I like it - I used to go through an entire discussion and moderate, then check whether I'd tried to moderate more or less posts than I had mod points. If I'd gone over-budget I could then prioritise the use of the mod points. The inline moderation means that once I've selected a moderation, it's used. It's also less forgiving of accidental selection in the drop-down.

The other issue I've noticed is that for very large discussions (700+ posts) Firefox can report that processing the Javascript has taken too long. I get offered the choice of cancelling processing the script, or continuing. Once I'd realised what was causing this and just started hitting 'continue' it hasn't prevented the site working properly, just irritated me. But the performance modifications will probably resolve that.

Inline replies sound good - I'll welcome that.

Overall, given the choice, even with the existing implementation and its occasional flaws, I like it, and I'd prefer to keep it to the old discussion format.

My machine's a big boy; it can handle more (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106317)

I appreciate the fact that we can finally have more comments on a page than 100. It's a rather annoying limit for some of the larger threads, especially when a discussion thread is interrupted in the middle by a page break.

Thresholds not obvious (3, Insightful)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106362)

It takes a little more thought than I'd like to put in to see how the thresholds are defined. 4 Full (score 5) / 51 Abbreviated (score 2) / 27 hidden (score -1) would be appreciated.

Being able to disable the abbreviated option altogether would be nice, actually. Then I could navigate threads at my leisure.

Also, a flexible threshold system would be good, but now we're going into divining magic. For example, if I click on a thread, I'm obviously interested in it; hide -1 scored comments, show comments scoring 0 or more.

25% is not trivial (1, Troll)

sri (35749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106376)

If your prof in college docked 25% off your exam score because he didn't feel like grading that part, I think you'd be pretty darn ticked. Twenty-five percent is not a trivial number, folks.

Not picking a fight here, just my opinion (2, Interesting)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106461)

I'll still use the site when the new version is available in IE. Ironically, because of personal preference (i.e. choice). I've tried the latest version's of FF, and Opera and I still think websites look best in IE. I don't knock those who like those browsers, but the way I see it, a standard does not need an independant group. That may sound lame to some, but I've invested a lot of time and money in building my MS developer skillset. In addition, seeing as my family, nor my friends, have ever had a major problem with MS software and tools, I don't see to the need to change course...yet.

That being said, I'll keep my copy of FF around and periodically look at Slashdot and other various sites, but to be perfectally honest, I think its font rendering systems and layout is ugly (too block'ish') for my taste.

Regards,

MBC1977,
(US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!)

What checkbox? Is this University of Michigan Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106463)

1. I don't see any 'click the checkbox at the head of every discussion'. Anybody else see it?

2. Is this the same thing as the University of Michigan Testing ? That system sucks-- it's wayyy to complex. Please don't make it the default. There are *20* different thresholds in the "Advanced Context Controls", and you force people to view the comments in the order they are posted. I have about 5 free minutes to view an article, so I like to read with "Highest Scores First" so I can get the best rated comments first, and avoid the trolls.

Your code is broken, not opera. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106475)

You are writing mozillascript, not javascript. If you are too incompetant to write the code yourself, then why not use an off the shelf library to do this for you? There are dozens of them now that AJAX is all the rage, and I would bet all of them are better than the mess you've made.

zerg (5, Funny)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106494)

Given the # of people who are only allowed to use IE when they're at work, if /. stops working w/ IE, productivity should skyrocket.

I just show all comments anyway (2, Funny)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106516)

I read fast. I show all comments. When I enabled the new discussion system I had to tweak my preferences some to enable it to do what I had before.

Please don't force everybody to use it (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106534)

I'm not a subscriber, but I got offered it when it first came out. I went through the tutorial and started using it. Within less than five minutes, I went into my Preferences and turned the damned thing off, never to try it again. I hated it.

Among other things, its way of giving you a "teaster" of a comment was worse than useless. Giving you five or ten words of a reply doesn't tell you anything worth knowing when the comment starts out with a quote from the Parent. Most of its other "gosh-wow, shiny!" features are things I find not only pointless, but useless, such as changing the threshold of replies based on the score of the Parent. What difference does that make? The reply stands on its own value, not on that of its parent or grandparent.

All in all, I found it something that badly detracted from my Slashdot experience, and I never want to be subjected to it again. Please, editors, let those of us who like it as it is continue to read /. the way we do now.

Negative number of hidden/abbreviated comments? (1)

Athrac (931987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16106578)

Sometimes the number of hidden or abbreviated comments gets negative. Like "-5 Hidden". What the hell does that mean?

Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16106588)

I've had problems using it under Opera as well... It tends to work just like the normal discussion (reloading the page with just the comment I click on and the comments under it) rather than the new fangled Web 2.0 stuff where it just expands the comment I want to see (and thus saves me time from having to wait for a full reload of tha page).
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