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Why is Firehose so hostile?

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes | more than 5 years ago

Software 15

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Can anyone explain to me why Slashdot's Firehose is made to be so unfriendly? It's a great idea, but in practice it's infuriating. If you see a submitted article, and click on one of the links, you can't go back to the story. You have to start all over again. If you set the filters to what you're interested in, you have to re-set them all over again. Even if you just RTFA you are punished by losing your settings. Why shouldn't Slashdot encourage people to participate in the Firehose. For a busy person, it's almost impossible to be involved. And this bizarre lack of 'stickiness' makes everything take 10 times as much times as it needs to."

15 comments

Browser Capabilities (1)

goingforaslash (1195043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23524678)

I agree on a lot points. One thing I have noticed lately, on the web in general, is that they assume tab borwsing. As to your post, it may mean that the dev's assume you will open posts in a new tab and not have to use the back fucntion.

They are still working it out. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 5 years ago | (#23524886)

Features come and go with the Firehose, it's a sign of actively developed code. The biggest problem is spam and abuse. It is now hard to look up submissions by user, for example. This was done, I think, to prevent abuse but now I can't find your submissions except through your comments and journal. For all of the flaws, it's still nicer than not having a firehose.

You are not supposed to reload the page, just change your search terms and threshold settings. The default view is to show stories that are already running. This is to satisfy a long standing troll complaint, that articles could not be moderated. Now you can vote on articles and chose your popularity preferences. To look up RIAA stories and submissions, just type RIAA. It's still slow because it's still being worked out but it seems to work as designed.

If you want a speed up, install GNU/Linux without flash or run Firefox with a no flash plug in. I use Debian Lenny on a relatively new dual core machine but the firehose can still be slow in either Konqueror or Firefox. At more than ten tabs, even regular discussions get sticky. Oh well.

There are workarounds (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 5 years ago | (#23524944)

Most of what you object to can be worked around by opening new articles or links in new tabs.

Also, to prevent it from showing stories that are already running, put "-story" in the search box.

Re:There are workarounds (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23532564)

So in other words, each time I want to read a firehose item I should open it in a new tab?

Re:There are workarounds (1)

CoopersPale (444672) | more than 5 years ago | (#23539693)

That's what I've ended up doing.
Also I set the filter to "-story -comment" to get rid of comments as well - seems a bit weird having comments in the same feed, but there you go. Would be great if firehose remembered my filter settings though!

Re:There are workarounds (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#23579735)

So in other words, each time I want to read a firehose item I should open it in a new tab?
That's pretty much how I always browse because: 1. I just have to close a tab to return to my original page -- there is no need for the browser to re-render the page. 2. I might want to open multiple links from the start page and so I open them in new tabs, allowing the browser to download and render all the pages while I continue to read my original page and 3. Some pages websites don't work well with the back button.

Just make sure you have the option set so that when you open a link in a new tab, the current tab does not automatically switch to that new tab.

Re:There are workarounds (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#23604013)

Yes, in firefox 3 and IE 7, if you just middle click a link, it opens in a new tab, to close that link - middle click the tab. I've found that true with most other web surfing. It's not a big deal when you get in habit (in fact I didn't think that would be your problem.)

My only problem is that comments made in firehose don't get forwarded into the posted article on the main page. So... it actually encourages no participation prior to posting.

Re:There are workarounds (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23604165)

My only problem is that comments made in firehose don't get forwarded into the posted article on the main page. So... it actually encourages no participation prior to posting.
That's a good point, too.

I hate having to reset the threshold, too. (1)

Nero Nimbus (1104415) | more than 5 years ago | (#23524978)

Up until a couple of months ago, the default threshold settings didn't suck. Now, the defaults actively push me away from the fire hose. Honestly, if there was just some option in the preferences to set your own default threshold, I'd be happy. I don't care about all the ajax stuff one way or another. It was a waste of some poor coder's time and energy, but whatever makes them happy, I guess...

It seems to have got worse (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 5 years ago | (#23528420)

The firehose used to be pretty usable; it remembered my settings. Using a tab-based browser gets round the persistency issues while you're actually using it; but defaulting to stories with threshold-black strikes me as pointless, as that's what's on the front page anyway. I mostly use the Firehose to look at submissions with threshold=blue; I used to be able to get that just by clicking on the 'Firehose' title, but not any more. So the code exists to do things right; it just seems to have been broken somehow.

Re:It seems to have got worse (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23532584)

I use a tab based browser, Firefox. So the trick is to open each article in a new tab? And to open each link within that article in a separate new tab?

Re:It seems to have got worse (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 5 years ago | (#23535485)

Yes, that seems to work, at least for me. I'm in the habit of doing that for websites in general anyway, closing tabs rather than using back. However, for the benefit of any slashcoder who might be reading this thread, just because there's a workaround doesn't mean that the behaviour itself is useful.
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