Friday night topic: Bang on the new comments system

Ok, folks, we have been preparing a replacement for our old but beloved news comments system, known as jazz, for months now. Finally, the new system, Metal, is ready for a public test. Please head over to this thread on our development server to give it a shot. We think you’ll like it. I’ll give you a suitably inflammatory topic to discuss once you get there.

Oh, and please note that not everything outside of that discussion thread is working on the test server just yet. That’s expected, and we’re not looking for help with feedback or bug reports beyond that one discussion page. Thanks!

Comments closed
    • computron9000
    • 9 years ago

    I like the focus on Top Comments and Hot Forum Threads on the v3 beta. I can do without the vertical background gradient to white though: at the top it’s all “I’M BLUE!!” and then a bit lower it’s suddenly (and not smoothly) like “HEY I’M GONNA CHANGE TO WHITE AND MAKE THINGS LESS NOTICEABLE.”

    • PhilipMcc
    • 9 years ago

    Better late than never.

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    Not a big fan of the washed out blue theme … Seem to also waste real estate for no benefits. oh well, progress ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, Not once did I think this comment system was broken or needed to be fixed to be usable.

    But I guess allot of you complained to have TR switch ??

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      No one ever complains (or if so it’s so rare I’ve never seen it) to get TR to switch their layout. Every once in a while Scott or whoever gets this idea that things should change, they do it, people complain after the change then deal with it. Most of the time however the TR staff listens to their more regular users by, for example, still having the ‘at a glance’ link readily available when they switched back to scrolly news (which, btw, made them seem a lot like many many other tech sites. Maybe I value uniqueness too much.)

    • aatu
    • 9 years ago

    One thing that the current beige layout does better is general readability. The old blue and the new white don’t show a clear difference between “level 1” comments, like the beige does. In this matter: beige > blue > white. Though I do like white text on blue background better than black text on beige background. But giving the level 1 comments a distinctively different background color works better for general readability.

    I also like how beige and blue system replaces the level 1 comment with the reply you want to see. The new system makes it more chaotic (with maintaining level 1 comments all the time, and then opening sub-posts as a new bubble). The matters discussed in the first paragraph might contribute to making it even more chaotic.

    But we’ll have to wait for the final color layout for the new system to see what’s what. Maybe it’s all just a matter of getting used to something.

      • DrCR
      • 9 years ago

      l[

        • Frith
        • 9 years ago

        I also prefer this colour scheme. Going between the two makes it apparent just how much more readable this layout it. Looking at the new white background is about as pleasant as staring into the sun.

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      I disagree on replacing the first comment. The current system can be highly confusing precisely because the first comment disappears as soon as you click on a reply. That we might be used to it doesn’t mean that the casual passer-by will appreciate it.

      The new system shows the comment where you might expect it, right where you click it. Compare that with the current situation where you might click on a reply at the end of a thread only to have it appear off-screen. Off-screen actions are the death of usability.

        • aatu
        • 9 years ago

        Well most of the time, I do like how it keeps the focus. But it still won’t prevent “off-screenness” completely. If the previous reply is long, and the system will by design have to close it when clicking the next one, it will probably(*) still jump off-screen with the next short comment. The new system does prevent this from happening with long level 1 posts (because it will keep them open). And yes, it will be useful with comments with many (20+) replies, because it opens the current reply between the other replies, and thus doesn’t have to jump to the beginning. But with only few short replies, it’s practically no different. It could have been better to just force the old system to re-align the view on the beginning of the reply.

        But I will confess that with better color choices, keeping the level 1 post open all the time could be more viable, especially for a casual passerby, now that I think about it. Although, if it’s a long comment, I’d prefer it to be capped to 3-4 lines.

        BTW, does anyone else experience the “bubble arrow” appearing on top of the comment text? It doesn’t affect the level 1 posts, only subposts… Happens both in FF and Opera (both on Fedora). It’s like it’s on the wrong row. Horizontally, it’s clearly anchored to the end of the user name, but vertically, instead of putting it outside the bubble, it puts it inside, on the first row of the comment.

        (*): The other thread with the new layout doesn’t have any “long” posts, so I’m only guessing. Maybe they’ve added some extra scripts that change the view to the beginning of the comment, I don’t know. It does have some sort of follow-up, but sometimes it makes the jumps a little weird (especially when clicking on a subpost for the first time). Works OK with one-liners in the middle of the screen. But then again, so does the current one…

    • rechicero
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril,

    I don’t know if you answered to this (I suggested it before) but, would it be possible to add a feature that “pops-up” the referenced message when you pass the pointer over the number? I’ve seen it in other websites and it’s really, really convenient.

    Just to be clear. In “Flat” mode, when you reply, the number of the original message appears at the beginning. When the pointer is over the number a couple seconds, a pop-up will apper and you could read the original message. No need to look for it. The clarity of the thread mode with the convenience of the flat mode.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t believe nobody liked my logo, or my idea for removing the post rate limiter.

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 9 years ago

      I support the removal of the post rating tools. Never liked them on other sites and I don’t want to see them here.

      Cyril, take note ๐Ÿ™‚

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        not the post ratings, the post rate LIMITER… The thing that stops you from posting tons of times.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    Sweet, I felt like banging something tonight.

    Sadly, the new comments will be it. ๐Ÿ™

      • paulWTAMU
      • 9 years ago

      win.
      Sadly, I’m in the same boat ๐Ÿ™

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    thumbs up = OK, = meh
    besides, the new comment system takes too much space, it should be more compact.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    @ 26 (no, this isn’t a reply fail)

    If TR goes with a color scheme which has as much white as the preview page does I think I’ll die a little inside every time I visit. Please, please dear Scott I beg of you make a few color schemes, one with darker colors and ideally a traditional ‘all blue’ TR scheme. I can actually see the advantage of white for people who prefer black text on white or for mobile devices but mostly white on my home PC would make me sad.

    And since I mentioned mobile devices why not make a mobile-specific version of the site which gets loaded when a mobile browser is detected? This would be technically superior to simply allowing the browser to render a mobile version. I absolutely loathe sites when I can tell they are made to be ‘jacks of all trades and master of none’ when it’s clear they have compromises for mobile devices.

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      As we’ve been saying since the beginning, and as I noted earlier in my reply to DancinJack, there will be a blue version of the new design. If black text on a white background somehow makes you feel like your retinas have become self-aware, peeled themselves off your eyes, crawled into an industrial trash incinerator and hit the “on” button, you’ll be able to switch to the blue theme just like with the current site.

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        But we’ve also been told the blue won’t come right away. With all the criticism of the light/white background and praise/requests for the blue, you’d think it would be more pressing to get a blue theme going FIRST, and then worry about the colors no one seems to care for.

          • Cyril
          • 9 years ago

          q[

            • Corrado
            • 9 years ago

            My bad, I took ‘work in progress’ and the wide version not being ready at launch and must have mashed them up in my head.

            -Will there a blue version? Yes, but it is still very much a work in progress.

            -Will there be a wide version? Yes, but it may take a little longer to implement.

            I think the point though is that TR’s ‘color’ is blue. If all those other sites do it, why not keep yourself different? If you just wanna be ‘another tech site’ thats fine, but I think that will turn off a lot of the regulars.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t understand the resistance to moving away from white in the default scheme. Is it a high technical hurdle? Lots of CSS already configured that is hard to change? Is there data telling you that white is the way to go? I’m just curious… not trying to be a pain.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 9 years ago

          Studies show that white makes people perform a desparate, half-blind, random clickfest in a possibly futile effort to keep from feeling like Alex from A Clockwork Orange when he was undergoing reprogramming. The result is more page views and possible banner ad clicks if the site is laid out i[

          • Cyril
          • 9 years ago

          q[

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Thanks for the insights. TR will just look a lot like so many other sites now, but if not looking different, unique, or memorable is good for business then great!

            • I.S.T.
            • 9 years ago

            The thing is, it hurts my eyes. It causes eyepain. That’s why I complained on the beta. That’s the /[

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            If your display is so bright that black text on a white background makes your eyes physically painful, then our new look isn’t the problem. In fact, I expect you’re going to suffer a lot of eye strain daily unless you either:

            – Turn your display brightness down, or…

            – Systematically avoid all those major sites I mentioned (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Slashdot, ESPN, Engadget, etc) and do all your e-mail reading/writing, word processing, text editing, and/or programming in apps that provide custom color schemes.

            Seriously, black text on a white background is the norm, not the exception. We’re more than happy to provide an alternative, but I don’t think you’re going to convince us that we’re making an ergonomic faux-pas by making black-on-white the default.

            • I.S.T.
            • 9 years ago

            My display isn’t that bright. Not only that, but the other sites you mention don’t hurt my eyes. Only the new TR does.

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            Well, do you have any suggestions as to why that is? Clearing having black text on a white background isn’t the whole issue.

            • Mr Bill
            • 9 years ago

            I just went and looked at a page of Google links. Speculating here but maybe our eyes are similar in behavior to a camera. When the light value in uniform across the page then the eye is happy but when the light histogram has a huge spike in it then they eye gets blasted because of having to constantly make gamma corrections as it scans across different parts of the page. Once one has scrolled down in the comments far enough, the mostly white scheme is pretty easy on the eyes. So, I think its the high contrast differences across the page that is causing the problem.

            So, all whiteish is nice on the eyes and all blueish or beigish is also nice. I like the way Tech report has made use of background textures and gradients and yes I hated them at first when you moved from the original solid colors but they were a good compromise and improved readability.

      • dashbarron
      • 9 years ago

      I know they probably wouldn’t do it, but I always thought a good font in white on a dark background looked good and proved to be good readability.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 9 years ago

    TR Gerbils keep on voting “thumbs down” on my comments – It totally sucks. Yeah, try and vote “thumbs down” on this one then, go on…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    LOL.

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      -1

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 9 years ago

        Damn, should have seen that coming!

      • Saribro
      • 9 years ago

      I seem to be missing the thumbs thing :/.
      Where is it supposed to be?

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 9 years ago

        On the link above, the voting buttons for a post are inside each speech “bubble” for a users thread / comment, to the left.

        You’re not missing much though, trust me. It’s like a public popularity contest, and users are getting flamed left and right – All while my flame retardant suit is at the dry cleaners…

      • aatu
      • 9 years ago

      That got me thinking, does the voting system affect the non-logged users in any way? As in, does it “hide” comments that have a (very) low popularity? Because at least the voting stats aren’t visible to them…

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I like reading all the complaints about the colorsg{<.<}g

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      I love reading indeego’s posts! All of them. Wish I’d have started archiving them years ago. Printed them and made a book with lots of space in the margin for making notes.

      • Flying Fox
      • 9 years ago

      It can be a legitimate concerns with OLED screens on mobile devices. White can use orders of magnitude more power than darker colours.

      • DrCR
      • 9 years ago

      haha. I got a laugh even though I’m one of the ones not digging the white background. (we don’t use it for our consoles; why then for our websites?)

    • Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Aww I like the old one more. Seems clear and easy to read.

    Newer does not mean better! ๐Ÿ™

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Less white would be nice. Maybe silver or light gray?

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      (oops, not meant as a reply)

      (reposted from new system)

      Bet it won’t take long for the karma system to get gamed.

      One obvious abuse would be fanboy tribalism – you insult Nvidia, so a bunch of DAAMIT fanboys vote you down. The other would be trolls – say the sensible people all vote SSK down, then the trolls vote him back up.

      Last, it’d be a Good Thing to have a “report abuse” button, for example if someone posts R&P content.

      I’ll be interested in how you handle abuse.

        • DrCR
        • 9 years ago

        report abuse btn — good idea.

        Personally I like the ranklessness of the current system. I’d vote for no voting.

    • aatu
    • 9 years ago

    Sorry to be so cynical, but a mandatory log-in for comments is a no-go at least for me. That’s one of the best things in the current system. Well, I didn’t think of it as an important thing before, always thought it was a given.

    The current system allows me to keep the cookies disabled (which I prefer to do on a general basis), while still making comments. Maybe you could implement a dual-system that allows a permanent log-in, but also enable “quick-posting”? With the way things are heading now, I can even foresee a potential drop in the comments. Or am I the only one preferring things the old way?

    Furthermore, it’s too white, but I’m sure there will be different color-themes. And you’re still planning to keep the ataglance.x intact, right?

      • Flying Fox
      • 9 years ago

      You sort of need to log on to comment now too, no?

        • Kurotetsu
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, you do. I’m not really seeing how the current way is any better in regards to logging in every time you need to post.

          • aatu
          • 9 years ago

          Well, you have to give the username and password after you’ve written the comment, but you don’t really need to “log on”, and you don’t need to “log out”. That’s what I meant with “quick posting”. Even at the moment, I don’t have cookies on. But I’m quite sure you will still be able to read this post. With the new system, you NEED a separate “log on/off”, with cookies. At least that’s how I understood it…

    • rechicero
    • 9 years ago

    Less nice to read (too much white=more eyestrain).

    More vertical space wasted (yeah, I measured it)

    And when the mouse is over a “#whatever”, there should be a popup with that message.

    In fact, if you could implement that function and let everything else as now, that would be great. The white over blue is a winner (Oh, wait…)

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Functional improvement, aesthetic step backwards. Just dial back the white and it will be a winner.

      • lycium
      • 9 years ago

      fully agree

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    I do like it a lot. Just hope to Cyril’s muse that he/she convinces him to tun the whole thing blue.

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      There will definitely be a blue theme for the whole site. At this point, we’re finalizing the design and layout first.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    I like both jazz and metal, especially a fusion of the two.

    But regarding the comments system, the old one is better. Logging in is a pain, and it’s too bright.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Oh, and while I’m at it, the old forum version (that’s now relegated to the “At a glance” status) is much better. The new one still sucks.

      Switch back, please?

      I’m tired of these changes in the name of “progress”.

        • Flying Fox
        • 9 years ago

        Pay more to them and then may be they won’t have to try to do something to increase revenue.

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        I too prefer ataglance to either the current or new sites.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    the whole new site is too bright, blinded by all white in it.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Logging into it sends you to the forums and logs you out of the forums, but not these comments here.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Seems to be made of lead.

    • tesla120
    • 9 years ago

    doesn’t work for me, sends me to the forums and wont let me stay logged in on the comment page.

      • Inkling
      • 9 years ago

      It will send you to the forums logged-in notification page, but you can then click back to the comments thread.

        • SHOES
        • 9 years ago

        nope not working only you admins are able to comment there something is wrong… For us regulars it brings us to the forums then kicks us back again and asks us to login before commenting..

          • morphine
          • 9 years ago

          Should be fixed now!

      • Pettytheft
      • 9 years ago

      Having the same problem

        • Cyril
        • 9 years ago

        Okay guys, non-admins should be able to log in now. Try again.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Is it just me or is it not working?

    When I log in it sends me to the forums. Is that intended?

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      Should be working again now. Comment away!

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