TᵢG

Guide to Threads

  
By:  TᵢG  •  TechMeta  •  6 months ago  •  47 comments

Guide to Threads
Enhancements have been made to thread functionality for convenience and performance.

Thread Basics


NewsTalkers uses hierarchic comments to organize long discussions.   First level comments have integer identifiers (1,2,… n).   Second level comments have two integers such as 3.4 or 12.7.   The third and final level of comments have three integers such as 3.3.1 or 12.7.5.

First and second level comments define threads.   A thread is defined as the first or second level comment and all of the replies that fall within it.   Thus the first level comment ‘3’ defines a thread that includes 3.1, 3.2, … 3.n comments.    The second level comment ‘3.3’ defines a thread that includes 3.3.1, 3.3.2, … 3.3.n comments.

Each thread can be closed.  Closing a thread hides its contents.   Closing thread 3.3 will cause all comments beginning with 3.3… to be hidden.   Not only does closing allow the user to dismiss comments that are no longer of interest, it helps substantially with performance.   A closed thread will not be downloaded from the server and prepared for presentation by your browser.   Less work for the browser translates into a faster load.

New Features


Enhancements have been made to thread functionality for convenience and performance.   Each feature is discussed below:

Thread Panel


In each article, you will now see a panel consisting of three buttons: 

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These buttons condition all the comments in the article:

Collapse All Threads will cause the article to show only the first level comments (i.e. those numbered 1,2,3, … n).   This gives you the best load performance, but you will often see a delay if you need to open a thread to see its comments.

Expand All Threads is the other extreme.   This will open every thread in the article.   It can result in a very long load, but every comment will be loaded on your browser and available to you.   This is good if you need to browse (or search through) a bunch of comments.

Automate Threads is middle of the road.  Pressing this button will cause the system to automatically determine which threads to open and close based on timeliness of comments, tracker history, etc.  

It is expected that you will use Expand All Threads only on rare occasions.   Collapse All Threads will be used when an article gets big and you want to just collapse everything and manually open one or a few threads.   The Automate Threads option is the default; all new articles are in ‘Automate Threads’ mode.   You would use this option if you (for some reason) wish to return to the default after pressing Collapse All Threads or Expand All Threads .

Long Thread Suppression


At times, a second level thread can grow very long.   For example, a comment made at 2.1 might trigger a debate that could add hundreds of comments all starting with 2.1…  (e.g. 2.1.134).  In this case, having the ability to close threads does not help.   We need the ability to partially close a thread.

Now, when a thread grows too long, the older (stale) comments will be suppressed.   This means that they will not show on the browser.    Suppression is based on a variety of factors, but ultimately it will be used when a thread passes a size threshold.   Typically, a percentage of the comments will be suppressed.   At times comments will also be suppressed due to age.   For example, comments that are a week old in a thread are very likely to be suppressed.  

The following shows a tiny example of suppressing comments.   ( Here the threshold has been set very low for illustration purposes .)  There are 12 comments starting with 9.1… in this example.   The first 11 are suppressed due to age (they are months old).   The only comment showing is 9.1.12 because it is recent.

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Suppressed comments can be disclosed by the user.   When suppression is in effect, you will see a button indicating the suppression state and a count of the comments subject to suppression.   In this example, where suppression is in effect, the button you see is the DISCLOSE button.  

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If you were to click the DISCLOSE button, the 11 suppressed comments would be disclosed and available to you.    At that point the SUPPRESS button will now show.  

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Clicking this button will suppress (hide) the 11 comments subject to suppression.

[ These buttons use icons ( ► and ▼) that are frequently used on websites to mean ‘content available to disclose’ (►) and ‘content is fully disclosed’ (▼).   ]

Navigating Comments


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Given the new features, it is possible for comments you are currently tracking to be hidden within closed threads.   This means that as you use the Navigator (on the right) within an article, you could navigate to a hidden comment (one that is in a closed or suppressed thread).

The Navigator will now automatically reveal comments to you in real time as you navigate.   If you, for example, navigate to comment 3.3.2 in a closed thread (3.3), that thread will be revealed and the system will position you to the newly visible 3.3.2 comment.    The revealed thread is only temporarily revealed.   If you want it to show each time you open (or refresh) the article, you will need to open the thread yourself.   Manually opening a thread tells the system to keep the thread open until you change your mind (same is true with manually closing a thread).


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TᵢG
1  author  TᵢG    6 months ago

The driving force here is to help reduce the overhead on our browsers by not processing stale comments.   This translates into faster load times.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  TᵢG @1    6 months ago
 This translates into faster load times.

This will be a great asset for when some threads get very long and makes the load time take a good while. Especially, when the thread is not something that I care to read or engage in. 

Having tested these new functions I can see their overall benefit to Members who choose to use the new functions. They will help put NT a step above many to other sites. And I feel sure that once the Members get used to them they will use them when necessary.

Thank you TiG and Perrie! Very well done!

 
 
 
TᵢG
1.1.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Raven Wing @1.1    6 months ago

... and many thanks to our lead tester:  Raven Wing.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
1.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  TᵢG @1.1.1    6 months ago

Your very welcome. I am always happy to assist wherever I can. (smile)

 
 
 
devangelical
1.2  devangelical  replied to  TᵢG @1    6 months ago

kudos to those that continue to make this site more efficient and user friendly

 
 
 
1stwarrior
2  1stwarrior    6 months ago

It would be much, so, so very much better if the comments to the threads/seeds/articles were limited to no more than 250 comments - period - which, interestingly, we used to have.  Things would be loaded so much faster.

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  1stwarrior @2    6 months ago

Each user has the ability to control this themselves.   If you Collapse All Threads and only open those that matter, it will be very difficult to get to even 250 comments.   

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
2.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  TᵢG @2.1    6 months ago

Quite frankly TiG, if you want to reduce the "load", why not kill full articles and comment threads after say a week or ten days. Just get rid of it altogether. While that may not be the intent, the fact that some posters return to a very old thread to comment on just shows a need to comment on something, anything just to comment. It isn't conducive to new and informative articles and seeds and stymies creativity. There are really only a handful of posters who do that anyway.

JMHO

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @2.1.1    6 months ago

In effect the Automatic option does something similar to that.   It automatically closes stale threads and with the recent enhancements it will also suppress long threads (e.g. a thread of 150 comments might be reduced to 37 comments).   This reduces the load but gives each user the option to see the older comments whenever the wish.   We get the performance benefits and the users do not lose content.   ( If we were to follow your suggestion, members like Enoch who maintain a library of articles in his Chaplain's Corner would lose most of their content. )

Killing an entire article, by the way, would have no effect on performance.   

 
 
 
Raven Wing
2.1.3  Raven Wing  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.2    6 months ago
( If we were to follow your suggestion, members like Enoch who maintain a library of articles in his Chaplain's Corner would lose most of their content.

Totally agree. However, Enoch's articles are not the only ones that can get very long. Sometimes due to Trolling and slap fests between Members to derail the tread or entire article. 

This is where the new functions will be of benefit to the Members, at least to those who will actually use them and see their benefit before complaining about them.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
3  al Jizzerror    6 months ago

I'm sorry.

It was my fault.

Trump Names Whistleblower had 564 comments.

5 Dead, 21 Injured in Texas had 702 comments.

Butt many of those comments were just a waste of space posted by my stalker/trolls.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @3    6 months ago

Do a Close All Threads on your 564 article and then hit Refresh.    

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
3.1.1  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @3.1    6 months ago
Do a Close All Threads on your 564 article and then hit Refresh.

Okay.

How?

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @3.1.1    6 months ago

At the top of the comments in your article there are three buttons.  Click on the Collapse All Threads button.   You can then leave the article (go to the front page) and then click to return to the article.  When you return it will load much faster because of the closed threads.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
3.1.3  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    6 months ago

Thanx!

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
3.1.4  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    6 months ago

Done.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.1.5  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @3.1.4    6 months ago

So from now on you will have a much quicker load (unless you reopen a bunch of threads).   As you navigate tracked comments, if they are within a closed thread the thread will automatically open for you.

Another hint, if you have a bunch of tracked comments listed for an article, those will all be loaded into your article.   So the idea is to use the DISCARD button on your tracker to discard entries once you have tracked through them.   If a comment is not listed in your tracker for an article, it will not be downloaded from the server and you will benefit in terms of load time.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
3.1.6  Raven Wing  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.5    6 months ago
   If a comment is not listed in your tracker for an article, it will not be downloaded from the server and you will benefit in terms of load time.

Great advice, thank you. This will make working with both the new functions and the Tracker more helpful to the author/seeder in controlling their articles for not only their own benefit, but, Members as well. And give the Members a choice in what they want to see.

Great idea!

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.2  Tessylo  replied to  al Jizzerror @3    6 months ago

That happens to me all the time on a lot of my articles by stalker/trolls.  

I spent more than a week away from here and all social media while I was on vacation and it was quite the blessed relief.

I think I'll spend less time on Newstalkers in the new year thanks to those same stalker/trolls. 

Someone even said (when I said 'I know you missed me when I was away') and this poster stated - I didn't miss you and I doubt anyone else did - said he could be wrong but he doubted it.

I know I missed those who I think of fondly.

That does not include any deplorable tRump supporter.  

 
 
 
Raven Wing
3.2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Tessylo @3.2    6 months ago
I didn't miss you and I doubt anyone else did - said he could be wrong but he doubted it.

That was just someone who has no self respect trying to put words in the mouth of others who they have no idea what they think, and ass-uming that they feel the same as they did. They are just trying to impress others when they are only impressing themselves with such egotistical behavior, and no one really cares what they think anyway.

Just use the new functions and lock them out.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4  Trout Giggles    6 months ago

Oh, good! NT was just undergoing maintenance. Aljizzerror thought he blew up NT by replying to a nonsensical comment

 
 
 
TᵢG
4.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    6 months ago

Perrie and I were simply installing this new functionality.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  TᵢG @4.1    6 months ago

It looks great! Thanks for all your hard work to make this place better, TiG!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
5  Greg Jones    6 months ago

Whatever happened to the ignore function?

 
 
 
TᵢG
5.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Greg Jones @5    6 months ago

It is still there

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Greg Jones @5    6 months ago

just click on my avatar and hit ignore. It works

 
 
 
Tessylo
5.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.2    6 months ago

Yes and Greg please feel free to do the same with my seeds/threads/comments - you're quite welcome to do so.  

 
 
 
Raven Wing
5.2.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Tessylo @5.2.1    6 months ago

Me three.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
6  al Jizzerror    6 months ago

When I attempt to "track" comments the last one I replied to used to be highlighted with yellow.

Now there's no highlight so it's hard to keep track of where I was. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
6.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @6    6 months ago

The yellow line should be on the last comment you navigated to using the navigation tool: 

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al Jizzerror
6.1.1  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @6.1    6 months ago

Okay, I guess since "track" isn't useful anymore, I use the navigation tool.  

Where is that tool? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
6.1.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @6.1.1    6 months ago

It appears on the right side of each article that you track.     Click the lower portion to navigate to the next tracked comment, press the upper portion to navigate to the prior tracked comment.

You should see it right now in this article.

 
 
 
TᵢG
6.1.4  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @6.1.1    6 months ago

What you call 'track' probably was a side-effect.   I will see what I can do to make that an actual feature.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
6.1.5  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @6.1.4    6 months ago

Now when I click "track" on the toolbar, the yellow highlight has returned. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
6.1.6  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @6.1.5    6 months ago

The yellow highlight on the Tracker (menu item 'Track') page shows the last comment that you navigated to.   I am looking into having the most recent comment (which can be different from the last comment to which you navigated) be the target comment when you click on the article (rather than clicking on one of the comment line items) on the Tracker page.   

So in terms of a new comment, if you post a new comment and then leave, the comment you posted would be 'remembered' as the last one and if you click on the article in the tracker, it will position to this remembered comment.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
7  al Jizzerror    6 months ago

Sweet.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
8  Raven Wing    6 months ago

This is a great 'training' article for the Members. It will be a very good article for Members to refer back to if they need refreshing on the functions, and help them learn how to use them and their benefits easier.  

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
9  Vic Eldred    6 months ago

Now I don't have to be so concerned with closing an article when it reaches 100 comments. Nice work TiG. Now I know why you get paid so much!

 
 
 
TᵢG
9.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @9    6 months ago

Agreed.   Our browsers routinely must process a ton of stale comments.   That wastes time for almost no value.   The NT server is very fast;  our browsers, however, can get bogged down quickly with a lot of comments.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
9.1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  TᵢG @9.1    6 months ago

And on very long threads/articles/seeds it can take a while for it to load, thus, some Members can get tired of waiting and just move on. With the new functions that need not happen if the Members use them. It cuts the wait time for loading down considerably, and cuts out the much older comments that are no longer of interest. 

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
11  al Jizzerror    6 months ago

The Tracker function doesn't work as well as it used to and the Navigation tool don't seem to be working very well either.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
11.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  al Jizzerror @11    6 months ago

The navigation compass wasn't working for me earlier today, but seems fine now.

 
 
 
TᵢG
11.2  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @11    6 months ago

Al, I need you to be more specific than that.

I understand your point on the tracker (to track the last comment you replied to).   I am working on an explicit feature to that end.

I have no idea what problem you are experiencing with the Navigator.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
11.2.1  al Jizzerror  replied to  TᵢG @11.2    6 months ago
I understand your point on the tracker (to track the last comment you replied to).   I am working on an explicit feature to that end.

Thanks.  That would be great!

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
12  al Jizzerror    6 months ago

The Navigator frequently skips comments I haven't seen and highlights comments that I have previously responded to. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
12.1  author  TᵢG  replied to  al Jizzerror @12    6 months ago

My guess is that your local cache is not up to date (rebooting your device is the quick fix).   Sandy reported a similar behavior.   The Navigator should exclusively visit each comment listed on your Tracker page for the article in question.   It does not matter if you have replied to a comment or not.

I will poke around with this on NT to see if I can recreate this behavior.

 
 
 
KDMichigan
13  KDMichigan    6 months ago

The collapse thread option is sweet when mods won't remove their favs off subject comments. jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif