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New Dynamic Updating Discussions 100

Slashdot users of the Discussion2 system now have a new 'Update' button visible on their floating control slider, as well at the end of the discussion. This button will update your page to include comments posted since the page was loaded, so now you can keep discussion pages up to date without doing a full reload. It's nowhere near complete yet, but it's a nice step that goes a long ways towards making it easier to use larger discussions while they are actively updating. If you aren't using Discussion2, you need to log in, and toggle the checkbox visible on every page. You probably need bother only if you are using Firefox 1.5 or 2.x or Safari. You can send bug reports to me if you want.
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New Dynamic Updating Discussions

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  • by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:46PM (#19918019) Journal
    Has anyone else noticed pages with comments loading slower than normal? Front page, and my user page seem to load normal, but anytime I click the read more link it seems to take a long time to load. Same for if I try posting or replying to a comment. Side effect of the new comment system?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Yes, I'm getting the same. It started today, though, and I've been using the new system for months now.
    • My connection is close to unusable at the moment and for a little while before this announcement. I too wondered if they were related.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PorkNutz ( 730601 )
      I have noticed that too. It took 31 seconds to load this post comment page, and 87 seconds just to load this discussions main page.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have noticed that too. It took 31 seconds to load this post comment page, and 87 seconds just to load this discussions main page.

        The good thing is that I now have time to actually read the article!
    • Yes.

      Slashdot is being highly non-responsive. I can't conclude anything about the cause, but it is experientially slower. Traceroute and ping confirm this.
    • No... it seems to be a trend. I appreciated Slashdot for its no-frills quick load time and lack of internet "fluff." If this "upgrade" is going to render Slashdot as unusable as vista box acting as a hardware router then I'm out. Plz revert back until things run smoother.
      • I'm not sure if I agree with all your points completely, but I agree with the general idea: Slashdot is better when simpler. If I wanted to be immersed in Web two point oh cruft, I'd register on Digg.

        There's a already a great way to keep Slashdot stories updated, it goes by the simple name of F5. All this other crap just ruins a once slick and enjoyable site (and yes my UID may be a high one, but I've was enjoying /. long [years] before I registered for an account to post with).
    • Same here, been slow as molasses all day long, although Journals aren't suffering as bad as the rest of /.
    • Yeah, I'm glad they posted this story. Now I know why Slashdot has been ass-tastic for the last hour or so.

      What's up with popular sites rolling out "fixes" and "upgrades" that are untested, broken, and don't really help anything these last few months? Smoother viewing of Slashdot is what Firefox extensions are for. Drop the web2.0 crap.

      Please, Slashdot, don't keep changing things until I have to have custom stylesheets and javascript just to make the site usable, like Fark did!

      (For the record, I still th
      • by blhack ( 921171 )
        if you have a fix for the fark "upgrade"

        SEND IT TO ME! :-D

        i emailed drew asking why they don't offer a (and a description of why i cancelled my totalfark membership) and he gave me some bullshit about it causing too much stress on the servers...which is a total lie, i hacked up a little perl script that did most of it in like 20 minutes, never finished it though, if you have something that does, i would love it!
        • Firefox Greasemonkey extension [] for custom javascript

          Firefox Stylish extension [] for custom CSS.

          One or both of those, combined with the proper JS/CSS (a google search should find SEVERAL pre-made ones for you, just use the extension name + "fark" for the search) will fix most of the biggest annoyances, though it's still not perfect.

          The funny thing is that one of the main reasons for doing this was to get space for larger-format ads (which is the real reason for the lack of an "old" option; no-one would use the
    • by glimmy ( 796729 )
      I have noticed too. At first only stories with a surfeit of comments (like 800+) loaded slowly, now it takes a long time to load any story. According to the fasterfox plugin, it took 56.7 seconds to load the page to post this comment
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      For me, it's been moving slower than plans for a "Cop Rock" reunion movie.
    • Yep, same here. Main page loads fine, but comment and reply pages are taking 20 seconds or longer each. I'm surprised I haven't gotten any timeout errors, like someone in another discussion noted.

      And I use the low-bandwidth option and a CSS-free browser, which normally has no perceptible lag. But today I just about have to drive stakes to see if it's moving!!

      Probably explains why most of today's stories have relatively few comments -- people are getting timed out, or giving up and going away, like I did ear
    • This has been happening for a while for me on the larger pages with over 500 comments. The javascript on /. takes several seconds to run on my Pentium D 3.2Ghz machine. Sometimes I get a message from Firefox asking me if I want to stop the script.
      You would think that a tech website would be able to write good javascript.
  • Even better (Score:4, Funny)

    by mathmatt ( 851301 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:49PM (#19918043) Homepage
    Can you make another button that I can push that will automatically push this button periodically for me?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tloh ( 451585 )
      Since the new discussion system has debuted, certain features have been less than useful to me as well. I particularly liked the old system where, for a single story, you can choose with a single button click to rearrange the comments to show the most recent first. Now, I'll have to go into my profile and actually configure all the pages to display a certain way. The way I see it, this newly announced function is kind of useless (and maybe a little annoying) if, even though you have an updated page of th
  • My initial mental image is that this would simply turn Slashdot a threaded IRC chat vehicle. We all know the quality of discussion online: as it gets faster, it gets worse. Instead of "+1 Insightful", we will need "+1 Merely On Topic." Will moderation changes also be instantly reflected, bringing items in and out of view in real time? How long before you do "fwoop" animations and live character-by-character ajax updates? Imagine the new games the trolls can play.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mathmatt ( 851301 )
      Good point. Let's make a slashdot penpal network. Slashdot, can you print a list of everyone home addresses and send each of us a large bulletin board. I'll start composing my next comment. Should be there in a couple weeks (I'm thinking I'll get "-1 Smartass")
      • Actually one of the features in my "hope they implement" list is allowing personal messages (encrypted if possible) between members. We have a friend/foe infrastructure, why not use it?
    • Mod parent +1 On Topic.
    • and yet another thing to add to my BitleBee [] server...
    • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @03:34PM (#19918573) Homepage

      how is this better than irc?
      How? It has moderation, karma, threads, no client requirements, no abusive bots, and is presented in a form more conductive to essays than to 1-liner chats. Need I go on?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Speare ( 84249 )

        How? It has moderation, karma, threads, no client requirements, no abusive bots, and is presented in a form more conductive to essays than to 1-liner chats. Need I go on?

        • My GP seems to be modded down as a troll even though I thought it was a reasonable observation and talking point, so I don't really see how moderation is helping.
        • Karma is for the dogs, since it's capped and non-numeric and totally gamed by those who want to.
        • Threads are the one thing I did mention, so thanks for reading and responding on it... oh, wait.
        • Since it's heavily dependent on modern web browsers' dynamic features, I fail to see how there are no client requirements.
        • If you think there are no bot
        • by damiam ( 409504 )
          I don't really see how moderation is helping. ... Have you read the cesspool of -1?

          You might want to think a little bit more about what you're saying.

          I fail to see how there are no client requirements.

          Pretty much any computer you go to has a modern web browser. Not many have IRC clients pre-installed.

          If it's presented in a form more conducive to essays than to one-liners, why did you reply to my paragraph with a one-line answer?

          That's possibly the stupidest question I've heard in quite a while.

  • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:51PM (#19918067) Journal
    I don't get it, who wants to read all those comments? Aren't they just failed first post attempts?

    (Including this one)
  • by lilomar ( 1072448 ) <> on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:53PM (#19918081) Homepage
    I like the Update feature, would it be possible, eventually, to get the main page set up like this too? Just a thought.
    • Isn't that what the browser reload button is meant to do?
      • If all you wanted it to do was reload the entire page, that would (has for a long time) work for the comments as well. But the idea is to only reload the new comments/articles.
        • by Fweeky ( 41046 )
          Because that 19k of traffic to reload the front page is *such* a drag.

          Ok, well, it is when each request takes 30s just to start.
  • by Shut the fuck up! ( 572058 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @02:55PM (#19918089)
    Today, I'd like to inform you about a good programming practice. It's called "Introducing New Features to a High Traffic Web Site in the Middle of the Afternoon on a Weekday".
    • Thanks, that was my First Laugh (FL) of the day :P
    • Ahhhhhh c'mon, stop moaning, you love it really!! Lemme tell you, from someone who was there back in the day (with a 10xxx UID. Oh yes) this really IS like being back in the glory days of the late 90s... incredibly slow page load, random HTTP errors (I got '302 Service Unavailable', which is much better than 500 anyway.) No wait, I just got 500: Internal Server Error whilst composing this comment! :)

      Look, Slashdot is SAD - Special And Different - and buggy code, appeals for assistance with testing and feed

      • Oh god, how lame am I.

        the fake flamebait stories and tabloidesque subs
        I meant to say -- buggy code on slashdot is like flamebait and subheads on The Register -- part of the charm.

        Wohh hohh hoh!! Everything's speeded up again, back to normal. Did y'all pull the so-called "beta" code by any chance?

  • I'm getting HTTP 503 errors and very bad lag when refreshing pages. How can this be considered an improvement ?? Please revert back to the old system until the bugs are fixed, thanks!
  • I have "Nested" selected in my user prefs, but with this system the comments are all collapsed and I don't see a "Expand All" (or similar) type button on the comments page, nor in my user prefs (for this new comments format).

    Am I missing something, or should I just stick with the "1.0" version of the comments page since "All Expanded - Nested" is the way I prefer for the comments page to load.

    • That's why i went back to the 1.0 system. It wouldn't expand everything. I like reading it on -1 with the comments nested and the new system likes to collapse everything. Plus the css is causing the little box to overlap the comments and it's really annoying me. but then again, i surf slashdot with the window as small as possible, since i'm at work and shouldn't be on it in the first place.
    • Re:Expand by Default (Score:4, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday July 19, 2007 @03:27PM (#19918535) Homepage Journal
      See the box on the left that says "34 Comments" or somesuch? It's probably split between gray and white areas. Just drag the middle bar all the way to the bottom until the entire box is white. That should expand all the comments.

      That being said, I'm still using the "Nested a +0" thankyouverymuch. :-)
    • Re:Expand by Default (Score:4, Informative)

      by pavon ( 30274 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @03:43PM (#19918633)
      Yes, you can change the thresholds for comment expansion.

      To modify this threshold dynamically for just the story you are reading, just drag the little dividers on that floating widget

      To modify the default thresholds used when you load a new story go to Preferences -> Comments:

      Threshold - all comments with scores at or below this are hidden by default.
      Highlight - all comments with scores at or above this are expanded by default.
      Any comments between these two settings are shown as collapsed by default.

      I've been using the new comment system for months and I think it is absolutely wonderfull - far better than any other forum system I have ever used.
      • by wizbit ( 122290 )
        Problem for me being, if I set my default threshold to 2, but click on the -1 threshold from the front page (e.g. clicking "32" in the comment link "15 of 32"), it still snaps to either my default threshold, or, worse, clicking either the default threshold or "read more" links after I've been at, say, +2, take me to -1 instead. Zuh?
  • You probably need bother only if you are using Firefox 1.5 or 2.x or Safari.
    Why does Slashdot hate IE...?

    Fliches for footwear attack
    • Why does Slashdot hate IE...?

      Because IE hates web developers (and the feeling is mutual).

      • Why does Slashdot hate IE...?

        Flinches for footwear attack
        Because IE hates web developers (and the feeling is mutual).
        sarchasm ('sär-"ka-z&m) : The giant gulf (chasm) between what is said and the person who doesn't get it.
    • by Alioth ( 221270 )
      Slashdot is /. - i.e. Unix style slashes. IE doesn't run on unix. If you want a Microsoft closed source site, then go and start Backslash dot.
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @03:19PM (#19918395) Journal
    To any Slashdot users (like myself) who were part of the "University of Michigan" testing group, be aware that Discussion2 was recently silently added as an option in the user preferences. Just go "Preferences" > "Comments" > "Slashdot's New Discussion System Testing".

    For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about: A random group of Slashdot users were asked to participate in a study conducted by the University of Michigan on a new comment/discussion interface. This study presumably ended at some point (and possibly the data from it helped create Discussion2). However those users who were subjects in this study had a modified preferences panel, which prevented the Slashdot "Discussion2" mode from being available to us (bug report here []). Now they have apparently fixed the issue, though no official message was sent to anyone. So, if anyone else was affected by that bug, you can now test the Discussion2 system along with everyone else.

    Thanks to whoever coded the workaround.
    • Well, at least for me the "University of Michigan" option is still available. Tested now, while changing for the new system.

      I didn't like the University of Michigan design because its javascript was too slow. Now I'll see what I think about this one tomorrow, when I'll use a slow computer, but until now everything seems ok.

      By the way, what is that "Quote" button down here? Oh, it quotes the entire parent comment at the begining of mine. I didn't like that, very easy to abuse.

  • You can click on the comment subject to expand the comment. How about a place to click to collapse the comments?
  • You probably need bother only if you are using Firefox 1.5 or 2.x or Safari.
    Or a recent SeaMonkey. Or a recent Camino. Or a recent Epiphany. Or any other recent Gecko browser. Because Gecko is Gecko []

    Oh, the update feature also works in recent khtml browsers (although the bar does not float down the page as you scroll).
    • Works with Opera, as well.
    • by jp10558 ( 748604 )
      You know, being as Slashdot is supposedly about nerds and techie stuff, you'd think they'd go a little further than Firefox and Safari for new features... Opera, note that it's gecko indeed, etc...
  • There, I said it.
  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @04:19PM (#19918995)
    That's what I really want.

    A feature of dailykos that I like is that it keeps track of what's new since I last viewed a discussion, even if I close the discussion and re-open it later.

    New comments are highlighted in red.

    Also, if I reload the equivalent of the Slashdot front page, a topic I've seen before will say "X new comments".

    Steal those f*cking features, Taco!
  • How does this play with the AJAX comments abilities of the Slashdotter Firefox extension []?
  • If I recall, these are the same shenanigans that crashed Yahoo Pipes.

    You have to be careful with recursion!
  • Anyone else see the irony in Slashdot being Slashdotted?
  • now all i need is an update button on the homepage, and i never have to refresh again :)
    • by repvik ( 96666 )
      Just use the firehose. It updates automatically, and some of it ends up on the frontpage ;)
  • While you guys are at it... sometimes I'm searching for words within the page, since the word is there (but in a collapsed entry) the browser goes to it, but then doesn't highlight it.
  • I don't seem to have had the problems that others have had. However, when scrolling down the screen then back up, the float box leaves traces of the bottom of the box marking the side panel. Not a huge problem, just weird/bad design.
  • Just a couple of more features I'd like to see:

    * Gmail style reply.. it's a pain to open a new window just to reply.. clicking on [reply to this] should lead to a pulldown textarea where you can reply. kidof like how the current [login] link at the top works. this will end a lot of irritating new-tab-opening.

    * This is more of a nit pix.. add a [reply to main article] at the bottom too, so you don't have to scroll all the way up to reply.
  • What I'm missing in the new discussion system is the option to change the comment threshold like in the old system. Now I have to go to the user prefs to change the threshold. Changing the threshold on the comment page is easier, especially when you would like to moderate low scored comments.
  • The Discussion2 system is almost (but not quite) useless if you use a custom background color in Firefox. The "floating toolbar" widget is nearly impossible to use, because of what I would guess is a bug in Firefox: if you set the background color, the background color of javascript windows are treated as "transparent".

    I continue to use it largely because I hate the way discussion pages are split up in the old system, but I get essentially no benefit from all the floating control panel nonsense... I just

  • I just used up the last of my mod points, then went to a tab I opened previously.

    When I used the "update", it would just hang.

    If I reloaded the page, then waited a couple of minutes, the reload worked in a second or two.

    XP Pro + FF

    Otherwise sweet system for those of us who use a feed reader and who might not actually get to read the comments untill hours later.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant