Posted on August 13, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 46 Comments
At the behest of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, I have changed the comments slightly so that the name of the commenter will now appear before their comment, not afterward. I also fiddled with the presentation of the comments slightly to make that relationship more clear. This change is effective globally, including on previous comment threads. Hopefully this will lead to a magic new era of commenting at the Whatever, in which everyone knows who is saying what in a quicker and more efficient manner.
To anticipate the question of whether you may now suggest format changes to the Whatever, the answer is sure, as long as you have, like Patrick, provided me with thousands of dollars of income annually for the better part of the current millennium.
Please feel free to leave a comment to acclimate yourself to the new format.
Good idea. I’ll be the example post for this thread, mostly because I want to see how it looks and am too lazy to go look at older threads.
Don’t you have a book to write?
Changing code takes, like, 30 seconds.
High fives all round!
This new comment format will sooooooooo much more effectively transmit our ‘hate Joe Loserman’ message throughout cyberspace.
This could be the key to VICTORY!
I wish I understood my web page code well enough that I could do something like that in thirty seconds. :-)
The change does help, though; it was a bit confusing before.
Hey, I wrote decent reviews of OMW and TGB. That had to sell, like, five more copies or something. Maybe six as my traffic’s up lately. Can I suggest color changes or photos?
How about another horizontal line at the end of the last comment, to separate it from the “Post a comment” section?
It’s also a little odd that commenters have their names in bold, but the name at the end of the entry is all lowercase. And also that when you comment, you’re “John Scalzi”, but when you post, you’re “john”.
Yeah, add some brushed steel and neon colors and change the name to “Wha’eva!”
heh … just kidding …
… I’ll go back in the corner now …
Deanna: I clicked over to your site and noted you use WordPress. I recently picked up a new book for work called WordPress 2: Visual Quickstart Guide by Maria Langer and Miraz Jordan (Peachpit). It’s a relatively slim volume, as computer books go, wherein you look up your issue and in a page or two they tell you where to find the bit of code you need and what to do with it. Handy.
Katy – doesn’t seem so odd to me. As we know who’s blog we’re reading, I don’t imagine getting confused on which John is posting. But in the comments, lots of people comment, and we need to differentiate Scalzi.
John – Shiny! Perhaps not an issue on short comments, but for lengthy responses, it’s good to see the author up front.
Poopy doody furrie furbie!
Jeff: I’ll pick up the book. Thank you very much!
We’ve established what kind of person you are, now we’re just haggling over price…
I like where you’re going with the new comment style, but I think it could use two more tweaks:
First, the text “Posted by: Johnny Law at Aug 13, 2006” still sounds like something that would come after a post; maybe changing it to something like the following would flow a little better:
Aug 13, 2006 2pm
Johnny Law said:
Second, the whitespace is a little screwy – to my eyes the attribution line still groups with the previous post. If you can pull the attrib line closer to the text that it references, that would rawk.
My comment attribution line is:
#[comment number] :: [commentor’s name in bold] wrote on [date] at [time]:
I also have the comment indented slightly in relation to the attribution line.
In case it’s useful.
Oh, and the comment number is generated with the MT tag <$MTCommentOrderNumber$> .
Much better like this. With the old system I kept seeing other posters seemingly answering John’s questions in his words. Odd.
Sold your soul to Patrick Nielsen Hayden . . . Mate, you are so cheap, Scalzi. SO CHEAP!
Moving comment attribution = selling souls? I think not.
I’d sell my soul for a mangosteen, though.
Do receipts for book (and other) purchases get me a “very special” rating?
But not in the way the t-shirt I just got does.
“My Mommy Says I’m Special” is cute when you’re 3, not 31.
This is my favorite comment thread ever.
Actually, I find the current layout very confusing and hard to read. I think it’s the dividing lines.
Moving comment attribution = selling souls? I think not.
Well, you wouldn’t think so, would you, Mr soul-seller. People like you don’t deserve mangosteens!
Does buying two books (so far) count?
That’s probably, oh, about $.50 in your pocket I guess. :-P
OK, so it’ll be the next millenium then.
Spiffy. I feel more insightful already…
Despite my failure to provide you with significant income, I’m going to suggest a slight refinement to this style, which is, put about a paragraph’s worth of verticle space before the horizontal line, and remove the verticle space from after the name.
In theory I like the idea of knowing who’s talking before I see what they’re saying. In practice, my brain interprets the blank space to mean “take a breath, someone else is speaking now.”
I had no problems with the old format. But then again I see things that other people don’t see (my eyes would dart down to see the speaker, then back up to see the message). Right now I feel a reverse sensation, also with incorporating the big space between the speaker and the text. But with John, the message is always *very* clear. A change is always welcome, however, on such a magnificant blog and website. Keep up the good work!
I was wondering why the comments were suddenly confusing me, when I’d see something obviously written by Kate atrributed to someone else. Thanks for clearing that up!
I like having the full box around the comment. That way it doesn’t really matter whether the attribution comes first or last.
Maybe you could alternate each comment + poster in fluoro orange and candy green, perhaps with a random pastel background.
Then we’d know for sure who wrote what. (We wouldn’t be able to read any comments, but you can’t have everything.)
Ditto Kate: Having 2x-3x the whitespace between the byline and the comment than between the dividing line and the previous comment is confusing. Reversing that would probably fix everything.
Like the new boxes! Very nice. Nit: is the line between the comment & commentor now necessary at all?
(And I’ll note that I was not the one discussing whitespace! That was the person before me. In case anyone was wondering if the attribution problems of the previous iteration really existed.)
“Nit: is the line between the comment & commentor now necessary at all?”
It’s not necessary, but I like the asthetics of it, personally.
For what it’s worth, me likey…
I like it just fine. For some reason I’m not seeing the big white space everyone’s complaining about… I see top of box; skip a line; poster and date; skip a line; comment; skip a line; close of box. Scans just fine.
I only ever had problems with the old one when comments were long enough that glancing to the bottom to see who posted required scrollage. But this is fine too. Thanks for taking the time to make improvements even when you’re deadlining.
Looks good to me. And I also like the line.
The line dividing the comments makes the space between the previous comment and the name seem smaller than the space between the name and posters comment. This (and probably projecting to the old way) makes me associated the name with the post on top. Is there a fix besides time to acclimate? Since it’s not my comment section and I draw the line at $1000 a year to suggest changes, probably not.
The boxes rule!!!
Nice to see how the Whatever is a place of democratic process in action.
Can we get cookies and milk every time we post something witty?
Or bagels and Lox? I’m hungry.
Ah, much better.
The boxes make it much easier to read.
Ah! [/sound of eyes relaxing]
I like the boxes and the accent line.
Good job, John.
<chime> I’m a big fan of the new format – clean lines, easy visual separation of the comments. </chime>
I like the new format; I think it’s much easier to follow.
And I *LOVE* the old starmaps at the left border. Beautiful!
I like the style where the owner of the blog’s comments look different from everyone else’s.
Just a thought.
It looks good, John. You have good font choices.
Ah ha! I kept reading about the boxes and wondering what the heck people were talking about. It just occurred to me that it might be a different browser. Behold, I read this in Firefox and see no boxes, but when I open it in IE, there are boxes. The boxes are nice, but not nice enough for me to use the hated IE.
Mary: Clear out your Web cache on Firefox and they’ll probably appear.
And behold again! You are correct, sir.
It’s been a few days since the Great Comment Switch, so here’s my opinion. Having the names at the top is just fine for short posts. Longer posts is a huge problem, though. I start reading discourses on classical astronomy (or whatever) and by the time the post is over, I’ve forgotten who started it. That means I have to scroll all the way to the top of the comment to find who the author is.
Clearly, the best method to correct this is to have the commentor’s name at the top and the bottom of the comment. Preferably, it would be sprinkled liberally throughout the comment, too.