Do you find the portal annoying to use, when a blog post has dozens of comments and replies? Here are some proposed improvements that would help solve several challenges.
Adobe folks, could you PLEASE consider changing the portal to make it easier to read/work with posts having lots of replies. It would help so much if you would:
- add a button for a given post to optionally replies expanded for all displayed comments
- add a button for a given post to optionally display ALL comments at once, with their replies expanded, via a single click
- add a means to search all the comments and replies for a given post
- add an option to switch the display to show most recent comments or replies to a given post, without regard to the relationship of reply-to-comments
- add a means to more easily link to any one comment or reply
TLDR: What follows is more explanation, motivation, and proposed implementation.
Right now, none of the above features exist: each post will only show a few comments at a time by default, AND it defaults to collapsing all replies to each comment. And there is no means to show the most recent comments/replies to a post (at once, without regard to hierarchy), nor is there a way to search all comments and replies, nor is there an easy way to obtain a link to a given comment or reply.
All of this makes it quite challenging when working with (or trying to provide links to) a post (blog entry, discussion, question, or otherwise) when it may have MANY comments, such as is the case for the recent post on the latest updates for CF2018, 2016, and 11 (with 87 comments and replies, at the moment).
Current challenge in expanding replies, showing all comments:
Instead, for now, someone coming to the post for a first time (or just trying to find discussion of some point which is known to be there somewhere in the comments or replies) must go through MANY steps to see/read all the comments and replies:
- to see the replies to any one comment, they have to click on that comment’s “reply” button
- if there are many comments displayed, they have to do this for EVERY comment displayed, one at a time
- because of the default paging of comments, for to see ALL comments (or find one in particular, perhaps from a few days ago), they would have to click the “read more” button to get it to show them all (and perhaps multiple times in some situations)
- and to then see ALL the replies to ALL the comments, they would then have to click that “reply” button on EVERY displayed comment
Again, this is maddening with a post with many comments and replies, when wants to see all the discussion (or for instance, to have it all displayed and then use the browser “find” feature to locate some known text).
Proposed solutions, first for expanding replies and showing/searching all comments for a post:
First, a pair of simple options on each entry to “expand all replies” and another to “show all comments” would be one way solve this.
At least by offering to “expand all replies”, one would not need to click the reply button on every displayed comment. That’s reasonable, right, versus having to expand each comment’s reply one at a time? As an option, if we prefer it?
And the “show all comments” (which would also then “expand all replies”) would make it easier for someone to see them all comments and their replies with a single click, without need to go to the bottom, click “read more”, perhaps multiple times.
(Someone reading this may also propose making these settable options in our own portal settings, to be the default. and I suppose someone at Adobe may fear that allowing us to make that our default could “cripple” their server by always getting all content. To that I would counter: it would only apply to one post at a time as we view it–and it’s not typical for most entries to have many comments anyway. Still, if you really fear that, then I’d understand if you left out the profile setting option, but please still consider these options to allow us to do these things on a given blog entry if we choose.)
Proposed solution: allow searching through all comments and replies
Second and even better would be a way to search through all the comments and replies of a given post, for when one knows there is info there and wants to find it.
(Someone may think that would remove the need for the options to “show all comments and expand all replies”, but those would still be valuable when someone is coming to a heavily commented post for a first time and wants to read all the comments and replies with a single click of a button.)
Challenge and proposed solution to seeing all comments and replies, in reverse chronological order
Third, it would also be helpful as well to be able to have the option to see all comments or replies (without regard to the hierarchical relationship of replies being to a given comment), and presented in reverse descending chronological order, so that one can readily see the latest comments and replies (as was the default approach in the previous CF team blog).
Yes, I do understand that for now the comments ARE already presented in reverse chrono order, with the replies offered hierarchically within each comment. But someone may reply to a comment from days ago, and we looking for that would NOT be able to see it unless we went through all the hoops above, to first view ALL comments and then second manually expand ALL replies, which is SO painful.
If you simply offered an option to let us see ALL comments AND replies at once (without regard to hierarchy), then we could easily see the most recent comments for a post.
(And yes, I know that there is an available RSS feed for all comments to all posts, at https://coldfusion.adobe.com/comments/feed/. Tragically, many don’t know of it as it’s not shown on the main portal pages but instead only at the bottom of the right bar shown when we are creating a post like I am now, which its own maddening situation. Even then, while that does indeed let us see the 100 most recent comments, it’s again across ALL comments, so we would have to dig through it to find the most recent comments to any one post.)
Challenge and proposed solution for linking to comments or replies:
Finally, moving now to making it easier for us to provide a link/url to go to a particular comment or reply, there is for now no option to easily obtain such a link (though such links do exist, as they are shown in notification emails about them, if one has singed up to receive them.)
Not being able to easily identify and click a button to create a link to a given comment or reply makes it difficult for someone viewing that comment or reply to share that info, such as if we wanted to share it in an email to colleagues or in another blog post. (And it would also help when we may want to link to a previous comment or reply when adding a new one in the post.)
Instead, to get a link to a comment at least, one would need to know to do a view-source on the browser, find the comment or reply, note it’s DIV ID, and then hand-craft a url that points to that as an anchor, such as:
No way to link to replies, at all, it seems
That was referring to comments above. When it comes to REPLIES to links, sadly, even that “view source” approach CANNOT be used, as the current portal UI uses a dynamic ajax approach to even show replies. Sure, one could dig in with a browser dev tool, to see that dynamically generated content, to see if we might THEN have some value we could link to, but I suspect none exists. Or at least, there would again need to be a way for the replies to be expanded to even see such a reply, on following such a link.
Even if links to replies may prove impossible, still, a least being able to link to the comment that the reply is responding to would be better than nothing. (But I suspect many would never think to go look to the comment to get its link, so many would still think it not possible to link to a reply.)
Summary: what do you think?
So, lots to consider. Whether you are a user of the portal or work for Adobe, if you agree or disagree that these improvements above would help your experience of using the portal, please add a comment here. Someone might propose I file a feature request at tracker.adobe.com, but I don’t see any option in when creating a feature request to file one for the portal (not as the product, nor as a “component” within CF).
Even if it is possible, I wanted to start here, because it’s where other portal users are (and because it allowed me more formatting control). I’d point back to this if/when I filed a formal feature request.
PS I realize that some readers will be more concerned about the spate of problems in the recent CF updates (which prompted all the discussion in that blog), and they may go so far as to argue that asking Adobe to address these issues here is “taking resources away from that more important effort”. I agree it’s important to get those problems related to the CF update fixed.
But note first that the CF engineers are NOT necessarily the same folks working the portal, as it is not written in CFML (and let’s please not debate that. The decision was made long ago.) Second, the problems with that recent CF update WILL be solved, I’m sure. But there are other blog entry, question, and discussion posts here in the portal which do ALSO engender plenty of comments and replies, and the problems described above will keep affecting folks viewing those long after that CF update problem has been solved. So I stand by raising these issues now, especially because of that recent post.
Thanks, Jim (and to others “liking” it so far).
That said, I see now a slight mistake in my logic, in my first iteration of this post. I could/should have noted that my proposal to have a search feature “for all comments and replies to a given post” would indeed be obviated if the previously requested feature, a new option to show all comments with replies expanded, were to be implemented. Then one could just use their browser “find” to search through those for a given post.
That said, I realize now that technically one can’t use the current portal search feature (at the top right of all pages) to search through comments and replies among all posts. For instance, if you search for “archived”, not one of the the 15 results shown is the recent blog post about the problem with the Feb 2019 CF updates–where many comments and replies talk about the solution to the scheduled task problem being to add a needed “archived” xml element to each scheduled task, because of a mistake in the updates. (And yes, this was even if one changed the search result page to sort by “newest first”.)
So an ability to optionally search all comments AND replies (added to that portal search feature) would be a big help.
As for my changing the post, regarding my first point here in my comment, sadly I can’t “just edit it”. The portal has another tragic behavior: if you edit a post, it will be REMOVED from view by others until the edit is moderated. And that could be hours (or even days sometimes).
So I tend to wait a few days before editing a new post (as much as I may so wish I could), so that time can pass (as people discover it among the most recent posts) before I risk it going offline for hours. Grr.
(And don’t be confused that YOU, the author, can still see the post once you post the change for “review”. YOU can see it, in that browser. But save the URL before posting a change to a post for “review”, and then go visit that URL in another browser. not logged in as you, and you will find that the post is simply GONE!)
I have complained many times about this to the portal folks, that it ought to at least KEEP THE OLD one visible, until they moderate the proposed change. Sorry, but that one is RIDICULOUS!
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