18 votes

If a link topic's title, or linked URL are changed, the comments posted before that change should receive some sort of signifier

I was reading this comment thread and two comments put up a good point that, if properties of a topic are changed by a moderator, then some of those comments lose their context and can create confusion for newcomers to the discussion.

A relatively simple solution to this problem would be to mark each comment submitted prior to the changing of a topic's properties with some sort of icon, similar to how the OP of a topic has (OP) next to their username.

As for what that icon would be, or even if the signifier would be an icon at all, isn't something I've put a lot of thought in to. Something as simple as one of the Unicode hourglass icons would be fine, and offer some contextual clues. Hovering over the icon with a mouse cursor could reveal text explaining that the comment was made prior to changes.

Or, we could just include a message next to the usernames of comments, similar to how the date is included.

What changes to a topic should trigger this signifier on comments? I feel like editing the linked URL is an obvious one, but editing the title or tags is less likely to take context away from some comments, so maybe they shouldn't trigger anything.

Of course, just looking at the topic log and comparing that to when a comment was made would be investigative enough to come to your own conclusion, but that requires effort.

7 comments

  1. [3]
    cfabbro (edited ) Link
    https://docs.tildes.net/technical-goals#use-words-not-icons But overall I think your idea is a good one that is worth considering. I created a Gitlab issue for the suggestion:...

    https://docs.tildes.net/technical-goals#use-words-not-icons

    But overall I think your idea is a good one that is worth considering. I created a Gitlab issue for the suggestion:
    https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/issues/367

    However I think instead of automatically applying this distinguishing mark to every comment, since in many (maybe even the majority) of cases it's not really relevant to know, it should perhaps be a comment tag option that only appears after the link has been modified. This would allow users to tag any comments in which the context of the link having been changed matters (e.g. meta discussion about the original source), without cluttering the interface with a bunch of useless tags.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      hungariantoast Link Parent
      I knew someone was going to link that page from the docs, which isn't to say I disagree with it, just that I couldn't think of an easy way to implement this feature as a message rather than an...

      I knew someone was going to link that page from the docs, which isn't to say I disagree with it, just that I couldn't think of an easy way to implement this feature as a message rather than an icon.

      Having it be a comment label is an interesting idea, but couldn't it, at that point, just fall under the Meta label discussed recently?

      Although, I suppose using the theoretical Meta label would cause comments to collapse, and comments that mention things that only make sense in the context of pre-changing a topic's link might not deserve to be collapsed, as they could still contain other, relevant discussion.

      So yeah, if you'll excuse my rambling thoughts, I'll just say that yes, having a comment label for something like this might be the cleanest solution.

      Who knows if this will ever actually be an important enough issue on the site to implement a feature for, but if it ever is, I think we have our winner for its implementation by way of your suggestion.

      2 votes
      1. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
        Yeah, I think the amount of times a URL or title is edited to the point where comments lose some vital peice of context is so rare that this feature won't be a priority... But having a means to...

        Yeah, I think the amount of times a URL or title is edited to the point where comments lose some vital peice of context is so rare that this feature won't be a priority... But having a means to easily distinguish that for people (without them having to dig through the topic log) would be nice eventually.

        And yeah, the meta tag could definitely potentially cover some of these cases as well... although I think there are also some case where it won't, e.g. when someone is critical of something said in the original article that doesn't apply to the new one.

        2 votes
  2. drannex Link
    Building on /u/Meghan and /u/cfabbro's comments - Potentially we could use the existing topic log, and using words (not symbols) by having a notation of number of updates since the comment was...

    Building on /u/Meghan and /u/cfabbro's comments -

    Potentially we could use the existing topic log, and using words (not symbols) by having a notation of number of updates since the comment was made with a link to the topic log when clicked.

    So the user interface would say something like "(2 topic edits ago)"

    Or, have a symbol (¦) that links to the topic log and the hover text says "2 topic edits ago", but this breaks the words not symbols rule in the docs.

    3 votes
  3. [3]
    meghan Link
    On posts where details about the post have been changed, there is a "Topic Log" on the sidebar that catalogs every change. See an example of one here https://tildes.net/~comp/ajs/

    On posts where details about the post have been changed, there is a "Topic Log" on the sidebar that catalogs every change. See an example of one here https://tildes.net/~comp/ajs/

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      hungariantoast Link Parent
      Way ahead of you :D

      Of course, just looking at the topic log and comparing that to when a comment was made would be investigative enough to come to your own conclusion, but that requires effort.

      Way ahead of you :D

      6 votes
      1. tan Link Parent
        It should be possible to do this automatically by a Tildes enhancement extension, while we wait for this feature to land on the site itself. (sorry about the necro - not sure what the policy is on...

        It should be possible to do this automatically by a Tildes enhancement extension, while we wait for this feature to land on the site itself.

        (sorry about the necro - not sure what the policy is on that)

        1 vote