Three quick things

DMZ · December 12, 2008 at 8:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

1. I’m closing the scholarship drive tomorrow, which will involve cutting Dave a giant novelty check and probably writing a really sappy post about how awesome the USSM readership and Dave are. Get in while you still can, so you’ll feel warm and fuzzy when you read my temporary break with antipathy.
2. Conor asked me if I was going to do a USSM off-season music post, and I said “Not until John Richards tells me what the best albums were.” But seriously — we usually throw out USSM Endorsements during the off-season lull of depression, and our new front office hasn’t given us any off days. But we’ll get around to our standard random features (whether you enjoy them or not).
3. I’ll be spending some site-tinkering time this weekend, so if there’s something that’s been bugging you about the USSM design/layout, that’s always a good time for me to fix things as long as I have the code open.


58 Responses to “Three quick things”

  1. Jeff Nye on December 12th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Whatever small conveniences comment numbers may provide are far outweighed by the number of “oops I meant #22!” posts we had to delete when they were still around.

    And keeping the mods happy is the most important thing, dammit!

  2. DMZ on December 12th, 2008 5:17 pm

    Oh, thanks for reminding me. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaated that.

  3. joser on December 12th, 2008 6:24 pm

    People might be more tempted to reference previous comments in a higher-quality / more-civil fashion if there was a better UI for quoting: select the text in a previous comment, hit the bquote button, and get a full blockquote complete with start and end tags around a copy of that selected text.

  4. MKT on December 12th, 2008 8:11 pm

    Yeah, if only time stamps had numbers in them…

    Here’s the reasons why the numbers in time stamps are less useful than the comment numbers. With comment numbers the reader can more quickly and easily scroll to the desired post. If I’m currently reading post #73 and want to go read post #25, I know it’s about 48 posts away and can quickly scroll approximately the correct distance. Yes some posts are longer and some are shorter, but they do have an average size and moreover while scrolling I can also guesstimate how many posts have gone whizzing by.

    With time stamps, if I’m currently reading a 5:01pm post, and want to scroll back to a 10:43am post, I have no way of knowing if that post is 55 posts back or 5 posts back. And if it’s a 10:43am post from the day before, it’s even harder, it might be only 5 posts back if people have stopped posting, or it might be 555 if it’s a hot topic.

    Analogy: in the 1980s I visited Virginia and thought that it was strange that the freeway exits had numbers instead of names such as the “Mercer Street” exit from I-5, or the “45th Street” exit. But when I realized that those number didn’t merely indicate which exit was first, second, third, etc but also indicated the DISTANCE from the end of the freeway (or the state border) I realized that they were an invaluable navigational aid. If I’m wondering how far it is to the exit I want, all I need to know is that I’m looking for exit 25 and just drove by exit 73 and voila I know I’m about 48 miles away.

    California only began to number its freeway exits about two years ago; acquaintances who’ve recently moved here complain about how hard it is to navigate (there’s other reasons beyond the lack of numbered exits such as Southern California’s habit of calling freeways by name instead of by number, and then giving multiple names to them, e.g. what if we had the “Renton freeway” and the “Evergreen State freeway”, instead of simply calling it “I-5”? Los Angeles literally has two names for I-5, the “Santa Ana Freeway” and the “Golden State Freeway”.)

    And Massachusetts does have numbered exits but idiotically numbers them consecutively, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. instead of numbering them by distance. So If I’m looking for exit 30, the fact that I just drove by exit 42 doesn’t give me much help.

    Time stamps are like those lame Massachusetts exit numbers. Yes you can tell if you’re above or below the desired post, and you know how many hours have elapsed since the post that you’re looking for, but you don’t really know how far to scroll — so you have to pause while scrolling to peer at the time stamps.

    Whereas comment numbers are like the smart exit numbers that most states have and California is finally getting: if I’m looking for post #25 then bam I scroll up about the right amount, peek at the comment number, and either scroll some more or, more often because I’m already close to the target, just hone in on the desired post.

    That’s why comment numbers make for faster, easier navigation. With time stamps, you have to constantly actually read the friggin’ time stamp to figure out which post you’re at and then try to guesstimate if you’re in the right vicinity or not.

    Yes, comment numbers can change due to deleted posts, but I’ve spent months reading comments with time stamps at this site, and years reading comment numbers, and the comment numbers worked better. Faster, easier navigation.

    I hear you on the moderators’ workload issue, but why bother deleting the “Oops I meant #22” posts in the first place? Why not just leave them?

    Even now, an off-topic post will provoke reactions, and the off-topic post will later be deleted but the reactive posts are still there, referencing a now non-existent ghost. No problem, that’s just life. And likewise with the Oops I meant #22 posts, it’s just life.

  5. DMZ on December 12th, 2008 8:22 pm

    We generally try to trim OT threads entirely.

    Anyway. While I understand the reference issue (and I once wrote Raygun a really nasty letter about not having page numbers), there was also a constant issue of crappy comments that *required* you to go back and read them.

    #144 by Joe whatever
    73 LOL
    74 NFW
    101 That’s only true on Tuesdays

    That entire category of cruddy, useless comments has been eliminated. Comment threads are now a lot more pleasant and readable because any reference back now either has to have context or stand on its own.

  6. MKT on December 13th, 2008 1:20 am

    Okay thanks. Those are two good reasons for time stamps: less moderator workload, and fewer lousy comments (I don’t remember many of those dumb comments but I guess that’s because you guys were deleting them.)

    Those are much better reasons that what people have been trying to claim, namely “time stamps are just as good as comment numbers for finding the post that you want”. Because they aren’t as good. (I don’t think Derek or Dave ever tried to make this claim, it was other posters, but it was a bogus argument, trying to claim that time stamps are as good as comment numbers is like trying to claim that Ibanez’s defense in LF is as good as oh Carl Crawford’s).

    But I understand the tradeoffs better now, so you won’t hear me complain any more about the lack of comment numbers.

  7. joser on December 14th, 2008 6:47 pm

    There’s actually a couple of worthwhile picks in NPR’s all songs considered year-end wrap-up.

  8. TylerDurden on December 16th, 2008 4:44 pm

    No love for the Black Keys album?

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