Comments on Comments: An Update!

It’s been over a year since the new Newsvine launched and we’ve received a fair bit of helpful feedback about what our community would like from the site. Thank you for that. We’ve been putting much of it into the software and kicking the tires. So let’s dive in.

We’ve spent some time revising the way our core comment system works. The design was trimmed up and changed quite a bit, and we’d like to share the changes with you below. This has taken a not un-tiny amount of effort and we hope you’ll be as excited about using it as we were about making it.

Here are some of the things that we’ve changed in hopes of making it easier on our members to read, digest, respond, and so on, in a satisfying manner.

Discussions:

 

  • New Discussion thread “Summary Mode” gives a quick snapshot as to a Nation’s thoughts and its member’s reactions to the article.   
  • Discussion Header Bars are leaner and more useful as we’ve moved their meta information into a scrolling region underneath itself. This should be extremely helpful when on mobile devices.   
  • The old "+" and "-" expanding buttons were added on Discussions across the sites we use but their meaning was vague in this context (like joining and Nation actions in general) so they were removed. We also felt the collapse button was in most circumstances not needed. As a result the "Expand" text button is now used instead.   
  • The activity tracker/ conversation tracker was aging and needed updating. It had too many buttons. Now it has one button, just like the original, to do just that: head to the next new comment (see “Activity Menu” below). We will continue to improve on this tool.
  • Large Discussions, like those with hundreds of comments (and beyond), have received a few performance boosts. Initial page loading and Discussion thread expanding has noticeably improved, especially on older computers.
  • We’ve also altered the design on mobile devices to take advantage the format and improve the reading experience as well as "commenting on the go". Although there are improvements for mobile devices visible throughout, there’s still much to do. You may have noticed that we don’t try to find out what device you’re using, only the size of screen that it uses, so if you’re 'internetting' on your desk’s personal computer with a tiny window, you’ll also benefit from these additional changes. There's more to come but we're being careful not to alter the site for mobile at the expense of the desktop experience, both of these being very important to us.

Mini Title Bar:

  • On any page with discussions, as soon as the Discussions pane scrolls into view, you'll get a Mini Title Bar reminding you what article you’re discussing, an Activity menu pointing you to the rest of your discussions, as well as a Next Thread button that bumps you to the next Discussion.
  • The bar becomes smaller and moves to the bottom on mobile, which is hopefully out of the way and yet still useful.

Activity Menu:

The Activity Menu that was formerly only located only the top of the site is now also in the Mini Title Bar, which follows you down the page, quickly sending you off in another direction if you so choose - or if you’re just in need of browsing your different discussions.

If you’re on your handy mobile device, clicking the activity button will forward you on to the Activity page, a fuller representation of all of the activity in three areas, currently on “Your Column”, within “Your Discussions”, and within “Your Nations”.

Also, if you’re active on other NBC properties, like TODAY.com, NBCNews, or MSNBC.com, you’ll notice those items will be marked as such.

More changes are coming, some of them small, some medium sized, so watch for more to come. We’re updating the documents in the Knowledge Base to reflect these changes.

We’re proud of the changes we’re making and hope you will be, too.

Support & Feedback:

We appreciate any feedback you’re willing to give, and the discussion below is a good place to do that. If you've found a bug, though, please head to this discussion on support.newsvine.com, where you can see if anyone else is encountering the same issue, upload your own  screenshots if needed, and receive updates on bug fixes from staff.

Thank you very much. Your staff is working hard on these feature upgrades and I'm very honored to be working with them!

Let's give them a hand!

Discuss this post

Jump to discussion page: 1 2 3

Sweet! Nice work, Luke (and team).

I wish we could show it off in this discussion. :/

During testing, the biggest adjustment I had to make was not being able to collapse discussions - but I got past it pretty quickly since you can click that 'Mini Title Bar' that follows you around the page.

  • 9 votes
Reply#1 - Fri May 16, 2014 6:54 PM EDT

Cool Luke!

  • 2 votes
#1.1 - Sat May 17, 2014 5:21 PM EDT

Now can we have closed group discussions again?

  • 5 votes
#1.2 - Sun May 18, 2014 2:44 PM EDT

Tyler it would be GREAT if the threads went back to THIS format. Or at the very least the activity in your nations were displayed by article rather than each individual nation... just my 2 cents.

  • 13 votes
#1.3 - Mon May 19, 2014 1:18 PM EDT

Tyler: How do I post one of my "humanity-changing" witticism to the new "Newsvine blog"? Or, did I just do that?

  • 5 votes
#1.4 - Sat May 24, 2014 10:10 AM EDT
Reply

We've been noticing the changes!

I'll be posting links to this blog.

  • 12 votes
Reply#2 - Fri May 16, 2014 7:12 PM EDT
Reply

Good work everyone. We have come a long way since that first confusing day of Beta testing. I remember being both scared of losing the old and excited about helping to form the new.

Cheers to all!

  • 11 votes
Reply#3 - Fri May 16, 2014 7:14 PM EDT

There's more to come but we're being careful not to alter the site for mobile at the expense of the desktop experience, both of these being very important to us.

Glad to see that. I plan to get a smart phone sometime this year ( as you can see I haven't been in a hurry ) and I would hate accessing the vine with that. Then I would have to choose between that and a tablet. Only one new toy in decade.

  • 6 votes
Reply#4 - Fri May 16, 2014 7:43 PM EDT

I thank you. Most Viners know I've been a vocal critic of the Vine's tech since the launch of Beta. So far I like these changes and I'm grateful to all the folks at the Vine for the hard work that went into them.

  • 16 votes
Reply#5 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:17 PM EDT

Ah, I wondered what was going on. I thought my iPad was going wonky. I think I'm liking the new format. Well done.

  • 7 votes
Reply#6 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:19 PM EDT

Looks good. The grump likes it.

  • 10 votes
Reply#7 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:26 PM EDT

The seed/article title on top is helpful, when the strings get long I often forget what it was about. And for some reason the site does seem quicker, we will see how long that lasts.

  • 6 votes
Reply#8 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:35 PM EDT

I'm off to see what these changes look like, thanks for the update!

  • 10 votes
Reply#9 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:45 PM EDT

Lovely to see you, rott!

  • 5 votes
#9.1 - Sat May 17, 2014 10:09 AM EDT
Reply

Thanks for posting this Luke it is very much appreciated.

Now are you/team really ready to get down to brass tacks? :o)

  • 12 votes
Reply#10 - Fri May 16, 2014 8:59 PM EDT

Luke, I took you up on your offer:

If you've found a bug, though, please head to this discussion on support.newsvine.com,
where you can see if anyone else is encountering the same issue, upload
your own screenshots if needed, and receive updates on bug fixes from
staff.

I have posted a Bug over at Support concerning "more" hidden comments here:
http://support.newsvine.com/discussions/bugs/647-for-luke-recent-update-concerning-hidden-portions-of-the-discussion
and encourage others to add to and or follow the discussion. More of a 1 at a time approach :o)

  • 5 votes
#10.1 - Mon May 19, 2014 10:09 AM EDT

Thank you, Lebowsky.

We have even more to release soon that we hope you'll be very pleased with in the future, but we'll only be releasing it when it's been fully tested.

We've been discussing the next iteration of this a bit this morning and we're happy to see that people are pleased with the update overall.

Thanks for your suggestions and help over the years. It's a joy to hear so many people want their site upgraded and we're hard at work doing just that. Much appreciated.

  • 5 votes
#10.2 - Mon May 19, 2014 5:17 PM EDT

I noticed and I like it. It works much better. Now what about that nation limitation? Will that be increasing anytime in the near future?

Thank you NV Staff!!

  • 3 votes
#10.3 - Mon May 19, 2014 5:56 PM EDT

I hate to admit it but I do get less bublegum and the comments/vine seems to work much smoother... I still wish there was a "friend" list.. (I know you access the old one but it seems you can't add any new ones) and finding a one of my comments on an article is kinda a pain But it is "updating" so I can easily see an article I commented on if not the comment itself... these are not bugs but just comments so... all in all good work.

  • 3 votes
#10.4 - Tue May 27, 2014 1:18 PM EDT

I am actually liking this now, but yes I wish it was ALL THIS format and our friends were in blue once again.

I also wish we had our friends list, watch list etc.

  • 7 votes
#10.5 - Tue May 27, 2014 4:11 PM EDT

I agree! Our friends list is where we can go to chat with friends we have not seen on the vine in a while. Since the new format, so many of them seem to have left. My list includes some great folks who've simply disappeared: Marine24, Chouchou, Desert Rattler, AZ Hockey Mom, Wolf Wolfman, McSpocky...the list could continue.

  • 6 votes
#10.6 - Wed May 28, 2014 1:37 PM EDT
Reply

Luke:

This part is my favoritest:

Also, if you're active on other NBC properties, like TODAY.com,NBCNews, or MSNBC.com, you'll notice those items will be marked as such.



  • 9 votes
Reply#11 - Fri May 16, 2014 9:23 PM EDT

Hear, hear.

  • 7 votes
#11.1 - Fri May 16, 2014 10:09 PM EDT

Thank you very much, jfxgillis.

  • 1 vote
#11.2 - Mon May 19, 2014 5:18 PM EDT
Reply

It still needs some fine tuning.

  • 10 votes
Reply#12 - Fri May 16, 2014 9:36 PM EDT

I believe that will always be the case. I hope we can all agree that it's better now than it was. ;)

  • 3 votes
#12.1 - Mon May 19, 2014 5:19 PM EDT
Reply

Thank you for your time and effort. I hope your work turns out to have been as worthwhile as you hoped. We certainly want to see Newsvine work for everybody here, for staff as well as contributors. Here's hoping the new format is a great improvement! Cheers!

  • 5 votes
Reply#13 - Fri May 16, 2014 9:44 PM EDT

I like the changes, thanks newsvine! ☺

  • 7 votes
Reply#14 - Fri May 16, 2014 9:55 PM EDT

Thanks for the time and energy put into this update, looks great.

  • 5 votes
Reply#15 - Fri May 16, 2014 10:04 PM EDT

I like what I see, I still have to use it for a bit but so far tracking looks much improved, and I like having the 'Blog' featured so visibly.

  • 4 votes
Reply#16 - Fri May 16, 2014 10:15 PM EDT

Definitely like the changes to the Activity tracker. Don't know if it's perception, but all navigation seems more responsive.

  • 4 votes
#16.1 - Tue May 20, 2014 12:20 AM EDT
Reply

We see many familiar faces who are somewhat approving.

Thanks to the team for listening to our constant snarling and trying to improve the product.

We'll continue to snarl, but now we can't say no one's been listening or doing anything about it.

Snarling............:D

  • 7 votes
Reply#17 - Fri May 16, 2014 10:21 PM EDT

So far, I really like it. Thank you all for your efforts to improve the site. Newsvine is very important to many of us and the improvements will make it even more so. Again, thank you for all you do.

  • 4 votes
Reply#18 - Fri May 16, 2014 11:29 PM EDT

Ditto for every word said, gramapoetmn!! It is certainly a big improvement on what we had. Less busy, easier navigation, and less hassle.

  • 3 votes
#18.1 - Wed May 21, 2014 9:31 AM EDT
Reply

We also felt the collapse button was in most circumstances not needed.

But on Android, on a large thread, the only way to be able to open all the nations was by closing some. Wish you had put that part of the plan up for discussion before. This is going to be a major handicap for Android users.

  • 5 votes
Reply#19 - Fri May 16, 2014 11:57 PM EDT

A workaround for inability to collapse nations in mobile, refresh the page if the thread is so large some nations won't open.That will collapse everything again.

Meantime, noticing that inevitably, #1PD and all nations with comments want to open when using the tracker. That wastes time when you may only want to see nations you admin. Guess this will not be addressed. So, workaround, in address bar erase everything to the right of "lite."

It is faster, thank you for that. Still not displaying correctly on mobile, and alternating periods when it is worse then better.

  • 3 votes
#19.1 - Sun May 18, 2014 8:13 AM EDT

Well, mine is still jumping up to the top of the page when I try to reply or comment, this is VERY frustrating. Also the tracker isn't showing all new comments, and when I find a new comment I cant click it to jump to the next, also I keep getting a pop up to allow cookies what the hell? When will this be fixed, it still hasn't been addressed and I am tire of it

JFC I thought this was supposed to be better

NOT

  • 5 votes
#19.2 - Sun May 18, 2014 10:47 AM EDT
Reply

Thank you! I like what I've seen so far and it's Friday night and FF hasn't crashed even one time!

  • 4 votes
Reply#20 - Fri May 16, 2014 11:59 PM EDT

Looks nice! Compact, tidy... I like the nation summary...

One little issue I noticed... If the the article image (first uploaded image) is a portrait oriented image... The small image that posts with the list of articles on a column gets cropped to a landscape aspect... Looks like it just crops off the bottom... this has a rather undesirable effect on some of my articles. You can see this just by looking at my column (first two featured article).

  • 7 votes
Reply#21 - Sat May 17, 2014 12:04 AM EDT

...and one more thing... I see you reduced the max width of images in a "Photo" article from 937 to 637...

[Mal frowns...]

  • 8 votes
#21.1 - Sat May 17, 2014 11:46 AM EDT
Reply

The seed/article mini-title bar is a winner, and the Activity menu gets all my love.

*APPLAUSE*

  • 3 votes
Reply#22 - Sat May 17, 2014 12:27 AM EDT

Hooray Luke!

I'd like to first comment, if I may, that your message from the FP sending us here was absolutely awesome. I've suggested doing that before, so I am indebted to whomever implemented that.

You did an excellent job of going over and explaining the new tools and bar's functions.

I think it's looking good.

Lastly, I appreciated the mention of the objective to keep the focus on both the Desktop -and- the mobile device, rather than wanting to benefit one a little more than the other.

Thank you Staff & all!!

  • 6 votes
Reply#23 - Sat May 17, 2014 12:48 AM EDT

...message from the FP...

Chloe, what does that mean?

  • 3 votes
#23.1 - Sat May 17, 2014 5:25 PM EDT

Barb, I had a message (or statement) at the top of my Front Page yesterday telling me there was an update here at the Blog. It was a link that took me to Tyler's comment; exactly what I've always wanted to see happen. You must not have noticed it, or does it mean you don't usually go to your FP-----oh, do you mean my made-up acronym?? Sorry 'bout that. I do that too much, I know. :)

  • 7 votes
#23.2 - Sat May 17, 2014 5:36 PM EDT

Barb, I had a message (or statement) at the top of my Front Page yesterday telling me there was an update here at the Blog.

I didn't see a statement/notice. By "front page", I'm assuming you mean the initial page that comes up for newsvine.com - where the articles/seeds are listed? I found the blog entry by checking Tyler's (and Sally's) comments to see if someone who had been reported had gotten a comment. Tyler had a comment about the blog. (And, yeah, I didn't know what "FP" was supposed to mean.)

  • 5 votes
#23.3 - Sat May 17, 2014 6:07 PM EDT

Yep,,, NV did a great job of getting the word out with this message at the top the Front Page, all Nation columns and the user's Personal column. I believe it is there until you clear it,,, I see an X for that.

"Newsvine posted to the blog! Comments on Comments: An Update!"

  • 5 votes
#23.4 - Sat May 17, 2014 7:19 PM EDT

I didn't see a statement/notice. By "front page", I'm assuming you mean the initial page that comes up for newsvine.com - where the articles/seeds are listed? I found the blog entry by checking Tyler's (and Sally's) comments to see if someone who had been reported had gotten a comment. Tyler had a comment about the blog. (And, yeah, I didn't know what "FP" was supposed to mean.)

Hi Barb!

Yes, that's correct, the initial page that comes up after loguing-in. I know some used to start at their Home Page, rather than their Front page, but I don't know if that can be done since the recent merger with msnbc and the new program. Some might start with the msnbc side, too. Others, bypass all of that and just use their browser settings. I always start with Newsvine's FP, glancing over everything, and then go to my Tracker and Group/Nation pages. I only use my browser settings for special, imo, articles. (You probably didn't want to read all of that :) Those folks might have missed the Front Page alert when it was published.

When you logue-off and then logue-in, are you taken to your Nv Front Page with all of the articles and seeds listed?

I forget to check T&S's comments for suspensions and deletions. I know SRO used to do that to compile his lists. Good idea to go there, and thank you for mentioning that!

Thank you, too, for letting me know about the made-up FP acronym. :)

  • 4 votes
#23.5 - Sat May 17, 2014 7:27 PM EDT

Yep,,, NV did a great job of getting the word out with this message at the top the Front Page, all Nation columns and the user's Personal column. I believe it is there until you clear it,,, I see an X for that.

"Newsvine posted to the blog! Comments on Comments: An Update!"

Good God. I must be blind. I didn't see any of that anywhere. Saw nothing earlier; nothing now (checked my column page).

  • 6 votes
#23.6 - Sat May 17, 2014 7:59 PM EDT

Thanks Leb!

  • 3 votes
#23.7 - Sat May 17, 2014 8:04 PM EDT

Actually Barb, I wouldn't worry about it. The message just appeared on my screen this morning, not on the front page, but when I went to view an author's column, the message popped in including a link to the blog.

Been noticing the changes, and I find time spent here now is more productive.

BTW, this page still reminds me more of the classic vine view. It even has the little star for 'highly rated comments'. I forgot that one.

  • 5 votes
#23.8 - Mon May 19, 2014 5:52 AM EDT
Reply

I like the changes, thanks guys!

  • 3 votes
Reply#24 - Sat May 17, 2014 12:52 AM EDT

I guess sometimes ignorance is bliss, because to tell you the truth, I don't even notice these weird little differences. I do not particularly like the "new" NV format, but at the end of the day, whatever. Their site and their rules, so screw it.

But as long as I can read an article and then comment on it if I so choose, that's all I care about. The rest is nothing more than semantics as far as I'm concerned.....

  • 3 votes
Reply#25 - Sat May 17, 2014 4:15 AM EDT
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