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Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions

20 Post author: Louie 20 April 2011 05:56PM

In the next month, the administrators of Less Wrong are going to sit down with a professional designer to tweak the site design. But before they do, now is your chance to make suggestions that will guide their redesign efforts.

How can we improve the Less Wrong user experience? What features aren’t working? What features don’t exist? What would you change about the layout, templates, images, navigation, comment nesting, post/comment editing, side-bars, RSS feeds, color schemes, etc? Do you have specific CSS or HTML changes you'd make to improve load time, SEO, or other valuable metrics?

The rules for this thread are:

  • One suggestion per comment.
  • Upvote all comments you’d like to see implemented.

 

BUT DON’T JUMP TO THE COMMENTS JUST YET: Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and write down your own ideas before reading others’ suggestions. Less contamination = more unique ideas + better feature coverage!

Thanks for your help!

Comments (565)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 20 April 2011 06:19:58PM 58 points [-]

Make a prominent "next" button on the sequence pages so you can easily go from one sequence post to the next post. There's currently a button but it is difficult to find and requires two clicks.

Comment author: Louie 20 April 2011 05:57:09PM *  56 points [-]
Comment author: hwc 21 April 2011 12:31:36AM *  18 points [-]

Here's another proposal for dealing with meetups: some sort of prominent widget that will show (only upcoming) meetups in chronological order, with links:

Upcoming Meetups

Comment author: hwc 21 April 2011 12:40:14AM 3 points [-]

And what happens when we have a regular weekly or monthly meetup in every English-speaking city of more than two million? I've noticed that the regular meetups (LW/NYC, LW/Bay Area, LW/London, et cetera) don't bother to announce every meeting. New users have to know to look at the wiki page.

Maybe this proposed widget should include these regular meetups (with links to the relevant wiki page) for all events within the next three weeks.

Comment author: Cayenne 21 April 2011 03:42:39AM *  3 points [-]

Do geolocation or enter a postal code, and see only the ones nearby?

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment author: hwc 21 April 2011 02:16:17PM 8 points [-]

I don't trust geolocation.

Also, there's an advantage in a new user seeing all the meetups, since it accurately tells them how active we are.

And what about people who travel a lot and might check out a meetup in another city if they were reminded about it?

Comment author: Spurlock 20 April 2011 10:49:47PM *  5 points [-]

I also posted about this a while ago. My recommendation is that there be a user preference menu shown when signing up (and editable later):

-=Menu=-

[ ] Show all upcoming meetups

[ ] Show only meetups in my area (reveals form for inputting area)

[ ] Don't show upcoming meetups

Comment author: orthonormal 20 April 2011 10:05:17PM *  41 points [-]

Make a Welcome section that's clearly visible to first-time lurkers, and more helpful to them than the About page. PLEASE.

I think that the welcome threads are an important boon to new users, but unfortunately they're impossible to find as a lurker- the current fashion is to hope that someone notices that commenter X is new and says "Welcome to Less Wrong- check out the welcome thread!"

Unfortunately, there's a lot on the welcome thread that I think would be really helpful for someone to check out before they get to that point; and worse, much of the time a person's first comment is something that will get downvoted heavily for a reason they'd have known if they'd seen the welcome thread, and instead they end up in a flamewar and depart in a huff. THIS IS BAD.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 04:09:07AM *  18 points [-]

I might expand on this idea with the general idea of, add a better "old-style website" portion to LW. Currently everything on LW is organized either blog-style or Reddit-style, which is not so great when you have things like important core pages you want everyone to be aware of - e.g. not only the sequences, but single-purpose threads (like the "best textbooks" thread) which, in the current blog-style format, might eventually be forgotten about and redone from scratch. Have a prominent "site map" style page that links to such things - the pages themselves can stay as blog posts, that's not a problem. Perhaps Eliezer and the other editors can have the ability to mark a thread for inclusion on this automatically, so people don't have to hand-code it in whenever there's something that merits inclusion.

To some extent the wiki acts as this, actually, but it's right now it's very hidden, not what a new user will automatically encounter. What if the wiki were the main page?

Comment author: jsalvatier 21 April 2011 01:18:37AM 10 points [-]

As an added incentive. I have committed to donating $50 to the hedonism fund (strictly enforced) of whoever's design gets used as the Welcome Page.

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 11:02:52PM *  4 points [-]

I also propose that the content be voted on. I think a lot of us have something to say about how the site is presented to newcomers and I'd rather it not be left to a single person. Perhaps a competition like the one for rational philanthropy, or even proper A/B testing.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:47PM 32 points [-]

I want a preference (or a per-page button) to turn off collapsing when there are a lot of comments on a page. I don't care if it takes twice as long - I'd rather wait a minute than click "load more comments" 512 times so I can do a thorough Find for whatever I seek.

Comment author: matt 22 April 2011 02:28:45AM 5 points [-]

A "load all comments" button? That'd save bandwidth for most users but save you the time on those occasions you wanted to search content.

Comment author: Alicorn 22 April 2011 02:29:20AM 2 points [-]

Yes, exactly.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2011 12:02:51AM 29 points [-]

In top-level posts, automatically replace "div" tags (which screw up the rest of the HTML) with "p", strip out all the font-specification crap that Microsoft Word and similar apps try to stuff in (the original font is good enough for everyone), and in general auto-simplify the HTML. This will save editors some work.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:46:02PM 28 points [-]

Make it easier to skip around in user comment history - by month, for instance.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 20 April 2011 06:33:33PM 27 points [-]

Fix this bug.

Comment author: orthonormal 20 April 2011 09:52:17PM 8 points [-]

Yes, please. (Since Eugine declined to spell it out, the bug makes it way too easy to accidentally post a draft when you intend to save it for later- in fact, the only way I know not to have it posted is to click "Hide".)

Comment author: jwhendy 21 April 2011 03:18:49AM 4 points [-]

Indeed -- I had to independently figure that out the other day when a Discussion draft went lived. it also happened to a new poster who was being helped HERE.

Even without fixing the bug... a simply bit of text could go under the save button for the discussion template that says, "Save in the Discussion section = post! Copy this post and start a draft from the top level!" or something like that.

Or just fix the bug :)

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 April 2011 02:46:24PM *  25 points [-]

An option for shared authorship on posts, showing the names of both users and splitting the karma gains between them. The karma could be either split equally or in a manner specified by the user posting it. E.g. Morendil could have tagged me as 20% responsible for his post on status, and I'd have gotten 2 karma points for each upvote.

Comment author: Larks 20 April 2011 11:38:18PM 24 points [-]

Have a second karma bubble, that only sums the upvotes and downvotes you've given that person.

Comment author: Emile 20 April 2011 09:31:24PM 20 points [-]

Have some way of seeing the most recent comments to a post even if they are answers to another comment (i.e. not just sorting top level comments) - something like the recent comments thread but for a single post.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 21 April 2011 12:55:45AM 3 points [-]

Have some way of seeing the most recent comments to a post even if they are answers to another comment

There is a way: click where it says, "RSS feed for this page," then follow the directions to subscribe to the feed in whatever RSS reader you are in the habit of watching.

Comment author: bentarm 20 April 2011 06:51:45PM 20 points [-]

Do something about the "Help" link when writing comments.

A specific suggestion, change the link so it says "comment formatting", but definitely do something to make it clearly where to find the formatting help.

Comment author: Alicorn 21 April 2011 04:21:20AM 19 points [-]

Threaded PM conversations. And received PMs appearing on a separate page in addition to the generic inbox that contains comment replies.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 21 April 2011 12:42:13AM *  19 points [-]

Also, please actually pay attention to these requests, and don't add stuff that you don't know the community wants without talking about it first. In my experience, site redesigns can easily lead to large amounts of drama over very minor issues. If we're trying to be rationalist we should keep that in mind and proceed cautiously.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 20 April 2011 07:03:27PM 19 points [-]

Add functionality to allow previewing of posts and comments. This would allow people to play with formatting without having to post horrible-looking things and then edit them while others might be reading and responding.

Comment author: lukeprog 21 April 2011 12:18:17AM 4 points [-]

Posts, of course, can be previewed by saving them as a 'draft' before publishing to the discussion area or the articles area.

Comment author: NihilCredo 23 April 2011 08:56:54PM 2 points [-]

I had that issue a couple times. What I did was put this at the top of the comment:

NOTE: I am fixing this comment right now. Please wait until I delete this note to vote or respond.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2011 06:06:37PM 18 points [-]

The ability to sort my own comments/posts by recent vote activity. That is, if I suddenly get a 20-karma bump or drop in my overall score, I want to know what caused that.

Use case: If upvotes and downvotes reflect "I want more of this" and "I want less of this" reactions, it is helpful to notice when they happen and know what posts/comment people want more/less of.

Comment author: Emile 20 April 2011 09:30:18PM 18 points [-]

Have the possibility to watch certain topics (posts or comments) to get an orange letter when someone replies. This would be especially useful for top level posts you write (you don't get any notifications of answers, and have to go check), but would also be useful for special threads like the location (if I want to be notified when someone else says he's in France or something).

Comment author: jwhendy 21 April 2011 03:52:49AM 8 points [-]

Upvoting the need for a notification when someone makes a top-level comment to a post you created.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:24PM 17 points [-]

Maybe have a markdown option for toplevels - this one throws new posters off regularly.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 April 2011 07:24:52PM 17 points [-]

Some way to handle extensive footnotes, as luke noted. I'm fine with making them collapsible (and probably collapsed by default).

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 03 May 2011 02:11:21PM *  16 points [-]

Provide an ambient visual cue on how old a comment is. First idea is to add a subtle color tint to the background of each comment, that goes by the logarithm of the comment's age from reddish ("hot", written in the last couple of hours) to bluish ("cold", written several months or more ago).

Old threads occasionally get new comments and get readers in via them, and the date strings in the comments require some conscious parsing compared to being able to tell between "quite recent" and "very old" comments in the same thread by glance.

Comment author: Swimmer963 03 May 2011 02:15:00PM 2 points [-]

Awesome idea!

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 10:06:44PM *  16 points [-]

Public tagging, possibly with a karma restriction for who's allowed to do it.

Comment author: jsalvatier 21 April 2011 01:41:10AM 6 points [-]

This helps develop consistent tags which can be very useful for searching. This works well for stackoverflow/stackexchange.

Comment author: jwhendy 21 April 2011 03:33:38AM *  4 points [-]

And on that note, I wonder if the discussion section would benefit from Stack Overflow-like suggestions of related posts. I love how ominous it is asking questions there: "Are you suuuuuuuurrre you think you've reeeaaaallly got something unique to ask?"

Since a lot of new people post in Discussions, it might be neat to use such a tool to show similar/related posts. At worst they get to read some other views on something similar, at best it might prevent redundant topics that someone thinks is unique.

Comment author: endoself 20 April 2011 08:08:36PM 16 points [-]

Make it possible to search a single user's posts.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:12PM 16 points [-]

More details in the markdown help. Currently it only says how to do five things, so even people who find it aren't informed about how to do things like
skip only one line between paragraphs, or whatever.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 09:37:10PM 3 points [-]

In particular, numbered lists are a problem, and iirc, so are linebreaks for poetry.

Comment author: Vladimir_M 20 April 2011 07:06:26PM 72 points [-]

One thing I'd really like to see: make the total number of upvotes and downvotes visible separately instead of just the difference. That way controversial posts and comments will stand apart from uninteresting ones.

Comment author: ameriver 20 April 2011 09:58:39PM 14 points [-]

Perhaps a collapsible "karma details" section, so that users still have the option to see a single number for each comment?

Comment author: satt 21 April 2011 06:55:27AM 9 points [-]

Might be easier to add "show upvotes/downvotes" & "show total score only" radio buttons to user configurations. That way those of us who want to see upvotes & downvotes in general don't have to click a collapsible link for lots of comments.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 06:45:11PM *  46 points [-]

Please, please keep the color scheme. It is restful.

EDIT: removed other suggestions to put in their own comments.

Comment author: lsparrish 21 April 2011 02:26:21AM 6 points [-]

Make colors user customizable perhaps?

Comment author: Spurlock 20 April 2011 11:14:46PM 3 points [-]

While I mostly like the color scheme, I think the gray on the sides looks kind of sad. I'd like to see it a bit darker.

Comment author: r_claypool 22 April 2011 03:58:07AM 15 points [-]

Comment preview.
Seeing the comment as it will appear before you submit would be very helpful.

Comment author: arundelo 22 April 2011 04:22:48AM 2 points [-]

My workaround for this missing feature (when I care enough) is to PM myself with a URL like

<http://lesswrong.com/message/compose/?to=USERNAME_HERE>
Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2011 02:36:52PM *  15 points [-]

It's possible this was already suggested, in which case I apologize, but: the ability to sort my own comments/posts by descending vote total ("popularity"), ascending vote total ("reverse popularity"), and descending (upvotes + |downvotes|) total ("controversial"?).

Use case: If upvotes and downvotes reflect "I want more of this" and "I want less of this" reactions, it is helpful to notice when they happen and know what posts/comment people want more/less of.

(EDIT: Split into two suggestions)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2011 04:30:09PM 2 points [-]

You gave more than one suggestion-- they're both reasonable, but I've been wanting to track recent karma changes for my posts/comments for a long time.

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:49:32PM 15 points [-]

Add controls at the bottom of subthreads for collapsing the subthread, jumping to the top of it, or both. This makes it easier to navigate to the parent or above-sibling of a given comment without counting nested borders.

Comment author: Emile 20 April 2011 09:27:39PM 14 points [-]

When getting a link to an individual comment, instead of just showing the comment above, show the whole damn thread (or at least, all the parents). I'm tired of having to click on "Parent" a dozen times to understand the context of a comment.

Comment author: ideclarecrockerrules 20 April 2011 09:49:16PM 5 points [-]

You can append "?context=100" to the comment permalink.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 20 April 2011 07:10:23PM *  14 points [-]

Allow users to read their own and others' comment histories more easily. This could be accomplished either by adding links to each page of a user's comments (rather than just the very limited "next" and "previous"), or by getting rid of the unpredictably-valued "after" parameter to allow easier URL hacking.

Example of the latter method:

http://lesswrong.com/user/Dreaded_Anomaly?count=10&after=t1_3uea links correctly to the second page of my comments.

http://lesswrong.com/user/Dreaded_Anomaly?count=10 redirects to the first page of my comments.

Comment author: pjeby 21 April 2011 07:57:29PM *  7 points [-]

the unpredictably-valued "after" parameter

That's a database performance trick, which means that getting rid of it will increase database load.

What's happening is that, in order to jump a set number forward, databases have to perform the same query each time, but retrieve more and more records. It's like "jump to the start of this user's stuff, and read 10. Now go to the start, read 20, and give me the last 10. Now go to the start, read 30, and give me the last 10...." So performance gets worse and worse as you page through it, because each time the reads are repeating, and getting longer each time.

The "after" trick basically makes it so that every page is "jump to the spot given by the after tag, and read the next 10". Performance doesn't degrade as you get further into the list.

Alicorn's suggestion (of browsing by date) is probably easier to implement, in that the site could probably look up what "after" value to use, based on the date.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 10:35:25PM 2 points [-]

There's another reason we want this: Otherwise paging back through recent comments could end up skipping comments if new ones were posted in the meantime!

Comment author: Emile 20 April 2011 09:36:20PM 13 points [-]

Simplify the top bar - I never use "Comments" or "Saved", and clicked maybe once on "top comments" and "top" by curiosity. Those kind of special links are good to have but don't need to be at such a prominent place, they could be at the bottom of sidebar (a bit like the "special" buttons in the wikipedia sidebar, random page and the like.

You could even have the "Recent Comments" and "Recent Posts" headers in the sidebar clickable, so you don't need those links in the top bar any more.

So the links at the top could only be "Main Page", "Discussion", "Wiki", "Sequences" and "About", reducing clutter a bit.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 21 April 2011 12:49:08AM 5 points [-]

You could even have the "Recent Comments" and "Recent Posts" headers in the sidebar clickable, so you don't need those links in the top bar any more.

They already are clickable.

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 07:25:44PM 13 points [-]

I'd like the expand/contract [-] button to be at the far left of the post such that they are left-aligned and you don't need to move your mouse far when closing a bunch of them. Someone suggested this for Reddit and they made the change that same day.

Comment author: Vladimir_M 20 April 2011 07:07:11PM 13 points [-]

Also, it would be nice to have a preview option for comments.

Comment author: Louie 20 April 2011 05:59:03PM 54 points [-]

Provide a solution for polling in posts and comments. Something more elegant than using multiple comments + a karma sink.

Comment author: BenLowell 20 April 2011 06:15:31PM *  12 points [-]

I would like my saved articles to be in a collapsed format of just the titles.

I want to be able quickly navigate my saved articles, and see what I may have saved a long time ago, rather than going through multiple pages.

If other people prefer having a few paragraphs to remind them, then a "collapse, expand" button could be added.

Comment author: AnnaSalamon 20 April 2011 06:24:31PM *  51 points [-]

Get the green score-bubbles to cover the entire karma score, so that all the digits are visible.

Reason: I found myself less motivated to comment on LW after I got a fifth digit to my score. I think this is because it feels (to some low-level part of my brain) as though my karma now increases ten times as slowly. If this is true for others with five-digit karma scores, we might be pulling motivation from good contributors.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:35:26PM 5 points [-]

I reflexively select-all whenever I load a page on LW.

Comment author: steven0461 21 April 2011 01:08:32AM 3 points [-]

In the mean time, those suffering from this can check the "top contributors" sidebar.

Comment author: Alicorn 21 April 2011 01:10:11AM 3 points [-]

There's a delay!

Comment author: steven0461 20 April 2011 07:46:07PM *  8 points [-]

Why do we have tenfold karma for front-page posts, anyway, as opposed to say threefold?

ETA: yes, front-page posts draw in newbies in a way that is probably undercounted with onefold karma, but it's my impression that the collection of LW's comments is a lot better than the collection of LW's top-level posts (at least post-Eliezer), and so maybe we should just be directing potential new users immediately to the (good) comments instead, somehow. It seems to me that by having length as a de facto requirement for top-level posts, we encourage posts that take a long time to make their point and that go off on long chains of independent steps that have mistakes in them that could be corrected if they were presented in smaller chunks.

Comment author: atucker 21 April 2011 12:24:27AM 3 points [-]

Maybe do a weird scoring rule that turns upvotes into karma points?

Like, a 1 upvote comment is 1 karma, but a 5 upvote comment is 15 or something.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 09:23:09PM 2 points [-]

I voted up even though anything that demotivates other posters at the low end of top-10 karma works to my advantage in this somewhat arbitrary race.

Comment author: Unnamed 21 April 2011 12:11:09AM 11 points [-]

Have a "show all comments" option on posts which displays all of the comments hidden by "load more comments."

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 09:43:33PM 11 points [-]

I strongly recommend that people talk about what they like, so that there's some information about what shouldn't be changed.

At this point, there's favorable comment about the general appearance (and I like it very much myself) but there may be other things to hang onto as well.

Comment author: orthonormal 20 April 2011 10:09:29PM 31 points [-]

I hate when unpopular comments get deleted, and all the replies lose their context. One alternative: a "Retract" button that marks your comment as retracted (maybe changes the text to a lighter color), stops the karma loss, automatically contracts the comment and its replies (like a comment below score threshold does), but doesn't delete the content for those who are curious?

I can think of problems with this proposal, so I'm open to other suggestions as well.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 23 April 2011 08:32:59PM 4 points [-]

It's better to just forbid deleting comments that have replies. There is a ticket for that on the issue tracker.

Comment author: TheDave 22 April 2011 03:53:55PM *  10 points [-]

As a new reader, I would very much like to have a method for marking how far through the sequences I am. A dot next to read articles, or possibly a timestamp of last access could work, as could a button at the bottom of the article labeled "Mark as read" that would display the article title differently in the main sequence page. I feel lost when I hop around on different computers as to what articles I've read and where I have seen them before, and simply saving read articles every time is unsuitable for this.

EDIT TO ADD: Based off of what other commenters have said, I feel like a clarification is in order. What I'm looking for is a way to mark the sequence pages I've read, so that when they're linked to in the newer articles I can tell right away if I've read that particular post. Hopefully, this would work for both backward-linking sequences AND new posts that also link to sequence pages. Perhaps a way to store the URL of a read page, link it to my account, and when that URL is displayed again within LW a new graphic could show up to the side of the link to show that it has already been read.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 22 April 2011 07:16:40PM 3 points [-]

That seems useful. It might be good to have a notes-to-self field, too.

Comment author: XFrequentist 27 April 2011 10:21:09PM 2 points [-]

Trailmeme for the sequences has approximately what you want, I believe.

Comment author: Swimmer963 27 April 2011 02:19:23AM 2 points [-]

This is an awesome idea! I've been reading LessWrong for years, but I still fairly frequently click on links within articles that look interesting, read the first few paragraphs of the article linked to, only to realize that I've read it before (sometimes a few times before!)

This might be too hard to implement, but here is the system I would like: a way to mark articles as 'unread', 'in progress', or 'read'. This information would be saved and links to articles that you marked 'read' would change colour. (Of course, maybe I'm the only one absentminded enough to need this!)

Comment author: childofbaud 20 April 2011 10:14:36PM *  10 points [-]

Provide separate discussion areas (subreddits?) for geographic subcommunities.

Google Groups and Meetup.com are currently used for this purpose by some, but this is not the most elegant solution. It sprawls LW content beyond the main site, requires learning how to use different interfaces, and puts us at the mercy of outside companies. The possibility of karma would also encourage more discussion among these groups.

Comment author: shokwave 21 April 2011 05:37:32AM *  4 points [-]

Originally this was a separate comment; it's basically a rehash of childofbaud's comment though, so I moved to a reply:

Much stronger meet-up integration. Mailing lists shouldn't be offsite, they should be part of the site. Something like discussion section, but you put your location in as part of signing up, and gain access to a 'Location' section that operates the way that Discussion operates. Details are unimportant; the main part is that meet-ups need a more integrated system, the tools that meetup threads use (mailing lists, schedule-matching) need to be available on LessWrong, and being part of your geographically local group of LessWrongers needs to be opt-out, not opt-in.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 10:01:06PM 10 points [-]

A decent search system-- I'd very much like to be able to do searches which combine date range and/or poster and/or post/poster being replied to and/or string.

Comment author: jsalvatier 21 April 2011 01:32:24AM 2 points [-]

Many sites have a hard time with this. It may be that it is just a hard thing to do.

Comment author: GreenRoot 20 April 2011 09:19:12PM *  10 points [-]

Drop the little skyline/boat grayscale image (mini-landscape.gif) that appears at the bottom of each top-level post. Original mention. Seems to have no purpose, and doesn't really fit the design theme.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:59PM 10 points [-]

I think the search box has trouble with deeply nested comments. That is bad.

Comment author: lukeprog 21 April 2011 12:11:40AM 28 points [-]

Minimal, fast, lots of white space - like the current design. I worry that a new design would add lots of clutter and hurt the site's speed.

Comment author: Emile 21 April 2011 11:46:43AM *  6 points [-]

There's a lot of stuff that could be removed to improve the site - the "new", "top", "top comments" and "saved" links under the header, the top contributor and links to recent OB posts in the sidebar, useless choices in the comment-sorting menu ("Popular" and "Controversial"), the "Report" links on comments, etc.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 April 2011 02:45:48PM *  9 points [-]

Provide the option to "follow" or "unfollow" any topic, so that you get all of the comments posted to it into your inbox. (Yes, there are RSS feeds for individual topics, but adding something to an RSS reader is an inconvenience and clutters the reader.)

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:53:09PM 9 points [-]

Stop improperly presenting controls which immediately perform actions (Vote up, Vote down) as hyperlinks.

Comment author: childofbaud 27 April 2011 06:07:17AM *  8 points [-]

Provide optional notification of nested comment replies to the parent comment's author (beyond the initial reply).

Currently, if there is a reply to one of my comments, I receive a notice. However, if there is a reply to the reply, and so on, I don't. These grandchildren replies are often still relevant and of interest to me, however. Having the option of being notified of them would be nice.

(Alternately, this suggestion would solve the problem also, though that solution would require an additional step from the author.)

Comment author: Emile 21 April 2011 11:55:10AM 8 points [-]

Get rid of the "Report" link under comments and posts. Some possibilities, in decreasing order of preference:

  • Just remove it completely, and handle spam and other crap by giving the moderators a page where they can easily see the recent comments that got a lot of downvotes (if they don't already have one)

  • Rename it "Flag" so it doesn't get confused with "Reply" (I bet that happens more often than people reporting spam)

  • Remove it for any post or comment older than a day, or for any post/comment that has positive karma.

  • Give users an option in their preferences (on by default) to hide the link.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 10:21:28PM 2 points [-]

A vote for the flag rename.

Comment author: Alicorn 21 April 2011 12:10:23AM 8 points [-]

Display negative karma when present for posters as well as posts.

Comment author: hwc 20 April 2011 09:25:38PM 8 points [-]

Make it easier to read on a small device. This can be accomplished by making the width of the main column defined as a "max-width" in CSS and setting the viewport meta tag in the HTML.

Comment author: prase 28 April 2011 02:35:44PM 7 points [-]

Anonymisation of user names in the Anti-Kibitzer instead of hiding them. Not seeing any identificator of the author makes it difficult to follow longer exchanges, and I often switch off the AK because of that. So, instead of seeing something like this

  • I think that X.
  • I disagree with your claim.
  • Why do you think so?
  • Actually I have changed my opinion.

which may be confusing if you don't know who has posted especially the last reply, it may look like

  • User_1: I think that X.
  • User_2: I disagree with your claim.
  • User_3: Why do you think so?
  • User_2: Actually I have changed my opinion.

The AK could simply number all participants in a thread starting from 1 each time the page is reloaded.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 April 2011 02:47:06PM *  7 points [-]

Provide some sort of view showing the source of your most recent karma losses/gains, something like the notifications on Facebook. It's annoying when somebody votes up/down ten of your 2-year-old posts and you register a karma change, but have no idea of knowing where it came from.

Possibly dangerously addictive, though.

Comment author: Skatche 20 April 2011 11:31:33PM *  19 points [-]

Add LaTeX support (I mean inline LaTeX, not this thing).

EDIT: Based on comments below, I think I misused the word "inline". What I meant was simply the ability to type LaTeX directly into comments and posts. How it gets rendered doesn't matter much to me; some legitimate objections have been raised, but I don't feel like hard math gets used enough on the site that this would get out of hand. Restricting its use to posts rather than comments might be a good compromise.

Comment author: ata 21 April 2011 12:44:16AM 7 points [-]

MathJax is one good option for implementing that.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 23 April 2011 08:36:18PM *  2 points [-]

We have that hack for when someone needs it, and in actuality, people don't write any significant amount of math here. If it was needed, I expect there would be some use of the hack. Since there is almost no use made of it, I conclude that it's not particularly needed.

So it's a nice thing to have, but very low priority.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 23 April 2011 09:48:14PM 2 points [-]

Though it's possible people don't use much math because the hack isn't very well known. Perhaps the best idea is to not add MathJax or anything, but just to make more prominent in the help section how to do this. If people then actually make use of it, then perhaps we should add MathJax or something.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 21 April 2011 12:36:44AM 2 points [-]

Does LaTeX support mean using LaTeX to generate images which are "transcluded" (inlined) into the text? This is better than using Unicode's math symbols? Really? Does Math Overflow have LaTeX support?

Comment author: [deleted] 20 April 2011 11:35:21PM 2 points [-]

This, this, a thousand times this.

Comment author: Vaniver 26 April 2011 08:05:40PM 6 points [-]

It would be really convenient to have a superior searching method for comments. I have frequently wanted to refer to a previous comment of mine from months before but have found it difficult to find (as I would need to remember the post it was on, search for that, then search for the comment, or go back page by page through my summary).

Comment author: Emile 21 April 2011 06:46:18AM 6 points [-]

Save the history of edited posts and comments, like a wiki; that would make it less of a problem to allow moderators or even high karma posters to edit comments (to fix broken links and formatting etc.), and would also reduce the occasional problem where a reply doesn't make sense any more after a comment is edited.

Comment author: JGWeissman 21 April 2011 06:54:26AM 3 points [-]

Also, don't allow deletion of a comment with replies.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 21 April 2011 12:24:13AM *  6 points [-]

A lot of the suggestions here would require changes to the server software, but I have one that might be fixable by only HTML and CSS changes (e.g. by switching to a good old HTML TEXTAREA element).

Less Wrong has a bug that makes it almost impossible for someone in the habit of reading Less Wrong with large type to compose a comment without temporarily decreasing text size. The bug has definitely decreased the rate of my contributions. Specifically, at the larger text sizes, the rightmost part of the box into which the person types "goes under" and is consequently obscured by the sidebar. This screenshot shows the box going all the way under the sidebar and peeking out the other side. Although the screenshot shows Firefox, the problem occurs in Safari, too, and (for reasons unrelated to Less Wrong) Chrome is not a reasonable choice for a person who prefers or requires large type.

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:50:28PM 6 points [-]

Make the Article Navigation controls less a buried add-on and more a coherent part of the overall site navigation facilities, since they are so irreplaceable for e.g. the important Sequences.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 09:45:04PM 6 points [-]

Add a how to use the site section.

It's possible that most of the difficult bits will be fixed, but on the other hand, new problems may be created. Perhaps the how-to should be a wiki.

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 07:25:34PM *  23 points [-]

I hope the aim will be to preserve the beautiful simplicity (and color scheme) of the current site. Honestly I don't think it needs a graphic redesign at all.

Comment author: Cayenne 21 April 2011 03:46:04AM *  8 points [-]

One of my friends took a quick look at this site a while ago, and said that it looked like a cartographer community because of the banner.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment author: [deleted] 21 April 2011 04:01:46AM 7 points [-]

The banner must represent the map and the territory. I'm sure there's other imagery from the sequences that could be represented, possibly in rotation.

Comment author: Alicorn 21 April 2011 04:12:14AM 5 points [-]

"Cartographer" was at one time considered as a synonym or replacement for "rationalist".

Comment author: Cayenne 21 April 2011 04:17:30AM *  4 points [-]

I just thought that people would be interested in the first reaction of a non-LW person to the site.

Edit: I totally want to bring that thread back from the dead and suggest 'intentional rationalist', but since it was two years ago it's probably lots too late.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment author: gwern 20 April 2011 08:06:20PM *  7 points [-]

I disagree; the current site design is decent enough, but falls over in terms of fitting on screens. See my comments and screenshot in http://code.google.com/p/lesswrong/issues/detail?id=240#c4

So I'd like to suggest the graphic redesign make LW a little more visually compact. It doesn't have to be optimized for cellphones or as compact as a random page on http://www.gwern.net , but it'd be nice if it didn't take 2 screens to see one permalinked comment.

Comment author: mindviews 21 April 2011 01:02:21AM 3 points [-]

I agree that the single comment view has more boilerplate up top, but otherwise I'd say it usually fits on screens without any trouble.

I was curious about your comment so I took a look at the screenshot. You say in the bug report that you're using a "fairly small font" setting but the font is being rendered much larger for you than I see using default IE9 and FF4 settings. Plus your picture shows the page with a serif font while the CSS specifies sans-serif. I'm not sure if it's a browser issue or if you're using custom settings, but in a 1600x900 view (as your screenshot size is), I can see the full comment without scrolling.

Mostly I'd like to know if other people "take 2 screens to see one permalinked comment" because I agree that reasonably short comments should be visible without scolling.

Comment author: Spurlock 20 April 2011 11:10:46PM 14 points [-]

I don't expect many people know this, but the font for the logo is called "Minion".

Given the accusations about us being EY's cult, I strongly feel that the irony is too wonderful to give up, and request that this be left unchanged.

Comment author: waveman 20 April 2011 10:02:00PM *  12 points [-]

I find the nesting of comments within threads too subtle. I can't "see" the nesting and have to work at it.

In the context of programming languages the research (quoted in Steve McConnell's books I think) seems to suggest that indenting by 3 characters optimizes the ability to "see" the nesting. Currently it's one character only.

Increasing the nesting characters is not free of course as it leads to very deep indentation. But there are ways of displaying very deep nesting though eg displaying ! for every ten levels.

Comment author: lukeprog 21 April 2011 12:15:14AM 2 points [-]

Agree that the comment nesting is a bit too subtle, though of course we still want deep nesting to be possible, which means the main content well on the site should remain fairly wide.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2011 01:57:00AM *  11 points [-]

I wonder if it would be easier to keep track if there were one or two more quiet pastel colors in the cycle.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 20 April 2011 07:47:08PM 12 points [-]

An option to display average karma not just total karma. This should probably count main page posts as 10 posts for this purpose.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:37PM 12 points [-]

It's now possible to check a preference to make your votes public. Currently all this does is collect your disliked and liked posts into two pages reachable only from your userpage; you cannot tell by looking anywhere on a post who publicly likes/dislikes it, and there is no support of the feature for comments. I would like this feature extended for people who prefer it.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 09:38:18PM 2 points [-]

I have mixed feelings about this-- public voting has a lot of possibilities for drama.

On the other hand, possibility for drama = chance to work on rationality.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 09:42:35PM 3 points [-]

And it's an option. One can remain anonymous, currently and under the proposal above. If one finds it too dramatic to go public, one can unpublicize.

Comment author: jimrandomh 20 April 2011 06:16:45PM 16 points [-]

What sort of changes are on the table here, and in particular, does this include nontrivial programming? The person you linked to appears to be a graphic designer, which would seem to imply that this project is limited to or at least focused on stylistic changes, ie changes to the CSS and the HTML templates.

While there are certainly improvements to Less Wrong that would make sense, I don't think any of them are HTML or CSS changes. I don't think changing the visual style of Less Wrong is a good idea, especially if it costs money that could be spent elsewhere.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 20 April 2011 06:56:28PM 20 points [-]

Karma Bounties

LW seems to reward actually doing things disproportionally little compared to talking about them. My suggestion for this are "bounty" pools for doing various things, and when anyone does them they are rewarded the karma in the pool.

More info here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/56p/do_meetups_really_have_to_go_on_the_front_page/3wfn?context=4#comments

Example: someone points out a problem with the LW Source, but rather than nothing happening unless some hero does it by themselves, there is a consensus reached in the comments and someone ends up proposing a bounty, then many people who might not otherwise have been interested give a bit of karma, and the pool ends up much larger than could be expected to gain from just commenting out after the problem was solved and asking for it. This motivates someone to do the change, then an admin verifies it and the pool is given to the person who fixed the problem.

Comment author: GuySrinivasan 20 April 2011 07:49:54PM 8 points [-]

I have a visceral negative reaction to all the random things people want to use "karma" for. Also I have no idea what The Nebulous Community (TM) wants to use karma for. It seems to be a "numbers go up people get happier" + anti-spam + anti-troll + "posts and comments have numbers why don't we sum them" metric. Do I have that about right?

Comment author: Armok_GoB 20 April 2011 07:58:55PM 5 points [-]

I tend to treat it as an automated implementation of the Status system humans have but doesn't work well here due to Dunbars number type problems.

Comment author: timtyler 22 June 2011 02:47:22PM *  4 points [-]
Comment author: ata 30 April 2011 07:54:36AM 4 points [-]

Canonicalize URLs: at the moment, there are several different URLs referring to most pieces of content on Less Wrong. Sometimes it's as simple as one URL having a slash at the end and the other one not; in other cases you have a post that was actually posted in Discussion, but due to (I think) a glitch where Discussion posts as listed on userpages actually link to the post via /lw instead of /r/discussion/lw, and the former works anyway, causing two copies to be indexed in search engines, and the same for every comment posted on them. Preferably, every such piece of content would have a canonical URL, and any other valid means of accessing it should redirect to the canonical form via FOUND or MOVED PERMANENTLY, or at least specify the preferred URLs to search engines via <link rel="canonical">.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 24 April 2011 09:12:01PM 4 points [-]

As far as I can tell, the "Show more comments above" link currently shows the parent, and all sibling threads. I would like it to give the option of showing more ancestors, so that after I've gone to a comment I can see the entire discussion leading up to it.

Example: "Show more comments above: 1, 2, 5, All."

Comment author: CronoDAS 23 April 2011 07:56:44AM 4 points [-]

User profiles? Click someone's username, and get taken to a page with some basic personal information, such as sex, location, homepage, etc. that the user in question can provide.

Comment author: CronoDAS 23 April 2011 07:41:22AM 4 points [-]

The site is very good the way it is; between the threaded comment format and the upvote/downvote feature, the technical design of this site makes it much, much better for having conversations than the typical blog commenting system. There isn't much that needs to change - at this point, it's more important to avoid screwing things up than it is to try to improve on what's already there.

Comment author: BenLowell 21 April 2011 06:57:00PM 4 points [-]

Be able to edit posts from looking at your own comment page.

Comment author: KenChen 21 April 2011 04:48:46PM 4 points [-]

Event calendar.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 21 April 2011 02:17:05PM 4 points [-]

Automatically detect linear threads* and format them in a different way, rather than the current optimized-for-tree-structure way. The difference might be as minor as not indenting, but there are probably a few other things that could be done as well, looking at various forums and bulletin boards for inspiration. Another thing one will likely want to do is to make continuing in a thread-like fashion is easier and branching is harder.

  • defined as a chain at least 3 comments deep, where comment n is the only child of n-1.
Comment author: steven0461 21 April 2011 12:55:47AM 4 points [-]

Have comments on the Irrationality Game thread not show up in the top comments.

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:54:07PM 4 points [-]

Allow comments and posts to be edited by other users, with restrictions, as in Stack Exchange. Build the expectation that this is used strictly to repair formatting and improve linking. It bugs me when someone posts malformed hyperlinks and they're there forever because the original poster doesn't fix them.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 10:00:06PM *  3 points [-]

I'm not sure I want everyone to have this power. It could be a mod or editor power (editors can already edit toplevels and we have sworn to use this power for good, not evil).

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 10:06:37PM 4 points [-]

The Stack Exchange conditions are that you have to be over a certain amount of “reputation” (karma) or have the edit approved by someone who is (or perhaps the original author — I don't know). I mainly think we should borrow the latter “suggested edit” mechanism — perhaps the original author or the site moderators would be allowed to approve edits.

Comment author: Hyena 20 April 2011 09:18:13PM 4 points [-]

Whatever the redesign is, I think it would be helpful if clearly marked section were added which consists of basic instructions on how to use the site's functions and what those functions do.

I would have found such a quick reference handy when I first started browsing the site.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:45:00PM 4 points [-]

Auto-expand "article navigation" instead of hiding it by default, so it's not so unobtrusive.

Comment author: jimrandomh 20 April 2011 07:32:45PM 4 points [-]

Several times I've tried to find out what pronoun to use for someone with an ambiguous name, by looking through their comment history, and failed to find that information. It would be nice to have a quick way to get to someone's post on the Welcome thread, as a sort of profile, or at least regular account profiles that contain this information.

As it is, using "they" to refer to a specific person, guessing incorrectly, and posting a comment to ask which pronoun to use are all socially discouraged. Using names every time works, but is sometimes awkward.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 07:37:14PM 7 points [-]

I think the ideal solution to this is to have a field like "location" and "website" that one can fill in.

Comment author: hwc 20 April 2011 10:24:12PM 6 points [-]

Radio buttons might work best:

  • she / her / herself / hers / her
  • he / him / himself / his / his
  • it / it / itself / its / its
  • they / them / themselves / theirs / their
  • e / em / eirself / eirs / eir
  • Don't use pronouns on me!
Comment author: Eugine_Nier 20 April 2011 08:24:10PM *  2 points [-]

How about something for those of us who prefer anonymity..

Edit: I meant those of us who prefer anonymity but still want to post some personal information.

Comment author: ata 20 April 2011 09:50:54PM *  4 points [-]

posting a comment to ask which pronoun to use [is] socially discouraged.

Is it? I wouldn't have thought people here would react negatively to that.

Comment author: James_Miller 20 April 2011 07:27:09PM 19 points [-]

A prediction market in which you bet karma.

Comment author: Manfred 20 April 2011 10:22:03PM 14 points [-]

Spoiler tags, or maybe black-text-on-black-highlight tags, to replace the current fallback of rot-13.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 10:24:05PM *  6 points [-]

Or built-in rot-13 switching in Markdown. (e.g. "%this text should be rotated%" -> "guvf grkg fubhyq or ebgngrq"). If this were deployed one could possibly even turn off spoiler hiding, and all text rot-13'd with this format would just display the original.

Comment author: Spurlock 20 April 2011 11:04:13PM 5 points [-]

It should be easy to add built-in rot13 conversion as well:

Whenever you mouse over a rot13 section of text, it's highlighted in some way and the mouse becomes a hand. Clicking it will instantly rot13 it in place (and of course, clicking it again turns it back, since rot13 is symmetric anyway).

Comment author: AstroCJ 21 April 2011 11:13:34AM *  9 points [-]

Remove DV links from a person's "past comment" page unless viewed in context.

(After the recent comment thread dfranke sparked, I lost a large number of upvotes from my past comments, which were previously almost uniformly weakly positively ranked. I assume my previous posts had not suddenly reduced in quality, and that someone had simply decided to go through and punish me. Making people view a comment in context - one more mouse click - would make this unconstructive action less convenient and less likely.)

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 10:26:08PM 2 points [-]

If we do that, we might want to remove upvote option from that as well.

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 07:32:33PM 9 points [-]

An easily accessible toggle to show/hide all karma.

Comment author: GreenRoot 20 April 2011 09:26:01PM 3 points [-]

Isn't this already implemented, as the Anti-Kibitzer in the preferences section?

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 10:52:36PM *  3 points [-]

I suppose so, though I was envisioning a more convenient and instantaneous toggle for certain situations times when you think karma might be heavily affecting your judgement. Not a big priority.

Comment author: GuySrinivasan 20 April 2011 07:51:51PM 16 points [-]

Ask the designer to find a solution to multidimensional "karma". I think the two most common axes requested are "more like this / less like this" and "agree / disagree".

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 08:32:26PM 5 points [-]

I would make a poll to determine the dichotomy, not leave it up to this (graphic?) designer.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 April 2011 08:34:33PM *  7 points [-]

Agreed. Maybe they can come up with some convenient way to say "I agree with this and have nothing to add" that isn't anonymous like an upvote (see Agreement button).

Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2011 11:53:30AM 7 points [-]

Provide a free-form text box for users to enter "user profile" type data.

People who care a lot about what pronoun gets used to refer to them can say so; people who prefer to be handled via Crocker's Rules can say so; people who have particular interests can say so; etc.

Comment author: kpreid 21 April 2011 06:58:36PM 12 points [-]

Variant suggestion: Merge LW and wiki.LW account systems so that each user's wiki user page can be their profile page.

Comment author: James_Miller 20 April 2011 10:07:18PM 7 points [-]

A micro-payment system so readers could contribute real money to an author as the ultimate sign of approval.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 April 2011 12:42:17AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 10:09:43PM 2 points [-]

Like Flattr, or did you have something else in mind?

Comment author: Emile 20 April 2011 09:26:09PM 7 points [-]

Have exactly the same markup for top level post than for comments (with possibly an option for editing the raw HTML or something).

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 23 May 2011 01:49:05AM 3 points [-]

Have a way to show a specific comment without showing any replies to it.

I wanted to email someone a link to a comment today, and realized that they would most likely be distracted by the ensuing conversation rather than contemplating the comment itself. This feature would be useful in such situations.

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 03 May 2011 09:50:14PM 3 points [-]

Make the main LW site mobile-friendly, or implement a separate site version for mobile devices on http://m.lesswrong.com

Comment author: Sniffnoy 23 April 2011 09:43:41PM 3 points [-]

Fix the bug where permalinks to a post - even new ones! - do not work when a post is moved between subreddits.

Comment author: katydee 23 April 2011 05:04:25PM 3 points [-]

Is there currently a rules page? If not, there should be a rules page and it should be readily accessible for new readers/posters.

Comment author: timtyler 23 April 2011 01:46:28PM 3 points [-]

Fluid width, please.

Comment author: BenLowell 21 April 2011 06:54:49PM *  3 points [-]

Condense and reorganize personal items.

I have difficulty navigating all of my "personal" things such as my comments, drafts, preferences, saved, friends, etc. These are scattered about in a not very intuitive way.

I think that when you click on your own profile, it would be nice if the side-bar changed to include links to the different things I mentioned above. To re-access the 'recent posts' I would have to go back to the main page.

Comment author: Bongo 21 April 2011 07:24:40AM 3 points [-]

Show read/unread comments in different colors.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 07:12:10AM 3 points [-]

To take playtherapist's suggestion and turn it into something that makes sense in context, there should be parent/context links on every version of a comment (currently these don't exist on user pages, just permalink).

Also, for navigational purposes, deleted comments should still have parent and permalink buttons.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 04:16:07AM 3 points [-]

Another simple variation on the "marking things as read" idea: the ability to mark a post or comment as "don't care about this thread" so comments on it / replies to it don't show up in your recent comments.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 04:15:18AM 3 points [-]

People have already mentioned some way of marking comments as read. If that turns out to be too hard to implement, here's a simpler idea: The ability to set a mark time that corresponds to marking as read everything before a given time. And then - rather than autocollapsing everything from before then, as this is a crude tool - add a recent threads tool, that shows all comments from after that time which are not a reply to another comments from after that time - allowing you to just jump to the highest-level comments you haven't seen and read the thread, rather than digging back through Recent Comments to find them.

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:51:27PM 3 points [-]

Reduce the amount of generic article boilerplate controls (which currently consist of LW heading/site nav/article heading/article byline/"You are viewing a comment permalink."/article footer/comments header/"You are viewing...") which appear on the pages for individual comments; use the freed space for more context, e.g. displaying the parent comment by default.

Comment author: Eneasz 27 April 2011 04:06:38PM 6 points [-]

When you receive a reply to a comment, you get a notification. But when someone posts a comment on a top-level or discussion post you made, you get no notification. It would be nice if you could at least choose whether or not you'd be notified when someone posts a new comment on a top-level post you created, I usually stop checking mine after a week.

Comment author: AstroCJ 21 April 2011 11:07:58AM *  5 points [-]

Cycle comment thread background colours through at least three distinguishable colours; unobtrusive colours like pale blue, grey would be preferable.

(In the current system we alternate between two colours, and active sub-threads can have many branches; it's difficult to follow visually. Clicking "parent" links is something of a workaround, but breaks the flow.)

(Edit: cf Nancy's reply below)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 10:07:50PM 5 points [-]

Tentative: people get credited with a small percentage of the karma from the comments to their posts and comments. It would be a way of getting karma for inspiring good discussion.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 20 April 2011 10:10:17PM 3 points [-]

This would have an interesting, and quite possibly net-positive, effect on discussions with trolls.

I'm not sure how well it would actually work in practice, but I'd kind of like to try it.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 20 April 2011 10:01:15PM 5 points [-]

Add an option to un-thread the comments, to allow them all to be sorted by karma or timestamp regardless of parentage.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 24 April 2011 03:12:10PM *  6 points [-]

Automatic flattening of linear segments of discussion. A comment that is the only reply to its parent should be placed at the same depth as its parent. This will make long mostly-linear discussions easier to read and avoid unnecessary shifting-to-the-right-and-beyond (i.e. hiding and extension to a separate page).

(This probably shouldn't apply to comments whose parent comments have siblings, to more clearly separate sub-discussions.)

Comment author: FAWS 24 April 2011 03:16:43PM 3 points [-]

Yes, but the boxes around the comments should line up directly instead of being separated by a gap as different comments of the same level are.

Comment author: waveman 20 April 2011 09:52:58PM 4 points [-]

Use the whole screen. It's very annoying for lesswrong to show up as a narrow strip down the screen.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 09:53:36PM 13 points [-]

I prefer it this way. Really wide lines of text are difficult to track properly.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 April 2011 10:36:34PM 6 points [-]

This could be added as a user preference, like it is in fanfiction.net.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 April 2011 10:38:59PM 4 points [-]

I approve in general of people being able to manipulate stuff with preferences, but "like fanfiction.net" made me shiver.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 05 May 2011 02:07:15PM 2 points [-]

I have an anti-suggestion: no skinning or other proliferation of options. Someone asked for the current graphic appearance to remain as an option, but the designers and those officially approving the redesign need to have (justified) confidence in their decisions. If they're wrong, and everyone thinks it's dreadful beyond mere status quo bias, then they can roll it back and think again. If the general response is that it will more or less do, well, it will more or less do. Everything above that is a win.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 23 April 2011 09:46:41PM 2 points [-]

The "help" button on the comments should include a link to a more extensive help file; probably both the generic Markdown help file, and a more specific one here (there's a page on the Wiki that does this, right?). (Including the more specific one to remind people that e.g. HTML doesn't work, and how to do that hack to include LaTeX.)

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 23 April 2011 03:08:36AM 2 points [-]

In comment threads, the 'show more comments above' link appears even if the topmost comment shown is the first one in the thread. It shouldn't.

Comment author: komponisto 21 April 2011 03:02:50PM 2 points [-]

Currently, the "Show more comments above" link on a comment permalink page stops working after some number of uses. This should be fixed.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 April 2011 02:45:38PM 2 points [-]

Provide the option to view the Discussion section with the topics sorted according to the newest comment. (In other words, each new comment to a topic "bumps" the topic to the top, like on most forums.)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2011 11:42:16AM 2 points [-]

It would be nice to filter out post X's comments from the Recent Comments view.

Use Case 1: I'm browsing recent comments, but post X is new since I last read LW. I would rather read all of post X's comments in context, and not have them swamp the recent comments page.

Use Case 2: I'm browsing recent comments, but a particular thread that I'm desperately trying to ignore has been inspiring hundreds of comments that I'm actively uninterested in.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 21 April 2011 04:00:49AM 2 points [-]

On the top-level post editor, hitting "edit HTML" should just switch the text box to "HTML view" mode (retaining your position), not pop up a separate box on top of it.

Comment author: curiousepic 20 April 2011 11:07:45PM *  2 points [-]

It would be very nice to see the first line or first few words of a collapsed comment.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 10:06:12PM 2 points [-]

If trn is more trouble to code than it's worth, it would be nice to at least be able to just have recent comments for particular posts.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2011 10:05:19PM 2 points [-]

Trn or the equivalent. This would enable people to not see posts and comments they've already read unless they chose to, chose which other posters to see or not see, navigate comment trees.....

I suspect that if trn for the web were a Less Wrong project, it would also be useful publicity for the site, but this might be motivated thinking.

Comment author: kpreid 20 April 2011 09:53:43PM 2 points [-]

Add vote-up/down controls to the comment RSS feeds.

Comment author: ata 20 April 2011 09:22:21PM 2 points [-]

Not exactly a design issue, but still a matter of user experience: if a thread gets too deep and the site shows a "Continue thread" (or whatever it says) link, that link should load the rest of the thread into the current page using JavaScript, instead of sending you to a separate page to continue it.

(This may or may not be worth doing in an AJAXly way; it may work fine to just include the entire thread in the markup originally sent by the server, hide it with CSS by default, and have the link render it visible.)

Comment author: wedrifid 21 April 2011 10:47:02PM 4 points [-]

Ability to hide all comments from a user. I want to be able to put people on ignore and just as importantly I want people to be able to put me on ignore. Arguing on the internet is often pointless and the cost of avoiding said pointlessness is not negligible.

Comment author: JulianMorrison 25 April 2011 01:46:50PM 3 points [-]

The top banner is way too big. When scrolled to the top, content begins halfway down my netbook screen. Most is spent on what is basically a visual in-joke about map and territory. Look to Reddit for an extremely tight banner/navigation area. Reddit's content starts a finger-width from the top of the browser.