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posted by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the putting-our-heads-together-from-a-distance-seems-like-it-should-be-easy-but-it's-MMMMMMMMMMMMMM-not! dept.

[20200320_184315 UTC: Update: Made the dept. line longer to better demonstrate space [un]availability.--martyb]

[20200320_202305 UTC: Update: Added topics: "/dev/random", "Code", "Software", and "Answers" topics to better illustrate their use of space in a story. --martyb]

[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]

First: Please accept my best wishes to everyone during SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. Please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe!

Second: I should not have been surprised, but I must confess my admiration at how the SoylentNews community came together in support of each other in response to SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You? As of my writing this, there are over 300 comments! community++ This is what I had hoped for when SoylentNews started over six years (Wow!) ago, and so validates my giving of my time to this site!

Third: (and the focus of this story) our virus roundup stories are... long. An AC posted a comment: thanks to eds:

Thanks editors for pulling together this summary. SN for the win!

One comment--it is kind of long to scroll down through, to get to the comments. Perhaps next time some of the longer stories could be put inside the spoiler tag?"

This was quickly acted on by a member of staff, but that was not universally embraced as a "Good Idea". Both Soylentils, to my eye, had good points. If I am visiting an active story again, I have already read the story (both the "Intro Copy" and the "Extended Copy"). Why should I have to scroll through a wall-of-text to get to the comments? The suggestion of using <spoiler>...</spoiler> to bracket the contents of each of the merged stories seemed like a reasonable suggestion. But, when you have a hammer... Right idea, but maybe not quite the right tool.

Aside: If I am reading a review of, say, a movie, then a spoiler is an appropriate way to hide plot details from those who have not yet seen the movie. That is not the situation here. Why hide details of a story about the pandemic? Hmm. A good first try, perhaps, but it looks like we need something different in this case.

Idea: what if there were, say, a button at the top of the story that I could click and be brought immediately to the comment section of a story? Hey! I can do that!

Acknowledgements: At this point, I hereby express my sincere thanks to AndyTheAbsurd for constructing some CSS which allowed the conditional display of a button, and to FatPhil for his testing efforts. Thanks guys!

Read on past the break for details on the implementation and a request for assistance before I attempt to roll it out to production.

So, I hacked up something that I hope addressed the initial concern: "kind of long to scroll down through". I'll be the first to admit the implementation is crude. We can go for pretty later. (The perfect is the enemy of good enough, right?) I think the ideal would be to have a separate nexus for virus-related stories. That way we would not feel compelled to gather a bunch of story submissions into a single story. We could process each submission independently and release each on its own. Unfortunately, there is much more to it than just adding an entry to the site DB.

It has been implemented on our development server: https://dev.soylentnews.org/ and I hereby solicit feedback from the community on how well it works. It was implemented with one addition to an in-memory copy of a single site template (dispStory;misc;default).

For the curious, see Original and Updated Versions of Template: "dispStory;misc;default" ("Skip to Comment(s)" button), but do be aware that rehash replaced tabs with spaces, so what you see is NOT an exact copy of the sources.

Now what? Feedback! This is your site. I am well aware there are Soylentils who have a much better grasp of HTML and CSS than I do, and am hereby soliciting supportive feedback.

Test scenarios:

  1. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button not appear on the main page?
  2. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button appear on the story page?
  3. Does it work?
  4. Is the appearance consistent across all of the available themes?
    1. Site Default
    2. BadA55
    3. Chillax
    4. Grayscale
    5. Black IcIcle
    6. Night Mode
    7. NV
    8. OMG PWNIES
    9. SoylentNews
    10. Vomit
    11. VT100
    12. VT220
  5. Is the layout consistent other homepage settings?
    [] Simple Design
    Simplifies the design of Dev.SN to strip away some of the excesses of the UI.
    [] Low Bandwidth
    Reduces the size of pages for people with slower network connections
    [] No Icons
    Disable topic icon images on stories.
  6. Which of the preceding homepage settings would be better served with just a simple anchor?

    <a href="@acomments">Skip to Comment(s)</a>

  7. Other, what did I miss?

Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:20AM (10 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:20AM (#973682) Journal
    Thanks, but low bandwidth totally breaks a few things. It's not a big deal - probably has something to do with my setting fonts larger than the norm or something. Not a big problem.
    --
    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:03AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:03AM (#973698) Journal
    Thanks for the quick feedback. Like I said, I've not tried it... well maybe I did WAAAY back when, but it didn't strike my fancy, so I never pursued it after that first attempt.
    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46PM (8 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46PM (#973805) Homepage
    > Thanks, but low bandwidth totally breaks a few things. It's not a big deal - probably has something to do with my setting fonts larger than the norm or something.

    I'm in the same boat sizewise, but I survive with low bandwith and lighweight page layout - what are the problems you notice?
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:45PM (7 children)

      by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:45PM (#973968) Journal

      Safari on the iPhone - the comment box only shows the center portion, so anything I type on the left and right sides is pretty much invisible. Makes posting "interesting." Eliminating the scroll bars might look nice, but when you are using big fonts ut's a bit of a hassle.

      The thing is, I can stick my phone near my face, and when I focus on it, the lens in my eye goes more spherical, which is good because it then displaces much of the tangled protein that forms the posterior cataracts in both eyes. At a "reasonable" distance, the lens flattens, which means that I have to look through more of the tangled proteins, which makes it more awkward to use my laptop, even with a 26 inch external screen (especially since, with the wider field of vision, I have more floaters and crap getting into the field of view, which was only 60 degrees 3 years ago - and will probably be less when I'm tested again by the local association for the blind next month).

      I know, cue the Apple hate, but overall I have to say I prefer the iPhone to Android. The "material design" is a barrier to people with low vision, especially since low vision is often accompanied by lower colour spectrum perception.

      It's one reason I used to refer to slashdot as "the other green site" - this one also looks green to me. I live in an "interesting" world nowadays, where a palette wrapped in red shipper's wrap is invisible from more than 40-50 feet away. Most yellows have a greenish tinge. Most reds look more like brown. And browns blend in with greens and cement, which makes it hard to pick up my dog's poop.

      I wouldn't worry about it. I'll probably have to try again to use a screen reader at some point, which means I'll have to go back to Windows or on to OSX. Or pipe everything through festival in linux or bsd, but festival hasn't been supported for a quarter-century, and is fussy as to which distros it still works with.

      I'd say "welcome to my world" but I don't want anyone to go through this crap. :-)

      --
      SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday March 22 2020, @09:40AM (1 child)

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday March 22 2020, @09:40AM (#974078) Homepage
        The narrow window issue is known, that's what you're seeing on the iPhone. I get it on my Nokia n900 too. It's reproducable even on the desktop if you narrow the window to half screen width. Bloody annoying. The CSS (which of course we inherited from the green sight, don't blame us) is a bit of a nightmare, I did look at it in the past, but it was a mire. I'll take another peek.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:27PM (4 children)

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:27PM (#974136) Journal

        I have two suggestions that might help out.

        (1) Did you know that the size of a comment box is a user preference?

        Go to your Preferences [soylentnews.org] page.

        (How to get there: You can find the link on the Left-Hand Side of the main page. There is a Slashbox titled "Navigation". When you are logged in, a subordinate Slashbox is displayed with the title "You". Below that subtitle is a link titled "Preferences". That's the one!)

        Next, find and click the "Comments" tab or button. This link might work: https://soylentnews.org/my/info [soylentnews.org].

        Almost there! Scroll down to the "Posting" section where there is displayed (please pardon the formatting!):

        Comment Box Size
        Columns: [ ] Rows: [ ]
        Also applies to other large text boxes

        It appears you are using the default values: "Columns: [50] Rows: [10]"

        I have changed my settings to : "Columns: [60] Rows: [30]"

        Since I primarily use the site with a large monitor, I have selected larger values than the default. If I primarily used my cell phone, I would likely change it to something like: "Columns: [30] Rows: [30]" which shoul make the text area narrower, but provide additional lines that I can enter text in without needing to deal with scroll bars.

        (2) Alternative approach (often works for Android; I have no idea about iOS): By default, I use my phone locked to Portrait Mode (So the phone is taller than it is wide.) I can toggle that to lock to Landscape Mode (wider than it is tall). On Android, my phone's accelerometer can sense the physical orientation so I also have a choice where the phone automatically switches between the two. In this automatic mode, if I rotate my phone from Portrait to Landscape, wait for the display to repaint, and then rotate back to Portrait Mode, I often find that the size of the text-entry field is adjusted to provide more rows.

        Hope this helps!

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Sunday March 22 2020, @07:08PM (2 children)

          by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday March 22 2020, @07:08PM (#974199) Journal

          Thanks.

          Problem with that is I would then have to change it every time I switch from the itty bitty display to the 26". Ideally the stupid phone would correctly handle scrolling when I drag in the text box, but it doesn't. Same as it doesn't do a lot of other things you'd expect it to do. Apple is almost as shitty at design as everyone else (and worse in some respects - who can forget the hockey puck mouse or the toaster mac or the multiple crappy keyboards, or dragging a floppy to the trash icon to eject? That last one is as bad as clicking start to shut down!!!).

          People would freak out when, instead of shutting down properly, I'd just wait 3 seconds for any data to be spun out to disk and then pull the plug (just to freak them out). Gotta love journaling file systems :-)

          I'll just live with it and consider myself happy that it's still a problem I have to deal with - if/when I have to go to a screen reader ... tried it before when I really needed to and couldn't get the hang of it. This time I'll accept the offer of assistance from the local blind association, but I think they only do Windows, and I hate Windows more than I hate OSX.

          --
          SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
          • (Score: 2) by martyb on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM

            by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM (#974271) Journal

            Yes, I have kind of the same problem going between a 2200x1200 resolution setting (best my little lappy can put out) feeding a 43" UHD TV and Full HD (1080x1920) smart phone.

            I have toyed with the idea of supporting different "profiles" on the site... but that gets extremely interesting very quickly! Corner cases, but of the multidimensional variety!

            Hmmm, have an "alias" user defined with its own preferences... Still use the site under the same nick/UID, but the alias could be used to store alternative setting? Still rather hairy to implement, but it gives me a different idea of how toorganize and structure things. Still a long ways off, but pulled in just a bit closer towards feasible, with limitations. heh. Reminds me of: Rubber duck debugging [wikipedia.org].

            Best wishes on getting help; though Windows is the most prevalent OS, there are resources available for Apple, Linux, and others, too.

            --
            Wit is intellect, dancing.
          • (Score: 2) by martyb on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM

            by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM (#974272) Journal

            Yes, I have kind of the same problem going between a 2200x1200 resolution setting (best my little lappy can put out) feeding a 43" UHD TV and Full HD (1080x1920) smart phone.

            I have toyed with the idea of supporting different "profiles" on the site... but that gets extremely interesting very quickly! Corner cases, but of the multidimensional variety!

            Hmmm, have an "alias" user defined with its own preferences... Still use the site under the same nick/UID, but the alias could be used to store alternative setting? Still rather hairy to implement, but it gives me a different idea of how toorganize and structure things. Still a long ways off, but pulled in just a bit closer towards feasible, with limitations. heh. Reminds me of: Rubber duck debugging [wikipedia.org].

            Best wishes on getting help; though Windows is the most prevalent OS, there are resources available for Apple, Linux, and others, too.

            --
            Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday March 24 2020, @10:17AM

          by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday March 24 2020, @10:17AM (#974877) Homepage
          > (1) Did you know that the size of a comment box is a user preference?

          Vaguely. That's useless. Pretty much an anti-feature. I view Soylent on my phone (narrow) and on my PC (wide). The comment box should be a different size, dynamically calculated, by the browser that knows how big your screen/window is, for those two different contexts, even though I am the same user.

          Having dynamic width would be the actual feature. I.e. the absense of this fixed-width feature would be the actual feature. Less is more.

          I gave up looking at the CSS again, I simply couldn't see where the width was being decided. However, your post gives me something new to look for, so thanks for posting.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves