New Comment System

Comment system tips

The problems we have had recently with the plugin that enabled subscription to comments inspired us to go looking for a better alternative.

And it looks like we found one that not only continues to provide the comment subscription and edit functions that we have long had, but also adds a whole bunch of other cool features including the long-requested ability to upload an image:

Image Upload

You can upload one image per comment with a maximum size of 1 MB. If you need to make an image smaller, this free online app will do the job, and here’s another that will optimize it further.

For decent image quality aim for at least 1000 pixels on the long side. That said, there is no point in making it any bigger than 1400 pixels.

Your image will display as a thumbnail in the comment, but enlarge if someone clicks on it.

Make sure that you do not upload copyrighted images and that you have the right to upload an image made by another person. If you are in doubt, don’t upload. Remember, an image is automatically copyrighted the moment it is made, even if there is no copyright text and it’s not registered.

Please do not abuse this feature by uploading a bunch of images to a bunch of comments. This is not a photo sharing site. 

Other Features

The many other features are best seen by taking a look at the tips graphic at the top of this post.

Beta Test

So far this software seems very well written, so we have high hopes that it will stand the test of time. That said, I guarantee that there will be something we have not thought of, so if you find a problem, or even just something that does not make sense, please leave a comment to this post.

 

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Ernest E Vogelsinger

Hey, thats great news! Looks good on my mobile at the first glance, and I get the notifications again!
However, no formatting options on mobile (Android 5.something)

Ernest E Vogelsinger

And obviously no edit possibility 🙁
Edit – oh yes its there, but too far to the right to be clickable on the first level.

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Never mind – most certainly it is my wispy fingers 😉

Carl E.

Hi John,

I’m having a problem with longer comments which aren’t displayed fully. You’re meant to click on Read more, which unfortunately scrolls the article in such a way that you lose your point of reference?

Carl E.

Firefox 84 beta on Windows 10 20H2 with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200.

Carl E.

Hi John,

Unfortunately I see the same in Chrome 87 on the same hardware.

Ernest E Vogelsinger

John, you can reproduce this easily, here are two screenshots:

Situation one (left side of the screenshots) – the top of the post is outside the viewport – in this case the post is extended upwards, positioning the end of the post at the coordinates where the “Read more” button was located

Situation two (right side) – the top of the post is within the viewport – here the reference point remains and the post extends downward (sshot21 -> sshot 22).

sshot11.jpg
Ernest E Vogelsinger

Just tested and unfortunately not yet.
What I found is that it works if you have at least a bit of the post header visible. If nothing of the post header is visible the text still expands upwards instead of downwards.

Carl E.

Hi John,

A minor request (absent relevant knowledge :)): is it possible to have the date after say, 24 hours, revert to absolute? I’m currently reading an older post where I’m sure the relative date of 1 year ago, isn’t very accurate.

Not a deal breaker by any means, but seeing many posts with the same (wide) date stamp somehow bothers me.

Alex Borodin

Hi John,

The precise date and time format lacks an indication of a time zone. It’s not a deal breaker in any way, of course.

Ideally, I’d like to see the timestamps in the client’s time zone, but I don’t know if it’s easily configurable in the comment plugin you’re using.

Alex Borodin

Hi John,

I had in mind a client-side script that would convert the timestamps for display, not a geo-IP lookup. That would cost nothing on the server. Something along the lines of this example:

const date = new Date(Date.UTC(2020, 11, 20, 17, 23, 16));
console.log(new Intl.DateTimeFormat(undefined, { dateStyle: 'long', timeStyle: 'long' }).format(date));

This should be supported across most browsers: https://www.caniuse.com/?search=Intl.DateTimeFormat.format

Again, I’m not implying you should go to this trouble. Only sharing my not entirely unqualified opinion.

Alex Borodin

Hi John,

I took a short look into JavaScript date handling and it only served to further convince me to continue avoiding the language as much as possible. What I naively suggested above, is certainly doable, but it’s a mess. If I were you, I’d probably just leave it as is. or, at most, added a time zone abbreviation to timestamps.

Ernest E Vogelsinger

John, would it be possible to include the title of the page where a comment has been posted tin the notification email subject again?

Old version: “There is a new comment at AAC to New Satellite Communications Systems”
New version: “New Comment”

Thank you!

Ernest E Vogelsinger

At the moment the notifications are still sent as “New Comment” (two received after your reply here)

Ernest E Vogelsinger

It is the subject of the notification emails, see screenshot from my Thunderbird email client.

sshot4.jpg
Ernest E Vogelsinger

Actually they do!

sshot5.jpg
Ernest E Vogelsinger

Ah, one more – did you intentionally reverse the comment sequence? I have been SO used to the time-based sequence where the oldest comment was the first one. Somehow easier to read as a lot of (existing) first-level-posts refer to previous posts…

Carl E.

Hi Ernest,

At the beginning of the comments, at the right of the line, is a sort toggle (oldest first or newest first)?

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Ah, didn’t notice this, thanks!

Carl E.

Hi John,

Two more problems/changes:

  1. When closing the browser when in the middle of a comment stream, the old system restored the position in the comment stream when restarting. The new system however, always makes the browser navigate to the beginning of the comments upon restarting the browser.
  2. I can’t find a way to refer to the HTML anchor of a top-level post. It’s exposed in the reply if there are replies to the top-level post, but not otherwise seemingly.
Ernest E Vogelsinger

Anyway, would be an easy one – just add this HTML abstract after the <div class=”wpd-comment-date”>:

<div wpd-tooltip=”Link this comment”><a href=”#comment-296654″><i class=”fas fa-link”></i></a></div>

Of course, replace the href content with the actual comment anchor 😉

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Example screenshot

sshot3.jpg
Carl E.

Hi John,

The first question is to do with going through old posts with occasionally more than 100 comments. At the end of the day and not having got through all the comments, I close the browser. Upon restarting the next day, I have to start from the top. I’m guessing this to be an edge case, admittedly.

The second question is indeed mostly theoretical. For my use, the first point is unfortunate but I get the performance implications.

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Mal, if you allow to modify or delete a post indefinetely you risk that others have replied to/are talking about this post which is then either no more available or completely changed.

Stein Varjord

Hi John,
Looking good from my side, chrome on an iPad pro.
I like that there is a bit more time to edit. It’s easier to see the whole of a text when it’s posted, so I frequently discover flaws after posting.
I see no point in enabling deletion of the post for a lot more time, however. Making posts kinda permanent means that the discussions stay complete. It might also contribute to the good behaviour we see on this site. If we know we can delete our comment anytime in the future, some might feel a smaller barrier against posting an emotional comment? I think the good tone here mainly has other reasons, but maybe still an issue?

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Absolutely d’accord – posts shouldn’t be removable after the initial edit time has expired. What happens if there are replies? How would posts that refer to a deleted post (but are not within the thread) look like?
Deleting a post is dangerous after a short time, it is similar to having never said something that everyone heard, though…

Marc Dacey

It’s a big set of improvements, John. Thank you for taking the time to make these changes. I particularly like the ability to insert photos of modest resolution. Some of your commenters have diagrams or photos of some very interesting rigging and/or engine room installations I’m sure would be helpful to see now that they are easier to embed in replies.

Carl E.

Hi John,

I’m having a problem with the comments: at least on my PC and with two different posts from 2019, the comment stream is repeated in a different font consistent with the former comment system?