New Since Last Visit (NSLV) Formatting
Those of you paying close attention may have noticed that I’ve been adjusting the NSLV comment-formatting over the last few days.You may notice now that the function is working differently. Most users should be content just to absorb the change as it appears for them, and won’t really need to read this post or benefit from it: After a short transition period during which certain “cookies” in their browsers – yes, this site uses browser cookies! – get populated with data, things should, fingers crossed, go smoothly enough. After that we can see how we like it. I don’t think the change will greatly affect anyone’s use of the site. For all I know, only nevermoor, Vikram, and I will care at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a lot of users never picked up or understood what all that blue comment highlighting as previously used even was supposed to indicate. Anyway, for the record, here’s an explanation expanding upon a comment from the prior thread – #5 being the main functional alteration intended to answer user requests, though from a design perspective #1 may matter most:
1) On your first visit to a thread, all comments will appear without NSLV highlighting. (Previously, on a first visit, all comments would be highlighted as NSLV.)
2) After the first refresh, your current session will be “tracked” in the sense that the “entry-time” will be logged in a browser cookie. ((If your browser is set not to take cookies, or you’re about turn them off, to make it harder for the NSAstapo to produce proof of your visits to OT, then none of this will matter for you. For those interested in the details: The old set-up used one browser cookie to do its work. This new one uses three – but all are set to expire and their potential growth is capped at a small size.))
3) All comments posted since the session start will be highlighted as “new.” That “highlighting is now in effect” will be noted at the top of thread.
4) On your first subsequent or return trip to a previously visited post, all comments since your previous visit will be highlighted. Currently the highlighting is set as a variation on what’s called “box shadow,” which will be supported by the vast majority of browsers (all “modern browsers”) that any of you are using or should be using – along with a bit of border formatting that’s even more broadly supported.
5) Those comments will remain highlighted during the new session. So, for the duration of this new session, you can comment or go away and come back without losing the indication of comments new since your previous visit. The session is defined by time period automatically set at entry on the thread. Currently, it’s set at 15 minutes. If anyone wants it longer or shorter (or the old way!), let me know…
6) Once the session period has expired, on the next refresh the old highlights will go away. A few from the most recent session, or the end of it, or the end of a second session – depending on how you want to look at it – may still be “captured.”
After more thorough real life testing, I will look at installing a “show new only” button – meaning you could for reading purposes make all comments but new ones temporarily disappear or collapse, but that’s for later, and may involve some further additions to comment thread functionality and interactions.