Site Question

We’re growing. Comments are coming faster and more frequently than ever before. I think reader’s comments are very important and deserve to be seen. Eventually there might be a big change to the way comments are managed (like maybe moving to Scoop), but in the meantime I have a simple question. Would you guys like to see more than just the 10 latest comments in the left-hand column. Like maybe 15, 20, or 25 that would span more than just the last couple of hours? I’m just trying to find out how people are using the site. thanks for any input-

UPDATE [2pm] Again, thanks for all the feedback. A number of you suggested listing most recent stories instead of comments. I agree, and it was a pretty easy change to make. FrumDad’s suggestion is the ideal, but it’s going to take a little time (and as he mentioned, there’s some other coding I’m supposed to be working on.) Let me know if the new fix is good for now. thanks-

UPDATE [Sunday] One more thing. I liked being able to see who left the latest comment. Now when you roll over “Pop Comments” a little javascript ‘tool tip’ shows the last 10 people to comment on a story. That’s all the site improvements for now.

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33 Responses to Site Question

  1. Sarah says:

    Pretty much every day I have a question/ comment but I sense the sights ever expansion so for the most part I keep them to myself or wait to see what happens with Trixie and eventually realize my question has been answered.
    Although it was difficult to hold back over the last few weeks as Frances made the transition to one nap. No sights or books seem to cover this major change very well. Anyway, I fear change (inconvenient with babies) I like the amount of information/dialog on the sight at present.
    If it’s truely time to any make request known, I would love a spell check option. I’m a terrible speller. Maybe that’s the true reason I don’t write much. Oh, and I’m still waiting for you to do a story on your typical day.
    I love the sight and have been lucky enough to follow it from pretty well near the start.
    You’re great designer. Trixie is fantastic, and Jennifer is a super hero.


  2. Heather says:

    As a fellow web developing geek, I think that 10 TTU comments enough. If you’re looking to display more, perhaps try sorting them by article, then by submitter. Might save some space & even allow for more comments.

  3. Jamie says:

    I think 10 is enough, too. More than that and you start to get cluttered. I’d almost rather see the 10 latest on the side bar and a separate page with the last 20 or 25.

  4. Ariel says:

    I’ll chime in that yup: 10 comments to the left is enough. I tend to read comments by post, rather than by “whatever was said most recently.”

  5. Melissa says:

    I concur with the early posts. You don’t want to have a bunch of spoiled regulars. You’ve got to make us work for it a little.

  6. Maddie's Mom says:

    I agree with the above posters. I’m so addicted to ttu that I check the site often enough that I don’t think I’m missing anything. Just don’t ever stop. I plan on reading about Trixie’s high school graduation someday!

  7. Dave says:

    I never even use the “Latest TTU Comments:” feature, I simply read the stories and click the comment button. Often I will follow a story for a day or two and if I see the comment total increase I will rejoin the comment thread to read what changed. If you do decide to increase the number of latest comments shown on the left, please put the Latest Poll ABOVE the comments or they will end up displaying so low on the front page that many may miss it.

  8. Angie says:

    I agree with Ariel… I read comments by post rather than by what was said most recently. Love the site Ben! Angie

  9. Jenie says:

    I agree…I think 10 is enough. I too come here several times a day, so I don’t think I’m missing anything.

  10. benmac says:

    Thanks for all the feedback! It sounds like 10 is enough. I like some of the other suggestions too, and will see what I can do.

  11. Marie says:

    Ben, I love your site and use the Latest TTU Comments section regularly. My only suggestion would be to list the 10 most recently commented threads, rather than the last 10 comments.

    For example, I last checked your site around 5 yesterday. But the last 10 comments list goes back to about midnight. If a comment was made on a thread at 7 p.m. yesterday, but not since then, I’m unlikely to see it.

    I’m not sure if this is a practical suggestion (since I don’t do any web page creation or editing outside of Yahoo Page Builder).

  12. hannah says:

    Speaking of comments, where is Schaff? I miss him. Make him come back. Maybe he’s been scared off by the high traffic? Happened to me too for awhile, but it’s just like driving, once you get used to the increased volume it’s no sweat.

  13. haeshu says:

    i am jumping on the bandwagon, 10 is plenty. and putting the poll up top is a great idea, i forget it is down there all the time. im checking in on the site every few hours at work (can you tell my job is boring?) and can keep up pretty well. and maddie’s mom, i am totally with you! we are with trixie for the long haul!

  14. lori says:

    First of all, thanks for asking for our input!

    I very much like the Latest TTU Comments and use it everyday & throughtout the day. I agree with Marie: list the 10 most recent commented threads. I hate to miss something, but I don’t always go back and click on comments for prior posts (as I probably should), but I’ll just change my ways.

    I would also like the spell check option Sarah suggested for our comments, if it’s possible. Sometimes my fingers get carried away, but most of the time I’m half asleep (time difference & work schedule).

    I might be the only one, but I like the latest comments above the poll. There’s not always a new poll & the L TTU C updates more often – it’s nice to see it on the home page screen without having to scroll down. Plus, there’s usually a post announcing the poll.

    P.S. Hannah: I wondered where you were. You were missed. You, too Shaff!

  15. lori says:

    Ben, I believe I’ve expressed my thoughts before…I think your site is absolutely fantastic. I could have never in my life put anything together that remotely resembles your site. (Way out of my league!) But, one more suggestion: Could the Browse Archives search feature be put on the home page – under the new feature “First Time Here?: Trixie Update 101” and above the latest post? It’s a great search tool, but somewhat hidden.

  16. Chris says:

    I don’t think you need to post more than 10 comments. I don’t read them that often, as more often than not all they consist of are praise for Trixie (which she deserves) and kudos for the site (which you deserve). I think 10 comments is enough.

  17. Moxie says:

    10 is good. Not too cluttery.

    Ok, I need to know more about how the potty training is going. Yes, I said “need”! My daughter, who amazingly looks very much like Trixie, is only a few days older than Trixie, and we are NOWHERE near even thinking about potty training yet!

  18. joe says:

    You could make it customizable with a little set of radio buttons in the left nav. A cookie can store the user’s preferences.

  19. FrumDad says:

    First of all, I gotta say I love the site as-is, and even if it was harder to use (which it really isn’t) I’d still visit for the BenMac-Trixie-Jenn Triangle of bloggity goodness.

    Having said that, I’ll chime in that while 10 is good, layout-wise, I’d love it if there was either a sidebar or a click-to-a-separate-page that would hook me up with “comments since you last visited.”

    That’s probably pretty straightforward (for someone with BenMac’s skills, that is) with a cookie that lives on my computer (can you believe I’m *asking* for a cookie!) that tracks what time I left TTU, and then when I come back the site reads that and figures out what new comments have come up.

    What would be *really* cool (but probably a lot harder to code) would be if TTU kinda sorted that info, so that it would list POSTS that had been commented since last I visited, and then the number of comments that have been added since last I visited.

    So not:
    joe (1 hour ago)
    Site Question
    Moxie (1 hour ago)
    Site Question
    Chris (1 hour ago)
    Site Question
    lori (1 hour ago)
    Site Question
    kaye (2 hours ago)
    Do Milksicles…

    But rather:

    Site Question : 15 total comments, 6 new-for-you
    Do Milksicles…: 10 total comments, 3 new-for-you


    [TTU Wangle: inordinately demanding and spoiled reader, but I’m just making a suggestion.]

    PS: BenMac – don’t spend so much time coding TTU. Hook us up with TrixieTracker!

  20. Marie says:

    Looks great to me! Thanks!

  21. Christy says:

    My first comment. I like the new layout.

    I’ve been coming here a month or so now. I love this site and I’m totally hooked. I’m going to be away for training next week and I won’t get to check in every day. I’ll miss you.

  22. Kelli says:

    I like the new format. I have always used the Latest TTU Comments section, but, as you said, with all the traffic lately, it’s been hard to not miss comments on posts that aren’t on the front page. Though, with as often as I find myself checking back, it’s not often I miss something (except on weekends).

  23. lori says:

    The new format works for me! I’ve always used & liked the time factor (which was already there) – just thought I’d mention it.

    FrumDad’s suggestion about the customized “last visited comments” sounds wonderful. Good luck with that, Ben!

  24. Becky says:

    Ben, I *really* like the new style of listing for the TTU comments, although I just experienced an odd phenomenon that I can’t seem to reproduce. The latest comment (it said 2 min ago) was listed as a story that hadn’t been commented on in months, and strangely enough, I was the last to comment. However, when I clicked to another page and clicked back, it disappeared. So, I guess there really isn’t anything for you to fix, per se, but it was very confusing.

  25. benmac says:

    Becky: You’re not crazy. It was a piece of comment spam that I just deleted (at about the same time you clicked to try to see it 🙂

  26. old school schaff says:

    Hannah: Your comment reached me via my clipping service. The fact is, everything has been running so well that I had nothing to add. MacNeill continues to be a comedic genius, Trixie continues to be the First Girl on Mars (someday), and Jenn continues to bring home the paychecks that make it all possible. However, I continue in my capacity as on-call RTO and will make sure to put up one-liners whenever I have any left over from dinner parties.

  27. JsMom says:

    I love the site! I discovered it a week ago and am addicted. As a fellow designer, new mom and brainiac, I appreciate the artistic and scientific twist on parenting.

    A few comments…

    I love the new format for the recent comments, but noticed it does not work when you click on “link” under articles.

    I would like to see the posts in reverse order, though, so you don’t have to scroll down to see the latest posts.

    I would also love to see Trixie’s age by the TPOD. I’m sure I could calculate it if I tried. But, honestly, I lost too many brain cells during those late night feedings!

    And, in the minority, I like the poll at the bottom.

    Keep up the good work!

  28. hannah says:

    OLD SCHOOL SCHAFF: (don’t know how to bold, so have to shout, sorry). Glad to know word travels fast to you – it’s like you’re a superhero and if I just send out the call, you get it. Yes, the von Trixie clan is doing quite well, aren’t they? I hope you go to some boring and short dinner parites so that you’ll have an adequate surplus of one-liners for us. Thanks for checking in.

  29. Summer says:

    I also really liked seeing the people that commented last, so thank you for adding that new info!

  30. Mary says:

    This is about the site, although not specifically about comments. I would LOVE to hear Trixie’s voice – even if we could download just an mp3 of her crying or something. I’m not a mom yet, but I sure have learned a lot from this site! You give the full picture of what it’s like to be a parent, even showing Trixie when she was crying. I appreciate this because I do want to be realistically prepared. Also, this shows others who are already parents that they are not alone.

    I think parenting would be easier if there was a mute button to use in moments of desperation. A friend who is a flight attendant told me that recently a toddler would not stop screaming on the plane after her mom told her that she had to stay seated. All of the passengers were making faces showing how irritated they were. But, what could the mom do? Give the child a cookie and reinforce the behavior? That wouldn’t be good in the long run. I really feel for parents at times like that – times when they are doing the best they can, yet people around them just don’t get it. THAT is when a mute button is needed.

    Anyway, I’d LOVE to hear Trixie’s cry. I think it would be proof to people that even the sweetest baby with awesome parents has her tough moments. But, I would also love to hear her little babbles and sounds and her first words. Right now the Trixie site has a mute button. 🙂

  31. Becky says:

    Ben, I also like the new feature that shows who has commented most recently when I mouse over the link to the comments. Great idea!

  32. benmac says:

    Mary: Many people have asked for more sound clips. I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  33. kristi says:

    thanks for that last improvement – wouldn’t want to miss one of hannah’s (either one of them!) or schaff’s comments!