Changing or removing the last poster avatar highlight

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #55

At the moment, there is no highlight on the last poster… so I can’t tell by looking at this set of icons if someone has posted after me… sure looks like there was, since Meglio’s icon is last, but I’m the OP and most recent poster at the moment, and this fact is hidden

(Dave McClure) #56

True, but since you started that topic, you likely are watching it and have notifications to clarify that for you.

If I’m looking at that topic in the list though, you’re right, I don’t really know.

Do I care though? If I’m already tracking the topic, I will see it’s unread and I’m likely to want to read it anyway.

If I’m not tracking it yet, then my interest in reading it isn’t swayed by whether you or meglio posted last. I still know the topic involves the two of you plus codinghorror. And the title is more important than knowing for certain which of you posted last.

There is some information loss here, but I think its minor and doesn’t justify the extra styling.

That’s how I’m leaning at the moment anyway.

However it’s worth noting that on the mobile design, the opposite choice was made - I only see the last poster’s name in the topic list, not the OP.

That has never bothered me, and I am pretty sure I prefer that to only seeing the OP’s name all the time.

But I think that situation is different than the one we are discussing here since there is only room for one piece of information in that case.

Edit While I’m OK with the no styling we have now, I think it’d be worth trying out the idea of having the highlight on the OP if they are also the Latest poster. We have seen a number of options live now, but not that one.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #57

ha ha, you think I can keep track of which topics I started? I have to keep a separate to-do list for the ones that really effect our communities (as opposed to the ones I just open to better the product.

In this case, I thought someone else had posted something new in my topic because I didn’t see a blue highlight on my icon. Perhaps if I don’t expect that ever, i won’t miss it when I don’t see it. I guess that would move the focus to the blue/grey numbers next to each topic. Perhaps that’s a goal here?

(Gerhard Schlager) #58

I like to know when the OP is the last poster, but I don’t like the glow on those round avatars.
So, I experimented with a simple border at the bottom:

.posters > a.latest:first-child:not(.single) {
    border-bottom: 2px #0aadff solid;

It looks like this:

BTW: I hate the fact that the first avatar is not the OP, but the owner of the first post.

I’d like to see the avatar of the user who wrote the first post, even if it was split from another topic.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #59

Here’s another perspective…

I just saw this post for the first time… and clicked it expecting to see what Jeff had to say on the matter.

I didn’t expect that the OP had posted once, then received a comment, then posted 5 more times in a row.

Having a highlight on the last person to comment on the forum would have set my expectations more accurately.

(Sam Saffron) #60

I just committed 2 changes that, in my opinion help a lot here:

We now always display users in chronological order:

This means that the avatars tell a story about who replied and in what order. We still pick the most frequent repliers but we reorder based on last post date after that.

I also added a tiebreaker for frequent posters. So we alway try to show more recent users if the count of posts in the topic is the same.

I added a slightly stronger highlight for op that is last poster

Non op last poster highlighting is a little bit of clutter, it is duplicate information I can accept its removal. I styled op-last-replyer a bit stronger … @awesomerobot can you review and see if you are happy / want to improve on it?

On a dev note, I normalized a duplicate code path, we used to have 2 ways of calculating “featured users” so I changed it so there is only 1.

I am quite happy with this change.

Clearly CSS can bring back our old styling, but I have to apologize in advance to @tar @Onyx et. el. and say that crazy ordering (by post count with no tie breaker) of “featured users” is not going to return.

How about always showing the last poster last?

and mobile. (My post has to be at least 20 characters long because clearly the 2 words I am trying to post just don’t add enough to the conversation. I, for one, favor brevity and conciseness, but if it is really the will of the forum then so let it be written, so let it be done. I probably screwed it up by quoting the person whose original thought I am expanding upon, which allows the reader to infer the rest of my meaning without needing to read an entirely new sentence. Though, given the way this quoting is done, surely the text from the quote should be counted towards my 20 characters necessary, thus relieving me of the burden of needlessly beating this dead horse.)


Knowing the last poster can be useful information. It can help prioritize which threads to read first. Some people have a knack for derailing a topic, so if they were the most recent poster, you may give that topic a lower priority. Other posters may have a knack for bringing new insight into other topics, so you may have an increased interest in topics where they are the most recent poster.


A polite way of saying, @abarker reads all @darkmatter posts first, and ignores @blakeyrat posts until there is no choice but to read them in order to keep TL3+.

(Sam Saffron) #64

To be 100% clear here, my change ensures the information is retained, you can tell 100% of the time who the last poster is. I just removed the styling for the 80% case where it is just duplicated highlighting.

(Dave McClure) #65

Really like the latest changes and also appreciate the ordering of the frequent posters. Not sure why I care about that, but it feels more right.

(Jeff Atwood) #66

Technically you lose the ability to tell which are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most frequent posters, but given we were insistent on leftmost being first poster and rightmost being last poster, I agree this is more consistent with the mini timeline view of the world.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #67

I really dig the chronology change. I’ve wanted that for a long time.

On the other hand, I’m repeatedly confused by the last poster indicator. I think it’s more difficult to learn it intuitively now that it’s no longer consistent (blue highlight will only be applied if OP is also most recent poster).

I’m a fan of transparency…

(Adam Capriola) #68

I think the last post indicator should be shown (not just for the OP) because:

  1. Topics don’t always have 5 different posters so it’s not like you can scan down a column to easily tell who posted last

  2. I think users like to see themselves highlighted (“Hey! I’m on the internet!”)

  3. Makes the topic listings feel more bustling

  4. I agree with @erlend_sh that it’s less intuitive with the current setup to determine the meaning of the highlight

Not sure how I feel about opacity but I could probably get used to it.


That’s very nice and clear!

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #70

5 . Lately it’s seemed either boring/desolate without them

6 . having just the highlight on the OP is not consistent, and reduces the highlight’s meaning.

(Jeff Atwood) #71

Strongly disagree… We had the star next to every topic and all it did was make it invisible as noise. Highlighting important differences, such as the fact that only 10 percent of topics have last replies from the OP, is way more effective.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #72
  • Stars were consistently aligned without exception.
  • Stars would never change unless you yourself took action

For last poster on the other hand:

  • Highlight was unaligned
  • Highlight changed with every new visit (last time that green avatar was highlighted, now it’s the blue one. hmmm)

I don’t think Stars is a fair comparison here.

Here’s another problem. Because of the rare occurrence of the highlight now, it really draws your attention to it, making certain posts look very special. Since this is essentially bonus information we’re dealing with here, I’d rather make it too subtle than too noticeable.

It also causes this awkward inconsistency with topics that have no replies.

I guess my main argument here is the highlight rule is too complex. It will take a user a longer time now to intuitively understand the UX pattern.

You’re going from

“Last poster is highlighted”
“Last poster who is also the OP is highlighted provided there are no other replies”.

(Jeff Atwood) #73

I was mostly fine with dropping it altogether. But I do feel a highly engaged OP who posts often (but not too often…) in their own topic is a good thing and worthy of highlight.

Come on, this is obvious, if there is one avatar, who do you think the last poster is? Technically this is still correct, the rightmost avatar on an avatar set of 1 is also the only avatar…

(Sam Saffron) #74

I would end up running a userscript everywhere if it was dropped which would make me cry. I am violently against dropping it.

In absence of just keeping it how it was, which honestly was not that confusing, I can live with what we have now, cause, at least, all the info is here.