Expanding OP Meta Bar (Images & Videos)


(mountain) #1

My idea here is too good to pass up. Had to open a new thread to get feedback.

Basically, it expands on @codinghorror’s idea that the OP meta bar is a map of the conversation and thus helps the reader understand visually what to expect below.

Here’s my ideas that relate to the concept of a “topic map”:

1. Include images and videos below the topic’s posted links. This could be a simple small-thumbnail gallery. The thumbs can be all one specific size and ratio (cropping). Videos can be included with this gallery but the thumbnail would be an image, not the actual video.

Clicking the thumbnail auto-jumps the browser to the reply it first appeared in. That allows a reader to get immediate context on why it was posted in the first place. If they want to see the bigger size or watch the video, they only need to click on it as usual in the reply, then follow the replies after it for future conversation and context.

2. Expand on the link map by offering links to the replies they first appeared in within the thread. This can be done with a simple text arrow such as ˅ which visually points down into the replies of the topic. This is in direct relation to the references section of any Wikipedia article. The very first thing shown is an up arrow ˄ which links to where it was mentioned and cited.


Layout improvements to topic summary / topic map
(mountain) #4

Here’s a mock up. Please note it’s done mostly in photoshop and quickly, it’s going to look that way, heh.

The thumbs were from the original images, shrunk to 50% their original size and cropped from the top left corner. One image didn’t need a full 50% resize, so it’s probably best to do a prior check to make sure the image handler doesn’t resize to a complete 50% if it doesn’t need to.

Of course, this is a proof of concept, not the final draft. Pretty much anything goes, but at least there’s a visual of the concept.

Also note the link refs count for the OP and any links inside it (which is the first link posted, pointing up at the OP instead).

And yes! Instead of them labeled as ‘images’ it could be ‘media’ instead, to account for any inline videos. Those too would be image thumbs, perhaps with the usual overlaid ‘play’ icon to indicate what they are.

Special case: Just remembered, it’s better to only catch an image when it first appeared. That way there’s no duplicates. The signature thread is a perfect case example where it’s best to snag the image once, not every time it appears in the thread or you’ll spam up the meta bar and create false positives.


(Jeff Atwood) #5

Yeah it’s not bad – one issue with the popular topic links in the topic summary is links to images come across really badly, e.g.

So I agree that could be handled better.

Though I got the impression the other request was about showing topic images in the topic list (somehow, not clear which image gets chosen and why) not in the topic summary.


(mountain) #6

That was their request, not mine. This is independent and my own brain dropping from pondering that other topic.

As for the topic list, I agree with that too, but didn’t know if you and others would consider it custom/plugin material since it’s not needed for all Discourse instances. Do I need it in particular? Yes. I’ll have to come up with something and post it for feedback to make it better. :rainbow: (like rainbows! rainbows are always better)


(cz) #7

one way to do it is to create a special type of topic, just like Wiki-topic. If you set a topic as Gallery, then the topic will show thumbs of image on the meta bar.


(Jeff Atwood) #8

I think this is a good idea, but it does overlap ever so slightly with Summarize This Topic. Once you are linking to the posts where the URL appeared, you start wondering:

  • if this URL / video / image is great, isn’t the post it is in great too? Merely linking the two… is that enough?

  • maybe the “best” post should be part of the summary?

  • maybe some excerpt of the best posts should appear in the topic summary?

  • maybe we should “re-sort” the topic so the best posts are at the top…?

And then slip slip on down the slippery slope and we are in a world of pain.

Probably the best thing to do is just drive people towards “Summarize This Topic” if they want the TL;DR version of the topic instead of artificially pushing the best content into the topic summary.

Just to elaborate: the Popular Links section is meant to be like relevant footnotes to the topic, and shouldn’t be seen as more than that.