Optional "official reply" mode for "solved plugin"


(Sam Saffron) #1

At the moment there is not clean way of floating an “official response” to a topic on a topic.

Take this topic for example:

There are 34 replies, some from users some for staff, but what is the official position on this?

We have circumvented some of the need for this with the #planned and #pr-welcome tags, however they are just too course.

I feel it would be highly beneficial to allow for a “special” mode for solved on a category for “official response”.

How it would work:

  • A category can either have “1 solution” or “1 official response”
  • A category with “official responses” can only have “responses” marked official by “staff”
  • Copy should be amended for “official response” vs “solution”
  • Optionally, the “official response” can be floated to the excerpt in the topic list

Example:

Optional

I think this would be a very powerful mode for “solved” which would help quite a few use cases.

Thoughts?


(Dave McClure) #2

I could see it being useful to be able to configure which group(s) can mark responses as official in a given category.


(Alex Salvador) #3

This “official response” mode would meet exactly one of our use or discourse.

We have a closed medical community for our hospital, some posts are questions on how to deal with certain cases or situations. The correct answer should not be elected by the OP, but should be the result of extended discussion, and then an “official position” should be indicated by selected staff members.

Ideally we would like to be able to have some kind of “signature” : put at the end of the official response an indication of who endorsed this official response (as in most cases, the official response is not forged by one individual, but is the result of the converging positions of 3 or 4 key experts)…

I’d love to see this “official response” mode be implemented ! :heart:


(Jeff Atwood) #4

This kind of response is an “official staff response” but also annoying in retrospect… “add staff color” needs to be changed.


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #5

Yeah, I think “official reply” would be a natural progression for “add staff color”.

It shouldn’t be specific to Solved, since “official reply” is useful in virtually any context of a forum, and also with other plugins such as #plugin:voting

So how about:

  • Rename “add staff color” to “official reply”, as that is a much more meaningful name that helps admins intuit what to use it for

  • Give it better, less extreme styling; something akin to what a few game forums are doing with all staff posts:

  • Don’t make me tack it on after posting. Add it to the post cog menu, alongside whisper etc.

  • Add a marker for it to the vertical slider.

  • Let plugins like Solved and Voting do their own special little things with it.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #6

Please make sure it still exists as a “tack it on after” option. Easy to forget, or a need to go back afterwards…


(Sam Saffron) #7

Conceptually “staff colors” is actually different to my proposal here.

“staff color” can be applied to multiple posts, whereas there is only 1 “official response” to a topic, this allows us to float it up to the topic OP or topic list.

I completely agree that staff coloring has a hideous style, but am not sure these 2 features are the same thing.

“Cool down or I will shut down this topic” can happen multiple times in 1 topic and require emphasis, whereas, “Sorry, this is never going to happen, don’t bother asking us” would be a good example for a “official response”. Only one of those per topic, ever.


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #8

Just pick the most recent one. Being able to see all previous official responses in the timeline would still be very valuable.[quote=“sam, post:7, topic:59966”]
“Sorry, this is never going to happen, don’t bother asking us” would be a good example for a “official response”. Only one of those per topic, ever.
[/quote]

What about when you want to say “Yes, this is planned” and later want to go “This is now done”? I think UserVoice works this way as well.


(Sam Saffron) #9

Create a new post, say “this is done”, mark it as the “official reply”, this automatically unmarks the previous official reply same as the way solved works.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #10

I see where Sam is coming from here: Let’s say there is a topic where a question was asked. Someone responding with a solution, which was marked as correct. Future discussion occurs on the same question, and a mod has to come say “cool down”. That post would be later than the “solution”, and in @erlend_sh’s proposal would “overwrite” the actual solution. That doesn’t seem good.


(Sam Saffron) #11

I follow this, but can not think of a reason why you would ever want the “official status” of an entire topic to be “Cool, down everyone, I will be locking this topic if you keep arguing”, interestingly Falcor on BBS appears to have stopped using this style, I guess cause it is so horrible looking.


(Jeff Atwood) #12

I just don’t agree with you @sam, I think “mark reply as staff response” is intensely relevant to everything you said in the OP. Plus we need to fix the style anyway.


(Sam Saffron) #13

The issue is that, this design is about having only 1 staff response per topic, ever.
The original design was to allow N highlighted staff responses.

I just don’t see how you merge these 2 things, they are 2 different features.

I guess if I had to vote on what to do here I would

  1. Totally eliminate all staff highlighting code from core and associated columns (as a failed experiment) - someone can make a plugin for old feature if they must.

  2. Implement “official reply” in the solved plugins per the OP here where there is only ever 1 “official reply”


(Christoph) #14

This is somewhat tautological. They are two different features because you construct them that way. But there is no reason why a staff response or official reply should be limited to one and only one post. If, in any particular use case it should be only one, then admins will surely be wise enough to unmark previous replies when posting a new one.

And in cases where there are multiple staff responses but only one of them is an answer to the OP question, users will figure that out too.

I could go on with examples where multiple staff responses are not a problem, so why fix it if its not broken. Let’s remember that this is not StackExchange, which means that there can very well be several correct answers/responses to a question - or, perhaps more realistically: several replies together provide an exhaustive answer (and I would actually like to see that option in the solved plugin, but that is another discussion).

I really liked [your original proposal] (Optional “official reply” mode for “solved plugin”) because it was such a great generic solution. After that, the discussion got stuck on the “only one” issue for no apparent reason…


(Sam Saffron) #15

Of course there is, a very strong reason. “Official response” floats up to the OP, just the same as “Accepted Answer” floats up to the OP.

Sure, someone may want to “accept” multiple answers for a topic and we could design for that and allow 17 accepted answers per topic and 13 “official responses” but that is not what this feature is about. I am not interested in designing for the edge case where a “running log” of “staff official replies” gets collapsed upwards into the OP, this is not what this feature is about and will just end up being a big mess.


(Christoph) #16

Yes, I see your point. But the question is: does the software need to take care of this by not allowing more than one official response or can admins handle that on a case by case basis?


(Sam Saffron) #17

You are basically asking:

why bother automatically unmarking the previously accepted answer as solved, when you pick a new one?


(Jeff Atwood) #18

I fundamentally disgree with you on this.

I think limiting to one official staff response is fine.

I do not feel requiring everyone to have Solved plugin to get this basic behavior is correct…


(Sam Saffron) #19

My concern here is around having the exact same code, minus 20 letters in two completely different spots.

We can re-arrange it so most of the solved “flavor” logic lives in core and then the solved plugin becomes really tiny. Not against that.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #20

Can the solved plugin not interact with “Add Staff Color” in its current form? If a category allows for staff responses and a post has staff color then that post is the official response.

The only remaining question is can multiple posts have staff color applied to them, and if so, which is the official response?

Side note: On two sites I’ve moderated we’ve had instances with multiple staff color posts in a single topic - not thrilled about losing the ability to do this.