Reply button - consistent icon


(James Milligan) #1

The reply button on the editor and individual posts has an arrow on it, whereas the general ‘topic reply’ button doesn’t. The latter appears in a ‘toolbar’ where all the other buttons also have icons on.

I recommend keeping the reply button consistent, and adding the reply ‘arrow’ to all reply buttons.


(Michael Downey) #2

To add: On mobile, the post tools buttons are all on the left, but a single black (not blue) reply arrow is on the right.


(Jeff Atwood) #3

There used to be a + on that Reply to indicate you are replying to the topic rather than a person. This was removed since it conflicted with the + reply as linked topic in the gutter. + really means “add a new topic” not a reply.

However, the arrow indicates your reply is a reply to a specific post in the topic, e.g. you can also see this arrow on in-reply-to. That’s not true when you use the reply button at the bottom of the topic. When you reply to the topic, your post is not a reply to any individual post in the topic, not even the first post.


(Michael Downey) #4

Then if it’s not a reply, maybe call the button something like Post (but keep it blue)?

PS: I’m not sure I really like this term, but there might be something more accurate.


(Jeff Atwood) #5

Ehh, semantics. The question is where are you “aiming” your reply.

Reply arrow means you are aiming the reply at that post, right there – the one the arrow points to, right?

A reply to the topic isn’t really aimed at any particular post. That’s why the + was good, it meant “hey just add another reply!” but it overlapped with creating topics which uses the +.


(Mittineague) #6

“reply” vs. “post” was already discussed here

As far as the buttons being inconsistent, they don’t imply the same thing, so why should they look the same?
Personally, I like them just the way they are. Though perhaps the button in the editor might confuse some.


(James Milligan) #7

I think this is the bit that I’m getting at - I understand there are differences between the two buttons, but it needs to be consistent. The button in the editor is a mix of the ‘general’ reply and the ‘specific’ reply - it’s dark blue, with the arrow, as shown in @Mittineague’s screenshot.


(Dave McClure) #8

I’m starting to lean towards @lake54’s point of view on this one.

I think this nuance is not really communicated very well on its own:

It’d be better to just think of the icon as just being interchangeable with the word ‘reply’. As your eye scans around, you know that arrow means reply without having to read the actual word.

(Similarly the Flag icon sits next to the word ‘Flag’ on the topic, but stands alone on the post.)

The simplest thing to do would be to add the arrow on the topic-based reply too. I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s confusing if it were there.


(Jeff Atwood) #9

If this is the case, it’s just another reverse argument for putting + back on the button. I removed it because someone complained it was inconsistent, but now there are complaints that there is no reply glyph there.


(Dave McClure) #10

No, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s much simpler than that.

Instead of:

“arrow means reply to a post… unless you’re in the composer window, then it just means reply in this topic… and plus means reply to the topic, or create a new topic… it depends”

It’s just:

“arrow means add a reply in this topic”

(Another reason to boil it down to this simple statement is that replying to the last post or the topic results in an invisible difference to the user, since the reply indicators are suppressed in that case.)


(Michael Downey) #11

The reason things are perceived as inconsistent is because there are three different types of “reply”. (Why?)

  1. Not actually a reply, but rather “continue the discussion” in a new topic. More like forwarding an email, or doing a “bar (was RE: foo)” subject line change.
  2. A real, honest-to-goodness threaded reply to a specific post in a topic.
  3. A “pseudo-reply” that’s neither to a specific post in a topic, nor to the OP itself. So really it’s just a new post in the topic, not a reply in the classic sense.

So, it’s no wonder why people are finding the buttons inconsistent regardless of what icon is (or is not) attached with them. :confused:

Perhaps back to the drawing board on the best way to describe these actions?

Or maybe just leave them as they are until more people complain. :sleeping:


(Jeff Atwood) #12

Yeah that’s fair, and the arrow is pointing at the topic-level buttons, all of which clearly refer to the topic (Invite, Star, Share, Flag, etc) so I guess the arrow is probably fine in this case – reply to topic.

We removed the + but didn’t add anything back, so I’ll put the arrow back.


(Jeff Atwood) #13