Reply button while logged out


(Anthony) #1

There should be a reply button while logged out. Most users will create an account only when they want to say something. Right now, if someone lands on a discourse thread from Google and there is no clear way to reply or what they should do next. There should be a reply button that brings up the sign up or log in lightbox. Making answering as easy as possible was one of the big wins of Stack Overflow.


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #2

Do you mean something like this?


(Anthony) #3

Like that but not at the bottom of an infinite scrolling thread. It would also be nice to be able to reply to an individual post.


(Anthony) #4

Look at what a new user sees when he linked to a long thread:

A ton of links and images, one log in button and no way to reply until they reach the end of the thread,

Personally, I would trim almost everything for a logged out user, except for like and reply. Do they really need to see all those avatars and links to similar topics (Two lists!).


(Sam Saffron) #5

I guess the request here is for:

I am not strictly against this, @codinghorror what do you think? Site setting?


(Jeff Atwood) #6

I am generally against repeated login text on every post. That’s actively hostile to every user who visits the page, of which a tiny tiny fraction will want to log in.

Also @apere006 some of this is intentional. What I don’t want is a random anonymous user to:

  • see a post that makes them angry
  • stop reading the rest of the topic
  • mash the reply-to-this-stupid-post button as hard as they can
  • log in with a single click (via Google, etc)
  • reply hastily because Someone is Wrong On The Internet
  • ignore the rest of the discussion on the topic as their new post, and them, gets teleported to the end

We have toddler sized barriers in various place to make sure people who reply to a topic are somewhat interested, not just drive-by snipers here to do a strafing run on the topic.

Like Martin Luther King, Jr. I have a dream. A dream that people will read the damn topic before replying.


(Anthony) #7

Random anonymous angry people could eventually become great community members. Most of the forums I joined were just to write a long post correcting someone. I am sure I am not alone. It takes a good reason to create yet another online account. When they get a thoughtful response back, they might see that this is a good place to stick around.

I see where you need balance but this seems almost user hostile to people wanting to reply. Discourse is also used as comment threads which need to allow for people just showing up to give their 2 cents.

I think if the reply button is OK with logged in users it should be more OK with brand new users that need more direction. But maybe just putting the reply button at the top or on the first post might be a good compromise. I don’t think its a good idea to put such a useful button at the bottom of an infinitely scrolling list.


(Jeff Atwood) #8

In systems of opinion, you need slightly higher barriers, because opinions are like… well, you know, everyone has one. See this reply for more detail.

I have spent hundreds of hours on http://bbs.boingboing.net which converted from a “make it easy for drive by commenters to share their opinions” system to Discourse precisely because they were fed up with the low quality of the itinerant discussion they were getting.


(Anthony) #9

We agree there should be barriers from making it too easy to leave drive by comments. I don’t think confusing UX is the way to do it. Some threads are all opinions but some also can use facts and experts. You don’t want to turn away the expert on this topic because he can’t figure out how to leave a comment.


(Bill Ayakatubby) #10

OK, now I’m curious which experts have been turned off by a Discourse forum because they want to reply before they’ve read an entire topic, or because they didn’t/couldn’t click the “Log In” button in the dock.

Possible ENH request: Keep the “Log In” button in the dock visible when scrolled down a page, or make it clear that the person/profile icon can be used to log in or register.


(Anthony) #11

This is a justification for mediocore software. Show me some one that can’t use google because searches take 10 second, who can’t create an account on stack exchange, who needs pinch to zoom, who needs good copy. Nobody says they need these things or explictly blames these things, but if you don’t have it few people show up period. A/B test these things a percentage of people will leave.


(Bill Ayakatubby) #12

I’m not justifying anything. I asked you to help me understand.

Let me put it this way: Obviously you figured out how to register and post. Are you saying that people in general are too stupid to do it too? What data do you have to back up your position?


(Anthony) #13

Sorry, if that came off attacking you, I did not intend to. Several people have expressed similar thoughts to me in this forum. There is just a big gap between people that built discourse and people that will eventually use it that people are not fully taking into account.

I was just trying to point out the problem with thinking “It simple for me, why would anyone have issues with it.” Even if most people can figure it out. There will be some percentage that can not and the people that can figure it out are still thinking about it more than they should. It took me much longer than most sites to realize how to reply and I used discourse before. There a big gap to consider between possible and easy, and then then between simple and delightful.

In terms of data, I would love to see the conversion rate of users but I don’t have access to it and I am sure @codinghorror will say that the lower conversion is a good thing, which I don’t totally disagree with.


(Sam Saffron) #14

Discourse is rainbows, the discussion here is all about defaults, we are not against adding a site setting for this.


(Jeff Atwood) #15

Again, based on hundreds of hours of browsing bbs.boingboing.net I don’t see evidence of this. New users show up a lot (grey username) and sometimes they indeed have direct experience in the topic. It’s pretty common actually. You can read my thoughts on experts here.

Might be OK, I just object to showing it on every single post for logged out users.

(Also, I apologize for being pedantic, and I hope you take this in the :slight_smile: way it is intended, but posts about “mediocore software” might be mediocre if they can’t spell the term correctly…)


(Anthony) #16

Boing Boing readers are not representative of gardening experts, for example. The important thing is not the number of people that show up, it is the people that leave and you never hear from that matters in this case.

:smile: I love that there was a good bit of irony, I was just happy that reply got sent at all. I was on my phone and the compose view was off screen after switching between landscape and portrait. I’ll report it if I can find a way to reproduce it.


(Jeff Atwood) #17

Regardless, bbs.boingboing.net is the largest and most popular Discourse site that we run and I check in there daily. So I weight that data heavily. If you can point to a larger Discourse forum with different results (or if the forum software is modern enough, another forum entirely), don’t hesitate to.


(Anthony) #18

lol, I am not aware of anything else that looks like it was made this decade.


(Jeff Atwood) #19

Vanilla is reasonably modern, if you can find one of those with some decent examples.


(probus) #20

Is there a reason why the notifications and user icons are visible in dock for unregistered users? I think they should follow the same guideline and be hidden until the user has logged in.

If this is too off topic, you can move this to a new/more suitable topic.