Select post "post + replies" - most replies are not technically replies

(gingerling) #1

Continuing the discussion from How to move posts to a new topic?:

I did this for the first time and noticed a lot of the posts which looked like replies were not in fact replies in a technical sense. So, I there is an option for “select this and all replies” but that only selected a few things, I had to select the rest as individuals. Is it possible that people are not clicking the pale blue reply button? Or am I missing something else here.

(cpradio) #2

There are two types of replies. One after the post (which links the response with that post, so choosing Select + Replies will select both items), and one at the bottom of the topic, which does not link itself to a given post (so Select + Replies will not select both).

(gingerling) #3

So it sounds to me that people are using the dark blue reply button (respond to topic) at the bottom rather than the pale blue reply button (respond to post) which would generally be appropriate. For example in this post

the first reply is respond to post reply, but the rest are all respond to topic, so only the dark blue button was used.

First of all, is this correct? To me, these all look like replies to the post above, rather than a new reply to the first post: is that right? Secondly, if it is right, is it a problem? It’s mildly annoying when moving some topic to a new thread, because I have to select more stuff… but that’s not an everyday situation. Does it cause other issues thought? How common is this?

(cpradio) #4

Sort of.

If you open the json for that topic by going to

You’ll get this (after it is formatted)

        "post_number": 2,
        "post_type": 1,
        "updated_at": "2015-04-28T17:44:42.799Z",
        "like_count": 0,
        "reply_count": 1,
        "reply_to_post_number": null,
        "quote_count": 0,
        "avg_time": 108,
        "incoming_link_count": 0,
        "post_number": 3,
        "post_type": 1,
        "updated_at": "2015-05-03T19:50:11.551Z",
        "like_count": 0,
        "reply_count": 1,
        "reply_to_post_number": 2,
        "quote_count": 0,
        "avg_time": 139,
        "incoming_link_count": 0,
        "post_number": 4,
        "post_type": 1,
        "updated_at": "2015-05-04T07:51:48.308Z",
        "like_count": 0,
        "reply_count": 0,
        "reply_to_post_number": 3,
        "quote_count": 0,
        "avg_time": 157,
        "incoming_link_count": 0,

There is a posts array in the post_stream object. Here we can see that posts[2] has a reply_to_post_number value of 2, meaning it was a reply to an actual post (using the pale blue reply button (so was posts[3]).

All of the others have null for that value, indicating they used the dark blue reply button at the bottom of the topic.

(gingerling) #5

Ok, so: is this correct? - Not like, technically (you have shown definitively how things have worked) but as in are these people using the correct button for each situation. So for example

Dragonrider says “Have you renamed config-extended.php to config.php? phpList only works with the one file called config.php” to HansT, and HansT replies “yes. and it worked well before the update to V 3.0.12!” BUT he uses the dark blue reply button not the light blue. This strikes me as incorrect.

So, if this is incorrect, what issues may be caused by this posting behaviour?

The reason I am looking at this issue is that we have had our forums for one week, so I am making sure it is working right, this is potential issue :smile:

(cpradio) #6

It is of my opinion and experience that the typical user has no idea which button to choose and just clicks the first one they see (when at the bottom of a topic). So it could be of the last post or the button at the bottom of the topic. It is a 50/50 guess.

Now when it comes to replying to a specific post, I do believe they click Reply on that given post (think middle of the topic/beginning of the topic).

I agree

Nothing major really, just isn’t technically correct and thus select + replies doesn’t do what you want it to do.

(cpradio) #7

If you are seriously concerned that they reply to the appropriate post, hide the reply button at the very bottom of the topic. That way they consciously have to choose which reply button to use :smile:

(Jeff Atwood) #8

I really would not recommend that. Users do know who they are replying to, since the indicator shows up in the editor at the top.

More on topic, there is a spec for “select all posts under this one” in the spec category.

(gingerling) #9

where is that? I don’t see it

(Jeff Atwood) #10

Spec means “feature we are planning”, sorry, check that category for details.

(cpradio) #11

Just for reference

(Michael Downey) #12

Since when will users read anything you put on the screen?

(gingerling) #13

yes, I think aside from the technical issue of splitting posts, there is an issue to discuss here @codinghorror. In our example post:

and the json for it

we see that some (but I suspect many) of our forum users do not see/understand/use the reply options correctly.

(Jeff Atwood) #14

They will look at pictures of faces, so your comment does not apply.

They will also look at pictures of body parts, per Norman-Neilsen research. Not that I needed experimental data to tell me that…

(Michael Downey) #15

Too bad the default avatar used by N% of users is a letter, not a face. :wink:

(Jeff Atwood) #16

Still, it is a picture, not words. So easier to associate with “who I am talking to” than words.

(gingerling) #17

RIght, lovely academic discussion here, but as I say, I have actually shown you a perfect example that people are not using the correct button.

I suggest this is nothing to do with reading or looking at pictures, probably the dark blue button is just easier to see than the pale one…

(Michael Downey) #18

I was thinking about a CSS hack to add words like " to This" or " to Original" to the 2 types of buttons. It might make it a bit more obvious.

(gingerling) #19

Interesting I have discovered some of my own replies are the wrong type for the situation too, I will have to try and analyse when I do this

(Michael Downey) #20

Random data point:

Pretty sure there’s nothing in the UI to show whether the post I just made is replying to the topic or the most recent previous post. This is related and strengthens the confusion.