Stream of all latest replies: Would it be useful?

(Jonathan Pautsch) #1

I run a fairly small Discourse community and I love it, great features for keeping tabs on conversations you’re interested in and discovering new content.

Something I’ve found myself wanting, however, is a better way of reading up on all the latest replies across a myriad of topics. As someone who’s active and invested in the community, I find myself wanting to check out most every reply, erring on the side of “this could be interesting” instead of not. Problem is, this involves a lot of clicking in and out of multiple threads, many times just to view a single reply that I then quickly scan and determine whether or not it’s interesting to me. Or, I have a strong interest in a specific category, and want to read up on anything posted in that category.

One idea I had to solve this was to somehow display a list of ALL the latest replies to ANY thread, either across multiple categories or in a single category, and then of course the list would live-update and allow you to reply directly from that page. Like a continuous “stream of consciousness” that I can read and reply to without having to click through different topics repeatedly.

Just going off the basic concept, what are your guys thoughts on a feature like this? Does it sound useful, or is it impractical? Does it actually solve a user need? Would more than a handful of people actually use it? What kind of community would be interested in something like this? Is it within the scope of Discourse?

If it would be useful, how would it be implemented? Would it an optional feature admins could enable? A plugin? Would it be placed in the top bar, e.g. next to “latest”, and take you to a new page, or a sidebar like in Facebook that’s always on and filters to the category you’re currently viewing?

I can throw together some mockups if people need more of a visual idea of what I’m talking about.

(Jeff Atwood) #2

I have thought about it before, but I feel the use case is narrow. Someone who reads every post, or a moderator, or the site is super low volume. You would lose some (all?) topic context as well, with a stream of the latest replies showing in topic like layout…

(Jonathan Pautsch) #3

What if it’s only for tracked/bookmarked/watched topics?

Yeah there’d have to be some kind of styling/extra indicators to make sure the original topic, category, etc are properly represented.

(Jonathan Pautsch) #4

The best argument against it that I can think of is that it potentially breaks Discourse’s entire model, turning it into a glorified chat/shoutbox/social network app with lots of tagging and categorization features, which seems undesirable. Keeping discussion focused around topics seems like the whole point, so creating a view that breaks the topic-based flow of information might be a bad idea.

If that made any sense.

(Kane York) #5

Check out /posts.json . There’s no UI, because it’s more useful for consumption by programs than by humans…

(Mittineague) #6

I just tried here. The returned JSON had 46 posts.
Seems that should be enough.

But I’m thinking this would be better as a plugin (or maybe an app?) than a feature

(Jonathan Pautsch) #7

My thoughts as well, given the narrow use case.

Maybe I’ll brush up on Ruby and give it a shot.

(Ruth Cheesley) #8

Just wondering if @jspautsch or anybody worked on this in the end?

I’d like to be able to offer an option of a stream-based layout in addition to the regular layouts for those who prefer to consume information in this way (ala Facebook, LinkedIn etc). Have tried searching but not found anything related to this topic hence re-opening an old one.

Guessing it would be a case of pulling in the posts.json and formatting it but no idea where to start with that!