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RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links

by jdporter (Canon)
on Feb 07, 2011 at 19:01 UTC ( #886779=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I think we should get rid of the "Offer your reply" links which currently appear on top-level views of posts — The Monastery Gates and the section pages (Seekers of Perl Wisdom, etc.)

The rationale is that users shouldn't be encouraged[1] to post a reply to a post without having first been encouraged[2] to read the existing replies.

Thoughts?

(Note: the "Comment on" and "[reply]" links would not be affected by this proposed change.)

[1] I'd say "allowed", but the fact remains that a savvy web user can overcome the lack of a link.

[2] I'd say "forced", but ... you know the old adage about horses and water.

This RFC was inspired by something our esteemed anonymous monk wrote in Re: RFC: A Design Proposed for Anonymous Monk (logged out view).
Here are some earlier threads on the same topic, more or less. Note that many of them raise issues which are now resolved or OBE.

I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

Comment on RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by ikegami (Pope) on Feb 07, 2011 at 19:11 UTC

    Has this been a problem? Most cases of similar replies come from two people composing answers at the same time.

    Update: Oops, I thought you were referring to the "Comment on" link at the top of the comments. I got confused since "Offer your reply" currently appears next to "Comment on". I'm all for removing the link from the section pages.

      ... or when a root node has acquired several replies... and somebody jumps directly into Comment on ... rather than reading what others have written.
      I sometimes see similar replies hours apart. I think the "Offer your reply" link feature causes people to inadvertently ignore previous replies. I think modifying the existing link will help reduce similar replies.
Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by toolic (Chancellor) on Feb 07, 2011 at 19:19 UTC
    Deleting the "Offer your reply" links is fine with me since I never use them.

    If people want to keep them, you could just link to the root node, and then force the person to hit the "Comment on" button.

      I really like this suggestion. One function of the offer you reply button is to invite people to get involved. By having it lead to the full page post (i.e. with replies) rather than an edit page, we signal that "yes, we want your response, but please see what others are saying first."

        Except that it would be a confusing interface. A more accurate translation would be "Yes, we want your response. Here is a page that doesn't actually let you respond, but please don't be shocked or too confused and search for one of the links that lets you actually reply and click it and this time we'll actually give you a place to compose your reply. We hope you read the existing replies before you do that but we aren't actually going to tell you any of this."

        So, these links could be such that they cause some explanatory text to be displayed above the thread. Of course, experience shows that exactly that type of explanatory text is the type of thing that people are very good at ignoring.

        - tye        

Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by Argel (Prior) on Feb 07, 2011 at 23:21 UTC
    That link is only really useful until someone has replied to the post. If you could check if there is a reply or not, then you could use that as the deciding factor on when to display it.

    With that said, I never use it and would welcome freeing up some additional screen real-estate.

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

      That's the best idea yet. If there are no responses (and no 'readmore' tags?), give an "Offer your reply" link (or "Post a response" or whatever the standardized wording ends up being). If there are replies, give a "Read more/Contribute" link (that just duplicates the functionality of clicking on the thread title, which is good because the result of clicking on the title is a common convention but isn't actually described for those unfamiliar with the convention).

      Actually, replace "Offer your reply" with either a pair of links, "Read more | Post response", or a single link, "Read more / Contribute".

      - tye        

      I agree with Argel, it does make sense to have those links for posts with no replies yet. With that being said it seems that having a difference in the display for posts which have replies and those without replies will lead to wasted space on the majority of content on the site. The only idea I have is to make the "0 direct replies" link direct traffic to the reply page, or move the "offer your reply" link next to the "0 direct replies" link.
Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by bellaire (Hermit) on Feb 08, 2011 at 02:31 UTC
    I agree that they should be removed. My free nodelet already contains JS to remove them. I had removed them simply because (IMO) they were spammy and visually distracting, without providing any utility. The issue you bring up regarding encouraging users to post without reading existing responses is an even better reason to banish them.
Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by Tux (Monsignor) on Feb 15, 2011 at 08:13 UTC

    On the same topic, could the voting booth in the side bar be hidden when one has already voted?


    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      Thanks; but that's not the same topic. Please post your feature request in a new PMD.

Re: RFC: Eliminate the "Offer Your Reply" links
by jdporter (Canon) on Jul 21, 2011 at 16:12 UTC

    Update: This change has been made. The "Offer your reply" links are now a thing of the past. :-)

    I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

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