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Subscribing to a thread?

by mikfire (Deacon)
on Feb 09, 2001 at 21:36 UTC ( #57417=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I frequently like to follow a particular thread of conversation and usually scroll down into the New Notes section and scan that list for any new entries into a particular thread.

I was doing that today and I wondered if it would be possible to extend the "/msg me when a reply to one of my posts arrives" functionality and be able to get /msg'd when a new note is posted in a thread I have marked as interesting.

Add a button, say, at the top of each thread "Subcribe me" ( can't resist the Alice in Wonderland reference ). If you wanted to be /msg'd when a new post was added to thread, click the button and you are subscribed.

There would be, at my first glance, two hard parts.

The first would be some way of knowing that the interested party had already been /msg'd and not /msg again until they had cleared the first. This is primarily to keep from getting overwhelmed in the CB on a busy thread. It is not currently provided on the "/msg me when a reply to one of my posts arrives", so maybe vroom says caveat emptor and that is the risk you take for subscribing.

The second hard part is unsubscribing. I would rather not clutter the thread interface too much - it is bad enough already. Maybe another screen could be added off of each user's account to manage subscriptions - a person could unsubscribe from here and possibly even subscribe if they had the node id.

Is there any value to this? Can it be done?


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(jcwren) Re: Subscribing to a thread?
by jcwren (Prior) on Feb 09, 2001 at 21:56 UTC

    Barring vroom implementing this in the core code, this is a prime job for 'botware.

    I imagine a process that grabs the newest nodes XML, maintains the database, has a user ID that so it can send /msgs, and maintains a user interface of what nodes you've already seen, delselecting the thread following, etc.

    One possibility might be using the message box to /msg the 'bot to monitor the nodeid. Another more interesting possibility would be to have a link at the top of each article. The contents of the link would be populated from a field in your user settings, so if multiple people wrote 'bots, you would select the one you would like to manage your threading.

    The current nodeid would automatically be included as a parameter in the URL, as would your user node number. A HTML target of "_blank" would be used so a new browser would be opened when you linked (or an option. Can't have too many options!). Clicking the link takes you to that thread manager, and a smart thread manager would know if you're already monitoring that thread, or it's parent, and ask if you want to select it or deselect it. I'm not 100% sure of how to handle the passwording. An option might be to have YAF (Yet Another Field) on the user info that would be the 'bots password, and this would be passed in the URL. Not netsniffing secure, but then, you're not passing credit card data, either, so a compromise wouldn't be a major problem.

    Luckily, the XML already has provisions for what the parent ID of a response is, so maintaining threading across subject line changes is a non-issue

    Let's see... Today is Friday, vroom should have the user info settings and links in by 3:00 EST, got all weekend to write the UI... Next Tuesday OK with y'all? <G>


    e-mail jcwren

      Luckily, the XML already has provisions for what the parent ID of a response is, so maintaining threading across subject line changes is a non-issue

      The only problem I see is that the XML generated by newest nodes xml generator does not have the node id of the thread, just the parent's. This means that the 'bots would need to manage it. That's possible, but kind of a pain. Is there no way to get the thread's first node id in the XML?

        It would be a problem if we couldn't get an initial load of existing articles. But I happen to know that wouldn't be too much trouble to get hold of. As the newest nodes are integrated into the database, the scanner could build a linked list back up to the top level node id.

        Of course, I'm not sure if that really matters. If you're tracking a thread, you're working down from the current level, not back up. So as long as a node is at or below the current level that you're tracking, you'd see it.

        But, as we like to say, "It's only software"


        e-mail jcwren
Re: Subscribing to a thread?
by Albannach (Monsignor) on Feb 09, 2001 at 22:03 UTC
    I would find something like this very handy as now I store links to threads of interest in my personal nodelet, but that fills up fast and needs regular editing. Here's one scheme off the top of my head:

    - do all this in a "personal threadlet" (yea I know that makes no sense, would you rather call it the "personal sewing basket"? ;-) to which you can add a link to the root node of the currently viewed thread (no sense tracking subthreads separately, or is there?) in the same way the personal nodelet adds links
    - each link has a box which is checked to indicate that you're up to date, and then the link is hidden
    - the box is cleared and the link reappears as soon as something is added to the thread
    - there should also be a link at the bottom to "remove this thread" so you can ditch something you're reading when it no longer interests you

    I may have overcomplicated it, but this looks pretty neat in my head!

    I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

Re: Subscribing to a thread?
by jepri (Parson) on Feb 10, 2001 at 07:32 UTC
    I'd be happy with a chop that somehow convinced my browser that I had visited every single node in that thread individually, so they show up greyed out on the 'Newest Nodes' list. Alas, I can't think of any way at all to do it. :)

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

      Thats what you can use the Perl/Tk Newest Nodes Client for. I suggest you try it out if you haven't already. But it _would_ be nicer if the perlmonks system could remember what nodes you'd visited and show Newest Nodes accordingly, but I don't want to know what that would do the the code bloat and databases system to remember that kind of data for every active user in the system.
        I was thinking more on the browser side of things. If we could somehow trick the browser into thinking it had visisted every link on the page that would be great. But I don't think there's a javascript method, except using pop-up windows and that's just evil.

        I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: Subscribing to a thread?
by Adam (Vicar) on Feb 09, 2001 at 21:49 UTC
    I really like this idea.

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