New comments flagged

posted in: Updates | 11

Long discussions are starting to become more and more commonplace here at Biofortified. While this is an awesome thing, combined with threaded comments it can be difficult to find every new comment to make sure that you have taken in everything new that has been said before you write your own posts. It was expressed that wouldn’t it be great if there was something to highlight new comments when you return to a post? Well, your wish is my command!

I toyed around with a wordpress plugin that was supposed to do this automatically, but for some reason it wouldn’t work. When you visit a page, it was supposed to store a cookie on your computer that would have a record of the time you last visited the blog. But every test I tried (if you noticed my comments) didn’t work, and it was displaying errors even when unmodified by me. Eventually, I realized that I understood the code that was the basis of this plugin, and decided to write my own plugin. An hour in the evening, and half an hour in the morning, I had a working plugin on our testing server. I added a nice image of a sunflower Gazania to indicate new comments, and if it wasn’t for some odd server-wide inaccessibility problems we were having, it would have been activated last night. And a final test this morning revealed that it needed one more component to work properly – something that took into consideration the timezone of the site – otherwise it would have only flagged comments older than exactly 6 hours – which, as I now believe, is why the original plugin didn’t work. Hah!

So I am pleased to announce that when you visit a post or a page for a second time or more, you will have this handy-dandy flower to help you draw your eyes to comments that were made since your last visit. If you refresh the page or leave a new comment yourself, however, the flower will be gone. And when you leave a new comment it will highlight that comment when the page reloads. Give it a test drive on this post – try leaving comments, refreshing, and leaving more! Have fun, and enjoy conversing on and into the future.

Follow Karl Haro von Mogel:
Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He recently moved back to his home state of California. His favorite produce might just be squash.