New comments flagged

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.

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Written by Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Riverside and works on Citrus genetics.

11 comments

  1. One thing I would also want to see posted somewhere is a list of things which cause the website robot to consign comments to the void.
    I like to thoroughly reference my comments with links so that others can see what I saw — but I get the impression that adding links creates problems.

  2. Any comments with 4 or more links will be held in moderation. Akismet has some other criteria but most real person comments won’t be caught in their nets.
    The best way to ensure comments won’t be caught as spam or held in auto-moderation is to sign up on the blog. We have a plugin that allows signin to be conducted with Facebook, Twitter, or other sites – very easy and your login info is not recorded here so privacy is protected.

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