When I leave question pages open in the background, I often see "add/show 1 new comment" or "1 new answer to this question" when I go back to it after a while.

If SO can update the page to show these alerts, why not load the whole new comment/answer altogether, then highlight it or place a mark indicating it's new?


Because comment threads can get long. And they fill up fast.

All of the realtime updates are "hidden" loads--they just add a "new question/answer" grey bar, or the aforementioned "show comments" doohickey. If they just loaded on their own without requiring a click, they would flood the page. Whatever you're currently viewing would get pushed down, and it would end up hampering productivity.

On SO, if the "new activity" bar was enabled, and it was made to auto-expand(I had a bookmarklet for auto-expand somewhere--I'll post it later once I find/re-make it), the front page would be pretty much a river of posts.

Look, the devs have saved your F5 key from utter destruction (thank you devs =D ). It's not too much to ask for you to click a "load" thingy when you want to load some new stuff--mouse buttons are pretty hardy fellows. ;-)

Edit: For those of you who like getting flooded, Here's a script. Not tested, though. And SO has realtime updates disabled for questions (not comments), so it won't make much of a diff there.

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  • Good point that the part you're reading would get pushed down. I was thinking that all new answers would show up below, but didn't consider comments. Also learned about the kbd tag :) – Heitor Chang Apr 9 '12 at 3:08
  • @HeitorChang: You may want to see Hidden features of SO and some wacky stuff on the Formatting Sandbox. I can't find the bookmarklet--most probably I'd just tried the code in the console and left it there. It's pretty easy, so I'll upload it, once I figure out how to get Github to work again. – Manishearth Apr 9 '12 at 3:52
  • @HeitorChang: See post, added script. – Manishearth Apr 9 '12 at 7:33

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