Every time I log into Stack Exchange Chat, I see the tail end of some monologue or dialogue that looks pretty interesting. Inevitably, this is what happens.
- Mouse over the last message that is a "reply" in the conversation. (This highlights the previous message.)
- Mouse over the previous message (without losing track of where I saw it!)
- Realize that I need to scroll up to go back any farther. Scroll up.
- Try to find the last message I read, then start again at step 1.
This works, but it's not very fun. Here are two ideas that could improve the experience.
Zoom to user
Show only messages sent by a specific user, and hide everything else. If somebody is telling an interesting story, this would make it much easier to read from start to finish.
This could also take the form of highlighting (eg. colours, icons), or of dimming all other chat messages instead of hiding them outright.
If you click a username in Chat, there is already an action for
hide posts. I'm looking for an opposite command, such as
show only this user's posts.
Zoom to conversation thread
This is similar to the previous idea, but intended to work with dialogue instead of monologue.
Allow the user to focus on a thread terminating on any specific post. This follow the conversation chain backwards, finding all of the replies (and @replies), and then displaying only the contents of that conversation.
This could be somewhat more troublesome to get correct because of the less precise definition, but I think it could be an equally valuable option.