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Currently moderators can view a question timeline, showing everything that happened to a post in chronological order:

 User A Answers
 User B Commented on answer 
 User A Edited Answer
 ...

However, I think it would be pretty useful if we could get a similar timeline, but site-wide:

 User A asked question 5 
 User B commented on question 4
 User C answered question 2  
 User A edited answer on question 4
 ...

Sometimes we'll get questions that receive a lot of comments in a short period of time and we won't notice until it triggers the autoflag. Sometimes a (usually new) user will go in and post a lot of poor quality answers to a variety of questions and we won't notice if those questions get bumped by another answerer/editor.

There are all sorts of situations that it'd be useful to know about chronologically rather than just by post ID.

This would really only be useful for quieter non-trilogy (and probably beta) sites as it'd be pretty overwhelming on SO / SU etc (although that doesn't mean it wouldn't still be useful).

Would this be useful to anyone else? And would it even be technically possible without too much of an overhead?

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  • 1
    Activities like comments, new answers, new answers on old questions, comment deleted by user, review by user etc will be helpful to track new activities on the site, we can also have colapsable accordions with activities of that particular user, I would love to see this feature for mods...
    – Mr. Alien
    Jul 21, 2014 at 12:10
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    It would be helpful for finding users tracking other users. For instance, sometimes we get a user who comments on multiple posts by one author, heckling or harassing that person. That kind of behavior is hard to see with the current tools.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jul 21, 2014 at 13:02
  • This other version seems less noisy, more on point: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/79090/…
    – random
    Jul 21, 2014 at 13:12
  • @random: Perhaps, but I'd say that viewing the noise is the point of the timeline. Otherwise we could just tweak the auto flag tools and the various reports to automate detection of 'bad things'. But a timeline is everything which likely highlights trends rather than specific things. It's that overall history that I'm interested in.
    – JonW
    Jul 21, 2014 at 13:16
  • Also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/97970/…
    – random
    Jul 23, 2014 at 15:32
  • I assume you're referring to the timeline which is just not linked for normal users.
    – Mark Hurd
    Jul 25, 2014 at 9:20
  • @MarkHurd: Yes, but a more sitewide one rather than question specific. To be honest I didn't realise that was available to non-mods (although I don't see why that would be a problem though, it's not exactly secret stuff in there!)
    – JonW
    Jul 25, 2014 at 9:37
  • Yeah, I knew what you were asking for, but I guessed (correctly) you thought the timeline feature was mod only.
    – Mark Hurd
    Jul 25, 2014 at 9:38

3 Answers 3

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I see what you're trying to do, but this kind of 'fire hose' (I don't have a better word for it) isn't going to be very practical for any active site for any meaningful amount of time. Even sites that don't see a lot of new questions ever day typically see all kinds of other activity at appreciable levels. I'm afraid that what you're looking for would quickly get lost in this, which makes it kind of self-defeating.

I started thinking about some crazy collapsing UI thingadongdongs that could make this work sanely at the scale of, say, Judaism SE - but I'm coming up empty.

What I would be interested in talking about is a way to merge several user activity histories together into a single history, annotated by user. This would let you take a look at what a dozen or so users might have been doing at around the same time and I think that would be a very sharp utility if it could be pulled off. Think of the current compare user activity, but you also see a chronological account of each action all users in focus took in a period of time you select.

I think that's getting at what you're trying to accomplish, if I understood you correctly?

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  • Yeah, your proposal might be a pretty useful feature actually. While the fire-hose approach (pretty accurate term really) might be useful for real-time monitoring, it's probably better to grab a snapshot of a specific period of time, or of specific users. It's really just a way to monitor activity chronologically that I'm interested in, so any options within that parameter I'll happily consider.
    – JonW
    Jul 21, 2014 at 14:48
  • Yes, I agree! Having a "combined history" per-user would be fantastically useful. Jul 21, 2014 at 15:18
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I'm not sure how this problem:

Sometimes we'll get questions that receive a lot of comments in a short period of time and we won't notice until it triggers the autoflag.

will be solved by this feature request.

Perhaps what you actually need is for the "too many comments" threshold for the autoflag to be configurable on a site-by-site basis to cover this case.

This isn't to say that the proposal doesn't have merit - just that I don't think this is a good argument for the feature.

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  • The comments example was just an example really, not the cause of the suggestion. I'm primarily interested in being able to view the site activity chronologically as well as by post. I like it for the individual posts as I can see what happened, and when, so figure it'd be equally interesting and useful to see that flow as it occurs site-wide.
    – JonW
    Jul 21, 2014 at 12:11
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We can already track an individual user’s activity on the user profile, which is useful when one user post a lot of garbage on the site, but as Jon say, we have no ability to see what the current swarm on the site is. It may be two or more users having a comment battle over an often non-productive issue. Discussions as Windows OS or Mac OS sometimes emerges where opinions struggle against each other.

I’d love to see a site wide timeline where you could get an early warning on things about to happen, and before flags keep pouring in. The feature request is proactive way of thinking and I support it all the way.

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