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A few years ago I was looking at how hidden comments might be more discoverable. As a result I talked with the developers about implementing a change so that when clicking "show X more comments" the focus would change to show the oldest newly revealed comment. That way readers would not have to scroll through the entire list of comments to see what's new. To see it in action, please click on this image:

Show first revealed comment.

Then compare it to the no focus version.

Of course I forgot to do the final step and roll that change out to the sites. Fortunately, the developers working on responsive design noticed the site setting wasn't getting used and asked me if we still wanted it. Better late than never?

I think it works pretty great for the relative edge case of posts with tons of comments. So I turned it on here on Meta Stack Exchange for your enjoyment. If the feedback doesn't turn up any critical problems, I'll push it out to the rest of the network.

To find posts that have hidden comments, I recommend looking at highly upvoted or downvoted questions. While there, marvel at the fact that each extreme required a bunch of discussion with our lawyer.

At any rate, let me know what you think of this change.

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    I can't resist to upvote this because of me being in the screenshot ... – rene Mar 28 '18 at 7:11
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    I find it highly confusing. Maybe I just need time to adjust, will be able to tell in 6-8 days. Also, change that make the page jump every time you post comment is NOT minor. It's a major UX change. – ShaWiz Mar 28 '18 at 7:14
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    Oh. I just clicked it when @ShadowWizard added their comment. The page jumped awfully. That is a not so good side-effect. I might have to -1 again – rene Mar 28 '18 at 7:15
  • @rene true, but this might be a bug. Hopefully Jon can tell if that's on purpose or not. So far every time the comments jump I find it highly annoying. So, -1 from me, until it's improved somehow. – ShaWiz Mar 28 '18 at 7:16
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    @ShadowWizard: Are you saying this change caused the focus to jump when you added a comment to this post? – Jon Ericson Mar 28 '18 at 8:14
  • Wait... I need to test it further. But anyway, should there be any change in cases when there are no hidden comments? Or is any such change actually a bug? – ShaWiz Mar 28 '18 at 8:21
  • @ShadowWizard: Hmmmm... I'm not seeing that. Any chance you could capture a GIF? And, yes, the change should only affect posts with hidden comments. Maybe the oddity is that new comments come in hidden and only appear on a refresh or when clicking the link? – Jon Ericson Mar 28 '18 at 8:23
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    Indeed, it happens when new comment is posted while we're still viewing the page (via AJAX, no page reload), then clicking the "show new comment" cause it to jump in a weird and annoying way. Not sure that's what I talked about before, will keep watching the behavior. – ShaWiz Mar 28 '18 at 8:31
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    Here is the effect I see in Chrome (thx @HTTPS ... I already got what I needed, sorry). – rene Mar 28 '18 at 8:35
  • @rene yes that's what I mean here, thanks for the gif. – ShaWiz Mar 28 '18 at 8:38
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    Solution to this problem: if the topmost new comment is visible already upon loading, don't scroll. – Mego Mar 28 '18 at 12:59
  • I've requested a user script on Stack Apps to restore the old behavior of not scrolling for users who don't want it. (@ShadowWizard) – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Mar 30 '18 at 3:47
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    Could this please be disabled if all the hidden comments were added after I loaded the page? I think it's annoying when I load a new question that doesn't have any comments yet, someone adds a first comment after I've loaded the page, I click to see that comment and the whole page scrolls down. – Donald Duck Mar 31 '18 at 11:26
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    @DonaldDuck: I'm going to touch bases with the developer next week and see if this can be fixed. If it's not an easy job, I'll probably disable the setting altogether. I like it for posts with lots of comments, but those tend to be rare compared to the new post situation you describe. – Jon Ericson Mar 31 '18 at 17:27
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This is really annoying when there's only a couple of comments being revealed. Can it be limited to posts with a huge number of comments? Exact definition of "huge" TBD. When there's 90, that's great... you want to see all of the comments and you definitely want it to scroll up to the ones that are in the middle of the stack somewhere... but when there's only one or five or ten or if they're all on the end of the list rather than the second comment that's hidden because it wasn't voted up... it bugs me.

This is particularly a concern for when this is rolled out to the network, including sites with lower answer thresholds for hiding unupvoted comments... so there may only be two comments revealed, which makes the page jumping hide the post it's on so you have to scroll up to even see what the comment is referring to.

This can be seen on a post like this one, which only has four unseen comments. The jump is disorientating and unnecessary. A similar example, documented by rene in the comments on the question, is represented in this gif.

I think the general concept is good, but the implementation needs some work and consideration for sites that don't show as many comments as MSE does (which shows more than even the standard sites do).

  • FYI, as MSE is my main site, and I find this hitting me very hard here, I've requested a userscript on Stack Apps to restore the old behavior here on MSE. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Apr 5 '18 at 2:28
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    An easy remediation for posts like that example, is for this new code to only ever scroll up. If the revealed comment requires scrolling down, don't do it. – Awesome Poodles Apr 5 '18 at 4:25
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    Between the oddities with new comments coming in, the potential annoyance on sites with few hidden comments and the amount of fine-tuning it would take to get this all working, I've turned off the setting for now. I feel like this is a good feature to consider, but not our highest priority. – Jon Ericson Apr 5 '18 at 16:26

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