55

Just now, all the post action links at the bottom of a post suddenly are capitalized and slightly bigger. Which in general is nice, but sometimes they're now in double rows, and inconsistently too:

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Enter image description here

On smaller screens you can even get three rows:

Enter image description here

And if other people edit your post, the buttons move around to make room for an extra 'Rollback' button:

Enter image description here

I can already see myself misclicking things if they're left like this. Would there be any chance of getting my ducks back into a single row? Or at least in consistent positions?

23
  • 28
    Whatever they did, it also killed lots of user-scripts. Jan 11 at 16:02
  • 6
    @AdrianMole [status-by-design]? :-)
    – TylerH
    Jan 11 at 16:04
  • 7
    This also happens for regular users: i.stack.imgur.com/vPylL.png in case someone thinks this a mod only and therefor minor problem ....
    – rene
    Jan 11 at 16:04
  • 26
    I know it's minor, but I liked the lowercase links. Personally, it was just one of those design things on SE that felt unique to SE.
    – zcoop98
    Jan 11 at 16:30
  • 17
    Back to old habit of breaking changes without testing or even letting the users know before they push it network wide. Pity. Jan 11 at 16:43
  • 10
    Use your mod powers and click edit and add a status-review. Be carefull not to share or close instead though.
    – Luuklag
    Jan 11 at 16:48
  • 4
    @Luuklag No danger of hitting 'close'... Instead, there's Rollback now that Shadow edited the tags ;) I guess it's not too bad if I accidentally hit that one :P
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 11 at 16:55
  • 12
    Never mind, I liked the lowercase.
    – Ollie
    Jan 11 at 16:58
  • 29
    I Had Always Interpreted The Lower-Case Links As A Hint That They Are Backend Tools Which Should Not Distract New Users. That Is Consistent With Other Useful Fragments Like "Edited One Hour Ago," The Lists Of Tags, And Links That Say "Help." However Major Links On The Page, Like The Tabs On The Left Or The "Post Your Answer," Are Written With Initial Capitals As A Way To Emphasize Them. Furthermore, Reading Text With Initial Capitals Is More Labor-Intensive Than Reading Text With Ordinary Sentence Capitalization, As You Have Probably Just Noticed. I Hope The Capitalization Change Is Reverted.
    – rob
    Jan 11 at 17:52
  • 6
    Oh hell... next they'll be capitalizing the "Start a bounty" and "add a comment" buttons.
    – Ollie
    Jan 11 at 18:08
  • 3
    @Tinkeringbell do you think it's worth making a request-reversal post or should I post an answer here?
    – Ollie
    Jan 11 at 18:11
  • 3
    @Ollie I think requesting total reversal is going to be useless, as I seem to recall using capital letters at the beginning of links as being some kind of design standard/default.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 11 at 18:15
  • 5
    Yuck, why are we doing this at all? Action links in literally every other place are lowercase. "Real" buttons are uppercase.
    – Undo
    Jan 11 at 18:35
  • 2
    @Tinkeringbell yeah, you're right.
    – Ollie
    Jan 11 at 18:40
  • 2
    FWIW, the rollback button itself isn't new. But we had a bug that prevented it from showing up (and working) as intended. That fix is unrelated to the menu updates.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jan 12 at 0:38
12

Thanks for all of your feedback on this change. I'm the developer who led the charge for putting this together, so let me talk through a bit of our rationale.

In the course of making improvements to the Review Queues, I ran across the code for the post menu: lots of lines of code that've hardly been touched for several years, and written in such a way that made it very confusing and difficult to make any changes to it with any semblance of confidence or ease. So, I set about refactoring it to make it easier to update in the future.

In the course of the refactor, we decided to clear up a bit of other technical/design debt while we were in there:

  1. Capitalization - as per our style guide, we use sentence casing on all buttons and links. Spending time here allowed us to bring the menu up to date with the direction in which we're bringing the rest of the site's content.

  2. Formatting - The formatting for post menu was ... interesting. It used invisible spans to organize and separate the menu items, among other things, and it wasn't using Stacks (our design system) at all. We "Stacksified" the menu, which we've been meaning to do for ages but hadn't been able to.

So it seems like most of the feedback here falls into two categories: that we didn't announce the change, and that the menu can fall onto two lines instead of one.

For the first, I'll take responsibility for that. I made the call that this was a small enough change that we could respond to any thoughts that came up, but that it didn't warrant an announcement. It's tough to find the correct line between announcing every single tiny small change that we make (too much!) and only announcing the very biggest of changes (not enough!). It's possible that I erred on the wrong side of that line.

For the second, we spent a lot of time trying to find the best balance between making the menu responsive, usable at small screen sizes, and trying to keep it as close to how it's been as possible. For example, we considered stacking the editor and answerer as a solution as well. An added complication is that the menu shows up totally differently for different users because of permission levels. Ultimately we determined that the solution that you see in front of you hit as many of the right notes as was possible.

I plan to keep an eye on additional feedback rolling in for this change and am happy to revisit further tweaks if it seems like they'll be necessary.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts, and I'm happy to answer any questions y'all have.

8
  • 10
    Thanks for your thoughtful answer and sound rationale. Yes, please don't announce every change you plan or take on in a refactor. You'll probably spend more time on Meta that way instead of writing awesome code. There is one thing you might consider going forward: if you do introduce Stacks you also introduce the js-* classes as hooks to replace the old classes. Many userscripts used by both mods and powerusers rely on those classes to find the right element. A heads-up prior to a release for the maintainers would be appreciated. A note in the Tavern can be enough. We'll take it from there.
    – rene
    Jan 13 at 18:11
  • 5
    Sorry but having this in two lines in just bad UX. I don't like it. And totally changing the appearance of the most important action links a power user see every day is far from "tiny change". Jan 13 at 18:17
  • 10
    Hey, y'all. I understand that some of y'all dislike this change but let's be respectful of others and remember that this is their work, not their lives and the team Kristina's on is spread thin and can't always stop and respond immediately. At least part of the delay is on me since she was asking me for feedback. If something was absolutely broken and needed an immediate fix, that's reason to expect an immediate response but, in this case, I feel like the response and timing was reasonable.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jan 13 at 19:53
  • 14
    Hi Kristina! I think we can all appreciate the difficulty involved in the first problem you describe, that of trying to balance the need for announcements with the work and potential noise generated by them. A model I've found useful here is treating UI as one would an API, and considering to what extent a change is likely to break "clients" - whether that's someone's workflow, or (as rene notes) actual code written against a bit of markup. In this case, the post menu is the primary interface for both - so the chance of breakage is high even when the changes seem small. As always, YMMV!
    – Shog9
    Jan 13 at 20:46
  • 1
    Or three. Depending on how you look at it - this is either a xkcd 1172 or something that affects how power users use the site - but I find that it takes some time to work out how/if it works or an moved cheese we can sniff out. While folks here can be vocal - its worth considering that sometimes 'minor' changes can often affect how folks work, whether its through userscripts (which broke here, and were fixed) or muscle memory. Least for me, everything always being in a single consistent row helped with muscle memory, and modding on a mobile UI.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jan 14 at 9:00
  • personally things being vaguely in the same place helps, but that's just me. Also worth considering that there's a ton of super obscure quality of life hacks that people use on the network - that on the short term (though, sometimes on the very short term) can break such as userscripts. I do wonder if there's a midpoint between waiting for the shouting, and writing meta posts for every change we could find.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jan 14 at 9:08
  • 1
    FWIW, I like the increased visibility of the action links, although I agree that it can clash with muscle memory (as I mentioned here when the follow link was introduced). FWIW, when I first started on SO I didn't even realise that those were links, I was used to actions being actual buttons on other sites.
    – PM 2Ring
    Jan 14 at 15:34
  • 3
    In a recent Physics Meta question, it came to light that the OP (a retired scientist with close to 200k rep) didn't realise that the close link transformed into reopen. So I think changes that make those links more noticeable is a good thing.
    – PM 2Ring
    Jan 14 at 15:35
27

I preferred the lowercase links here, since they didn't split to as many lines and because they were a bit smaller. But there have been feature-requests to make them capitalized in the name of consistency. So, ideas...

  1. Revert the change entirely.

OR...

  1. Keep the capitalization in the name of consistency but make them a touch smaller so they won't go to multiple lines.

The second option would keep it (kinda) consistent, in line with the "Edit tags" label for 10K users. Reverting the change entirely would help prevent multiple lines of links on smaller screens, but it wouldn't be consistent with other stuff.

But there is another thing I take issue with here: How silent the change was. This looks like it was pushed out network-wide without any testing or Meta notification post, which is... not really great. Please don't do that.

Aside from that, a quick fix for this would be a userscript, so copy and stick this code into Tampermonkey (thanks @Makyen for the help!):

// ==UserScript==
// @name         SE: Lowercase Post Menu Buttons
// @namespace    https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/359488
// @version      0.2
// @description  Change the post menu buttons to lowercase.
// @author       Ollie 
// @match        *://*.askubuntu.com/*
// @match        *://*.mathoverflow.net/*
// @match        *://*.serverfault.com/*
// @match        *://*.stackapps.com/*
// @match        *://*.stackexchange.com/*
// @match        *://*.stackoverflow.com/*
// @match        *://*.superuser.com/*
// @exclude      *://api.*
// @exclude      *://blog.*
// @exclude      *://chat.*
// @exclude      *://data.*
// @exclude      *://stackoverflow.com/advertising*
// @exclude      *://stackoverflow.com/company*
// @exclude      *://stackoverflow.com/jobs*
// @exclude      *://stackoverflow.com/talent*
// @exclude      *://stackoverflow.com/teams*
// @exclude      *://*/tour
// @grant none
// @run-at       document-start
// ==/UserScript==

(function() {
    'use strict';

    document.documentElement.insertAdjacentHTML('beforeend', `
        <style>
            /*Lowercase the post menu buttons*/
            .js-post-menu .s-anchors > .flex--item > * {
                text-transform: lowercase;
            }
            /*Prevent the lowercase from affecting other things.*/
            .js-post-menu .s-anchors > .flex--item > * > * {
                text-transform: initial;
            }
        </style>`);
})();
7
  • It takes a second or two to load the lowercase links. Can that be shortened? It looks a little laggy (ofc if it's not possible I'm perfectly fine with it).
    – 10 Rep
    Jan 11 at 22:15
  • 1
    There are only 4 domains for SE, so you only need each link once for these: *://stackoverflow.com, *://superuser.com, *://serverfault.com, *://*.stackexchange.com. Plus the same with meta. in front. That’s better than having global wildcards that make the script apply everywhere.
    – poke
    Jan 11 at 22:45
  • 2
    @poke No, there are not only four. I always use these 13 includes: https://*.stackexchange.com/*, https://stackoverflow.com/*, https://*.stackoverflow.com/*, https://meta.stackoverflow.com/*, https://serverfault.com/*, https://meta.serverfault.com/*, https://superuser.com/*, https://meta.superuser.com/*, https://askubuntu.com/*, https://meta.askubuntu.com/*, https://mathoverflow.net/*, https://meta.mathoverflow.net/*, https://stackapps.com/*. At least three TLDs were missing from your list. StackApps doesn’t have a Meta, and there’s still Area51’s unique design. Jan 12 at 4:19
  • 3
    I substantially edited the script. I hope you dont't mind. If you prefer the original version, feel free to roll it back.
    – Makyen
    Jan 12 at 9:54
  • @SebastianSimon can't you combine 2 and 3 by removing the . following the first asteriks in number 3?
    – Luuklag
    Jan 12 at 11:03
  • @SebastianSimon Ohh, Ask Ubuntu and Math Overflow! I have been missing those from my scripts – thanks! :D (I usually ignore StackApps and especially Area51 for my scripts since those are special anyway)
    – poke
    Jan 12 at 13:03
  • @Makyen no, not at all. I'm not a particularly good scripter, so thanks for the many pointers, they'll help in future.
    – Ollie
    Jan 12 at 14:35
14

Can the capitalization of post action links be updated in the help pages too?

For example, in the cast close and reopen votes page, the "close", reopen" wordings are in the small caps, which is not matching with the current UI.

Close Reopen

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