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 The Readability of the New Commentary System
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Jon Bishop
 Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 03:56 AM UTC (Read 2860 times)  
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Alright, so the new commentary system is definitely more compressed and minimalistic than the old system, which SHOULD make it easier to read. However that doesn't seem to be the case. Now that everything is cramped together without any spaces between comments, and every person's comment begins in the exact same spot on the left margin, it's even harder to read than it was before. Sure, the old system wasn't clean, but it was readable. This new system is more compressed and more organized, but it is not readable.

Right now, every page just looks like a wall of text. It's downright difficult to read over a scene, and even more difficult to participate in one. Trying to post in active outposts like NewHome or Kittania is even harder to keep up with than before, as the lack of spaces makes it impossible to keep tabs on what you have and have not already read. The whole page blurs together, and it discourages me from even trying to read scenes. This doesn't just hold in active scenes, though. Even solo scenes just don't seem to fit correctly. It feels like reading a book without any indentation for new paragraphs.

The solution? Just add a line between each comment, or give players the option to do so. Just take a look at this gdoc of a page of comments, one with no spaces between the comments, and the other with a single space between each comment.

The page without spaces:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fK3XMyo_wNPfEXqnvG7iFEpKr1mrRLVoPTnMsvZVVag/edit

The page with spaces:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/14HczYvXGJrzKsip92FWO8RO7B5xZ2ybaAtrXEDi2icM/edit

The latter seems much more readable, and much less of a headache to understand. In addition, the fact that new players joining the game are shown the "split" commentary by default, it's an even stronger wall of text, which I think may turn some players away before they even get the chance to click the "stack" button.


 
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Justa
 Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 04:12 AM UTC  
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Trying to post in active outposts like NewHome or Kittania is even harder to keep up with than before, as the lack of spaces makes it impossible to keep tabs on what you have and have not already read.


Yes, this. I have a hard enough time reading keeping up with fast-paced scenes such as those in Kitt and Newhome, and the commentary format makes it even more difficult for me. I, er, didn't actually have a problem with the old commentary system! (I actually miss the icons that show you what race you are and what-have-you -- it was a neat marker to keep track of those I'm writing with, especially if I'm not familiar with your character yet!)

I also agree with the "wall o' text" imagery Jon brought up. I think the race/gender icons that showed up in the old commentary system gave the text lines some room -- it also substituted as an "indent" to help break things up -- at least for me.

So yes! Pretty much . . . seconding everything that's been said up above. I don't know if this is a learning curve I'll have to get over, but everything is pretty bewildering right now, which makes me sad because roleplaying on the Island (and reading the scenes) is integral to my Islanding experience! Frown


 
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Mr Geppetto
 Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 10:40 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Jon+Bishop


The solution? Just add a line between each comment, or give players the option to do so.




YES! Please!


 
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Twosocks Monkey
 Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 01:37 PM UTC  
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I agree with some hesitancy, as I really do adore the changes CMJ has made to commentary and mouseovers. However just a tensy bit of space would be loverly! I found myself for the first time last night just giving up the ghost and making the whole page larger in order to read more easily. (When I log my RP in gdocs I change everything up by two or three font sizes, Georgia 11 is what I typically settle on).

The hesitancy comes from feeling a little like I just need new glasses, and not wanting to rain on CMJ's happy new commentary parade (it really is SO MUCH BETTER in SO MANY WAYS (nesting my parentheses to mention specifically the color changing line deal. I ADORE THAT)).

I do think it would be silly to allow players to add their own spaces. At the moment the general cry seems to just be to add a little bit of space between each line. I think that would make it much easier to read, and not give people the ability to add lines willy nilly.

WILLY NILLY I SAY.

(Of course, coding-wise, I have NO CLUE if that's easy or what)

PS: Also, since we're all whining about minor changes we want, as is our Horatio-given right as citizens of the Island (whining is our right, getting our way is not) I would like to mention once more that it would be FAB to have those time stamps go away if we want. It really does look silly in my logs and I'm WAY too lazy to edit every single one when I RP for hours at a time.

THANKSMOO.

-Rose Oops!


moooooooooo Visit and help me finish the monster list: goo.gl/rpBGe (Ya'll mostly know me as CLOG, fyi)
 
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Docenspiel
 Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 02:13 PM UTC  
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I agree that there needs to be some space between posts, but a full line seems a bit much. The current look is too wall o' text-y, but the full line spacing looks too... chat room-y.

And the toggling idea. It sounds like a pref. The old prefs, where we decided what WE saw as well as what OTHERS saw (which, if I recall correctly, was the whole problem with them), as opposed to the new ones where we decide what EVERYBODY sees.


For rent: one skull, in serious need of dusting.
 
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Matthew
 Wednesday, December 21 2011 @ 06:37 AM UTC  
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I agree, it does feel cramped and tl;dr-y.

I'm not sure how to solve the problem, though. A space between each line would look strange. Maybe put a space between each new comment... only if it's a different person?

Example:

[03h52m]│Dude says this

[03h48m]│Guy says this

[02h37m]│Dude says another thing
[02h30m]│Dude then makes an action

[02h14m]│Guy makes an action
[02h06m]│Guy then says something
[02h02m]│Guy says another thing

[01h52m]│Dude says this

[01h48m]│Guy says this


 
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spandex
 Wednesday, December 21 2011 @ 12:03 PM UTC  
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Agree the readability's dropped since the change.

Line height itself could maybe be increased a bit, but definitely put a margin above each paragraph.

I agree with Justa that we've lost the easy scan (useful to track our own convos in busy outposts). The effect of this - for me - is now I find myself reading more.


 
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Maniak
 Wednesday, December 21 2011 @ 09:42 PM UTC  
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The readability is especially poor when people are doing a lot of actions. It's not so bad when the players have coloured titles, but when it's all grey it's a GREAT BIG WALL OF TEXT.

If I'm in a scene it doesn't really matter anymore, but it certainly makes it harder to read through the logs before I jump into a scene. It must be daunting for a new player.

Likewise there should be an extra newline between Looking around you see the following players: and the chat itself.


http://maniak.cu.cc/
 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, December 21 2011 @ 11:51 PM UTC  
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The mechanics of how chat is cached prevents us from doing anything with the output itself. We can't just stick in a <br /> tag at the end of each line based on a pref, or indeed do pretty much anything based on a pref. And yes, I built it this way on purpose. Smile

What we can do, however, is assign a CSS class to the comment area, and then increase line spacing based on a pref, so the work is being done client-side. I'll have a look at this in the coming week.


 
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Jon Bishop
 Saturday, February 11 2012 @ 07:49 PM UTC  
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Hate to be pushy, but has there been any progress with it? It'd be a really nice feature to have!


 
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