[RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

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imkingdavid
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by imkingdavid » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:59 pm

I like the idea of this. The ability to easily notify a user about a topic just by typing their name would be great. It would save time that would be required to PM them or find them on IRC or email to let them know.

I think that the @ should trigger an AJAX search of usernames as naderman described it. When parsed, it should simply be a link to the user's profile. To make it pretty, we could even color the user's username with their group color, but then again there could be problems with that if the user then changes groups and has a different username color.

Of course, we would need to keep it from re-notifying from within quote tags. And we should only allow a user to be mentioned once per post (and perhaps a limit on the number of total mentions per post, customizable via ACP?) so that people don't get spammed with mentions. I also agree with implementing a separate notifications area to house these and other notifications. If we cannot think of enough other ways to provide notifications for users, we could simply call it "mentions" and only notify users when they are mentioned.

Should users also be able to opt out of being mentioned? Some users might not want to be notified when someone tries to mention them. In such cases, users should be able to select a setting in the UCP and any time they are mentioned it can be parsed to link to their profile, but they don't get notified, IMO.
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by Oleg » Tue May 01, 2012 2:18 am

> And we should only allow a user to be mentioned once per post (and perhaps a limit on the number of total mentions per post, customizable via ACP?) so that people don't get spammed with mentions.

No, decouple mention from notification. Then users can be mentioned as often as the poster wants but will receive notification once.

It doesn't make sense to notify more than once per post anyway.

Note also that the user may be notified about the post because they are watching the topic, we need to make sure they are notified only once per post regardless of how many notification vectors are possible.

Github used to have separate inbox and notification areas, with inbox for explicitly sent messages and notifications for everything else. Now I'm not sure what they have.

Not notifying users when they are mentioned seems like losing half the point of mentioning someone (you could just type their name).

Also what happens if I quote someone's post? Is that the same as mentioning them? What is the post text going to be if I want to quote someone's post and bring their attention to my reply via a notification?

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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by callumacrae » Tue May 01, 2012 5:27 am

Github used to have separate inbox and notification areas, with inbox for explicitly sent messages and notifications for everything else. Now I'm not sure what they have.
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by imkingdavid » Tue May 01, 2012 1:02 pm

Oleg wrote:Also what happens if I quote someone's post? Is that the same as mentioning them? What is the post text going to be if I want to quote someone's post and bring their attention to my reply via a notification?

Code: Select all

[quote="Oleg"]Your post here[/quote]
@Oleg my post here
Is that what you mean?

or would you like it to notify users whenever they are quoted as well?

And good point about decoupling mentions from notifications. We can just go through the post and then after we get all of the mentions, send out one per username regardless of how many times it is mentioned.

As for being able to disabled it, I'm just tossing out ideas. :)
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by callumacrae » Tue May 01, 2012 2:19 pm

No, he means if there is a @mention in a quote.

I earlier suggested converting @mentions to [urls] when notifying the user to avoid this problem. It would also mean that a user would be notified when the were @mentioned in an edit, which would be pretty useful.
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by drathbun » Tue May 01, 2012 3:27 pm

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I would find this incredibly annoying. With all due respect, I would not use this feature if it were created. And I think it would be fairly difficult to implement to be honest. The @ sign can be used for many different purposes, not the least of which is email addresses. Using it to trigger a username lookup is going to add overhead to the posting process, especially since if I am reading this correctly you anticipate this happening live, as I type the post? Granted the username field should be a unique index so the query process should be fairly efficient.

But ultimately what are you trying to accomplish with this feature? I can't think of a single time that I wanted to link to someone's profile. I want to link to a post, a topic, or some other specific resource on the board, but never to a user profile. And what happens if a username changes? The link no longer works. If you covertly store the user_id in the post and replace it with the username for display purposes, you can address that. If you're parsing the post for a username, I would think you would have to do it each and every time the post is viewed since it can't be static. It's not like BBCode, where once I format something as bold it stays bold. Something that is a user name today might not be tomorrow. What if user accounts are banned? deleted? or as mentioned already, renamed?

And frankly I don't care to know if someone is talking about me. :P

Just my two cents. I would rather see energy put to use implementing some of the other ideas than this one.
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by callumacrae » Tue May 01, 2012 4:00 pm

This won't add a noticeable amount of overhead to the posting process. Email addresses are easy to resolve: look for ' @' instead of '@'.

@mentioning a user would be pretty helpful. I find it helpful on other sites (GitHub, Facebook).
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by drathbun » Tue May 01, 2012 6:10 pm

callumacrae wrote:Email addresses are easy to resolve: look for ' @' instead of '@'.
Assuming a user doesn't make a mistake entering a username. And isn't it possible to have an @ in a username itself?
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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by Senky » Tue May 01, 2012 8:19 pm

drathbun wrote:...And isn't it possible to have an @ in a username itself?
Yes it is, and this is why I recommended to use syntax like:

@"<username>"

ie:

@"Senky"

as per username can also be multi-word, including email (@) sign.

Btw: using WYSIWYG editor it would be pretty easy to use it - we could assign new tag for it, just for identifying @mention, which would be removed after correct parsing. However, we need to consider basic editor syntax to be simple enough to use writing in text-only mode...

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Re: [RFC] Ability to @mention specific users in posts

Post by callumacrae » Wed May 02, 2012 5:28 am

That looks pretty bad, though (and usernames can also contain quotes).
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