Mike Smithson’s provocative, tightly-written articles at politicalbetting.com attract some very astute and interesting comments.
But the site lacks a few useful features, which makes it quite hard work to follow.
- There’s no “reply” button, so people address each others’ posts using comment numbers, but the numbers themselves sometimes change when a comment comes out of moderation.
- The discussion tends to move quite fast, but the only way to get the latest comments is to refresh the page.
- Some days you don’t have time to read the whole thing, but there are some people you don’t want to miss.
- Not everybody who posts there is astute and interesting, and there are some people you’d just like to skip.
- The site only sometimes manages to remember your name and e-mail address, and often loses it.
If, like me, you waste far more time on the site than you should, you might want to try this bookmarklet. To use it, install the bookmarklet in your browser, then browse to the page you want to read and click the link:
- An “Ignore” link will appear next to each comment. When you click on it, it will hide the text of any comments by the poster you chose to ignore. It stores this information in a cookie in your browser, so it will still be there next time you use the site. Ignored posters get an “Unignore” link next to their names, so you can restore their posts if you change your mind.
- A “Favourite” link will appear next to the “Ignore” link. Clicking that will highlight that poster’s comments, and create a link above their post to let you jump to the next favourited post.
A “Reply” link will appear next to the “Favourite” link. Clicking on it will jump you straight to the comment box, which will contain a link to the comment that you are replying to. If you want to quote some text from the original comment in your reply, you can select the text before clicking “reply”.This is gone now we have Disqus, which already has a reply feature.
- A “Show more comments” link will appear under the final comment. Clicking that will fetch the latest version of the page behind the scenes and copy all the new comments into the page you’re reading, so you don’t need to refresh.
How to install it
- Make sure you have the bookmark toolbar showing in Firefox. (You can turn it on via View->Toolbars)
- Go to this page and drag the “PB Enhanced” link to the bookmark toolbar.
- If Firefox nags you that the bookmarklet may not be safe, tell it to go ahead anyway.
Update: Megalomaniacs4u has repackaged the bookmarklet as a Greasemonkey script, can install it once in Firefox and you won’t have to click it when you reload the page:
Update: Here’s a Greasemonkey version of the new version, for a Disqus-based comments system. This seems to work on recent versions of Chrome out of the box, with no need to install an additional extension.
Bugs and limitations
- I’ve only tested it on Firefox.
It probably won’t work on other browsers.Apparently it works on Chrome as well. Thanks Chad for checking that out. And Safari. The “reply” button doesn’t always work for some reason.
- After you post a comment, you’ll have to click the bookmarklet again.
- If you ignore huge numbers of posters, your cookie will get too big, and something will go wrong.
The “Show more comments” feature will show you the comments in the order that it gets them, so a comment that comes out of moderation will appear with the new comments, rather than further up the thread based on the time it was posted. This may make the numbering even more messed up than it already was.Fixed in Disqus version. The bookmarklet may open some kind of obscure security hole where somebody can put special characters in their username and steal your login information or something. It should be OK, but to be on the safe side I wouldn’t suggest using it while logged in as an administrator or moderator.Fixed in Disqus version.
I’m not convinced the cookies are carrying across different pages correctly. I’ll see if I can make another version that behaves better tomorrow.Fixed
Doesn’t keep the cookie when changing to a different subdomain.Fixed