NEW FEATURE: Sliding Comments To Speed Up LumberJocks Browsing

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Blog entry by Martin Sojka posted 07-17-2010 02:00 PM 2581 reads 3 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m proud to announce one of the greatest LumberJocks upgrades ever. Technical and user experience implementation raises the bar again and it also solves quite a few site bottlenecks with ease. These bottlenecks were the main driving force behind this upgrade but I’m very excited with how this makes LJ easier and faster to use. It even brings sort of artificial intelligence to your browsing experience here. Hope you will find it a pleasure to use down the road too.

So first let me talk about the major problems that caused this upgrade to happen:

  1. You sure know how painful it was to open and follow those growing posts like Joke of the day, What do you do for a living or You know you're a lumberjock, if/when. Once you clicked on it you had to wait lots of seconds till the site responded back with all those 300, 600, 700 and more comments.
  2. It got even worse when one these popular posts was brought back to the top of the Pulse or was linked from other site. This caused hundreds of clicks on these long loading posts. You can imagine how our server and database were crying and sweating while trying to return all those comments to every request. Overall LJ had higher loading times in these periods and it affected all members negatively.

Obvious solution to this problem would be adding standard Page 1 | 2 | 3 etc. system that you can see on every other website. However I don’t like this approach for discussions – though it works okay for projects, blog listings – because you quickly loose context of reading the comments when clicking on those pages and it’d be even worse with our intelligent readership tracking system.

So I tried to come up with a unique solution that works like this:

  1. Maximum 30 comments are fetched and displayed at any time even if there are thousands posted on any given post. So website speed will not be affected by these popular posts.
  2. Visitors that are not registered will always see first 30 comments with the button to show another 30 comments at the end of the comments list. This way they can read all comments in chunks without affecting the speed again. Here’s the button (with the info showing how many comments are displayed at any given moment) in action:
  3. If you’re a registered and signed in LumberJock and you’re clicking on the post that you never checked before it works same as above (#2).
  4. Things are starting to get interesting in combination with out readership tracking. If you’re signed in and click on the post that you’ve already checked and there are no new comments since your last visit you will be presented with the list of the last 30 comments (instead of the first 30 comments). Since you already checked this post there is no need to start reading comments from the top. Last 30 comments provide you good context and it’s easy for you to post a new comment at the end. Of course you have an option to go up the list and load previous 30 comments if you wish until you reach the first comment posted:
  5. And now let’s see how our “artificial intelligence” makes things easy for you frequent readers. Let’s imagine that you click on a very popular post that has 306 total comments and 128 comments are new to you since you last checked this post. Our LJ engine tracks this and when you click on this post it will show you 30 comments again but this time the first displayed comment will also the first one new to you (in this case comment #179). You can click to show previous 30 comments if you lost track of the past discussion:

    and then you can just focus on reading all new comments (once again these are new comments on this post just for you thanks to behind the scenes readership tracking) until you reach the end of the comments list. Since there are more than 30 new comments you will see a button to reveal next 30 comments for you:

    You just continue this way until you reach the end of comment list if you want. Notice how the system intelligently gets you to the first new comment and how it fetches maximum 30 comments at any given time to keep the speed high.

That’s it. I call this the Sliding Comments system and hope my instructions make at least some sense ;)

As I mentioned this system is unique but I’m sure it’s very intuitive to use. And with all the speed benefits it might be a good idea to revisit the popular posts that I linked at the beginning to see it in action and try it.


45 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4546 days

#1 posted 07-17-2010 02:05 PM

phew…........ that “easy” solution sure took a lot to explain it—so many possibilities with your one “sliding comments” tool

I like it!! bravo

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3727 days

#2 posted 07-17-2010 02:15 PM

well done , martin .

and having ‘artificial’ intelligence ,
makes our job so much easier .

can we use it to write comments for us too ?

that would be very handy (LOL) !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Gary's profile


9397 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 07-17-2010 02:20 PM

Great improvement Martin. Looking forward to using it and getting the quicker response

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3501 days

#4 posted 07-17-2010 02:20 PM

sounds great Martin but there is many times when I go to see a comment
and can´t remember the post I slide up to look at the pictures again just
to be sure of what is it I´m reading about in the comment

that´s would be a little tricky to do from now
or do you have a solution there too :—)


View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4546 days

#5 posted 07-17-2010 02:25 PM

not sure if I understand, Dennis… but it sounds like it will be easier as you are just sliding up 30 comments rather than 700.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4555 days

#6 posted 07-17-2010 02:31 PM

Sounds like a great idea and a huge time saver.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1588 posts in 3951 days

#7 posted 07-17-2010 02:33 PM

Thanks Martin, I may go back and re-visit those long post’s more often now.

Dennis, Keep in mind this only affects post’s with more than 30 reply’s

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4368 days

#8 posted 07-17-2010 02:36 PM

very cool, works awesome

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3689 days

#9 posted 07-17-2010 03:17 PM

Nice work.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 3804 days

#10 posted 07-17-2010 04:02 PM

Martin, you are a genuis.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4471 days

#11 posted 07-17-2010 04:17 PM

Thank you, Martin, you’re a genius. I have avoided those long, ongoing posts just for that reason. Your solution to the problem is quite elegant.


View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4463 days

#12 posted 07-17-2010 04:20 PM

great idea!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View a1Jim's profile


117626 posts in 3963 days

#13 posted 07-17-2010 04:23 PM

Sounds like a great update Thanks Martin

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3308 days

#14 posted 07-17-2010 04:28 PM

Thanks Martin,
AI really make a difference, how does the server’s brain could ever remember each LJ making onto individual history.. Again… a new way..

What about something like a draft mode for making comments or project? Sometimes there are some interruption and have to leave LJ section.. When you go back to LJ comments section all that you have typed are all gone unless if you had minimized that window. Can there be a message-like.. Do you want to save your work on LJ.. or autodraft mode… Just a thought if this will help us who are also attending other matters..

-- Bert

View sras's profile


5083 posts in 3515 days

#15 posted 07-17-2010 04:56 PM

Thanks Martin – Makes getting to the end of those long posts really easy! Works great.

A possible improvement would be a button to jump to post #1. When I stumble upon one of these long posts, I like to start at post #1. Of course, I can just move to the top 30 at a time so there is a way to get there. A button to jump to either end seems like a nice feature to consider…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

showing 1 through 15 of 45 comments

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