Maybe we can all just agree to use the "@ ______" model...
January 13, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

How do you keep track of when you are quoted or replied to here and on other internet forums?

Simple question. Lots of times someone will quote me after I've left a thread and I won't find out until much later. This is a shame because it hinders conversation.

I've tried setting up a Google alert for my handle, but this hasn't always worked and tends to return too many false positives. On some sites a direct quote will be formatted like "posted by [my name]" or something, for some reason setting this up works sometimes but not always. When it does work, it tends to appear days after the fact. What do you do, and why isn't there a company getting rich on this?
posted by 2bucksplus to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't feel like I have to have the last word, so either I check back or not. On this site, I use recent activity to see if there is any.
posted by AugustWest at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Disqus is the company trying to get rich solving this problem. Of course, it is only useful if the web sites you are commenting on use Disqus to manage the comments.
posted by COD at 1:26 PM on January 13, 2011

As AugustWest said, for a Metafilter discussion you can use the Recent Activity tab (and if the thread has moved quickly enough that there are more comments than the 10 you see in Recent Activity, you can open the whole thread and do a Ctrl-F search for your name).

For discussions on other websites, if it's something I'll want to keep participating in, I bookmark the thread and check back.
posted by amyms at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2011

I leave conversations all the time -- especially on the Metafilter family of sites -- with much worry. I figure if I didn't answer a question or someone in Ask Metafilter had a question, they could just MeMail me. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not losing sleep over it. I hope people read my comments but I'm not usually hitting refresh all day to see if they've quoted me or making a reply too me. In fact, because of the format of Metafilter, people often reply to other people's replies and quoted material.

Other sites that are "discussion sites" compared to Metafilter's "community weblog" model are good having notifications when someone has commented on your comment. The orangered envelope in Reddit or email notifications on other forums do a better job. I suppose I could coordinate all those sites and write an email rule so they're all dumped int the same folder or highlighted in some color.

But as far as "fixing" Metafilter, it is a topic better served in MetaTalk. I don't think Metafilter is broken, but moving it to a platform that had "replies" is a really big thing to take on. And Matt and the community need to decide if it is worth the effort.
posted by birdherder at 1:59 PM on January 13, 2011

Most forums that use forum software (PHPbb, UBB, vBulletin, etc.) have a feature that lets you "subscribe" to a thread, so you get an email alert every time someone replies, or an email digest of all replies once a day, or what have you. A lot of blogs have the same sort of "notify by email of replies" feature (Cute Overload does this). A lot of blogs also have a "comments RSS" feed you can subscribe to for posts with comments. Reddit lets you subscribe to threads via RSS, and of course MeFi has Recent Activity and RSS.

Since so many sites use completely different software to create their communities, you pretty much have to handle each one on a case-by-case basis, I'd say (which also somewhat answers the "why isn't some company getting rich on this" question, I think). There are companies trying to centralize site logins and blog commenting like Disqus or OpenID, but as COD says, they all rely on site owners choosing to use them, and not all site owners do. Google Alerts have their uses (I've got several set up for my real name and various handles that I use), but since you can never be sure exactly when Google's gonna crawl a given discussion, the results can appear well after the fact, as you've seen.
posted by Gator at 2:02 PM on January 13, 2011

I agree that Disqus could be the answer you're looking for (assuming all sites use it) but in its current state, it doesn't really work.

For starters, they used to have an RSS feed for "Replies to you", which was nice because you were alerted to new comments as and when they happened through your RSS reader or widget. Except all of the links that the feed gave you sent you to an error page. They "solved" this problem by not offering the RSS service in the new design.

If you go onto the website you can view the recent comments people left and it generally does work. However some of the links to responses don't actually take you to the comment thread but the main site (they send you to an invalid deep-link and the site responds by redirecting you to the front page) so you still have to go and manually search for the article to find your response.

It's a start, but it needs more polish.
posted by mr_silver at 4:25 AM on January 14, 2011

do it the old fashioned way: created a folder in your browser titled "posts" then any time you post on a forum bookmark it in that folder then return to it periodically through the day and do a page search for your name.
posted by any major dude at 5:12 AM on January 14, 2011

I generally just check threads I've posted on until I've had enough, and then let it go. You have to be prepared to let 'em go.

Now on reddit it's much easier because you get the orangered envelope every time someone responds to you, plus a list of all the relevant comments so you can go straight there.

As for people quoting you, well, I think the only way to follow those is to do searches on the text of your messages, and that seems more than a little OTT to me. This is why it's nice when people include your user name when quoting, so that you can find them via a search on that.
posted by Decani at 5:27 AM on January 14, 2011

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