Topic Previews

UPDATE: after feedback, the excerpts and buttons shown below have been reverted

I’ve just installed a plugin which makes the homepage look richer on tablets and desktops. You should now see this:

Let me know if you see any issues with this. We can individually enable/disable the following:

  • thumbnails for topics
  • excerpts for topics
  • bookmark and like buttons.
  • category badge shown under title (currently disabled)
  • :+1: I like all the changes
  • I’d prefer to hide the excerpts
  • I’d prefer to hide the images
  • I’d prefer to hide the like/bookmark buttons
  • I’d prefer to have the category shown under the titles (as opposed to a column)

0 voters

This is how it would look with categories under titles (note: shorter excerpts):

Don’t know if it’s related, but since the new features were added I’m being taken to the last post in threads, not the last post I read (if that makes sense!).

It’s a bit of a hidden feature, but there are three ways to navigate in to a topic, and they affect what position you’re taken to:

Is it possible you tapped the last activity date as opposed to the title?

I tried to test this to recreate the issue you saw but it’s a bit fiddly as my account is up to date on all topics, and my test account @AmyFoster isn’t up to date on any topics :grimacing:

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Possibly. I’ll keep playing around with it. I might be tapping differently if I’m tapping the snippet rather than the title.

For me the font of the description/blurb is too big, which means that you get less topics per page. Id prefer smaller text so there were more topics per page. Also with a lager differentiation in font it would be easier at a glance to distinguish between the heading and the blurb. However I do realise that taste is just a matter of taste - and that what I like is not always what others like. The site is still very useable either way.

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I did wonder if people would prefer to see more topics per page. Let’s wait till we get a few more votes in the poll on my previous comment and I’ll go with the majority whatever you decide.

I’ll also have a fiddle with the CSS to see if I can reduce the size of the excerpt font.

I’ve reduced the size of the blurb text. Also got rid of the like/bookmark buttons, which should help get more topics on the page. Thanks for the feedback, Ryan

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Well, I dont know about anyone else - but I like the changes! :+1:

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My only thoughts are that the local services section is now harder to search. We used to have sections with an outline for each sector which were very clear. Unless this is now in a different section and I am being myopic again :grinning:

On my laptop I now get five topics the view. Not enough, in my opinion, but other’s may disagree. Also, I’m not sure how useful the snippet is on long threads when it shows the first post. However, I do like the tweak to make the topic heading bigger and snippet smaller. Much easier to see what’s what now.

I see from the poll you’re not alone in thinking this.

There is an option to enable/disable excerpts on a per-category basis. Some categories, like “local services” for example, don’t really need an excerpt, as “builder recommendations” is self-explanatory. I’d hoped this level of customisation would work on the homepage, but it doesn’t. It only affects the individual category pages unfortunately. The homepage excerpts setting affects all categories regardless of their individual setup.

I’ve disabled excerpts for now.

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Am not sure about the change yet but am puzzled by a couple of issues:

  1. It is not clear what drives the new behaviour. In order to answer this thread, I opened a new browser window but got the old style look (Chrome in both cases).
  2. In the new style it looks like the refreshing feature does not work. I would prefer to retain this over and above any of the other cosmetic changes.

Sorry for the confusion, @Brett - you won’t now see all the changes because I have now reverted some of them after feedback.

I have updated my original post above to reflect this.

The auto-updating of new topics should still work. I’ll do some testing around this. Thanks for letting me know.

@Brett and others - to see how the excerpts look, check out the Site Feedback category on your tablet / laptop / desktop. I have enabled excerpts just for this one category page.

I think that I preferred the clean look without the excerpts, especially as more topics can be seen on one page. I can see that they could be useful though - could these be made to popup when the mouse hovers over the topic heading?

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This may well be possible using an existing plugin. A list of available plugins is maintained by Discourse here:

We can also write our own. I’m happy to work with you, @timlund, and other SE23 techies to write open-source plugins for if you have ideas you’d like to explore. I’ve cut down my work-days at Morgan Stanley so I can spend more time improving the technology behind this forum (and also because I prefer spending time in all the local cafes eating cake and drinking coffee) :slight_smile:

This is my first tentative foray into writing a Discourse plugin:

It’s work-in-progress (no validation or security implemented yet), but when finished will be part of a slick payment system for commercial posts here on I’ll also be implementing a server-side app which handles the payment callbacks and automatically posts to the forum.

Would prefer to find an existing plugin than get my hands dirty with Java right now :wink: - have enough development work on my plate. Did a quick search and it seems the excerpt on mouseover used to happen:

There may well be other ways to achieve the same sort of affect. Perhaps shorten the excerpt and place on same line as heading or only show excerpts on followed topics?

After I’ve finished the payments stuff I’ll fork the “topic previews” plugin and will make the excerpt length configurable. May also try to make it configurable per-user.

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Hi @anon5422159, is there a way to optionally exclude the excerpt images from the thread list? I find them distracting tbh, and after the first viewing, I don’t really find they add anything to an ongoing thread where the latest posts are of most interest. I pretty much felt the same about the excerpt text when that was visible.

That being said, I can however see the benefit of the excerpt info for posts within the Offered category, where the first post is basically the thread.

Hi @armadillo, changing the settings on a per-user basis wasn’t possible, so I just whipped up a “userstyle” for you that you can optionally install in your browser to hide the images:

I’ve also made the excerpt images 50% transparent to make them less “in-your-face”