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"a recent message of mine"



2:36 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm just wondering, what's the time period for the message mentioned in the subject? Would it not make sense to increase it, or make it a user customizable option?

When replying to a thread (will have 2 posts after I replied), the opener may not read it or reply to it for a long time, long enough that this aforementioned time period expires. When finally the opener replies, almost nobody happens to open that thread because there are already three posts in that thread - and why would I open it either, if I don't see it is related to me in a way? Does this make sense?

Disclaimer: Without written permission of the author, this explanation shall not be used to confuse people other than the ones on the forum where this message has been posted.


7:50 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Does this make sense?

Not really. ;)

Are you talking about the edit window? (The time available to edit your post.) If so then this FAQ would apply:

  • FAQ: How long can I edit my own messages? [webmasterworld.com]

    However, as we're undergoing maintenance & upgrade [webmasterworld.com] at the moment, some things are in flux.

  • gergoe

    10:32 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    No, not the editing.

    When replying to a thread, in the thread list a small exclamation mark appears, denoting that it was a thread you replied to, or in better words you joined the discussion. But this flag disappears with time, and you can't see anymore the threads, which may be relevant to you. And suppose the flag is gone, the thread opener replies, then his reply might be left unnoticed. That's what I mean.


    11:21 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

    The triangle/exclamation mark is only as an indicator of current active threads.

    The best solution is to select "email notification"

    That way you will know someone has replied.


    11:37 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    I'm replying to numerous threads a day (usually on one forum only, but not always), I don't think setting email notifications is the best way for this. And besides, it is not my interest to have the replies/questions of the original poster answered (although I'm here to help other users), but his/hers (and yours in a way?), and at last flooding my mailbox with notifications is something I'd love to avoid :-)

    I know that it is about active threads, but a thread is active if there are replies sent to it, so deciding whether to show this exclamation mark or not based on the time of my post instead of the time of the very last post is not that life-proof?

    [edit]And indeed, when I'm opening a new thread, I used to ask for email notifications (like in the case of this one), but that's for my own threads/questions, there aren't more than ten from similar ones :-)[/edit]


    11:41 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    If I get it correct, I remember Brett responding to something similar issue, the reason being that it is more resource consuming to get you connected to all the responses you have had since you joined.


    11:55 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    To mark *all* threads where I ever replied - that's indeed asking for trouble. And even marking a thread to be "mine" which had no replies for a year or so is also useless.

    But marking a thread which has started last year, where I replied three months ago, and today someone brings it up, that's something I expect!


    12:16 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

    i believe those icons show up next to those threads from the "Recent Messages" list on your profile page.
    so the last N threads in which you participated get marked.


    12:50 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    Yes, that's it (but please note that it is called "My threads, View threads that you have participated in.", not "My threads, View threads where you posted recently."). And now choose which of the statements below are true:

    A thread I participated in, is considered to be recent if

    1. the message I sent to that thread is not older than a month;
    2. the latest post in that thread is not older than a month.

    What describes the status of a thread better than the last message posted to it?

    [edit]Before anyone complains that it is not one month or similar; that was just an example - actually I have no idea of the logic behind this, but looks to be fine, except the above mentioned logical conflict.[/edit]


    7:38 am on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

    It's the last chronological N threads you posted in that get that mark.

    If you post in 1 thread a month for a year and N=10, then at the end of the year you'd see the triangle mark next to every thread from March thru December.


    10:57 am on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    (in the meantime I noticed the same explanation within the 'My threads' option in the Control Panel, that page mentions 25 posts)


    If I post one reply a day, on the 26th day, the first reply I made will not be marked anymore (regardless of the other posts in that thread or the state of the moon). That's what happens now. What I would find much more logical that those last 25 threads are marked which are still active.

    In terms of sql (I'm giving up; last chance :-)
    SELECT TOP 25 * FROM messages WHERE poster=me ORDER BY my_post_date DESC;
    SELECT TOP 25 * FROM messages WHERE poster=me ORDER BY last_post_date DESC;


    11:05 am on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    gergoe, isn't the system text file based?


    11:17 am on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    I don't know, I never felt tempted to open it ;-)

    The SQL above is a last resort for explaining what I'm missing, not a help for Brett so he can copy and paste it.


    3:41 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

    A timely topic gergoe. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Please remember that the original baseline for the software was written in early 1997 and received major upgrades in 1999, 2003, and 2007. The logic behind the current "recent message" system grew out of two distinct but separate needs:

    Need #1
    Finding recent messages you participated in. We simply needed a way of tracking our own (and friends) recent messages. We started out tracking over 100 of your last active threads on your profile.

    Need #2
    When we first started under this software in 99, many se spiders had trouble getting to all the content. Inktomi, Altavista, AllTheWeb, and the new kid on the block Google, would be lucky to spider the site once every three months and it would be hit-or-miss if you got your freshest content into the indexes. Knowing that se's had begun to move to a links based system of merit (eg: off the page criteria, or page rank), we knew we had to get the freshest content in front of the spiders. I didn't want to wait three months for fresh content to show up in the se's, only to be dated as soon as it was there. There is also the fact, that I have never liked running into forum content in search engines anyway because alot of it was suspect because it was dated. So I was driven to get some of our killer content in front of the spiders to the degree that it actually generated time sensitive referrals. The best way to get that content in front of the spiders, was via links that pointed at that freshest content. We needed a search light to focus on the quality content - links on your profile was like a search light for the spiders. Knowing we needed #1 above, the light bulb went off and we combined the two needs.

    The Solution:
    I don't know which need came first, but the current solution sure fit the bill perfectly on both accounts. Tracking the "active threads" you participated in - as opposed to recent messages you have left - worked well to focus the spiders on currently active and growing content.

    The Results:
    I can not think of another thing we have done here in 10 years that had a more positive impact on search engine referrals. Not the level of referral, but the QUALITY of referrals. Most forum content you run into from search engines (more so in the past) was suspect because it was dated. With WebmasterWorld, the content people ran into from the se's was current alot of the time. We stood above the other communities out there because our best content was was recent applicable to the surfers current needs. The surfer could immediately find and participate in active discussions of current concern to them. They were hooked and became involved.

    The Problem:
    As someone alluded too - yes, we use a flat file database system here. As the "recent messages" system grew along with the huge membership base, the load on the server became extremely high. The "recent messages" is one of the most system intensive operations we have. We were forced to scale back the 100 recent messages to around 20.

    The Future:
    That all said, I think Need #2 above is not as important as it used to be. The engines do a pretty good job of getting to all the content in a timely manner. I can not detect any huge differences now in the age of our content with relation to referrals as we used to be able to do just a few years ago. The engines have really stepped up their spider and caliber of freshness a great deal.

    So, there are some tweaks going on under-the-hood behind-the-scenes and we are going to switch this a bit in the near future. We will move to a system where only your "latest messages" will show on your profile or "my threads" lists. They will be listed in the order you left them in (as opposed to the order of active threads as it is now).

    I think that should address most every ones needs on the issue.


    9:22 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    Excellent reasoning, I can understand that well (actually you spent twice as much time replying as it would be really needed - unless this same text has been already posted dozens of times already ;-)

    But before you go behind the scenes, let me clarify one thing: my actual question/problem;

    The way the messages are sorted in the my thread list are just fine. The way the messages are sorted in the profile is (probably) fine. So in general the sorting is just fine. Actually I think I confused you with my SQL command, it is not the order of the messages I found illogical, but the mechanism which selects these messages. I think you first look up my last 20 message I sent, and once you have that you find the corresponding threads, and actual messages for these threads, AND you present them in the order the of the threads ("order of active threads" as you refer to). This is what I found to be against logic, because my last 20 post will hardly always match the last 20 threads (sorted in chronological order, and not by the date i posted my message there) I participated?

    A very simple example (straight to the point where it started): Look at this thread [webmasterworld.com], The fellow started the thread last year December, shortly after there was a reply. At that time the thread was marked with the yellow asterisk (and appeared in my threads an all other places). So far so good. But he dig it up from somewhere and posted something again almost four months later. It appeared on top of the forum nice and well, but it did not had the yellow asterisk - it should have!

    When in March he posted that reply and I checked the forum, probably my response (in that thread) was the 50th in the chronological order of my posts, but in the order of active threads it was the first. So the 20 message you remember as "my threads", should have include this one, because while that message was old as the motorway, the thread was the newest of all the other ones.

    But to be honest, if you use the file system to store everything(?), then I must admit that my question is less significant, because it would be a hell-of-a-job to make it...

    [sorry]If you can understand this whole junk called post, I'll pay you a beer.[/sorry]


    9:51 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

    it is there on your profile - but it has fallen below the threshold of the last XX (I forget what it is set at right now) messages. I can see it, just below the threshold. This is what I was talking about with the incredible system load. We just had to set a cut off point.

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    10:31 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    Of course it's there, because I replied to it a few days back, but would it be there if I would not have done that? Would it be there if the date of my last message is from last year, but the date of the last message (of the whole thread) would be today?

    Write a dummy reply to this thread [webmasterworld.com], and see it appear in the "my threads" list or in under my profile, but it will certainly not be marked as "mine" in the forum list [webmasterworld.com].

    And the last one is the subject of my 'complaining'. The list under my profile should indeed reflect my latest x posts, that's an indication of where I have tried to confuse people lately, while the forum list should show the threads, and the top x threads in the list should get that yellow exclamation mark where I posted something, but those x threads should have been counted in the order of appearance, not in the chronological order of my posts.

    Anyway, if you're still with me, give that thread a dummy sho[ou]t, that should explain what I'm trying to pass on, better than myself.


    12:31 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member

    It come to the top of the threads in the forum, but it is not marked with the yellow exclamation mark (while it does not appear in 'my threads', nor the profile, but I think that's just perfect like that considering their purpose - as per your explanation).

    So what I have in mind is to mark the top x messages as "mine" on the forum's thread list, instead of marking those threads where I recently posted something (by leaving such as this thread from last year unmarked).

    I believe that on the forum pages it is more important to know which of the recent/actual threads has any importance to the forum user (me), than the other way. A thread with 5 messages might not catch the attention of the users, but a user who already posted something in that thread (therefore this user will see that yellow icon), will certainly check that thread out.

    More replies, fewer bumps, better follow-up of threads, more satisfied users.

    Me feel like being selling vacuum cleaners :-)