1. Sandtitz Silver badge

    AC enumeration

    I'd like to propose a small change to the forums.

    Problem:

    Some topics carry a lot of AC comments, and it's sometimes difficult to follow the comment threads - AC's answering to other AC's, perhaps the same AC even replying to himself to correct his post or to add further confusion.

    My idea:

    Inside a topic, could ElReg enumerate the ACs so that the second AC joining the conversation would be known as AC #2 for the remainder of the topic? Would be tremendously useful in some... more heated political topics where the back-and-forth includes multiple ACs, yet this change wouldn't break anyones anonymity as far as I can see.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: AC enumeration

      Good idea!

  2. jake Silver badge

    Re: AC enumeration

    On Sun Mar 25 14:06:00 UTC 2018, GrumpenKraut wrote:

    "Good idea!"

    Indeed. An even better idea would be if ElReg made the actual date and time that is already available if you look more easily available for quoting purposes. As they used to.

    View source, find "data-epoch=", convert the string (seconds since Jan 1 1970) to the time and date. One simple command:

    $ TZ='UTC' date --date='@1521986760'

    Change the timezone as you see fit; I chose UTC for what should be obvious reasons.

  3. onefang

    It might be by imagination, but it seems there are more and more ACs posting. I've just read a comment thread where the ACs waaay outnumber the non ACs. Numbering them per topic sounds like a great idea.

  4. onefang

    Just to make things more interesting, I have noticed there is an actual user called "Anonymous Coward", with a silver badge, a proper user number, and everything. At least the silver badge makes this one easy to spot in the Anonymous Crowd.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      > ...actual user called "Anonymous Coward"

      Nope, that guy has a regular account. He uses some script trickery to always appear as AC, still being able to use icons. Initially he used his handle.

      1. onefang

        https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/22262/ is the Anonymous Coward in question. The script trickery seems to have fooled the history on that page, I see no sign of any initial handle. Then again, the way El Reg describes it's voting system, it attaches votes to the handle you use when you post, not to the account. So I guess that might explain the history. I have no idea if El Reg ever actually blocked anyone from using "Anonymous Coward" as an actual handle, so it's possible. I'm not convinced either way yet. lol

  5. Jamie Jones Silver badge
  6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    How about a slight wrinkle in this plan?

    Anon Coward + number is quite a mouthful. So how about we assign them a random dictionary word for each thread. Then we've got one word to call them by in replies. So you could have anonymous aardvark, anonymous banana, anonymous custard etc. Obviously this risks confusion, if discussing different versions of Ubuntu - but should serve perfectly well otherwise...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: How about a slight wrinkle in this plan?

      What about the folks who actually have the handles anonymous aardvark, anonymous banana, anonymous custard etc.?

      Far better to simply make the date & time of each post immediately obvious. Then we have AC Aug 7@12:33:51, AC Aug 7@13:03:51, etc. ... or even AC@12:33:51, AC@13:03:51, etc, given that most threads don't last more than a day or so.

      Each post is already timestamped with the seconds since the epoch, so this would be a simple change for ElReg to make. Would be easy to reference particular posts from non-AC authors, too, I ain't Spartacus Tue Aug 7 14:33:51 UDT 2018.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: How about a slight wrinkle in this plan?

        jake,

        I agree that timestamps would be good. I used to use them for replies to ACs, until they took them away.

        I know we've got an anonymous cowherd (or is he anomolous?) - but I'm pretty sure we're bereft of aardvarks.

        Of course, my preferred solution would be proper threading. Everything else is just papering over the cracks for the lack of that obvious answer.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: How about a slight wrinkle in this plan?

          When you consider that there is a user who snagged the actual handle "Anonymous Coward" (tsk tsk, ElReg ... roll accounts should be sacrosanct), you and I both know that the trolls will snap up aardvark, banana, custard, (and Aardvark, Banana, Custard, AArdvark, Ardvaark) etc. Time stamps are easy to implement, and I have no idea why ElReg took the option away.

          Agree on proper threading. There are perl modules for that ... and of course threading with timestamps would be the best of all worlds.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: How about a slight wrinkle in this plan?

            - Yay to different words instead of anon + number.

            - Yay to proper threading

            - Yay to automatically timstamping the reply (Incidentally, the full date/time is now available if you disable javascript)

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