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New Comment Format Causing Confusion

Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2016 Posts
08/09/16 Edited 12/09/19

We have been using the old Discussions feature for the last 3+ years as a way of entering unrelated notes on projects rather than as a way to send messages back and forth between users. The recent transition to Comments has made all our notes look like replies to previous notes when in fact they are totally unrelated. To make things worse the most recent posts now appear at the bottom of the window, instead of at the top, and you have to often click on "see more" or "view n previous replies" to see notes that you could once just scroll down to. Finding information is now much more difficult requiring more reading and clicks to get to it. Users need to be careful to use the new comment box instead of the reply box or their note may go at the bottom as a reply to some unrelated note and be difficult to find. We're telling people to always use the new comments box for entering new notes but it will take many months before active projects close and the confusion about where to look for notes goes away.

 

It would be really nice to have the option to have a choice between the old discussions and the new comments on a sheet by sheet basis.

Comments

  • I agree, changing the format of existing comments has made them incredibly hard to read.  Nevermind the fact not all the comments show on the screen and you have to click the "see more" over and over.

  • edited 08/09/16

    We are livid with the new unsolicited and unwanted changes.

    Essentially, the new feature does 3 things that are not great.
     
    Firstly, everything has been reversed in terms of date so the oldest comment is now at the top rather than the most recent - which is not useful when viewing the latest position.
     
    Secondly, you now have to click "See more" to view the full comments instead of automatically seeing it all. Why add an extra click ?
     
    Thirdly, they seem to have arbitrarily grouped all further comments under the original comment, whether directly related or not. This is nonsense.
     
    We are now seriously looking at an lternative tool as this latest change to historical data is ridiculous.
  • Alex VorobievAlex Vorobiev ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 08/09/16

    As I said elsewhere, we really appreciate your thoughtful feedback, and apologize for any inconvenience the changes may have caused.  We are listening and continue to monitor customer feedback to assess and investigate any reported challenges.  I have posted a response to Robert's comments in a different thread here https://community.smartsheet.com/discussion/release-2016-08-06-comments-feature-request-loss-functionality#comment-12459.

     

    Thanks again!

  • Our team shares the frustration of the new comments changes. Incredibly difficult to find threads of topics, inability to collapse threads, and poor formatting of thread titles all contribute. It's making us question whether we even use the comments section given it is so difficult to search through. 

  • edited 08/10/16

    Was there any input from users before this was done? I sure was not advised or consulted. Can anyone name one advantage the new format has over the old one? 

  • Alex VorobievAlex Vorobiev ✭✭✭✭✭

    Apologies if I am repeating what I've said eslewhere - thanks again for your feedback and patience.  To answer your question - yes, we completed a fair amount of first-party (customer) and third-party research before settling on the new experience.  It is consistent with most consumer and productivity applications available today.  But I also recognize that it's little consolation if your work is disrupted by the change.

     

    My team and I have been focused 100% in the last two days on customer feedback, and we are looking at options to mitigate the concerns that have been expressed.  Most immediately, we are working on a fix to add aditional context (primary column value) to notifications, and looking to release that today or tomorrow.

     

    We are listening to your feedback and appreciate your patience!  Stay tuned.

  • Brad JonesBrad Jones Top Contributor

    UPDATE 08/23 - After all the hotfixes, we are able to maintain our previous workflow as long as people don't use the reply functions.  We still want to be able to turn off the "See All" condensation that's happening, but at least now our comments are in order and they have the title of the primary column.

     

    Thank You Smartsheet for working on this to get it to fit better.  

     

    All, check out your notifications and conversations.  You should see that it basially works the same as before, albeit a bit less visually clear.

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Brad, nothing seems to have changed on my end even after reloading Smartsheet. What did you mean by "hotfixes"? Since the update over a week ago all of our original notes are displayed with the most recent at the bottom as replies to our original unrelated note. The new entries we've made in the last week (all entered as a new comment, never as a reply) are viewed from the top down (most recent to oldest) until we get to our original post when it reverses.

  • Brad JonesBrad Jones Top Contributor

    Jim,

     

    By hotfixes, I mean the small ninja fixes that they make without putting out release notes or making any public statements.  Between the original release and now, it appears some changes were made in this manner because my notifications have improved.

     

    The way you describe it is how our works too.  What I meant was that, if we stop using replies, we have the most recent comments at the top and older at the bottom (excepting those reply mistakes made recently).  Yes the original notes are at the bottom, (I don't think that will get fixed) but all of the current information is at the top and is continuing to populate with new at the top.

    FYI, a fix proposed by one person of reviewing the comments from the Excel extract to keep them in order is pretty useful.

    And our daily notifications look the same too, as they all have the primary column title with them (which is how it worked pre 8/06, but not for a little while after).  

     

    So, we have some damage done to the chronology of the original threads, but at least now the damage has stopped (from my perspective).

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Brad,

     

    Thanks for the explanation. Since the new release as long as you do "add comment" they have appeared at the top for us. The problem is that all of our old comments start from the bottom and that hasn't changed. I noticed the notification emails started including the title but I wasn't sure if that was due to a change on Smartsheet's part. My app uses the same row over and over again as projects finish, and a new one starts, because of links to other sheets (over 50). When it comes time to clear out all the old comments at the end of a project I will have to delete each comment individually since there's no way to delete them all at once. In the old way all the comments were actually replies (though we didn't realize it) displayed top down and they could all be deleted in two clicks.

  • Brad JonesBrad Jones Top Contributor
    edited 08/24/16

    Interesting,

    The idea of re-using sheets is a way to limit the admin work of recreating links, but it presents a different spin on the workflow for you.  Yeah, with the old system everything was in one conversation thread, and you could delete the whole thread if you wanted.  (That's why I had to manually create the threads myself, since only the creator of the discussion could delete it.  Even built s script to open up all the comments for 1000 rows.Cool)

  • Jim HookJim Hook ✭✭✭✭✭

    Brad, you had quite an investment in the old Discussions system! Mine was fairly simple with only a few key people involved.

     

    In my system I started out having to create links on every new project to get the estimated hours and financials linked into various summary sheets. In late 2014 I came up with the idea of prelinking 100 system projects of which about 40 are in use at any point in time. This virtually eliminated the creation of new sheets and links for new projects. Now, it's just a matter of draging and dropping new project rows into the correct numerical location, much less work and much less error prone. The new comments display is annoying and confusing to our users but if Smartsheet could just ditch the "see more" and "view n previous replies" in Comments I can live with it until the current projects work their way out of the system.

  • Brad JonesBrad Jones Top Contributor

    Agreed.  Dropping the truncation would be 'enough' for now.

  • Alex VorobievAlex Vorobiev ✭✭✭✭✭

    Based on your aggregate feedback, we are targeting early September for a number of usability improvements to Comments, including expand / collapse, and improved readability.

     

    Thanks for your patience.

This discussion has been closed.