The other day I was reading the discussions taking place in the comments on a relatively interesting blog post. I didn’t want to subscribe to comments via email because I hate littering my inbox with that stuff, so every now and then I’d flip over to that tab in my browser, refresh the page, and read the new comments. This worked ok up to a couple dozen comments. I had to step away for a few hours, and when I came back there was three dozen or so new comments. I couldn’t tell what was new and what wasn’t. So I didn’t read any of them.
Then I realized something I’ve known for a long time and never really paid any attention. Discussion software sucks. There are lots of reasons, and people have tried addressing these problems in a number of ways. And while there are many different types of platforms for discussions – forums, blog comments, Facebook groups, etc. – each with its own set of problems, there’s one problem that’s almost universal: the inability to identify new comments since your last visit.
Naturally I wondered if anyone had created a WordPress plugin that highlights new comments, and a quick search turned up nothing. But I did find a blog post by Natko Hasic that laid out an interesting way to highlight new comments.
I decided to turn his solution in a plugin. Comments Since Last Visit is a simple WordPress plugin that highlights new comments made on posts since a person’s last visit.
Right now it’s very simple and has no options for controlling the color, spacing, or other CSS. It’s better suited for developers or tinkerers who’d want to modify it to their own liking. Check it out and let me know what you think. And if you know a better or more interesting way to do this, please share.