Before I begin, I’d like to establish a basis for comparison:
Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.
In some unfortunate instances, these omissions make poor Jon Arbuckle look like he’s crazy. Examine the following ‘Minus’ comic, and then examine the original - see the difference the missing context makes? He’s not really (that) crazy after all!
Minus comic (ie. “missing context”):
Original comic (ie. “with context”):
Now, why am I talking about Garfield-minus-Garfield? Because we have a similar “Minus” situation with the forums. I notice whenever I’m examining the forum activity pages of users, the displayed summary does not include or indicate the presence of quotes or linked threads, so the remaining summary can be completely out of context. By contrast, the presence of an image is indicated by [image] as per the screenshot below:
Here is an example where the summary appears out of context because two quotes (one from a different thread) are missing; however, if something like [quote] was included in place of quotes, then we would know to expand the summary in order to see the quoted context
Here is the relevant part of the expanded summary that includes the above content where you can see the missing quotes - I think in the summary we should insert the text [quote] in place of quotes in the summary so we know it’s there.
Obviously the summary won’t include the entire post (which might contain more quotes further down), but if we’re skimming along reviewing post summaries and we want to know that there exists a context to which the post is responding to, it helps to know the opening of the post is responding to one or more quotes. Otherwise we would have to expand each and every single summary to know whether or not there is missing context in the post summary, and this is a waste of time (and if we don’t do this, then the summary itself can be misleading and/or awkward with the missing context).
Likewise, I think if there is a link to another thread, it should be indicated with [topic] since presently it is missing. Here is an example summary missing a topic link or indication of a topic link:
I don’t want to be like Jon Arbuckle having weird conversations talking to myself, and I don’t think others want to be perceived the same way when their forum activity page post summaries are reviewed either.