Thanks For The Great Comments!

Every once in a while, there’s a Hackaday article where the comments are hands-down the best part of a post. This happened this week with Al Williams’ Ask Hackaday: How Do You Make Front Panels?. I guess it’s not so surprising that the comments were full of awesome answers – it was an “Ask Hackaday” after all. But you all delivered!

A technique that I had never considered came up a few times: instead of engraving the front of an opaque panel, like one made of aluminum or something, instead if you’re able to make the panel out of acrylic, you can paint the back side, laser or engrave into it, and then paint over with a contrast color. Very clever!

Simply printing the panel out onto paper and laminating it got a number of votes, and for those who are 3D printing the enclosure anyway, simply embossing the letters into the surface had a number of fans. The trick here is in getting some contrast into the letters, and most suggested changing filament. All I know is that I’ve tried to do it by painting the insides of the letters white, and it’s too fiddly for me.

But my absolute favorite enclosure design technique got mentioned a number of times: cardboard-aided design. Certainly for simple or disposable projects, there’s nothing faster than just cutting up some cardboard and taping it into the box of your desires. I’ll often do this to get the sizes and locations of components right – it’s only really a temporary solution. Although some folks have had success with treating the cardboard with a glue wash, paint, or simply wrapping it in packing tape to make it significantly more robust. Myself, if it ends up being a long-term project, I’ll usually transfer the cardboard design to 3DP or cut out thin plywood.

I got sidetracked here, though. What I really wanted to say was “thanks!” to everyone who submitted their awesome comments to Al’s article. We’ve had some truly hateful folks filling the comment section with trash lately, and I’d almost given up hope. But then along comes an article like this and restores my faith. Thanks, Hackaday!

41 thoughts on “Thanks For The Great Comments!

  1. >We’ve had some truly hateful folks filling the comment section with trash lately, and I’d almost given up hope.

    Has there really been more terrible comments of late? Or is this just perfectly natural depression at the general state of the world seeping in and making the same rate of garbage seem worse?

    HAD comment sections as a rule are more interesting than the article in my experience, with no offence meant to the writers without whom the discussion wouldn’t even be happening. But they can only ever have their own point of view, are not likely to be expert in every element they write about etc.

    1. Yep, I was thinking the same thing. We should do a statistical analysis of the negativity of comments on HAD with a suitable web scraping python script feeding into a LLM. I would do it myself, but i literally have better things to do. I actually believe, with no scientific proof, that the standard of the comments in general is fine …. except for my own comments (obviously) … which are mostly complete garbage.

      1. I’d agree; I think there’s more comments, which means more negativity, but overall I think the comments are mostly as good as they’ve always been, and certainly better than most sites.

        Training an LLM on our comments would however make a grumpy and opinionated old man AI… 😂

    2. >We’ve had some truly hateful folks filling the comment section with trash lately, and I’d almost given up hope.

      Trolls and naysayers have always been a part of online culture. There is always going to be a certain a certain amount of people who find joy in causing misery and chaos. The only correct thing to do is report offensive posts, and try to ignore the naysayers. In many cases the trolls don’t even believe the ideas they spread, they do it simply for the outrage.

      If anything, I find it is a sign that HaD is becoming more popular.

      1. Personality and Individual Differences
        Volume 67, September 2014, Pages 97-102
        Personality and Individual Differences
        Trolls just want to have fun


        In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.

    3. My guess is, uglier comments (perhaps not even truly ugly, just very strongly opinionated) usually get placed on articles about politicised, or semi-politicised, topics. When an article is about something closely related to current affairs, new headlines or something outside the technical domain people get an urge to spout their opinions on it. On those sort of topics virtually everything is opinion, so it is very easy for people to think “this article has presented one opinion, now I must add my own”. Articles on things people have made usually attract only nice comments, plus requests for further details which aren’t given in the HAD article or on the blogpage/(dot)io page/youtube vid which is linked to. Nobody finds themselves disagreeing with articles about how projects were made, so no opinion-heavy comments arrive.

      1. I was thinking something similar, for example if the article has a title that turns out to be click bait (which is sadly far too common on HAD) then people might be more likely to comment negatively in different ways. Similarly, if the article is poor quality, the comments are likely to be more negative. Try picking one of the very best articles and see how positive the comments are. Then pick one of the worst and see if the comments are more negative.

  2. The problem I’ve found with the cardboard method is that it’s often “good enough”, and I never get round to making something better. I had a mini ITX media centre computer running out of a cardboard case for about 5 years… worked perfectly well, but didn’t look wonderful to guests.

  3. Do HAD writers receive a bonus if there’s an exceptional number of comments? Does the award get parsed based on how many trashy to good comments there were and how much work you had to expend to delete the trashy ones? What is the article with the all-time highest number of comments?
    (Note the reverse also is in play – I find myself not being drawn to articles with no comments.)

    1. Why would writers get a bonus for the number/quality of comments? That’s something that is completely out of the writer’s control, and depends on many external factors like time zones, other articles on the front page already having lots of discussion going on, etc.

      1. It’s not completely out of their control at all. I’m not saying it’s 100% fair, but it’s a competitive world and the best article WILL get more comments and the comments WILL generally be more positive IMO. Somebody should do a statistical analysis to prove it one way or the other.

        1. No, often a really good article leaves less to discuss, while one with a flaw or that focuses on a controversial issue can be nitpicked to death in the comments. Mind you, that’s not a criticism of the authors here, it’s just a general observation on web articles.

  4. If painting the inside of 3D printed lettering is too fiddly maybe there would be better success using a font that connects the letters and using something thin to fill them in.

  5. I’m late to the conversation about creating panels, but here’s a technique I’ve used a few times that’s produced great-looking panels with no special tools: Obviously the viability of this technique is dependent on the use cases. The availability of the documented enclosures is probably spotty, but the technique could be adapted to most enclosures with a transparent lid.

  6. To celebrate the value of certain comments and to further contribute to their quality, let there henceforth be some sort of mechanism to correct small mistakes in an elegant, straightforward feashion!

  7. I do hope that some kind of overhaul of the comment system is in the works. The number of “oops, I did a typo” and “oh no, I mean to reply to someone else” comments is way too high.

    Comment editing and a clearer visual means to understand the hierarchy of a nested conversation thread are expected features in this era of the net.

    Another neat concept is “editor’s pick comment highlighting.” A way for people with author access to the wordpress backend to pick comments that are constructive or informational and visually distinguish them. Cooking blogs use them a lot and it’s really nice.

      1. Our Dutch Tech blog has a very nice comment system were comments can be scored between -1 and +3 and you can decide for yourself what your “quality” cutoff is for displaying comments. Also comment (sub)threats can be collapsed with one click. Would love such a system on HAD.

    1. “A way for people with author access to the wordpress backend to pick comments that are constructive or informational and visually distinguish them.”

      Bring back the blink tag.

    2. You enter a rabbit hole when allowing people to edit posts that have replies to the “old” post. Allowing edits to unreplied posts, however, is just a simple implementation that can be tied to a user login like any other system (Stackoverflow comments / and is no more insecure than the already existing comment workflow.

  8. I’ll reiterate my strong suggestion that HaD comments section needs an upvote/downvote system like StackOverflow and the like, right now whoever gets in first gets the top comment spot regardless of how awful their comment is, and some truly fantastic and useful stuff gets lost at the bottom of pages of inane internet arguments.

    Having a bad or hateful comment at the top also then either causes people to stop reading and potentially miss good stuff, or just acts to incite a flame war that pushes everything else off the bottom.

    1. let’s all agree to a common upvote syntax like:
      [[upvote]] or [[downvote]]
      and make a tampermonkey script that does what you suggest. Don’t need hackaday for that.

      Hereby I give your suggestion its first [[upvote]]

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