The death of +1 subscribe comments is near!

I can't tell you all how happy I am to announce that "+1 subscribe" comments on are about to enter the dustbin of history where they belong! (Taking up residence right next to CVS). ;)

#34496: [meta] Add Flag module to allow users to subscribe/unsubscribe without posting a comment is now code-complete and ready for public beta testing on If you test this, please head over to QA for #34496 issue following to find out how to provide feedback (either positive or negative). If the beta testing doesn't turn up any major new issues, we're planning to deploy this live on (without any downtime, even!) on Tuesday 2011-10-11 around 10am PDT. HURRAY!

The feature is sponsored by...

  • The 88 members of the Drupal community that together raised $2777.27 towards an original "chipin" goal of $7000.
  • The Drupal Association which provided matching funds.
  • NodeOne which provided matching funds.

More details to follow soon. I just wanted to get the word out to the Drupal Planet that the staging site is open for public testing.

YAY! ;)


This is probably the best

This is probably the best news after or even before the git migration!

This will allow many many issues to be much more focused.

great feature

great feature

Add voting for the best solution

I hope they add voting for the best solution so that you do not have read through all the comments to find that one patch.

Why was such a basic function

Why was such a basic function that seems like it could be done through existing forms and functionality (and open for years) expected to need $7000?

Quick summary: because doing this right is a lot of work

Thanks for raising that question, I think it might be on a lot of people's minds.

I'm drafting a longer post with more of the background, I just wanted to get the news up inviting public testing ASAP so we can finally deploy this thing.

However, to start to answer your question... Although it "seems like it could be done through existing forms and functionality," if you look at all the work that's gone into making this possible, you'll quickly see this wasn't a "spend an afternoon clicking-it-together" ordeal. If you don't want to just take my word for it (which I completely understand) then you can do the following:

  1. Start at #34496: [meta] Add Flag module to allow users to subscribe/unsubscribe without posting a comment and look at all the moving pieces required to get this done and deployable on
  2. Follow all the links in the issue summary on that page and read all the dependent issues to get a sense of how long they took and how much work went into completing them.
  3. As one specific example, be sure to read #1284704: Provide a data migration path for following issues via flag.module. Given that we didn't want to take offline for a few hours to deploy this, we had to do a bunch of extra work for the data migration so that it could be running while new comments and issues were being created. That took extra time to code, and a *lot* of extra time to test (including twice organizing a team of volunteers in IRC to do trial-run deployments). We could have shaved some hours off of this whole effort by just taking d.o offline for a few hours, but that has a huge impact on the entire community's ability to get things done and collaborate, and it seemed to the rest of the infra team that it was worth the extra effort on our part to keep the site up for everyone else.

I've been trying to organize this entire thing as out-in-the-open as possible, extensively using the issue queue so anyone who wants to can see exactly what we did and why.

In the end, this took *much* more work than we had originally anticipated and we're way "over budget" on the $7K, but that's my problem, not yours. ;)


only for issues?

based on it seems this only works for issues? Seems valid for forum threads as well. :-(

Could easily add to forums later

Now that all the plumbing is in place, we could pretty easily add this to forums in the future. However, when speaking to other members of the infrastructure team and webchick, we agreed it wasn't worth delaying deployment to fix issues while we worked on fixing forums. The issue queues are the main place where this problem is so acute and horrible. There's been very little discussion or complaining about "subscribe" comments in the forums. In fact, when webchick and I discussed this about a week ago, we agreed you could almost consider it a feature since at least the forum post author sees that someone else is listening and cares. ;)

That said, I just posted an issue as a more appropriate place to have this discussion:

#1304216: Allow users to "follow" forum posts without commenting

Thanks for the very clear

Thanks for the very clear summary of what was involved in this undertaking; It's good to know that these patches fix not "only" the comments subscription, but being generic enough to fix other stuff like Forums. (I kind of expected it would... d.o. being such a quality project.. but I might not have learned of the high-level issues without your post). Cheers.

A small step for the

A small step for the programmer - a big one for the community - thanks a lot!

Great step to make

Great step to make subscribing to issues more clear, especially for new users. Thanks for the review, and I hope this improvement leads to greater efficiency and focus throughout the community as was mentioned in another comment. Nice work!