MATLAB Answers

MATLAB Answers Wish-list #5 (and bug reports)

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Rik
Rik on 3 Jul 2019
Commented: Leone Campos on 22 Feb 2021
This is the 5th installment of the wish-list and bug report thread.
This topic is the follow on to the first Wish-list for MATLAB Answer sections and second MATLAB Answers Wish-list #2 (and bug reports). The third started out as New design of the forum - grey on white and the fourth MATLAB Answers Wish-list #4 (and bug reports) is also growing so large it is slow to load and navigate.
Same idea as the previous ones: one wish (or bug report) per answer, so that people can vote their wishes.
What should you post where?
Wishlist threads (#1 #2 #3 #4 #5): bugs and feature requests for Matlab Answers
Frustation threads (#1 #2): frustations about usage and capabilities of Matlab itself
Missing feature threads (#1 #2): features that you whish Matlab would have had
@anyone posting a new thread when the last one gets too large (about 50 answers seems a reasonable limit per thread), please update this list in all last threads. (if you don't have editing privileges, just post a comment asking someone to do the edit)

Answers (39)

Adam
Adam on 26 Sep 2019
Edited: Adam on 26 Sep 2019
Has there been any further thought on changing what is considered a compulsory field for users asking a question? Title, body and tags appear to be still the only compulsory ones and some users are too lazy to put something intelligent in the tag field which allows you to type literally anything anyway.
Product is not compulsory and, as discussed previously, Release is locked until you select a product. This was the reason given last time I asked about this:
"With respect to the release drop-down being filtered, we do think this is important as it provides users with a smaller, pre-filtered list that is easier to use."
That was over a year ago and it still makes no more sense now than it did then given the reality. As another quick small sample, from the first page of questions just before I typed this, just 8 questions (excluding a Mathworks Tech Support team question) contained product information other than 'Matlab' (for which no releases would be filtered out anyway) and of those, just 5 contain the release. So not only is release locked until you enter the (optional) product, but it isn't compulsory even when you do enter the product. We're simply talking about a list of release numbers that a user has to select from. Having it almost useless just to make it 'easier to use' by filtering out a few releases is creating a 'solution' to a problem that didn't exist.
The release field seems fundamental to me and trivial to include properly. It clearly isn't working as it currently is because very few people fill in the release field. Surely the purpose of Matlab answers is to allow people to ask questions and get answers to them as smoothly as possible. So making it more difficult for the people answering the questions by not having release information just seems totally counter-intuitive. Obviously having the product compulsory for all questions would be a big help too, though again some users just put totally inappropriate products (Matlab Coder and Matlab compiler seem very popular!).
  5 Comments
Rik
Rik on 21 Sep 2020
And the release ambiguity struck again: I should have noticed that the screenshots in this question showed an unusually dark background, looking an awful lot like HG1. If the release was a compulsory field, a lot of back and forth (leading to the discovery that the release in question was R2013a) would have been avoided.

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Rik
Rik on 26 Nov 2019
Another nice-to-have feature: being able to move threads between the answer section and comments without having to repost them. One example of when it would be useful to only change the post type: this. In that thread there are 6 answers, each with some comments. I am not going to spend time finding out in what order they should be reposted, but if I could move the comment-answers (and their comments) to the comment section of one answer (or the question), that would solve the issue.
That thread is a relatively extreme example, but the problem of posting a comment in the answer section is a common occurence. I believe it has even been suggested that people should get a warning pop-up that they are about to post an answer to their own question (with the default option being 'post as comment').
  1 Comment
Guillaume
Guillaume on 25 Feb 2020
This is something that we've been bugging Mathworks about for a long time and I know they're very aware of the need for it. Of course, the implementation have to be balanced with the need of more important features.

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Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 28 Jan 2020
Spell check for questions / answers / comments
A spell check option would improve the quality of content, reduce misunderstandings, and reduce the need to edit our comments. The spell checker would ignore blocks of formatted code which could serve a second purpose of reminding people to format their code when their variable names are all detected as misspellings.
Browser extensions such as grammarly do not work in this forum even though they work in other forums.
  2 Comments

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Sindar
Sindar on 6 May 2020
Add a set of pre-written comments for common situations. Things like:
  • "this is clearly a homework problem, please display some effort first"
  • "god your formatting is terrible, here's how to do better..."
  • "please give a minimal example, not 200 lines of code"
  • "Saying 'it errored' is entirely useless, be more specific"
  • "please go through the MATLAB onramp"
(The actual comment set should include complete instructions, and be slightly less hostile)
Having the ability to insert these comments would save us time, lead to friendlier interactions (we all get impatient), and give better info to questioners
  6 Comments
Rena Berman
Rena Berman on 12 May 2020
This is actually already in consideration. Thanks for all of your feedback!!

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 7 May 2020
There is a feature called "Managed Followed Content" , would like to see a feature to be able to "bookmark/pin" questions within MATLAB Answers.
  7 Comments

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Mehmed Saad
Mehmed Saad on 10 Jul 2020
Edited: Mehmed Saad on 10 Jul 2020
Someone is Typing (Whistlist)
This feature can be very usefull not for the questioner but for contributors. For example
  1. Walter Roberson is typing a comment
  2. Image analyist is typing an Answer
Pros:it can save contributors time
Cons: Dont know xD
Like this or a popup for someone who is answering the question (that two contributors are typing the answer)
  6 Comments
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 10 Jul 2020
@Adam I usually use the first point you mentioned.

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Sindar
Sindar on 10 Oct 2020
Being able to collapse items in the activity feed would be useful. Fairly regularly, I have 3-7 items for "X commented and edited their comment 5 times." Occasionally, I'll have a full page of items related to a longer discussion (usually on one of these meta-threads). It would be useful if I could manually (or Mathworks automatically) collapse large sets into single concise items ("X,Y,Z commented 30 times on an answer to the question What frustrates you about MATLAB? #2"). This would make it easier to scan my log without worrying about missing a more relevant item in the noise
  3 Comments
Rik
Rik on 11 Oct 2020
This can happen especially when some users many several smaller edits in a row to the same comment/answer. It would be nice if those were merged in the first place.

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 15 Jun 2020
It would be better if there is a feature that warns when the first word of the poster is Write. Because at the end the poster edits away the question making the thread look pointless wasting the answerers time.
  8 Comments

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per isakson
per isakson on 19 Aug 2020
Don't encourage the use of "matlab" and "simulink", by showing them as popular tags. Instead, encourage the use of the Product field.
  2 Comments
Paul
Paul on 14 Feb 2021
Fully agree that the use of the Product field should be encouraged. Way too many questions post w/o the relevant product(s) tagged, which is bad for the questioner who might not get answers from product subject matter experts because the question is buried on the main page, and makes it more difficult for those same experts to answer questions for the same reason.

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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 13 Jul 2019
In Firefox v67, if you click on the m-file attached to a question, it offers to open it in MATLAB. But if I say to open it in MATLAB, it opens a new instance of MATLAB instead of using the existing, already open instance. Plus to make things worse, it does not even open the m-file at all. It just launches MATLAB with all your old m-files open.
  2 Comments
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 14 Jul 2019
It does however set the current folder to the temporary folder where the m-file gets downloaded to, however it doesn't go so far as to actually open the file in an editor window.

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Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
Expand/Collapse all comments
This goes back to Matt Tearle's request in the first wish list (2011). An expand/collapes toggle button would be useful so we can search a page without having to expand all of the comments. For example, find "lOVIT" in this thread.
This feature already exists in the MathWorks documentation:
  3 Comments
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
I would favor load-time over comment-accessibility. Some pages with lots of comments take quite a while to load. Even in the documentation, I often "collapse all in page" before scrolling through the page so I can find a section faster.

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Mario Malic
Mario Malic on 10 Oct 2020
When user sorts questions for which answer has not been accepted, the questions are found in two different sections. I believe this lowers the visibility of questions and adds an extra effort for the users who would like to help/contribute due to the fact that they have to filter by both statuses.
Filter by Status needs an addition or change: unsolved and solved. Furthermore, in unsolved status, there can be another one: answered/unanswered.
  3 Comments
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 10 Oct 2020
I agree that would be more explicit and intuitive

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Mario Malic
Mario Malic on 1 Nov 2020
Users who edit away the questions get an explicit warning not to do it again. Freeze account/remove rights to post questions/answers/comments for some period of time. Might be a bit harsh, so some alterations are welcome.

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 3 Jul 2019
When we insert a hyperlink into Answers from chain link button tool on the tool ribbon, the focus/cursor is not in the "Display Text" or "Target URL" field. It should be in one of them, preferably the Target URL field because I have a link in the clipboard all ready to be pasted in and I'd like to do that as soon as possible. Save us a step and put the cursor in one of the edit fields.
  5 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 May 2020
These days the focus is in the target URL section -- that is, this is implemented.

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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 3 Jul 2019
Firefox scrolling issue not fixed. I don't know if this happens in other browsers but if I go to comment or answer, the top of the edit box is off the top of the screen, so if I start typing immediately I can't see what I typed. I need to scroll down. It updates the screen with a nice sized edit box, but the top of it should not be above the viewable area.
  7 Comments
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 17 Jul 2019
I'm not experiencing the scrolling off the top of the screen issue anymore. I think I've maybe updated Firefox since then. So maybe it was a Firefox issue that's been fixed. I'm now using Firefox version 68.0. I'll continue to see if the issue arises again.

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 8 Jul 2019
Whenever a text is edited by mobile [safari browser] , the click produces superfluous three letters " ltr " , which is really frustrating.
  2 Comments
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 8 Jul 2019
True ;), hope it gets fixed soon as well.

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Adam
Adam on 29 Jan 2020
I realised I posted this in the ancient wishlist thread before.
Can we not have some white space back between answers? Since the last update all answers just roll into each other which looks frankly awful, almost to the point of being unusable for threads with multiple answers. White space is a good thing, in a forum as well as in code!
Different answers can often be significantly different. They shouldn't just flow straight into each other as though the 2nd was just a comment or continuation of a conversation in the 1st answer.
  7 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 May 2020
With the new arrangement I have sometimes been accidentally posting as a Comment to the Question when I meant to post as an Answer.

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 12 Apr 2020
Why is there a lag in the recent activity page? This has never happened before.
  4 Comments

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Rik
Rik on 4 Jun 2020
A soft-lock for questions, similar to StackExchange.
This soft-lock would prevent low/no-reputation users (e.g. <5) from posting answers in threads that have the same answer over and over again, like the date validation assignment, the school admission assignment, and the picker function assignment (each of these probably have multiple incarnations). One example of a non-homework thread with this issue is this thread, which contains a stream of complaints and single-word answers.
That last one is probably due to people not being allowed to post a comment to the question, so the only button is 'answer this question', which seems like poor design IMHO.
  4 Comments
Rik
Rik on 31 Jul 2020
Until such features as you suggest are implemented, splitting the threads seems the only viable option. I share your point, especially on mobile I don't bother to open up the long threads.

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 10 Jul 2020
Not mandatory but a replying feature to a specific comment would be nice.

per isakson
per isakson on 13 Feb 2021
Edited: per isakson on 13 Feb 2021
Activity Feed: "See more" asks for "See less".
  5 Comments
Rik
Rik on 15 Feb 2021
Excellent suggestions. I think this new page has a lot of potential, but it will take some time to get used to this.

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Rik
Rik on 8 Jul 2019
Editor support on mobile seems not fully tested. (I'm using Android 9 (Lineage OS), with Chrome as browser and Swiftkey as the keyboard)
This morning I tried editing an answer, but I got the new editor, which meant I couldn't select text and click the code button. When posting a comment I suddenly got the workaround (the old style editor with a preview window).
I tried setting the browser to desktop mode, but then all the admin tools disappeared, so I couldn't edit the answer anymore.
  3 Comments
Guillaume
Guillaume on 8 Jul 2019
The current implementation was implemented as a workaround for the fact that the new editor was completely unusable on mobiles. It's certainly not supposed to be like that but until the new editor actually works on mobiles that's what we're stuck with.

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Rik
Rik on 24 Jul 2019
Maybe this idea has been suggested before, but maybe it would be good to have a down vote button. I sometimes see answers of questionable quality, where I don't know where to start to explain why it is such a bad idea. I don't think they should be outright deleted, and a flag doesn't really seem the solution either.
Is this something that I will just have to learn to deal with? Or is there some feature that would solve this?
(obviously I will not link to any recent examples, but you could look up some of my embarrassing first answers)
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 24 Jul 2019
If I recall correctly we decided against downvotes early on, feeling that it would be better to comment or to post better answers (that might include material showing that the alternative would not work)

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darova
darova on 14 Aug 2019
I want a button for spoiler
Can't believe there is no such option on this forum
  7 Comments
darova
darova on 14 Aug 2019
Can someone please vote for my answer?

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Star Strider
Star Strider on 30 Jan 2020
It would be nice to have advance warning of some type that the site is going down for maintenance, and how long it will be until it will be back up.
For me today it was down from 17:00 UCT 29 Jan 2020 until 03:00 UCT 30 Jan 2020. Some parts are still not back up.
  8 Comments
David
David on 30 Jan 2020
Thanks for the info @Image Analyst. We don't think the issue was affecting all users but perhaps some users in some locations or some users at specfic times.

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 3 May 2020
Why is it impossible to copy paste code from MATLAB mobile?
  4 Comments
Anusha Sridharan
Anusha Sridharan on 6 May 2020
Thanks @Walter, I have shared your feedback with the MATLAB Mobile team.
@Madhan, Good to know that it is working after the update!

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Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 13 May 2020
Edited: Adam Danz on 13 May 2020
I just realized today that you can name a table variable with leading or trailing whitespace which prevents you from accessing that variable from the table using dot notation. A space could be added accidentally and it's difficult to see the space from the table displayed in the command window so it's not immediately obvious what the problem is. I can't imagine a benefit to allowing leading/trailing whitespace in variable names. (r2020a)
Table functions should either trim the leading/trailing white space or throw an error when it's detected.
Here's a demo for trailing whitespace
T = table(1,0,'VariableNames',{'A', 'B '});
% Notice the extra space -------------^
% The space is visible but not noticeable unless you're looking for it.
% T =
% 1×2 table
% A B
% _ __ <-- slighly longer bar
% 1 0
% Now access the variables
K>> T.A
% ans =
% 1
K>> T.B% no space
% Unrecognized table variable name 'B'.
K>> T.B % +1 space
% Unrecognized table variable name 'B'.
% This works when space is added
K>> T(:,'B ')
% ans =
% table
% B
% __
% 0
% You can see the space in the VariableNames
K>> T.Properties.VariableNames
% ans =
% 1×2 cell array
% {'A'} {'B '}
Here's a demo for leading whitespace
T = table(1,0,'VariableNames',{'A', ' B'});
% Notice the extra space ------------^
% T =
% 1×2 table
% A B
% _ __ <-- slighly longer bar
% 1 0
K>> T.A
% ans =
% 1
K>> T.B% no space
% Unrecognized table variable name 'B'.
K>> T. B% +1 space
% Unrecognized table variable name 'B'.
% This works when space is added
K>> T(:,' B')
% ans =
% table
% B
% __
% 0
% You can see the space in the VariableNames
K>> T.Properties.VariableNames
% ans =
% 1×2 cell array
% {'A'} {' B'}
  8 Comments
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 15 May 2020
Or if you're reading the table from a file disable PreserveRowNames which makes a valid name for you. https://www.mathworks.com/help/releases/R2020a/matlab/ref/readtable.html#d120e1046459

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 8 Jun 2020
Why is it not possible to see the code button when editing a comment in mobile?
  4 Comments

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madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 18 Jun 2020
Just an opinion. It would be great to restrict fake biased account created to just to vote.
  2 Comments
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 19 Jun 2020