Getting Someone's Attention with Poke
Develop | Posted October 14, 2009

Have you ever been participating in a code review and thought to yourself: "I need Bob's feedback on this change to the code." 

Bob is a participant in the review, but for whatever reason has not been paying any attention to the review.  Obviously, you can yell down the hall: "Hey Bob, pay attention!" but that only works if Bob sits nearby.

Or you could call Bob on the phone or send an SMS.  Or switch over to your email client and send Bob an email.  Or use IM.

Or with a small feature we added in Code Collaborator v5.0, you could "poke" Bob to get his attention.  From within our code review tool, we wanted to make it easy to gently nudge another review participant, so we added the [Poke] link next to each participant's name:


 When you "poke" someone Code Collaborator displays a confirmation:


And the recipient gets a notification. In Code Collaborator, notifications are delivered a variety of ways, based on user preferences: via email, a tray notifier, and a per-user RSS feed.  The default text of the "poke" notification is very gentle:

Reminder about Review #37: "Review i18n changes" from Gregg Sporar

Thursday, October 08, 2009 5:05 PM

Review #37: "Review i18n changes" requires your attention.

That text is configurable in the administrative settings, so you can make it as bold as you want.

Additional hijinks, of course, are possible by changing your display name so that when someone "pokes" you they see:


So use caution with this feature.  :-)

All kidding aside, the real value is that it enables each participant to have control over the level of notifications they receive about a review.  I blogged about this before in: Do I Have to Read Every Comment?

The use case is fairly common: if I have seen all that I am interested in seeing in a code review and I don't care about the author's responses or additional files that are uploaded, etc. then I can select "Someone pokes me" from the list of options and then click the "Finished" button.

If one of the other review participants wants to get my attention, they can always use the "poke" feature. If that doesn't happen, then I won't get any further notifications concerning that review.


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