What Does the Accept Button Do?
Test and Monitor | Posted November 24, 2008

In the Code Collaborator chat window there is a button labeled Accept:

To understand the value of the Accept button, consider this example code review:


There are several files, some of which have comments on more than one line.  During the course of the review I might come into and then exit the review several times as I get distracted by other tasks, etc.  What I need is an easy way to keep track of which files I have already reviewed.

The Accept button provides a bookmark - pressing it displays the green check mark in my column (GS).  I can "accept" an individual per-line conversation and/or an entire file.  That allows me to at a glance determine which changes/conversations I have already "accepted" and which I have not.

The other day I wrote about getting started with Code Collaborator and I mentioned the help text.  This is what the help says about Accept:

Accept means whatever you want it to mean.  If you want, you can never use the Accept button at all. The actual effect of clicking "Accept" on a conversation is to mark that conversation read, and to put a green check mark next to that conversation in the Inspection page (main review page with list of files). Those check marks are visible to all users.  Many people use "Accept" as sort of a bookmark within the review to keep track of what files they've already looked at. Some people use it to mean explicit agreement with the conversation (as opposed to simply not replying, which is implicit agreement).

That's pretty much what I wrote above, only without the screen snapshots.  (See, I told ya' the help text was useful. :-) )

There are, admittedly, some usability issues with the Accept button.  The biggest one is the name: the word "accept" does not really mean anything in this context.  The easiest solution to that problem is to eliminate the text; I think I would prefer that the user interface look more like:


But even that is not a complete solution - an additional usability issue with the current Accept button is that once you "accept" something you cannot "un-accept" it.  So some sort of toggle feature is also needed. 

In the mean time, though, the Accept button is still very useful for helping me navigate through everything I have seen or not seen in a review.


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