MetaPhile: No threaded replies

joeclark's picture

Message threading is a necessity for any properly-functioning Web forum. It’s something neither Typophile nor MetaFilter has, so we could innovate here.

It is difficult to set up properly, not least of all from a coding perspective, since it involves confusingly nested unordered lists. But for long threads, it makes the difference between “comprehensible” and “chatter.”

kentlew's picture

I don’t agree with this observation. I find sites with nested replies to be very annoying, confusing, and jumbled.

If there were other functional amenities added to facilitate more comprehensive quoting and comment-linking, as have been suggested elsewhere, then I think this would suffice to improve the flow of long, diverse conversations.

Further, if this sort of threading feature is indeed difficult to set up properly, then why even expose this forum to that particular roadside bomb?

Lex Kominek's picture

Threaded replies are confusing. It only takes a second to add @joeclark or similar to the top of your post.

- Lex

Florian Hardwig's picture

I’m with Kent and Lex on this one.
As the proper handling of threading is complicated, I’m afraid we’d end up with endless unnecessary quotes.
Just give me blockquotes.

DrDoc's picture

I agree with Kent, Lex, and Florian. I really, really dislike nested replies. I much prefer to look at threads chronologically. If you feel that your post is more relevant to a post that was made several posts back, then you can quote that post or @-reply the poster.

aluminum's picture

I agree with Kent, Lex, Florian and DrDoc.

dave bailey's picture

I agree with Kent, Lex, Florian, DrDoc & aluminum. :o) People are a bit more sophisticated on this forum and have managed nicely with chronological order, it just takes a smidge more time to personally address someone if needed. Use the 'cite' HTML tag if you're referencing a specific blurb...that works for me.

John Hudson's picture

If message threading is possible, and some people really want it, it could be a display option, but personally I do not want it. I like the cumulative and interweaving form of Typophile discussions, and I also like being able to respond to multiple previous messages in a single post, making connections as I go between the points made by various contributors. I've seen how threaded discussions work on Reddit, and what I see is potentially interesting discussions very quickly terminate as threads never generate the same critical mass as the glorious indiscretion of a good free-for-all.

Paul Cutler's picture

Hate threading. I turn that off immediately or I don't stay. Compartmentalization is not something I am looking for in a discussion.


bowerbird's picture

if i ever saw threading done successfully, i'd probably love it.

but i never have, so i hate it.


joeclark's picture

Torontoist (and possibly related sites in the same network) has a great implementation, it seems.

I accept the observation that replying to many people at once becomes hard or impossible, but if you’re doing that within one thread you still can. My point is that four topics about chamfered serifs interspersed in one post need to be separated out.

steve.mackley's picture

I too dislike threading, and would not like to see it. @Name works well enough

apankrat's picture

No threading please.

bowerbird's picture

joe said:
> Torontoist (and possibly related sites in the same network)
> has a great implementation, it seems.

i'll take a look at it. it's a hard problem, and i would love
to see a good solution, because it would be very useful...

i should also add that i think options are great, so if
someone wanted the option of a threaded display,
i would think that is wonderful, as long as i can also
have my option of a flat, chronological display too...


Quincunx's picture

I absolutely resent threaded replies. What typophile needs instead is proper quoting.

Although, to be honest, even that is usually quite annoying, as you'll end up with quotes in quotes in quotes, and even with a limit of one quote, post can become very cluttered. There is something I quite like about the simple system there is now.

aluminum's picture

"There is something I quite like about the simple system there is now."

For all its flaws, both real and perceived, I agree.

hrant's picture

Threading is inhuman.
Real people converse about stuff, they don't
just have knee-jerk reactions to bug reports!


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