MetaPhile: Pagination is harmful and deceptive

joeclark's picture

Breaking long threads into multiple pages is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • We associate pagination of this sort with the most vulgar commercial sites, which use pagination to artificially inflate pageviews, thereby raising advertising rates. The only other thing pagination does is infuriate readers who are just trying to get through the damned text.
  • Nobody using Typophile has so primitive or fragile a browser/computer setup that a long thread (of mostly text) stands any chance of crashing a browser.
  • Links on discussion homepages to so-called most-recent comments never take you there; you are taken to the first page of comments.

Pagination needs to be eliminated.

Mark Simonson's picture

Splitting up threads into pages bugs me, too, but your third point is not true anymore. Since the recent upgrade, the links work now and take you directly to the newest thread.

(I don't know if it's true, but I've assumed the threads are split up to reduce the server load and thereby improve performance of the site for users.)

kentlew's picture

This has annoyed me, too, since it was implemented many years ago (wasn’t the case in the beginning).

But Joe’s “harmful” and “deceptive” are typically hyperbolic characterizations, in my opinion.

I’ve gotten used to the pagination, and now that the New Comments link does go the last page, it is less annoying.

Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing this changed. But I’m also open to a convincing argument in favor of keeping pagination, such as the one Mark suggests might be the case about server load.

Lex Kominek's picture

Pagination isn't just about server load - it's about browser load too. I don't want to have to wait for 400 posts that I've already read to load just so I can read the new one at the bottom.

- Lex

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Another issue is that when you go to the last page of a recently-posted-to-multi-page-thread all the “new” flags are gone.

Don McCahill's picture

Come on Joe. First you complain about Flash taking too long, and now you want a 300 message thread to appear all on one page. If you want fast page opening time, you can't have it both ways.

pers0n's picture

Take a look at that digg thread that had tons of images on it. That page would be slow as hell for those on dialup or dsl-out-in-the-boonies. Even those with dsl sometimes have a really bad connection.

eliason's picture

I appreciate pagination when browsing from my iPod, as scrolling superlong pages can be a pain. (Of course if a fully features mobile version of the site comes to pass, that will no longer be an issue presumably.)

hrant's picture

For starters get a phone with a proper screen.


joeclark's picture

Well, I load 300-response MetaFilter threads quite commonly. (Typical MetaTalk threads have 150 to 200 replies.) We’ve just got text and avatars, people, and rare feature illustrations. That is not a lot for browsers to handle. You’re all using good equipment and you can all handle it no problem. This isn’t theoretical; I read lengthy forum postings all the time.

The server-load issue I have trouble buying into, but I note that it hasn’t been confirmed by the shadowy owners of this site, so I doubt it even further.

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