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A Question About Comments

I've recently changed comments to Hierarchical Threading. Would you prefer Chronological Threading?

  1. Chronological Threading Chronologically threaded comments are displayed strictly in chronological order with a simple note saying, "this comment is in response to So-and-so's comment"...

  2. Hierarchical Threading Hierarchical threaded comments appear nested, meaning comments in response to other comments appear next to one another. Typically the "child" commenet is displayed under the "parent" comment and slightly indented...



Hi Norm: I'll put in a vote for hierarchical threading. Often in a comments thread there is more than one conversation going on at a time. Granted, an apparent downside of this is that the new comments can still appear higher up on the thread if they are "children" of a much earlier "parent" thread. But the trade off is a more orderly way of specifying visually which comments are responses to what. (I also think, even if this is not immediately apparent, once we get habituated to it, the end result will be a more transparent organization).

The clincher for me is this: individual choice. If you don't want to use hierarchical threading, then you can simply post a "fresh" comment at the bottom of the thread, and it will show up in chronological order. If you do, but the only option is chronological, then you don't have the option of using hierarchical threading. So hierarchical leaves both options open, but chronological closes one off.

personally, I prefer hierarchical threading too.


I agree with the hierarchical threading.

hierarchical threading for sure. infact i continuously curse youtube for not doing it that way. sometimes its hierarchical but it seems most often its chronological. i dont understand why or where their coding error is but it drives me nuts.

Hi Norm.

I'd prefer threading if that option must be hard-coded. Is it possible to allow a "sort" option to be part of viewing the comments? Simply selecting "threaded" vs "flat" and "chronological" vs "reverse chronological" seem like the best of both worlds. Just 4 unobtrusive radio buttons somewhere with a sensible default (where sensible is defined by the informal poll here). Is that an option?

Another vote for hierarchical. Also: LwPhD has a good idea above.

Chronological vote for me.

I like to check new comments by just scrolling to the last one I read and reading onward.




It don't necessarily add up that way. Maybe I reversed my signs.

Wow, and I like the Wills within Wills, like some psycho-logical Ptolemaic soul-Our-system.

Most websites it's easier to have heirarchy, but I think OGM might be easier for chron. Most replies include sever different posts in their replies, and heirarchy limits replies to specific posts. I think going back to chron would be better, since it's easy to scroll to the bottom of 100 comments.

My opinion: When the comments are numerous (more than 20 or 30 per thread), hierarchical is better, as people can easily reply to specific posts.

When comments are not numerous (25 or fewer per thread), chronological is better, as a person can reply to a specific statement of another and we can all follow that line of thought.

OGM comment threads (not counting the "free book" threads) seem to run anywhere from 5 to 25 comments.

So with that in mind, I vote for chronological. If this site becomes "too popular", you should revisit that decision. Thanks.

A "sort" option (i.e. choice of views) such as LwPhD suggested would be great, but I don't think that's on the table.

As I see it, the problems with hierarchical are:

(a) the text field is not full-screen-width at this site, so conversational threads quickly funnel down to very narrow & hard to read comments.

(b) whether or not you are interested in all the conversations, every time you visit the thread you have to scan up & down trying to figure out if anything new has been added to the ones you do care about. It's visually tedious and un-ergonomic.

The problems with chronological are...what? Well,

(a) if you aren't following all the conversations, you are stuck with sorting through comments you consider extraneous. (But that's a flaw with hierarchical threading, too.)

(b)'s all I, personally, can think of. A little help?

Now, Norm said that, with the updated software, chronological threading would still incorporate "in reply to comment from so-and-so" threading. (That's not intended to be a link, by the way. I just inserted it for illustration.) The point is that using chronological threading, individual conversations woven into the overall comments can be pulled out by clicking the reverse-chronological sequence of "in reply to" links, until you are at the parent comment. Then you can simply click "Back" repeatedly on your browser to read that conversation in chronological order.

If that wasn't clear, try it. Go to this comment and click "in reply to comment from perspicio, and subsequently on all the "in reply to comment from so-and-so" links at the bottom of each comment, until you get to this one. This daisy-chains the comment thread. Then you can just browse backward through the series of pages to read the conversation in order.

I guess it's pretty obvious which method I prefer. In my view, chronological threading with "reply to" functionality is the most flexible solution of the options known to be available.

Man, just reading THIS thread shows how amazing the people of 1GM are. Respectful, forward thinking, expressive.

I vote for Chron, as most posts here do contain a quote from the previous post and are often a reply to several ideas presented during the course of the discussion.

aside: I'm a big fan of the Recent Comments bar on the right as well, as I have several community members I like following and its easy to see if older discussions are active.

I WOULD vote to have bigger text (a button?) for the 'blog/forum' navigation in the upper right. Took me a while to find it and that alone could increase traffic/conversation there.

I like em both.

If it isn't a big deal, I think we should try the new format for a while and see if people can use it responsibly. As I had fun with on the Maher post, if people over use the reply to comment it gets silly, but in some occasions it can allow for multiple conversations.

Is there way to make RTC's kick out to full column width after the 3rd consecutive one?

Wow, I always wondered about something like this, it's feasibility. After often having absolutely nothing to add, subtract, agree or not with the preceding, 3, 13, or 33 directly above comments, but at the same time being aroused to near uncontrollable, impassioned expressive urgency to heights of perspicuosity about* some wee item, detail, aside, jonathanbeckerism, or outrage amidst the general white (not that there's anything wrong with that) noise, sesquipedalian pedantry, restatements (and re- restatements) of the obvious, warm-fuzzies, group cheer-leading, mutual admiration, not to mention astroturf defense department blog-releases, etc. On top of all that, my astute, near X-ray penetration to the meat, the heart, the nexus of logically webbed levers Ouspenskian, Whiteheadian, Buckminsterfuller-of-meaning-than-is-thought-possible.... uhhh..... my blindingly intrusive brilliance, my flashes of Manhatten-project-like insight White-sandsian, were underappreciated, undervalued, even, on rare occasion, almost (but not quite) resented. In other worlds,

Hierarchy rules! The Word is shaped like a pear (with hyperboreans on top)




*(or by too much coffee)

Hierarchy in the UK!

Thanks for the responses. I'll leave it the way it is for now and see how it goes.

Oh shoot - I'm too late. I vote chron for the record. I actually thought I didn't care but I went to one post and had to go back to the beginning to find new posts and I don't want to miss one enlightened OGM post :) (at least until the election is over and we can all relax or hunker down for four more years.)

Hierarchical is good.

Hierarchical is good.


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