UNICEF is a major terrorist threat? »« Why I love librarians

Trial run with non-nested comments

In the recent post on how best to discourage monomaniacs, without banning them, from derailing discussions by posting about their pet peeves that have barely any connection with the original topic, it was suggested that one improvement might be to eliminate nested comments that group sidebar conversations together, so that when one scrolls down, comments do not appear in chronological order. Up to now, this blog has had five levels of nesting..

Eliminating nesting would mean that all comments appear strictly in the chronological order in which they are posted, so that you could know immediately what comments have appeared since you last checked. This would, however, require commenters to make an explicit reference to the comment number they are replying to and may require some scrolling back to see it. People who are fans of non-nested comments say that it works well even on blogs that generate hundreds of comments. There are other options as well, such as having just one or two levels of nesting.

This is one of those things in which some people will dislike whatever option is chosen. I have no strong feelings either way but I thought we could give the non-nested comments a trial run and see how it goes. So that will be the case from this post onwards and I’ll keep that on for some time so that people can get used to it and then revisit this topic later to see what the feedback is.

I urge people to give it a fair shot.

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I like non-nested comments.

    Nested works well only when you don’t have multiple levels of response, and you have few comments responding to any single other comments.

    Once you have significant discussions, lively interchange, it breaks down.

    IMNSHO, nested comments are a Newtonian strategy. If you don’t want high energy, high speed, or dense conversation, going nested is fine.

    I am not your most frequent commenter, but I will embrace the change.

  2. Jared A says

    I recall what it was like when you were still at case.edu where it was always non-nested comments. After the transition to FTB I didn’t like the new nested-comment version at first, but I’ve come around to it. Eventually I concluded that nesting is better for your blog’s style, though it’s possible that as time has passed, the best strategy has changed.

  3. A. Noyd says

    Well, whatever comes of it, I’m glad you’re trying this out. One thing, though: A “compromise” might please people who prefer fewer levels of nesting, but it doesn’t do anything to enable the selective killfiling of bigots. Unfortunately, the killfile script only works on top-level comments. It’s an all-or-nothing sort of deal.

  4. says

    I like the non-nested better in general, because any conversation where I’m interested in following various threads is also one in which I’m likely to want to be able to read all of those threads, and hunting for new comments in a deeply nested thread is an exercise in patience and irritation, for me.

    It helps, to maintain non-nested threads, to regularly remind people that conversation is easier when comments are addressed, by number at least, and by poster’s name ideally for the greater CtlF-ability.

    I did post somewhere once with a very high traffic level, where the regulars were inclined to number subthreads as they came up, using the number of the first post on that subthread as the identifier for all comments about it for the rest of that post’s comment section. It does require a certain amount of judgement as to whether a given subthread has diverged sufficiently to warrant new numbering.

    There would be something like, in one comment:

    “DaveTheWoodchuck @53 of #26, I agree, but you have to consider the toast’s point-of-view….”

    “UppityPersonage @57 of #1, THIS! You’re so right…”

    “PhyzProf @ 62 of #1, I think the nested comments make it harder…”

    But I suspect the traffic here isn’t high enough, generally, to warrant the subthread numbering. Though being able to make the killfile script work might increase interest generally. :)

  5. wtfwhateverd00d says

    People assume that comments are a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… bloggy woggy … stuff.

  6. A. Noyd says

    CaitieCat (#5)

    I like the non-nested better in general, because any conversation where I’m interested in following various threads is also one in which I’m likely to want to be able to read all of those threads, and hunting for new comments in a deeply nested thread is an exercise in patience and irritation, for me.

    Same here. I’m not even sure why nesting fans bring up scrolling as a downside to non-nested comments since I end up scrolling waaaaay more when looking for new comments in a nested comment section. Maybe they’re more selective about what they follow? (This is something that a compromise of fewer levels would improve, though.)

  7. fwtbc says

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Nested comments are an accessibility nightmare. As said above, revisiting a comment thread later on and trying to find new replies to old comments is really painful for everyone, but extra painful for those using a creen-reader, which I am, so thanks for ditching it.

  8. says

    I prefer nesting because it groups comments rather than searching for one amongst 100+ posts, though I can live with chronological post. What’s most important is that the commenting system works, regardless of format. Both do, so I won’t complain.

    What doesn’t exist on FTB that exists on other sites are reply buttons with linkbacks. (No, I’m not asking that they be implemented). If the quoted text included an HTML Name/Ref link, a person could easily find the comment and commentor being quoted, even if posting is chronological.

  9. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 4. A. Noyd : … (snip) .., but it doesn’t do anything to enable the selective killfiling of bigots. “

    See my reply here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2013/12/18/on-the-issue-of-banning-commenters/#comment-819460

    (Afraid I’ve been busy and have come in very late on that thread.)

    You thinking and falsely misjudging those who disagree with you to be bigots does NOT make it true.

    It is, ironically & hypocritically, pretty bigoted of you to think that the other side of the debate are “bigots” who should be killfiled, silenced, made pariahs or banned.

    You clearly don’t even know what bigotry means since you defend Islamic bigotry yourself and attack those such as myself and colnago80 who are genuinely arguing against it. Groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Quaida – now *those* are bigots if ever there were any!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>