Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

About Threaded Comments….

Posted by BrianJ on December 31, 2009

What do our authors/readers think about the threaded comments? We seem to be using them a lot on the blog lately, but I know that some people really dislike them.

(Threaded comments are where a reply to one comment is posted directly after that comment, usually indented, as opposed to at the “end of the line.”)

Pros: allows users to respond directly to a specific comment, no matter how old that comment is, and makes it very clear what is being responded to. In other words, it lets a tangent look like a tangent.

Cons: makes reading RSS feeds (e.g., Google Reader, or even the “Recent Comments” window at the top left of the blog) very confusing: new comments don’t have to quote the comment they are referring to,  making their context ambiguous. Readers must visit the actual thread to understand how the comments are threaded, and then they have to search through the thread to find the threaded comment (as opposed to all the newer comments always being at the bottom).

So, do we like threaded comments, or do we disable that feature?

19 Responses to “About Threaded Comments….”

  1. BrianJ said

    Just to be clear, we’ll make this comment #1.

    • BrianJ said

      but this is a threaded comment: even though it’s the 4th (chronologically) comment on this post, it appears as a direct response to comment #1. Thus, it does not need to quote or reference the comment it is responding to (in contrast to #3 below) and can simply say:

      That is is totally insightful and you’re awesome in every way.

  2. BrianJ said

    And this is comment #2.

  3. BrianJ said

    And this is a non-threaded comment in response to #1, which might say something like:

    Hey, comment #1, that is is totally insightful and you’re awesome in every way. Especially the “to be clear” part.

  4. Robert C. said

    I kind of like having both options, though I think threaded comments can be hard to find and/or notice if they aren’t the most recent comment. So, I tend to use threaded comments if it’s a quick response to the most recent comment. Otherwise, I’d be inclined to use a non-threaded, numbered comment.

  5. KirkC said

    I don’t mind threaded comments as long as I am following a conversation closely. However, I prefer non-threaded for the most part. I like to just list the post number or persons name if I am referring to something specific.

  6. KirkC said

    Oh one more thing. I don’t mind one comment threaded, but I don’t like having like five of them in one box. In other words, stay on topic and don’t have a side conversation in with another person in a box. Does that make sense what I am saying? I don’t know if I explained it well or not.

  7. BrianJ said

    I’m still not clear which way either of you would vote: keep or disable the feature?

  8. Non-threaded comments are much easier to follow when the overall discussion goes to several screens. Otherwise, I don’t have a strong opinion either way.

  9. Jacob J said

    I really think we need a button to switch between views (threaded/non-threaded). Until we get that, I prefer non-threaded for the ease of identifying new comments.

  10. Robert C. said

    Jacob, if you’re forcing me to vote (and to cut off one of my two economist hands), I’d personally be slightly inclined to keep, but it seems others prefer to disable the feature, so now I vote to follow this preference and disable.

  11. Sterling Fluharty said

    Nonthreaded can work fairly good if commenters are encouraged to list the comment # they are responding to, if necessary.

  12. KirkC said

    I guess I am voting for non-threaded.

  13. joespencer said

    If I had to vote, I’d also go for non-threaded discussions.

  14. NathanG said

    I would vote for non-threaded. It seems harder to keep up with recent comments at times when the discussion is active.

  15. KirkC said

    I thought you might find the humor in that!

  16. KirkC said

    Should we keep or dump the threaded comments? Here are the votes so far:

    #8, Ardis, dump
    #9, Jacob, dump
    #10 Robert, keep
    #11 Sterling, dump
    #12 Kirk, dump
    #13 Joe, dump
    #14 Nathan, dump

    So we have a 6-1 vote so far to disable threaded comments. However, even though he has not posted on this thread I am sure JimF would vote to keep them, so the vote might be 6-2.

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