Reader Poll: Nested Comments?

Aug 07 2010 Published by under BlogBlather

This blog platform currently permits nested comment threads in which replies are inset below the comment being replied to. It also permits a style in which comments all are appended below the previous comment, requiring "replies" to quote or otherwise indicate the comment which is being addressed.

I started off with nested comments but have already received a complaint from someone who gets confused.

What think you?

Nested Comments?survey software

18 responses so far

  • physioprof says:

    Nested comments suck my dick. Get rid of that fucken shit.

  • Now if the software would only allow the reader to toggle between the two ...

  • Ryan says:

    They make it difficult to follow the timeline of the conversation as a whole, to reply to more than one person/comment without adding extra comments, tend to fracture the discussion into little subgroups, and just plain suck all around.

    It's easier to just catch up from where you left off, rather than jump around to 5 different sub combos and figure out what's new and what's not.

    So, yeah, I suppose they serve a purpose, but in general, they're awful. I've never seem a lengthy comment thread that had them and was still intelligible.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Nested comments are a recipe for blog drama of the most boring and insignificant sort, for all the reasons Ryan listed.

  • Nested comments are a fucking blight on the blog0sphere!

  • physioprof says:

    Who are all these fucken assholes voting "yea", and why aren't they leaving comments here to justify their fucken idiocy?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Because nested comments are intuitively valuable. It is the nay votes that require explanation.

  • physioprof says:

    Because nested comments are intuitively valuable.

    They are? News to me.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    CPP, intuitively valuable in that they look like they make it easier to follow a conversation, particularly when you're only interested in part of it.

    The problem is that the people you're conversing with may be interested in the whole thing and may assume you are too. Or even if they don't make that assumption, people are really lousy at segregating what they've come across in one place from what they've seen somewhere else. Threaded comments, even when the writers are trying to keep the threads separate, almost invariably involve references to other threads, misunderstandings as a result of non-shared referents, and pissiness all around because of it. Pointless drama. Not even the fun kind.

  • physioprof says:

    As far as I am concerned, the deal breaker is that it makes it nearly impossible to reliably keep track of the entire conversation. And flat commenting forces commenters who wish to be understood to include sufficient context in each comment, which is a good thing. If you're a fucken dumbass leaving as the thirtyfourth comment in a flat thread, "I agree completely", then you deserve to be ignored.

  • jc says:

    Can the comments be numbered (like the old dayz) so that new comments can refer back with numbers rather than nesting?

  • Dr Becca says:

    Nested comments are easier for people making comments, and for someone who's come to the comments on the late side--then it's much easier to follow any mini-convos that have developed. Who it's not easier for are people who come back repeatedly to check on new developments...but those people should just subscribe to the comments feed, and then they'll get them in order, just like they wanted! Yay nested!

  • Candid Engineer says:

    I can see both sides, but generally like the nested because I am not a comments-stalker, and also agree with Dr. Becca that you can subscribe to comment feeds, although I'm not even sure if we can do that yet here.

    Just don't start with the verification letters and numbers bullshit that makes me want to claw my eyes out, and I'll be a happy camper.

    "Who are all these fucken assholes voting “yea”, and why aren’t they leaving comments here to justify their fucken idiocy?"

    Per usual, a real charmer.

  • bsci says:

    I slightly lean towards preferring nested comments. It's a bit harder to find the new stuff, but it's easier to keep track of or ignore specific discussions. Perhaps nested comments with with larger time stamps or some sort of subtle color coding (last hour, last 4 hours, last day) could help.

    The trouble is that the benefits depend on the comment thread length. For under 30 comments, it's probably not necessary to nest. For 30-60, nesting could be nice. For more than that where the same discussions occur in multiple nests, the thread is going to be a mess with all the current options. Dailykos does give readers choices, but it's rare that I can decipher the monster comment threads so matter what I choose.

  • Nora Streed says:

    Well, I do like to be able to reply to just one comment occasionally, especially if the conversation has largely moved on; but in general, I think it's less confusing for everyone if the comments just appear in the order they are made.

    And I also think people should make some effort be clear about quoting, or just naming the commenter they are responding to in particular, if they are responding to another comment (as opposed to the post itself). Numbered comments make that more precise, I guess, but using the commenter's name and a brief quote is adequate if required for context.

    As this simple convention can't be enforced, you do risk getting ignored if, say, you’re 'a fucken dumbass leaving as the thirtyfourth comment in a flat thread, “I agree completely.”'

    Also, the drama. Forgot about that. Can I change my vote from don't care to no?

  • Katherine says:

    Only problem with numbered comments is that if you remove a comment, suddenly the numbers are all wrong.

  • Katherine says:

    Ooh. Make sure it says somewhere near the commenting box how to properly quote, then nesting wouldn't be necessary. Or instead of "reply" buttons under every post you could have a "quote" button that would start your comment with

    Jane Bloggs says:
    blah blah this is a quote

  • HennaHonu says:

    I also much prefer nested comments, for the same reasons as Dr Becca and Candid Engineer. I also think it is much more important the more comments there are. It saves time to look through a specific sub-response that I am interested in when I have a brief time to read all the awesome blogs I follow, without having to read all of the responses.

Leave a Reply