A likely embarrassing question about the conversation layout

So I’m pretty new to the BoingBoing BBS. Have to say, you guys are a wonderful, smart, and creative community, and I always enjoy my visits. I am, however, not understanding the way the conversations are presented. Replies to parent posts display nested under the parent post, but then appear again as parent posts themselves. So it makes following the conversation extremely annoying. I’ll Try to illustrate what I see:

Main post:
Reply to main post 1
Reply to main post 2

Reply to main post 1 (again)

Reply to main post 2 (again)

Is this supposed to work this way and I just don’t understand the purpose? OR can I turn it off somehow? Didn’t see anything on the “Preferences” page.

All the posts appear unnested in chronological order. The buttons with each post will display a reminder of what the parent post said, or will show you the replies right away. That doesn’t change the unnested listing of all the posts. The only way to turn it off is to not use those buttons. But when you find a reply twenty posts later, you’ll appreciate the buttons. The “replies” button is also useful as a quick check that somebody hasn’t already replied in the way you were going to.


Ok, this is a new paradigm for me. It’s frustrating to me to click the “Replies” button, read all of the replies to a post that I liked, and then run into those comments again out of context after several scrolls down the page.

I know this has been covered in great length in previous meta topics so I wil not rehash.

TL;DR Discourse is a hybrid but primarily flat discussion system. The expanding context below and above posts is like a sneak preview system, not a substitute for reading the topic by scrolling and following the natural pull of gravity down, down, down.

Our current thinking is that there are two types of readers:

  1. traditional scroll down readers

  2. click to expand and collapse every conversation readers

So rather than the sneak preview function we have now, we will eventually offer a system that constantly filters to the current viewed conversation, but it will require clicking constantly ala reading Reddit. I don’t see any other way to do it, and I think those types of readers are used to this (IMO excessive work, but hey, MO) interaction model.

Here’s what we’re currently thinking:

  • in reply to – capped at 1, inline duplicate/expand the immediate post this is in reply to.

  • (n) replies – no change, inline duplicate/expand all immediate replies.

What you don’t see is child replies (replies to replies to replies…) but if you click or tap filter conversation the topic is then filtered to show all posts related to this conversation. It’s the equivalent of threaded view, basically, though there needs to be a clear way to exit and get back to where you were without expanding all the “n posts hidden” dividers.

That way we can excercise the much more complex “click all the things” thready filtering-to-conversation behavior while keeping the simpler “show me the immediate replies above and below” functionality intact and not overwhelming people.

1 Like

a “contextualize” button. Good idea. Sounds promising.

man, I can’t really wrap my head around this, but maybe it will be cool. I can’t tell which category I fall into. I like to scroll down and ignore replies to comments I don’t care about, then choose to expand the replies to the good comments. i suppose I see all of them anyway as I scroll down, though, but i can see the in-reply-to icon and I can skim/skip with my eye pretty reliably. maybe I’d like the change, I can’t tell from the description. if I’m forced to view everything, and I have to do more clicking, that sounds pretty awkward.

why try to be more like reddit? why is that a goal?

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