Design suggestion box

Your thoughts here, mutants!

  1. Mobile-friendliness is a priority
  2. Consolidating the stacked navigation ‘bars’ at the top, too. We’ll be cleaning up the subject links so BBS/Discourse and BB/Wordpress can share a single AwesomeBar.
  3. CSS tweaks – larger type in some places is already a FAQ.

I think it would be cool if there was an “invisible text” widget in the Reply composition page. This way we can enter “spoilers” that will only be visible to those to who really want to read 'em.

  • replies to previous comments/posts are difficult to pick out.
    • perhaps they could be indented?
  • hmmm, sometimes there is a bubble that says “in reply to @whomever”. does that only come when putting in a name? @beschizza
  • hopefully there isn’t an arbitrary reply depth limit like on disqus.

Spoilers already exist, if you use the bbcode for them.

I never promised you a rose garden.

[spoiler]Text you want to hide[∕spoiler].


Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru die in fire. :frowning:

ETA: Sorry, off-topic, a bit, but it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve used bbcode… and it’s been awhile since I’ve been on Stack as well, so this is definitely going to force me to relearn the tag systems. I’ve pressed the clear mental cache buton a few times since then.

Actual design suggestions coming soon. And… seriously hope my epic spoiler didn’t cause any broken devices.

I think this is genuinely the first time I’ve been excited about a forum. I liked Disqus, but I’m mostly mobile ATM, and on droid it truly, truly sucks.

So, something in the play store ASAP, please.

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It’s not a design request so much as a feature request, but I’d really like to see a way to bookmark posts and comments for later reading.

Sure, you could use the favorite option, but it’s not really a favorite if you haven’t read it. But I guess it could be used as a workaround.

No, I’m thinking more of an internal Pocket or Google Keep. Something that lets us save posts, comments, and maybe even snippets of text linking back to their in-house origin (via Discourse), rather than depending on these external apps and services.

Perhaps this is something more for meta.discourse than bbs.boingboing, but I’ll just leave it here for now.

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Discussions in forums and comment threads are difficult to follow if you try to come back later and read more (Slashdot probably being the worst). Most forum systems offer tools to help, but it’s such a hassle that I tend to just read through once and never come back even if I comment myself (that’s been my modus operandi on BB for years).

I have only looked in here a handful of times since it was opened as a preview a while back, and I realized that I should probably figure out if there’s already a system in place before suggesting anything. Turns out that if you go back to an old thread, it remembers where you left off. And replies are offered inline below the post being replied to (like Disqus), but also chronologically with every other comment (like the old BB system).

So it seems like my big annoyances have already been covered, which is pleasingly surprising considering how every comment system and forum in existence doesn’t make any sense to me (the one that did was WebEx, from quite some time ago, which acted in similar ways to this).

That said, using relatively large text, lots of white space (making everything less dense visually), and then lots of structure surrounding each individual comment isn’t the greatest, IMO. Increasing that density makes it easier to understand the structure of a discussion and to read through it quickly if you want to (i.e. reddit, where of course most comments aren’t actually worth reading…) With your average BBCode type forums it’s hard to quickly parse each comment and you have to advance more slowly. This is better than that, but could be even better to the point of being actually really good with some tweaking.

It may be that this is more noticeable on small monitors - I have been exclusively using a 13" MBP the past four years or so, and recently hooked it up to someone’s 27" monitor and was amazed at how much easier it was to read the internet. I suspect most web developers have 27"+ screens (and probably more than one), and will only test usability there and then on mobile devices.


To do that, click the bookmark button at the bottom right of every post. You can find your bookmark posts on your user profile under “bookmarks”.

Yes, Discourse goes to great lengths to always remember your last read position, consistently, all the time. Note that Discourse also assumes you are more interested in a topic than usual if you browse it for a long time, or if you reply to it. You can change these behaviors in your user preferences.

Right, there is in effect one level of “threading” on demand, if you click through. This applies to both quoted blocks (try expanding the one directly above ↑ here) and replies docked to the bottom of posts.


On Disqus, I got signed out a lot, seemingly at random. I hope this system doesn’t have any sort of automatic signout?

I wish when you edit a comment you could do it inline where the comment is instead of jumping to the bottom of the page. It’s awkward and not too great for the UI, IMO.


Well, one reason that’s so is because you can navigate anywhere on bbs with the composer open. Try it. Start writing a post… then go to a different topic, or the topic list…

It feels a little clunky for some reason. I think it could be because people are playing around with headings and formatting, but there are definitely too many different font sizes, types and line heights going on (bulleted lists are in “adelle, serif” 14px w/ 18px line height, but normal posts are adelle,serif 16px w/ 24px line height).

Maybe the serifs on the fonts are bothering me. Hrm.

It reminds me a lot of politico’s old forum system where they would cross-post their articles and then pull the first 20 replies from for their articles. That just turned into an awful shouting match where people would repost over and over and over and use ridiculous images and font sizes to get heard. That probably won’t happen here because a lot of the reposting was due to pagination, but I think it might be affecting my reaction.


Tweaking the “promotion” setup is important. It seems to either be a little too enthusiastic at the moment, or one of the admins/mods is being a little too enthusiastic with the like button.

The endgame is only the very best comments get promoted – especially long, insightful, well-written, authorial stuff.

So the conversation is here, and only stories are told at BB.


Agreed, totally, but it looks like @beschizza or someone else already fixed it, because I’m seeing quoted posts (above) and bullets in the same point size at last, hooray!

  • cookies
  • milk
  • cheese

All good, font size-wise.

(oops – only true of the preview, the actual posts have ransom letter fonts in bullets and quotes. :disappointed:)

Yes that is the plan, the current algorithm is based on “best of”, with a dash of curation by staff – it is definitely not “pick the first 20” at all.

Well, I’m not a fan of the fact that it’s hard to keep up with replies to others, but I’m not the only one whose pointed that out. Nor am I fan of the continually loading page. But overall, I like this so far.

I’m having some nav troubles with the infinite scroll too. It seems really useful for some things – like getting moved to latest posts, replies, etc., magically. But unintuitive for other things, like using text searches to highlight all the posts by or replies to a particular author


We do plan to change the search on top to be context aware and take over the find in page functionality, however your particular use case is covered here.

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To see all posts by a particular author in a topic, use the topic map at the top of the topic.

(Click the title of the topic to get back to the top at any time if need be)

Expand the topic map then click the users you wish to filter the topic down to.

Best of mode works similarly, but is only available on larger topics – instead of filtering by user you are filtering by “greatest hits” in the topic.

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