I miss the old site with comments on the same page

It’s a romance of many dimensions.


Meh. Not a good example. Gmail appears flat but operates in a way that joins the conversation you are looking at across any number of pieces which would have otherwise been annoying little tidbits. Yes, it presents as flat. But how it does that is extremely conducive to having conversations. My best hack to get Outlook (2003, wouldn’t use it at work except I have to) to provide a similar option is threaded but the reason that is so awful isn’t the threading. It’s how shit awful Outlook is at recognizing when (and when not) emails are closely related.

I get that Discourse is at least more thready than the average forum and I can appreciate that. It’s still like having a conversation in a room where fifteen other people are having seven other conversations at the same time.

I know the battle was lost before we were even told there was going to be one so I’m not fighting it. I do find having my preference constantly and derisively maligned off-putting.

P.S. Smackdown learning model? I’ve tried it myself out of frustration but it works approximately +/-0% of the time when you’re dealing with differences of opinion rather than differences of fact (the times when it seems to work in those cases is really placebo: people like me will often just shut up). And maybe 10% of the time with differences of fact.


What hasn’t been said, I think, is that the shift from on page to off page comments coincided with the appearance of a big new sponsorship deal with mumble mumble. There was a shift in the culture at the big mansion, BoingBoing, which necessitated a tighter control over what content appeared on the page with editorial content. We also saw an increase in BB editors reaching out to the larger media to attract attention to their event. Even showing up in suit and tie to be interviewed.

BoingbOING wants to grow up and we are seen as a liability by insiders or outsiders with bigger interests to fry.


Is there?

Since they hived us sinners off into the ghetto I never go directly to BB any more, so I don’t see any adverts, and to be honest I hardly read any of the editor’s blog posts any more. If it’s not immediately obvious from the BBS thread I might skip through the BB post to get to the source link, but that’s it.


Bottom line: to the community that used it, bb used to be a kind of experiment in crowd-sourced intelligence. It is now a list of curious links, ads, and self-endorsement. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because the people I used to enjoy talking to are all gone.

What’s upsetting is that bb somehow doesn’t understand what it is. Consider: do the commenters here ever refer to themselves as ‘boingers’ or ‘happy mutants’?

I know the decision is borne out by statistics: but I’m not wrong, bb’s community was the (freely given) heart of the site, and the decision to kill it was stupid. How one of the geekiest websites suddenly un-learned what makes a good blog good is baffling and deeply ironic.


This. Since we are not wanted on the main site, I don’t bother going there anymore. I browse the new links on the forum main page and see if there’s anything interesting and then have to open a tabapalooza to actually see content.If I’m being driven away from here by snarky comments from the self appointed guardian of flat forum systems… It saddens me to think that I, and other long term readers of the site, are so undervalued and unwanted.

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It is worth considering that internet properties sell for absurd amounts of money. Huff Post, Instagram, countless others. We are talking B b B bB babillions. Making an effort to make things look more professional makes sense if it means more resources for the war chest. It is possible to think of the changes as part of an effort to give the community more to work with.

I think of the Chris Burden performance from the mid-seventies where he got his hair cut and put on a nice suit and dark polished shoes. It was called I Become A Secret Hippy.

There has not been any diminishment to the reporting of the subjects close to the hearts of the editors as far as I can see. That would point to a sell out. Maybe what we have here is an effort to give us more room and more power to be a community. Our own wing. And we are too miserable to even say thank you? shame!

(Where is that damn happy face icon . . . )

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So undervalued and unwanted that a whole separate site was created for the community?

And just in case you missed it earlier, I mentioned in a reply to you that we are looking at collapsing replies you’ve pre-emptively read later in the stream – this just requires that replies have full post controls on them first. It will take a month or two, but this specifically addresses one of your complaints.

Now, per the topic title, you can certainly argue the merits of the word separate there, and as I said, I can’t answer that, only the BB editors can.

I frequently show up in a suit and tie. Didn’t know I’d be interviewed until I got there.

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I’m sure you do, and you came off very well. (despite the poor audio.)

You need to check my later comment where I adopt the other side of the argument.

I’m flip-flopping even as I sit here. It’s like dad came home after his big advancement and announced that the kids were going to have their very own Christmas from now on because Mom and Dad were going to Cancun. Hooray! ( hmmm. )

In the same way prisons are created for prison communities.

Look; we get it, you like the forum software you created (surprise!) - just close the convo thread - it clearly serves no purpose other than providing you with a space to share how much you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

Flat is shit for conversations, good for standalone statements. End of - you can write 100 articles about how brilliant flat is, and they’d still be full of commenters pointing out how you’re wrong.

I think you need to get someone other than the person that made this software into this conversation. I’d like to see BB as a business defend it; rather than someone that doesn’t give a monkeys what its users think. This is a joke.

And yea, after having my initial comments so easily dismissed my politeness level dropped - and now it’s gone out of the window.


But you’re wrong, and @CodingHorror has an article he wrote that everyone disagrees with to prove it! (he made Stack Overflow so any opinion you have is invalid)

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This was the impression I got when Rob initially announced on Twitter that he thought the commenting on BB was vile.

And now the staff have the cheek to tell us that the new commenting platform is for our benefit. Definitely leaves a sour taste in this readers mouth.

But keep in mind that we’re the vocal minority - as @CodingHorror has pointed out, readership isn’t affected by this experiment of a forum platform - and so they don’t give a monkeys.

I’ve been told on a few occasions now that you can’t please everyone, which surprises me. What’s the technological barrier preventing the user having the option to simply turn threading on or off? Or maybe it’s more of a ‘religious’ barrier.

You know, I was really unhappy with the non-threaded format at first as well. I went, however, and looked at the forums I read and use most (theSamba, ScubaBoard, TriumphRAT, the Martin Guitar forum, etc…) and realized they’re all unthreaded. Some have an option to turn it on but I never had.

I felt threading was going to be really important but after a few days I got past it and I’m used to reading the the BB comments without.

I know it is religious for some folks, like you and Jeff, but I just don’t mind either way now. The discussion on Discourse feels more open and positive to me than the Disqus format did. People are certainly using the new system and we’re happy thus far. There are many design issues Rob intends to tackle, but we’re working on other stuff right now and those changes’ll come.

The reason you probably aren’t getting the defensive responses you’re looking for is because we don’t think there is anything to defend. The system works, we like it.


The problem is my argument is still being sidelined.

Threaded/nonthreaded is a secondary issue for me. One I actually have a far
more elegant solution for. And even on this topic the threading issue is
moot, because BBS is threaded. Just badly.

My primary issue is the separation of content and discussion.

Quite frankly whether or not you like it is irrelevant (with all due
respect) - I was asking for input on the fact your users are unhappy with
it. Specifically the disjointed nature of the conversation and the topic of

Considering the authors of the article tend to interact with the comments
as though it were a forum, I’m unsurprised that there isn’t an outcry from
the editorial staff - the problem is that the users tend to use it as a
conversational space, not a visitors book.

(Although we do differ on forum liking. I just see forums as a crude database output - I don’t think they’re in anyway by-design. But that’s cool, each to their own on that front, everyone’s entitled to their preference)

Or ‘Kid’s Table’…


Haha, can’t argue with that. I wish I were that classy.

Really? Who is forcing you to be here? I do appreciate that you are here having this conversation with us, though.

I agree, we shouldn’t harp so much on the threading since it really is not the focus of this topic. I only answered that part of it because I could answer definitively, but I don’t want to derail.

That said, maybe you could propose your elegant solution in one of the other meta topics that is about the threaded vs. flat? I am always interested in improvements to the threading hybridization, but I do try to be honest along the way about the primarily flat focus of Discourse.

Speaking of honesty, I think threaded vs. flat is not only religious and irreconcilable in the same way that Israel vs. Palestine is – but it is also a red herring. It’s the wrong question.

The question is not

do I prefer flat or threaded?


am I having fun here?

… and we do explicitly optimize for fun with Discourse, because the best conversations are always at parties, not boring debate clubs!


Definitely - I’d word it a little differently but agree, there is no right
or wrong, just the best experience for the given scenario. And definitely a
red herring.

That quote of mine reads back a little snooty, the more elegant solution
one - but I will share my thoughts when I get a chance as its more if an
evolution of what discourse is, rather than something completely
revolutionary. It was actually inspired by one if the comments on your flat
article! However the one thing it would always be if I designed it would be
integrated into the article like a comment system.

I think something like discourse is great though, but only as something
supplementary, not for commenting on articles but more to provide something
to allow the community to have off topic conversations like this.

Anyway I will try and make my proposal when I get the chance - but it will
involve wireframes and logic flows so I won’t promise a quick turnaround :stuck_out_tongue:

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All of @NathanHornby’s criticisms are absolutely spot on: Why are the comments completely separate from the original BoingBoing posts?; Why is the content of the BB posts not repeated on the comments page?; Why do I have to bounce up and down a page to follow a simple conversation (and yes, this is much more work than closing or scrolling past threads I don’t care about)?

I don’t make websites for a living, I have however been reading BoingBoing for at least seven years now. I’ve seen lots of changes and most I’ve disliked for a short while, then gotten quickly used to. This commenting/forum system is not one of those changes; it has only made me dislike the site more and more, and I’m not getting used to it.