Dealing with Comment Threads

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Seems like everyone and their mother has an opinion on the “right” way to have comment threads. Currently Subtext supports the same model as .TEXT did, a simple linear sequential list of comments. It is simple and gets the job done.

The 37Signals blog addresses the question of comments and presents several examples of how different sites handle it.

Personally I like the first example. It retains the simplicity and fluidity of the linear approach, while adding a bit of useful meta-data. What do you think?

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  1. Avatar for Robb Allen
    Robb Allen May 17th, 2006

    I think I agree more with the comments. #2 may work for you. It might not work for me. It depends on the type of discussion one wants to foster.
    I like threading sometimes. Often (especially in politically oriented blogs) tangents lead into flame wars. The problem is that there are other conversations going on at the same time and one tends to get confused of who's yelling at who. Threading here would allow me to avoid the arguments and read only what I'm interested in.
    On tech blogs, flat is definitely better. The conversation itself tends to be linear anyway and the format works better. One reason is that often code is quoted with minor revisions and you need to see the whole thing rather than just the response.
    I think the key part would be metadata. Assign the appropriate metadata (or...hmmm... maybe microformat) to the comment and then how you display it could be dynamic. Or let the user decide. Or have the discussion method per post. So long as the metadata is well thought out, how each post is visually displayed has nothing to do with how they are actually related to each other.
    I'd love to see this in Subtext myself.