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We've wanted threaded comments from the beginning, and now we have them, thanks to the efforts of luap42, ArtOfCode, Moshi, and our crew of people banging on a test server.

There are a lot of screenshots in this post. Most of them are behind expanders.

A post can have any number of named comment threads, which look like this:

Each thread shows the number of comments, and threads are shown in order of recent activity, most recent first.

Click on a thread to expand it in place:

screenshot

You can collapse the thread to get it out of your way or leave it open and expand another thread. To see the whole thread or to add a comment, click the link (either at the top or the bottom). That takes you to a new page, like this:

screenshot

If you have the Curate ability you'll see a Tools link on the thread:

screenshot

The tools are:

• Rename: edit the short description that shows under the post

• Lock: temporarily prevent new comments for a number of days that you specify

• Archive: lock the thread and show it as archived on the post list; meant for threads that are valuable for historical reasons but are done now

• Delete: lock and delete the thread; it remains visible to those with the Curate ability

Moderators have one more tool: they can see the list of people who are following a thread.

You can ping other participants in the thread (or the post author), as you can today, and there is now auto-complete -- type at least the first three characters of a name and matches are shown. Click on the one you want.

You can create a new thread using the "start a new comment thread" button under the list of threads on the post. You'll be invited to type a comment and provide a name:

screenshot

## Flags

Update: You can now flag individual comments. We don't have baked-in flag reasons yet; type something into the textbox. We want to see what natural clusters of flag reasons emerge before building out more options. (Somewhere Else, we sometimes saw people be confused about which reason to use, so let's go back to basics: talk to us about what's wrong.)

This part is experimental: One of the flag options on a post is "needs author's attention". If you choose that flag, what you type goes into the special "Post Feedback" thread instead of flagging the moderators. The idea is to collect the "please fix this" comments in one place for easier review (without interspersed discussions among other people), but we don't know if that's actually valuable -- maybe people should just leave comments. (We do want something like that for close votes, because we'll have a special place in the UI for closer-vote feedback. But that's not the same as flags.) Please give us feedback on this.

screenshot

While taking that screenshot I noticed we're currently showing duplicate flags on answers. Sorry 'bout that; please ignore.

## Next steps

The comment reworking has been blocking several other issues, which either we've done as part of this update or we'll be able to do now. We'll let you know as more updates come.

Please let us know if you run into any problems or have suggestions. We know this is a big change, we don't assume we addressed everyone's needs, and we want to hear your feedback and enhancement requests so we can continue to improve. Feel free to use answers here.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
Why should this post be closed?

elgonzo‭ wrote over 1 year ago · edited over 1 year ago

When creating a new comment thread, the UI covers up most of the Q/A. When adding a comment to an existing comment thread, a completely new page opens up only with that comment thread. Neither the related Q/A nor other comment threads are visible, forcing me to use a 2nd browser tab if i need to refer to some aspect of the Q/A or some comment in another comment thread. The old approach, while simple, made it easy to consume and write comments. Now i feel it's more difficult than it needs to be.

elgonzo‭ wrote over 1 year ago

Okay, well, it seems i can't edit the thread title. It should have been "Threaded comments UI too cumbersome / difficult for me". It's not the concept of threaded comments that i find too cumbersome, but rather the current UI implementation. :-)

Monica Cellio‭ wrote over 1 year ago

Thanks elgonzo‭; that's good feedback. If the thread (where you can add a comment) showed up in-page so you could see everything else easily, would you want to expand to support the whole thread (no matter how many comments), so you could see everything right there, or would you want a scrollbar on the thread to keep the overall page easier to navigate?

Monica Cellio‭ wrote over 1 year ago

I renamed the thread for you, and thanks for catching that. I didn't think to test who can edit thread titles. On the one hand, if you can edit a comment then you should be able to edit the title (at least if you created it). On the other hand, the title is more of a "shared resource" and we don't yet have a visible audit trail. We should discuss this more.

elgonzo‭ wrote over 1 year ago · edited over 1 year ago

Monica Cellio‭, having a scrollable thread area might or might not work well together with the UI for adding and editing comments. I think it would be simpler (both for the developer as well as for the users navigating the page) to first show only X number of posts when expanding a thread. X should be sufficiently high to cover a number of comments that a comment thread is normally not expected to exceed in most cases (like, for example 10..15 comments; i guess 5 as currently is a bit to low). (1/2)

elgonzo‭ wrote over 1 year ago · edited over 1 year ago

(2/2) If there are more comments than that in a thread, offer an option to show all comments in this thread still in-page. This should protect from the comment thread UI from dominating the page if the thread happens to become too long, while not interfering with the "normal" comment activity for most Q/A. In the future, the number of thread comments shown initially might even be turned into a user setting... (Just my two cents worth of an opinion, of course...)

Monica Cellio‭ wrote over 1 year ago

Thanks - this is good feedback!

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