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Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Threaded comments are here!

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From our earliest discussions of what the Codidact platform would be, we've known that we had to tackle comments. Comments are very important for giving feedback and asking for clarifications. Some other platforms try to keep comments focused and prune the discussions that naturally happen too, but we know that doesn't work -- and sometimes it's not constructive. Communities are made out of people and people like to discuss things. The problem with discussions in comments on other platforms isn't the discussions; it's that someone coming to the page is presented with "57 more comments (click here)" and that's sad to navigate.

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.

Viewing threads

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

post with links to five threads and "show more"

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

first five comments shown in place, with link to see the whole thread

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

full thread with a textbox at the bottom

You can follow a thread, which means you will get inbox notifications for new comments. You'll automatically follow a thread if you comment in it or if it's on your post. You can unfollow a thread you're following at any time using that "unfollow" link at the top of the thread page. You can disable the automatic following by changing the "auto follow comment threads" preference on your user profile.

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

screenshot

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.

Posting comments

You can add a comment to an existing thread from the full 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.

screenshot

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

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

flag menu

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

Transition

With this change, all pre-existing comments have been moved into threads named "General Comments".

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.

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+11
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status-completed Notifications don't indicate which post is commented on For example, I got a notification that, o …

2mo ago

+8
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feature-request status-completed I think it would be useful to display the post above each comment page so that it's …

3mo ago

+5
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Feature request: timestamps. Ok, I admit I can be a little obsessive. Plus, if I'm a moderator, I should try to stay …

3mo ago

+5
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status-completed Automatic follows > You'll automatically follow a thread if you comment in it or if it's on your …

3mo ago

+4
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Bug/feature request. When you click on a notification about someone responding to you with a comment, it takes you to …

3mo ago

+4
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Flags > You can now flag individual comments. Not sure whether it's by design or not but I'd prefer to have abil …

3mo ago

+7
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Suggestion Have an "Add Comment" button and a "Start New Thread" button with the former adding a comment to the "Gene …

3mo ago

+7
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> ## Posting comments > > You can add a comment to an existing thread from the full thread. > > ... > > You can cr …

3mo ago

+10
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Great feature, I've been looking forward to this! Some thoughts: - Expand/collapse with a little + or arrow etc to …

3mo ago

+3
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feature-request Read the thread's message and title. The thread's title and message is completely same. That's not a …

3mo ago

+3
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status-completed Regression: comments with mathjax aren't properly rendering in the in-page preview (see General Comm …

3mo ago

+5
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Should regular users know that there are deleted comments? In this question there's one comment thread, and it says t …

3mo ago

+2
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feature-request status-completed number of comment text isn't showing, while editing comment. This happened for earli …

1mo ago

+2
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feature-request All the times I have to go to another page if I have to write a reply to a existing thread. threa …

3mo ago

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Transition > With this change, all pre-existing comments have been moved into threads named "General Comments". …

3mo ago

4 comment threads

Now that space is less of an issue, could we revisit comment limitations? (4 comments)
"Threaded" comments vs threaded comments (2 comments)
Threaded comments UI too cumbersome / difficult for me :-( (7 comments)
General feedback (5 comments)

15 answers

You are accessing this answer with a direct link, so it's being shown above all other answers regardless of its score. You can return to the normal view.

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feature-request

Read the thread's message and title. The thread's title and message is completely same. That's not a good thread. I think that user was confused with title. Even, another user had proposed normal comment system. So, I think most of user may confuse with thread title. I am sure that new user may not understand what the title should be also. Even, in this answer two thread's has same title and description/message (But, they are good writer).

So, I think if there was a "suggest title" system than, it may be helpful for every users. So, that we can suggest title more beautifully.


I think it would be better also if there's a thread by default whose title is "General Comment". And, that thread will have 0 comments by default.

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2 comment threads

Feature for creator of thread (1 comment)
Responses (1 comment)
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status-completed

Notifications don't indicate which post is commented on

For example, I got a notification that, other than specifying the community, simply read

There are new comments in a followed thread 'General Comments'

Well, that's nice to know. But it forces me to go there to see if this is something I even want to, let alone am able to, handle right now. It doesn't even tell me what the comment might be about. That's social media tactics: maximize the number of clicks and page views.

For general thread titles like 'Feedback' or 'General Comments', this is potentially worse than useless; it risks actively reducing the value of the notification.

Could the notification at least please instead show what post the comments are associated with? Maybe something like

There are new comments to your answer to 'How do I attach a Jackadoody brocket to a Model 6000 thromblemeister?'

or how about

There are new comments in a followed thread 'General Comments' on an answer to 'How do I attach a Jackadoody brocket to a Model 6000 thromblemeister?'

Yes, that's likely to make the notification text itself longer in many cases. But it will also give me a much better idea, at a glance, of whether this is something I want to look at now or later (or, frankly, even at all).

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0 comment threads

+8
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feature-request status-completed

I think it would be useful to display the post above each comment page so that it's easy to reference it when writing your comments.

Status completed:

screenshot showing "post" expander

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0 comment threads

+5
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status-completed

Automatic follows

You'll automatically follow a thread if you comment in it or if it's on your post.

Can we make this a setting so that we can toggle the default behavior? I personally don't want to be notified of new comments on every thread I've posted in, and pings should take care of most cases where I would want to be notified.

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1 comment thread

[status-completed] (1 comment)
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Feature request: timestamps.

Ok, I admit I can be a little obsessive. Plus, if I'm a moderator, I should try to stay on top of things that are happening on my community. This includes new comments.

Would it be possible for the thread entry under a post to show not only the number of comments but some indication of how new the newest one is? I probably have a pretty good idea of when I was last here, but I'm not going to remember how many comments were in every thread on every post. Knowing that the newest comment here is three days old is useful signal.

I realize this poses a layout challenge. For me it would be sufficient if this information were available in the tooltip on hover. If we're going to take the tooltip approach, author and timestamp of newest comment would be useful to show. If we're going to try to display the information statically I'd leave out the author and "condense" the timestamp like we do for post edits.

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0 comment threads

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Flags

You can now flag individual comments.

Not sure whether it's by design or not but I'd prefer to have ability to flag a comment not only in a separate thread-comment page but from preview as well.

Currently it shows like

thread preview

so I suppose flag link is missing here

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0 comment threads

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Posting comments

You can add a comment to an existing thread from the full thread.

...

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:

There's some inconsistency here. I can "Start new comment thread" directly from the question's page and it pops up a dialog, but to add a comment to an existing thread I need to "See the whole thread" in another page, even if it's already showing all of the comments. I can understand not wanting people to comment on a thread without reading it all first, but at present all of the use cases seem sub-ideal to me. I propose three changes:

  1. Make "See the whole thread" load it in place rather than in a new page.
  2. When all of the thread is visible, replace "See the whole thread" with "Reply to this thread".
  3. Make both "Start new comment thread" and "Reply to this thread" insert the form inline rather than in a dialog, so that it's possible to select text for quotation.
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1 comment thread

This is partly intentional. I've just commented on Lundin's answer too: part of the design of this sy... (2 comments)
+7
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Suggestion

Have an "Add Comment" button and a "Start New Thread" button with the former adding a comment to the "General Comments" thread, creating it if it doesn't yet exist.


Right now, starting a new thread seems heavyweight if I don't expect much or any back-and-forth. For example, both of the comments on this answer seem like that and are worse for the fact that the titles don't support Markdown.

In this vein, an additional suggestion might be to expand the "General Comments" thread by default, or at least part of it.

Basically, the "traditional" unthreaded experience is usually more than adequate and much lighter weight than this, but now it's essentially gone. Threads seem very useful when needed but not needed all the time.

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0 comment threads

+4
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Bug/feature request.

When you click on a notification about someone responding to you with a comment, it takes you to the separate "comment page". Which is super confusing as it just drops you there without any context. What are they saying, what is this about?

In order to respond, I have to:

  • Click on the link on top of the "comment page" to read the actual post.
  • Expand the threaded comments under the post to read them in the same window. Including, figuring out which thread the reply is found under, in case you've forgotten it by now.
  • Open up a the "comment page" yet again in order to type a response. During which you won't see the post the comment is about.

A temporary work-around to this particular bug could be:

  • Upon responding to a notification, take the user to the post being discussed. The post being the most important part.
  • Auto-expand the comment thread where the comment that caused the notification can be found.
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0 comment threads

+10
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Great feature, I've been looking forward to this!

Some thoughts:

  • Expand/collapse with a little + or arrow etc to the left of the comment is probably a more intuitive GUI to most users (?).

  • You could probably have comments expanded by default if they were in a more compact format. I think compact space might be more important than readability and layout in this case.

    More concerning than anything is that if comments aren't auto-expanded, I think many users won't even read them.

  • Comments should not open up a new page, you should be able to write them and reply to them on the same page. If that gets too spammy, well it ain't that hard to right click on the link and open up a new browser page manually for those who want that.

    Very common use-case: you are writing an answer, then comments pop up or you wish to respond to them. Opening up a new page in that case would make me fear losing the answer or the most recent changes to it.

  • It would be nice to "indent" comments that reply to a specific user. This is common among other such threaded comment GUIs. Right now, if there are several comment threads open at once, it is a bit hard to see which one that belongs to which thread. If two users start a discussion between themselves in a comment thread and two others start a different one in the same thread, it will get just as messy as the previous system.

  • A collapse all / expand all feature would be useful.

  • Auto-complete when typing @user is great, but it's annoying that we have to type three letters for it to kick in. I don't really see why that's necessary or what good the 3 letter minimum does, why not start looking after the first letter typed?

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1 comment thread

New pages are intentional (9 comments)
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status-completed

Regression: comments with mathjax aren't properly rendering in the in-page preview (see General Comments here), but they do render properly on the full thread page (example). Related bug report.

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0 comment threads

+5
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Should regular users know that there are deleted comments?

In this question there's one comment thread, and it says that there are 10 comments:

10 comments

I expanded it, and it says in the bottom: "Showing 5 of 10 comments":

Showing 5 of 10 comments

If I click on "See the whole thread", though, it shows me that 5 comments were actually deleted:

Skipping 5 deleted comments

I'm not sure how relevant is to regular users, to know that there are deleted comments in a thread. Maybe for moderators this could be useful, but for me, the threads should consider only the non-deleted comments.

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2 comment threads

Disagreement with removal (3 comments)
I agree that this isn't an essential feature. Perhaps there could be a setting to turn it off or opt ... (1 comment)
+2
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feature-request status-completed

number of comment text isn't showing, while editing comment. This happened for earlier comments also.

edit-comment

In that comment, I had written more than 500 letters. Suddenly, when I was going to update my comment. I wasn't able to update my comment even, I wasn't getting any error. Then, I realized the comment's text should be less than or equal to 500 letters.

Number of letters in edit-comment is very needed.

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1 comment thread

This is a known bug (2 comments)
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feature-request

All the times I have to go to another page if I have to write a reply to a existing thread.

thread

So, I think it would be better if there was a button "add comment". So, that we don't have to move to another page.

In the comment an user had said,

What if there are a lot of comments? I.e. preview doesn't show all of them?

Actually, replying method on thread directly may not be useful all the time. But, If I am on mobile. And, I had read a question. Now, I want to say something about that question in thread which thread is already exist. Currently, I have to move to another page to write a reply. But, which is completely annoying. Even, I don't like to open multiple tabs for single thing (there's lot other people like me also).

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1 comment thread

Feedback (1 comment)
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Transition

With this change, all pre-existing comments have been moved into threads named "General Comments".

It seems like this migration step doesn't cover notifications. They still use old "routes".

I think it's probably OK to old ones (though I'd still like to have ability to return to previous notifications easily) but, to my opinion, it's important for latest mentions, especially those that are unread yet.

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0 comment threads

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