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Show more threaded comments after clicking the title of a threaded discussion

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After clicking on the title of a threaded discussion, a user can read up to five threaded comments; if a user wants to read more, clicking "see the whole thread" is needed.

  • I think 5 is too little and showing up to 10 threaded comments without clicking "see the whole thread" would be better
  • It might be best to just show all threaded comments right after clicking the title because in general threaded discussions shouldn't pass the 15-20 comments (I guess)
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3 answers

+4
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I agree. Once I've said I want to see the thread, show me the thread.

Systems that try to automatically do something clever inevitably end up being more trouble than they are worth. Showing me some of the comments, especially other than the first N, is going to be confusing. Just show them all. That's what I asked for in the first place by clicking the link.

The few times I've tried to view a comment thread with more than 5 comments, I didn't immediately realize I wasn't already seeing all the comments. Having to click on something additional to actually see all the comments was unexpected. The first time this happened, I didn't even notice that there were more than 5 comments. I found that out later when viewing the comment activity as admin.

Keep it simple. Expand the comment thread or not.

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+2
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I agree that showing just the first five comments is a little on the low end in many cases.

I don't think blindly increasing this to "the first ten", or to "all", is the correct solution, however.

I would instead propose that, when expanding a comment thread in-place:

  • the initial 1-2 comments are always shown; if possible to do with reasonable performance, "all comments by the user starting the thread up to the first comment by another user" might even be an even better heuristic
  • the last N comments (for some value of N) are shown; the last 3-5 comments might be a reasonable starting point
  • the set of comments shown is filtered such that the two criteria don't result in the same comment being shown twice
  • there is some indication between the two that, if indeed, there are comments that are not being shown

Personally, I find that most of the time, I want the first (or so) comment to see in more detail what the thread is about; and the last several comments to see where the discussion is at now; but most of the time, what's in between those is just how the thread got from where it was to where it is.

Of course, the full thread should remain readily accessible as well.

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+1
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I agree that someone who asks for the comments should see the comments, especially with the "collapse" control.

Very occasionally here (so far; this happened often on some sites Someplace Else), there will be a very long comment thread, by which I mean 20+. Over there we sometimes saw 100+ comments on a post. This led us to think about a middle ground -- show the first five and make it easy to get to the rest.

"Get to the rest" still involves going to a separate page, though, which is not ideal if you need other context on the page (other comment threads or answers). Would it be better to still show the first N (maybe 5 is the wrong N; that can be changed if so) and then have a "show rest" control that loads them right there on the page? We still want the separate thread page for certain linking scenarios, but it seems that most people want to interact with comments right there on the page, and we should make that easier. The question is: all at once, even if that's a firehose, or a progressive approach that still requires a second click but doesn't make you go to another page?

Somebody is working on a change for better in-page comments right now, so this is a great time to weigh in on this question.

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I personally tend to think that it would be best to show all comments, if indeed in general, people w... (6 comments)

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