Nested replies to comments now enabled

WordPress.com has offered a new upgrade which I’ve installed. It allows replies to individual comments and nested replies 3 levels deep. Feel free to use this new feature. Try it out here.

– Anthony

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DR
February 22, 2009 6:44 pm

Can you hear me now?

Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 6:48 pm

I’m trying to think of something clever to say, but I just can’t think of anything.
Carry on.

Editor
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 6:52 pm

Oh good, now several rounds of fruitless debate will get squished to the right edge. Always a sign that discussion has gone on too long.
Some Usenet news readers had this feature back in the 1990s. Or was it 1980s?

REPLY: I limit to 3 levels for that reason

Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 6:54 pm

Very cool. Now all I have to do is figure it out on my blog.

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 11:05 pm

What happens after three levels? Do I get a cupie doll?

tallbloke
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 23, 2009 12:25 am

I can see a lot of people are going to reply to the first comment to get their POV up to the top of the thread. Maybe some non-relevance snippage will be necessary to discourage this?

Squidly
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 6:57 pm

Did you also change the sort order from FIFO to LIFO? That is what suddenly appeared to me on the “The madness is about to begin” thread.
Just asking .. thanks!

Squidly
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 6:59 pm

I must say, I do like this nested reply mechanism. Classy! whoot!

Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 23, 2009 7:16 am

yeah, but a little obvious I think. 🙂

February 22, 2009 6:56 pm

I hope I can start fresh threads so my insightful comments don’t get buried in a thread.

Editor
February 22, 2009 6:59 pm

Anthony, you also changed things so that new comments are at the top. Is that a “feature”? Within the threaded replies, new replies are below. Weirder than I care for.

> A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
>> Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
>>> A: Top-posting.
>>>> Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet and in e-mail?
ric@… http://WermeNH.com/

Squidly
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 7:05 pm

TADA! Wonderful!
I must say, you run a great blog here!

Squidly
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 7:06 pm

as a test of extension, I would like to point out that I hope you are also managing your carbon footprint as I would hate to see this blog go the way of CO2 taxation … 😉

Editor
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 7:24 pm

Much better, thanks.

AnonyMoose
Reply to  Anthony Watts
February 22, 2009 7:52 pm

Thanks for going back to FIFO. In this blog, how the conversation develops is more important than treating the newest comment as being most significant.

Squidly
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 22, 2009 7:04 pm

I am in agreement about FIFO/LIFO .. i would rather FIFO because it is easier (to me anyway) to follow conversation. Don’t mean to be a whiner…

Squidly
Reply to  Squidly
February 22, 2009 7:08 pm

And I didn’t get this reply done before seeing your prior reply .. but this is really nice! This should change the landscape of conversation here a little bit. I really think this is going to add a greater dimension to this blog. Great work Anthony!

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 22, 2009 7:15 pm

Top-posting isn’t so bad, except that when you want to see the mail that came afterwards, you have to remember to press ‘previous.’ That’s just WRONG.

February 22, 2009 7:06 pm

A potential problem with nested comments….. What if some one says an egg?

Fernando
Reply to  Robert A Cook PE
February 22, 2009 7:34 pm

egg? test

RH
Reply to  Robert A Cook PE
February 22, 2009 7:36 pm

Gave birth to the universe.

J.Hansford
Reply to  Robert A Cook PE
February 22, 2009 8:17 pm

I assume you meant “What if some one [L]ays and egg?”
……. Well then. We make a meal of it!!!!!!

Reply to  J.Hansford
February 22, 2009 10:14 pm

Well, no. T’was a deliberate – Figured the phrasing was more appropriate for a discussion about discussing nested threads.
But before I duck the subject entirely: Which came first, the question or the thread?

Editor
Reply to  J.Hansford
February 23, 2009 7:24 am

Interesting, I though Anthony stopped the indenting after three replies – however, there’s no reply button to Robert’s post below. I doubt that was what was intended.
So now that I can’t tell Robert to stop yolking around, I guess I’ll pick on Mr. Hansford.

F Rasmin
February 22, 2009 7:34 pm

LIFO is illegal here in Australia. I believe that it is used in the United States for taxation purposes but never for practical purposes!

tetris
February 22, 2009 7:49 pm

Anthony
I know full well I’m a technoclod; pls explain what this means in everyday terms because I don’t understand.

Editor
February 22, 2009 7:52 pm

Hmm. One problem with replies popping up in the middle of the comment area is that it blows my scanning algorithm out of the water. Currently I keep a window open for each active and interesting subject (nearly all are interesting), then to catch up I go to the bottom, make a mental note of the last time stamp, reload, and search for the time stamp. Then I read down to the bottom.
With embedded replies, I’ll miss new ones unless I scan the whole page. Well, I would like to spend less time reading everything here, so maybe it’ll be a blessing.
All the more reason to hack up a USENET style reader for blogs.

Paul
February 22, 2009 7:56 pm

Personally, don’t much care for it – now have to keep looping through the whole dang list each time to see what new comments have been added.

Just want truth...
Reply to  Paul
February 22, 2009 8:36 pm

But it helps to have a train of thought in a row, doesnt it? I guess you could never have a perfect system. It seems like tbis is a clear improvement.
It seems like it will be easy to spot a conversation in that the replies are indented.

Kirk W. Hanneman
February 22, 2009 8:21 pm

Is there any way to number the comments? I find that most useful.

Reply to  Kirk W. Hanneman
February 23, 2009 1:07 am

I second that. Numbering would be IMHO more helpful than indenting.

Gardy LaRoche
February 22, 2009 8:22 pm

Mr. Watts,
Would you consider numbering replies as is the practice on CA ?
REPLY: If I could I would. People seem to miss that I don’t control the features, wordpress.com where this is hosted does. – Anthony

Leon Brozyna
Reply to  Gardy LaRoche
February 22, 2009 10:34 pm

I guess you make the best with the tools at hand. It’s not a perfect solution but in time perhaps we’ll see the usual long running divergent debates between a few commenters held within this nested structure.

G Alston
February 22, 2009 8:32 pm

Paul — “Personally, don’t much care for it – now have to keep looping through the whole dang list each time to see what new comments have been added.”
AGREED.
This improvement is like the “improved” car bumpers of the 70’s.
Or worse yet, windoze. Used to be to kill a (virus or trojan) file you booted up in DOS, went to the directory, and blew it away. 30 seconds after boot, you’re all done. Thanks to all of the improvements and enhancements, however, you can’t hardly remove stuff yourself, and if you can, it takes hours.
The indented reply stuff is a royal PITA.

Just want truth...
February 22, 2009 8:33 pm

I have wished for a feature like this on this site!! Thanks for adding it Anthony!!

Jon Jewett
February 22, 2009 8:56 pm

Back half a century ago or so, my father bought the car he really wanted with all of the electric gadgets, a 1955 Cadillac. It was used, but it was his.
Anyway, he let me and my brother play with all of the gadgets for a week end. We soon tired of it, then he could get onto business (moving us from upstate New York to down state Louisiana).
I am reminded of that here.
We really do appreciate the adult supervision and thanks for letting us have fun. We will get (more or less) serious once again tomorrow.
Steamboat Jack

Scott Finegan
February 22, 2009 9:16 pm

Threaded comments go back to the late 1980’s, at least. (Compuserve)
WordPress has a poor implementation of threaded comments, which if done wrong just add to the confusion. Oh yeah, a good implementation allows the client to control whether the view is threaded or not… and the sort order, eliminating confusion.
Message board software is more appropriate for the way this Blog is used.

Jeff Alberts
February 22, 2009 10:33 pm

I always turn this feature off on my sites with a comment section, lol.
Just curious, Anthony, why don’t you run your own server for the site, like you do for CA?

E.M.Smith
Editor
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
February 22, 2009 11:10 pm

Maybe because he does run his own for CA … sometimes you just want to have someone else make it all work…

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 22, 2009 11:12 pm

I suspect that if you come late to a thread and read it once, it will be a feature. If you come early to a thread, then return a couple of times, it will drive you nuts with the repetitive re-reading and rescanning…

Reply to  E.M.Smith
February 23, 2009 5:59 am

Agreed. The flat structure wasn’t perfect, but easy enough to use.
The numbered system that Climate Audit uses is the best in my opinion. Easy to follow, easy to refer to individual posts.

tallbloke
February 22, 2009 11:44 pm

Good news for people following a sub-thread.
Bad news for people trying to read WUWT on mobile devices.

a jones
February 22, 2009 11:49 pm

What I want to know is if I have been nested am I now a Cuckoo?
More seriously it is difficult with a board like this because there is some much useful comment to get at it all, and moreover as the thread splits into various factions, in terms of what they want to discuss, how to group them.
Nesting may, within limits, be better than linear, but it is far from perfect.
But then we do not live in a perfect world where climate is dictated by simplistic models or it’s many secrets discovered by elementary statistical analysis.
We must work with what we have.
Kindest Regards

tallbloke
February 23, 2009 12:21 am

I love the way it takes you back to the place you were after you submit a reply!
OK Anthony, I’m a convert. 🙂

Nick
February 23, 2009 12:43 am

The text on the preview page, where you see the first three comments, is a bit small and fuzzy.

Oldjim
February 23, 2009 6:28 am

Is it possible to add an option for threaded or flat mode
REPLY: No

Llanfar
February 23, 2009 7:27 am

How do I go through 250+ messages and find new replies since last I visited?

Reply to  Llanfar
February 23, 2009 7:48 am

Was going to ask the same question, this may pose a problem on a blog as popular as this one.

Chris Schoneveld
Reply to  Llanfar
February 23, 2009 9:10 am

AGREED!
For that very reason I don’t like the nested replies. What about a poll, Anthony? Maybe not right now, but after a few weeks of experience commentators and readers could make a better judgement.

Hank
Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
February 23, 2009 10:57 am

Or how about the ability to sort the list more than one way? It can also be said that it makes it easier to read through everything if you are willing to skip tangents that don’t interest you. Personally I often use Find to follow things said by a particular person.

Reply to  Llanfar
February 23, 2009 7:22 pm

Use Firefox and turn on “search for text as I type”. Navigate to the page you want. Type your name. You will be taken directly to your entry.
Don’t know how I ever lived without it. Don’t forget tab-mix-plus and colorful tabs. I have about 150 tabs open right now…

MartinGAtkins
February 23, 2009 9:00 am

Climate Audits set up was far better. You could follow individual threads by clicking on the reply too number in the message and see who was addressing a point to who and what that point was.

Jeff Alberts
February 23, 2009 9:12 am

I think the flat list is better for a blog. Mainly because the blog post is supposed to be one subject, instead of a lot of little side subjects, which the nested conversations would be.
And for the obvious resons stated above re: having to re-scan the entire thread for new posts.
Though for me it’s not as much of an issue, since I use Google RSS reader for comments and posts. But, I don’t get all the comments. I don’t know why it happens, but it also happens at CA, so it may be a WordPress problem. I get comments in blocks of 10 or so, some definitely never come through, as is apparent when I go back to read a comment that seemed to be a reply of something I didn’t see.

MartinGAtkins
February 23, 2009 9:51 am

Jeff Alberts (09:12:51) :

I think the flat list is better for a blog. Mainly because the blog post is supposed to be one subject, instead of a lot of little side subjects, which the nested conversations would be.

I can imagine it being a nightmare for moderators trying to deal with ever expanding branches of of topic posts.

George E. Smith
February 23, 2009 10:55 am

Well when I first read this last night, the text was so small, I couldn’t read it, so now I am looking again; it’s still too small to read.
George

Sandy
February 23, 2009 11:41 am

Hi Anthony,
I’m a moderator on the EUreferendum where each blog post starts a thread. Registered users on returning to the forum then can see all the posts on all threads since their last visit, making it easy to keep up and very easy to moderate.
E-mail me if I can help?

Tim Clark
February 23, 2009 12:14 pm

Regardless of the method used for nesting, I believe it imperative that programming be designed to insert posts regarding temperature first, and those concerning CO2 nested second or third. It would trouble me to see temperature subordinate to CO2 :~D.

Dave Andrews
February 23, 2009 12:51 pm

Anthony,
Agree with those who are ‘sceptical’! Wherever I’ve come across this nested threading it really breaks up the narrative flow. Sure a flat list can go OT for a while, but often the comments will refer to various aspects of the thread and people can learn all kinds of things, especially those new to the blog.
Nested threads encourage a return to specific areas (with difficulty) – the result being that if you have no particular interest in a ‘nest’ you skip it. Yet if you read it, as you would do the comments in a flat thread you could learn learn a lot more.

Neil Crafter
February 23, 2009 12:52 pm

Anthony
I don’t like it I have to say. I follow the threads in a linear fashion and note where they have got to so I can pick them up again, and if comments get posted halfway up I don’t even know they are there and would have to go backwards to check or miss them altogether. If there is a vote on this I would vote a polite no. If there isn’t then I will have to lump it, not like it.

Doug D.
February 23, 2009 2:11 pm

Long-time lurker/fan here.
FWIW, there’s no way I’m going to continually browse individual threads looking for rare nuggets of wisdom. Please return to the flat file format.

Jari
February 23, 2009 2:21 pm

Nested comments? Now my mobile phone browser cannot fit everything in a neat column. Have to scroll sideways as well. Too bad, the old version was much better for me.

Mr Lynn
February 24, 2009 6:07 am

Nested comments are good for relatively trivial responses to a particular post (“thanks for the link,” etc.), and for back-and-forth on specific issues.
OTOH, as others have said, it becomes impossible to find the new posts when you come back to a thread, and that is a serious disadvantage when the threads are long (as they generally seem to be here).
Possible solution: Keep the nested threads for the advantages, but add a bright icon highlighting new posts since last visit. Can WordPress do that?
/Mr Lynn
PS OT: Don’t see an address to send feedback or tips. E.g., in case you missed it: Expensive NASA satellite to measure CO2 ‘sinks’ lost on launch: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=av6QSiI5BuOI&refer=us

fred houpt
February 24, 2009 10:29 am

Head’s up gang:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/gore-pulls-slide-of-disaster-trends/
Gore has had his pants pulled down and was caught.

February 24, 2009 12:41 pm

Anthony,
After a bit of working with the WUWT site since the nested changes were implemented, I must vote with the side that says “please, change it back.”
Nested comments are, perhaps, a good feature for a small number of comments, but that is rarely the case on WUWT these days.
It is very difficult (and time consuming) to go through and look for new comments. It was so much simpler and faster with linear comments.
As just one example, some kind soul (I believe it was Graeme) posed a question to me in a comment on “The Madness is About to Begin.” I have been trying to follow that post and its comments, but had missed that question for a couple of days. I did submit my answer in a comment when I found the question.
However, the quality of the postings is outstanding as usual, and the comments I do manage to read are fascinating. Some comments are LOL funny! and some are serious and make one pause and think.
You are doing a yeoman’s work with WUWT, and for that you are to be commended. This is the way the internet ought to be (with linear comments, IMHO).
Best regards,
Roger Sowell

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