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Yes, UHub looks a bit different

At least on a PC or laptop. I installed some new software to do something and blammo, either it took down the templates that control how the site looks or it was just an amazing coincidence that something else went wrong at the same time. Got the templates working again, but some things are still a bit off, such as the font size. But as long as I have you:

I am, very, very slowly, actually working on a site redesign, mostly to improve the way the site looks and works on mobile devices (which, last time I checked, are how more than half of you visit UHub). I'm not planning any major changes in the basic way the site looks (but will probably manage to annoy people anyway), except that I'll finally buckle down and create an ad-free version of the site for subscribers.

But there are a couple of things I'm looking at that I'd love some feedback on:

There's a box on the home page that lists the most recent comments on the site. Do folks still use it and, if so, what would you think if that were on a separate page, rather than on the home page? It worked on the home page when there weren't a lot of new comments at a time, but now, comments come in often enough that you could miss something in a box that only lists the dozen or so newest comments. On its own page, there'd be room for a much longer listing.

UHub currently uses "threaded" comments - if you see a comment you want to reply to, just reply and your message will show up right under the initial comment. I'm a fan of threaded comments, but the problem is that on most phones, if a thread gets too involved, you wind up with messages scrunched all the way to the right of the page, with a single letter per line, so basically unreadable. What would you think of a system in which all comments are sequential, i.e., if you want to reply to something, you'd have to go to the end of the thread, post your comment and figure out how to refer to the initial comment you're replying to (all comments have unique URLs, I could add numbers as well). The advantage is everything is always legible. Here is an example of a non-threaded discussion on another site.

Thanks!

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Comments

Non-threaded comments suck. When there are so many replies to a post that it becomes scrunched up it's probably the result of a flame war between posters and not worth reading anyway.

Uhub is pretty good as-is. IMHO, there's not much of a need for the most recent comment box. The "new replies" makes it clear if there's an active discussion or not.

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I've seen the comments scrunch, but relatively rarely.

Comments sometimes go off on wide tangents from the main story, and the threading tames the tangents.

(I expect my request to get extra credit for the alliteration)

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The other blog I frequent has unthreaded comments and when things get heated it's impossible to keep track of who's responding to whom.

Is it possible to set up threading so that when you reach a certain point (say, 3 levels) the new comments on that sub-comment no longer indent any further? If so, might that be a good compromise?

And I love the idea of being able to subscribe.

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Unthreaded comments are a lot harder to read on a desktop or laptop machine (which is what I use for most of my web reading, including UHub).

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Also seconded that scrunched comments are usually a sign the discussion/flamewar is probably best ignored at that point anyway. And also seconded that cutting off nesting at the third or so step in would be a good solution. I feel like I've seen this work well elsewhere.

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I like the way the New York Times and other sites handle threaded comments by having only one level of indent but displaying the name of the commenter being replied to. It’s pretty easy to see what previous comment a new comment is replying to, IMO.

And not that you asked, but my number-one wish is, as always, that clicking on the Log In link on a story and logging in would return me to the story page rather than the UHub home page...

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It's a real annoyance to end up on the home page rather than back at the story I was commenting on.

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Since each UHub page has a unique link, open a new tab, log in there, then re-login the page you want to comment, which loads a logged-in version of that page.

(I mentioned this to Adam and his response was something like "yeah, I know, I have to fix that and a bunch of other stuff.")

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The deeply nested comments that get scrunched aren't just hard to read, they take up a lot of vertical space, making it hard to scroll past. Can they be collapsed instead?

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Also nice: a feature to only display comments from registered users.

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... to allow one not to see see posts from certain registered users (whose posts routinely disfigure any conversation they enter).

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Keep the threads. Can't you change out the way its layed out, maybe move to more of a reddit style where you can +/- threads to hide/show them. This might help (the endless scrolling thru cat fight style threads)

Also, you already 'know' that a browser is a mobile version, why not have separate mobile-streamlined site and redirect mobile browsers to that? I mean it is a database so its really about the front end, however this would require a separate site altogether. But might solve the cross platform issues, as people can 'request desktop site' if they if its not working right.

I know mobile is where it's going but some of us still use desktop browser to access Uhub.

As far as the comments box on the main page. Keep it, its a 'quick glance' to know which are the most commented stories. Even if it filters out quick (with rapid postings). To save space, you could shorten it to 3-4 comments with a (more) to a full page list like you describe.

PS - while you are fixing stuff, can you add whatever plug in your site needs to link to Facepage :p

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Keep the threads, keep the box.

Thanks for asking for our input, Adam. The best thing about this site - and I mean this most sincerely - is you. I may disagree with you, or others, but the one thing I can always count on is that you'll give all sides an equal chance to express opinions.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Please keep the threads! I read on mobile and just skip the long threads that get squished. And I guess if you're taking any other requests, I'd put in for a caption contest post and a rants and raves post where commenters can yammer back and forth, kind of like the popville blog they got in DC.

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...for keeping threads as is.

Love the site.

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hi adamg, i am actually a administrator for iso.linuxquestions.org and they use vbulletin for their forum software which ive grown accustomed to especially since one can multi-quote replies.

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But I also like the idea of a reddit style system that let's people collapse individual threads, if such a thing is possible. And I visit pretty much exclusively on mobile, where it can quickly become illegible if threads are too many levels of replies deep. Reddit has some good ways to handle this, too.

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I'm for keeping the threads. I also find the "most recent comments" box useful.

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Me too.

We really do go off in other directions in threads, and it would be a mess if sequential comments.

As for the home page - actually never use the home page. I read you via RSS, and open up articles directly (or via FB and twitter, adn again go directly to articles). so I wouldn't care of the 'latest comments' goes away...

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Yes, I forgot to address your question about the home page in my previous comment, but I also access stories directly through a feed reader or via social media, so never visit the home page (except after logging in...)

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For sure keep threads. I like the reddit style idea if its possible

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It worked for LiveJournal, it works for Dreamwidth, it works for Reddit, it works for you.

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add me to the "keep threaded quotes" group, though admittedly I normally either am using a desktop or tablet where the scrunch isn't a problem.

one other thing I've noticed in the last few weeks(?) is that on the front page the post doesn't include the author, which I think it used to (normally, it's adamg, but every once in a while it's not)

never use the most recent comment box

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There are other pages I visit that do not use threads, and they end up being a huge mess of quotes and conversations that jump back-and-forth between different thoughts.

Rarely use box on front page.

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I'll happily sign up to be your first paid subscriber-and you can keep the ads up too!

Keep on keeping on!

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Collapsable threads would be wonderful.

After logging in. jumping back to the last page visited (rather than the front page) would also be great.

And you've heard this from me before, but here's one (probably lonely) vote for having both up and down votes on comments. I think the current system has two unfortunate consequences - First, instead of showing how engaged the readership is with a particular comment, it simply shows how popular it is with a single axis of opinion - and that encourages partisan sniping. The other issue is that it encourages people to reply with oppositional comments that are short on info, but still take up space, which can really overlengthen a thread.

Many other discussion forums use up/down voting (some of which show only cumulative +/- total) and it seems to lead to shorter side-threading. Disqus, Reddit, /.-type forums, etc.

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Seconded as well (so, eighthed?)

I will say that when the comments load poorly on a mobile phone I take it as a sign that there's some stupid flame war I shouldn't spend my time reading. Maybe after three indents they'd just stop threading, or automatically collapse, or just the title would be indented, or indented with >, >>, >>> or something.

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