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What do you think about threaded forum software?

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 01:23 am
@Robert Gentel,
Sorry...I can't quite grasp what that would actually be like in reality.

Are there sites you could direct us to that would allow me to get a real sense of it?


Off the top of my head, I think I might find that I would possibly miss a lot of responses that turn out to be very interesting (I know I could be wrong through not understanding.)

I use ignore and have become a pretty good ignorer, and so I don't think there would be lots of advantages for me...but I'd like to grasp the idea way better before commenting further.


Edit: Read further, and noticed choice is implicit in what you are thinking about.

I can certainly see that being able to continue a discussion without the sub-conversations that consist entirely of trolls and comments responding to them would be great.

roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 01:55 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:


I can certainly see that being able to continue a discussion without the sub-conversations that consist entirely of trolls and comments responding to them would be great.



Yes, I can visualize a troll diverter.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 02:03 am
Some game forums that run along the lines of A2K have a moderator. That seems to work.
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Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 06:20 am
@Robert Gentel,

i've never used or seen a threaded forum, but am willing to give it a try.

one type of thread i can see it being useful for is the football pool, where our weekly picks tend to get buried under pages of idle chat.

i don't think threading would work for word game topics that are truly linear, so i like the idea of us having a format choice.

how would it work with new questions/discussions?
would thread author have the ability to decide which format they think would be better?
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:49 am
I think this would be a welcome change option. Currently, it's a bit stagnant at times and good topics are often saturated with multiple posts in a row by one person only, who completely went off topic and it's hard to go back to the original topic when you have three to four posts with phonetic mumble jumble.
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Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:34 pm
@msolga,
You'd still be able to make a root-level response that is it's own thread on the topic if you want to speak to all in a topic. The use case that suffers is how sometimes members use reply all to reply to the last post in a thread and because they are in immediate chronological order it's clear (most of the time) who you are talking to. But if the posts aren't all ordered chronologically this context is lost.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:44 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

How would a threaded forum impact on the eventually vastly upgraded search feature you hope to install?

I'm not sure I'd like the threaded forum version, especially if there are numerous sidebar chats going on within a thread. What if one of those sidebar chats proves extremely interesting? How would someone not participating in the parent thread ever find that interesting sidebar chat nested within?

Would we be able to split off the sidebar children to convert them to parent threads with their own topic titles and tags? Speaking of tags, how would the tagging system work with a threaded forum? Would we be tagging only the parent threads or would the sidebar chat children also be able to be tagged with unrelated labels from the parent?


msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:47 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thanks, Robert.

Getting a better idea of how it might work, though it's still a little fuzzy to me, not having experienced a threaded forum before. From how you describe it, I'd probably be inclined to stick to root-level mode.
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Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:51 pm
@Butrflynet,
I think you are imagining something very different than I am. What I imagine is simply the option to group topic posts by their parent post. It doesn't change any data on the back-end so it doesn't impact search, or tags or anything else. It is basically just a different ordering of posts on the topics page.
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Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:58 pm
These two Wiki articles may help people better understand the terminology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_software#Flat_vs._threaded

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threaded_discussion

Here are some images that demonstrate some of the various flavors of threaded forums:

http://www.movabletype.org/documentation/2008/05/29/hierarchical-comment-threading.png

This is a "flattened" view of a threaded forum where you only see the title and author name of each reply in the structure:

http://www.scottberkun.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/iwethey600.jpg

These are two more examples of threaded forums in the flattened view and the non-flattened view:

http://assets.modxcms.com/modx-repos/10/609/threadview.png

http://assets.modxcms.com/modx-repos/10/609/20091216-b2b4eghy18har9iirbcxkk7k6q.png
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:00 pm
So, if i understand this correctly, in order to follow a thread within a thread, i would click on the response listed after the first post, and that would take me to a sequence of posts which represented responses to that post, and responses to those responses? I really have no opinion on the programming, but i would like to know how to work it.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:04 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Are there sites you could direct us to that would allow me to get a real sense of it?


Ok, but remember that implementation can vary, so don't get caught up in details like how easy it is in the examples, or what looks nicer etc. Those are all just aesthetics that can differ based on how it works.

Here is one example:

http://digg.com/basketball/Prank_War_7_The_Half_Million_Dollar_Basketball_Shot

The default way their comments are sorted is not a great example, so right above the comments there is a drop down, use that to change to "oldest first" (which is still threaded.

Then you'll see that you see the top-level replies (i.e. the reply to the original post) in chronological order, and responses to them are collapsed and can be expanded.

Here is another example:

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/b1lx9/the_use_of_augmented_reality_at_a_lego_storedrool/

Here you will want to use the plus and minus signs to the right of posts to collapse whole sub-conversations. So as you read through the thread chronologically, if there's a particular diversion or flame war going on, you can just collapse the whole thing from where it starts.

But please don't let these implementations become the idea for you, the key is just grouping by post hierarchy, and the implementation itself can be very different (as you can see from these two examples, even).
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:11 pm
@Setanta,
That's one way it could work, if the replies are all collapsed. But the implementation can change how it actually works dramatically. So it could be like this slashdot topic, where they are all expanded but when you reply to a post it goes right under the post you are replying to, not the bottom of all posts (in this particular view, it's just a grouping and ordering issue of the same data, so you can also display it in "flat" format just ordered by post chronology).
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:18 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
This is a "flattened" view of a threaded forum where you only see the title and author name of each reply in the structure:


Actually, that is backwards. When replies are collapsed to the titles it's not considered "flat" and when they are opened up (think flattened out) it's "flat".

In any case, that is an implementation detail (expanding the threads or not) to threading and I think the threaded discussion wikipedia link you shared covers the main social difference in a nutshell: threaded fosters a culture of talking to individuals directly.

You can still address the top level of the thread to talk to everyone, but in practice the threading makes it a bit more conversational and increases the prevalence of replying directly to an individual.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:20 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I would like to know if we could change the color schemes of a2k pages in this modified a2k world....

Baby blue = blah!
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:25 pm
I like the threaded view, provided I don't need to click to open up a reply. I hate clicking, and would prefer to click as few times as possible to read a thread.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:27 pm
@tsarstepan,
It's something I'd like to do, but it's not high on my priorities compared to features right now. We are missing some stuff we need more (admin tools are pretty bare, private messages are still not finished, e.g. you can't delete them, we don't have an in-house search feature...) so it will probably take a while to get to that kind of thing.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:29 pm
@maporsche,
The few times I saw such a setup, you would click a post that was listed as having comments, and there they all were, kind of like a separate thread. Now, if you didn't click it, I think you eventually came to each post anyway, in chronological order, but co-mingled with every other post on the parent thread.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:33 pm
@maporsche,
I am inclined to agree, but perhaps with some compromise for display simplicity.

Here you can try both ways:

http://digg.com/basketball/Prank_War_7_The_Half_Million_Dollar_Basketball_Shot

Above the comments select the dropdown option of "oldest first". There you'll notice links to expand replies which you click on to show them, give that a try then go back to the dropdown and click expand all to the left of it and they will all be expanded.

In my opinion this too would likely be an option you can as easily toggle. You'd be able to expand them all and collapse the ones you want to skip or you could start with all collapsed and open the ones you want to peruse.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:33 pm
@roger,
Let me add that in that case, it worked very well, indeed. The thread involved saturated fats, and the side thread started when someone specifically asked how it related to cholesteral. The author and several others were able to clarify in one consecutive side thread.

I now think it would be really great for specifics, and not so hot for general discussion. If we have the option of changing settings at any time, I just don't see a downside.
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