WordPress Comment Nesting Unbound

Am experimenting on the threads right now with “reverse nesting.” The effect will show up mainly on busy threads, and I’m still looking at different possibilities for more advanced formatting: For now, I don’t think the impact will be major, visually or practically, since it just means that, when you reach “level 10,” threads will start indenting in the reverse direction.

As noted briefly in a prior comment thread, I recently figured out how to “break” the WordPress built-in maximum thread depth of “10.” Actually, I didn’t break anything at all: I’ve applied a perfectly legitimate if rarely exploited “filter” via a WordPress plug-in. Without going into too much detail, what the plug-in1 will initially allow for the WordPress user who installs and activates it is what we’ve had at this site since April, a comment thread at whatever “maximum depth” that continues to supply “reply links” on every comment, allowing commenters to reply in place rather than scroll up to the top of a sub-thread.

I’ve only just begun experimenting with another set of possibilities that opening up the max-depth and creating some new CSS classes also make possible. For now, all that I’ve implemented here is reversal of nesting once max-depth has been reached, along with some graphical signaling.

Before:

wp_nesting_unbound_beforeAfter:

wp_nesting_unbound_afterSo: Not a radical change. Saves a little space; may help marginally with a frequently reported bit of “time-traveling” confusion, but won’t eliminate it.

Because we read English left to right, other reversals in formatting (comments snaking back in the other direction in an exact mirror reverse pattern, for example) would be visually confusing. I’ll still be exploring some other possibilities – and seeing if someone else comes up with a slicker variation – or can go to status quo ante if we decide that it’s better.


Notes:

  1. currently a work in progress at GitHub as “WP Nested Comments Unbound” []
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5 thoughts on “WordPress Comment Nesting Unbound

  1. With the caveat that I am slow to accept change….I am not loving it. I feel it’s overkill (in addition to the “in reply to NAME” feature) and increases visual confusion, since threads get interpolated over time.

    Take this one as an example:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2015/08/24/probably-a-good-benchmark-of-how-far-weve-come/#comment-1066213

    It APPEARS to be right-nested (because it follows this comment linearly):

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2015/08/24/probably-a-good-benchmark-of-how-far-weve-come/#comment-1066126

    But it is actually reverse-nested as a response to this comment:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2015/08/24/probably-a-good-benchmark-of-how-far-weve-come/#comment-1066093

    What’s the feedback from others?

    • Glyph: What’s the feedback from others?

      Minimal. You’re all really a great bunch of gentlepeeps.

      My observation is that initial implementation did seem to make some “deep” conversations more readable and easier to continue for discussants, leading to longer sub-threads than I think previously would have been practical.

      The odd “out of order” comment, typically an old response superseded by a recent chain of of responses, stands out, but should stand out, since it’s not part of the nested sub-conversation. The same thing occurred under the previous set-up, and led to the “time-traveling” confusions occasionally reported. In this version, at least the orphaned “time traveler” appears separately from the sub-conversation with which it not have anything to do. The “In-Reply-To” link should make associating it with its original “parent” easier.

      VB did chime in this morning, somewhat anticipating a change I was planning as part of Implementing the Snake, as to which I’ll have a new post soonly.

      I don’t think there can be a perfect solution, but I’ll continue to experiment with new possibilities.
      I think with the nesting “tips” at the bottoms rather than the top of “super-max” comments, it will be more suggestive of “we’ll now be nesting thataway” rather than “the following comment is nested thataway.”

  2. Pingback: The Snake Is Implemented | Developing...

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