A small technical note: we’ve switched our comments systems to WordPress’ default threaded comments system, after a long time of using a plug-in.

We’re experimenting with the exact look of the comments, as well as the depth of threading we want to support. The goals are to make comments easier to follow and read.

Any suggestions in the comments are welcome.

Edit: Commenter may have to refresh the comments page a few times to see the appropriate styling.

26 Replies to “Updated Comments System”

  1. It seems like it imported the old comments completely flat; it didn’t recognize any of your plug-in’s threading.

    1. Apparently not, but it has certainly made me a better proof reader. I’m tired of dope-slapping myself around, in the wee hours, after reading sum of my posts.
      Dang, did it again!

  2. Any chance you could use a plugin that links comments to Disqus? I frequent several blogs that use it which makes it very handy to monitor your comments and replies to them. It also supports editing!

  3. Second the vote for Disqus, which gives you network benefits and features but will still sync to the local WordPress database so you’re not dependent on it.

  4. it would be great if there was a way to see new comments since last visit. it is very difficult to stay on top of new comments in large threads with 50+ comments.

  5. The threading does not display properly in Chrome; I’m just getting the unthreaded view. It works fine in Firefox and IE.

  6. It looks like the intent is for the STB blogger’s comments to be surrounded by heavy rules as in Adam’s response above.
    Why don’t John Jensen’s comments appear that way?

  7. The main problem now is the huge fonts in the headers and reply form. Just bump them down a bit.

    I don’t see any other differences between this and the previous plugin, except the threading panels seem more sharp-edged and brutalist. The message header “X says” and then the date looks good.

    One issue with threading levels is, if I say something and somebody replies to it and I reply back, the “reply to this comment” link makes a three-level structure which seems like overkill. Sometimes I reply at the second level because three levels just seems like too much. The main use of threading is to keep general topics together. I’m not saying eliminate three levels outright: sometimes they are useful.

    1. I strongly disagree about threading levels. IMHO it’s best if everyone uses threading properly: if you’re replying to a post you should reply to it using the link, even if that makes it several levels deep. That way, it’s clear which post you’re replying to, and your reply stays in close proximity to it. If you reply without using threading properly, but other people later reply and do use threading, your reply may get pushed far away, breaking the flow of the comments. Of course, that’s alleviated somewhat if you quote the post you’re replying to, but if you use threading then you don’t necessarily need to quote.

    2. Well, this comment is an example. I made the parent comment and I’d like all replies to it to stay at this level. A third-level reply suggests a subtopic, something that’s related to its parent but not so much to its grandparent. Otherwise you can get a long diagonal stream of reply-to-reply-to-reply that’s all really responses to a common ancestor. By keeping the same topic at the same level, you can just read straight down to get all its responses. But now on STB the topic sometimes goes straight down and sometimes zigzag to the right for one reply and then back, even if the train of thought is really vertical rather than branching into a subtopic. So I’d say that sometimes “Reply to this comment” does more harm than good.

      (And I was an editor of an ezine for several years, where we fully threaded the result of email discussions for publication, so I understand the point of keeping replies in their diagonal position. But somehow it doesn’t seem to work as well here as other places, I think because we’re generally talking about a few broad topics rather than lots of subtopics.)

  8. It definitely looks nicer.

    I would like to see:

    1) An edit button, active 15 minutes after post.

    2) Like Publicola, a way to use a global login like Disqus or Facebook.

  9. I like how Publicola has the “Like” feature, as opposed to the Times’ thumb wars. Getting several “Likes” is less klunky feedback than a series of “Me too” posts.

  10. There’s one thing I’ve found that I don’t like. For deeply nested replies (deeply == 3; maybe that could go up to four or five), the reply link is at the post at the previous level. When several people have replied, you may have to page-up several times to find it. It would be more convenient to have that below the last deeply nested reply if that could be arranged.

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