It's A Threaded Comment Nightmare (Of The Good Kind)

The weblog which you are now graciously reading has just been upgraded to feature threaded comments (so step out of your RSS reader and try it out). Incidentally, I’ve been yearning for threaded comments for years, so it’s nice to be able to strike that one off the list.

As part of the upgrade, I’ve had to sacrifice the ability to quote comments; an ability which you probably didn’t know of and won’t miss, especially now that you can reply directly to a comment. Good riddance. Unfortunately, the ability for commenters to edit their own comments was also sacrificed; do you know of a 2.7 compatible plugin that does that?

Finally, hello Gravatars! Since—2004 apparently, oh my how time flies—comments have featured favatars, mini-graphics built from the favicons on commentators websites. Gravatars are bigger and therefore more fun. Plus, if you don’t have a Gravatar, your comment will feature an amazing identicon, a tiny graphic symbol built from your IP address (don’t worry, it’s an irreversible process); which is awesome, because as we all know, pseudo-random artwork is great. In fact, I like identicons so much that I think you should get rid of your Gravatar and then post a comment here. Do it for me.

14 thoughts on “It's A Threaded Comment Nightmare (Of The Good Kind)”

    1. Joen says:

      Heh heh, I guess that counts as a comment…

  1. Jeff Byrnes says:

    Woooo! Threads! Hot.

    1. Joen says:

      Hot indeed! And if you don’t care about implementing it in your own theme, you’ll soon be able to steal it from my upcoming wordpress theme: http://noscope.com/pangea/?p=1 (which is still top secret).

  2. Nik says:

    (so step out of your RSS reader and try it out)

    I feel guilty for not having stepped out far earlier.. it’s been a while – nice work Joen! 🙂

  3. Jeff says:

    Threading is quite nice — but only when you have a smart enough (and small enough) audience to truly understand and take advantage of it.

    Otherwise it just gets out of control and entirely too difficult to follow. (Not to mention graphically messy — I’ve never seen a nesting system which survives 5 layers of nesting very nicely.

  4. Levi says:

    Nice work Joen, I’ll have to turn the feature on for my blog ASAP. Though it does present a minor design challenge; I’m sure I’ll work it out.

    I’ll have a look into comment editing; surely the old plugin just needs some minor updates to get it working again.

  5. Jenny-fa says:

    Oh no! I liked the quoting feature! And threading is so disorganized… if only someone could devise a visual alternative to the boxes-within-the-boxes…

    1. Joen says:

      I just wrote a new plugin that takes into account the new WordPress comment system. Because it was so easy, I think it’ll be a breeze to write a “Quote comments” plugin, hence adding the feature back.

      It’s in my todo list.

    2. Joen says:

      Actually I now have a working “Quote comments” plugin (installed here ), so scratch what I said earlier about no longer being able to quote comments. It just has to be a plugin.

  6. Joen says:

    I should point out, that the current implementation of threaded comments is most basic, and not finalized. It’s something I want to tweak over the coming days and weeks. Already now, I have a few decisions:

    • I will allow only one level of threading. That means each comment can be a thread with replies. No deeper.
    • I plan to tweak the design to be more clear, with regards to threading.

    As for the quoting feature — well, I have thought about building a plugin for it… maybe I will! The thing is, you can still quote, now you just have to copy and paste, instead of select and click.

    1. Vindberg, A. says:

      I was about to give that exact comment – Only allow one level!

      I love that the textarea moves to the location of the “Reply” – been wanting to implement that in CommunityServer for years.

      Btw. nice background, on the side ay.

      Personally I don’t like identicons – they only add noise. Graphically they usually don’t fit with the website design, and informational they supply nothing!

    2. Joen says:

      I think the textarea movement is pretty much JavaScript. Shouldn’t be too difficult, provided you can add the appropriate IDs in the comment code.

      As for identicons, sure they are a matter of taste. But they are informative, since they’re depicting the IP address of the commenter. Suppose someone else poses as “Vindberg, A.” — the identicon will reveal if said person posts from the same IP as you.

    3. Vindberg, A. says:

      I understand your fascination for identicons, but unfortunately IPs cannot be used as identification of a user – I may be accessing your website from different IPs (Work, Home, on Iphone) as I usually do 🙂

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