Topics

locked Message threads versus topics


 

Mark,

Looking at the screen shots (for my other reply about Facebook 2) I'm reminded of another feature of classic groups that has been lost in Neo, and not restored by Groups.io: true message threads (as opposed to mere topics).

Groups.io provides a "topic" view, not a "thread" view. The distinction I'm making is that messages in the topic are shown in pure date order, with no indication of which message each may have been in reply to. Classic groups provided a threaded view by way of a hierarchical list of message summaries below each opened message:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shalf/10130165595/in/set-72157636272401705
(note the blue background highlighting the message currently open at the top of the page).

I don't think I would advocate copying that particular implementation in Groups.io; likely it would be more sensible to provide a true "Thread View" as an alternate sort option for an open message topic/thread (versus the existing date sort options).

-- Shal


Judy F.
 

Thank you Shal for both explanations.

Judy F.
SW Florida - USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Shal Farley [mailto:shal@...]
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 11:02 PM
To: beta@groups.io
Subject: [beta] Message threads versus topics

Mark,

Looking at the screen shots (for my other reply about Facebook 2) I'm
reminded of another feature of classic groups that has been lost in Neo, and
not restored by Groups.io: true message threads (as opposed to mere topics).


Groups.io provides a "topic" view, not a "thread" view. The distinction I'm
making is that messages in the topic are shown in pure date order, with no
indication of which message each may have been in reply to. Classic groups
provided a threaded view by way of a hierarchical list of message summaries
below each opened message:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shalf/10130165595/in/set-72157636272401705
(note the blue background highlighting the message currently open at the top
of the page).

I don't think I would advocate copying that particular implementation in
Groups.io; likely it would be more sensible to provide a true "Thread View"
as an alternate sort option for an open message topic/thread (versus the
existing date sort options).

-- Shal


 

Hmm. I fall into the camp that dislikes the staggered message presentation view like this. I really dislike how Reddit does things, for example.

Is there much demand for a view like this?

We do have an expanded view, which displays messages in pure date order. It's not currently accessible anywhere, except by appending ?expanded=1 to a messages link, like:


If people like that view, I could add a toggle in the messages view.

Thanks,
Mark

On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:
Mark,

Looking at the screen shots (for my other reply about Facebook 2) I'm reminded of another feature of classic groups that has been lost in Neo, and not restored by Groups.io: true message threads (as opposed to mere topics).

Groups.io provides a "topic" view, not a "thread" view. The distinction I'm making is that messages in the topic are shown in pure date order, with no indication of which message each may have been in reply to. Classic groups provided a threaded view by way of a hierarchical list of message summaries below each opened message:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shalf/10130165595/in/set-72157636272401705
(note the blue background highlighting the message currently open at the top of the page).

I don't think I would advocate copying that particular implementation in Groups.io; likely it would be more sensible to provide a true "Thread View" as an alternate sort option for an open message topic/thread (versus the existing date sort options).

-- Shal



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Mark,

Hmm. I fall into the camp that dislikes the staggered message
presentation view like this. I really dislike how Reddit does things,
for example.
I don't use Reddit, but in any case I wouldn't want this as my only view - date sorted is more often useful. But some times I really need to be able see the proper context for a reply. It can help a lot when the person forgot to quote anything.

At the moment I resort to searching for the In-Reply-To value among the Message-ID values in my email folder - which is really clumsy. Only lucky that my email client lets me search among the message headers.

Maybe here in the 21st century there's a better way to visualize this than as an indented hierarchy view. Without getting too cutesy. Something like Fossil's timeline view (directed lines drawn beside the chronological list) for example might be overboard.
http://fossil-scm.org/xfer/timeline

-- Shal


Judy F.
 

Mark, I reply at the top of a message and if the message has a lot of questions, I do my reply below each question in BOLD.  Is there a way that the various reply options could be offered and the member can decide what they like best? 

 

Judy F.

SW Florida - USA

 

From: Mark Fletcher [mailto:markf@corp.groups.io]
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 1:29 PM
To: beta@groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Message threads versus topics

 

Hmm. I fall into the camp that dislikes the staggered message presentation view like this. I really dislike how Reddit does things, for example.

 

Is there much demand for a view like this?

 

We do have an expanded view, which displays messages in pure date order. It's not currently accessible anywhere, except by appending ?expanded=1 to a messages link, like:

 

 

If people like that view, I could add a toggle in the messages view.

 

Thanks,

Mark

 

On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:

Mark,

Looking at the screen shots (for my other reply about Facebook 2) I'm reminded of another feature of classic groups that has been lost in Neo, and not restored by Groups.io: true message threads (as opposed to mere topics).

Groups.io provides a "topic" view, not a "thread" view. The distinction I'm making is that messages in the topic are shown in pure date order, with no indication of which message each may have been in reply to. Classic groups provided a threaded view by way of a hierarchical list of message summaries below each opened message:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shalf/10130165595/in/set-72157636272401705
(note the blue background highlighting the message currently open at the top of the page).

I don't think I would advocate copying that particular implementation in Groups.io; likely it would be more sensible to provide a true "Thread View" as an alternate sort option for an open message topic/thread (versus the existing date sort options).

-- Shal



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I think the first priority is to have the original message included in the reply, like a proper email client, so that people can reply in-line. I will bump that up in the todo list.

Thanks,
Mark

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM, J. Faulkner <jfaulkner44@...> wrote:

Mark, I reply at the top of a message and if the message has a lot of questions, I do my reply below each question in BOLD.  Is there a way that the various reply options could be offered and the member can decide what they like best? 

 

Judy F.

SW Florida - USA

 

From: Mark Fletcher [mailto:markf@corp.groups.io]
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 1:29 PM
To: beta@groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Message threads versus topics

 

Hmm. I fall into the camp that dislikes the staggered message presentation view like this. I really dislike how Reddit does things, for example.

 

Is there much demand for a view like this?

 

We do have an expanded view, which displays messages in pure date order. It's not currently accessible anywhere, except by appending ?expanded=1 to a messages link, like:

 

 

If people like that view, I could add a toggle in the messages view.

 

Thanks,

Mark

 

On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:

Mark,

Looking at the screen shots (for my other reply about Facebook 2) I'm reminded of another feature of classic groups that has been lost in Neo, and not restored by Groups.io: true message threads (as opposed to mere topics).

Groups.io provides a "topic" view, not a "thread" view. The distinction I'm making is that messages in the topic are shown in pure date order, with no indication of which message each may have been in reply to. Classic groups provided a threaded view by way of a hierarchical list of message summaries below each opened message:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shalf/10130165595/in/set-72157636272401705
(note the blue background highlighting the message currently open at the top of the page).

I don't think I would advocate copying that particular implementation in Groups.io; likely it would be more sensible to provide a true "Thread View" as an alternate sort option for an open message topic/thread (versus the existing date sort options).

-- Shal



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It may be worth checking out how Discourse handles replies. Discourse lists all messages linearly, but adds indicators to let you know which message a message is a reply to and also allows you to open a list of replies inline: http://www.discourse.org/. You can see this in the third image down the page.


 

Chris,

It may be worth checking out how Discourse handles replies.
Interesting. I was thinking of something like that too.

Another visual way to accomplish that is to have the "In-Reply-To" link collapse the intervening messages to a horizontal rule that allows one to re-expand them. Likewise the "Replies" button, leaving only the direct replies expanded below the message.

Not sure what to do if one happens to have the date sort reversed. But maybe exactly the same thing, just that the In-Reply-To would be below and the direct replies above.

-- Shal


Laurence Taylor
 

On 17/11/2014 18:28, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Hmm. I fall into the camp that dislikes the staggered message presentation
view like this. I really dislike how Reddit does things, for example.

Is there much demand for a view like this?
I don't like the multiple-indent style, I find it dificult to read. In
my view, messags shoild be shown - or should be able to be shown - in
strict chronological order. Otherwise you get, as you do with Reddit
&c., a string of old messages with a new one in the middle.


--
rgds
LAurence
<><


 

Mark,

Is there much demand for a view like this?

I feel somewhat vindicated. Facebook has added one more layer of hierarchy. So now they have:

Post
    Comment
        Reply

Which probably addresses the majority use cases of people replying to each others comments, without introducing the presentation problems of dealing with an indefinite number of levels. However, Facebook apparently treats all email replies as Comments on the original post, which is a cop-out I'd rather not duplicate at Groups.io.

By the way, I feel vindicated not because I like Facebook that well, but because it has often been the example thrown at me for why hierarchical message presentation isn't needed.

-- Shal


 

On 6/7/2015 6:38 PM, Shal Farley wrote:
By the way, I feel vindicated not because I like Facebook that well, but
because it has often been the example thrown at me for why hierarchical
message presentation isn't needed.
<aol> Me Too </aol>

I also like how they allow expand (and collapse?) at each level.
Someone was thinking...

dg


 

Sorry for the delayed reply... been sick.

On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 6:38 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:

Mark,

Is there much demand for a view like this?

I feel somewhat vindicated. Facebook has added one more layer of hierarchy. So now they have:

Post
    Comment
        Reply

Which probably addresses the majority use cases of people replying to each others comments, without introducing the presentation problems of dealing with an indefinite number of levels. However, Facebook apparently treats all email replies as Comments on the original post, which is a cop-out I'd rather not duplicate at Groups.io.

I'm not against another view with some hierarchy. I just really dislike Reddit's massively hierarchical view.

I seem to recall Discourse forums have a view with some hierarchy. Have you seen that? Maybe something to consider.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

The way Discourse handles it is very nice. Discourse is flat, so your replies appear inline, but each message with replies has a ui element you can click on in order to view those replies. I think that the discourse style would work very well here too.

On 12 June 2015 at 12:46, Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:
Sorry for the delayed reply... been sick.

On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 6:38 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:

Mark,

Is there much demand for a view like this?

I feel somewhat vindicated. Facebook has added one more layer of hierarchy. So now they have:

Post
    Comment
        Reply

Which probably addresses the majority use cases of people replying to each others comments, without introducing the presentation problems of dealing with an indefinite number of levels. However, Facebook apparently treats all email replies as Comments on the original post, which is a cop-out I'd rather not duplicate at Groups.io.

I'm not against another view with some hierarchy. I just really dislike Reddit's massively hierarchical view.

I seem to recall Discourse forums have a view with some hierarchy. Have you seen that? Maybe something to consider.

Thanks,
Mark 



 

Mark,

Sorry for the delayed reply... been sick.

Not a problem. This isn't a hot-burner issue.

I'm not against another view with some hierarchy. I just really dislike Reddit's massively hierarchical view.

Hierarchical views aren't always the most convenient to read, and often produce a somewhat ugly presentation. I don't frequent Reddit, but that looks typical. And it shows why I'd want it to be just a view selection. Like a sort order, it ought to be facile so you can choose it when it helps you and change back to flat chronological when that serves better.

The usual ugliness with a strict hierarchical view is that a simple dialog turns into a nested descent:

Bob
    Alice
        Bob
            Alice
                Bob
                    Alice
                        ...

I haven't thought it through, but maybe there's a hybrid form of view wherein a reply without siblings doesn't get a nesting indent. That would preserve a simple dialog as a vertical thread.

Another factor (or option) is whether the hierarchy is displayed with messages all expanded (as threads are shown in Groups.io now) or with them summarized (as the message lists are). I'd often want them summarized, as I see the utility of the hierarchy as allowing direct navigation to the parent of or direct replies to the opened message. Perhaps even condensed further, to two-line or even one-line each - allowing as much of the tree to show on screen as practical before needing to scroll.

My opinion on this is influenced by the fact I use the web view of the messages primarily for reference: finding something I've read before or tracking something down after a search. For just reading what's new I read in email - effectively a straight temporal view.

I seem to recall Discourse forums have a view with some hierarchy. Have you seen that? Maybe something to consider.

I went and looked. Perhaps Facebook learned from them, it seems to be the same Post, Comment, Reply scheme. It is ok in its way, but Facebook's implementation is too web-centric for my taste (flattens all email replies to Comments and doesn't reveal the actual In-Reply-To structure).

-- Shal