XF 2.2: Allow nested replies in Q&A Threads

arn

Well-known member
Context:

The Q&A thread naturally lends itself to "post comments". Now, I never thought threaded conversations really worked well in the traditional forum setting -- I recall vBulletin's attempts at it. But, when you are talking about a Q&A where the A's are pieces of votable content itself. There is naturally going to be discussions around the A's.

The problem with the flat structure is what happens when someone replies to an Answer? That answer's reply gets its own Vote button, which doesn't make much sense. And what happens when people sort by Vote? These strange replies will be floating around with no context.

Since we're already being a little loose with post order anyway in these Q&A threads -- IMO, the best solution would be when someone replies to an Answer by hitting Reply or Quote on that Answer itself, that reply gets nested under the Answer, and not in the thread somewhere.

I'd like to suggest nested replies for Q&A threads. A single level of nesting would be sufficient with some way to "expand more" that hides excess replies after N replies.

This is how the other major Q&A forums works: StackOverflow, Quora.

Answers get their own independent thread of replies.
Example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/13316966/css-checkboxes-radio-buttons-when-input-is-inside-label

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 2.01.54 AM.png
 
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Upvote 105

frm

Well-known member
I'd only like this if the nesting took place with text and text formatting only (default text size). Attachments would look weird, especially if inserted as a thumbnail or large image in the reply unless the attachments appeared as a 32x32 "icon" below the message, which could have a character count limit aside from max post length.

Still, +1 as I'm sure if not implemented, a 3rd party could make that doable.
 

arn

Well-known member
There exists a couple of similar addons that do provide nesting. I was looking at integrating with an existing Q&A addon before this was announced.

This one is the one I was testing:


Obviously, it remains to be seen if it breaks with 2.2. But this would be the best alternative in the meanwhile and the developer has been very active.

arn
 

RobinHood

Well-known member
Discourse does something like this on all their threads.
Replies to a post appear in an expandable box underneath the post that’s being replied to, so you can show all replies to that post in one place. Every post still appears in chronological order in the rest of the thread though, so it can still be ready like a classic forum discussion thread.
 

nrep

Well-known member
Agree 100% with this, I am desperate for a Q&A feature like this, but want to make sure that comments are threaded to answers as you suggest. Otherwise it's just a mess of replies and hard to follow.
 

l3ta

Well-known member
I hope it doesn't take a year to get this implemented. This will bake the Q&A feature to completion even if it takes a little longer for 2.2 to go into beta.
 

SIneDave

Member
I'm a big supporter of this idea. If we are getting question forum capability - we should aim for feature parity with other platforms. Our users are already used to the idea of nested replies on sites like Quora, StackExchange etc.
 

WoodiE

Well-known member
Context:

The Q&A thread naturally lends itself to "post comments". Now, I never thought threaded conversations really worked well in the traditional forum setting -- I recall vBulletin's attempts at it. But, when you are talking about a Q&A where the A's are pieces of votable content itself. There is naturally going to be discussions around the A's.

The problem with the flat structure is what happens when someone replies to an Answer? That answer's reply gets its own Vote button, which doesn't make much sense. And what happens when people sort by Vote? These strange replies will be floating around with no context.

Since we're already being a little loose with post order anyway in these Q&A threads -- IMO, the best solution would be when someone replies to an Answer by hitting Reply or Quote on that Answer itself, that reply gets nested under the Answer, and not in the thread somewhere.

I'd like to suggest nested replies for Q&A threads. A single level of nesting would be sufficient with some way to "expand more" that hides excess replies after N replies.

This is how the other major Q&A forums works: StackOverflow, Quora.

Answers get their own independent thread of replies.
Example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/13316966/css-checkboxes-radio-buttons-when-input-is-inside-label

View attachment 228175
Yes please.
 

RobinHood

Well-known member
Discourse does something like this on all their threads.
Replies to a post appear in an expandable box underneath the post that’s being replied to, so you can show all replies to that post in one place. Every post still appears in chronological order in the rest of the thread though, so it can still be ready like a classic forum discussion thread.

Apple just added this to every thread in their messages iOS app.

At the 18min 30s min mark of the WWDC keynote

 

Frode789

Well-known member
I support this, AS LONG AS the posts are actually full posts (with the postbit and everything, so it looks exactly like every other post), not these tiny "Reddit" like posts. I hate those.. This isn't Reddit after all.

And it should be optional, for those who do not want nested replies.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Re: messy order

If you keep the sort by date enabled the discussion is linear. It's when you sort by votes they lose context but people know they are sorting so the result is expected. If sort by date was the default I could see wanting the nested comments, yes. But, I also feel people will not always use that and will reply as normal and then what you have is a really messy thread. The original issue compounded by nested discussions, which can also appear "heavy" in a thread when it can be streamlined if you use the original function as intended; no nested comments and date as default. Since XF is a forum first and foremost I will vote to keep as is and I will let my users sort by date to find vote order. I like the forum flow of it however I may highlight the sort by vote button.
 
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beerForo

Well-known member
Another concern is how would you handle bumps? Bump the content? And clicking on the thread title takes you to the comment in the nested list? Or not bump it and only send an alert to the post author? Then, no one will use that section and they will reply to the question. I think this would be a mess on a forum. I may be in the minority here. I like what XF had done to make this still act as a forum.
 
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