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

M@rc

Well-known member
I loathe the nested layout - it makes reading a thread cumbersome.

Just one of the reasons I don't use Reddit.
If we're looking at discussions, I'd agree, but this has helped me so much when I search Google for answers.

I can see the benefit to having this for Q&A and it'll help decrease search engine traffic bounce rate for question threads.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
I've never seen a Reddit post as a result for any Google search I've ever done.

Even so, I don't see how the posts being nested would make any difference.
 

ShikiSuen

Well-known member
It makes no difference what site you're comparing to.

I don't like nested replies.
We are asking for an option (from AdminCP and / or UserCP), not an absolute answer.
I hate nested in-post replies, anyway, but I do respect that it is useful in some cases.

An ideal way is to treat this function as another view of normal thread in lieu of modding new database entries for them.

P.S.: I am a witness seeing Comsenz Discuz uses this in-post-replies function (with dedicated database records) to ruin the atmosphere of all online forums in the Mainland China in recent 10 years since Discuz 7 to Discuz X3.5, really long story.
 

ShikiSuen

Well-known member
It occurred to me that there is a tree-style view in vBulletin 3 (not enabled by most vB3 forums now, including vBulletin.org).
What about bringing that thread view style into XF2 as an option?
 

arn

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.

Even if you dislike nesting (and I do for general xf discussion) -- it still makes no sense for replies to replies in a Q&A to get a voting score. Xenforo could turn off votes on replies to comments vs replies to thread -- but that's still going to be confusing/inconsistent.

It's hard to imagine you looking at this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/61401/hidden-features-of-php
and thinking it would be better as a flat discussion.

arn
 

beerForo

Well-known member
I see what what you are saying. There could be a tick box when you reply:

This is an answer [✓] (uncheck if this is a comment)

And the voting is removed. However I am still happy as-is, and people can just not vote on a comment. If they do, oh well.
 

ShikiSuen

Well-known member
@arn I am afraid that what Devs are gonna cope with is the hidden necessity behind your feature request in this thread.
Feel free to share some of your ideas / comments in my thread:
 

arn

Well-known member
It's hard to imagine you looking at this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/61401/hidden-features-of-php
and thinking it would be better as a flat discussion.

For comparison, see this thread:


But ignore the 1st post, since it has been wiki edited to actually include all the info from the thread. Instead, imagine just reading through the 74 page thread to find the new features.

arn
 

Brent W

Well-known member
I loathe the nested layout - it makes reading a thread cumbersome.

Just one of the reasons I don't use Reddit.
Unfortunately, everyone under 35 is. Reddit has its flaws, mostly on the moderation side, but it is clear that this is not one of them. I use it every day and moderate subs. The threaded replies are no problem for me to follow, though, I do admit that the depth they allow them to go to is a bit much. I don't think that will be an issue with a more Stackoverflow oriented approach.
 

Kintaro

Well-known member
I've never seen a Reddit post as a result for any Google search I've ever done.

Even so, I don't see how the posts being nested would make any difference.
I, instead, see them many many times.
example on Reddit in the first page of a Google result:
Reddit’s not the right comparison.

Quora, stack overflow, stack exchange etc... are the direct comparison for q&a threads
Exactly, Stack Overflow and its other communities would be unreadable without comments to questions and comments to answers.
It makes no difference what site you're comparing to.

I don't like nested replies.
how about simply add comments to question and answer without the need to be nested like Reddit but all with a "single indentation" like in StackOverflow?
 
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beerForo

Well-known member
how about simply add comments to question and answer without the need to be nested like Reddit but all with a "single dentation" like in StackOverflow?
Can I ask, what's wrong with it currently since the default is sorted by date? So, it looks like the familiar forum thread we all know, but click to sort by vote, and see the ranking. I feel like XF did a superb job giving us votes whilst not straying at all from the forum format. After all, XF is a forum.
 

Kintaro

Well-known member
Can I ask, what's wrong with it currently since the default is sorted by date? So, it looks like the familiar forum thread we all know, but click to sort by vote, and see the ranking. I feel like XF did a superb job giving us votes whilst not straying at all from the forum format. After all, XF is a forum.
if I want to comment to ask clarification or to simple ad a little integration to an answer, my post will be displayed as a new answer... and that's not. (take a look here: https://stackoverflow.com/q/62185373/3657200 for a "live" example)
 

beerForo

Well-known member
You could quote the post. I feel like it's a hybrid and I like the forum feel and don't want to stray too far. Would this solve that concern however?
I see what what you are saying. There could be a tick box when you reply:

This is an answer [✓] (uncheck if this is a comment)

And the voting is removed. However I am still happy as-is, and people can just not vote on a comment. If they do, oh well.
 

Kintaro

Well-known member
You could quote the post. I feel like it's a hybrid and I like the forum feel and don't want to stray too far. Would this solve that concern however?
This will take you to very long threads (with multiple pages) putting out of focus good answers from the users view... If used like this I can't see any major improvement from a simple discussion thread with vote through "Reactions".

The main focus on a Q&A are question and answers, the discussion needs to be put a little aside.
I think that StackOverflow is the gold standard right know of Q&A, why don't take some of their experience and get xenforo's Q&A nearly perfect?
 

karll

Well-known member
You could quote the post. I feel like it's a hybrid and I like the forum feel and don't want to stray too far. Would this solve that concern however?
No. Asking-for-clarifications are not answers. They must be displayed differently than answers. You do not want to mix these comments with answers, and you shouldn't be able to vote on them as if they were answers.

Just implement this the same way they've done it on the StackExchange / StackOverflow sites, please :)
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Using the XF site over the past week or so I have had no issues and not seen any confusion. And I have posted quite a bit in Suggestions and various Q&A. Yes those other sites have a more uniform Q&A. But that doesn't mean this one doesn't work. And this one adheres to the forum format.

Okay okay except the up/down confusion 🤣
 
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