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Do we want nested comments?

There have been various discussions here about how comments get hard to read when they are too nested, just because the space used becomes too narrow. I don't think there's been any real consensus on a solution to that problem. Just now I came across this article, which basically argues against nested (threaded) comments completely. Once a comment thread gets too big, nested comments make it hard for the brain to process properly - you spend too much effort trying to manage the 2-dimensional comment set, and not enough on the actual content.

That's an interesting point of view, and not one that had occurred to me before. It may be that comment threads on SCN don't get big enough, often enough, for this effect to matter. There are certainly some discussions and blogs that have suffered from this, but maybe not too many.

Anyway, I was just wondering if switching to a flat comment space here had been considered at all, and what others thought of the idea?


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    Dec 14, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Hi Steve, are you aware that you can switch to flat style in your user preferences? The actual problem goes away, but it is somewhat more difficult to keep track of who replied to whom.

    I prefer the flat setting. Now it could be argued if flat should be the default, or left as is...


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    • No, I didn't know that. Thanks! I've changed my preference to see if I like it more.

      I guess it doesn't really matter too much what the default is, so long as the existence of the preference is known to everyone. We could certainly spend far to much time discussing what should be the default, much more that the issue is worth! Best not even start... 😊