Chronological Comments Are Back

Thanks to your feedback, there’s two important tweaks to the comments revamp from yesterday:

1) Threads will be sorted chronologically instead of by popularity.
2) Replies will go under that comment, but will be collapsed by default.


Edit Your Comment

  1. MikeB says:

    Very cool.

    A couple additional tweaks/suggestions.

    1) Indent the replies. At least 1 place. Then you can start using the alignment for the replies to replies.

    2) Allow for sticky expand all.

    3) Allow more than 20 posts per page.

    • MikeB says:

      @mbouchard: BAH, and an edit button.

      Meant to add to the 1) above. Over at Lifehacker someone created a greasemonkey script that indents the replies. But since I am using Chrome right now, that won’t work and like the previous threading greasemonkey script it will probably break every time Gawker tweaks their comments.

    • jurisenpai says:


      Also, how about making the boxes smaller? They take up way too much real estate on the page and (for me) make it harder to read comments quickly.

      Being able to save one’s preferred viewing settings is definitely also a plus.

    • balthisar says:

      @mbouchard: Agreed. Indent the replies. At least from the first level, if not more.

      White space is good for readability, but now there’s too much of it, which is bad for readability!

    • Parting says:

      @mbouchard: PLEASE : 3) Allow more than 20 posts per page.

    • Xkeeper says:

      @mbouchard: I would definitely like some indentation — heck, take a hint from sites like Daily Kos and indent them like that. This site’s fixed width, but you can deifnitely use some of the pure real-estate on the right for comments. Flat replies are difficult to read, and hiding replies by default is a horrible idea.

      And yeah, 20 posts/page is a very low limit; maybe it’d be better to have 100 posts/page (like before), or even just show 500 per page (or all of them, again like Daily Kos).

      And yeah, the comment boxes are huge. I definitely preferred the classic version of the boxes.

  2. savvy999 says:

    Is there a site-wide setting for Classic View? I just want everything I see to be Classic, not have to change it for every post.

  3. blacketj913 says:

    much better, thanks!

  4. Bladefist says:

    Awesome. During yesterdays release, I was excited and positive, until the first real post I was trying to read/comment on, I realized it was a nightmare to follow. This will be better.

    • thefastest says:

      @Bladefist: @jurisenpai: very good ideas. i think having the boxes smaller so you can read through comments faster is key. i also agree that there should be a user-defined posts-per-page, including an infinity where it does them all.

      collapsing the comments by default is aso a great idea.

  5. Jonbo298 says:

    Thanks for listening to the feedback. Much better now. Though get on that indenting and posts per page ;)

    • Banned in DC says:

      Much better. I’d also suggest as an improved visual cue differentiating the icons for “new discussion” and “reply to this comment.” Maybe just reverse the reply icon. I’d also add space between the last comment and the generic reply to highlight that you’re not replying, but adding a new main level comment.


  6. sjaguar says:

    Looks good so far.

  7. sir_pantsalot says:

    Catching an STD is new and different but that does not mean that it is a good thing. Moral of my story is stop Fing with the format.

    Also let us see more that 20 post per page or we will all be posting the same thing 5 other people have already posted.

  8. randombob says:

    yes much better to follow comments, esp. when you are coming back and the order’s all over the place… sweet.

    And I agree with commenter #1; indent all replies after the initial one a space, and then just rely on the left/right icon from there on. it works in its current iteration, but it could be a bit mo’ betta

  9. KlausKinsky says:

    will anyone reply anymore?

  10. Marshfield says:

    I liked seeing comments without having to click a button. Bring that back.

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    To add to the above (indenting, higher # of posts), could we get this:

    continue reading discussions › 1 2 3 4 » [1..20 of 85]

    Where the bolded #’s jump to specific pages?

  12. Xerloq says:

    I second (or third) the indentation and expansion requests. Thanks for not taking our concerns with the comments “very seriously.”

  13. Ein2015 says:

    Much thanks, Ben!

    Out of curiosity, could we choose how many coments to see on each page? Or would that cause too much code? :)

  14. twritersf says:

    Very cool. Nay chance for a feature request: to allow comment rating, where other users could rate others’ comments? This could lead to a UI where one or two “featured” highly rated comments could be called out before a “main” comment section like is shown now. Or different commenters could end up having an aggregate rating based on the quality of their comments.

  15. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Much better. The way it was before, when posts weren’t chronological, really messed with tracking the posts throughout the day.

  16. MissPeacock says:

    Yay! This is so awesome! Thanks for listening to us.

  17. Antediluvian says:

    Yeah, there should absolutely be more than 20 per page. Even more than 100 — people don’t tend to read past the first set, and the code makes the pages load slowly so I don’t either.

    • Banned in DC says:

      The behavior of the reply box is messed up, too. If you go to a story and scroll all the way to the bottom, you see a reply box. It looks like a “new discussion” box, but it’s actually a reply to box for the last comment. When you post, your comment gets an “@commenter” link that hangs below your comments.

      That last box should be treated like a new comment unless you specifically hit the “reply” icon in the comment above it.

  18. Meggers says:

    I like keeping the posts chronologically as it makes it easier to follow conversations. I also want to add my voice to the people wanting to see more than 20 comments per page.

    Other than that, I think it looks spiffy.

    • Meggers says:

      @Meggers: Also, could it be set up to automatically expand? Maybe a profile option so that it is up to the individual?
      I have IE7 and for whatever reason, it doesn’t want to expand when I click the expand all option.

  19. snoop-blog says:

    Classic view is still my fav, so please don’t take away that option from us.

  20. snoop-blog says:

    Only thing is I have to select classic view everytime I click on a post, or make a comment. Anyway to allow us to just switch to classic view one time and have it stay?

    • mozillauser says:


      Hopefully they’ll give us a cookie based solution so it won’t be so much trouble… but if they don’t, and you use firefox, get the greasemonkey add-on and create a user script for:

      http : //*

      You can always disable it later if you don’t like it.
      The following is the script (copy and paste it):

      // ==UserScript==
      // @name SwitchToClassicView
      // @namespace
      // @description Automattically switches back to classic
      // @include http ://*
      // ==/UserScript==

      //If it is not in the classic view
      if (window.location.href.indexOf(‘classic=True’)==-1)
      //Put it in classic view! (reloads the page)


  21. davidc says:

    Chronological is good … replies being hidden are bad.

    The reason to post anything on any forum is to be read.

    People will generally not click multiple times to expand multiple replies threads. Hence the majority of replies will not be read, defeating the purpose of posting a reply at all.

    Of course, the reason why you hid them is so that people don’t use the “reply” feature to get their “message” bumped to the first page. (reply bombing the first post, regardless of whether your replying to that person or not).

    Although the idea of having replies attached to the message was well intentioned, it’s not well thought out. Users here will use whatever method gets their messages “read”.

  22. snoop-blog says:

    I think I’ll reply the old fashioned way by just typing @johndoe:

    • Meggers says:

      @snoop-blog: I was clicking around on Gawker and some people are doing that but then it just gets confusing if “johndoe” has commented 20 times in that one post. Granted for Consumerist, there just aren’t as many responses as there might be at Gawker so maybe it will be easier here.

      Crazy new fangled technology.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @snoop-blog: But then I have to search the page for which johndoe comment you’re talking about, which is kind of annoying.

      You can always click on Expand All to make all of the replies visible. However I think both ‘Classic view’ and ‘Expand All’ options would be better if we could set it as our default.

  23. MikeF74 says:

    Don’t auto-collapse, it means more clicking that I just don’t have the patients for.

    The replies need to be indented, even if just by the tiniest bit. If indenting is impossible with the current design, then at least have them shaded differently.

    • MikeF74 says:

      @MikeF74: And please add a 2-minute edit feature so I don’t have to wallow in my own stupidity staring at “patients” instead of “patience”.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @MikeF74: The replies are already shaded differently. The original comment has a grey bar at the top and the reply doesn’t. Also, the shape of the box is mirrored for replies.

  24. snoop-blog says:

    @MikeF74: I bet you’ll see more people responding like the way I just did. (by typing {a}@johndoe:{/a}…) Or not even worrying about the highlighting and just typing it like that.

  25. coan_net says:

    My question to The Consumerist is why they allow comments & suggestions for the comment section, but when they put the ugly banners on the top of the page of the top news stories, they did not allow comments?

    (where of course I would have let them know that taking up 1/2 the page with banners of what else is on the page is wasteful and a pain to have to scroll down to read a news story.

  26. ottawa_guy says:

    More than 20 comments per page please! Other than that classic format is your friend.

    • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

      @ottawa_guy: Agreed, when you get an article that has more than 100 comments, its a pain to scroll thorugh page after page of just 20 comments. Especially if you just want to get to the end to pick up where you left off last time.

  27. missjulied says:

    I hate “collapsed by default”. I don’t want to have to keep clicking and clicking to read all the comments.

  28. tasselhoff76 says:

    This is still not as functional as the classic view, in my opinion. Also, the limiting to 20 per page is really annoying.

  29. vladthepaler says:

    Yay chronological comments, it makes much more sense to display them that way.

    But please reconsider your decision to collapse responses. All that will do is keep responses from being seen, which in turn will deter people from replying to comments… defeating the biggest benefit of your comment-redesign!

    And you’ve really got to go back to displaying 100 comments at a time. You might have noticed, this is a popular site, and some posts get lots of comments. Why hide them by making people click and click? Limiting it to 20 comments per page hurts everyone and benefits no one.

  30. snoop-blog says:

    @vladthepale I think the more people that reply this way I’ve been talking about, the better chance of them doing away with the collapsable reply’s.

  31. snoop-blog says:

    Arg! foiled by my own ignorance! Oh well thus is lige! <– intentional typo.

  32. Blackie says:

    On the “indent replies” stream of thought, it would be nice, but I read on one of the other sites yesterday, Lifehacker I think, that replies will have the avatar/lil no avatar pic on the right side, as opposed to the left side of the original post.

    Once I grasped that it made more sense.

    Chronological order, that just seems to work better.

    Replies should probably be open by default. Being closed makes me not want to worry so much about them and i have found good info in replies before.
    Well, sometimes. ;)

  33. Antediluvian says:

    1. “Start new discussion” sounds like starting a whole new blog posting, not a parent-less comment. That wording should be changed.

    2. “Expand all” doesn’t hold between pages in the same comments thread. I consider this a bug. If I clicked “Expand all” on one page of comments, it’s safe to assume I want it on subsequent pages too.

  34. sleze69 says:

    What about increasing the number of posts per page?

    What about making a default setting per user to explode all replies?

    What about strikethrough in posts?

  35. Parting says:

    3) Allow more than 20 posts per page.

  36. ELC says:

    Those are the kinds of comment formats I like. It’s virtually impossible to know, w/o a lot of searching, what somebody is responding to if it’s not the main article.

    • SJActress says:


      Actually, it’d be a hell of a lot easier for everyone if they just went back to the OLD format, and instead of just getting the “name” of someone you want to reply to, you can actually QUOTE the parts of their comment that pertain you YOUR reply.

      Then no one’s lost.

      You know, like forums work (and by “work”, I mean both HOW they function and THAT they function).

      Also….EDIT. BUTTON. At least tell us why we CAN’T have one, would ya?

  37. AnubisAscended says:

    Reminds me of the comment system on Digg.

  38. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Thank you Ben – while this isn’t perfect its much better than grouping by popularity.

  39. snoop-blog says:

    @sleze69: The strikethrough is a closely gaurded secret (yes it does exist on here) known by only a few star commenters. Not even I know how after countless efforts trying to figure it out. And no, no one will tell me how to do it. “Michael Belisle” is one of those who guard the secret, but don’t bother asking him as he will only taunt you with colored texts and strike throughs.

  40. Invective says:

    I’m really sorry, this pains me to say, because I know a lot of good, hard work went into this ‘upgrade?’ (Here’s the ‘but’ part…) BUT, I hate it. I’d rather have the old way, so I can just read through the order quicker. I don’t like to have to think about the formatting, or have to go through a bunch of formatting options just to use a website. It’s not a deal breaker for me, I’ll still use this website, but just for the record…

  41. Tijil says:

    Change is not necessarily a bad thing – nor is it always good. :o(

    Would be nice to have an overall option to:

    (a) Set to classic view
    (b) Set to threaded view (collapsed)
    (c) Set to threaded view (expanded)

    As a default option per user.

    And DEFINITELY need the ability to have more than 20 posts/page – I’m not viewing this on a cellphone…

    When I’m interested enough to open a topic, I want to see ALL the info.


  42. sleze69 says:

    line-through via css doesn’t work, either


  43. snoop-blog says:

  44. snoop-blog says:

    Sorry, that blank entry was an attempt at the strike. I think I’ve figured it out, although I’m going to play with it by sending myself private messages. If I succeed, I will post a public message in my profile so check it tomorrow and hopefully I’ll have it.

  45. alstein says:

    I want an option to use the old method. This new system stinks to me.

    • SJActress says:


      Agreed. And the “reply” nesting sucks. If you come back a few hours later to see new comments, you have to look through all the comments from the BEGINNING to see if any have new replies, because replies aren’t chronological, only original posts are.


  46. floraposte says:

    I’m using Firefox on a Mac running 10.5.5, and none of the threading works for me–clicking to expand nested comments simply takes me to a screen reading “true,” and expanding the whole thing doesn’t work either. Classic view is the only way for me to see nested replies.

  47. The Porkchop Express says:

    Why does it seem to me like once a comment has been replied to, I can no longer reply to it?

    Am I late to the party or what?