Nestedhierarchical comment structure



  • Is it possible to implement a hierarchical or tree comment structure so a reply to an individual comment appears below the actual comment it is in reply to? By this I mean having a reply to a comment appear indented directly below the replied-to comment, rather that in a linear threaded fashion where the reply simply quotes the original comment and appears at the bottom of the page? I am thinking a structure like reddit/hacker news/disqus. That would be brilliant!


  • Admin

    Hey @solis,

    I'm a fan of flat discussions, mostly because almost all attempts to build threaded discussions end up quite bad. My prime example is mailing lists, where after descending down into threads, you're inevitably lost.

    That said, we did look into whether this was feasible, and the good news is it is fairly straightforward to do.

    We may include it as an option in a future build of NodeBB



  • Hiya @julian,

    Thanks for your reply and let me say first of all great job on NodeBB!

    I happen to be a big fan of the branching/threaded/nested/hierarchical (or whatever you want to call it) comment structure, and I think the format, when properly implemented, is the future of discussion formats. I am particularly enamored with the functionality of a typical reddit discussion with RES (reddit enhancement suite) installed. One has the ability to hide or show all child comments, so if there is a sub-thread that a reader chooses to follow or dismiss, that thread is easily expandable/collapsible. As far as getting lost within a thread, the marker lines that connect comments and reply text boxes are fairly effective in determining which comment is being replied to. I think what would make it even easier would be to add a tiny bit of JQuery so that by clicking on the line would allow a reader to jump to the original comment.

    I also feel that the ability to vote on comments (the karma system) can be a huge benefit for communities, especially smaller to medium-sized ones that haven't the luxury of several full-time volunteer moderators. Aside from such a forum having a necessary default anti-spam system in place, the comment karma system allows such a community to effectively become self-moderated, eliminating the need for bots/volunteers (for the most part).

    Thanks for hearing me out. I'll keep a close eye on developments with the NodeBB project and will recommend it to colleagues who are looking for clean, modern, linear discussion formats.


  • Admin

    Yes, please do keep in touch. We appreciate all feedback, especially when we're on the fence about certain features (such as threaded vs. flat)

    Don't get me started on RES... I really think a neat addition would be a button to automatically bring me to the next root comment. :)



  • @julian Throwing my name in the nested hat here - it seems so much easier to navigate a thread if it's nested. I just don't get the flat format - how can you tell which comment is a reply to which? Only the @ gives you a clue, but if several comments have been made by that author it can be really confusing.

    Am I right in saying that the main bad point about nested threads is layout issues in deep threads? If so, maybe you could nest for, say, 5 levels then go flat after that. Haven't really thought about this much, just putting it out there.


  • Admin

    Hey there, nice to see you back @babaggeii

    The capability is there to sort posts in a nested format, although we don't really have a "sort" option that takes advantage of this yet.

    I think that's actually blocking theme developers from creating a style that takes advantage of a threaded style.

    Ping @Tanner/@trevor for their thoughts...

    If we sorted posts in a "threaded" view, they'd still look flat until some styling was applied (e.g. each level had increasing indentation)... how would you like this presented?

    • Classes?
      • e.g. .child, .grandchild, .grandgrandchild... .grandgrandgrandchild? XD (probably with a saner naming scheme)
    • Semantic HTML?
      • e.g.
    <ul>
    	<li>
    		Here's some post
    		<ul>
    			<li>Here's some child post</li>
    			<li>
    				Here's another
    				<ul>
    					<li>DAE MEME? HUEHUEHUE</li>
    				</ul>
    			</li>
    			<li>Here's a third</li>
    		</ul>
    	</li>
    	<li>
    		Second root level post
    	</li>
    </ul>
    

  • Plugin & Theme Dev

    I suppose thats how it would look @julian. I had plans for threaded discussions with a mockup of my own. I'll see how this will work with my theme. On another note, I updated to 0.5.1 successfully. :+1:


  • Plugin & Theme Dev

    I am no fan of threaded discussions as it messes up conversations and almost requires infinite levels in order to make it work properly. I'm in favor of flat threads when it comes to forums.


  • Admin

    @Tanner so are we, although prevailing winds suggest that there is a significant demand for the option, even if it's not the best for all sites. :smile:



  • @julian I'm not an expert here, but it seems to me your semantic HTML option looks best - it defines the structure and leaves CSS layer free for the developers. I guess, also, that it's easier to target elements that way rather than with named classes, which don't easily allow for complex/dynamic targeting of elements.



  • @julian is there any movement on an option for these nested comments?


  • GNU/Linux

    is this implemented?


  • Global Moderator

    No. It isn't. Not sure the demand for this is worth the development time either.


  • GNU/Linux

    @a_5mith Can it be implemented as a plugin? I am a noob to nodebb plugin development but I can find some time to learn and do it if it is doable.


  • Global Moderator

    @manan it could be implemented as a plugin. It would require a lot of time to do something like that though.



  • @julian Congats for releasing v1.0! What's coming next? Any plans to update this plugin? :)
    https://github.com/NodeBB/nodebb-plugin-threaded-replies



  • @julian said in Nestedhierarchical comment structure:

    Hey @solis,

    I'm a fan of flat discussions, mostly because almost all attempts to build threaded discussions end up quite bad. My prime example is mailing lists, where after descending down into threads, you're inevitably lost.

    That said, we did look into whether this was feasible, and the good news is it is fairly straightforward to do.

    We may include it as an option in a future build of NodeBB

    Did this happen? i totally would love nested comments!



  • @Gaelle-Lo said in Nestedhierarchical comment structure:

    @julian Congats for releasing v1.0! What's coming next? Any plans to update this plugin? :)
    https://github.com/NodeBB/nodebb-plugin-threaded-replies

    wait.. does that work?


  • Plugin & Theme Dev

    @ViolentCrumble said in Nestedhierarchical comment structure:

    @Gaelle-Lo said in Nestedhierarchical comment structure:

    @julian Congats for releasing v1.0! What's coming next? Any plans to update this plugin? :)
    https://github.com/NodeBB/nodebb-plugin-threaded-replies

    wait.. does that work?

    Two years ago? I doubt it. On an older (much older) version of NodeBB it does.



  • @julian If you want to preserve the flat forum style does it follow that q&a is not recommended on the nodebb platform or do you have a better work flow to suggest.

    I am happy to do things a different way, but I guess users looking for answers who don't want to post questions will most likely look for a highest voted answer or something like this.


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