Suitability of discourse for long, slow threads


Continuing the discussion from More categories:

I think discourse works quite well for this. As you can see from this very post, it also supports threading, so you can quite easily fork off a subconversation.


The topic you linked to only has 25 posts… Some zealous testing of a topic with thousands of posts is happening on another discourse site and it’s working fine. The infinite scrolling is loading and unloading posts as needed, and as you say the “reply as new topic” link lets you move conversations out of topics like that.

Here’s a topic on meta that is over a year old that keeps getting bumped once in a while. We have quite a few like that.


Well, the [End] key takes me to the bottom, but the dynamic loading makes it a pain to jump to a particular subsection of a thread. So I can’t say “hmm, I think this was on page 20” and look at it - it’s all just one blob. EDIT: The x/x counter with progress bar in the bottom-right has a dropdown that lets you select the page number.

A traditional BBS handles the insanity by locking threads after x posts and recreating them if there’s interest. I think the same is necessary in Discourse, still, since it becomes unsustainable to view posts in threads of a certain size.


You can see this in the threads linked, but in Discourse threads that pass a certain threshold trigger a “summary” system where you can opt in to a summarized version that only shows the most-liked or most-replied to posts. (as well as then being able to see the context of the conversation using the “in reply to” button or the “X replies button”.

Btw, that’s a post number, not a page number. You can go to any post by itself.


Do I have to enable that somewhere? I’m just seeing this as another flat list of messages, which is even broken out from the original thread, instead of appearing as a subthread. When thinking about threading I think of what I get in email (not the ugly flatview from gmail but e.g. mutt) or sites like reddit.


it seems to be disabled/broken here: normally it looks like this when hovering a post:

can’t post images yet

the HTML is:

            Reply as new Topic        

but here the gutter is empty:


/edit: code blocks are broken here, as well…


Hrm, at least I see my post as a reply on cmr’s post, but it’s collapsed by default and duplicated in the flat list :frowning: OTOH I’m not seeing flying_sheep’s post as a reply to mine as I would have expected.

Edit: flying_sheep’s post shows up as a reply now, but it’s also duplicated now…


Yes, that is all intentional. Its a compromise between flat view and threading, avoiding the complexity of threading in online discussion (you ever try to read a big reddit thread, or HN comments page? Its a mess) while allowing its benefits (context on who/what you’re posting about). However, what @cmr and @flying_sheep were talking about was the ability to “Reply As New Topic” to a post, and split it off into a new Forum topic. (Mods can do this forcefully with posts, and you’ll often see messages on Discourse Meta saying “X has moved 7 posts into Y topic (link)”. This fixes the last use-case of threading—the ability to splinter off into sub-conversations without overly affecting the main thread, and doing it better then threading does. You can see Jeff Atwood’s thoughts on threading on his blog (he’s one of the cofounders of Discourse, though I believe he wrote this before the Discourse project had really started)


Well, opinions differ. I had just hoped that there’s some switch I could flick to make this forum bearable for me. I can’t stand flat discussions, and prefer structures like reddit, or even better gmane’s thread view. Though that’s still a long way from the level of comfort that email / mutt offers. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.