Draft meta post
This is an in-progress draft meta post for when threaded comments are ready to deploy.
From our earliest discussions of what the Codidact platform would be, we've known that we had to tackle comments. Comments are very important for giving feedback and asking for clarifications. Some other platforms try to keep comments focused and prune the discussions that naturally happen too, but we know that doesn't work -- and sometimes it's not constructive. Communities are made out of people and people like to discuss things. The problem with discussions in comments on other platforms isn't the discussions; it's that someone coming to the page is presented with "57 more comments (click here)" and that's sad to navigate.
We've wanted threaded comments from the beginning, and now we have them, thanks to the efforts of luap42, ArtOfCode, Moshi, and our crew of people banging on a test server.
There are a lot of screenshots in this post. Most of them are behind expanders.
A post can have any number of named comment threads, which look like this:
Each thread shows the number of comments, and threads are shown in order of recent activity, most recent first.
Click on a thread to expand it in place:
You can collapse the thread to get it out of your way or leave it open and expand another thread. To see the whole thread or to add a comment, click the link (either at the top or the bottom) to see the whole thread. That takes you to a new page, like this:
You can follow a thread, which means you will get inbox notifications for new comments. You'll automatically follow a thread if you comment in it or if it's on your post. You can unfollow a thread you're following at any time using that "unfollow" link at the top of the thread page.
If you have the Curate ability you'll see a Tools link on the thread:
The tools are:
Rename: edit the short description that shows under the post
Lock: temporarily prevent new comments for a number of days that you specify
Archive: lock the thread and show it as archived on the post list; meant for threads that are valuable for historical reasons but are done now
Delete: lock and delete the thread; it remains visible to those with the Curate ability
Moderators have one more tool: they can see the list of people who are following a thread.
You can add a comment to an existing thread from the full thread.
You can ping other participants in the thread (or the post author), as you can today, and there is now auto-complete -- type at least the first three characters of a name and matches are shown. Click on the one you want.
You can create a new thread using the "start a new comment thread" button under the list of threads on the post. You'll be invited to type a comment and provide a name:
We don't have flags for individual comments yet, but we know that's important and we haven't forgotten. We do now show links for all comments, so as a workaround, you can use that link in a flag on the post.
This is experimental: One of the flag options on a post is "needs author's attention". If you choose that flag, what you type goes into the special "Post Feedback" thread instead of flagging the moderators. The idea is to collect the "please fix this" comments in one place for easier review, but we don't know if that's actually valuable -- maybe people should just leave comments. (We do want something like that for close votes, because we'll have a special place in the UI for closer-vote feedback. But that's not the same as flags.) Please give us feedback on this.
While taking that screenshot I noticed we're currently showing duplicate flags on answers. Sorry 'bout that; please ignore.
With this change, all pre-existing comments have been moved into threads named "General Comments".