It's a huge usability problem.
It's dead simple to program.
Indent guides? Yes please. I often find myself wanting to find and read all the replies to a particular comment (it is often posing a question or defending an opinion I find questionable).
They don't want to turn HN into reddit.
There used to be a "feature" where links would expire very quickly, making it impossible to reply to a comment if you spent more than a minute or two with the submit form open. People argued that that was also an intentional feature, even when the staff admitted explicitly that it was a bug. The staff has attempted to add a mobile stylesheet numerous times, and yet people argue that keeping mobile users away was a conscious decision by pg to keep the site from becoming reddit. This site has become so paranoid about "becoming reddit" that it literally tells you in the site guidelines not to complain about the site becoming reddit.
It is entirely possible that, while pg did make a conscious effort to design the site in such a way as to attract certain users and repel others, that is not nearly as overriding and critical a priority as people make it out to be.
Thank you for the links! I find it interesting how vicious comments around the supposed intentions of the sites maintainers are.
If it's done, the first comments will have all the attention plus it will engage to a race to have the best first comment. We want to seek to engage people with real thoughts and deep discussions, regardless their position here. I have read so many long and great conversations between highly skilled persons, it's so valuable. We have to keep it like that.
While the tangents can be interesting, when checking comments I actually really do want to read the top five voted top-level comments, because that gives me an idea what people think about the article.
Now I do have an HN-comment collapsing plugin installed (I forget which), and I use it for exactly this purpose. Especially when the singular large top-thread contains more than one large tangent that I don't particularly care about, it's absolutely great. Especially compared to the alternative, which is sort of eye-balling where you are in the thread and tracking with your finger or mouse cursor whether you're back at a level where people stopped talking about that thing (which is not always apparent if it's a short reply).
Now if I want to read what people think about what other people think (about what people think ..) about the article, I can always return to the tangent later.
I also believe having the feature built-in will be a net positive on quality of discussion. Even if you may prefer HN's tone of discussion over Reddit's, to assume that adopting any feature that Reddit has will result in a decline of discussion quality is pure cargo-culting.
HN's tone of discussion comes from the guidelines, stringent self-moderation and constructive hints from a moderator. Not from having messy comment threads and lack of UI affordances just because Reddit has them.
Please, do go on :)
Biggest reason to use an app in this case would be only if pg was expressly against an idea that an app could achieve.
- Arrows indicated which way I voted instead of disappearing completely.
- I could change my up or down vote on a comment after making it. When viewing on a phone it's easy to fat finger the wrong arrow. If there's a concern about changing votes long after a discussion, gate it by time.
Similarly I'm guessing most people won't care about my favorite topics quantitative finance or algorithmic trading.
It might cut down on the weekly posts where someone complains that HN is going to shit because a story made the front page and they just can't believe someone would find it interesting.
Because that's what that story is actually about.
However I assume hacker news is rendered on the server incrementally (anyone have any links on this?) so hiding links will simply reduce the number you see.
- Improved readability design
- Retina screen support
- User following
- Super fast inline replies
- Quick profiles with social network info when hovering over usernames
- Filtering of stories based on terms and phrases / domain or user
- Endless scrolling
- Collapsible comment threads
- Direct link to Google Cache version
- Social sharing for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Buffer
(not affiliated in any way with this, just love it)
We already hide things if our collective mind thinks it's a bad idea, but I'm not sure it's beneficial to let this occur on an individual basis.
If everyone thinks what I am saying is wrong, then this comment will get whited out and sent to the bottom, but if only you think it's dumb, maybe you should still have to read it.
I kinda like the current way.
When I am genuinely not interested I don't have any problem scrolling down.
I use it all the time. I read as much of the comment tree as i'm interested in, then collapse the root node to move on to the next one. It makes it easier than having to scan down and do visual indentation tracking.
Internally, there's obviously tracking of parent/child relationships, but adding container elements so that the children can be hidden would require getting rid of the table-based layout and replacing it with a nested div-based layout. The markup and styling changes would be fairly simple, but none of us know what the impact is on the backend, or on anything that depends on the markup structure that may or may not be in HN's control. My guess is that these non-technical impacts are the driving force behind keeping the markup as it is, which prevents the kind of features you want.
Find the indent.
For every row that has larger indent (until one with the same indent), set display: none.
For this row, mark it collapsed (even by putting a div around the current content, un-displaying it and putting a "show thread" button/link there).
So indent is width of the "invisible pixel", easy to query, isn't it?
What am I missing?
Here it is: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/hn-collapse
Also on github: https://github.com/tomkel/hn-collapse
Why is it that the discuss option isn't available on posts that are job adverts?
I think it would be useful/interesting to allow casual conversation about job postings.
If you look in the relevant folder, you may notice it was initially designed for Word Press (WP.user.js), more precisely SlateStarCodex, and seems to work for most such blogs. SSC.user.js is just meant to improve the styling of SlateStarCodex.
Take https://www.reddit.com/r/geopolitics/comments/4a46s0/china_h... – the indent markers at the left actually allow to collapse that comment
It's very lightweight and doesn't clutter up your screen with an icon since that's literally the only use case. I haven't gotten around to publishing it on the web store yet unfortunately so you'll have to install manually.
1 : https://github.com/premii/hn
I wrote this userscript a while ago.
In light of the left-pad brouhaha, maybe I should mention that my userscript doesn't have any dependencies - not even an embedded jquery.
I don't trust plugins and extensions.
It doesn't break with black bars.
Sadly it doesn't work on android firefox.
It should be hard to manage tons of comments on a story, because it lowers the overall comment count.
I'd love to see some A/B testing on this.
For example, let's say the article is "Scientists discover new material that boosts solar panel efficiency by 16%". The top comment might be, "This does nothing to alleviate the base-load problem. We still need better battery technology".
Well now the comment section for me is all about battery chemistry, battery manufacturing news, hydro-pumping as a means of storage, etc. All because the top comment spawned its own mega-thread that pushes relevant (to the story) comments off the bottom.
i despise reddit's collapsible / half-loading comments. on large threads it loads the same 10% every single time and hides a lot of the good responses.
just give me all the comments in one shot. i'm a big boy, i can handle reading.
It's an embarassingly-simple feature to add, and it would provide a huge value to all of us that browse this site on our phones.
also let's not conflate collapsible and half-loading. this thread is not advocating partial loading. you dont need partial loading of comments in order to enable collapsible functionality.