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I use Refined Hacker News [1] to collapse comments for quicker navigation. Moreover, I navigate the parent comments first, as they are a good indicator of what the child comments will be about and look at each top level parent, closing the ones I find uninteresting. At some point, you get to uninteresting top level parents, and then I stop my search. This is usually about 25% to 50% through, though in rare cases, I reach the bottom of a HN submission. Then I go back to the most interesting parents and do a similar process on their child comments.

Reading like that is something I've developed over time as I'm active on this site for more than 5 years now. I wouldn't recommend doing it, unless you think you might want to try it for fun. That's always a good excuse :)

For commenting myself on heavy contested topics, I comment on a parent if it's popular and my comment to it is related. When the parent isn't popular, I sometimes comment on it, depending on how relevant my comment is and how low it is.

[1] https://github.com/plibither8/refined-hacker-news

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