[messaging] Displaying threads

Alaric Snell-Pym alaric at snell-pym.org.uk
Tue Apr 29 01:49:43 PDT 2014

On 29/04/14 09:24, Michael Rogers wrote:
> Hi all,
> I've never come across a good way to display threaded conversations on
> a small screen. Have you? Please share.
> On a large screen, the best example I've come across is Reddit: clear
> nesting, plus a parent link in every message in case the nesting gets
> deep and the context isn't clear. But nesting is better suited to
> conversations with a high branching factor than conversations that go
> back and forth between a few participants. Do you know of any other
> good examples?

I don't have a complete answer, but I suspect some distinction should be
made about conversations that go off on their own tangents.

Imagine a message is sent, and a few people all reply to that message
"in parallel". These might all be in the same vein, and conversation
naturally continues from them all as a group.

Or one of them might be an interesting tangent that goes off on its own,
and if interleaved with the original conversation will just get
confusing. On a small screen, I'd hope that this case would somehow be
detected quickly, and that tangential thread disappear away (with a
little activity marker of some kind indicating where it forked off and
how busy it is, pulsing with each new message, and also being a
user-interface element that can be poked to switch to that thread).

As to how to distinguish a tangent on a particular point from discussion
continuing from a group of "parallel" replies? I'm not sure, but I think
the issue may be largely semantic - needing understanding of the text
being exchanged, or users doing something explicit or implicit to say
"This is in reply to this but not that".

> Cheers,
> Michael


Alaric Snell-Pym

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