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new commenting system Answered

So a lot of changes went up on the site today. A lot of it is covered here by frenzy. One that you might not notice at first is that the commenting system has changed.

Instead of comments branching out with replies to replies to replies there is just the parent comment and a line of replies after it that are all indented the same amount. I'm a huge fan of the change since long conversations with multiple commenters got very confusing and very far to the right. This is cleaner for sure.

So have you had a chance to see it in action? If so, how do you like it?


Come on, it's been three months. So I guess we'll just have to wait for the next "upgrade." Home page looks nice.

I'm as sick of it as you are. It's utterly embarrassing and there's zero excuse for it. Sorry.

I assume that "how do you like it?" is a rhetorical question as experience tells me that no matter how unpopular a change proves to be on Instructables it will remain changed because the argument will always come forth that "the majority of users have not complained so they must be happy with it".
With that said I will answer your question, I for one am not keen on the new commenting system, the old system may have looked untidy at times but at least it was easy to keep track of the thread of a conversation, I predict that the new layout will rapidly lead to confusion & very likely arguments will ensue caused by misunderstandings about who's comment was aimed at or in reply to whom.
A few things are worth bearing in mind when making changes to things that thousands of people use & work perfectly well with.
Will this change really improve things or am I doing it because I want to?
Are there things that don't work properly that my time would be better spent on?
If my changes prove to be unpopular or actually make matters worse am I big enough to accept that & revert to the old method?
Have I asked / shown my idea to sufficient people who actually use the system to get a realistic impression of the possible reaction to it (beta testing group) & taken on-board any feedback both positive & negative?
Does making something look tidier actually improve it's usability or does it simply look "cleaner"?
I have also noticed that in spite of my using sentences & paragraphs when I preview this comment it appears to be in a single block, not a good look, so I have to say all in all not impressed, I think that it should have been left alone & the time spent on other things on the site that could stand some attention like perhaps helping Jayefuu to get the Achiev'ibles system running properly.

The question is definitely not rhetorical. I totally agree with your comment, and others', that this change is not currently working. With most current replies bumped to the top and no indicator of who the reply was to it's a mess. The thread started by JamesRPatrick is a perfect catastrophic example.

As for me, I found the old system to be extremely confusing as well. Once conversations got fractured it took some timestamp forensics to put it back together again.

The text becoming one big block in the regular text editor is also weird. I'll report that one right now. Don't know why carriage returns would get stripped.

I think you are probably right considering it's now almost six weeks.
I also get the distinct impression the answer to my third "Thing to bear in mind" is a resounding NO I'M NOT!!!!
Presumably this will be on a list of "things to get fixed" on the next update, not nearly soon enough I'm afraid; I for one have spent far less time in the forums lately because I'm fed up with trying to figure out who is talking to, replying to, arguing with, whom.

Definitely rhetorical.

I have to agree. And the new comments system is still as confusing as a very confusing thing. It's impossible to follow the flow of a conversation, once three or more people are participating.

So having acknowledged that there is a problem & assured us that your "how do you like it?" was not a rhetorical question I have to ask is anything going to be done about it? or do we have to struggle to keep track of conversations until the next round of "Improvements" to the site?
Might I suggest that you simply revert to the old system which although could look a little untidy did in fact work perfectly well until someone decided looking "cleaner" was more important than functionality.

Just be happy you aren't all suffering from a random double posting issue...

i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol

i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol

i have the double posting problem to. You click post comment and it doesnt do anything.so you click it 4 times and go back and it posted 4 times lol

But it would be so easy to change a :-) to a :-) instead of a :-)
Oh, hang on.

I'm usually constructive with my criticism and praise. But frankly, the new comment system sucks. The power users are getting around the problem with @s and quotes, but it's still bloody difficult and unnecessary work. New members however, don't know that Instructables has a new non-standard comment structure that you can't find anywhere else on the internet and are either getting hugely confused or are pretty difficult to understand. Definitely a huge step backwards.

I totally agree. It's not working. I've forwarded these concerns along. The most immediate thing to be fixed is the chronological order. Currently, it's a flattened version of the old system which makes zero sense.

I'm afraid I have to agree. The new comment structure is confusing, even harder to use for non-Pro members, and frankly, sucks ping-pong balls through a garden hose.

Hi ya James,
I went on the site with a frame of mind that i am a new user or just someone who popped on the site to have a look. Honestly the main page looks a bit bland and sorta blah so to speak. Searching for instructables seems like it could take days to view what you might be interested in . It just seems like it takes to much effort for some reason.
Then i went on as me , someone who has been here since 2009.
All the things that made this site interesting seem to have disappeared. ( viewing every ones view counts to see how far you have moved up the ladder, daily view counts for each instructable ,
and so on. These were things that made me come on the site more than once a day. Now i seem to come on and look at my view counts and the come here to see if there has been any posts on the concerns people are having . Kinda took all the fun away from it .

To be honest it was clear from the start that something was seriously wrong with this layout & the more it is used the clearer it has become, so will anything be done about it or will we all have to struggle with it until the next round of "Improvements"?
Once again I have to ask why are things put out to the members & major contributors of the site without being thoroughly beta tested by a group of those members?, you know them they are the people who actually use the site, the people who the advertisers & sponsors want to impress.
Every time updates are pushed onto the site & members start to point out faults we are told "this is still being worked on" or "that will be fixed in a later update", here's a free idea
Don't update something that works with something that doesn't,get it ALL done first.
It's hardly rocket science is it? where I worked if we had launched half finished or clearly faulty updates onto our Internet, Extranet or Intranet sites we would have been hauled over the coals & told to get it fixed RIGHT NOW not later on, of course in reality that situation never arose because we had a rigorous beta testing system in place which involved not only the IT team but also people who were users of each & every area of all the systems both the within the company & our client base.
I'm quite sure there are plenty of members who would be delighted to volunteer their time, they wouldn't have to be experts in web design just users who know how things should work & can point out things that need tweaking before it goes live on the site.

TLDR. I like the new browsing and Instructable layout, I just don't like the new commenting system.

Optimized for Internet Explorer 9!

As a web developer of over 16 years I've found one thing remains true: Don't reinvent the wheel, no matter how much "wouldn't it be cool if ..." calls you. There are thousands of message boards out there that have done the work for you to show "what works." Following their lead will help you find a solution everyone is happy with.

So my +1 to a comment to Nostalgic Guy isn't shown indented relative to HIS comment, when it was a reply/.

I guess now your Plus one means your bringing a date. +1, date, +2, one of the kids is going along. +3 = family outing with either a grandparent or the dog.

The commenting system is fine, i preferred the old exploring though.


although I don't seem to be able to delete my one comment....

Well my double posting problem is now gone. But I can't seem to delete the doubles either. I tried yesterday when it all started for me, and then gave up and left the site.

Times are tough when you feel your life is all in Beta testing.....

Although it wasn't perfect, I think the old comment-branching system was the clearest on the internet. There was no question as to at whom each subcomment was directed. With the new, more common system, there is no way to tell if someone is commenting on the original comment or the subcomment without saying "@memberxxxx: blah blah blah". It's just like Facebook.

Example A:

Person 1: I love puppies!
-----Person 2: Cats are by far the superior species!
-----Person 3: You smell and I hate you!

Example B:

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
-----Person 3: This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.

In both examples, it is unclear whether Person 3's comment is directed at Person 1 or 2.

Example C:

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
----------Person 3: This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.
-----Person 4: Yeah I agree.
-----Person 5: I think you should redo your calculation.

In Example C(old comment style), it is instantly clear at which person each comment is directed. There can be any number of subcomments and it is still just as clear. The only downfall with this old system is that a large number of subcomments will push the conversation to the right of the page, but instances of this are relatively rare. The new system may look prettier, but at the cost of functionality.

Also, I think the comment box should expand if you type more than two lines.

I completely agree that by squashing the conversations that it makes the conversations confusing as your examples show. I'd prefer the 2-level system as now, but any internal replies would automatically have a marker as to who he's replying to, like you say for what people do with facebook.

Person 1: Pressures over 200psi could cause a deadly explosion.
-----Person 2: No, up to 250psi is a safe operating pressure.
-----Person 3: @Person 2 This guy knows what he's talking about, better take his advice.
-----Person 4: Yeah I agree.
-----Person 5: I think you should redo your calculation.

That could work, it's just not as intuitive. I'm glad that Instructables cares enough to actually ask users for feedback. That's increasingly uncommon.

When there's only a few single comments on a page, the new method looks fine. When a conversation is like this page, it really is confusing to read and to figure out who said what to whom.

Now for the million dollar question, can anyone figure out who I replied to???

All my comments were double posting since the new format was introduced. (You may notice at 10:27, (above) I had one of my last double comments). Not sure why it happened, but I gave up using the website until today. Then after a few more double comments this morning, it just randomly stopped.

There is a world of difference between asking for feedback & acting on it.