To thread or not to thread?

June 27, 2012 @ 6:40 am | Filed under:

So I’ve just discovered I have the option to do threaded comments now and I thought I’d solicit your opinion on those. Personally, I tend not to prefer threaded comments on sites I visit, since it makes it harder to scan the page for new contributions to a discussion. But I know many, many readers vastly prefer threading. Thoughts?

It also seems I now have the option of enabling email notifications for commentors when I reply to a comment, which might be handy; I always worry that if someone asks a question and I answer in the combox, the questioner won’t see that I’ve replied—but if I answer via email, no one else gets to see the answer.

Got a feeling about this? These Matters of Grave Cosmic Importance? 😉

(Re the email notifications, there’s also a setting that would send you a notice when anyone replies directly to your comment. Would you like that? Or feel spammed? It doesn’t seem to be an opt-in setting. Either I turn it on or I don’t.)

While I’m at it, let me ask you about the sidebar! I know most people don’t click directly to the site except to comment—I’m a Google Reader-reader myself, so I’m the same way. But for those of you who do regularly click through, what would you like to see in the sidebar? I have all this lovely space to play with now.

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16 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Ellie says:

    Well, you know I always read your ‘live’ page 🙂 and that I really like certain features in your sidebar — the ‘caught my eye’ in particular, but also twitter, and recent comments …

    I tend to loath threaded comments. As you say, it makes it hard to find recent additions, but also, the direct responses tend to get narrower as they are threaded, if that makes sense. Eh, it’s harder for me to read as well as follow if that makes any sense at all!

    Something I really wildly like? This comment box!! Typing in black on the vanilla is wondrous!! I can see! (black on plain white is so hard on my eyes is all: black on a pale color background is ever so much better …)

  2. Ellie says:

    Ah, but you don’t have your twitter feed here anymore …. **small pout**

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ellie, I love the new comment boxes too! I really debated about the color of the text column—I remember you’ve said it can be hard to read black on white. 🙁 My problem is that so many of the images I include in posts (especially the black silhouettes of which I am so fond) have white backgrounds and look awkward on a tinted page, even a light cream (which I seriously considered). What I really need is Photoshop & the requisite skills for removing the white background from images…perhaps someday.

    I spent an hour last night trying to get my Twitter feed back—the old code isn’t working anymore (this predates the redesign; I think the problem is on Twitter’s end) and I cannot for the life of me find the new widget code on Twitter’s site! I’m wondering if they eighty-sixed it after their last reboot? I’m going to look into third-party apps and see if I can restore that feed. I mean, all this lovely space is practically BEGGING for it, right?

    Thanks for the feedback on the threaded comments. Sounds like you feel much the same way I do.

  4. Ellie says:

    See, I think a soft pale cream would be just fine with photos on it (think of photos, posters, and art hanging on the walls of a home: often/mostly walls are not plain white). But anyway. The colors here are lovely; hope you get the twitter gadget figured out … Computers and internetting are so lovely — except when they throw us curve balls!

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    I mean images like the little mice on the right—the white background was photoshopped out of that image by my designer. If I had done it myself, it would be black mice in a white rectangle against the yellow background, if you see what I mean.

    Though it’s true that most of the images I use nowadays are camera photos (not clip art like the mice) and I agree, they would look quite nice against a cream or colored background! It’s all those old posts in the archives from my silhouette-infatuation days that are the troublemakers. 😉

  6. sarah says:

    I have the same issue as you with white backgrounds – by you, I mean both of you! Ellie, I too see far more easily when the background is tinted, and this soft vanilla is perfect. However, it’s impossible to add graphics to a tinted background, even if you do have photoshop – I do have a photo processing programme and even so it would be near impossible to match background colours. Also what looks matched on my computer may not on someone else’s. There’s also the risk of coloured backgrounds making a blog look cheap and tacky. Yours doesn’t, Lissa; it’s obviously professionally done. But every time I try it, I realise it looks far too homemade.

    Like I said yesterday, I love your “caught my eye” section, and it’s always a special thrill when my own links appear there – I give a little squeal and hug myself, thrown right back into unpopular-schoolgirl-noticed-by-cool-kid mode. 🙂

    I also really appreciate the recent comments widget. I always read your live page, and so often you have great discussions here, it’s helpful to see at a glance what’s going on in the combox.

    I think too the recent posts widget is sensible. It draws new readers further into your site.

    As for threaded comments – I was determined to love the idea of them, and to have them on my own blog. But I’ve come to realise that they’re problematic. I feel obliged to answer every comment, even when there’s nothing to say but “thanks”. But often I simply don’t have the time or energy, and then I worry that, by not answering a comment, that person will think I am shunning them. On the other hand, when I reply to *all* comments I worry people will look at me and think, what a loser that she spends all her time on the internet replying to comments.

    Now to submit this novelette …

  7. sarah says:

    ps, because my comment wasn’t long enough before … you said “yellow background”, which intrigued me because on my screen it’s the softest peachy vanilla. Almost barely there, just enough of a colour to make it luscious. So I tipped back my screen a little and the colour turned beige, with a purply blue. Really very different. And proving my point about colours changing with each person’s individual screen settings.

  8. MelanieB says:

    In general I prefer threaded comments because that makes it easier for my poor brain to follow tangential conversations. Makes it feel more welcoming to tangential conversations for that matter since I know they will not seem so interrupty. But I do get what Sarah is saying about feeling a greater need to reply to everything.

    I also like comment notification, which does work well with threading since it means you don’t miss the newer comments when they aren’t at the end of the page. Though I do prefer the opt in to just having it happen automatically.

    I very much agree about the tinted comments boxes. So restful on the eyes! I note that on my monitor at least your background color looks almost the exact same tint as the one I chose on my last blog redo. So we’re very much on the same page.

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    Interesting that it looks peachy-vanilla on some of your screens! On mine, it’s a soft buttery yellow. I’m always surprised when I see my blog on Scott’s monitor—the blue of the comment boxes here is the same blue as my previous page background, and on Scott’s screen it is tipped much more into the lavender end of the spectrum. On mine it’s a pale periwinkle with a lot of gray in it.

    I went ahead and turned off threading…I think, given the way I work, I’ll do better without threads—for exactly the reasons you’ve mentioned, Sarah. It’s easier (and more practical, given time constraints) for me to respond to several people at once. But Melanie, I know many folks who agree with you on threading making the smaller side-conversations easier to keep straight. Pros and cons. I did like the way the threading tucked my reply directly below Scott’s on the previous post. 🙂 When I turned threading off, my reply dropped down to the bottom and I had to go back in and add his Pish Posh quote. 🙂

    @Sarah, the recent comments widget is my favorite part of any sidebar, mine or otherwise. I rely on it to see what’s new in a conversation. All the more so right now since my own comment notifications are broken—I have to refresh my screen to see if anyone has chimed in.

  10. Melissa Wiley says:

    And Emily Carlin, if you’re reading this, I have to say I am LOVING the separate little rounded-corner boxes for each comment! Makes the conversation look quite lovely! Thank you!

  11. MelanieB says:

    I agree about the pros and cons. I’m just jealous because I want threaded comments on my blog and it isn’t an option. 🙁

    Definitely love the recent comments widget. Even though I mostly read in Google Reader and subscribe to your comments there so I don’t miss anything, I do often drop by just to bask in the loveliness and that always catches my eye as a nice feature.

    And very much so on the rounded-corner boxes. A very pretty look. And the sidebar is shaping up nicely.

    And completely off topic but your Rillabooks caught my eye and it reminded my that I’ve been meaning to pick your brain, Lissa, about books. Ben has a birthday coming up very soon and I was wondering what Huck’s current favorites are. I’m definitely getting that road signs ABC book you wrote about recently. What else should we not miss?

  12. Melissa Wiley says:

    Huck’s current faves:

    E-Mergency by Tom Lichtenheld (one of our favorite illustrators—he drew Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site which I think you also have, right?)

    Wumbers (new by Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Tom Lichtenheld)

    It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle, art by the wonderful Jeremy Lichtenheld of Me Hungry fame (another Huck fave)

    Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros — we’ve had this one a long time; I pulled it out today and the littles were captivated by it, as they always are. I forget how lovely and wonderful it is until I happen upon it, and then it’s everyone’s favorite for a couple of weeks.

    There’s a new poetry book about twins, It Takes Two—my three youngest are completely fascinated by this book. I was surprised that it grabbed them all so intensely—they don’t know any twins right now—but they LOVE it. All three of them. It’s one of the most frequently requested readalouds right now.

    Chicken Big, The Flying Garbanzos, Big Hungry Bear, Jamberry, Big Bad Bunny, The Dandelion Seed, Dear Mr. Blueberry—I’m looking in our current book pile where the most recent requests are. Also the Rosemary Wells Mother Goose, which Huck has been in love with for about a year.

  13. SARA says:

    I get a golden yellow on the background and lavendar on the comments, but I don’t get anything on the sidebars! I just scrolled down and found that everything begins below the comments and is all on the right side. I thought you were waiting until you had decided to put anything up!

  14. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sara, how strange! So you don’t see the welcome message / quill bee on the top right, directly under the menu? There should be a few inches of content above the comments. I wonder if your browser is hanging up on a cached version of the page.

  15. SARA says:

    Nope, the little Quill Bee and Welcome is below! I’ll see if my husband can figure it out; clearing my cache didn’t work.

    I should have mentioned that I appreciate the option to click for future replies or comments so I don’t have to remember to come back! I agree with you: I don’t like replying by email so blog readers miss the convo or vice versa!