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Learning to Read (from the bottom to the top)

 
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Learning to Read (from the bottom to the top) Reply with quote

Many major websites support commenting on articles, but usually the default is for the comments to be presented in reverse chronological error. I can understand there is an appeal to see the most recent comment(s), but, generally, to make sense of a densely threaded commentary stream, one needs to read it not in reverse, but in the order it happened.

Often, reading comments in chronological order is an option. I'm looking at a site now, a major newspaper, that only supports showing comments in reverse order. So here, I'm forced to read bottom to top. Maybe they should put the individual paragraphs in reverse line order too?

Quote:
to read it not in reverse, but in the order it happened.
sense of a densely threaded commentary stream, one needs
see the most recent comment(s), but, generally, to make
chronological error. I can understand there is an appeal to
the default is for the comments to be presented in reverse
Many major websites support commenting on articles, but usually

I get a slightly different feeling (aside from an incipient headache) from reading this way. Instead of "falling through" the height of the page, I feel like I am climbing, or "building up" the meaning of it.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally the sites that support the Disqus system (my fav) have a dropdown for ascending and descending order.

For news stories sometimes the comments can range over several days and as the news changes, so the comments, so I can see that as an argument for putting newest first.

I also go back and forth on the idea of "jumping in" versus feeling obligated to read the entire thread. For example, how big is the audience really. Sometimes a person posts something and then goes on to something else. Others maintain a stricter view, and treat it like logical argumentation ("someone said that in comment #23").

In general Usenet people who use the nntp protocol and sometimes elaborate "newsreaders" where they can alter the views of threads, sort and search and assign ranking to authors, tend to get quite formalized.

For me, I tend to be in the "now" of it when it comes to comments on news articles. I assume that most people only read the few most recent articles or the ones above and below their comment and any replies. So that forms a kind of "sub-group" audience in and of itself within the whole thread.

This becomes different when the articles are more of an editorial or issue oriented, or in a magazine, journal or special interest blog. There I would respect the entire comment thread and feel obligated to at least skim the entire commentary before interjecting to try and minimize redundant thoughts.
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