When a comment thread reaches the last tier, no reply link is provided
I’ve encountered this problem yet again. Went hunting for the original thread to add more information and appeal for support (which, it seems, is non-existent for this problem) only to find ‘thread closed’.
Latest example occurs on this post on my blog. This comment should clearly have been posted at the end of the thread above it; however, I can sympathise with the user, who, not being presented with a clear ‘reply’ button, has simply posted into the ‘reply’ form at the foot of the page (which starts a new thread — not the intent).
Nor am I able to find a way within the comment management facility to move the comment to where it belongs.
… I can feel my life ebbing away…
The blog I need help with is pendantry.wordpress.com.
I’m so sorry you didn’t get help in the first thread you posted. I have now flagged this thread for Staff attention.
Wow, thanks. If you’re not paid staff, and are doing this for love… all I can say is you’re clearly stark raving bonkers!
Let’s hope your flagging does some good this time around…
macmanx is Staff and he is working right now by dealing with all threads marked for Staff attention.
At Settings -> Discussion in your blog’s Dashboard, you have comment threading set to only go 4 levels deep.
Thanks for your happy input, Macmanx. Yes, what you say is true, but I’m sorry to say that you’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter what number of levels I set; when the limit is reached, the user is not offered a ‘reply’ link at the end of the thread.
…no, I refuse to repeat it all. Please read what I originally wrote about the problem, here. If, having done so, you’re able to wave your happiness wand, I’ll be very grateful!
Supplementary thoughts, having slept on it:
I have no idea how the system works, but if a comments thread is generated on the fly, I would imagine the solution to this problem to be simply a case of identifying when the (chosen) threading level limit has been reached and ensuring that a final ‘reply’ link is created at the end of that thread.
s/identifying when the (chosen) threading level limit has been reached and ensuring that a final ‘reply’ link is created at the end of that thread./identifying when the (chosen) threading level limit has been reached and ensuring that a final ‘reply’ link (that mimics the reply function of the level above) is created at the end of that thread./
Yes, there is no reply link once the thread has reached its limit. This is intentional. Once a thread has reached its set limit of levels, there can be no more replies, because the thread has reached its set limit of levels.
What you are describing is exactly how the system works. For example, your have your comments set to only go 4 levels deep, so:
Comment (level 1) -> Reply (level 2) -> Reply (level 3) -> Reply (level 4) -> No more reply links, this thread is closed as it has reached its set limit of 4 levels.
If you want it to go 5 levels or more deep, you need to adjust the setting.
It’s clear I’m unable to describe the problem in a way that will allow you to accept that it is a problem. My only hope is that you have oversight by management who can see that you are blinkered in this regard.
‘Happiness Engineer’? Really? I think you need more training.
I give up. Life is too short:
It’s not a problem. The system is working as designed, as it has for a number of years. It has not changed.
Perhaps if you could try describing it again, I could find a work-around for you. Try this:
Comment (level 1) -> Reply (level 2) -> Reply (level 3) -> Reply (level 4) -> [Tell me what you want to have happen here.]
OK. First off, I do appreciate you trying again to understand where I’m coming from — and, as I said in my original post on the other (closed) thread, this <strike>problem</strike> feature is not just in my own head; I have experience with one other person running a blog with the same twenty-ten theme, who found that visitors to his blog were causing him grief ‘because they were being stupid’ (from his point of view as an ‘expert’ user).
I think it may help, first of all, to point out that the number of thread ‘reply levels’ is limited by physical screen space. You can’t keep on adding extra levels to accommodate long discussions, because, even assuming that there is no upper bound, at some point (I haven’t tested it) the indent will make the lower ‘levels’ ludicrously narrow.
I believe that the twenty-ten theme comes with a default ‘reply level’ of three. The reason that my blog is set at four, not three, is because I changed it, some time ago, in my first attempt to try to resolve this problem/feature.
In your post at 09:25 this morning, you referred to a thread being ‘closed’. This is, I think, where the misunderstanding is happening, because in effect we’re in a situation where if a user wants to reply to such a ‘closed thread’, the system state is — apparently ‘by design’ — undefined.
Again, I request that you look at this comment on my blog. The user in this case has attempted to reply to the ‘closed thread’ above where his post appears, but there is no obvious ‘reply’ link for him to use; he would probably have to (counter-intuitively) scroll up the page to see the reply link, and as a result has (quite understandably) therefore used the comment box at the foot of the page to compose his reply — and this has had the effect of creating a ‘new’ thread. Now, an ‘expert’ user of the system-as-designed will come to understand that by using the last reply link actually in the thread — ie, the one that is available at the foot of this comment — the ‘closed’ thread can actually (shock, horror) continue. But the problem here is that this is by no means intuitive. The workaround for the problem requires an ‘expert’ level of understanding of this particular interface; it is unreasonable (not to mention impolite) to expect every passerby to have that depth of understanding.
If I’ve made myself clear this time around, the answer to your ‘[Tell me what you want to have happen here.]’ should be self-evident. What needs to happen from a logical standpoint is that the ‘newbie’ user should not be in any doubt how to reply to an existing message thread. For this to happen, I think that there should be a final ‘reply’ link at the last level that behaves in the same way as the one before it. Thus, any further replies to the thread can simply be appended at the final ‘reply level’.
I really cannot think of any better way to describe this problem. And though you maintain that “it’s not a problem”, I would ask you to consider that if it weren’t a problem, do you honestly think I would wasting my Sunday afternoon writing here? If you do, then you don’t know me… but then that, to me, is self-evident already.
Here’s hoping that having written all this drivel, you’ll actually pay me the courtesy of reading it and trying to understand what the problem is. If there is a solution other than “it’s working as intended,” that would be a bonus.
Perhaps this image will help illustrate the problem, and my suggested solution.
Note that the last comment shown will have been entered by the user using the form shown at the foot of the page; using the circled ‘reply’ link (which may well have been invisible to the user without upward scrolling) would have appended his message to the end of the thread, where it belongs. (Note, however, that the positioning of the comment box that opens upon clicking this link is itself in the wrong place from this point of view – this is because the system design does not really cater for additional replies to a thread that the it apparently classifies as ‘closed’).
[O.o, your question suggests a lack of understanding of the problem. And I had just set Settings -> Discussion to ‘level 6’ on my blog (which created a reply link in previous un-reply-linked comments, but deferring ‘the problem’ to a ‘lower level’). So in order not to muddy the waters, I’ve set the reply level back to 4…]
Relevant links are available in the thread above. Nevertheless, you ask specifically for an URL that lacks a reply link, so…
… here’s one to the page from which I grabbed the image in my previous post:
… the URL of the comment on this page which is the one that is ‘missing a reply link’ is:
… the URL of the comment that should, ideally, have followed on from the comment above but which has been posted as the start of a new thread as a result of this problem/ feature is:
Does that answer your question?
A couple of additional notes:
- A contributing factor to the frustration I have with this problem/ feature is that there does not appear to be any mechanism within the administration interface that would allow me to move comments such as this one to where it belongs, ie after this one — not that I would enjoy spending time in such an activity!
- The ‘reply-and-approve’ functionality within the administration interface allows me (the blog administrator) to bypass the ‘missing reply link problem’ — but this functionality is not available to the common-or-garden visitor.
Once a user post a comment, it’s posted at where the user posted and I’m afraid you are not able to move the comment.
@iamtakashi thanks for the confirmation of that (I suspected as much).
Do you have any words of wisdom in relation to the main problem/ feature?
As you stated as the title of this thread, when a comment thread reaches the last tier, no reply link would be provided as it’s the last tier. As you also said before, there is always limited by physical screen space and the comment function is not designed as a form of infinite conversation.
@pendantry … there are two ways to make replies. One is the sequential way. Comments are just flat and run in order that way. The other is threaded. This way comments are associated with the comment they reply to. I suspect you understand this much, but I’m stating it to be sure we are on common ground.
When threaded comments get too deep, it gets difficult to read when indented displaying is used. So a limit is established, which you can adjust for your own preferences. I have adjusted mine to 9 levels. But that may be excessive. When I get enough of a crowd of followers to get that deep, then I’ll see what it looks like. I’ve seen it deep on some other blogs and in other places (such as Usenet as seen on Google Groups) and it get very ugly.
So by having a limit, when the limit is met, there can’t be another reply button because a reply button THERE at that level implies a new comment one level deeper. So if the limit is reached, the reply button can’t be there in order to enforce the limit to prevent a comment being one level deeper.
So how do you think it should be handled? Having a reply button implies a deeper level. If you want to prevent a reply to one level deeper, how would you do that with a reply button being there? I ask because I’m unable to imagine how that would be organized.
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