So, just from playing around with the width of the web page, it seems like the column that houses the topic and comments is fixed at a maximum width. In other words, it doesn't get wider beyond a...
So, just from playing around with the width of the web page, it seems like the column that houses the topic and comments is fixed at a maximum width. In other words, it doesn't get wider beyond a certain point, no matter how wide the web page gets. This column, which I'll refer to as the "comments column" takes up 1,400 pixels on my
- We know that each comment indentation takes an additional 21 pixels (Does it take 21 on mobile?)
- We know the width of the user's browser's webpage
- We know the width of the "comments column" that contains all comments
- Using this information we can mathematically determine how many indentations it would take to reduce the available width for text in comments to be below a specific number of characters. (Eighty on desktop? Forty on mobile? Make the target character amount variable relative to the screen size below a certain threshold? (Below a certain screen size.))
- At that point, we start listing comments linearly, optionally marking them with a dotted border, a
*(Reply to above comment)* note, or a "Chan-like" ID system like @cfabbro suggested:
Edit: Attaching unique ID#s to comments and directly referencing which ID# the replies are to (similar to how Chan boards operate), might also help steer people's expectations and make it easier to follow these flattened threads as well. And a unique ID is already attached to each comment in the form of its HTML anchor anyways (e.g. this comment is #comment-32j8) ... so merely exposing them and referencing them openly probably wouldn't be a difficult change.
I Personally like the ID system better. It doesn't have to replace the
Link button, it can just appear only when comments are linearly displayed, and all will be well.
I want to start by saying that this is certainly an interesting idea, but I think it can be somewhat confusing and some kind of visual indicator might be nice.
Let users set an integer for how many indented comments they want before transitioning to the linear solution (What if the max number of indents is too much for the user's screen? They set 20 indents on their desktop, but that clearly runs off screen on mobile. How do we handle that?)
What we had was a purely "indented solution" and this change has introduced a hybrid "indented linear solution"
So, just from
Let us, for just a moment, divide a topic's comments page into columns. We'll assume eight, though it could certainly be more or less in practice. On an ultrawidescreen monitor, with the webpage stretched as wide as it will go, let us just say that the sidebar takes up the eighth and final column
Allow the user to set the position of the comment column and how much space it will take up. For simplicity's sake, let's just assume that right now, the sidebar takes up the eighth and final column of the page (It's actually the seventh)
Divide a topic's comment page into eight columns. The sidebar gets at least column number eight, the comment boxes as they are now would occupy columns three through six, but also give the users the option to set which columns, from one to seven, that they want the comment boxes to occupy, thus allowing a variable width.
The sidebar currently occupies the seventh column. It could be pushed to the eighth. It could optionally be hidden entirely on the "desktop" view by default like it is on the "mobile" view. (Some users aren't going to like that suggestion)
My reason for suggesting this is that I have a widescreen monitor. I can fit dozens of indented comments on screen without a problem, and while I like this "linear solution" you've implemented as a solution to a problem, I don't like having to deal with it when the problem doesn't exist for me.
We know how wide the user's webpage window is, so we know how wide the comment boxes are, and we know how many pixels are used by the indentation.
If each indent cost us five pixels, and we're three comments down the chain, we're losing fifteen pixels due to indentation. So, as each comment box gets smaller and smaller the further down it goes, we eventually get to a point where we can't even see the comments anymore.
Personally, I think we should allow as many indents as possible depending on the user's browser's page width, up to a high maximum.
So, just as probably not mathematically accurate example, if a user's browser's page width is 1,270 pixels wide, they only get ten indentation levels before the linear system (the system you implemented and announce with this topic) takes over.