Comments, bumping, trees. Helping user discovering newer comments.
Suppose you want to participate in an old post with hundreds of comments. You made your fresh new comment, injecting your thoughts and effort into it and hit the post button with hopes and dreams.
The post is bumped to the top under Activity. Other tilders saw the old post on the top, they are intrigued, perhaps as much as you are and wonder what you can add to the discussion, but they couldn't find your comment.
Why is that?
You replied to a thread with a very old top-level comment.
As Tildes is still relatively new, this isn't much of a issue now, but one that I feel needed to be addressed eventually as the site grows. It is certainly a low priority issue for the time being.
Sort by new only sorts comments by the time when top-level comment is posted, which is an inherent characteristic of comment threads. If my last years of memeing on redditting has taught me anything, it is that a new post gathers the most views in the first few minutes when it was posted (This might be a few days on Tildes).
Bumping helps extend the longevity of a given post if the thread gathers enough attention and discussion value to warrant a comment, but that alone would not alleviate the fact that new comments is seen by less and less people as the post gets older (as indicated by votes). If we want to make high-quality comments seen by more people, we need to make comment age a less limiting factor.
Tildes needs to help its users to discover new comments.
A few solutions come to my mind.
By presenting comments in a linear fashion like the good old bulletin board does without any hierarchy such that sort by new would truly be sort by new.
By highlighting ( or whichever other means ) comments that meet certain criteria (Comments that are among the latest 10 or comments that were posted within the last hour, this can vary depending on the activities of the comments)
I would like to propose a novel solution to this problem by compacting the comment threads to a forest of trees with navigable nodes. This sounds totally outlandish, it might very well be, but its an idea that I think worth sharing.
The editing is rudimentary but I hope the idea is communicated well.
There's also a link in the sidebar under "Last comment posted" which will jump you directly to the newest comment.
Yes, definitely something I want to do. That will also allow logged-out users to be able to find new comments, since their topic visits aren't tracked so they can't use the "mark new comments" feature.
An "activity" comment sort would be cool. Make it work like the topic "activity" sort just on the comment level.