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Hierarchies always suck. And there's always a better system that allows multiple labels. An ontological hierarchy is better replaced by tags. An inheritance hierarchy is better replaced by composition. A flat comment stream loses important information, a comment hierarchy is a UI nightmare, but still isn't rich enough semantically. Instead we need a comment stream where replies can be made to one or more comments, to make a comment bush. This can be done with a fancy UI, or just numbered comments and either a field to enter them, or a regex on the main text. No need to do @anne, @bill etc (which of anne's comments did you mean?) That reply-to data can then be presented in many ways. New responses to you can be offered to you as 'what's new'. You can follow an argument back to those it replied to. You can view the stream chronologically. You can view the current comment's bush chronologically. You can even mark a response as private and have it disappear from the main stream. And the stream can be totally reordered, since context is only ever a click away. But the initial UI as a chronological stream is lightweight and simple.
Toggle Commented Dec 14, 2012 on Web Discussions: Flat by Design at Coding Horror
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Dec 14, 2012