Thinklab Meta [meta]

Comments & Notes interface and behaviour - Suggestions

It seems that a few things around the way people interact with comments and notes could change for better. Here is a thread to discuss it.

I'll begin with a couple of suggestions:

  • I might have missed something, but it seems that there is no way to delete a comment. As the user base of the platform grows, it might be useful to add this feature, at least for a certain amount of time after posting. Especially since full editing is available without time limit.

  • Notes should be "upvotable". As SO and other knowledge crowd-sharing platforms have shown (and I understand we might want to do things differently), the key information is sometimes better placed in a note of an existing comment. I am not sure how this should work, but it seems that something similar to comments with smaller values should be enough to give the opportunity of rewarding important notes.

  • Antoine Lizee: Of course, deletion of thread-making posts should not be possible.

it seems that there is no way to delete a comment

I would support comment deletion once/if version history of discussions are tracked. I also encourage a mandatory "justification" field when deleting a comment.

Notes should be "upvotable"

At this stage with limited examples of note usage on ThinkLab, I have difficulty assessing whether voting would be a worthwhile feature. I'm still new to the whole comment versus note distinction, so it may take me a long time to develop an opinion here.

  • Antoine Lizee: I agree on the limited usage of notes so far. Adding the upvotable feature might be premature.

  • Antoine Lizee: I'm in favor of the mandatory field for deletion.

In relation to comments, it seems to me that there is an opportunity to bring structure to them. If bringing structure to, let's call them "threads", then there are further comments (other topics) to add.

  • Antoine Lizee: What do you mean by "structure"?

  • Antoine Lizee: On a related note, I agree that "comment" might not be the right term for the posts on ThinkLab.

  • Jack Park: What do I mean by "structure"?
    That's a very good question since I carry a lot of tacit thoughts that really need to come out.
    My thinking is this: this "thread" is essentially a linear list. It's a conversation sequenced temporally. With careful use of @thingies, one can add just a bit of structure. The fact that I am replying to an indented set of comments on my comment, there already is structure, though I was not allowed to indent my comment against those comments, so structure, as implemented here, has its limits. I'll start a new, um, comment, about structure.

Structure other than linear lists, I believe, offers opportunities to render our conversations more useful along these dimensions: Ability to isolate questions and their responses and any pro or con arguments from other questions in a visual sense; that isolation raises the opportunity to maintain an improved "signal to noise" ratio.
Structure, in my view, entails two opportunities:
1) make use of natural outline structures to as many depth levels as required
2) provide some form of node type identifier, which would include these types (drawn from the Issue-based Information Systems vocabulary first isolated by Jeff Conklin and implemented in and, in part, at question (issue), answer (position), pro or con arguments, reference, decision, and note.
3) restrict each node in such a conversation to one topic. That is because each topic should carry its own "thread".

Re: deletion of comments

I don't really have a good sense of what the best thing to do here is yet. So I think it's best just to hold off on doing anything for now. For the time being users can just edit their comment and type in [deleted] or something like that (possibly giving a reason). Over time I think we'll have a better understanding of the type of scenarios people are deleting comments in and if this is causing any problems. In general I don't think we want people deleting comments.

Re: notes being "upvotable"

I agree that it's premature given that even I'm not sure what role the notes feature should play yet.

Re: adding more structure to comments

I've addressed this in two posts:

Status: Deferred
  Discussion System   Feature Suggestion
Referenced by
Cite this as
Antoine Lizee, Daniel Himmelstein, Jack Park, Jesse Spaulding (2015) Comments & Notes interface and behaviour - Suggestions. Thinklab. doi:10.15363/thinklab.d60

Creative Commons License