Alternatives to the chronological order of comments


Here’s an interesting idea from Robin Sloan re Twitter, but can also apply to comments.

“Here is an approach to timelines (on any platform) that would be exciting: make the selection algorithm user-definable, hot-swappable… A new kind of software product! Run them as fenced-in functions, a la AWS Lambda. Share ad revenue with the algosmiths based on usage etc. :sunglasses:

How else could we/ should we be displaying comments other than purely chronological?


I like how with Disqus you can select from ‘newest, best, oldest’ it’s very simplistic, but I often switch to best on busy conversations.

Along the same lines, it’s nice if moderators tag good comments, and they appear at the top. But this is obviously less scaleable.

Maybe if the comment system supports following authors, it could also place comments from those you follow at the top.


This is the most hacked aspect of commenting and social media. Hashtags,lists etc all seem to be the first thing users modify uno commenting systems . Moderators can elevate but I would love to see experimentation ( open and agreed upon) with mood, PTSD, goal oriented schema .

The way newsletters are working now. If I could go to my TL or comments and say " I want to get the posts with the most links/ seem most uplifting/ most informative etc.


Chronological is pretty hard to get around. Aside from it being one the easiest dimension to understand out of all the patterns of organization, it also has the added value of being “fresh”. Ultimately, temporal proximity plays a pretty big role in contextual relevancy, and it is why I think FB is such a dissonant experience for a lot of users.


I would like to have a view of the best conversations. The view would be like a slideshow. Each slide is a complete conversations between commenters who are talking to eachother. The comments which are not part of that conversation are hidden.

From comments to conversations

Roll-your-own sort algo is an interesting idea. But I suspect the subleties of any non-chronological sort are so fine that most users wouldn’t bother to try them to find an ideal. For example: if given 50 selectable sorting algos in the App Store, I’m sure most would stick with the default or whatever was in the first 3 choices, unwilling to spend the time to try them all or A/B for improvements.

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Another area to consider is how do you handle non-chron in the subthreads? Non-chron may be fine at top level, but moving around actors inside a discussion can be jarring.