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I'm working on a discussion board, where users can have discussions in different topics. In the current version, the new message box is in a modal. I'm planning to move it to into the list itself.

Currently, I'm planning to move the to the top, as the new posts appear at the top, and older posts are at the bottom.

If I change the order, as on most of the platforms (forum, discussion boards), where the message form is at the bottom, and latest messages are at the bottom, the users need to scroll down to the bottom. (Or make some trick, to scroll the page to the bottom. But this not makes sense to me..)

What are the best practices, or what are some published case studies about messaging/posts order in different type of online communication?

  1. Facebook posts are independent from each other, as we see on the wall, they are not belongs to each other, so the "flow" seems fine
  2. Forums/email threads flow is the older at the top, new at the bottom, where we have the ability to "go through on the topic".

At option 2, my problem is the user has to begin at the oldest post or at leat an older one. When we saw a blog post's comments, its clear, the we can follow the whole discussion, with the beginning.

For a discussion board, however, the users are up to date about what is going on, so an older message isn't related to continue communication with others.

What are some example sites/app, where they break these rules?

  • Observations: A lot might depend on the subject matter/nature of the discussion (and perhaps typical length). If a user, coming to an existing (possibly lengthy) thread really ought to read through everything before adding everything, then old@top to new@bottom, starting with the oldest would be fine. If the can just "join in" (and only sometimes need to read the past messages) then show make the latest visible... – TripeHound Jul 28 '17 at 12:24
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    ...NOTE: you could potentially only show the latest screen-full of messages (newest at bottom) and use a "reverse scroll" (swipe down action on mobile) to bring older entries in from the top (the opposite of how Facebook etc. work). – TripeHound Jul 28 '17 at 12:25
  • "For a discussion board, however, the users are up to date about what is going on". How often is this valid? And how? Meaning are notifications involved?.. – Georgios Pligoropoulos Aug 6 '17 at 20:39
  • You are right, meant by notifications somehow involved. It's not actually a discussion board (like forums). Let's take emails forexample. E-mail threads are groupped, when you open up you saw the latest message. You get notified when a new email arrived. After 20 emails in a thread, all the users should have proper information about the first message, or like whats the topic, and what is the current state. Inbox/gmail forexample did this well, when the flow direction is still old to new, but they collapse read messages. – Iamzozo Aug 7 '17 at 11:08
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Based on the question if your users can vote or like the comments, you have 2 or 3 possibilities to order the comments:

  • oldest first
  • newest first
  • best first

Of course, you should give your users the power to decide which order they display. With a button at the top of your comments like YouTube is doing it. If a user changes the order, store the preference in the user data to always use this setting until it is changed again.

Your default order should be oldest first, top to bottom. You should prefer this because it is difficult to follow the discussion if the user is reading a comment relating to another one that the user hasn't seen yet.

To avoid frustrating the user with a bunch of old posts they already know, you can only show the 5 most recent comments with a link ("show older comments") on top of them. With a click on that link, 5 older posts will be shown on top of the current ones and so on, until the whole thread is loaded. Make sure the order based on the published datetime is always right. You have to play with the amount, depending on the sizes of your elements maybe you'd like to show 7, 10 or only 3 comments. Just see that the average comments fit well on one screen.

If a user wants to add a comment directly to the initials post: Because the comment field is on the bottom, you should also add an "add comment" button next to the order option button, it's action jumps directly into the comment form.

With that said, I would suggest you the following order:

  1. Initial post
  2. Order option button
  3. "add comment" button
  4. "load more" link
  5. 5 most recent comments
  6. comment form

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