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I'm working on a button that loads old comments in a commenting system. There are instances when hundreds or even thousands of comments need to be loaded.

Would be be better to just say, "Load previous comments" or is it helpful to display the number of comments - ie "Load 2,438 previous comments"?

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CLOSURE. Is one of the most under-rated emotions. Imagine, not having that number, you would keep clicking the load more option and again see that same damn button again. With no indicator of you making progress (In this case : finish reading comments), user is bound to lack closure.

But if you show the number and if the user doesn't even read all the comments, he would for sure have an idea that he just read ( lets say 50/2000) comments, which is less, but still, he KNOWS it and can make an informed decision at least unlike in the previous case.

0

Stating number of comments avialable will give a complete picture.

Since user will have accesss to large amount of data. You might want to employ sorting aswell, for example, sort by date or popularity in case you have such parameters in the system.

More informed and control user has better overall experience. However degree of control should not undermine business goals of a product.

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Generally I would say that no user in the world has the intention to read 2,438 comments. I would suggest to approach the problem from another perspective. Is it maybe possible to filter comments by their relevance like facebook does? Or maybe only the most recent comments are relevant?

However, if another approach is not possible and you only have those two options you describe, I would recommend to not display that number. As I said, no one will read that many comments. Therefore, there is no added value for the user knowing the number of comments. You're probably even taking the risk of frighten the user by announcing such an information overload.

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