When I visit some pages, they have newest items first; page 1 has always the newest items. Some examples are imdb boards and icanhascheezburger.

I think this is case of top posting, because messages are sorted newest first. But this one is paginated.

I will refer to it as "newest first".

Well, it has problems. If a new message arrives, content on all pages will be shifted by one page, so :

1. It wastes bandwidth

You are on page 13, You sip a coffee and click to the next page. You : "What? I have seen these messages already. Probably double post ". That is a case when someone added messages while You were sipping cofee.

2. You might miss messages

You have not been there for a while. So You click page 24, guessing it will be the time. You sip cofee, and decide to go to 23; while You are sipping cofee somebody added messages.

3. You can not hyperlink to page

"What a funny cat" You say and want to share the picture with gf; You link page 26. Later that day she clicks on a link and she has another cat on page 26.

Yes, You can link to image in this case. Some other times You have to link to whole page.

4. It wastes time

Reloading takes time. Finding out You have seen it and need to reload takes time. Realizing page can not be linked takes time; looking for image url takes time and pastebinning text takes time (or saving a page and sending it takes time).

5. Comparison with "oldest first"

Reason for "newer first" might be, that user gets the newest stuff by clicking at page 1. In "oldest first" You can get newest stuff by clicking on the last (biggest) number.

In "oldest first" pages do not shift. With exception of messages deleted, but it can be overriden (database can contain "message X is on page Y" relation so pages will not change). Therefore You can link to page in "oldest first".

TL;DR "newest first" has some problems, "oldest first" does not have these problems.

User experience

To me, it is all sometimes annoying. Some other people I ask don't mind it much.


I don't see reason to use it; I do not see benefit. I have no clue why some pages use it. Perhaps I miss how is this approach good.

Why is it used more?

Why is it preferred at certain cases?

Is it somehow better? Is this more efficient? Is it easier to code?

  • 2
    It's okay for stuff where the newest content is all most people care about, bun infinite scrolling really handles that situation better than automatically defined pages IMO.
    – Ben Brocka
    Nov 6, 2011 at 19:11
  • @Ben +1 True. With Infinite Scrolling browser can run out of memory in extreme case. :)
    – user712092
    Nov 6, 2011 at 20:28
  • I think your complaint is more about how pagination is implemented.
    – DA01
    May 16, 2013 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is that people are more interested in newer content than older content.

With old content first, people will come to a site and first be shown something that they have seen before - bad UX. Then they will have to remember what page they were on last - bad UX. Then they have to navigate to some page which may not be easily accessible (say page 179) - bad UX.

If I want to link content, why link the page that it happens to appear on in a list view? Why not just link to the article itself? I don't see the problems that you raise with newest first being real for most people, and anyone that has that problem has a simple way to deal with it. Whereas showing oldest first, presents many UX problems and provides few benefits.

  • What problems presents the "oldest first"?
    – user712092
    Nov 6, 2011 at 13:45
  • Why link page it appears in? If You don't have option to link message.
    – user712092
    Nov 6, 2011 at 13:47
  • 2
    Imagine You have 912 pages. Have "oldest first", but reverse the percieved pagination 912,911, ... 3, 2, 1. Page 912 will be loaded default --- so it will emulate "newest firsts". I think it solves all problems I listed.
    – user712092
    Nov 6, 2011 at 13:52
  • 6
    Then you could have the "problem" that the start page has just one message because a new page has just been started. For a first time user it could not be easily clear that there are 912 other pages with content. But when he/she sees already a list of e.g. 10 messages it is clear that there could be more. Nov 6, 2011 at 14:54
  • Good point. :) First time user could see the numbers above. If this does not hint him, adding messages There are 18220 more messages. Click there for more ..., You are at last page with newest messages. Click there for more ..., maybe add even We apologize for initial inconviniece, see benefits. to the half-empty list might solve it (to picture the addition, that hint-message will be put into the list like if it was part of content, of course it will be made distinct).
    – user712092
    Nov 6, 2011 at 16:18

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