I want to figure out a better ways to make a forum thread easy to read.
Common solutions to this:
A flat thread where every post is sorted by time. This is easy to understand and easy to display in a clean way. The down side is that it can be very confusing trying to follow a sub-discussion, everything gets mixed up and you have to read the whole thread from the beginning and then scroll up and down.
A thread display as a tree This makes it much easier to follow a specific discussion between two or more people without having to read everything. The down side is that it can still be difficult figuring out what is in response to what. It is also hard to easily recap on what the parent of a post was.
Both of these break down after a few hundred posts in the same thread.
I want this:
A thread displayed as a tree structure of posts, this is to make it possible to be able to read just a part of a bigger thread.
An easy way to see the content of the parent of a post, (even if the current post has many previous siblings so that you would otherwise have to scroll up a fair bit).
A good way to deal with deeply nested thread, like when to people reply to each other many times.
Has to be able to display something like 2000 posts without breaking down.
Make it easy to scroll down the page and scan through posts/treads to find interesting ones. This means no click to expand/load more. Endless scroll might work on the other hand
Has to be able to display deeply nested treads, without user having to click expand a dozen times
This has to look nice and clean, also be pretty easy to understand.
I have a half baked idea on how to do this: By letting the left most posts float along with their children. A thread consists of a few posts with a large number of replies with in turn an even larger number of replies. In a non overlapping thread this will mean that the level 0 posts have a lot of space between then. If they could some how float down along with their children/grand children when you scroll down it would be easy to glance back at them to recap what the OP wrote.
Anyone else who have given this some thoughts?