How replies work on Discourse

  1. I’ve noticed that with Discourse when you reply, it not only shows
    up as a reply to the original message in a click box under that
    original message (which is nice…you just click the “replies” and
    they all pop up), but also as a kind of new message down below.

    I’m finding this a little difficult because its harder to see what
    is a new message and what is replies when you just go down the
    stream. Yes, you can look on the right and see what is a reply to
    what or if it is blank so it’s not a reply, but it’s not as
    intuitive as the old style of having the replies be indented under
    the original message. And I find myself reading the same messages
    twice because I read them as replies to the original, and then I
    read them again as I go down the stream.

    Am I just being too tied to the old model? I’m finding this a bit
    annoying but perhaps I should get over it because there’s something
    great about this setup that I’m not seeing? Would love to hear it!

  2. Also, when the replies show up as their own posts later in the
    stream, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what the person is talking
    about b/c the reply is to something way up earlier and the context
    of the reply is often missing. I guess this could be remedied by
    using the “quote” function. I should try that and encourage others
    in our course to do so, I suppose.

  3. Finally, when I want to reply to a reply, I can’t seem to do that. Or is it that one just has to mention that person’s name? But then it doesn’t show up as a “reply” to that message (the one that was a reply to someone else originally).

I think I’m still missing the “nested” concept, and I’d love to hear if there are ways to deal with these issues, or maybe I should just get over it!

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Good questions! There are two ways to reply, (1.) by clicking on reply right under the post and (2.) by hitting the reply button all the way at the bottom next to the star and share buttons. Actually 3 if you count “Reply as new Topic”.

Replies always goes to the bottom of an topic, the only difference being that little link at the top right of the post.

I don’t know which way is best? The folks over at discourse think long and hard over questions like this. When I find I don’t like the way things are being done, I find it helps to read there motivation behind why they do it in a certain way. You can normally find these conversations over at Have a look, I’m sure someone must have raised the issue of threading before.

That’s a good suggestion. Quoting the relevant parts of the conversation is a good way to put a message in context. If the conversation branches (when threads would be useful), maybe it makes sense to reply as a new topic?

What do you think?

Thanks, Dirk! I did go look at the meta Discourse area, and didn’t see anything about this. On the main Discourse web page they point out that the design is “flat” in the sense that all replies show up in the main stream, but they don’t say why! Maybe I’ll ask the question in the meta discussion area.

I found this topic on meta that refernces a blog post by the founder of discourse, Jeff Atwood. It’s a bit old, but he explains his views on threaded vs flat there.

1 Like

I am replying here to check how api’s work while we reply to a post