#Fediverse does this happen often to you too?
You found a great post, commented to it, only to find out later that a broad discussion was triggered ... but not on the thread branch you commented on.
So if you didn't bump into it coincidentally you'd be totally unaware of that.
I'd like a Watch Post feature that sends me notification of all activity on the thread.
Would you like to have a Watch feature?
@humanetech We need both: an extra button to "watch a post", even without having to interact with it once. And an option to "mute a post". Sometimes the people I follow embark on long and very specific discussions between one another, which I see in my timeline. Obviously I don't wish to mute the people I follow, so being able to mute certain threads would be handy.
@firstname.lastname@example.org It is already a feature on Misskey!
I have to say it has been proven useful a couple of times.
For example when someone posts a technical question and you would like to know the answer too, whenever someone answers, then you can Watch that post and you'll stay updated on it.
@varx you mean implementation-wise, where my Watch action results in a list of subscriptions (recursively derived) listening for replies to each entry?
An extension might be and indicator about who is watching, just like Github issues have too (though invisible watchers are probably best, privacy-wise).
@humanetech I don't know what the implementation would look like, or whether ActivityPub would make it prohibitively difficult.
But the feature I *want* is "let me know of any new replies under X" with the ability to say "oh wait, except for the subthreads under node Y".
@varx makes sense. It is a bit same as asking "Pls, untag me".
#Zap has an implementation that might make the easily possible (or already done). See: https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/fetching-a-conversation-and-a-watch-post-feature/2014
@humanetech Yeah, the existence of "please untag me" is just a perfect illustration of some of the flaws with Twitter-style conversations. The snowballing of mentions is a hack to plaster over the lack of thread-following.
I will transfer your post to #SocialHub in a new topic, for the record, as I am merely suggesting a feature but not technically involved (or capable enough) in any federated project that would benefit from this 😀
@zap here's the topic I just created:
@humanetech honestly threading should be revamped as a whole imo
this sounds like a nice feature regardless
@hmilles yes, #zap posted about that too, and I created https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/fetching-a-conversation-and-a-watch-post-feature/2014
@tinyrabbit I can imagine. But it might impact how conversation takes place.
People going off-topic multiple times, and others responding to that may be just as messy.
In Discourse forum topics for instance you often hear "please stay on topic", or a moderator forks some comments in a new topic.
Fedizens might be less inclined to interact, or would not to explicitly watch/unwatch thread comments to get the desired view of the discussion.
There's one particular things that would be quite helpful in having a single thread..
Right now very often people tend to respond to a sub-branch without having read the other sub-branches, bringing up points already discussed.
On this thread for instance I already pasted the same link to #SocialHub about 3 times.
@tinyrabbit I can see why you would want that, & I'm sure I'm not going to say anything you haven't thought of already, but my thinking is this.
Suppose there's already a single thread, not too long, easy to read perhaps 10 or 20 toots. But one of the toots in the middle is something to which I'd like to reply. The existing system allows me to do that, whereas having a single thread would force me to tag my comment on the end, even though I'm replying to something further up.
@tinyrabbit My wish is to be able to reply to multiple toots, thus drawing a sprawling conversation back together. Then, additionally, have the ability to render the discussions as graphs, like this:
I've written a discussion system that lets you do that. It's currently find for small numbers of users, and extremely helpful, but pig-ugly, and very parochial.
@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech On a typical forum platform you have a thread-starting post, and then every other post is visible for every other poster. In this discussion I really only see our little break-out thread. If I want to see the whole thing it takes effort. This interface isn't centered around discussions; it's centered around individual posts.
@tinyrabbit Right, so in what you're calling a "forum" you see literally a linear collection of posts, each being a comment in the thread. So if I want to reply to some comment further up the (single) thread, I somehow need to make that clear, and it's not in the structure.
That's a trade-off, and I can see why it's a "Good Thing(tm)" in some contexts. I find that limitation extremely frustrating in more complex discussions.
@tinyrabbit ... I find the inability of platforms to provide a sensible and usable rendering of the more complex discussions *also* to be enormously frustrating. The platform I wrote as an experiment feels much more usable, but (a) it's pig-ugly, and (b) it's really not ready for a wider audience.
If I had more 'net programming skillz then I think it would be the way to go, but I have neither the skillz nor the time.
@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech To me this sort of discussion tree looks quite horrible 😆 I can't imagine the effort it takes to follow that discussion in all its branches, or how frustrated I would be to see virtually the same discussion taking place along a number of different paths. To me it looks like a great way to *socialize*, but a horribly inefficient way to *discuss*.
@tinyrabbit That discussion tree would benefit from navigation tools, and I have those, and that makes it a real pleasure. Open some branches, close off others, hide nodes that don't really contribute, and you end up with the "Real Content" distilled.
As I say, I don't have the skillz to make those tools more widely available, but the chart, when displayed on a decent size screen, can be scrolled around,and the many threads can easily be followed.
Takes a little practice.
@dynamic Indeed, which means that is suffers the same problem that in a complex discussion you sometimes have to scroll a long way to find a comment's parent.
This is a hard problem, which is why I'm exploring how usable the "actual tree layout" might be.
My experience is that the static version is fine after discussion is ended, and the dynamic version I have is fine provided you use the navigation tools.
Working on it.
@dynamic DiscDAG is making progress in that regard. It's intended for dynamic discussions, allowing multiple threads that subsequently come together (where appropriate). It needs better navigation tools, and a better UI in general, but it works well for the appropriate context.
Most examples are private conversations, and those that are public are mostly not good examples, but here are some links.
@dynamic Here is an explanation about the Axiom of Choice, and why it's problematic:
Here's a more extensive, free-form discussion about the system itself and some of the problems:
It's almost essential to use Neighbourhood Mode to navigate and follow the discussion a bit at a time, showing that better navigation tools and UI are clearly required.
But I can't imagine trying to follow this in a linear form.
@ColinTheMathmo @dynamic @humanetech You have a good point about following branching discussions in a flat thread. In that case compartmentalization and breaking out branches into new discussions when they diverge from the original poster's intention are key. And doing that in social media is... uhm... yeah...
@tinyrabbit A consequence of breaking things out into new discussions is that you can't then tie them together again. If they're genuinely different discussions then that's fine, but if they are different aspects of the same discussion then it's a nightmare. The ability to "fold up" or "abstract out" sections is the thing DiscDAG is missing, and neighbourhood mode is a poor substitute, but when a discussion is large and sprawling, you need to connections.
@tinyrabbit There's a difference between "Shooting the Breeze" (StB) and "Have a Discussion to Reach Conclusions" (HaD2RC). Existing platforms drive everything to StB, and platforms that claim to help with the HaD2RC context just ... don't.
DiscDAG seems to be a step in the right direction. It's needs to go further, but I have none of the skillz, the time to acquire the skillz, or the money to pay people who have the skillz.
So it's stalled.
What are your thoughts on Argument Mapping tools? To me they seem much more promising than DAG structured things (I feel like it's pretty unusual to *really* want to pull two separate threads together, and that when it is desirable it could probably be handled pretty well by making a post with links to the parent threads).
@dynamic I haven't seen an "Argument Mapping Tool" for a long time, and I'm sure they've improved, but I've hated every one that I've seen. They have always, to me, seemed to offer nothing over existing linear representations of trees.
And I have frequently use the facility to pull together separate threads. This might be one of those cases where until you have it you don't see the point, and when you've used it, you feel crippled not to have it.
Your chart is ready, and can be found here:
Things may have changed since I started compiling that, and some things may have been inaccessible.
The chart will eventually be deleted, so if you'd like to keep it, make sure you download a copy.
@dynamic Here are links to more:
There are many *many* more, but they are private discussions, so you don't have access.
@dynamic But try this. Start with this link:
If a node that is currently not highlighted looks interesting, click on the author's name to add it to the selection and see it and its neighbours. When you're done with a highlighted node, click on the author's name to remove it from the selection.
Then start navigating around. You can collapse everything except a single node-and-neighbours by clicking the grey box.
@dynamic Here's an alternate starting point:
I think it is certainly not. But probably you have to target other use cases + audiences more. Here, in microblogging domain, it makes most sense to diagram a complex thread graph after it happened. Dynamic view probably not well-suited.
Specialized audience (e.g. scientists) and use cases (argument maps, decision-making, ...) may be excellent to consider.
It'd also help UX designs if your nodes had more semantics than just <text> e.g. linked data vocab.
@humanetech WRT getting an audience, yes, probably these sorts of facilities and capabilities are better suited to a more specialist audience than a generic "social media" context.
WRT semantics and nodes, probably, but I have no front end skills. None. Producing a diagram like this is all I can do, so while what you say is probably true, I can't make it happen.
To be honest, I've pretty much decided to give up, and just use it for myself.
@ColinTheMathmo you might describe things in text, no ux designs needed.
For semantics, e.g. the simple fact of a 'node' having a title and subject might give many options for re-arranging the UI, collapse branches, etc.
In special domains more meaningful linked data formats can be used. E.g. in IT context you may label your text with "requirement" and "bug", etc.
Can brainstorm a lot on possiblities, but also talk to audiences on their needs.
@dynamic It's really, *really* useful in a constructive discussion. Sometimes a single comment to pull threads together is exactly the right thing, and in existing platforms it seems difficult, or even impossible.
DiscDAG (which I suspect you haven't seen) definitely wins for that, but probably won't scale.
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