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You can call me Hal.

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Theories of LJ

isiscolo remarked that she wished people wouldn't link to the mode=reply? version of a post since she wanted to read the comments as well. Me too, I said to myself, the comments are part of the post.

It's a unique feature of LJ and blogs. In a mailing list or discussion board or usenet, people may quote your words and then write a response, which follows the original post or is threaded with it by subject line. The responses are generally of equal weight or importance to the original post and they are clearly their own documents.

But on LJ, the comments are attached to the original entry -- they are additions to it. It has one physical location. Unlike discussion board threads, the layout -- main post given priority, comments below clearly additions -- makes it one document.

So, the LJ entry is recontextualized by the comments. Its meaning may be enriched or changed or trivialized. When you comment on an entry, you are not creating your own document. Rather, you are participating in that entry, you are changing the way people may perceive the original words.

It's kind of cool.

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And I want to figure out a way to make it so that NO threads are ever compressed when the volume starts getting huge. You think I want to have to click 2 dozen threads just when the discussion was getting good?

Yeah, I find that to be a real pain too. The only time I like it is if it's a fic post of mine; then people can read the comments without seeing my lame "I'm so glad you liked it" replies. *g*

*cracks up*

Oh, just because I haven't done this to you in a while...

*steals Hook*

You can't steal a pirate! Anyway, are you sure you want to tangle with me, missy? I'm meaner than you think. That's why my dear James loves me so.

*wusses out pathetically*

The problem happens when you want, for whatever reason, to link to your *own* post as soon as you post it - say an essay on an essay community. There are no comments, so you can only link to the "reply" page.

You can -- just take the "reply" URL:


and hack off the "?mode=reply"


That will link to the comments page even if there aren't any yet

Were I improving LJ, I'd create a separate page where existing threads were tracked. It wouldn't be that difficult to do--it would work with your friends list, and log "message blah from friend Boo, posted at date/time, X comments read, Y comments unread". It could sort by friend or date, or new items (posts or comments) could automatically bounce to the top of the list. It would also be useful for it to link to the post in question. I always have to go back over and over to see if someone commented on my comments, which is a huge waste of time.

As you pointed out, it's the linker's responsibility. I actually always add ?style=mine to make sure it's readable :-)

The only thing where it's sometimes nice to not have the comments are fic. I like to know how long a story is and the comments often mess me up :-)

As for the collapses...I wish I could control which thread to collapse. Sometimes things go OT and I'd love to have that not clutter up the discussion.

I actually prefer to be linked to the Reply page for both fiction and discussion posts. That way I have a good means of judging the length of the original, and then if I am interested in reading more (which I'm not always!) I can just click on that "Read Comments" link at the end. It's handy like that.

I have to agree with glitterdemon on this one. Also, if I'm linked to the reply page, it helps give me a chance to figure out what I think based on the original post, and then modify (or abandon) based on comments. If I see comments off the bat, sometimes I'm just trying other peoples' reactions on for size, instead of having my own.

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