@codinghorror I’m assuming the considerations of the original design was to provide the following:
- The index of the current post
- The progress through the topic
- The total number of posts in the topic
Given any two of these, the third can be roughly estimated.
From my experience, the progress through the topic is what I’d be concerned about (it is a progress bar, after all). I want to know how much time I’d need to devote to “finish” the thread, and I feel it is adequately indicated via the filling of the progress bar.
I’m torn as to the importance of the current post and total posts value. If they carry the same weight and horizontal space is a concern, it would be conceivable to stack the current post and total posts values like a fraction.
If people desire a numerical value for topic progress, the progress bar could show the number of unread posts as the user reads the thread. (I’m not sure about the language, but something akin to “42 new posts” or “630 left” might make sense.)
It may feel weird to change language on the user, but simply changing what is shown for large threads might be an acceptable approach as well. Small threads keep the “3 of 7” language, while large threads switch to a “300 unread” style. As @Josh_Fabian said previously, this could be a fringe case and the users know damn well what they’re getting themselves into when they enter a “RHYME TIME!” topic, so the granularity of the current progress bar might be completely irrelevant in those situations.