How to clarify the function of the topic reply button?

(Christoph) #1

I’m sure this is happening to all of us: you reply to a topic and someone replies to your reply but you don’t get notified. The reason for this is that people don’t actually reply to your post but press the shiny blue reply button right below it, i.e. the topic reply button.

This happens here on meta and on many other discourse forums. So I’m wondering how the UI could be tweaked here to avoid these mistakes and the first thing that comes to mind is of course to add text to the topic reply button but that is both ugly and unlikely to help because the people making this mistake probably don’t understand the difference between reply-to-post and reply-to-topic in the first place so putting something like “reply to topic” on the button won’t change anything.

So the next idea is perhaps to tone down the topic reply button, to basically make it the same colour as the buttons next to it. Or will people then not find it anymore?


While I was reading you, an idea occurred to me that could apply here.

Can we change the gray “replay” button of each message to a “mention” button so that the notification reaches the user to whom it is answered?

That way, the blue button to answer the subject would remain intact.

And users I think they would stop responding three times to three different users (all in the same answer and mentioning each user would be ideal).

Here a second idea would be born now, which is a feature that we do not have now:
When the user presses in “mention” it would be great if the editor appears with the @mention
to user/author to whom it is answered.


(Kris) #3

I’d worry it would be harder to find… I feel like it should be the primary method of replying once you reach the bottom of a topic… we could accidentally train people to hit reply on the last post in a topic instead, which would be undesirable.

I think reply is the much more appropriate word in this context… Though using different words is interesting. Facebook/Reddit have decent language divisions where they call a general response a “comment” and a response to a user a “reply”

An additional thought… since you’re replying to the OP anyway I wonder if adding their avatar could help clarify? Is the differentiation between clicking “reply” on the OP and the blue “reply” at the bottom of the topic necessary?

(Christoph) #4

Wait, I’m not sure I’m following. You mean “since they are replying to the OP anyway…”, right? And then you’re idea is what exactly? To add the replyer’s avatar? No, to add the OP’s avatar, right? Just as is already the case for all the other replies, right?

Hm, I like the idea. Quite an elegant and simple solution to the problem, provided that the people in question actually notice the avatar in the editor whem they’re replying. But I think there’s indeed a realistic chance that people intending to reply to last post will wonder why that other avatar is there when they’re replying, so I’d say it’s worth a try.

(Kris) #5

Right, sorry if that was a bit unclear

Yep. Maybe it’s too subtle so it doesn’t matter, but maybe it’s enough for someone to think “oh, that’s not who I’m intending to reply to”