Users deleting their post then reposting because it does not show who they replied to when immediately above

In my very strongly held opinion, real world conversations work this way too. The person who talks directly after you talk, is very likely to be replying to you, such that it can be safely generally assumed to be the case without extra conversational clutter. And if that person wants to make it super clear, they’ll add a name mention …

To Harry’s point…

or they’ll quote the person

When Sally said “This doesn’t seem fair to me”…

Also worth noting is that if someone is NOT replying to the post directly above, that is always indicated, because it’s more unusual.

My UI philosophy is that common stuff should be clean, simple, clutter free and only the exceptional cases need calling out.

And I’m right :wink:


Mine on UX is that it should just ‘make sense’ i.e. feel right/natural with little or no surprises or head-scratching :stuck_out_tongue:


Most people are terrible at UX design, and a common mistake is to add “everything and the kitchen sink, just in case”. People fall prey to loss aversion here. It’s completely natural to assume in a conversation that the person who speaks directly after another person was replying to that person unless they expressly indicate otherwise.

Remember that this choice is also “tough love” around getting people to quote and name mention if they really want to be specific.

It’s the right call as a default for Discourse, where the philosophy is to keep discussions simple and clutter free, and to nudge people into doing the right thing. If you don’t think it is, either change the site setting, or build your own badly designed forum software, like all the others that came before :wink:


No I actually agree with you about the UI for reading. I’m just trying to improve the responding UX. I’m not sure if what I suggested above is technically feasible. I just want to make sure you understand the suggestion.


I may be an exception, but I often don’t pay much conscious attention to either the post sequence or the reply indicators. Most often being aware of what was said by which member, I can know from the context of a post to which other post it was addressing.

Kind of like a conversation in a group of people where the focus shifts from one to another as it will.

I wanted to add that I can be completely reasonable on many other topics. Just not this particular one :crazy_face:


You’re not fooling anyone Jeff :rofl:

Ok back on topic, here are some alternatives:

Original (with suppression off):

I agree with you here Jeff, it’s a little too noisy for my liking too.

Alternative 1:

Alternative 2:

Another thing that I think would help is not showing these when someone has been quoted - because they become superfluous. They also become a problem when multiple people have been quoted - so the reply is directed towards all of them, not just one person (who probably just happens to be the first person they quoted).


Both of these mocks are easily doable on your site with a simple CSS rule plus site setting


Can we use conditionals in themes now then Sam?


if this post is a reply to the post immediately above it
  show the short version (just text)
  show normal version (text and avatar)

The only time I want the shortened version is when the reply is immediately below.

FWIW: indeed, sequentiality is an absolutely crucial resource for making sense of ordinary conversation. There is even a well established research approach in sociology that builds on exactly that. But (!) this strong connection between turns applies to informal conversation. Things get much more complicated in more formal settings where turn-taking is organized differently, e.g. in a brainstorming session, consecutive turns are not heard as responses to preceding turns.

So I’d say it doesn’t quite work to transfer this principle of ordinary conversation to discussion forums. Indeed, one of the great advantages of forums compared to “real” conversation is that there is no obligation to respond to the immediately preceding turn (post) as there is in ordinary conversation, because this entails that people don’t have to wait for the right moment where their contribution fits in sequentially. (Of course, that also introduces new problems, but that’s another issue.)

So, if there is no necessary connection between two consecutive posts, how/when does their adjacent position matter when we make sense of their content? I’d suggest something like this: if there are no other clues regarding who/what is being referred to, we assume that it is the preceding turn.

If that is true, then there are two potential sources of confusion in the default configuration of discourse:

  1. If there are references (e.g. quotes) to other posts, but the post is intended to (also) respond to the preceding post, it is unlikely to be understood as such.
  2. Since a reply to topic also lacks any reply indicator, they are indistinguishable from a reply to previous post.