I hate springing surprises on people, but in our never ending quest to deal with traffic and crushing server performance issues, we have been forced to abandon our current commenting system layout for a simplier, more performance friendly one. We had to do this ASAP, at request of our Hosting Provider.
The old layout was known as a “Tree” layout. You could reply to other people’s comments, and your reply would display slightly staggered after that comment. This layout is very cumbersome to a database, and it really got confusing during long discussions. Comments were staggered all over the place, and it was often hard to tell what comment was in reply to what (unless quoted or specified).
The worst part though there was no paging support, so all comments for the entire article would load at once. If you recall, scrolling through threads with 500 comments got to be a real pain. If it was a pain to you, it just about killed our server!
The new layout is a “Flat” structure. All comments will list chronologically, and will be numbered. Only 20 comments will display at a time. At the top and the bottom of the comments are page numbers, so you can page through the comments while reading them. The comments are now numbered, displaying from oldest to newest. When you open the article, the system will automatically go to the last page and the most recent comment.
Honestly, it really does go much faster this way. Most sites and forums use this approach, and now I see why! This is going to take some adjusting though. When replying to a comment upthread, you can use the quoting function, mention who you’re replying to, or even put in at top of the comment “In reply to comment #xx.” Whatever makes you comfortable.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m sure this will be confusing at first, but after a while it’ll seem easier. Thanks for your patience.