why are replies limited to one line, while comments are not?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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conversations surrounding shared items can be rich, thought-provoking interactions. this was certainly the case with google reader, and has become the case with facebook (though the small column width can make reading lengthy posts rather tedious). in fact, i'd wager that this capacity is precisely why reader had such a passionate following.

however, newsblur seems to have an arbitrary limit imposed on this kind of interaction. the field in which we type our replies doesn't allow for line breaks, resulting in very terse, one-line-at-a-time conversations. like some other tools, hitting enter commits the reply. however, unlike those tools, there's no corresponding modifier to allow for line breaks, thereby eliminating the possibility of multi-line comments altogether (the standard that has emerged here --for better or worse-- is shift-enter). this puts a constraint on the user, without any obvious corresponding benefit. 

share comment boxes, on the other hand, don't seem to have this restriction. enter is a line break, and ctrl-enter commits/saves the contents.  as you create more line breaks, the box grows to accommodate what you've written.

it would be REALLY nice if reply boxes behaved more like share comment boxes. not only would this improve the consistency of interaction between elements that really should behave the same way already, but by allowing for multi-line replies, it would improve the caliber of discourse among the newsblur community.

i don't want to get into a debate over whether unifying this behavior means committing with enter, or ctrl-enter. perhaps this is where a pref would be useful. but the important points here are:
a) both fields should behave the same way
b) there should be no restriction on line breaks in a conversation

what are your thoughts?

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francisco delatorre

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Posted 3 years ago

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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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I'm all ears to anybody who would like to persuade me. Know that this is intentional, as NewsBlur has many more shares than Facebook, so by filtering newlines we can keep discussions a bit briefer.

I can see the case for newlines, but the intention was to let you either reply directly or share the story with your own comments (and newlines) if you have enough to say.
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francisco delatorre

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couldn't the filtering of noise be accomplished by sharing privately vs publicly? 

i'm afraid i must admit ignorance to what you mean by "reply directly." do you mean reply only to the OP via newsblur or some other method? if so, wouldn't that exclude the rest of the audience they originally shared to? 

sharing the story myself isn't really sufficient, because that isn't a conversation exactly, it's more like dueling broadcasts. assuming you're sharing privately, you're simultaneously expanding the audience to include your own circle, and excluding some of the audience in the OP's circle. and what happens if the OP then wants to reply to a point you made in your re-share? do they RE-re-share? if this continues, context diminishes very rapidly with each subsequent share/reply. 

i guess what i'm wondering is, what is the value of "keeping discussions a bit briefer"?  in google reader (and i don't want to invoke this terribly often, because there are many ways in which newsblur has surpassed reader, this was just one thing it did extremely well), i participated in many conversations with my circle, some brief and some very lengthy and involved. because i opted in to read every long discussion, none of those long conversations ever seemed to dominate my feed.  on the contrary, before reader implemented replies to shares, our only recourse was to continually re-share the same content with different comments, which polluted the stream and made conversations very difficult to follow.