[Athen] Best practise for threads in discussions.

Patrick Burke burke at ucla.edu
Fri Feb 6 09:50:25 PST 2009

At 12:01 AM 2/6/2009, Pratik Patel wrote:

>As usual I have lots of opinions about this, having used all sorts of

>methods. Sometimes I prefer a combination of techniques, depending on the

>context. I agree with both Patrick and Sean. Can I be any more

>schizophrenic? I'll use this e-mail to respond to points made by both

>Patrick and Sean.


>Patrick responds:

In this case schizophrenia is warranted, since there are so many
different types of interactions carried on via email.

For technical discussions covering a number of detailed points,
interleaving of replies is probably inevitable & necessary, & it can
improve clarity to have the exact original & reply phrases right next
to each other.

However, I have also been driven crazy when, say, 15 or 20 people
replied to a questionnaire, nearly everyone leaving the full question
text before their two-word replies. At the end I had unwillingly
memorized all the questions but forgotten who had answered what. ...

>Pratik describes Gmail:

>I think Gmail does a fantastic job of grouping and, in turn, using

>heading navigation to allow one to jump from response to

>response. Within messages, the Gmail

>interface often ends up hiding headers, original messages, responses to

>original, etc. It all depends on what level of nesting we're talking about.

>It allows one to unhide a particular message or hidden section on demand.

>It is very very efficient. If screen readers were more reliable navigating

>through Gmail, I'd abandon Outlook in a heartbeat.

Patrick sez:

Wow, I'll have to revisit Gmail, because this is exactly the
functionality we need!

Just add an "Invert" feature, to read the components of a message in
chronological or reverse order & we'll be set. Top-posters & their
opponents can all be happy. :)

I'll also heartily endorse Hadi's comments that came in as I was writing this.


Patrick J. Burke

UCLA Disabilities &
Computing Program

Phone: 310 206-6004
E-mail: burke <at> ucla. edu

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