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  • 10 months later...

Going to bump this. 

Recently I had an expert come in and evaluate my site (shop, forum, etc) and they brought up a very interesting point regarding the sort order of posts. The younger generation that grew up on social media and often represent the most active users online, grew up only seeing content in reverse chronological order. Though I personally like reading things in order and have always viewed it that way, the younger generation has not. They've grown up on social media where the newest content is presented first and you can then dig deeper for the older content. Admittedly this makes conversation a bit odd in my opinion, but we're seeing so many of our Instagram followers dropping off that platform and / or expressing discontent with it and reading so many articles talking about the decline across most demographics on that platform, that I believe there is a real opportunity for a resurgence with forums. People are just fed up with Facebook and Instagram and want something else. I know in most cases its ludicrous for a forum owner to think they can actually compete with platforms like that, but reality is we have a real chance at growing significant market share, if we can provide a compelling alternative. I believe that starts with an easy transition and it would seem that allowing for reverse chronological ordering (or better yet an option for a user to set this preference at the account level), would be a great step in the right direction.

Anyhow, might loop back to this over arching topic in a new thread to keep it clean, but the specific request here is hoping I might compel the forum developers to strongly consider implementing this.

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On 10/24/2019 at 11:34 AM, superaven said:

Going to bump this. 

Recently I had an expert come in and evaluate my site (shop, forum, etc) and they brought up a very interesting point regarding the sort order of posts. The younger generation that grew up on social media and often represent the most active users online, grew up only seeing content in reverse chronological order. Though I personally like reading things in order and have always viewed it that way, the younger generation has not. They've grown up on social media where the newest content is presented first and you can then dig deeper for the older content. Admittedly this makes conversation a bit odd in my opinion, but we're seeing so many of our Instagram followers dropping off that platform and / or expressing discontent with it and reading so many articles talking about the decline across most demographics on that platform, that I believe there is a real opportunity for a resurgence with forums. People are just fed up with Facebook and Instagram and want something else. I know in most cases its ludicrous for a forum owner to think they can actually compete with platforms like that, but reality is we have a real chance at growing significant market share, if we can provide a compelling alternative. I believe that starts with an easy transition and it would seem that allowing for reverse chronological ordering (or better yet an option for a user to set this preference at the account level), would be a great step in the right direction.

Anyhow, might loop back to this over arching topic in a new thread to keep it clean, but the specific request here is hoping I might compel the forum developers to strongly consider implementing this.

What your "expert" misses is that our platform is designed for conversation. Social media is designed for you to post some thought, someone leaves a comment, and never looks at it again. Look at this very topic: it was posted in 2018 and now you are bringing it back to life. That does not happen on social media.

That is fine for social media as that is the point. It's not the point of a platform like we make and the fact that we are not trying to do that is a huge selling point to our clients.

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Platforms that use reverse order do so to show feeds - individual items not related to each other. We do that for the topic listing and for streams.

I can’t think of any platforms that actually show conversations in reverse order. Twitter replies, iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram comments - they’re all in regular chronological order (aside from when ‘intelligent’ ordering is employed, such as Facebook showing 'relevant' messages or Reddit sorting by most-upvoted).

In fact, the only medium I can think of that uses reverse order is, ironically, good old-fashioned email (and even that depends on your client).

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Just dropping a note here to say that Kitchen Sink (available in the Marketplace and probably will be on sale for the patented joel "Black Friday means all of November" sale he's putting together) has an option for forums to display all the posts in newest to oldest order. I did this... two?... years ago on request for someone running a financials forum. Can set per forum or all forums. It's barebones as I didn't feel like tearing into the javascript that handles new posts being made - I'll skip the long story and just say all that means is when someone makes a new post it's appended to the end of the topic as usually happens (just refresh the page and stuff is where you want it again) but if there is that much of a hew and cry I can poke the thing and maybe wrap that small quirk up ...eventually.

I'll be honest, it feels weird, at least for forums.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all,

I am not sure if these theoretical discussions leads any further. I would love such a feature too especialy when you use the forum for longer threads. Why not having this as an option in the admin area so every forum admin can decide himself. As a noob I would say its just a question how to query the database, not?
I would vote for this as a toggle in the admin panel so that your product is even more flexible and can provide both ways - that would be a better sales argument than what I read from Charles (if the user has no choice this doesnt sound for me like an USP).

Best;
Marcus

 

Edited by Marcus Sternberg
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48 minutes ago, Marcus Sternberg said:

I would love such a feature too especialy when you use the forum for longer threads.

Out of curiosity: How would a long topic make a reverse order more useful? Let’s say my topic has 200 old posts and 20 new ones. Do I want to read the 20 new ones in reverse order (where I see post 220 being a reply to 215, which I haven’t read yet and which references post 211, which I haven’t read yet … and so on and so forth)?

Yes, I think the “theoretical discussions” make sense when they expose that people for example accidentally mix up feeds of unrelated content with linear discussions or make untrue statements like someone else saying that this represents “new habits”, when in fact no major community service (social media site, chat apps and so on) do this kind of reversal of discussions. 

Edited by opentype
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Hmm... all I say is that it would be better to allow the admins a free decision themselves which will be more useful depending on their target group instead of being rigid and impose on them the opinion the foum here has ("and as it has always been since the begin of time".... you know that argument). Imagine e.g. a forum like we have where we have only a few readers in a knowledge community. Most of us knows the thread and it would be neat not always have to go down to the bottom in order to see new answers but have them already at the first top assuming that these kind of users can handle this very well. This would save some time - and in our cases we are not talking of lost conversations as the posts stay within a resonable number. And for other foums it might be better to keep the old order - being flexibles would be the key.

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You haven’t answered my question. 😉 Why would it be useful to read conversations backwards?

You hinted at a different problem: “having to go down to the bottom”, but that is about accessing the unread posts as easy as possible. A post reversal doesn’t logically follow from that. 

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Programming our ERP system we also use a reverse sort order for our logfiles. You get the latest replies / entries first - then you follow the history. Most of the time for the current posts the long log is not necessary, it doesnt matter what a customer has written 3 months ago. Therefore the latest 2-3 posts are sufficient. You read the answer first, if you need more details you scroll down and read the post before and the one before. As said, most of the times you do not need to go more back in history than 2-3 posts - the rest is irrelevant and can be accessed by scrolling in case you need it. Reversal allows you to scan the posts before for the relevant things as you have already open questions or details read in the current new post and know what to look for. Having a chronical order you might need to jump backwards as you got to know later what the current post refers to and might have skipped that already or forgotten. So you need to go back again. Reversal order way is faster in dealing with the posts as you have the current questions/details in mind (short memory) - same as in the forum. But I guess this is maybe more a "believer" thing.

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6 hours ago, Marcus Sternberg said:

it would be better to allow the admins a free decision themselves which will be more useful depending on their target group instead of being rigid and impose on them the opinion the foum here has ("and as it has always been since the begin of time".... you know that argument).

🙏

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