Debate:Format for Conversations

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Information icon.svg This debate was created by Perceptron.


Proposition[edit]

My proposition is that the currently used, de facto style of formatting conversations looks piss ugly and is really annoying to read. So that we have a term to call it, I'll refer to it as "waterfall style". I'm talking about this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam nec ligula dapibus diam volutpat vulputate semper nec diam.

Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Aliquam erat volutpat. Aenean eros massa, convallis non lobortis ut, fringilla luctus tortor. Donec posuere, erat sed dapibus tempor, erat mauris iaculis quam, a pretium enim nibh in sem.
Aenean tincidunt, massa quis blandit auctor, quam metus placerat ipsum, id varius nunc tortor euismod velit. Curabitur quam nisl, ultrices eu tincidunt at, interdum eget mauris.
Proin euismod erat ligula.
Donec condimentum commodo risus, vitae tincidunt mauris sodales in. Duis eget lacus a est accumsan elementum. Curabitur dignissim ipsum at enim vulputate non blandit mi vehicula.
Cras dignissim aliquam mauris sed malesuada. Praesent interdum, dolor sit amet consectetur condimentum, nisl leo faucibus nisl, a venenatis mi tortor quis odio. Donec lacus elit, venenatis quis tempus sed, molestie ut lectus.
Ut ut viverra dolor. Praesent rutrum purus sit amet turpis sodales ut vestibulum massa bibendum. Morbi eu libero urna. Vestibulum sit amet augue vitae nulla imperdiet posuere.
Morbi hendrerit porta dolor, sit amet suscipit nunc porttitor eu. Praesent commodo, purus id malesuada congue, arcu massa luctus lectus, ut ultrices urna metus nec metus.
Nullam facilisis interdum turpis in auctor. Nulla facilisi. Etiam mattis vehicula lorem, sed rutrum orci semper sed. Phasellus egestas interdum arcu, vitae commodo turpis tristique et. Mauris fringilla nunc ut est vestibulum pulvinar. Mauris vehicula viverra convallis.
Nunc sit amet erat lorem. Donec velit lacus, aliquet quis vulputate non, sollicitudin sit amet massa. Aenean aliquet tincidunt leo, eu porttitor urna commodo a. Donec imperdiet urna a dolor cursus porta.
Aenean vitae suscipit eros. Nullam dictum tellus vel massa aliquet aliquet.
Nunc sapien enim, sagittis sed vestibulum nec, lobortis nec justo. Aliquam faucibus semper placerat.
(unindent) Donec ut magna hendrerit felis malesuada vulputate in ac leo. Proin ut leo ac nisl auctor rhoncus sed vitae arcu. Phasellus ut nisi sed neque eleifend faucibus sit amet ac turpis.

While part of my hatred towards this formatting is simply stylistic, part of it is also that it makes it really annoying for somebody respond to a single previous "poster" (for lack of a better term). For example, users Adam, Betty, Cheryl, and Dan have all written something. Eve wants to reply to part of what Adam said that nobody else has responded to. She has two choices: to simply add on to the end like so:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec tempus sollicitudin sem, nec rutrum odio bibendum ut. In convallis elementum neque, quis euismod neque interdum eu. Donec at dapibus felis. Adam

Nullam cursus enim eget justo tincidunt bibendum. Mauris faucibus ipsum et leo pharetra nec volutpat metus tempor. Betty
Quisque tempor ultrices luctus. Donec nibh ligula, euismod et ultrices nec, vestibulum ac augue. Cheryl
Sed sit amet mauris sed urna egestas feugiat facilisis ac lorem. Phasellus aliquet congue sodales. Aenean ultrices fermentum lectus, vestibulum bibendum diam dictum ut. Dan
Vivamus non risus odio. Phasellus iaculis sollicitudin odio. Eve

or Eve could post at a different level of indentation, like so:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec tempus sollicitudin sem, nec rutrum odio bibendum ut. In convallis elementum neque, quis euismod neque interdum eu. Donec at dapibus felis. Adam

Nullam cursus enim eget justo tincidunt bibendum. Mauris faucibus ipsum et leo pharetra nec volutpat metus tempor. Betty
Quisque tempor ultrices luctus. Donec nibh ligula, euismod et ultrices nec, vestibulum ac augue. Cheryl
Sed sit amet mauris sed urna egestas feugiat facilisis ac lorem. Phasellus aliquet congue sodales. Aenean ultrices fermentum lectus, vestibulum bibendum diam dictum ut. Dan
Vivamus non risus odio. Phasellus iaculis sollicitudin odio. Eve

In the first case, there's a chance that Eve is going to derail the conversation thread that Betty and everyone else is on. There's also a chance that Betty et al are going to think that Eve is responding to something they said. While Eve could just be exact and make sure that she points out that she is only responding to what Adam said and not the rest, that's a lot of what should be unnecessary verbiage. On the other hand, the second way is also bad. Basically, since the conversation that Betty et al is having continues on, Eve's "post" is going to move further and further downwards until all of a sudden it takes quite a bit of effort to see who she was responding to. Add in other people "posting" their own response to what other people said and you have a jagged-edged mess. Whitespace is all well and good for computer programming, but I don't think it works well with human conversations.

The solution?

I don't know.

Something that imitates how normal forums might work. One could do this through using blockquotes. For example:

Adam
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec tempus sollicitudin sem, nec rutrum odio bibendum ut. In convallis elementum neque, quis euismod neque interdum eu. Donec at dapibus felis.

Betty
Nullam cursus enim eget justo tincidunt bibendum. Mauris faucibus ipsum et leo pharetra nec volutpat metus tempor.

Cheryl
Quisque tempor ultrices luctus. Donec nibh ligula, euismod et ultrices nec, vestibulum ac augue.

But there's a lot of (obvious) problems with this.

So, basically, does anyone agree/disagree/have any thought about how to solve this potential problem?

— Unsigned, by: Perceptron / talk / contribs

So, basically, does anyone agree/disagree/have any thought about how to solve this potential problem?[edit]

How about that it's not really a problem? i9 22:14, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Check out RationalBeta, which may end up being our glorious future. Nx is probably a good person to ask about this sort of thing. Uke Blue 22:17, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I kinda don't think it's a problem, and I think unless you can type it in fast, people won't follow it. sterile infinity 22:18, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't really see the problem with the system we use. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:22, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Beta is pretty, though. sterile infinity 22:23, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Liquid threads is nice, but it's a bit much to get to grips with when you're used to normal wiki editing. There are no simple solutions because all forums are still linear, and if you want to divert, you need to start using quotes - and unless you disable it you get some silly recursive quoting. It's probably not best for what we do here. Scarlet A.pngtheist 22:32, 10 October 2010 (UTC)