Start a new topic

A first-class notion of a "thread"

At the moment, there seems to be no way to make a series of connected posts without paying a big price:

* If you use comments, you can't have embeds, and updates don't show on the timeline.

* If you just post again with the same tags, the reader has to know to go to a special URL to find the previous posts in the series

* If you share the post, which I think is the intended way to do this, it's worst of all — a link to the original post gives no indication whatsoever that later updates exist, AND your timeline is spammed with many copies of the entire chain of posts, and becomes truly painful to scroll through. There's also no good way to integrate this solution with tags — when you share, the original tags are lost from the share, but if you add them back to the new post, the entire blob matches the tag, and now the tag page has the same repeated-content problem as the timeline. Also, a link to the original post does not display the later posts

I really just want twitter's threading system, where a link to any post in the thread shows you posts before and after it, and when a later post appears in a timeline it displays (snippets of) the OP and 2nd-most-recent post, and intelligently collapses the display of multiple updates in a short time frame into one item.

Some other solution could be fine too, but I really, really want some way to do an update post that both makes the OP visible AND is visible from the OP, but which doesn't display the OP twice on my profile.

24 people like this idea

I think that cohost is a different website and generally instead of writing long threads of self-replies it makes more sense to just put the time and thought into writing one longer post to begin with. not that i never self-reblog with comment out of habit but usually it just makes more sense to edit the original post to add the additional content.

15 people like this

I've found editing the post I already have with more content to be a far superior experience to tumblr or twitter threads

7 people like this

I don't think just editing a post would be an ideal solution for many circumstances where a user would desire threads, namely situations where you are continually adding information over time. It gives no indication there's any new information, especially if the post contains a read more. It also still has the problem of putting the entire thing on the timeline and tag pages every time it's shared, which you would presumably have to do every time you edit it if you want people to see the new stuff at all.

I think a good solution here would be the ability to create a post "series" which would function as a doubly-linked list of posts, with the ability to go back to the previous post or forward to the next post in a series, or skip to the beginning or end of the series. I envision this as an unobtrusive set of links above or below posts (if they are in a post series). You could just click a button on one of your own posts to create another post in series with it, and they would automatically link to each other as the previous/next posts. 

This is similar in some ways to a Twitter thread, but I think it makes more sense for the long-form nature of Cohost. It would allow readers of your posts to easily jump back to the last (or next) time you talked about that subject without requiring a custom tag or manually linking to them. It would also not need to display the other posts in the series until the reader clicked through to them, avoiding taking up large amounts of timeline/tag real estate. 

For an example of a type of post I think would benefit from this functionality, see @bruno's "A Compleat History of the Magic: the Gathering Metagame." He's manually inserting a "last time" and "next time" link at the start and end of each post/chapter, but it would be great if users doing a similar project didn't need to get the link to the previous post, add it to the new post, then get the link to the new post and edit it into the previous post each time. Additionally, a user who sees a post from the middle of the series currently has to click back through each post until they get to the beginning, whereas this feature would allow them to skip straight to the first chapter, or to the most recent post in the series. 

(Possibly, a user could click through to a page that displayed the full series of posts, Twitter thread-style, but I don't think that would be a necessity.)

12 people like this

I think the series system you suggest really accomplishes something quite different than what Twitter threads do? For a series of long-form posts, that's a great idea. But Twitter threads shine in that they let you accumulate lots of small thoughts into one larger whole, for various purposes.

1 person likes this

“I think that cohost is a different website and […] it makes more sense to just put the time and thought into writing one longer post”

As a prolific user of Twitter threads, I can offer some… alternative perspectives?

* Some people really struggle with long-form writing, but find Twitter threads easy to write, even though on the surface the end result is similar. I am among those people; I think it's common for people with ADHD to have that issue. The reason in my case is that it's difficult to avoid the temptation of going back and editing things over and over, getting trapped in the first sentence, or even the 50th sentence. Twitter threads let you post a small thought before coming up with the next one, which forces you to make forward progress in writing. Long-form posts really can't do that.

* Twitter threads are really useful when you want to collect a series of small, related thoughts over a span of time. Essentially: microblogging! I love long-form blogging as much as anybody, but I would be able to do microblogging too.

** A classic example is that people like to “livetweet” watching a TV show, movie or video game. You post the thoughts you have in the moment while experiencing something, and there's a real value to having those thoughts when they happen, in their original form. Twitter threads are the perfect medium for this: they're immediate, they're connected chronologically, but they don't overwhelm the timeline of your followers because Twitter collapses the thread. On cohost you'd currently either have to make one big post and edit it repeatedly: fun to read afterwards, maybe, but with no ability for live interaction at all; or you'd be spamming your followers with far too many posts, possibly grouped by hashtag,

** The timescales can be much longer though. Suppose I'm developing a game. I might want to collect various thoughts related to it in one place.

I think what I'm realising is that Twitter-like threads let collections of short thoughts stand their own against long-form content. Without threads, you get into an awkward place where short thoughts can exist but you want to avoid having too many about the same topic, because collections of short thoughts don't really have a good place to go… they're obnoxious if all posted individually and they lose their… post essence?… if they have to be transcribed into a long-form post.

7 people like this

By the way, while I like Twitter threads, the way they work seems to be an accident of being able to reply to your own tweets, so each tweet in a thread is just a tweet like any other and can be individually liked, replied to, retweeted, or even be the first post in a new thread branching off the old one. I personally think that's a bit chaotic and not something cohost should copy wholesale.

In particular, on Twitter, people often accidentally break their threads by replying to a tweet that's not the latest one. In the worst case a thread can have multiple branching paths with long dead ends! If cohost had a threads feature, I would suggest having this not be possible at all. The entire thread could be a single “post” that can be continually added to, but only the OP can add to it, and only at the end: no branching, and especially no branching for people other than the OP. Each addition probably should be able to have its own likes/comments, though.

I think it might be interesting to be able to have comments attached to the thread, in addition to individual posts in the thread. Twitter has no such concept, so replies that aren't about a particular tweet nonetheless have to get attached to some tweet, so it's a bit messy. I think cohost's hierarchical/structured comments system is really nice. I'd be very excited to see what cohost would do here.

5 people like this

Very much in favor of this

Threads fill a very different niche than longposts and/or continually editing a single post. They are a way to spread thoughts or updates about a topic across time, often weeks/months

For example, on twitter I just spent several weeks reverse-engineering the rendering engine of an old videogame. This was totally unsuitable for a blog post (it would require days of writing/editing), as the resulting thread is hundreds of tweets long, but critically *no one had to read the whole thing*

The individual tweets don't demand any more of the reader's attention than any other tweet. If I see someone updating a long-running thread I'll click it and check the last few tweets to catch up. Or, if I'm not interested, I'll just ignore it

If i tried to do this on cohost, every option would involve bumping multiple screens' worth of old text onto everyone's timelines, multiple times a day, for weeks

5 people like this

Light support for the sake of ongoing 'series' threads- posts that would only be threads on twitter because they need to be broken up wouldn't become threads here, they'd just be long posts. Thread or not, I'd love to see a way to view shares of a post that added content(/tags?) from viewing the un-added-to original.

2 people like this

A way to essentially make an 'add-on' to your own posts without explicitly resharing them makes a lot of sense to me. Sometimes you need something between an edit and a reshare but different than a comment that this would fit the role of well.
It would have a lot of utility for things like project blogging or art WIPs without spamming your followers' feeds with reshares or leaving a series of posts disconnected and hard to find from eachother.

2 people like this

I think jgs's suggestion is what I'd most like to see. The post stands on its own in the timeline, but with an indication that it's part of a series and an easy way to see the previous one (ideally inline?); clicking through shows you the whole series starting from the first one.

4 people like this
I've experimented a bit. It does seem like there's like, half of a working threading system already. If you repost your own post (re-share? reblog? what is this even called):
  • Each repost is its own post, but it includes all the previous posts with links, so you can go and like or comment on an earlier installment.
  • Cohost already has an option to collapse the middle of long threads, and it works well. They're even referred to as "threads" in the settings!

But there's some important drawbacks:

  • It spams your followers' timelines and your profile with repetitions of the whole thing.
  • You can find your way from newer posts to older posts, but not vice-versa.
And there's some things that might be nice to have, but are not critical:
  • There's no way to view or post comments on older entries inline, nor to like things inline. This would mainly be beneficial for navigating long threads.
  • You can't share just a single post from a thread on its own, it always brings the whole series of preceding posts with it. There's upsides and downsides to that...
  • There's a lot of screen space spent on repeating your profile picture/display name/username. This bit is kinda funny:


there's a series of posts I've done that I wanted linked together - so the way I've done this is a little nested "previous posts in this series" set of links at the bottom of the posts. As this is something that can be made once + copy-pasted into all the entries, I update them as I go. That being said, as the list grows that may become more unwieldy - so what I'll likely do is have a central post that I link back to all the time that's the kind of home-page or navigation, with links to all the posts in the series .That'd reduce the active work involved.
Though I appreciate this may not solve your problem depending on the kind of volume of posts per 'thread' you're after.

1 person likes this

this feature could be imitated or replaced by something that simply bumps a post without creating a share, and editing the post

Maybe if a post had "pages", with per-post options for update/display behavior:

  • Choose whether or not to bump the entire post to the top of the feed after a new entry
  • An "update" summary for the latest post update (like a commit history)
  • Order "pages" by oldest or newest additions, or a custom order, etc etc.

Something like this would allow a user to keep all updates on a specific topic within a single post if they chose, without potentially spamming a timeline with multiple iterations of the same post.

It would also be very useful for longer-form posts, for example: Art with multiple variants, or sequential pieces. Comics, stories, multi-media posts. Long form HTML+CSS crimes.

3 people like this
Login or Signup to post a comment