Different Forum Recommendation

I was pretty new member with the previous lay out, and i did like it so much… basically i didn’t follow the forum that much because of it !
But this one it’s way better and it works quite good one my Android phone , plus i know this one from another forum !

Probably simply some older members was way longer with the previous one… so probably was more difficult for them… !?

I’m like you in that sense, I tend to have old school preferences in technology and yet I’m primarily a mouse user for most things.

Sorry if I’ve missed something, what is the glitch related to jumping to the first or last post by clicking the first or last date/time in the time slider?

In general terms I totally understand complaints about pointless change in technology, especially deletion of useful features or “dumbification” of the UI just to make it look clean or trendy. But in this specific case of pagination within forum threads I think it’s important to ask what advantages or actual utility did thread pagination offer? I honestly can’t think of any. With any forum only a few short posts or a partial long post can fit onto the visible screen area, so some method of navigating and viewing the context is necessary. In some scenarios pagination actually significantly hindered that flow. Let’s say there were 30 posts per page:

  • I would be reading along, sometimes moving back up one or two posts to re-read something, and then move on until reaching the 30th post, and then move on to the top of page 2… and now I have no more context to refer back to.
    • With Discourse I just keep scrolling/reading down, and I always have access to the immediately previous context by scrolling back up just a little bit.
  • As I get a few more pages deeper into the thread I might see a post that says “UserX’s solution worked for me” with no link, so I start going back up in the thread again to look for a post by UserX, I reach the top of this page of posts and nothing yet so I click < previous, which takes me to the top of the previous thread and I now have to scroll down to scan for UserX’s post whereas on the previous page I was scrolling up. Nothing found yet, so I hit < previous again and I find UserX’s post in the middle of that page. Ok, but now I lost my place deeper into the thread before I went off on this tangent, so now I have to start clicking next > until I find where I left off.
    • With Discourse, I simply scroll up until I find UserX’s post. When I’m done reading it, I hit the “Back” marker that takes me directly to the place where I left off:

Screenshot from 2023-03-26 08-41-17

  • As I get toward the end of the long thread I want to refer back to a date range with some developments that I remember from a few weeks after the thread got started. I’m on page 177/179 , so I randomly decide to start looking somewhere around page 15. Except that the pagination controls are showing me:
    « first|‹ previous|…|171|172|173|174|175|176|177|178|179|next ›|last »
    So I click page First and then page 13 and then I finally see page 15 on the paginator to click it. (This is a real example taken from the old BLF in the Wayback Machine). Except that page isn’t even close to the date range I wanted, so I keep randomly jumping around in the paginator and/or manipulating the ?page=N value in the URL bar until I find the date range I wanted. The same process would apply if I wanted to jump to a specific post number or to the beginning of the second half of the thread.
    • With Discourse I drag the “timeline slider” until it shows the date range or specific post number that I want.

So there are some clear advantages to this particular Discourse innovation of the “timeline slider” and really no loss of functionality in this sense, aside from the loss of familiarity. As far as I can tell the forum pagination paradigm was necessitated by limitations in web technology before “AJAX” loading (loading new content onto the same canvas without clicking into a different URL / page) was invented. Since the entire long thread or long list of topics couldn’t be loaded into a single huge browser page, they had to split them up into pages with their own unique URL. But that doesn’t make it it a good solution in my opinion, apart from the fact that it’s familiar and is generally well accepted by users.

It’s also worth noting that scrollbars are being heavily de-emphasized at the OS level. Even most desktop OS environments are moving to skinny, low-contrast, disappearing scrollbars that only appear on mouseover, often with no stepper up/down controls. This is something that I vehemently detest, so much so that I do low-level modifications of my OS’s interface theming mechanisms (plural) to restore proper scrollbar functionality. But most users aren’t willing or able to do that. So it seems like a very pragmatic decision by the Discourse developers to have implemented their own scrollbar/timeline slider that is under their control. It even works well for mobile devices where the scrolling paradigm is both artificially neutered by trendy mobile OS designers as well as being inherently limited by the lack of precise mouse and keyboard input and reduced screen real estate.

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I was trying to answer that question in my head earlier, and I could only think of one thing: Paginated sites make it much easier to take a full-page screenshot. When the page is effectively infinite (or at least, bigger than the browser’s image limit of 32767 pixels tall), that type of screenshot doesn’t work. Gotta snap portions and stitch them manually instead.

There was another thing, but it turned out to be a non-issue. Automatic archival of every page the browser loads is easier with paginated sites, and nearly impossible on infinite-scroll sites. However, Discourse actually fixes that, by updating the browser’s URL to match the current viewport position. This then triggers a bunch of other stuff, which can then run an archiver on the correct URL, which downloads Discourse’s “Web 1.0” fallback mode for those URLs. So even though it’s a problem on most dynamic-loaded sites, it works fine on Discourse.

No other issues have come to mind.

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