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This is a test reply, which should be marked as a reply to @rasmus_braun, since I’m responding to his post that occurs earlier in the thread.

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Just going from bad memory here, but it seems like when I reply to someone that I don’t see the Replying To icongraphy and the user’s name within my own post made in reply. Also if you quote someone - you can quote from multiple posts even when replying to someone. Doesn’t seem like in my own posts when I reply to someone and quote them, plus perhaps other posts as well, that I see a mark that I’m replying to someone. Since there is the general “generic” reply at the bottom of a thread just to reply to thread topic in general, it would be good for the “replier” to see in any post they’ve made who they were replying to when they made it, e.g., I could reply one person but quote another. Knowing if you’ve replied to someone is kinda useful because that person is going to get pinged by the forum with an e-mail whereas if you just use the generic reply no one in particular is notified but folks can find out you’ve posted by inspecting “lastest” listings for threads they’re following, etc. I do see in other “repliers” posts who they’re replying to. Just seems to be some difference looking at my own replies made.

@jim_lewis I can still respond to @rasmus_braun and quote @BlueCrab … the only time it doesn’t show a reply to is when you reply to the person directly above… Although I can see this being a slight issue as there may be no way to differentiate a reply to the most recent comment vs a generic thread reply.

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Just posted about this issue Ambiguous replies - support - Discourse Meta


That’s probably my problem - most of the time I’m replying to the person directly above. Why not showing this as a “reply to” is a ‘feature’ is puzzling to me. Showing a reply would make it clear, even if the text of the reply doesn’t, that you mean to specifically reply to the person just above. I see your latest post references ambiguous replies so I’ll go read that.

Displaying the reply-to icon in every post would be redundant and distracting because most of the time people are responding to what was just said. The use of context should help resolve any ambiguities.


I tend to agree @rasmus_braun . People can also use the handy “@” symbol to tag a specific user in their reply, as I just did with your name, if there is any concern about ambiguity.

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I’ll start with the bottom line suggestion:

If the idea is to avoid a chain of redundant “distractions” by indicating “unnecessarily” (?) that the person below is replying to the person above, I would use the Reply to Iconography as a hidden feature of a post, much like you can find out who actually liked your post by clicking on the Thumbs Up icon. The website software is undoubtedly recording the nature of all posts, etc. But certain things like "Was it a generic reply?, “Was it specifically a reply to the post just above?” are not shown because they would be “distractions” - even though there is presumably data on this saved from clicking the relevant button.

No matter what, a post shows the date and time in the past it was made. If one hovered a mouse pointer over this info, the website could show how the post was generated: “Generic reply to post discussion,” “Reply to previous post.” I guess the website designers still want the “non-distracting” Reply To (whoever is not just the post above).

As far as post ambiguity goes, in my experience many posts are replies to the post above but they are issued as generic replies because the replying poster wants to comment on the post above but does not want to specifically induce a reply from the poster and so avoids using the Reply To or the “@” mention symbol to avoid pinging the poster at which the reply is aimed. Also, by NOT using the Reply To previous poster when actually replying, you can show a certain aloofness from the person to whom you’re replying, if you’re into that (Hey! Not one of the elite group here, I don’t really know you…, whatever).

People who either want to clearly show that they agree, that they have useful add-on advice to a previous post, or that they feel differently from the previous poster will use the Reply To feature. That’s a simple easy-to-see one click approach that links an intent in your post to the previous post and should make it obvious, just like using a Like, that you WANT to link your comment to the previous post.

Instead, to avoid “distractions,” the poster just below replying has to find the right person to use the “@” sign on, has to make sure the context of an unidentified Reply To shows that it’s a specific reply to the post above (well, maybe you only want to bring that in at the end of your post, after you’ve made another point or two?).

So to avoid distractions, the website software also makes each and every reader of a post solve a puzzle: “Is this post intended as a reply to the post above?” The best thing would be, if the replying poster had wanted to make the Reply To nature clear in the first place, for the website software to reveal that information perhaps at least by allowing the reader to mouse over the date/time area of the post to find out from a pop-up. It’s a matter of just clicking just one of two buttons in starting a post (specific Reply To or Generic Reply) vs. doing all the extra work in composing context or finding the right “@” sign, suggested as being so useful in avoiding visual “distractions”

Also, if one is reading a reply to a long verbose post like many of mine, when you are reading the reply, to find out (or remember) who wrote the post above, you may have to do a bunch of scrolling up and down. A way of showing an intended (this is a) Reply To would make things easier when you are reading a reply to an overly long previous post. And even better if you come back to one of your own posts and use the hidden reveal feature of why you generated the post, it will be immediately obvious to you. Same for anyone who comes upon a thread days, months, years after it was generated.

On the “@” sign, too, a lot of times the “@” sign when it is used is just cross-referencing someone else. @heyyou, look at this post that I’ve made here. If people go using the “@” sign as the Reply To sign, they’ll have the additional little puzzle chore to figure out in reading posts was “@heyyou” used to indicate the Reply To or was “@heyyou” just used to ping someone that you wanted to give notice about the post you’re making???

So all this is not a big deal since a lot of people just use generic replies even if they intend in part to reply the poster above. The suggestion of a hidden reveal feature for a specific Reply To the post just above is more of a gift to people who want to make it easily obvious by a one-button click that they are specifically replying to the post just above and it’s also a gift to readers who get to easily see that Joe poster wants you to easily see straight up from the start that here comes my reply specifically to Joeline’s post just above.

I guess the easy solution for me is whenever I do want to make clear that I am replying to the post just above, I can just make the first words of my post “I am replying to the post immediately above…” No programming, context, or @ signs needed to make the intended purpose blatantly obvious.

@rasmus_braun Any way to eliminate all the notifications I’ve gotten regarding all of the edits to remove the redundancy from old posts? They greatly increase the likelihood that I’ll miss something of significance. Thanks.

You can add the ‘system’ user to the list of muted users in your Preferences > Notifications. Never mind, ‘system’ is considered a staff user so it won’t work.

I did this, but it doesn’t seem to have saved as the notifications keep coming.

If you get a full pane of notifications and you are worried that you missed some then Click the little down arrow at the bottom of the pane. This will take you to an endless list of notification with the missed notifications highlighted.

Seems to me you would want to know when someone modifies your postings instead of hiding it?

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If there were just a few, maybe, but there are upwards of 50 and they just keep growing. They’re mainly old posts that I really don’t care about.

Since the Discourse discussion Abram references above mentions that the Reply To info relative to messages immediately above is there on the server at least but just “suppressed,” why not make what is displayed relative to Reply To’s a user-configurable option? That way if one wanted to see whether a post under another was just a generic reply or actually a Reply To the post just above, an individual user could switch the display of that info on (and then back off) in their browser. Perhaps offering the display option on Reply To’s would take extra server effort but given all the other stuff that’s served up in skimming through a thread, all the images, etc., I doubt serving the Reply To info to a user and allowing them to decide to display or not would be a big deal.

Right now, the display of posts in a thread is a linear chronology. Some forum software is sophisticated enough to allow the user to switch BACK and FORTH between a linear chronology view and a threaded view where you can see all posts in a tree/branch/twig structure and follow different subthreads of replies to specific posts all nicely grouped. Is that a possibility with Discourse? That would be useful for consolidating the reading (at least temporarily) on a particular tangent in a thread topic. Sorry if that feature is already available and I just haven’t noticed how to implement. If it worked precisely, it would implicitly reveal Reply To’s for posts immediately above just by how things were (sub)threaded within the tree branches.

Update: The availability of the tree branch view would encourage people to use the specific Reply To rather than the generic reply to topic overall when they are actually replying to a specific post. Otherwise, their reply to a specific post would be left out of the tree branch view of subtopic chains in an overall thread.

OTH, perhaps some people prefer the general generic Reply To because if you are involved in a thread and specifically Reply To another specific user in the thread too often, the “artificially intelligent” forum software nags you to message that other user instead since you appear to be having a private conversation, yadda yadda. So perhaps the use of general generic thread topic Reply’s is useful in avoiding such nagging even though you want to specifically reply to another user.

Update2: I see by finding a post and looking for the # of Replies box that you can expand that and view a specific branch but you don’t see the overall tree or exactly where you are on the branch. A view that allowed you to more or less follow the overall branch structure within a topic and concentrate on an entire branch from the trunk might be nice - but again, maybe as for the part of a branch method that I just found, I just don’t know how to do it.

Here’s a Tip for quickly clearing your excess notifications;

  1. Click your Avatar to get a popup pane of notifications
  2. Click the little down arrow at the bottom of the pane. This will take you to an endless list of notifications with your missed notifications highlighted.
  3. Right-Click a highlighted notification to clear/UN-highlight it
  4. Continue scrolling down to clear other high-lighted notifications

This doesn’t take much effort and you can page thru your entire history of notifications and clear each high-lighted notification. Or, you can just do the top/recent ones leaving ancient history alone.

Just switched to Dark Theme. With the Dark Theme, the Like button displays correctly until you like someone else’s post yourself. Then the BOLDING of the Thumbs Up makes the thumb match the dark theme background and the thumb disappears leaving you only a number and a “blank” space next to it. Don’t know if you have access to Microsoft Teams but they do the Thumbs Up on a dark theme better. The thumb isn’t shown (could just be an outline to avoid having a blank) until someone has clicked the thumbing area. If it’s someone else, the thumb is a faint white/light grey with a # of likes display and if you have also liked, the thumb turns to a light blue-purple pastel that stands out in an attractive way. The iconography in MS Teams is great - maybe that’s why in part it has now supposedly surpassed Slack in usage. Maybe the Discourse folks should “steal” a few ideas from Teams - at least for displaying Likes on a dark themed background.

Asked about this here System notifications related to removing quotes - support - Discourse Meta

@jim_lewis, I will look into the dark theme, but it won’t be until 2019. Sorry, hands are full.


It’s a global site setting and not configurable on a per-user basis.

No, Discourse is based on a flat hierarchy with one level of on-click expansion of replies and quotes, displayed with indentation.

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@rasmus_braun - It’s been over ten years since I’ve worked with CSS and I seemed to have managed to forget what little I ever knew but if Reply To were fully turned on for everyone but then the CSS that each user opted to use could hide the specific Reply To or not according to the style setting for that sort of HTML object is the sort of gross, ignorant thing that I was “thinking.” I vaguely remember making things appear or not appear in the past according to assigned CSS style/property.

Maybe this was temporary, seems to be goine now??