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Poll: why does clicking a DEV comment link display the comment in isolation?

johncarroll profile image John Carroll Updated on ・1 min read

For those who aren't familiar, when you click on a comment link in DEV.to, you are taken to a page which displays only that comment in isolation (example here). If you want more context, you can (must) click VIEW POST or VIEW FULL DISCUSSION links. Medium works similarly.

Question: Do you like this UX?

To me, a comment is inherently contextual.

  • Is there ever a time when viewing a comment without context is desireable? When / why?
  • Is there a technical reason for the current UX?
    • Github comment links are powered by anchor tags, so the browser simply displays the full page and scrolls to the relevant section (very intuitive).

Discussion

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I find that, when clicking a comment link, my workflow is always "click comment link > click VIEW POST > scroll back to comment".

 

Same here, first time seeing this on a website

 

Ya, it's a very strange decision. Medium does this same thing. Ben Halpern (founder of DEV.to) has alluded to the fact that he started DEV by copying medium, so I'm suspicious that this UX design is ported over without much thought.

In medium's case, it's my understanding that they have a wonky database setup, where comments are technically each their own blog post. So for them there might be some technical limitation for the UX. I haven't looked at dev.to's repo, but I don't think they have the same setup. And regardless, I would have considered that aspect of Medium a flaw, and identified it as an opportunity for improvement.

I'm very curious if there's more background that I'm missing. For example, maybe the current design makes it easier to serve data from a cache? Or maybe DEV has decided that they can save bandwidth (money) by simply displaying one comment instead of all the comments (which is really another way of saying the previous sentence)? Or maybe it's a speed issue? Or maybe I'm overthinking it and it's just a mistake. I'm certainly skeptical that any money saved could be worth the degradation to the UX.