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How Hacker News can be improved, 3 things

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Hacker News (HN) is great, and sometimes a bit annoying? The annoying parts can be fixed:

1. Finding new comments

When you read a discussion at Hacker News (HN), and go for a coffee or take a nap, then later how do you find comments added while you were away? You'll have to reload the page, and scan all comments from top to bottom to find new comments. Not well spent time.

A solution: There could be a sidebar that lists the most recent comments, like shown in this video:

2. Jumping to the parent post, and back

I feel a way is needed to quickly find & read the parent comment, to refresh one's mind, and then scroll back down to continue reading. Currently, at HN, finding the parent comment can be hard. Look at the image below; it's how HN looks on a mobile phone. It's hard to discern the indentation depth, which one needs to do, to find the parent comment, after having scrolled up a bit to find it:


How Hacker News can be improved, 3 things
Hacker News on my mobile phone. I've scrolled up a bit, and here somewhere is the parent comment ― but it's hard to know which one, because the indentation depth is almost the same for all of them.

A solution: There could be a clickable "In reply to <name>" link, which scrolls up to the parent, and then a Back button that scrolls back down again ― as shown in the video below.

3. Knowing what others think

What if there was a button one could click, to find out what others think about a comment? First, one would form one's own opinion about the comment. Thereafter one can click the button, to find out how many up- and downvotes, others have cast.

Demo

I've implemented ideas 1 and 2 above in the discussion system powering this website. Feel free to try them out ― in the demo forum there's a page with lots of "parent posts" far, far away: https://try.effectivediscussions.org/-6/can-penguins-fly . On that page, you click arrows though, instead of "in reply to" texts. There's a sidebar with recent comments; open it by clicking < in the upper right corner. ― Feedback welcome, here (click Reply below) or at HN.

And, what about asking HN to please 1) add a recent-comments sidebar, and 2) add Scroll to parent & Back buttons?


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