Our goal with Kinja is to make intelligent discussions as enjoyable and easy to read as the articles that instigate them. We've seen compelling, linear conversations float to the top - like the time Steve Wozniak dropped in on a story about himself on Gizmodo, or when an HIV positive man and a Hepatitis C positive nurse had an honest discussion with Gawker's Rich Juzwiak. (We also loved this magical moment on Kotaku when readers posted/sang an excerpt from The Simpsons' Monorail episode.) These conversations could have happened on another commenting system, but they might not have been this readable.
We'll be launching our fourth design iteration tomorrow. Change can be jarring, but we think this adjustment will improve your reading experience and address some of the feedback we've gotten on our previous versions.
Why the change?
On the 10-20% of discussions that are excellent, we'll show the full discussion in a straight line, just as we do now. But, sometimes, we want to leave room for the replies to gather before we pull out a singular discussion. Instead of only drawing attention to the first reply on the post, this view will give you an easy way to scan through the discussions so you can find the one you want to join.
We're also emphasizing ownership of your discussion threads. When people reply to you, you have to power to accept or dismiss them from any conversation you have started. This new layout will allow you to see the array of responses and immediately dismiss any posts that aren't worthy.
To see all first level replies in the old view, you used to have to click through all of the avatars at the top. This version telegraphed how many people were starting discussions, but the avatars made the page busy, and some readers thought we were mining for clicks. (We were not.)
Now, you can click the link at the top of the replies section to see all of the thread starts arranged in two columns. This is also the view we show if there isn't a featured discussion yet. If an article has 105 thread starters, you can choose to open them up and see them all at once. Because we emphasize quality posts over recency, we still show you the replies deemed best by Kinja first.
In both the full width and the two-column view, click on any reply to get to its permalink and see the discussions that follow. The new permalink view looks much like the previous one; the difference is that we fan out the replies to the highlighted post into two columns, making it easier for readers to scan through all of the responses. At left, sui generis responded to Adrian Chen. To compare how other people responded to Adrian Chen, you can click on "1 of 3 replies@Adrian Chen"; alternatively, you can click on Adrian Chen's post to see the permalink with all of the replies to Adrian.
When you are the owner of the discussion, you also have the power to immediately dismiss direct replies you don't want on your page. Choose dismiss from the dropdown and the reply instantly disappears from the page.
Let us know your thoughts on the latest change.