Reverse chronological order comments

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t get why some sites display reader comments in reverse chronological order. It seems especially popular on newspaper sites, which also for some reason tend to use paging for comments. I think the combination of reverse order and paging makes trying to follow discussions very frustrating.

Still, since more and more sites seem to display comments this way I guess there are some people who actually prefer comments displayed backwards, so it is probably here to stay.

Here are a few suggestions for sites that do not display comments in forward chronological order (oldest first):

  • Clearly indicate that comments are displayed in reverse chronological order. This way your readers won't have to figure it out on their own (which can be difficult unless each comment is time stamped).
  • Give your readers a choice to display comments in forward chronological order.
  • Make it possible to display comments without paging.

Thank you.

Posted on March 11, 2010 in Usability