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On some questions/answers, there are lots of comments (10+). The 'top' comment may be a response to a comment that isn't even displayed until you click on "Show x more comments".

I often start reading the comments without clicking on "Show x more comments" and find myself confused when I expand the comments, as I lose track of the position of the comments I've already read.

I wish the comments were always displayed chronologically -- the condensed list should consist only of the first n posts, regardless of the votes.

Perhaps a better algorithm could be created such that comments that include "@username" will only be displayed if username's previous post was also displayed.

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Wait... are you saying that comments are sorted by upvotes, or are you saying that they should be? Because they're not and that's a bad idea. Chronological order and all that. – a cat Mar 26 '12 at 20:36
He's saying that condensed lists of comments should not be sorted by upvotes. – Adam Rackis Mar 26 '12 at 20:37
@AdamRackis, correct. – Uwat Mar 26 '12 at 20:38
@Adam: But they're not re-sorted currently. /cc Uwat – Josh Caswell Mar 26 '12 at 20:44
meh comments are mostly noise anyway... especially comments on meta questions about comments – Some Helpful Commenter Mar 26 '12 at 20:50
I'm having trouble following what's going on here. Are comments always sorted chronologically? And when there's a "show X more comments" link they're still sorted chronologically, but some of the low-scoring comments are just not displayed? – CanSpice Mar 26 '12 at 20:51
@CanSpice - prior to clicking the show X more comments, the comments are not sorted chronologically, so you'll see highly rated reply comments without seeing what they're replying too – Adam Rackis Mar 26 '12 at 20:52
@CanSpice, actually this is correct. Even in condensed lists the top rated comments are sorted chronologically, but I don't like the fact that some earlier (and low-scoring) comments aren't displayed. – Uwat Mar 26 '12 at 20:54
See what I'm talking about? Adam says they're not sorted chronologically, Uwat says they are. – CanSpice Mar 26 '12 at 20:56
The only way to find out is to upvote this comment of mine heavily and add more noise until it either sorts higher or lower than lunboks' comment. – user7116 Mar 26 '12 at 20:59
@sixlettervariables noise noise noise noise – cdeszaq Mar 26 '12 at 21:02
@CanSpice - uwat is not explaining it well. All of the highly-rated comments are sorted chronologically, but many of those highly rated comments are in response to non highly rated comments, which are not shown. That's the point of the question. Don't cut off low-rated comments, just show the first X comments in chronological order period – Adam Rackis Mar 26 '12 at 21:03
@AdamRackis: Yes, I understand that, but when you go and say "the comments are not sorted chronologically" (which is incorrect) you muddy the waters. – CanSpice Mar 26 '12 at 21:05
@Adam: they remain in chronological order. Consider a list of comments {date, score}: [{1, 0}, {2, 0}, {3, 2}, {4, 10}, {5, 0}, {6, 0}, {7, 1}, {8, 8}, {9, 15}, {10, 0}, {11, 0}, {12, 85}, {13, 0}, {14, 0}, {15, 1}, {16, 2}]. When the list is condensed, we get: [{4,10}, {8, 8}, {9, 15}, {12, 85}] (length dependent on threshhold). The order doesn't change. – Josh Caswell Mar 26 '12 at 21:07
@lulius - Sure. I think we're saying the same thing -- your edit seems to make the question a bit clearer – Adam Rackis Mar 26 '12 at 21:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I feel like I've answered this before, but I can't find it. So here goes again: As was explained in the comments on this question, comments are always displayed chronologically, but when only the top n comments are shown, comments are not filtered chronologically, the top voted comments are shown.

I, for one, vastly prefer this way. Comments are second class citizens and we want to show only an overview of the best comments. If you're reading a conversation thread you should always click "SHow n more comments" *otherwise you're missing parts of the conversation.

Many people (like myself) do not read entire comment threads unless we have a reason to. A reason, for example, might be one of the top comments which was shown in the overview. Hence, the reason for this feature.

If this really bothers you (and others) maybe a userscript is in order. I've been known to write those if asked nicely; one which automatically shows all comments shouldn't be too difficult...

Actually it's really, really simple:


Stick that in a userscript and... smoke it? run it? install it? You get the idea...

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"Many people (like myself) do not read entire comment threads unless we have a reason to." Case in point: the comment thread on this very question. – Cody Gray Mar 27 '12 at 2:12

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