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Why does SO paginate answers? Why not have all of the answers on a single page and allow the user to simply scroll using the browser? Why force the user to hit a next page button?

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You should file this as a feature-request maybe? –  fretje Jul 28 '09 at 19:58

5 Answers 5

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Speaking of pagination, perhaps Jeff & the team could implement a scrolling pagination like dzone (http://www.dzone.com/links/index.html) has. So when you scroll down and pass, say 80% of the page, it loads up the next 25 answers.

I can't see this being a high priority, but this is pretty cool and could be a sexy side project for Geoff or Jared.

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This is exactly what I'm referring to. Why force the end user to lose context? –  user130657 Jul 15 '09 at 19:34
    
I would also like to pin answers while doing this, so that they stay in view - if possible (or possibly hide answers - reverse pinning). –  Jeff Yates Jul 15 '09 at 20:15
    
Effort > Reward, less than 5 percent if that many questions on the site get paginated. –  Paolo Bergantino Jul 15 '09 at 22:27
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ugh, I really dislike "infinite scrolling". –  Jeff Atwood Aug 5 '09 at 19:46
    
This really strikes me as web-naive. Hot ajax loading as required might smooth the process (at great dev cost compared to reward), but straight up loading all the responses is suicidal for the server and undesirable for the user. –  bananakata Aug 5 '09 at 20:00
    
Makes me wonder what search engines see, when indexing those pages? –  Arjan Feb 3 '10 at 15:31
    
I think this would be a great feature because I find myself barely ever leaving the front page of unanswered questions. If more questions were loaded while scrolling, I might be inclined to check out a few more. It might be a long shot but this feature, while it may increase bandwidth, might also reduce the number of unanswered or abandoned questions. –  Cory May 31 '12 at 22:10

Because some people decided it was a good idea to ask questions that every person reading could answer.

And so they did.

And the page grew too heavy, and was split up.

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And lo, it did spawn meta discussion threads in their hundreds, and in their thousands, and they covered the earth. And Jeff saw that it was full of fail, and facepalmed. –  chaos Jul 15 '09 at 18:59
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And RichB rose from the Strunk&White depths to inherit the editable earth. –  Jeff Yates Jul 15 '09 at 19:17

Sometimes there's just too many answers. I am a pretty avid user of StackOverflow and I hardly ever stumble upon questions that have paginated answers. If you're seeing too many of these you should probably get out of the what's your favorite cartoon type questions :)

In all seriousness, though, the idea of the site as a Q&A site is that most of the time you're only going to want to see the top 1/2 voted answers for your solution and move on. Some questions defy this format and end up with more answers than necessary, so pagination is necessary.

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I disagree that pagination is necessary. All of the answers could be on one page. The only reason not to do this is performance and I don't think there is a performance problem. –  user130657 Jul 15 '09 at 19:36

Because there are questions with hundreds of answers.

This would make the page really slow

Classic example: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/305223

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there used to be a better example, but it looks like all the answers were deleted permanently: stackoverflow.com/questions/327973 –  Kyle Cronin Jul 15 '09 at 19:04
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How confident are you that loading a page with hundreds of answers "would make the page really slow"? –  user130657 Jul 15 '09 at 19:35
    
It wouldn't make the page really slow if the answers are loaded in on-demand using AJAX. –  John Topley Jul 15 '09 at 19:43
    
@unknown (google): First, get 10k rep. Then click on Juan's link. It's really slow because all 250 answers are on one page. And I do have a fast connection. –  mmyers Aug 5 '09 at 18:05
    
You only need a proper frontend. –  kd304 Aug 5 '09 at 18:48

I think there are two separate issues involved here. When there are "too many" answers, there may be some value in only showing the top 50 at first. But the "pagination" model where each successive page only shows another 50 seems tedious. And having separate buttons to click into an arbitrary page is bordering on pointless. There's no frame of reference that allows any reasonably accurate way to find something by going directly to a page.

Couldn't there just be a "show all" button? And maybe even a preference setting so I can always get that view? If I click that button, I'm not going to complain if it's slow.

Not only can I scroll to wherever I want, but I can use my browser's "find" function.

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