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Conversations: threading by participants

LincLinc Detroit Admin
edited December 2009 in Feedback
I find it really confusing that the Conversations app will thread together *everything* you and another person talk about, regardless of whether you type it into an existing conversation or click "Start New Conversation." Even if you clear a conversation and then start a new one with the person, the last thing you talked about re-appears as the first message. If I click "Start New Conversation" I don't expect that to implicitly say "unless we were already talking; then go ahead and append it to that one."

The side effect of this is that I can only clear EVERYTHING we've ever talked about, or clear nothing. What if last week you told me some important information that I need to keep, but now we're talking about the weather? If I want to clear the weather conversation, I lose what you told me last week. I can imagine Conversations with hundreds of messages and people being deathly scared of ever hitting the "Clear" button.

I think Conversations are brilliant, but this convention of stringing all of them together based solely on participants is a major pitfall.


  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited December 2009
    Another confusing point: If you send a message to someone, it shows up in your own inbox with your name next to it. It gives the impression I'm talking to myself, and it makes it hard to figure out which one I'm looking for.

    Example: I need to start 5 identical conversations with 5 different people to get feedback on something privately. They'd all have the same preview and it'd drive you nuts to find the one addressed to Joe.

    //edit: I think this only applies until they reply once? Then it'll get their name on the Conversation list. I'll have to check to make sure it's not just my importer messing this up somehow.
  • Ideally, if you send something to someone, it should show something like "To: Someone" shouldn't it?
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    I just sent [-Stash-] a message to confirm - it does indeed sit there with your name on it until they reply. I'd consider *anything* more ideal than allowing messages in your "Inbox" to be addressed to you.
  • Perhaps the term "inbox" shouldn't be used? I personally use my inbox like this (sent and received emails, makes filing easy :D) but I can understand other people getting confused.

    Looking at it now, "Conversations" is kinda more like an IM app than an email app, so perhaps the styling should better reflect that? Perhaps only "active" conversations should be shown (in the past week/month/whatever, or any age unread) and "inactive" conversations should be hidden until you select a "show inactive" tick box or something similar...?
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    I'm not against mixing sent with received, I'm against all the sent items simply saying the sender's name rather than indicating the recipient. Limiting which Conversations are shown wouldn't really help with finding the one you're looking for in a list.

    And my main issue remains that it will thread all your Conversations with someone into one long Conversation. No one wants to have to choose between usability and archiving.
  • So basically, when you start talking to someone using "Start a new Conversation" you want this to create a new thread for that person whether you have past conversations with them or not?
  • lucluc ✭✭
    Which seems logical, otherwise it should have been called "resume" :).

  • It could at least create a sort of "marker" for when the new conversation starts, and the old one was. So you could delete a section of the conversation. Although i'd prefer it if it worked a little bit more like conventional private messaging systems.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    edited January 2010
    When I made it, I was thinking I wanted it to function like text messages in the iphone. I really liked how my entire history with a person is in one place - so that was done on purpose.

    You make good points, though. A good first step would be to include all of the names of people involved in the conversation right on the main screen, like:

    Mark -> Lincoln, [-Stash-], bean, Immersion

    I remember there being issues with making that happen (speed related).

    if you clear a conversation and then start a new one with the person, the last thing you talked about re-appears as the first message.

    That is a bug.
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Isn't a forum's purpose to be more permanent than tweeting and texting, though? Of course, I'm coming from a world where private messages act like unthreaded emails. I suppose this may ultimately fall into the category of "things I need to set new expectations for" when I switch my community to V2.
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