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Looking for opinions on Conversation terminology
jducoeur wrote in querki_project
Fairly minor point, since I don't intend to talk about this stuff much (if at all) in the Querki documentation -- we're just going to say, "This is how conversations work" without getting into all the theory. (Indeed, I won't consider it right until it's easy enough to use without documentation: we're going to play with affordances until enough folks seem to find it obvious.) But in the interest of future discussion on this topic (and because I *am* a geek on this subject), let's see if we can get some consensus about terminology.

The terms I've been using in my previous posts, you'll recall, are:
  • "Flat-threaded" -- a straight list of comments, in chronological order, with no structure.

  • "Light-threaded" -- the comments form a complex nested tree, a la LiveJournal.

  • "Heavy-threaded" -- the hybrid model between the two, where you have true Threads that can start anywhere, but each Thread is itself flat.
laurion pointed out a couple of alternate terminologies that are more common (especially for the second), and Aaron pointed out that my terms are kind of cryptic. I suspect he's right, so let's see if we can agree on something better.

I've gotten a couple of suggestions, and am considering the following possibilities:

The term "Flat" seems fairly uncontroversial, so I'm inclined to keep that.

Where I'm calling it "lightweight" (the LJ style), I've seen suggestions of "Tree" or "Nested".

Where I'm calling it "heavyweight" (the CommYou/Wave/Querki style), Aaron suggested "Hybrid". That makes some sense, since it shares aspects of the other two, so it's pretty honest. But I confess, I'm tempted to simply call it "Threaded". That may be controversial, since the term is used a lot (and occasionally used for light-threaded models), but I think it's honest -- it's the only one of the three that has distinct threads of conversation that you can point to. (More precisely, if I was implementing them, it's the only one where Thread would be a first-class database concept.)

Opinions? I'm leaning towards Flat/Tree/Threaded, but that's currently up in the air...

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I fear it is a term that already has meanings ascribed to it, and that overloading the term with another definition may prove confusing to users. In some sense, every view model has threads of conversation, they just choose to display them differently. Adopting Hybrid as a more neutral term makes sense to me.

Moodle actually offers four different views which encompass many of these, they use the terms flat, nested, and threaded, perhaps differently. (look at the images, the descriptive text has a copy/paste error in part of it, I think)

Ultimately, so long as you are internally consistent, users will come to understand what is meant, especially when there is the obvious visual change to go with it.

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