Q&A site Quora has just unveiled a revamp of its commenting system, the most notable change being the implementation of a threaded commenting feature for the discussions under a question and its subsequent answers. The new threaded comments allow users to reply to specific comments in an answer thread, intuitively by entering text into the Reply box under each comment.
In addition Quora now lets users vote on the helpfulness or validity of a comment by clicking on the up arrow and down arrows, just like they do for helpful/unhelpful answers. As if that weren’t enough (!), Quora users can now also embed images in comments, and edit a comment in place. Ironic exclamation mark aside, this editing thing is actually pretty cool, eh hem, Facebook.
Like Facebook comments, Quora comments require that users be logged in with their real accounts in order to participate in a discussion. People who wish to remain anonymous with a question can’t comment on answers and if you engage in a question with your real account then switch over to an anonymous setting you lose your comments.
The response from the users I’ve asked about the new comments thus far has been mixed, with some saying that the feature is a net positive, reducing the noise in comment threads, and others holding that the nested comment UI is a bit overwhelming. “The design of the feature is… uh, well, it’s kind of terrible,” wrote influential user Yishan Wong “But I’m not too concerned; I’m sure it’ll be worked out.”
Quora power user Semil Shah hopes that this feature is a sign of future Quora expansion, “Theoretically, a ‘Quora comments’ feature could spread across digital media and content sites and provide an interesting alternative to Facebook’s social plugin, mainly because Quora does verify identity but also allows for anonymity.”
Quora’s Mark Bodnick has his sights set on the present, “What we’ve seen is that people like to talk about and discuss posts and questions, and this lets them do it in a way that’s more organized as well as much more fun and responsive.”