When reading a forum topic, is it possible to determine whether a post is replying specifically to the immediately preceding post in that topic or not?
Yep: Check out the top of this post, across from my handle. It shows that I’m replying to you. If that’s empty, it means the person hit Reply at the bottom.
At least I thought it would. But I don’t see your avatar there, so I don’t know what’s wrong.
If it’s replying to the post immediately above then it won’t show an avatar.
Ah, of course. To prove it, I’m replying to Leo here.
Edit: but that didn’t work either!
I’m replying to your previous post so this probably will show an avatar.
Then I guess the answer to my original question is no.
If there’s no avatar, the post is a reply to the post that immediately precedes it.
But my most recent post was not replying to any previous post and was started by clicking the blue Reply button at the bottom of the topic.
The assumption is that if you reply using the button at the bottom, your post n is a reply to post n-1.
If, rather than replying to myself, I reply to your most recent post, your avatar shows up. If you then click your avatar (at the top right corner of this post) you’ll see a preview of the post I’m replying to.
If you look at the tooltip that appears when you hover the mouse over the gray Reply button associated with a previous post, it says “begin composing a reply to this post.” But if you hover over the blue Reply button at the bottom of the topic, it says “begin composing a reply to this topic.”
If someone adds a scathing post to a topic, the author of the previous post might want to know if the criticism is being directed specifically at him or her.
This is what Leo is talking about. I clicked on your (John) photo in Leo’s reply to you.
If you reply directly to a specific posting within a thread, this is what happens. If you hit the big blue button at the bottom, you’re just responding to the thread in general, and it will just show up chronologically with no specific reference to any other particular comment.
And how do you tell if a post is responding to the topic in general or specifically to the immediately preceding post?
I suppose context could help. Otherwise, there’s no clue
It’s not a perfect science, John. As Marc says, it’s all about context. Usually, if you’ve been reading the whole thread, you can tell if the comment in question is general or specific. Sometimes when threads move fast, people use the general reply button and people will post at the same time, so there can be a series of 3 or 4 posts right in a row that become a little jumbled—but on the whole it’s usually not too difficult to parse it out. Few issues are so critical around here that there are major catastrophes if you cant parse out the specifics.
It should also be noted, that in the general course of things, it is presumed that if you are generically replying, you are typically aware of the post that immediately preceded your own. Essentially, this forum is a little bit like multiple people talking around a dinner table. There will be some dovetailing of remarks, but generally only one person is talking at a time, so the general course of the conversation tends to take one arc. People interject and make specific replies to specific statements, but the conversation meanders on.
If I’m replying to a specific point, I’ll quote it.
Otherwise I assume I’m just ‘speaking next’.