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#25 – Threaded Discussions

Avatar for @adamAvatar for @ste
30 min read


The conversation covers various topics including weather, website traffic, connecting authors and readers, book launches, and discussion design considerations. The conversation explores various aspects of comment functionality, including rich markup and the ability to link to other entities. It also discusses nested discussions, reply options, and the formatting of comments. The conversation then delves into the display of characters and the possibility of chatting with them using AI. It suggests the idea of sending letters to characters as a unique feature. The conversation concludes with a discussion on next steps, including gathering feedback from authors and considering design touch points.


The weather comparison between different locations and seasons.
The increase in website traffic and the potential for growth.
The importance of connecting authors and readers on the platform.
The idea of book launches and providing exposure for authors.
Considerations for nested discussions and comment features.
Exploring options for titles and structure of updates.
The possibility of adding images and other elements to replies. Consider implementing a standard comment type functionality that allows for rich markup and linking to other entities.
Explore options for nested discussions and different reply mechanisms, such as opening an overlay or replying directly on the page.
Take inspiration from platforms like Facebook and Reddit for formatting comments and making them inviting and easy to engage with.
Consider implementing features that allow users to chat with characters and send letters to them, creating a personalized and immersive experience.


00:00 Introduction and Weather
03:16 Summer Weather Comparison
06:06 Increase in Website Traffic
10:45 Support and Growth
15:57 Connecting Authors and Readers
22:19 Balancing Author and Reader Interactions
24:06 Combining Discussions and Author Pages
29:31 Book Launches and Exposure
35:05 Nested Discussions and Comment Features
43:23 Design Considerations for Discussions
49:13 Title and Structure of Updates
50:10 Adding Images and Other Elements to Replies
50:54 Comment Functionality and Rich Markup
52:30 Nested Discussions and Reply Options
53:19 Commenting on Feed Items
54:52 Formatting and Examples from Facebook and Reddit
55:15 Collapsing Comments
56:52 Expanding and Contracting Comments
57:21 Consistency in Displaying Characters
58:45 Chatting with Characters and AI
01:00:37 Sending Letters to Characters
01:01:54 Next Steps: Authors and Feedback
01:03:18 Iterations and Design Touch Points


Adam (00:01.49)
Hey, hey, stay. How’s it going?

Ste (00:03.5)
Hi, it’s going good.

almost night time in London. How about you?

Adam (00:12.546)
just had a later lunch than usual, but it’s been a nice like cloudy rainy day here. It’s like one of my favorite kind of days. So I’m just enjoying the rain.

Ste (00:24.056)
Nice. Okay. It’s good to see a fellow rain lover because it’s been rainy today in London and this is like the ideal weather. Unfortunately, it’s going to get like really hot over the weekend, which is I haven’t seen like this kind of weather over here in like ever. Yeah. I mean, I think 10 years ago when I first like lived here for a bit.

Adam (00:27.194)
I’m out.

Ste (00:52.288)
when you got like a day which was like the upcoming weekend in the summer, everybody would go out and you only get like three or four days like that per year. And this year has been like month after month after month. So yeah.

Adam (01:09.105)
Yeah, that’s a bit of a change this year. Wow.

Ste (01:12.372)
Yeah, yeah, I don’t know. Has it been the same in Salt Lake?

Adam (01:16.918)
Uh, no, I think we actually like came out at, we had a pretty mild summer. At least it seemed compared to the previous summer, like the previous summer. I got to like the hundreds, many, many days of the year, but this year, it didn’t seem quite as bad, or maybe I just wasn’t going outside as much. I’m not sure, but yeah.

Ste (01:36.632)
Thank you.

Yeah, yeah, over here it seemed like way different. I mean, not complaining, I love summer as well, but don’t mind the rainy day. As you can see, it’s a bit wet outside, love it. Yeah.

Adam (01:53.115)
You know, we’ve been, what have we been doing? Aside from the comic convention we went to, like not last week, not this weekend, but last weekend, which I think I mentioned some last week. It was fun, but then we’ve been very happy we didn’t like.

Ste (02:09.448)
Yeah. How was that?

Adam (02:18.71)
catch COVID there, but we were we were masked up.

Ste (02:21.884)
Oh god, yeah, it’s been going around everywhere. I’ve heard friends of mine having it and I’ve seen people on Twitter like complaining that they’ve caught it and it’s just as bad as you know before. I was lucky I’m like staying as much as I can away from crowded areas, especially now that I’ve got a small kid, you know, gotta like keep them, keep them sheltered.

Adam (02:36.384)

Adam (02:50.776)

Ste (02:53.868)
but yeah.

Adam (02:53.998)
Yeah, we’re looking forward to this weekend. We’re going to see, I think it’s, what’s her name? Let me make sure I get it right. Taylor Tomlinson, the comedian who’s doing a show here. Yeah, so looking forward to that.

Ste (03:16.86)
Okay, nice. What’s her theme?

Adam (03:19.384)

Adam (03:23.534)
I don’t know, maybe like a combination of just like elder millennial slash just like being a human. I mean, yeah, just really relationships maybe.

Ste (03:36.024)
That was kind of comedy. We go human. Yeah, that’s nice. That’s really good. Yeah, it’s been really fun. This week, I mean last week, just last Saturday, we had our big product launch. And it’s been going amazing. We got number three, which is huge for us. Yeah, that was quite the surprise.

Adam (03:59.843)
Mm hmm. That was

Ste (04:04.404)
Yeah. Thank you for everyone. If you’re watching this and you show your support on Product Hunt, it was like really a surprise. This is so many people rally around the product. It’s a platform that’s really interesting for new products. And we got number three on Saturday, which is huge considering, you know.

Adam (04:05.206)
That was very exciting.

Ste (04:29.736)
not many people in our network know about Product Hunt and so many people from the outside join in and found out about HireCover and they really appreciate what we do. We also see like quite an increase in the number of signups just went whoop right Adam.

Adam (04:50.43)
Yeah, I think since Saturday we’ve had about 250 signups, which compared to our normal, like single digits per day, that’s, uh, that’s been a huge, huge uptick.

Ste (04:59.593)

Yeah, that’s been really nice to see. I’m wondering if, I wanted to ask you if we have any conversion data for the people who went on the homepage. I’d be really curious how that went.

Adam (05:19.67)
Yeah, like we know we had 1100 people who visited and of those 98 signed up. So that’s like one in 11 that signed up, but that’s, you know, that 1100 visitors doesn’t take into account people who are already subscribers. So yeah, that’s one thing we don’t have anymore. Like we used to have a…

Ste (05:33.23)
Wow, that’s good. Yeah.

Ste (05:42.028)
Yeah. Let’s say one in 10.

Adam (05:49.394)
segmentation by like repeat visitors versus new visitors in with Google analytics because they were, they use a cookie to be able to tell that. So that’s one thing we don’t have anymore, but I think one in 10 is already amazing.

Ste (06:06.08)
Yeah, it’s, yeah, it is amazing. I mean, if we had the million visitors, imagine, you know, how many signups we’d get.

Adam (06:14.65)
Yeah. One of one of the exciting or one of the next things that I’m thinking, like this has just reminded me like.

In order to get just more people to visit hardcover, we can continue doing launches and continue getting the word out. But one of the other things is just improving our SEO, which is just making pages load faster, making sure everything’s indexed on Google, just getting high Google page speed for those pages. And I’ve already seen our, I’m checking it out now, but our.

search engine traffic go up from like single digits to like quite a bit higher. Like, let me, I’ll share my screen here for a second because it’s…

Ste (07:12.856)
Let’s see some data.

Adam (07:15.63)
Let’s save to the first. So yeah, if I…

Adam (07:22.153)


Adam (07:32.782)
So yeah, here’s our search engine performance over the last couple of months, where, you know, we were getting like, you know, 10 clicks a day. And then on the 15th, we launched our update. And it’s been like ticking up since then double digits and more search traffic. And then for some reason, over the weekend, all of a sudden 78 and 49. So we’re, we’ve gone from, you know, five.

Ste (07:37.196)

Adam (08:02.262)
to 50 in a month. So if we 10x that to 500 in a month, that would be pretty nice. Keep this trajectory.

Ste (08:11.112)
Yeah, I love that. Yeah, exactly. I’m hoping we do. I love that, like, uptick in the end. Yeah, it’s going to get there as more people link to us as well. And I’m hoping as more people discover about hardcover. We don’t seem to have a problem, like, when people know about us, they have no problem sharing us with other readers.

So our problem right now is being so obscure that we don’t have that base of people who share it. But I’ve began seeing it with this launch that people are actually sharing it outside our networks, which is huge for us and the thing we’ve built to have people recommend us to friends. I think that passes a threshold

was really important and just seeing like a couple of people doing that is really amazing. That’s good news. I’m hoping we maintain the same energy from this point on.

Adam (09:30.326)
Yeah, that, that additional word of mouth has, has been nice. I, I’m like, like wondering like how many people, like a couple of people we’ve talked to and have posted have already said they’re like making the switch from Goodreads or story graph over to hardcover. So it makes me, uh, yeah, excited that people are like just choosing us for their book reading platform.

And then there’s also people who like don’t track books at all. And then they’re finding us and realizing, oh, there’s a whole community here and wanting to join for that. So little of both.

Ste (10:06.516)
Yeah, yeah, that’s ideal. I mean, it’s what we’ve been working up to this whole, like 2.5 years. So it’s amazing to actually see that happen to pass that threshold. It’s, yeah, really good, really good. Now we just gotta like make it like even better because once we pass that, it’s, yeah, it’s amazing to see people moving, making the switch.

Adam (10:22.518)

Ste (10:35.744)
Making the switch. Making the switch is basically what we were after. We get to see it happening.

Adam (10:45.486)
Yeah. Are there any takeaways from the launch for you?

Ste (10:50.388)
Yeah, I realized that we have a lot of support and a lot of pull from people who really want this platform to scale. I’ve seen this multiple times, people saying that, okay, we’ve got to this point, now we got to scale it. And yeah, I totally agree.

It’s amazing to have other people who are basically strangers study this. For me, it highlighted that the platform, the hardcover is already delivering the stuff they need. Now they just want to see it succeed. I’m guessing, like, why do you think that is? Do you think that relates to, you know, us being like…

permanent not being like a startup that has like that little risk to like Just go away at some point

Adam (11:58.494)
Yeah, yeah, when people say they want it to scale, I’d be curious like what it what they want exactly. Like, maybe it’s that they want like, yeah, they want to know it’s that we’re secure. They want to know that, you know, we’re not going to disappear tomorrow. Maybe maybe like. Yeah, more, more readers on it, more books. Yeah.

Ste (12:23.496)
Yeah, Community was my second guess as well. I mean, if I found the book platform, that would be like the thing I’d ask for. We’ve already got a lot of, I mean, now if you go on hardcover, chances are if you browse enough on it, you’re going to find some amazing readers with really good libraries. So I think even now, you can spend a lot of time.

on it, just digging through other people’s libraries. And we have 3.5 thousand readers on it. And out of those 3.5 thousand, there are at least a few hundred where if you go on their profile and see their libraries, there’s a lot to discover over there. Plus maybe it’s, yeah, the whole thing. Because…

platform that is mature, I guess, has good book data, a lot of readers and a lot of things, I mean, infinite things to discover. I guess that’s what you want in the network. Do you feel the same way?

Adam (13:41.278)
Yeah, yeah, I think, yeah, part of that maturity is that, like, for someone who’s an active user, there’s always something new for them to do. And like, once we like, I feel like we’re getting to that point where we have like that core functionality down, like, we still need to, you know, polish it and, you know, improve performance and like fix little bugs.

Ste (13:52.62)

Adam (14:08.77)
But like that core functionality, I feel like is the part that we’ve, we’ve started to hit, which might be just hitting product market fit. And now, now it’s a matter of just like pouring gasoline on that and figuring out how to get people that are here and are enjoying kind of the tracking features and the social features, giving them kind of that, uh, like one, one of the, one of the analysis analogies, um, we always used was like,

Ste (14:14.497)
I don’t know.


Adam (14:37.506)
I probably use this story multiple times, but when you’re getting a hotel room and you have a TV and a bed and a bathroom, and I feel like we’ve done that, and now it’s like, oh, now we’re like, oh, we should hit the mint on the pillow, the room service that’s automatically delivering your favorite foods to you. So it’s those features that bring you up from just like, oh, this is…

Ste (15:01.175)

Adam (15:06.494)
a replacement for Goodreads and it’s satisfying what I need to, oh my God, this is awesome. And I feel like now we’re trying to figure out what that next step is for that.

Ste (15:15.028)
Yeah, yeah, I love that. And it really describes the point we’re in right now. And it also touches upon the choice we have to make next, what to actually build. I think top of the lists is definitely discussions. But I’m wondering what else.

do you have in mind regarding that vision, the myth of the pillow, the room service, like being excellent in that stuff.

Adam (15:57.734)
I think for me it comes down to like for readers, like there’s the community within the readers themselves but there’s only so much you can do with just readers. So it’s a matter of how we like make that connection between readers and authors. I feel like no platform has done that in a way where like.

authors and readers are both on the platform and both excited to be around each other. Like I was reading a lot of reviews on Goodreads and one of the common things that people were saying was like, hey authors, don’t read my reviews about you. And it makes sense, like if you write a review and an author comments on it, that kind of puts you in a spot where it’s like, oh, maybe I shouldn’t have been so honest or, you know, I hurt someone’s feelings.

by being honest about my opinion. And it’s how do we, how do we create a space for authors and readers without that?

Ste (17:02.428)
Yeah, really good point. And I think I’ve seen that from both ends, both readers being afraid to comment, just in case authors like read that. And the other way around, authors encouraging themselves not to read their comments, because some readers, I mean, some comments you don’t wanna read. I get, if you’re an author, no matter at what level you are, you can even be like super successful.

Adam (17:04.367)
I’m sorry.

Ste (17:32.2)
Some reviews, I mean, not even as an author, you wouldn’t want to read. Yeah, that’s really interesting. How do you think we’d solve that? Let’s say we have readers, we have authors on the platform. How would you see that? How would you see the solution to that?

Adam (17:54.903)
I don’t know yet. When it comes to reviews, I feel like there’s no, I don’t know of a way around it. You want people to be themselves, but maybe we don’t allow comments on reviews, or maybe there’s even an option where it’s like, don’t allow the author to review or to comment, and then it’s just like, oh, so at least the,

Ste (18:16.624)

Adam (18:21.206)
The reader doesn’t see comments from the author.

Ste (18:24.96)
Yeah, true. And we can make the same thing for the author. I mean, if you don’t wanna see comments on your books, you can of course just ignore them, but let’s say something pops up in your feed and it’s about your book and it’s not ideal. Maybe we make an option where you could block that. I think that’ll solve it. I mean,

I guess it’s also a matter of like community, like not the platform we’re building, we’re building it on the basis that everyone’s like not very mean. I mean, of course some, you can be like, you can’t leave an honest review, but, uh, I feel that lots of things on Goodreads are filled with negativity.

And that might be either weaponized negativity, which we’ve not only heard about, but we know exists, like review bombing and people being deliberately mean to others, but also general negativity. So I guess maybe it’s a community thing that we can encourage to try to be…

nice or yeah, just like not, not at that level where you can actually like hurt someone real bad.

Adam (19:51.97)

Adam (19:55.808)

Adam (20:01.606)
Yeah, it’s almost like a cultural thing. It’s like, I feel like Letterboxd hasn’t had that same problem when it comes to, like, reviewers and filmmakers. But then again, filmmaker, making a film is a very collaborative process. It’s not like one person is responsible for the entire thing, where with a book, you know, you have editors and illustrators and publishers and other people.

Ste (20:05.652)
Yeah, yeah.

Adam (20:31.318)
but it’s much more tied to like one person. And for, I know for me, like when I do something creative, I get very like emotionally connected to that. So if someone’s, you know, shitting on that, I’m gonna have a bad day.

Ste (20:31.659)

Ste (20:53.646)
Yeah, I know. Yeah, I think that’s like the culture is part of the solution to this. We can also like go for like technical helpers, but yeah, maybe just reminding people always to be nice and…

not pass a certain threshold through our code of conduct or maybe even in the whole, if we’re building discussions in the way that they’re posting discussions and generally have hardcover as a place where we encourage constructive criticism, if there is constructive criticism. I guess that’s a…

like a good approach to it. Also moderation. I mean, I guess some people who really pass certain limit, I guess we’d have to moderate those. We just have to be careful not to make this moderation, you know, like on Reddit where you can post something which is totally okay, but because the subreddit has excessively strict moderators, they…

slash that for no reason. Just find that balance. What do you think?

Adam (22:19.062)
Yeah, it’s, I have a feeling we’ll, we’ll be like talking about this like five years from now, and we still won’t have a solution, but we’ll still just be doing our best at it. It feels like it’s more of a process that we’re like two steps forward, one step back and trying to figure out, but you know, maybe we’ll hit a balance at some point, but.

Ste (22:30.808)
Yeah, exactly.

Ste (22:42.376)
Yeah, yeah, at least we’re not the first platform who like encountered this kind of things. I mean, I just remembered, you know, the problem they had that Airbnb with people trashing places and, you know, this whole company culture, which was aimed at making less of that happen and less people seeing Airbnb as a place where you can rent houses and trash them for parties and a place where, you know,

not only you’re insured as an owner, but the idea is for that not to happen. So I think the way they shaped the company culture was aimed towards that. I think with little details, I think it’s, yeah, like you said, it’s all in the details and it’s a process, but definitely, I think that’s achievable. I think it doesn’t just end up by default by being good reads or some…

parts of Reddit. I think we can avoid that just by stressing out and addressing every issue that comes up.

Adam (23:51.718)
Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like we, we see these issues on the horizon, but they’re still way down the line. And maybe by the time we get there, we’ll have more clarity to have a solution for them.

Ste (24:00.759)

Ste (24:06.644)
Yeah, well, might happen sooner than we think. So hoping towards that. Yeah, I wanted to ask, if we have authors as a focus as well, would it make sense to merge these two updates into one? I’m thinking how much discussions have to do with authors. I know last time in the last hardcover live we had,

Adam (24:10.153)

Ste (24:36.588)
we fleshed out discussions and much of the things that related to discussions were about authors. So I’m thinking just to make it integrated towards like that goal of also helping authors, if it would make sense to actually make this update with what we planned for the author pages as well and do both discussions and author research at the same time.

What do you think about that?

Adam (25:07.274)
Yeah, I think it would make sense to talk to some authors about discussions for sure. And it might end up being not so much like a redesign of the entire author section, but at least like, it’ll be an update to the author pages to support discussions. We might still have like, you know, that might find a whole bunch of other things related to authors that we’re like, we’ll need to investigate and research out more.

Ste (25:25.549)

Adam (25:36.63)
and then those will be on the author pages later. But we know that discussions and authors are gonna be a thing. So we might as well, yeah, talk to some authors about it.

Ste (25:46.4)

Ste (25:51.144)
Yeah, that sounds good. How do you think authors would use their page with discussions as well, but just like their page in general?

Adam (26:11.374)
Hmm. Well, I know one of the things that I’ve seen is that authors want readers to buy their books. Like, they wanna make a livelihood. That’s kind of their North Star in terms of problems that need solving. So I see it as like, how do we solve that need?

with discussions, with a redesign of the author page, with author accounts. And that could mean, yeah, there’s a lot of things that can mean, but I think.

Ste (26:45.535)

Adam (27:01.93)
I think for starters, it could mean like, you know, being able to join the conversation with readers, have readers, like follow them and hear about their books when they launch. That way they can have that like additional emails that get sent out to readers that notify them of new books, for instance, or really just like giving them a connection with their readers so that they can.

just feel more close to the readers and the readers can feel more close to the authors. I know that’s pretty high level, but that’s kind of… Ha ha.

Ste (27:34.996)
Yeah. No, that’s a very good overview. I was thinking as you were saying that about our launch on Product Hunt and the fact that you mentioned that authors want to sell books, I guess, you know, from the smallest, like up and coming emerging authors, even like, I mean, bigger, like more, let’s say.

authors further along their journey, they wouldn’t mind having a place to… I was thinking about actually launching the book and doing something that’s similar to what we did on Product Hunt, because over there we had a discussion. So what I find great about Product Hunt is that you can post…

your product over there, it gets exposure to early adopters and you also get a bunch of feedback. So, they have the discussions, which work out great, but they also have these launches. So I’m thinking, what if we took some inspiration from that and actually build in some functionality that would allow authors to launch their book in a similar way? I mean, have a launch date, maybe even…

You know, the coming soon features are on product hunt. Like, that would be similar to sending ARC review copies to readers or samples. You could get some early feedback in. You can get some early reviews. And then when the book launches, it could just appear in the feed, and it could be part of the books that are launched maybe in that week. Let’s not, like, have it maybe.

daily, what do you think about that?

Adam (29:31.206)
Yeah. I mean, I like the idea of like giving authors a platform to launch their books. And if people, if readers were using that to find new books in their like area of interest or support authors that they were already a fans of, I think that could, I think that could be really beneficial for authors for sure.

Ste (29:55.308)
Yeah, that could be a thing. I’m wondering now what would, I mean, what would make authors do it if, I see launches on Twitter, I see lots of authors like posting their books on Twitter or maybe even, I haven’t seen them posting on Reddit, Reddit is more of a community thing. Well, where else do authors post their, like if they wanna like,

launch, even if it’s through a publisher, if they want to launch it to the world and let people know, okay, you can buy this here, you can buy this at bookshop.org or this book is launching today. Is there like any place where they would announce that apart from like the usual press releases?

Adam (30:43.694)
Hmm. I know one of them that researched was a book, but who does like, uh, they have a big email list and they highlight books that are, um, like $1. So a lot of authors will like make their book $1 for like a day just to get in that email and get sent out to hundreds of thousands of people. So sometimes those sales are a big one. Um,

Yeah. Uh, and then, you know, ads, Facebook ads, things like that.

Ste (31:18.944)
Yeah, that could be something. I mean, yeah, Bookbug is a really good platform. I’m wondering that they do physical books as well, right? So you get a book for one dollar. That’s their mechanism.

Adam (31:36.852)
Yeah, it’s.

Yeah, it’s like a referral to like the book that should be for sale at like Amazon or somewhere else for a dollar.

Ste (31:46.896)
Yeah, I’m thinking, you know, what if we did that and maybe it had like a sale on it, like what Khan does with the discount codes, but our thing wouldn’t be necessarily, you know, sell your book for $1 just for exposure, maybe just like sell your book for maybe the regular price, but we just offer you that exposure and we become the place where the book…

get launched. I’m thinking because we have a feed and that’s a place where we can do lots of things and we can actually have those book launches integrated in multiple parts of the website.

Adam (32:31.942)
Yeah. Cause it’s like, there’s the launch and then there’s like the rest of the life lifespan of the book after that. So it’s like, how do we, how do we, how would we set them up for success at that launch, but also like give them a trickle of traffic from that point forward. So it’s almost like the, like, this is one thing that I think we both kind of realized from the product launch. It’s like the launch wasn’t the big event that made us like, you know,

enough subscribers to fully support the project, but it gave us momentum so that from then, you know, we’re not at zero anymore. So I feel like if we can do something for authors that kind of raises their baseline from zero to something, then that’s a success.

Ste (33:10.498)

Ste (33:19.616)
Yeah, that actually sounds really well, really good. Because even if you launch a book and it ends up on a big platform like Goodreads or the Storygraph, it takes a while for people to actually submit reviews or to actually get that additional content. If you’re an author, what if…

Adam (33:37.102)
Thank you.

Ste (33:48.852)
You know, you could just see in a day because you’re launching that day and you get, let’s say 300 people looking at your book. I think that’s feasible even with our current numbers. 300 people looking at that book and maybe we make it according to genre. So you know, you see…

Ste (34:13.716)
what readers visited your page and you get insights beyond, you know, just this number of readers. You had 300 readers seeing your book and it resulted in next number of sales, but you also gain insights about what they usually read. You can maybe get some questions on your launch day as an author, you know, what happens on product hunt.

where we got lots of questions about what our plans are, or can it do this, can it do that? I’m imagining, you know, the same can be with books. If there’s like a theme that someone wants to ask about, they can ask the author directly, and the author has an incentive to be on our platform on that day, so.

Adam (35:05.678)
Hmm. Yeah. That makes me wonder, like, for the discussions we have, you know, we had a type for, you know, a general discussion, a poll, a photo, a quote. It’s almost like should one of those types be ask the author or something like that? Or is that, was that just a discussion?

Ste (35:26.912)
Hmm, it could be like…

Yeah, I think it’s a discussion. I actually did some, you showed me the substack example yesterday and I think it’s a great format for discussions and I just wanted to show you and everyone with this occasion what I’m working on. So, ta-da-da.

So what I did was, okay, I took all of the things we did last time, all of the discussions, and I started creating pages for how can discussions appear in the feed as part of the series, this I have not done yet, as part of your profile, as part of a character discussion. And I was doing this, which…

is basically a single discussion. So maybe you’re in the feed, you see this, these are like I was playing around with alternatives. If the discussion is in the feed and it’s not like, so this, if this you’re on the final empire book page, you wouldn’t see this, you would just see like the thing. But if you’re in the feed, you need some context. And that was playing around with how can we.

showed the actual book that’s referenced in the discussion. And then, yeah, I started basically

Ste (37:10.348)
seeing how a single discussion might look. And I took your sub stack example and yeah, I was thinking how it could work with this kind of nested Reddit like discussions, threads. I think it could work, right? It looks, how does it look? What do you think?

Adam (37:26.068)

Adam (37:30.738)
Yeah, yeah, I think I like something like this. I think.

Adam (37:39.139)
I’m trying to think like for…

like all the additional things we need for each of these replies like a way to like if we want to have the ability to like each reply as well and Yeah, or like hot link to each one so there’s like actions on each one without it

Ste (37:51.624)
Yes, I would. Yeah, and reply to them.

Ste (38:03.553)
Oh, yeah. I was thinking this could appear on hover, so you could like a discussion on hover. I think when I did the mobile mockups way over here, I had multiple ways you could like an actual…

an actual comment. Maybe this could work. Like you’d have like the replies to that comment and a way to like them. Over here, I was thinking that, where is it? Over here. The hearts can appear on hover and you can like, reply or yeah, link to the comment. How would linking work?

You basically linked that comment and would you share the link externally?

Adam (39:03.232)
Yeah, you can share it externally.

I know I share random comments with my wife on Reddit all the time.

Ste (39:11.292)
Oh, nice. Okay. Oh yeah. And you can share, yeah, you can actually share the, the comments on Reddit. We could have these on hover. I’m wondering on mobile, maybe.

Ste (39:25.204)
If we show these next to each comment, I mean, that might work as well, but it’s kind of heavy. So I wanted to make it as clean as possible without missing information. What do you think? How do you feel about disappearing on hover? Do you think it’s an action you would discover as a user?

Adam (39:51.826)
I think I prefer just seeing them all the time. I think I’m just used to it from other platforms. And also, chances are we would want the number of likes visible all the time anyways. That way, if there’s a, this comment has 10 likes, this comment has zero likes or something like that.

Ste (40:10.468)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, that makes sense. OK, yeah, then we can have them all the time. I wouldn’t mind. We can play around with that. The thing I was thinking about is that we can actually look at substack as well. When you’re on the discussion, we have lots of

elements. So I want to minimize them so we can actually focus on the discussion itself. So if you have comments like these, you can actually focus on reading them instead of, you know, having these on each one. I mean, for longer comments, yeah, it actually like work, but that’s like my, just to understand my concern about this.

Even though I mean now that I place them over here. Yeah, they’re not too bad

Adam (41:15.27)
Yeah. And I think having them like at the end of the post might be a little hard to scan because then it’s like kind of a different position for each one.

Ste (41:25.99)
Okay, so you’re right.

Ste (41:31.317)
You’re thinking underneath.

Adam (41:34.543)
Yeah, that’s what I was initially thinking.

Ste (41:38.592)
Yeah, we could totally do that. I was also thinking next to the username because we have lots of space over there. But.

Adam (41:48.094)
Yeah. Let me see something.

Ste (41:51.224)
could be an option. Let me actually put them underneath, and then I’ll copy the page so we can compare. So you have this. Yeah, actually, I don’t mind that. One of my design beliefs is that people love to scroll, and that’s consistent with UX research. So having a page just go a lot further down would

not be like too bad. We can make them smaller.

Ste (42:32.824)
Okay, here we go. We’re cooking now.

Ste (42:41.094)
So, yeah.

Ste (42:46.624)
But the nested discussion, how does it look? I think it’s, yeah, it’s pretty clear. And we’ll have to see on mobile. I was checking out the sub stack app and I noticed when there were more than three or four nested replies. It’s kind of got, so you had half of the screen taken by these lines. So I’m thinking how this can adapt to mobile or.

Adam (42:50.474)
I like it. Yeah.

Ste (43:16.628)
if there’s any other way to do it. On desktop, it looks great.

Ste (43:23.564)
We can just, yeah, I’ll, uh, I’ll try to simulate maybe like five of these nested replies on mobile as well. And I’m also going to look at Reddit, find a post where, you know, you have a lot of nested replies and, uh, yeah, maybe get some inspiration from how they’re doing it, but yeah, this look. Hmm. Ah, yeah.

Adam (43:52.712)
One thing that seeing all these lines kind of reminded me of, it’s like when you’re holding a book and it’s open and it’s like the pages lining up from like the previous pages you’ve read.

Ste (44:06.464)
Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah, uh-huh.

Adam (44:06.898)
if you know what I mean. I’m not sure how we could like bring that in, but it’s almost like, like when you’re reading this post, it’s like you’re like part of the way into a book.

Ste (44:20.108)
turn it like this.

Adam (44:24.618)
There you go. So much easier.

Ste (44:26.096)
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, this is this is looking pretty.

Adam (44:32.76)
It’s almost like if this part right here, like this left most, like top level one was almost like the spine of the book. And then the other comments were like coming out of that somehow.

Ste (44:41.054)
Uh huh.

Ste (44:45.076)
Yeah, if you have any ideas, just duplicate this. I think this is a good, and over here you just have…

MD or SM and you have like a second tertiary Reply button so you just have this and maybe have an icon on it and the icon would be Reply

There we go. Yeah. And you’d also be able to like, so this would reply to the main threads and these would allow you to reply to the, to each, each comment.

Adam (45:28.663)

Adam (45:36.358)
Yeah, and one way I’ve seen this happen is instead of doing it like that, doing it like, like if you move that down and then this is actually like up here.

Ste (45:54.628)
Oh, okay, so you can actually have, yeah.

Adam (45:58.954)
And then there’s just like a, you know, a.

a box here and then so it’s like you know if you want to reply you don’t even have to read the others you just like

Ste (46:11.596)
Oh yeah, you can actually do that. That’s pretty good. I think it reminds me of WordPress comments, which I’m not sure is like good or bad, because I’m wondering also for the items in the feed, one interesting thing I’ve seen is that…

For instance, when you submit a discussion, you’re on, let’s say, page halfway through this book. We had this debate on whether we should make a title mandatory for discussion. But I’m wondering if you’re posting just an update. So you want to be posting this.

Ste (47:05.14)
would a title make it give you an extra decision to take? Because I kind of feel that way. So you wanna ask this and we tell you, okay, but you have to submit a title to this and it’s mandatory. Wouldn’t that be, I mean, if you’re finishing a book, a review could have a title, but these kinds of updates.

Would you see them as needing a title? Like, yeah.

Adam (47:38.97)
I could see them as having, almost like an auto-generated title. It’s almost like all updates have the same title and that title is like, progress update page X of Y book. Not that exactly, but it would be something behind the scenes and then we could decide whether or not we show it or not, depending on the context that post is shown.

Ste (47:58.359)

Adam (48:06.646)
Like if people are able to tell it’s a progress update, we wouldn’t need to show that title.

Ste (48:12.788)
Yeah, yeah, I mean, definitely. I mean, if it would help to have it in the backend, definitely. I’m thinking, you know, if you’re seeing this in the feed, it would be cleaner to just have. I mean, I think people would understand if we put some kind of indication of what page this update was submitted on. Yeah, I’m just worried because this is what this box directly underneath

the discussion topic reminding me of. It’s a formalized way to look at it. So it’s kind of framing this comment as like an article, like you’d see on Substack. And because there’s the structure, you know, when you’re, it’s like a blog post,

Adam (49:05.265)

Ste (49:13.192)
This is kind of easier than a blog post. You just post an update and you ask a question. So this would be like a discussion and a question actually. So that’s why I’m not sure about this, but it could work. Let me actually like put an input here. We could play around with things, but I’d rather like have it framed as…

How does Reddit do it? Do they have like a thing?

Adam (49:45.294)
They do it at the top here too. Like, so even before you scroll down to read the comments, you’ll see the comment box. Yeah, so Substack and Reddit both do it like, right at the top.

Ste (49:52.352)
the box, right?

Ste (50:02.068)
Yeah, I’m also thinking because our

Ste (50:10.388)
all over the place. Our new discussion or new, yeah, imply.

How are you thinking about it? Should it be just like a regular text reply where you can tag things or could you add other things as well in there? Or is it? Yeah.

Adam (50:33.483)
So when you’re like updating your progress and this is one of those kinds of updates

Ste (50:37.936)
Oh, no, when you’re so you want to reply to this and you’re on this page, would you want to add an image or something else over here or like reference lists? I’m guessing you could do that with apps or like this for books.

Adam (50:48.387)

Adam (50:54.654)
Yeah, yeah, maybe we have like a standard comment type functionality where this would be the same functionality that you could use if you were writing a review. And for that, you could, yeah, link to other entities in the system, books, characters.

Ste (51:03.052)

Ste (51:08.054)
Oh yeah.

Ste (51:21.504)
Yeah, that makes sense.

Adam (51:25.262)
Yeah, but yeah, I guess the question is, do we allow, I guess we should allow like rich markup, like lists, things like that, because I know when I’m replying to a comment on Reddit, sometimes I’ll wanna do like bullet points and bold, and I wanna answer the question, and sometimes answering the question means writing a ton of text. Like, it’s writing a…

a big answer to a question.

Ste (51:59.252)
Yeah, that’s true. Let’s, yeah, that’s a good point. So it would need at least like this bar for formatting the comments, where is it?

Ste (52:17.504)
this one was it yeah

Adam (52:18.962)
Yeah, it would need something like that.

Ste (52:23.689)

Ste (52:30.552)
Let me just paste it here. Yeah, this is the decision we can take. I mean, if we go for the nested discussions, we can then decide in the next step, how do replies work? And if you can reply on this page, or would we send you, or would we open an overlay, or what would happen? So yeah, we could see how that would work.

It could work similarly to Reddit and we could have like a more complex reply box in here.

Ste (53:08.756)
or at the end, but yeah, I think this is…

This is going places.

Adam (53:19.554)
I’m thinking like if someone was on the feed and they saw like a progress update from someone and they just wanted to reply to that update right then and there, it’d be nice to be able to do it like right from the feed without going, like even being able to like expand and see the replies. Because I’m thinking like on, that’s one of the things that I do like on Facebook.

Ste (53:31.18)

Ste (53:39.818)

Adam (53:45.814)
You know, like they do commenting on feed items really well. And they make it very inviting and easy to comment on someone’s reply and someone’s activity without losing your current context.

Ste (53:50.209)

Ste (53:59.86)
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Let’s I’m going to actually put some, some context because yeah, Facebook, uh, really does it well. So if we combine their reply approach with what Reddit is doing, maybe because on Facebook, yeah, you can only actually, I think you can format it on Facebook as well, right? Your, your reply.

Adam (54:25.77)
I know you can, yeah.

Ste (54:26.032)
In any case, they have some functionality so you can add a picture or you can, yeah. I think they nailed it. So yeah, what’s cool about this is that we have like so many good examples of how discussions can be formatted. And I think we’re a few iterations away from having like an ideal model of how this would work.

Adam (54:52.638)
Yeah. And one thing that, uh, I know I, I do a lot with, uh, like Reddit and other places is I, I click like here to collapse this one when I want to go to the next. Next one. Do you, do you do that when you’re reading?

Ste (54:55.048)
Yeah, this is good.

Ste (55:13.386)

Yeah, sometimes when some of them are really, really long and on Reddit, some tend to get this long, definitely I collapse them. So we could do that and just like have a, uh, an icon. Let’s see. Sam’s a comment again. He’s a talker. So maybe we could put an up down thing. Uh,

down. Well, something about this.

Adam (55:51.506)
Oh, you mean to like expand and contract.

Ste (55:53.936)
Yeah. Expand. Oh, okay. Well, this is not it, but let’s put end to this. Yeah.

Adam (55:57.037)

Ste (56:05.268)
Just have this and yeah, maybe write the number of replies, 12 replies.

Adam (56:17.598)
Yeah, something like that could work, where it’s like something to indicate that it’s collapsed. Another potential way to do it could mean to add this here.

Adam (56:34.314)
And then this would be like.


Ste (56:38.712)
Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah. Good idea. Okay. Yeah. Nice.

Adam (56:44.055)
or something.

Ste (56:45.964)
this. Yeah, that’s perfect.

Ste (56:52.224)
Nice. Okay, getting there. Yeah, so I’m guessing we’re full on in on discussions, which is great. I think the next step would be, so I put Gandalf here as a character, I’m working on this page. Yeah, I’m trying to follow the same layout for readers,

Adam (57:12.235)

Ste (57:21.816)
characters and authors and just have like different sections for each of them. I think that would work, right? I mean, it contributes to consistency and I think it would be nice to see a character in the same way you’d see like a user or an author.

Adam (57:41.998)
Yeah, I’m not sure actually. Because I’m trying to think like, when I go to a page and it’s a character, I don’t want like any part of me wondering is this an author, a character or a user? I wanna know like instantly it’s a character. So yeah, I’m wondering like, is that enough to make it like instantly recognizable this is a character? Aside from.

Ste (58:02.68)

Adam (58:10.691)
you know, it being Gandalf.

Ste (58:13.108)
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, good question. Let’s think about it. I kind of like it that, you know, you don’t know. I was even thinking of, let’s say you want to follow this character and if it’s a character from a book that’s a series, let’s say, that’s upcoming, you can even get updates. And yeah, maybe…

Later on, we can even let you chat to this character using AI if you have enough data. So I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know. Uh, I kind of like it’s, uh, it kind of personalized it, but yeah, you’re right. If it becomes, uh, too, uh, unclear. Yeah. It could be. But yeah, could be a thing. Let’s think about it.

Adam (58:45.558)
That would be pretty hilarious.

Adam (59:06.19)
You know, as you were describing that chat with the character, I was realizing how just incredibly simple that would be today with open AI. All you have to do is, so right now when you chat with AskJules, you’re basically chatting with a bot and we give it a personality by, we have a little write up on what the personality of Jules is. We could just create a bot with a personality and we say…

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

Ste (59:36.764)
Yeah, I mean, for these characters, which are like well known, it would be like amazing to actually be able to do that. And I think it would be really cool. We can also like for like lesser known characters, if they have a description, I’m guessing we can also like put that in the so you are Gandalf known as Grey or whatever, whatever. And yeah, use the description to. To yeah.

But yeah, it would be really easy, which is bad. I mean, it could be like really fun to do that. I have this like dream of allowing users to DM themselves, but not like actual DMs to have like time DMs. So you’d only be able to send a DM per week. So it’s kind of like a letter, you have to wait for it to arrive. So that’s why I left this here.

Not sure we’d want to leave that in, but I’m just keeping it for now.

Adam (01:00:37.506)

Ste (01:00:37.684)
It could be interesting to send a letter to Gandalf and see what he replies.

Adam (01:00:42.996)
That would be pretty funny actually.

Ste (01:00:45.128)
Yeah, it would be fun for kids as well. I think as a kid, I would have loved to get a letter for, from like, Harry Potter or something like that.

Adam (01:00:53.384)
Yeah, and sending a letter feature would be more like, you know, it’s basically like one chat message. It’s a bot with one message at a time. Yeah.

Ste (01:01:05.328)
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, you know, the thing is DMs, there’s also this, we are a social network. So do we allow DMs? Definitely. I think DMs create too much noise and they’re being used for like advertising and spam. So I was thinking, you know, something that relates to the literary world and also has like this air of, you know.

how things used to be as the letter. You actually send something and you waited for the person to receive it. And then they send something back, this like expectancy. Maybe we can simulate it. I just thought it was fun. So yeah, maybe.

if it’s easy to do at some point. Yeah. But yeah, the next step would be like to see how this would merge with the author’s account accounts. And yeah, I was even thinking that we can dive into the authors. Maybe that’s what the next Harkiver Live could be. Maybe we could launch a call for feedback from authors and we could actually make one of these for the author page. What do you think?

Adam (01:02:11.15)
Thank you.

Adam (01:02:23.218)
Yeah, yeah. I think, uh, yeah, both talking with authors and doing that would be, would be beneficial. And yeah, just showing them the discussions as we have them today and getting feedback on, on that, like the ability to create discussions. Like, what would you want for discussions on your books or what wouldn’t you want?

Ste (01:02:47.031)

Yeah, that’s great. Perfect. Well, another good session.

Adam (01:02:56.159)
Yeah, but yeah, the iterations on the discussions are looking good. There’s so much surface area to cover from them. It just branches out into so many pages of the site. So yeah, I admire your organization of trying to figure out all the different touch points that we’re going to have to design.

Ste (01:03:18.601)
Yeah. Yeah, but that’s really good because if we generate something that’s really easy to componentize and put in various places and, you know, make it really adaptable to various places, I mean, if you just think, you know, this post could go here and we can just hide that and yeah, it worked. Yeah. I think that’s going to make things a lot easier to like, implement this.

Adam (01:03:45.058)

Ste (01:03:46.952)
Nice. Yeah, well on that note, I think we can wrap it up, I guess.

Adam (01:03:47.643)
Cool. Well…

Adam (01:03:52.558)
Sounds good. I will talk to you later on Discord. Have a good week. See ya.

Ste (01:03:57.952)
Yeah, perfect. Bye.

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