The site allows users to set some preferences regarding the display of comments. These options can be accessed through the Comment Settings links provided at the bottom of every story.
Right between the story and the comments, you'll see a line that looks something like the next screenshot. Logged-in Trusted Users on the site will see all four options, which may be checked or unchecked for any given Trusted User. Everyone else will see only the first two.
This display of options can be closed--see the Close settings link in the upper right corner of this section--but you'll see the full display again beneath the next story you read.
The settings and their default states are as follows. The default state will be restored every time you clear cookies from your browser. ON means the checkmark will be present.
Auto refresh -- ON
Collapse on load -- OFF
Show hidden -- OFF (option to turn them on exists only for Trusted Users)
Show until I hide -- OFF (again, relevant to Trusted User status only)
Please note: NONE of these comment settings is related to the process by which one can turn on or off the email notifications of replies to a comment you make. That is a different option, “Email me when someone replies to my comment,” and it is set by checking or unchecking the box next to that line of text. That line of text and its checkbox will be displayed in EVERY comment box, so that you may check/uncheck it as you please, but your choice should remain stable till the next time you make a change.
Comment Settings Explained
If Auto refresh is ON, then every time someone comments on a story that you are reading, you will see each user's name displayed in a small black box in the lower-right-hand corner of the page (up to a maximum of about a dozen names). That new comment alert box can be closed by clicking on the X in the upper right corner, but that act merely dismisses that particular box. It will reappear if new comments are made.
If you want to turn off all such new comment alerts, story, you must do so via the Comment Settings link. Open the Comment Settings link, and then unclick the checkbox to the left of Auto refresh. From this point forward, you should not see the box with the updates unless and until you choose to turn that option on again.
Collapse on load:
If you prefer, you may load all comments so that they are "collapsed," that is, displaying only the first few words of the comment. It makes the display much more compact, while still permitting expansion or opening of comments as you choose. Unclicking the checkbox next to this phrase will ensure that the comments all load in the OPEN format.
We find that this comment setting can help the loading/display of tweet-heavy comment threads, especially for users on Safari.
Collapsed comments can also be expanded one-by-one by clicking the gray arrow to the right of the head of the comment so that it points down. Clicking in this way will expand the parent comment and any child comments it may have. Each opened comment may also be collapsed on an individual basis using shift-click, though changing the state of a parent comment will affect each child comment as well.
You cannot rate or reply to a comment that is collapsed. Expanding it will make those options available.
Note there are also key commands to expand and collapse comments. A legend for all key commands is available near where these preferences are set between the story and comments.
Show hidden [comments]:
When one becomes a Trusted User on the site, one can not only flag comments that violate the Rules of the Road, one can also view all hidden comments (and all responses made to them, whether hidden or not). This setting allows Trusted Users to choose whether to display hidden comments as part of a thread or to render them invisible.
Show [hidden comments] until I hide:
If you are a Trusted User, this option will show you hidden comments until you specifically flag them yourself. Once you have flagged the comment, it will no longer be visible to you.
This story, "Bigger, better comment controls: Tell us what you think," provides details about the comment setting options we provide. The story also offers an explanation of the keyboard navigation commands available to any user in lieu of a mouse or trackpad.