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Oh, this is nice. My comment got voted -1. I have been a regular on this web site for years and never abused/trolled it. I used to post as APW [before accounts] if you want to check me on this...
So I speak my opinion and I get voted as "bad". This is really friggin childish. That is why the "report abuse" is better. Someone can report abuse, if the staff agree then it is removed. if they don't its not like I get any negative marks against me. now me, a faithful and regular user looks like a troll in your database.
as for replies - frankly want I want to see is throughful comments on the news item, not a discussion. I left slashdot a long time ago (maybe 4 years ago) because I hated reading all this stupid little childish bickerings. It might have changed since, but I was so disappointed by it then I just don't have the heart to try again.
If discussions really were useful I'd alright with them, but most of them are just nit picks and jabs. Focusing on replies - and especially thread views - encourages this idea of everyone commenting on everyone else. with no reply button and no threads, hopefully people only add a reply when they have something to say. and hopefully they only post when they have read the article and have e a thoughtful/insightful addition to make.
I'm sorry I'm fustrated. I've been a professional software developer for 13 years. When I setup CMS systems for my clients (e.g. XOOPS) they don't use a large number of the features and they find the forums features confusing. As a user of OSNews I can appreciate their feelings...I don't want lots of extra icons/text at the bottom of the posts (heart, replies, +, -). it is distracting and entirely unnecessary for what I want out of the system. thats just my opinion, I'm not trying to represent anyone else.
clean and simple is what will improve the user experience. challenge each new feature, prove that it is needed.
BTW - I think the website is generally fine looking and I like that it renders in all browser engines. so I'm not all negative.