Dev Sneak Peek: Collapsed Reply Threads

We’ve heard your feedback and are happy to announce that Mattermost will be introducing Collapsed Reply Threads in beta early next year! This feature is a top priority for our team and is the most voted feature request on our idea forum.

Threads are core to the messaging experience in Mattermost. They allow users to organize conversations about various topics within a channel. Today, the main channel view can be a conveyor belt of interwoven messages and threads, making conversations fragmented, overlapping, and difficult to parse. Reading and processing information can be slow and onerous, and messages relevant to any single user can be buried or lost.

Collapsed Reply Threads offers an enhanced experience for users communicating in threads and replying to messages. Our goal is to improve users’ ability to process channel content, find, follow, and resume conversations more easily, and keep threaded conversations focused.

What will the user experience look like?

Collapsed Threads

Reply messages are collapsed under the first message of a thread to improve the scannability of a channel. Simply click on a message in the channel to view or reply to the thread in the right-hand side.

Follow Messages and Threads

Users can follow particular messages or threads so that any reply activity will trigger notifications. Further, users now automatically follow every thread they participate or are mentioned in.

Threads View

Users can access their followed threads from the “Threads” item on the channel sidebar. The thread list is sorted by recent activity and can be filtered to only display unread threads.

Explore the design files to learn more.

When will Collapsed Reply Threads be available?

We’ll be introducing this feature in stages early next year:

  • Web/Desktop Beta (Q1 2021): The user interface for Collapsed Reply Threads is available in beta for web and desktop devices.
  • Mobile Beta (Q2 2021): The user interface for Collapsed Reply Threads is available in beta on the mobile app.
  • General Availability (Q2 2021): The Collapsed Reply Threads feature is generally available and is enabled by default.

What do I need to do to prepare for this feature?

We recommend upgrading to v5.29.1 or later in preparation for the release of this feature next year. Collapsed Reply Threads modify how messages and threads are stored in the database; upgrading to v5.29.1+ now will ensure your threads are being handled correctly on the backend for a seamless transition to Collapsed Reply Threads in Q1 next year.

What system configuration and user settings will be available?

System Admins will be able to configure Collapsed Reply Threads in the Admin Console and set the default appearance of threads for their end users. Admins may choose to configure Collapsed Reply Threads:

  • On by default for all users on the server, with users having the ability to disable it in Account Settings.
  • Off by default for all users on the server, with users having the ability to enable it in Account Settings.
  • On for all users on the server, with users lacking the ability to disable it.
  • Off for all users on the server.

Will Mattermost provide support for this feature in beta?

Yes. Mattermost will offer support for the beta feature and provide bug fix releases for severe bugs or security issues according to our usual process.

Where can I find more information and follow the development progress?

You can join us in our community workspace ~Collapsed Reply Threads channel where we are actively discussing feature development. We encourage feedback and questions in the channel.

You can also check out the latest developer sneak peek demo:

We greatly appreciate the guidance and user testing participation from our customers and community in designing this enhanced threading experience, and we can’t wait to get it in your hands!

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Eric Sethna

Eric Sethna is a Product Manager at Mattermost, Inc. Prior to joining Mattermost, he worked as a Product Manager for SpinPunch, Inc., a Y Combinator-backed online gaming startup. Eric earned a bachelor of applied science degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo.

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