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All of the forum software I've seen divides postings and their comments up into pages (where each "page" is quite a few pages on the screen and need scrolling).

I assume there is a good reason for doing this, but forcing the user to click page numbers to go through the posts seems bad UI design when there is a perfectly good scrolling mechanism that's being used anyway. And it makes it harder to search for text within a page as you have to repeat the search on each page. To me it seems easier and better UI design to have one long page than several short ones for this...

I'm working on a forum like section for a site with followup posts and although my first thought was to implement paging, I'm finding it difficult to understand why I'd want to. But the fact that everyone else does it makes me think I'm missing something.

Is it just a subjective preference or are there any good reasons why I should do this? Or evidence that my personal preference is not a good one?

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It probably comes from the days when almost everyone was on dial-up and even text pages loaded slowly. Instead of implementing paging what you could do is if there a really large number of follow ups display just the first one a have a link to a page with all of them, e.g.

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If you have a really popular posting with 2,000 followup comments, then the page will load slowly, and be unresponsive in many browsers, unless you break it up into pages. Remember to always test your website with a machine that's six or seven years old, since some of your users will have machines of similar vintage.

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Ah yeah I guess I was thinking of 1-200 not that many. –  JohnB May 31 '11 at 9:41
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  • Physical size of the page (anything >=500kb is going to appear to load slowly for most users)
  • It is claimed search bots don't like anything over ~200-300kb ('don't like' could mean different things for each bot, ranging from non indexing to indexing last).
  • Large DOM will be very unresponsive/slow on less powerful computers.
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