Add more distinction between discussion forum posts to distinguish them from each other.

It would be very helpful if discussion forum posts could be darker around the edges to show a distinction of the post as well as the reply to a post being more indented.  It would also be helpful if there was more space between the replies, because it can be difficult for users to separate the discussions in their mind to know which post they are in fact responding to.  A student mentioned having a hard time separating out which post is separated, and I can see how it could be hard for someone with eye problems as well.  If students could "name" their reply to the original post that would be great, as a way to mimic the thread style forums.


Thanks for your consideration!

🔎 This idea has been archived. While this idea isn't open for comments, it is an important part of Instructure’s idea conversations and development process. Contributions like this are valuable as Instructure prioritizes work on new or existing features.

Community Explorer

I've stopped using discussions at all because of the poor quality of the discussion forum on Canvas. Because of COVID-induced instructional changes, I'm seeking alternatives to Canvas for discussions because they're more important than before. I'm considering Perusall and Piazza. I'm very disappointing in Canvas' inability to respond to their customers needs.

Community Contributor

Sadly, Russell, I had done the same thing.  However, there are times where my faith is rekindled.  I just happened to see Heather's post and thought I would give it another try.  @Heather, yep, 2018.  This topic's discussion appears to be between you, Russell, Julia, and Jennifer.  Still good discussion, but I doubt that anyone from Instructure/Canvas will join.  I still gather a little knowledge ... Russell's post made me explore Perusall a little (Thanks, Russell.)

Community Member

Currently, when a student replies to another student's discussion board post, Canvas indents the text of the reply, but not the box that contains the reply text.

Thus, it is difficult to distinguish between original posts and reply posts, unless you look really closely, which is not user-friendly.

Therefore, please indent reply posts by a half an inch to one inch to make it instantly clear which posts are original posts and which are reply posts.

While you're at it, please also do the same for replies to replies, so that no matter how many levels of replies are present, the box of a reply post is indented more than the post being replied to. That way, it's instantly clear which post is being replied to.

Thanks so much. Hopefully, this suggestion seems intuitive. Implementing it would be a big help.

Community Member

I am a secondary teacher and my school has started to use Canvas for the trainings as well. They are doing discussion boards and they want you to reply to a few other people. I noticed last night that the discussion board is not very obvious as to which one is an original post vs the replies. In my college course, there is just the original post and you click into it to see the replies. I know it's another click, but that would work or having a larger frame around the original posts and their replies. It would be nice to see at a glance and not have to look really closely because if it is confusing to me, it is definitely confusing to my students. [Maybe gray background the original posts and the replies stay white?]

Community Novice

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a hard time distinguishing the original response from peer replies to the originals in threaded Discussions.  I reached out to Canvas Help thinking I was doing something wrong and they told me "those are indented."  Now when I look really closely, I can see that they are, but the amount is so minimal that it's effectively not indented.  And to echo what a previous user noted, the text is (barely) indented but the box surrounding the text isn't.  

I think in addition to indenting the box, you could also add a visual cue at the beginning of the replies, like a backwards "return" arrow (one pointing to the new text).  And you could do this for each layer of replies:  indent the box itself and add a visual cue before the new text.  Or at least do something like what another user suggested by making the original be one color and the replies another - and it could be a neutral color that doesn't cause problems for those with difficulties distinguishing colors.  



Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Archived

Our Product Team reviewed some of our oldest feature proposals recently, and this thread was identified as one that they would not be able to include in their current or future plans for (Legacy) Discussions. While we appreciate your proposal, we also want to be transparent about the likelihood of something like this making it to production.

Thank you for collaborating, and we hope that you submit another idea in the future!