This is my first post on TA, and I must say that I'm quite impressed with what I've seen so far in the community. I have little knowledge of UI/UX and web development, please bear with me on this request.
From what I can tell, currently the chat pane deals with long messages by limiting the messages to 9 lines long, then a scroll bar appears within the message box, and the user then has to move their cursor over the message to scroll through the message.
I'm a fast reader and like to skim things very quickly, and this behavior hinders my ability to do so. This requires me to 1. find my mouse 2. hover over the comment box 3. scroll not to slow and not too fast.
Scrolling in general is annoying to me personally because depending on where I am (home or work) I might be using Mac (touchpad), Windows (mouse), or a handful of different Linux distros (touchpad AND mouse), and I hate tinkering with things like scrolls speed / direction. Maybe I make it hard on myself, but I digress.
I'd like to propose a couple of alternative suggestions:
1. **No maximum comment view**. Comments can be arbitrary size without creating this "scroll panel within a scroll panel". The logic is that users can quickly scroll past all but the most ridiculous posts.
2. **Maximum comment view is set to approximately half page** and instead of the scroll panel, have some indication that the post has been truncated (such as three dots at the bottom of the post). When the user clicks on the post (or perhaps just the three dots), the post would expand to full size for the reader's viewing pleasure.
3. **Large maximum comment size, but no limit on the view** - SE comments are limited to 600 characters long I think, perhaps something like that would provide a happy medium between the two above approaches, easy to implement and not too limiting on user experience.
4. **Someone else here probably has better ideas**
Thoughts? I don't know which solution is best. I also don't know how much of a priority UX/UI is at the moment either. This site is obviously quite young. I'd love to see a better solution than the current one, though I love the direction that everything is going!
Update Feb 2020: we've implemented this for long code blocks but not yet for chat messages.
That is still on the cards, and added as another [GitHub issue](https://github.com/topanswers/topanswers/issues/27), but not very high priority.
We do need to think about this.
It's part of a wider class of problems. In the questions and answers we don't restrict the height of code blocks, some of which are very long. There is an argument for doing what SE do and what we currently do in comments, and simply set a max height and scroll, but then:
> the user then has to move their cursor over the message to scroll through the message.
So that's not ideal either. Generally I think scrollbars within a scrolling section should be avoided — some people are fine with them on some devices, others really struggle with them.
My current thinking is like one of your options:
> have some indication that the post has been truncated (such as three dots at the bottom of the post). When the user clicks on the post (or perhaps just the three dots), the post would expand to full size for the reader's viewing pleasure.
I think we can do that in chat and in Q&A.
I've moved this on to [to a GitHub issue](https://github.com/topanswers/topanswers/issues/24) so work can begin, and will update the post here when it is complete.