Why Do We Scroll to the Top?

I’ve been trying a lot of Mastodon apps lately and I’ve tried a few Twitter apps in the past. For the ones I’ve tried, they all have one thing in common—new posts are at the top. Why?

A lot of apps will save your spot in the timeline. When it starts up, you begin scrolling up to see new posts. That feels really backwards to me. I read top to bottom, and I think most people do too. So scrolling up to see new content feels really disjointed. It would be so much more natural to have newer posts below so that you are always reading top to bottom instead of jumping up every few lines. This would also make reading threads and replies feel better.

New posts at top makes more sense for algorithmic timelines and for apps that always start you at the top. But for apps that leave you where you were, I think they need to let you scroll to the bottom for new content. So please steal this idea and make it—I don’t want to have to make a Mastodon client.

January 3, 2023