I think that the most recent responses in a forum topic should be at the top so the user doesn't have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to see the most recent one. Every other forum I have been apart of has been layed out as described. It provides for much faster and easier response times.
Yup, that's a good idea. It is irritating.
Or maybe, like in PHPBB3, there could be an option for users to choose whether they want to view posts in Descending Order or Ascending Order.
Or, the number of posts per page could be reduced!
To give the user the option to choose would be a good idea, but just using Descending Order would be very bad I think. It is not logical to first read the answers, and then the questions. It would be bad design. On the web (and in a lot of languages, but not all) people expect things to go from left to right and top to bottom.
Besides that, just responding to the last reply, without at least browsing through the topic tends to lead to less useful posts.
Actually, almost all forums I know use the 'first post first' layout, and most forum software uses this as the default.
To scroll down the page doesn't take much time. And this is what we are used to it's no point to confuse people.
very good idea, I want more stuff in the spamcan :)
Better not do this, as already stated users will not even scroll over the topic but only read the last posts. And Most forums use this way, in fact I haven't seen any forum I can still remember that doesn't.
Rvec has a valid point here, the way things are setup as they are is the best way. I don't see them changing.
In a discussion, it is normal that posts are arranged in a ascending order. Like others mentioned, reading a response before the question isn't really a good idea.
There are circumstances where it is appropriate to use a descending order, like with comments on a video, poll or sometimes an image or article. But even then the original video, poll, image or article needs to be on top and not at the bottom.
I would say that you should make some buttons or stuff at the side of the forums, using these buttons, the user should get the option of toggling the format between old-new/new-old.
I always do Like the old-new format, because then you can here the whole story. Its something like:
Henry: wheres the php?
joe: Go to my website
Henry: nahh, I won't
so you can read the whole thing...
I would also reccommend a box in which the latest 3 entries should be written. In this way, you won't need to scroll, and not much editing will be needed.