Yes, breaking things up with sub-tasks can have a lot of benefits, including the simplification of comment trains. The difficulty with using another system for comments is that you lose the continuity and history - I worked in a place where it was attempted, and almost everyone reverted to a "if it's not in Jira, I didn't see it" attitude within a couple of weeks because it doesn't work. Document issues outside Jira, that works brilliantly, as long as you post the url on the Jira issue somewhere, but use comments.
I don't think the odd issue that becomes too long with comments is that much of a problem though - when your users notice it getting a bit slow to load, you can train them to look at deleting irrelevant ones and splitting up the task into smaller parts.
There's a possibility it could become a problem.
On a more powerful system than OnDemand runs on (dedicated servers with a lot more memory and CPU resource, but also more data), we found that the time to render a many-comment issue was getting longer and longer. Once we hit about 250, it became reliably measurable, at 300, users started to notice enough to start complaing, and you can forget it if you've got 1000+ comments.
Hi Nick, thanks so much for the feedback. When I said "often", I actually meant at a few periods in the year when our workload becomes quite heavy due to certain types of development. And I think we could get past that by creating multiple sub-tasks and just making sure not to overload those tasks.
If you are using the comments system for "discussions", maybe use another system for that (i.e. communote, yammer...) and the issues only for development relevant information, like final decisions, status updates or what ever. This makes it also easier to follow the actual development.
If not, just ignore ;)
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