Posting Message Idea

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f5c953e1cc0>

We have many users jumping on to an existing thread saying they have the same problem but the thread discussion has not helped them.

Most times the new user has the same symptoms but a different problem. It is very confusing trying to handle many users & problems in the same thread. If the forum detected “same problem” or “same issue” could it pop up a message suggesting or offering to start a new thread?

I do not know the capabilities of the forum software.

yeah, it is sometimes helpful to instruct a user to just start a new thread. I used to do that more often but have gotten a little lazy about it recently.

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I had one guy today PM me.
sihui asked for some information this guy had in his first post in an existing thread. sihui pointed out they were not the original poster and he did not want to search every post in the thread. The guy pushed back and I defended sihui and told them they should have started a new thread.

In the PM I told the guy that since he gave us some attitude he should not have been surprised we pushed back.

This issue is getting ridiculous. You would think we charge to start a new thread!

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I’m 90% certain the forum doesn’t have that capability. It can only do that when creating a new thread, and even there it does it poorly.

An alternative I’ve seen on other forums is automatically closing older threads. For example, closing the thread to new replies three months after the last response. So when a thread goes silent for awhile it can no longer be responded to, forcing the users to post a new thread. I’ve had this idea for awhile but haven’t brought it up to the maintainers. It’ll require someone like Kai to change the setting though.


I think it’s always going to be difficult for new users to decide whether or not they should start fresh or continue a post, because they lack the knowledge/experience to know if their issues are the same or different from what they’re reading. All they can do is interpret what others have written and take a guess. So you end up with some people jumping onto threads with different problems, and others starting new threads right next to other ongoing discussions about the exact same thing.

I’m not immune to this. I don’t have your technical skills, so I often can’t tell if the problem I’m trying to solve is directly related to a post I’m reading, and I sometimes can’t understand aspects of the discussion. If that’s the case, am I better off trying to explain everything in a fresh post, or tack onto an existing one so that the people I’m asking for help have context? I personally lean toward the latter approach.

I was also going to suggest closing old posts after they’ve been dormant for a period of time, but sometimes the value is engaging the people who were previously involved in the discussion and have a lot of context. With a new post, that doesn’t happen automatically. So, I’m not sure where the happy medium is.

In the end, I think the best thing we can do is be welcoming at every turn and understand that new users haven’t learned how to engage with this community. That enables us to coach them and help them gain confidence in being part of it. Otherwise, we run the risk of scaring people away because they worry more about being scolded and judged than being helped. The downside is that this requires a lot of patience, and patience wears thin when you feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again.

As much as I want to protect new users, I also want to prevent dedicated folks like all of you from feeling like this is a burden. Your time and effort is valuable to this community, and hobbies should be fun.


Do we report a post to have it moved to a new thread?
Some users get testy when asked to open a new thread.

Or is it possible for users with a sufficient trust level to fork a thread into a new discussion?

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@chris We need a moderator’s point of view on some of the ideas in this thread.

I’m not sure if Discourse can do this (I’m no expert on Discourse) , but I think that would probably be quite good. Eg close any inactive threads after (say) 6 weeks - then someone can open a new thread and reference the old one. Often we see people saying “I have the same problem” when the original thread is 2 years old, and almost certainly things have changed.

But I don’t think that’s @Bruce_Osborne point since it also happens with new threads.

Yes, this is possible, but I don’t know what level is required. It is done (by me at least) as follows -:

Select the wrench above the slider on the right of the thread -:

Select the select posts option -:

Select posts -:

And click on the move to button.

Obviously I didn’t complete the last step, but I think it will then create a new thread.

I suspect this is a moderator function only though.

I couldn’t agree more

very good point


This is not directed at you (Russ)
Well then let somebody else answer the noob question. If you aren’t feeling patient, there are others ready to help

We just have a flag, no wrench except on our own posts… We are not blessed / cursed (take your pick) moderators. :thinking:

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I think very many of these issue occur for Z-Wve because the binding depends on a database of devices that cannot be updated separate from the database.

I totally agree with this. I’d be more than happy to spend time coaching new users when I see them if it means that others don’t feel they have to respond.

I could see this being the case. I haven’t had to add any devices to the database, but I’ve definitely seen a lot of threads with confused users who don’t understand what needs to be done.

That feels like a solid middle ground, since the original author of the closed post would get a notification that the post was mentioned.

I’m pretty sure that both Home Assistant and HestiPi are using Discourse (if not it looks exactly like what we are using) and they have such an expiration.

I suspect it takes an admin to activate it though. I couldn’t find anything in what the moderators have access to.

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I did some searching for the forum admins here


Is it possible to have a limited timeframe that users can comment on each thread created in Discourse?
For example, if we create a post, people have only one week to comment on it – or if it goes without a comment for a month or so, it will be locked automatically?


Yes both scenarios are supported via timed close on a topic.


Correct and correct

Good stuff, Bruce. This option would be great.

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I just searched on Rich’s find. This forum seems to thrive on team work.

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Yes @moderators can use “Set Topic Timer” from the wrench menu, but we would need to individually do so for every thread. That’s applicable to topics were’re involved in but it’s not feasible in general).
OTOH, if someone finds/continues an old or ancient thread, well that’s the amount of common sense any user has to bring. They probably learn quickly when noone answers.

More searching says that is incorrect. sigh


I see there are some auto close features based on topic/message size. Can I automatically close topics after a duration? For example, after n days have elapsed with no reply, could the thread be closed?


Yes, you can do this at the category level:

  • go to the settings for the category, go to the settings tab, then “auto close topic hours”

Or at the topic level:

  • click the wrench on the right, “set topic timer”, and choose from the many options available