Why some topics will close automatically?


I noticed that some (new) threads have apparently an automatic closing a week after inactivity.
Is that intentional?

Our forum will have topics that will stays relevant for continuation, even if there is some inactivity in the meanwhile. Example is e.g. the community build threads.


Hopefully that is not automatic for all threads...

EDIT: at least initially that note does not appear in this thread.


If you look closely, this note appears only on topics that have a (more or less) clear question and a solution (most times marked as [Solved]).

If the question is solved, I set it to autoclose after 168h (7d), in order to keep the topics in useful shape.

Or in other words: People tend to unearth old threads. They have the very same problem as described in the topic, only the device is different and he is using 17.01.4 instead of 17.01.0-rc2 as in the original topic, and by the way, his setup is completely different and his solution is completely different to the original topic.

When topics are closed you have: one topic, one question, one solution. Period.
Topics stay short, instead of accumulating new postings, going into hundreds which nobody reads, drifting offtopic, adding unwanted noise, ...

In case someone feels like a topic should be reopened: No problem, can be done anytime.

In general, I ask if the topic has been solved for the OP, suggesting him to mark the topic as [Solved], and after he has done that, I set the topic to autoclose.
Asking the OP is a learning from earlier this year, when a regular user (who is is no longer a user of this forum upon his own request) set a topic which wasn't his own one to solved, but turned out that it wasn't really solved.

Why autoclose instead of immediate close?
Maybe sometime after the [Solved] shows up, the OP has new information, e.g. the solution worked for 24h, but not at 24+1. Or some sideeffects of the solution show up only 2days after the solution... we all know such situations.

And btw:

This topic will close 6 days after the last reply

This means, if someone makes a new post at now+5d, the countdown is reset and you will still have 6 days left again. And so on, until no new postings arrive in this topic for 6 days.

I think I have seen a plugin for discourse that allows the user to do the [Solved] marking in a more elegant way, i.e. by a simple button click. In addition to this, he can mark the posting which solved his problem, giving the "solver" credits for the solution. I'll search for this plugin again, maybe it could be useful.

...browser history is your friend: https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-solved-accepted-answer-plugin/30155

@jow @thess What do you think of this plugin, worth a try?


Ok, so it is not automatic, but a moderator decision by you, thread by thread.

(I mostly wondered if that was some new automatic thing in a new discourse version. )


@tmomas - Seems like a good idea to me. If I get a moment this weekend, I'll see if we can try something out. Might get some interesting feedback.


I'm always puzzled why so much effort is placed in closing topics and shaming people who go back and post about some topic regarding a particular device and wondering why that matters to a point of spending any time on it. Imagine if all that effort was actually placed on helping people and answering questions instead of worrying about the date a particular subject matter came into focus. People should know that firmware changes over time but they should also realize that routers don't evaporate after 6 months and more often than not they go back to eBay and yard sales etc and people revive them all the time. If the topic is closed then you have a whole other side who comes out to criticize "why didn't you search, this question has already been answered" ... well what if they then had another question?

I have managed forums since the 80's back then is when my company had their own internal network and before the actual Internet came into being. I never have seen this issue become an issue until recently. If I go out and buy a 55' Chevy and have a problem with the vibrator in the radio, it doesn't matter if someone posted about how they replaced that mechanical vibrator with a solid state device in 2015 of if they start talking about it again in 2019, the problem still crops up with 55 Chevy's so why not let the topic live and and if you think about it who really cares if someone comes along 5 years after a problem crops up and sees the same problem again.

If routers self-destructed after 6 months (some of them do LOL) then I can see the issue, otherwise I'd personally like to see more time focused on resolving issues and creating documentation than policing date and time limits of forum posts. And that's not to negate from the project work being done here but I think many people when they work in an area too long start to tangent. I'd like to imagine a time where the documentation and wiki is improved to a point no single forum post would ever be needed. That would indeed be a great day.


there is a tendency for people to post somewhat different questions to the end of long threads about a tangentially related topic. I believe that's the main cause.

1 Like

I have seen that happen before and a lot of times the moderators say "we moved your comment to a new topic". So that may be more work but it at least if it's an issue it allows people to continue to keep open discussions that don't change. One that comes to mind is on the various devices (e.g. Buffalo routers) or others that have a difficult time accepting refreshed firmware and go bonkers with firmware updates so often. Actually a lot of topics with a particular piece of hardware don't really deserve a new topic. True, the mfgs tendency to keep putting different hardware inside the same box with the same label on it doesn't make it easy, but with that aside, a problem loading a Buffalo in 2012 is likely going to pretty much match a problem I discover in 2019 loading that same device I just picked up at a garage sale.

In fact a lot of us are still on the same old 5M down and 1M up networks we were 10 years ago and we often capitalize on the fact someone tossed a 128M router in the trash because they just got a 200M Google fiber in their neighborhood.


WHERE? :crazy_face: :rofl: Just finished tearing through my heap to find they are ALL < 4mb :frowning:

On the one hand a user is losing a link to similar peeps who could lead them to fast resolution.

On the other hand alot of stale posts are prevented from being resurrected with why wont 2019 firmware work on 2010 hardware. Or how do I setup mpls on chaoschalmer.... And i'm usually on the "pro-resurrection" side when it comes to etiquette. Thinking aloud... is there scope for a "legacy" board ... ( rhetorical )... Apologies ... tangents....

I like your point about so many sparse threads relating to the same hardware / question.

I've done a little thread management externally. And it's difficult to find options that satisfy everyone. I think if;

a) The system is manageable
b) Users have ( easy ) access to relevant, consolidated information

then things on on the up and up.

I can't help thinking if the platform is a tad "post-and-disappear"... kind of lacks the feeling of familiarity. Search works great. But there are no "corners" to sit in.

i wonder does the platform drive the policy? ( rhetorical )

anyways... i think i lean toward the close.... but sure wish the 30%-60% who know what they are doing had some flexibility.


Notifications for antiquities are mostly a waste of time.
100 days for new threads and 10 days for solved ones should be more than enough.
Anything substantial can be posted as a new thread linking with the old one.


I know this is not your main concern, but sadly the reverse is also true - with a lot of users getting a brand spanking new 1 GBit/s FTTH connections and not bothering to mention that they need a router for those speeds (or expecting their 10+ year old router, respectively the bottom of the shelf router from their nearest convenience store, to cope with those requirements). WAN speeds above ~100-200 MBit/s (and even that might be too much for many seasoned, but otherwise still good/ well supported devices) are still 'special' and need high-end devices.

Returning to your main topic, aside from some very generic device bring-up- or community build threads, it's almost always a bad idea (as in being off-topic or embracing a tangential topic) to resurrect a well dusted topic by a new participant. It's very rare that new participants to a thread which has been dormant for a year or more actually continue (remotely) on-topic - on the contrary, these threads are mostly attracting spammers, hoping to hide their link-spam from active participants (but well visible to search engines).


If the old topic coveres the same issue that a new user is having then there is no need for further discussion. And if it doesn't then the new user can always reference the old topic and say that they have gone through that.

The fact that a topic is closed doesn't prevent anybody from reading it and referencing it. That's what hyperlinks are for. Plus they work pretty well on the forum as they show preview and also can link to the post of interest with the topic not just to the start of the page.

Closing solved topics keeps things tidy and helps to avoid spaghetti topics.