Why are some topics closed so rapidly?

Today as I was browsing new items from the last 3 or 4 days, I wished to respond to 3 or 4 topics, but unfortunately most of the topics were already closed! Is there good justification for this? Yes, I know that I could PM an appropriate person and have the topics reopened, but I don’t like to pester people, and, in addition, by the time the topics are reopened I may have already forgotten exactly what I wanted to post. Is there any harm done in keeping topics open longer?

Topics that are resolved (maybe we’re forgetting to add the [RESOLVED] bit sometimes… ahem) are usually closed. I think we do that to stop off-topic posting (which seemed to be happening a lot). However, I think your suggestion is a good one. What sort grace period before we close a resolved topic do you suggest?

What do other mods & members think?

Thank you for responding, kail. Off-topic posts can also be handled by simply removing the off-topic posts. My preference would be to never close a topic. However, if that’s not reasonable, then perhaps wait at least a few months after the last post? Sometimes a user’s search will bring up an older topic that the user may wish to post to.

I think about 24 hours would be appropriate before we mark a topic resolved and closed. (if we can hold Josh off that long :wink: ). Old posts with old software versions that have additions for current problems are very difficult to respond to. If you wish to keep topics open in the general discussion forums, probably OK, but not in the desktop security products forums where evolution makes the main product of doing that confusion. And, BTW, if the OPs problem is resolved, further postings are unnecessary and arguably off topic. Open a new topic and reference the old.

That’s not funny.

I must say I like the way threads are being locked here. (V)

Replies on way outdated topics are plaguing lots of support forums out there and are essentially a waste of time. I’d say one week is enough unless it’s clearly apparent that the issue is not resolved.

Well there are many different preferences around so I guess it would be difficult to please all.

SMF warn users only if they are going to post in topics older than 180 days ;D

As I’m more inclined to encourage an usage that is able to mimic a knowledgebase I would likely more pass on locked notices than anything else.
Renaming the topic title accordingly, looking at topic locked icon

and reading SMF post page locked warning should be enough.

Topic management is a difficult task indeed and there are many things to consider adding to the fact that different boards have different requirements (General discussion board having the least)

IMHO a topic should be useful to few members, it should not cause uncooperative behaviours, it should be ontopic (featuring an accurate topic title), it should not dilute its contents.

On these assumptions I guess it’s possible to consider locking in few cases.

  • Long topics are difficult to read and understand for latecomers
  • Flame baits does not help to mantain a cooperative mood in this forum
  • Many OT posts dilute informative content and reduce search relevancy scores
  • Outdated topics about bugs or software issues are likely to address related issues with different causes(however this may not always be the case)

The current practice of locking solved topics and editing topic title (The OP is able to do this easily too) enforce a support-ticket paradigm but also prevent the topic length to grow, information dilution and increase search relevance scores.

Resuming an old topic is not inherently a bad thing as it grouping strictly related posts can spare some time. Anyway this advantage is lost when a topic grow too long and is filled with vague/OT posts. In these cases locking the old topics and opening an new on with a reference to other pre-existing discussion would be a nice solution.

If a topic is old but short enough because the issue was too difficult to reproduce a new post could prove useful even after months (only if the new evidences are really related to the old ones).

Anyway moderation is not a burden to pass on moderators. Self moderation is not forbidden :wink:
Actually without members’ cooperation moderators cannot do really much.

Moving OT posts could be avoided if members pay attention to simple netiquette. Moderators usually act when there is no way round. Even if we start moving OT post and split topics we should be prepared to face member discomfort or complaints.

Being a volunteer I prefer to put my efforts in other things and I don’t consider handling daily complaints an attractive task :stuck_out_tongue:

IMHO with each member little effort we could have a huge positive outcome.
If only member who were helped to solve their issue jot down a summary topic to be referenced in subsequent requests we could really take a huge step forward.
On the contrary most topics have vague title and the first post usually lack many infos. Most part of a topic involves figuring out missing pieces of infos, asking questions and figuring out a solution.

Creating sticky notices and grouping Faqs topic was one way to overcome this in the hope that the number of members who actually pays attention is going to increase.

You are one hell of an tech writer G.

Thank you for all of the responses :).

If the moderators are mostly inclined towards shorter timeframes, perhaps make it approx. 10 days from last post to closing? A 10 day timeframe would accomodate those who visit just once a week, and perhaps visit on Friday one week and Sunday the next week. Also, a 10 day timeframe shouldn’t cause too many posts on old product versions to accumulate, should it? By the way, I wouldn’t intend this timeframe to apply to topics that have been resolved to the initial poster’s satisfaction. In any event, I hope awareness has been raised that there are people who visit here regularly, but not necessarily every day.

Honestly we close the topics when they reach our attention. It would be very impractical (at least for me) noting them down with deadlines and getting back to them and closing them when it’s due. So for me it would be either closing at sight or not closing at all. :stuck_out_tongue:

I tend to agree with MrBrian that very often topics are locked too soon.

A resolved topic should be locked, but an unresolved topic may possibly be resolved a week or more later so should be left open for at least a couple of weeks.

Sometime new information comes to light relating to a topic that was not resolved and left open for more input from more members.

I have noticed that many older topics are still being read and sometimes a note is added to them that will help the OP or even others who may be having the same difficulty or problem, and may even help resolve the issue.


Since I’m known as the lock master, Did this topic refer to me? :frowning: (:AGY) ;D (V)

Locking Threads.

Gibran is right, Mods don’t have much power to use at all. We close threads if there issues have been resolved, policy violation has taken place, and out-dated topics that some one has answered.

I tried the idea of locking out-dated threads. But we had a talk in our Secret HQ and decided it was a no no. We lock posts when necessarily, Most of the time it’s common sense.