Allow topics to automatically close after x days of Inactivity

(Lowell Heddings) #1

We have the great feature to allow topics to automatically close after a certain time period, but I would really prefer that we allow topics to stay open until they haven’t been responded to after a certain number of days… and then force them to close.

Because right now even a new topic shows up with the automatically close message at the bottom, which seems like it might stifle discussion a little when we are telling people right away that the topic is ending.

So maybe “after 10 days, close the topic if no activity after 3 days”. Or something like that. Or maybe to simplify it, just make it be after x days of inactivity.

(Michael Congiusta) #2

This would definitely be cool to apply automatically on a per-category basis (wasn’t 100% sure if that’s what this suggestion was because you can also apply this setting per topic using the admin).

(Lowell Heddings) #3

Yeah, it would be useful to have it available both ways. I mean, I can see having a firm date for automatic close, especially on specific topics. But for a category, it would be better to only close after inactivity.

(Jeff Atwood) #4

This has been discussed elsewhere but it has the same flaws as auction schemes where the auction end date extends every time a new bid is placed. There are some subtle pathological states introduced and it makes the situation annoyingly unpredictable.

I think a better solution is to not display the auto close warning until the close date is within (x) days. That solves your immediate problem of users being intimidated away by the potential close, and still lets people know the close is coming in a reasonable timeframe.

(Dave McClure) #5

Good point about hiding the close date. Seems like combining that with @geek’s proposal would work well though and avoid pathological cases.

(Jeff Atwood) #6

This would be a very bad setting on BBS.boingboing, for example, on many of the politically charged topics. You are sometimes praying for the close date to arrive by the end. (Not super common, but I can show you topics where people were literally Liking the auto-generated close message.)

There is also value in letting people know a timer is present, so things can’t go on forever, say your piece and finish, etc. That said, I don’t see any problem with suppressing the notification early on, when days and days are left, as info-porn.

Letting the most annoying frequent posters determine when a topic closes… that is a very risky bet. Depends on the community but I would consider that a fairly unsafe setting based on my experience with user behavior in discussions.

(Lowell Heddings) #7

That… is not what I intended.

If you display a message that says “This topic will close after x days of inactivity”… then sure, people will be annoying and keep the thing open and the counter going, just to be ridiculous. But that’s not what I had in mind at all.

I meant that once a topic is inactive for x days, just close it. No auto-close message is needed at all anywhere in that scenario. (that’s what I used to do on my old crappy forum with a single line of SQL that ran once a night)

Because I’ve yet to see a scenario where an old topic comes back to life and it was a good thing. For me, it’s 95% SEO spammers, and 5% people posting how they have the same unsolved problem.

For the BBS scenario with political posts, obviously they have a need for setting a strict close date, and it makes sense to keep that as a feature as well, although I also like the idea of suppressing the notification until the last day or two.

(Régis Hanol) #8

Discourse now allows you to specify a number of hours to auto-close a topic based on the last post :wink:

(Régis Hanol) #9