Automatically combining messages by a single user

Hello Community,

Some forum users use forums like chats. The “max consecutive replies” function has already been introduced for this case.

The forum software XenForo has a useful function that allows the software to automatically combine subsequent replies from the same user into a single reply. If a user posts a second reply directly below their previous reply, the replies are automatically merged and a dividing line is automatically inserted.

I miss this option in Discourse or have not been able to find it yet.

Are there any plans to implement this?


Just to point out that this probably should exclude replies that are an explicit reply to an earlier Post? (via the Post Reply button) These have special meaning and are often intentionally separate. But otherwise it should be safe to do this.

Not necessarily. By default it may be, with the option to overwrite this if the admin wishes.

Imho that’s foolish as you are destroying potentially important context.

I think it depends on the perspective.

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If consecutive posts have no reply to post reference, I believe those could be safely merged together.
In addition, replying to the same post should trigger the merging action. IMO.

To enrich this useful suggestion by @OrkoGrayskull, such feature should have at least an option to determine time window during which consecutive posts meeting the criteria should be automatically merged into one message.

At our Discourse instance (~900 posts per day) there are a lot of users who are making consecutive posts (usually with media), rarely reaching the current max consecutive replies (which is set to 5 in our case), which really makes the experience reading the topics worse, but it is impossible to moderate it efficiently. We don’t know exact reasons for people not editing their post made 1 minute ago to add the new media, but there may be several like getting reactions or just laziness and convenience of making a new post.

Anyway, such a feature would certainly help heavy instances with extra active discussions.

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There’s nothing stopping that information being converted to something in-line within the post though, is there?

I’ve wanted to see this kind of behavior myself for a while now. Rolling up the replies and suppressing the bump is also a nice alternative to allowing an edit window.


Same - having it automated will offload a fair chunk of moderator work and the associated communication angst with the odd user who resents mods tinkering with their posts at all.


I’m probably in the minority, but I think this would be a terrible feature, because you may not know that the second post has been merged into the first one.

Editing windows should be used to correct errors in a post, which are commonplace, especially when posting from anything that offers autocorrect.

There’s a big difference between “It is now time to buy a car” and “it is not time to buy a car”.

Why not? You can label it within the posting. For example, with a dividing line or other more meaningful elements.

But then you would no longer have the ability to split the topic if that was desirable without it getting messy.

Well, that depends on the implementation of the function.

How? Once you aggregate the messages there’s no untangling them without a messy process of a series of manual edits.

Yes, that can be a problem. However, when I look at our forum, it is much more common for moderators to merge posts (because users use the forum like a chat) than for topics to be split.

I don’t have a solution for this either, but there may be a good alternative. Let’s think about it first instead of dismissing the feature request as useless.

I think the original post would still exist as ‘deleted’, so that could be undeleted and split off. That would leave a manual edit to delete the duplicated portion in the merged post. It is an extra step, but not necessarily that messy.


As a TL4, you can split but may not necessarily see deleted posts. Therefore, this doesn’t work for everyone.


As I don’t believe such feature may be in any core development roadmap for a recent future, I went ahead & opened a new Marketplace request:

Please introduce your feedback to this request in case you believe there should be something to adjust in this task. We are certainly welcome to anyone splitting our costs of development for this feature. This would definitely help us decide on whether we’d like to make this development available for everyone to use as a Discourse plugin


I don’t think there’s any talk about this being a discourse default, nor the assumption that communities where this behavior would be beneficial would object to the compromise.

We’re just exploring how this could be manifested because there are definitely spaces where such a feature would be valued.


Every forum admin thinks their forum is unique. :slight_smile:

In my forums, the majority of posts are responses via email, and people tend to respond to any recent post rather than keep them within coherent topics or start a new topic on a new subject. That’s probably because these have been email-based lists for 30 years. (The first one was started in 1991.)

I figure as long as they’re more or less on topic (ie, football-related posts are in the football category and not the basketball one) it isn’t worth trying to move things around.