Branching new topics inline

I’m aware I’m touching upon the dreaded “threaded conversation” topic here, but I experience a specific problem in one of my discussion groups that I’m wondering if a new feature may help resolve.

Any given debate topic tends to quickly go off the rails (both in person and online). Humans just can’t help but go off on tangents. This is well known, and original forum designers created visually threaded topics for the ostensible purpose of modelling this.

My discussion group is specifically aimed at resolving disagreements, whether that be a compromise, agreement or even disagreement (agree to disagree).

The thing is the tangents are in and or themselves, often fascinating topics, and not subjects we want to shut down. We likely will want to discuss and resolve those too, just maybe at a later time, or even concurrently. Given the purpose of the group, we need to tools that help to both keep the original topic at the forefront (e.g. explicit question we are trying to resolve - a “topic” in Discourse) as well as the ability to spawn off different questions.

I’m dreaming of a system where one can create a new topic inline during a discussion, which is automatically linked back to it’s parent topic, for example by highlighting some text and clicking “Create Topic about this”.



I may have misunderstood, but I think you can use Quote + Reply as Linked Topic:


Reply as Linked Topic


At any time a poster can reply as a new topic:

And admins must branch out off-topic to a new topic using the wrench tool.

Both options will create cross-links between topics.


I weeping. That is beautiful, thanks. I will give it a go.

P.S. I did google to see if Discourse had this feature but nothing came up, nor could I see it in the UI but I clearly needed to dig a bit deeper!


No worries, it is a power-user feature that needs to be discovered but we just shared it on Twitter to let more users know!