Can't have multiple new topic drafts

Following a meeting, I volunteered for two separate tasks, requiring two separate threads.

I open a browser tab and begin one of them. I open a second tab to begin the second, and the “New Topic” button is replaced with a “Open Draft” button. I am prevented from beginning my second thread until I post my first thread.

This seems counter-intuitive in that one, to my knowledge, there is no way to save and edit drafts in Discourse, and two, it requires me to use a separate app (a text editor) to accomplish my work.

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Your draft is saved automaticly.
You find your drafts in the User menu

Ways to work on more than one topic are mentioned here

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Thank you, but your links to another Meta thread appear to suggest workarounds that aren’t much better than simply composing my thoughts entirely off Discourse in a third-party text editor.

Thank you also for directing me to a list of my saved drafts. I did not know those existed, I don’t know how they were created, and it seems now I have many drafts from over several months to delete individually (or is there a way to delete them all at once?). Additionally, this still doesn’t provide a solution to this bug I seem to have encountered, in that I can’t draft two threads at once.

I don’t think it’s a bug. Just how the system works today. But regardless, why can’t you just make the first topic and then make the second topic afterward? Do they have to be posted seconds apart for some reason?

I am working on both at the same time. I might similarly ask why would the system not permit this?

I have no idea. I was just noting that it didn’t seem like a bug. I wasn’t saying the current way is ideal.

Personally, I’ve almost never run into this issue before. Sure, it would be nice to be able to make multiple drafts at once. But I do wonder how common the use case is.

Create a PM to yourself is my recommendation.

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I spent some time writing a theme component to add a ‘Save draft’ button to the composer - as well as a ‘View drafts’ button. I abandoned it in the end as the behaviour with new topics made it counter intuitive.

As a sample use case - I use this feature to save drafts on Twitter. It works in a similar way to Discourse - click Cancel and you are asked if you want to Delete or Save draft. The difference with Twitter is it does allow you to save more than one draft for a new topic. This is useful e.g. if drafting a few tweets late at night and saving them to post at a more appropriate time (or more often not after you’ve had time to sleep on it!)

The ‘Save draft as PM’ option is a good work around as Jeff recommends - providing you know how to convert a Topic into a PM and vice versa.

I would upvote this feature request of being able to save more than one draft of a + New Topic as I think it would be a useful addition - and more intuitive than using PMs to self to do this. It would also have the advantage of keeping all drafts in the same place.

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I have a Discourse for Teams customer asking about the fact that it is possible to have multiple topic replies in flight at the same time but you can only have one new topic in flight at a time. I myself have often found myself in the position when I am in the middle of writing a longer new topic and want to hit the pause button so I can add a reply to something else.

The current workarounds appear to be to do one of the following:

  1. cancel and copy/paste post into a text editor elsewhere
  2. cancel and copy/paste post into a PM to yourself
  3. save as shared draft (if you are staff and happy to have other staff see your draft before it is published)

These are all fairly unwieldy and unfriendly to the user, especially in a Teams context where users may be working on several new topics at a time and also may not be very comfortable or happy about workarounds. Is there a particular reason why this is not currently possible? Could we build it?

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Historically it is an extreme power user feature, we’re waiting for enterprise clients to ask for it, or even to hit the rule of three.

We do have much better draft user interface (the drafts tab now exists in your user profile, it did not a year or more ago) so the fundamental underpinnings are now there to add it, it’s just a question of prioritizing it relative to all our other work.

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I often find myself starting what might be a longer post, with the intent to finish it later. But then I’ll need to start another post (or indeed, another!?). So I’m forced to either a) publish and unfinished thread with some modified header [draft/unfinished/dont look at this yet!!] :expressionless: or copy it out to another interface? or message myself as you say.

All of which feel hacckkkyyy (and are just a pain to do in reality; a small pain, but still a pain[which notes app did i plop them in to? I don’t use one consistently…]) ).

Slack’s handling of drafts that was added last year (?) is great. You don’t have to worry. Post when you’re ready.

Here I’m pulled out of discourse/markdown to prepare anything longer than a few paras. (We’re using discourse for some internal documentation eg. Ideally we’d have a bunch of posts which link to each other and which can be discussed, but that’s a bit of a nightmare just now).

I would love to see this feature added :heart: .

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Thanks, Josh! As Jeff suggested earlier in this topic, one workaround is to create a PM to yourself on the site itself and copy/paste the text of your draft into it. Not ideal for sure but it works on all devices and lets you access and resume a draft from any of your devices.

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Out of curiosity, I started playing around with the draft feature since my forum is trying to restart and resume decades of popular threads. So it seems the functionality is already there to have multiple drafts if the drafts are replies to preexisting threads.

The gotchas are these: The first is if you are wanting to draft up multiple new threads. There is where the interface will only let you resummon your one and only one thread draft. I can see why people might be frustrated about that. In some ways, that seems counterintuitive given how you can have multiple reply drafts, albeit only one reply draft per thread, which itself is another downside I will touch on later. Since you are reviewing this multiple drafts functionality, let me offer a solution and some suggestions.

Can we just have unlimited drafts, both at the forum level and at the thread level, period? From the thread level, you might be responding to different conversation paths. That is one instance where you might be having multiple drafts going. You are responding to posts with different subtopics or different users under that thread topic and want to break it up into multiple, easily digestible posts. Responding in a single megapost might not be the best solution especially when it could quickly become a wall of text. The reasons for having multiple thread drafts is already abundantly clear: different threads being drafted.

Here is a proposed solution: when you hit the new topic or the reply button in the forum and thread views, respectively, maybe offer these four options in a dialog box:

  • Resume draft
  • New draft and keep old draft(s)
  • New draft and replace last draft
  • New draft and delete all drafts

If that is too many options, that was intentional. I erred with going with too many options rather than too little. I believe design-wise it gives you guys more considerations given the diversity of workflows there might be. Then again, you might be 1000 steps ahead of me and already have a solution forming internally that adequately resolves all of this. And if not, and if you are thinking this is probably more of an edge case, maybe this functionality can be toggled either via a future admin or user setting that is intentionally disabled by default and/or only brought in via a plugin?

Thanks for the thoughts! I don’t think it makes sense to have multiple draft replies to the same topic. In fact we discourage people from replying multiple times in a topic to reply to different people. If you want to separate them, start a new linked topic.

But I do love the idea of being able to keep multiple new topic drafts without jumping through hoops.

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I realize this is discouraged behavior and you are trying to prevent a Wild West hodgepodge that muddles your product’s identity, but if you are going to go as far as multiple drafts in one, why not the other, why not not go halfway and just go all in? And perhaps as a compromise, leave off multiple drafts in a thread by default to satisfy your team’s sensibilities or culture that frowns upon it, while still giving us the option so we can toggle it on.

Just to throw my 2¢ in. It’s a pain needing to make a pm with yourself. And on I forum I am active on I make a weekly poll and I cant just copy and paste it if I am not able to edit the post anymore. So I if I get 4+ ideas for future polls I won’t be able to just copy and paste all of them.

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The “save draft for later” option that comes up when you “cancel” a topic from the editor is very useful. I for one like to use drafts as a place to store ideas that I may or may not ever finish.

But I find one aspect of the behavior a bit confusing: if I choose “save draft for later”, I am returned to the main page, but the button still says “Open draft”. It seems that the correct way to make a new topic (i.e., unconnected to the draft) is to select and delete the content in the editor — all the text and all the drop-downs.

Is that correct? It seems counter intuitive to me; if I just “saved as draft”, I would expect the button on the main page to return to “New post”, and the editor to be empty if I click it.

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It is a fundamental limitation of the current design and would require multiple weeks of engineering to amend. Not in our priority list for now.

It gets extra complicated cause how do you even start reasoning about multiple post drafts on a single topic, the cognitive overhead is huge.

I think this all stems from the expectation that a topic can have N drafts. Given the underlying limitation where topics can only have 1 draft, this is the only way to solve it. If we allowed you to start a second new topic it would override the existing draft, as currently implemented.

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I’m very happy with Discourse and just mentioned this in a spirit of helpfulness

I see. Yes, on reflection I can see how the implementation of multiple drafts would be very difficult.

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