Feature idea: Hide unpopular topics (per category) from the front page if no replies

(Lowell Heddings) #1

The HTG forum is largely used as a replacement for WordPress comments. The problem is that not every article gets comments or is even interesting enough to get a bunch of comments, so the front page of Discourse on HTG often has a bunch of empty boring topics on it that make the place look more unoccupied than it already is.

It would be interesting to have a setting (per category) that topics in that category that don’t have replies don’t show up on the front page. (They would still show up on the category page, of course). People would also still be able to navigate to the topic by clicking over from the article.

Another alternative would be to show those posts on the home page for a brief period, and then hide them if they don’t have replies after a few hours. It would definitely need to be a setting per-category though.

The point here would be making sure that the front page contains mostly “hot” topics that generate discussion, and anything auto-generated by WordPress and boring gets filtered out.

I think it would be a great addition to the whole WordPress integration for everybody else as well.

(Jeff Atwood) #2

I think this is what the /top page is for. Did you want to make /top your default homepage?

(we aren’t showing Top as nav right now because Computer Help takes up a lot of space … we could remove Starred, Unread, etc, something.)

The only downside is that this could lead to a “rich get richer” problem where only the popular topics ever get replies and most other topics are kind of ignored. But if the article comment areas are linked directly from HTG proper that might be OK since there is a way to deep link to the topics from the front page which gets a lot of traffic.

(Lowell Heddings) #3

I hadn’t seen that view before.

Side Note: It is weird and feels inconsistent that /top doesn’t have user icons but /top/weekly does when they are the “same” view.

The problem is that most forum users want to see what the latest and greatest thing is… and new topics really fit that bill. That’s why regular forum users reload the home page all the time.

New forum users need to see a list of interesting topics that draw them in. So that’s where hiding the boring stuff makes a lot of sense, and yes, the Top page does accomplish that… at the expense of the regular forum users who would probably dislike it. (as a regular user here, I would probably not use it on Meta very often)

The Top view should heavily bias towards new / latest content to work as the home page, especially on a smaller forum.

For example, on HTG the Top item is 6 hours old, but a recent conversation is lower on the page. So we’re biasing heavily towards total posts as opposed to latest and greatest.

I dunno. I see your point, but it feels like an incomplete solution that works great for new users, would probably annoy the regulars, and would definitely make new topics wither and die.

Where the Top view really excels is for somebody that hasn’t been on the forum in a while. They can see what happened while they were gone. Once they are “back”, though, they are going to want to use the Latest view instead.