Get notified about unanswered questions

One issue I’m having with my Discourse community is unanswered questions. How can I get notified that a question has been left unanswered for X time? For example can I have a email sent to someone when a new topic has not been responded to in 4 hours?

Is there a way to assign users to a category and have them notified when a new topic is posted for a specific category? Another was of asking this question is can a user subscribe to a specific category?



@kpfleming’s answer does address the

How do I let people know there is a new topic (in a specific category)?

but does not address the

How do I nag people when a topic (in any category) has gone too long without replies?

part. Not sure about that, feels a bit plugin-ish to me.

Seems like this is treading the fine line between ‘discussion’ and ‘question/answer’ as well. If there was a plugin to support this sort of model (i.e. a category being used as a product support mechanism), I suspect it would need quite a bit of behavior to be useful, including admin-controlled notifications, escalations, and other things.


Some method of showing unanswered questions to users would be awesome.

Goals in our forums:

  • We don’t want to leave anyone waiting around for an answer (technical support mostly)
  • We want to remove any friction that keeps users from helping each other out.

Currently, there’s no easy way in Discourse to see all unanswered questions unless you go to a category directly, sort by ‘Posts’ then sort OR pick topics with < 2 Posts.

A tab along the top that shows ‘Unanswered #’ topics much like ‘New #’ shows now would solve my use case. This could be optional in Admin Prefs, of course.

I know there also is a ‘numposts=0’ query string in the works that might give us the ability to quickly search for these topics, but having a dedicated section (like we have for Latest, New, Starred etc.) shown to all users would be great for folks who use forums as a ‘help everyone, and help them quickly’ portal.

The only other modification I can imagine others requesting for this tab would be to show this only to certain user groups (only staff, for example).


Does this feature still seem best for a plugin or are there any plans for a top level tab for ‘unanswered’? @codinghorror

A finer-grained variant of this that matters for most discussion groups (not just Q&A) is:

“Show me topics with no reply that are from n00bs”

Making sure n00bs get a fast reply to their first two-three topics goes a long way toward encouraging them to become regular participants. Some of these folks are taking their first foray into posting in an online forum and it’s important their posts don’t get lost in the noise or they’re reasonably likely to think that the forum is a waste of time and never post again.

So having some way to highlight these topics to my senior/helpful users would be great.


  1. Search query: “topics with no reply with authors with a post count of less than 3” (could also use trust levels to identify n00bs)
  2. Highlight these topic titles in a different color on the homepage for users who are Trust Level 2/3 and above
  3. Create notifications for these topics for T2/3 users and above
  4. Create a new tab next to “top” that shows up for only senior members

Personally, I think #1 + #2 is ideal. That way my regulars get a visual nudge to welcome someone, plus my welcome team can search regularly to make sure no topics got missed.