How do you manage when the topic becomes too long?

What do you do when you have a single topic that becomes too long, but you cannot split it because the conversation is still relevant?

How do surface replies that are good but hidden in between other replies? Example, on our website we have a section where people can vote for features. Users keep on saying “I want this” followed by an occasional good comment. This good comment gets lost because there’s no way to upvote similar to Reddit.

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If people use the like feature appropriately then the topic summary should do the trick here.

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What Hawk said is correct, also, you may want to issue some rules for the category (I assume this is a category, like “possible new features”) so that each topic is a single feature request. Allowing people to kitchen sink infinite feature request replies into the same topic isn’t going to go well for anyone.

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I was looking at a specific example in your forums Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) - Roadmap - Wyze Community and have some advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to prune out mess. If you treat every reply a special forever protected snowflake and never prune when 3 people post: +1 for the RTSP. in a row, you are setting yourself up for failure.

  2. Don’t be afraid to split out great conversation. If you notice a great reply that deserves a dedicated topic, move it to a new topic. This encourages conversation in the right spot.

  3. Don’t be afraid to edit the OP (first post) and provide a quick summary of where stuff is at and any big milestones potentially linking to other conversation.

Overall, a 94 post topic is not a huge drama, people can work through it… but once a feature request with voting has 100s of posts, something does not feel right.

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Love those advice. I do it every day. The last one is great, especially for “tell us your experiences/tools” topics
Splitting out a new conversation permits others to notice it and chime in

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Oh thanks very much!
I have always been wondering what posts were kept in that summary!

Prune? Do you mean extract all RTSP related posts and put them in a new split topic?

Well depends on the content … there are two types of people in the world … the “deletionist” and the “preservationist”.

  1. The “preservationist” believes that all content be it “LOL +1” posts or “here is a random picture of an ant” MUST BE PRESERVED or disarray will be created in the universe.

  2. The “deletionist” believes all content must have utility and add to the conversation, off topic / out of date stuff has high potential of being long term search mines so they should be deleted.

In reality as a moderator you are somewhere on this spectrum. If you are hard core “preservationist” odds are you will split. If you are hard core “deletionist” you will delete.

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There’s a third option

  1. The “summarist” deletes a bunch of content and summarizes the content for others in abbreviated form.

This takes a fair bit of work versus the other two options though, which is why it is rarely pursued in the wild.

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The problem of the “deletionist” is that people are always frustrated or angry when their posts are deleted, it is natural feeling.
And then you may get angry topics, repeated topics, people leaving slamming the door, etc.
More and more things to delete and more and more frustration.

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I usually like to have multiple topics for the same subject.

A lot of the time, even if an old topic has useful information, it also tends to have a lot of outdated information which only serves to confuse people and when you’re in the world of software or administration, this can result in a lot of misunderstandings you’d rather not have.

That’s just my view on it though.

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