Nudging non responders


Our team is new to discourse like forum for day to day discussions. So what happens is, topic creators liberally tag others, but when it comes to having to respond, due to too many tags (or any other disciplinary reasons), people are not responding promptly. These lead to orphaned forgotten unattended topics over time, and there are also important topics for which we want to remind the non responders, so the discussions go on.

We could keep tagging them with gentle reminders at end of each topic, but this only increases their tag count, and its laborious to do at category level for many topics.

My current work around is, any one awaiting for any other in a topic can tag that topic as “awaiting”, and a moderator can scoop all the topics tagged “awaiting”, and send consolidated gentle reminders to the non responders, so they have list of topic links they need to respond. Yes this is making them lazier, not correcting their behavior, but first most the topics should stay alive.

This also means, laboriously cleaning old “awaiting” tags off their topics when no more valid (either again collectively by moderator) or expecting the content creator to do that (which kinda feels penalizing him for non responders’ fault).

What are other methods followed across discourse universe? Do we have a (process + tool setup) which can effectively more automatically can do this moderation for us?


I’m new around here, but I found your topic and its concerns very interesting. In my view, I feel like there’s perhaps a… conflict?.. between contributions manifested on personal interest and those prompted by a type of duty/discipline. I see the former as more organic and the latter as more societal. Perhaps what might help is to establish a set of expectations… guidelines or principles if you will… that community members should strive to follow/model. Maybe create a type of rewards system (e.g. conditional badges) for adherence/dedication? I feel like management of your community would ideally benefit from creating an ecosystem that is self-managing/moderating as much as possible. I could be way off base here, but this is my two cents FWIW.


Yes, that is the ideal one we aspire to, but members are new (they are from non SW background), and despite our continuous push, the response is worrisome with tasks piling up. We also have a project management (Openproject, OP) which we link at end of discussions usually, but also now during the discussions, so as to nudge them via OP as well). So we are trying various measures, including this.


One thing you can do is set the auto-bump interval per category. So any open discussion is randomly picked and bumped. Go to the category settings and enter a number in this field:

Number of open topics to automatically bump daily

It is a good idea to surface some old discussions from time to time, unless those discussions are closed (or archived) and complete. It’s the same basic principle behind “Suggested Topics” at the bottom of every topic. Once you exhaust the list of topics you are watching or tracking, it’s a random selection of topics in the current category, but not too old.


Suppose if we can incentivize participation, how could discourse help here?

For example, for each post of minimum 20 words, participants get 10 points., and then at end of month, from each department, highest scorer may be rewarded. Discourse could help with any customized report for such schemes?


I presume when you say tag you mean @mention?

Have you found that people are not reading the posts they are mentioned in, or they are reading but not replying?


Yes, I meant @mention.

I am not sure, why exactly they do not respond. These are potential reasons as they occur. For example: too many tags.

A part of the team (non SW) is totally new to organized documentation transferring the torn pieces of concepts in their mind to organized layout of textual and visual descriptions. There are also has further issues like contributing that in English from their mother tongue. I understand these are beyond discourse’s purview, but I am exploring if incentives could help in this cultural transformation, and if how discourse metrics could help in that regard.


I’d start by asking them, if you haven’t already. Often we design solutions based on assumptions. See if you can get to the root of the problem before trying to fix it.