Optimized interface for mass editing topic titles?

In the community I am moderating (support community for a Javascript framework) we have the problem that users are really bad at creating titles:

  • Although we have categories for different library versions and they use them, the also tend to include the version numbers in the title like “How do I do x with software v3?” which adds a lot of unnecessary noise - especially as the library version is irrelevant in 99% of the cases.
  • Many don’t actually describe their problem, but write something like “Problem, how to fix?” or “Build doesn’t work” an leave all the interesting stuff to the post body (or just leave it out completely - but that is a different problem)

If we just accept these topics as they are, new users (95% of users are first time users) see these topics and create titles that are similar: They all include irrelevant version numbers or just state that they have a problem. That is why we, the moderators, try to “police” the topic titles and edit them.

Right now my workflow for this is opening the list of new topics, opening all the ones with “bad” titles in new tabs and go through them one by one. This takes a lot of clicks and tabs and also marks these topics as “read” by me, which I didn’t actually do.

I imagine a topic view where I can directly edit topic titles with few clicks and maybe even read a preview of the post body without opening the actual thread. Does something like this exist?

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AFAIK, I don’t think this exists yet.

Not entirely sure if these suit your use case, but Discourse-tooltips - preview topic contents on hover and https://meta.discourse.org/t/topic-list-previews/41630/27 are two plugins that do that. They do not limit the view to staff though.

Alternatively, here’s an approach to guide your user: Topic Templates.

However, it does not support defining a topic title template via the settings. Maybe you could include a title convention on the first line to remind the user, or somehow leverage the “prefill by URL” feature (that supports prefilling topic title)?


Kill the categories, then. One category per library.

Consider promoting users to TL3, which allows them to fix up the titles. Then they can fix the titles while they read + respond to the questions.


Thanks, “Discourse-tooltips” could semi work for this - but as I can’t quick-edit in the topic list view I don’t win too much unfortunately.

I thought about them, but similar to Issue templates on Github they IMO are the wrong tool for the job: Adding default text into the post body works for the people that want to post following this exact template, and frustrates all the others that are now unsure if their type of question/content is allowed at all. (Github issue: Bug issue templates, where or how do I post a feature request?)

Ok, I should have been more specific here, sorry:
My situation is similar to Angular(JS). v1 (AngularJS) and v2+ (Angular) are totally different, so we need to have different categories for these as the questions and solutions are different.

(I actually think this is one of the reasons why it was “common” to include the version number in the topic title: 6 months ago there was only one category. This trained people on including the version number. I fixed this, but people still do it - so to uncondition them I have to edit the newly created topics)

Thanks for responding anyway!

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