Anytime a staff action is performed like closing or unlisted a thread, it would seem Discourse records this as a reply. It contributes to the reply count, and the staff member is listed as a participant on the topic.
Is there a way through customization (doesn’t seem possible with settings) to disable this? We’d prefer users to not see what actions are taken, and have made some modifications to hide the status posts. It’s a bit confusing to see that a staff member has participated on the thread when they haven’t added a real reply.