Push users to search before posting

We have a Wishlist category that we try to keep consolidated and organized. It is the only category we have in which user’s new topics require mod review before acceptance. They can vote and comment on existing topics.

Even though in the category intro we ask them to search before posting, we get tons of submissions for topics that already exist. We then have to go through all the steps to merge the new submission with the existing topic, which ends up being pretty time consuming.

While the "Your topic is similar to" pops up on the right side while they’re posting (and likely contains the existing topic in the first few lines) it seems they don’t use or notice it. Two changes that would make “Your topic is similar to” more useful:

  1. Have it pop up separately BEFORE final topic submission as a “must deal with” screen (only for #wishlist), and

  2. Have it restrict the display of similar topics to #wishlist and #roadmap (again, only when posting in #wishlist)

Does anything like this exist or is there a way to create it with plugins, etc?


I think we might have a decent solution. It’s not exactly what you are asking for, but I’m hoping it’s close enough. See what you think:

    • Open the category settings for #wishlist and click on the “Topic Template” tab. Add a short notice like PLEASE SEARCH FOR SIMILAR TOPICS BEFORE POSTING and save the change

    • Next go to /admin/logs/watched_words/action/block and add the same short notice to the list of blocked words. It should look like this:

    • With this setup, all users will have the text PLEASE SEARCH FOR SIMILAR TOPICS BEFORE POSTING automatically inserted into their composer when trying to create a topic in #wishlist. Thanks to the blocked words feature, the post will not go through unless the user has deleted that text. They will see a notification like this until they remove the text:

      This should make for a fairly strong reminder since it requires a little more action than closing the suggested topics pop-up.

  1. There is a site setting called limit_suggested_to_category which should restrict the similar topics to the category in which the post is being created. Currently there is no category-level option to specify which categories should be included in the similar topics list.