Reply box: make reply options more visible

The reply box has the important feature “Reply as linked topic”. This makes it possible for users to declutter discussions by posting off-topic replies into a new topic.

Right now this option is hidden behind an unrecognizable button and users not knowing about it will never use it.

Design A:

Design B:

At first glance which of these looks more natural to you?

  • Design A
  • Design B

0 voters

First one because of that option is rarely used nor needed. The second one would be the best if we would have something nearly everyday in use.

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I was thinking about this the other day when wondering if Toggle Unlisted should live in there. I think it is often one of the last menus that people find.

What else lives in there:

  • Toggle Whisper (group-enabled)
  • Toggle Bump Date (TL4+)
  • Toggle Post Voting (Post Voting plugin)

I think all of those would still make sense in a differently positioned button. :+1:

Now I recognized what is bothering me with the current UI.

The “button” is styled like an input field:

Design A:

Design C: select box

Design D: button with select option

Maybe one of these designs works better – which one do you prefer:

  • Design A
  • Design C
  • Design D

0 voters

Design D: CSS

Add this quick and dirty CSS code to your theme to see the impact of “Design D”:

/* reply box: make reply-mode-selector more visible */
.select-kit.dropdown-select-box.composer-actions .select-kit-header {
    background: var(--primary-low);
    color: var(--primary);
    border: none;
.select-kit.dropdown-select-box.composer-actions .select-kit-header .d-icon {
    padding: .5em .65em;
#reply-control .reply-to .composer-action-title .select-kit-header-wrapper:after {
    /* add symbol caret-down */
    display: block;
    content: "";
    width: 0;
    height: 0;
    margin-top: 2px;
    margin-right: .65em;
    border-left: 6px solid transparent;
    border-right: 6px solid transparent;
    border-top: 6px solid var(--primary);
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C is too wide, so it has to be D because it tells there is something to choose from.

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This discussion is very similar to the discussion where the feature was originally added: With the new right gutter, where should "Reply as Linked Topic" go?

Can we talk about the problem a little more? the assumption is that making the button more obvious would result in more people deciding to start a new topic instead of replying to the existing one… but I’m not sure that’s true. Do most users even understand what a linked topic is to begin with?

Is there a better way to explain the benefits of a linked topic? Is there a certain threshold of activity where it might make sense to recommend a linked topic and explain why a little bit? I feel like education could have a greater impact than making the button stand out more. Making it a more obvious toggle might be a good idea, but I don’t think it’s going to change much unless we can confidently explain why anyone would use it to begin with.

My opinion on UX:
Any object of the same element-class should always follow the same working principle and look identical, so that the functioning of it is recognizable by users.

And here the “Reply-mode-selector” is actually a select-button, which looks like an input field and does not look like the select buttons in other places of the UI e.g.

These points where already mentioned but went lost in the long run of implementation. Thanks to pointing me to the earlier discussions.

On the general discussion of the feature “Reply as Linked Topic”:

Use cases for “Reply as Linked Topic”

Actually it’s all about not getting an otherwise healthy discussion stopped by 2-3 users starting their off-topic discussions in it.

User picking multiple quotes of older posts in the topic:
User tries to make a point on specifically selected statements which might get the discussion off-topic.

New reply on cold topic with long time of no replies:
This often results in slightly off-topic content which is better placed in a new topic.

No. But education is perhaps slightly easier when there is a remainder of such option.

Anyway, linked topic is something that is very rarely used — anywhere. Quite often a moderator just start a new conversation splitting a topic.


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Maybe rename “Reply as linked topic” to:

Reply in new topic
Create a new topic linked to this topic.