@Silvanus who proposed this is a native Finnish speaker like me. In Finnish language we have a perfect word to translate “Reply” (“Vastaa”). For me the words are perfect synonyms so if an English speaker understands, a Finnish speaker should understand, too. It doesn’t mean that you are wrong, though: there could be other languages where it could be a real issue.
I still think I know why @Silvanus wanted to see this happen and I agree with him. I think it’s more about forum cultures. Here in Meta “Reply” makes sense, because topics are very condensed. Even if a post isn’t a reply to a post in the thread, it still responds to the first post in some sense. There is a task or aproblem and there is a thread for it. It’s awesome and cool. However, not all forums on the internet can work that way. When @ljpp moved our hockey forum from SMF to Discourse, we added more granularity to better utilize the properties of Discourse and we love it. There has been many great conversions which are clearly credited to the new policy.
You can’t go all the way, though. There are no tasks or problems but states and emotions. You obviously need more than one topic, but you if you push it too far, subjects become more and more arbitrary and same things are going to be discussed in many topics. You even can’t use the moderators’ split tools to keep topics focused because posts are going to contain sections which belong to different topics. All you can do is to delete posts and ban people who post off-topic content, but the gain is far inferior to the downside so you obviously don’t do that. Does this make any sense, @Silvanus?
Back to the topic subject, I’d like to locally translate the “reply to the topic” button to “Kirjoita”, which translates to “Write”. It describes better what the button does especially in broader topics. I know @Silvanus’ pull request wasn’t the right way to do it - don’t have a clue why it wasn’t - but if this is as easy to implement as I think it must be, please do it.