See who all are writing replies to a topic

Hello everybody!

What I want: See who - apart from me - is using the “Reply” dialog box to write a reply to a particular topic. Like, on Quora, whenever I am browsing a question, I can also see people who are writing an answer to it.

Why I want this: Often, it happens that I post a reply to a topic only to discover that some other person has already written the same response 5-10 seconds ago. Sometimes, it also happens that the other person posts his/her reply while I am still writing my reply, and when I notice it, I am already half way through writing my reply and then I have to abandon my reply (which doesn’t feel really good :frowning:)

Question: Can this feature be implemented? :slight_smile:


EDIT: Quick link to a post detailing this feature so that will probably sort any concern that you might be having on the first glance :slightly_smiling:



We may do this for group messages at some point but not something that is slotted now, plenty of other fish to fry.


Hi @sam, Thanks for the prompt response! :smiley:

Well, I read the first 20 posts of the topic you posted, but it doesn’t seem to be listing the feature that I request. From what I saw, they are asking for:

  1. last seen on profile page
  2. number of users online on the forum as a whole
  3. green dot to show person is online
  4. list of people online as in WarriorForum
  5. etc.

What I am asking for is a way to see which users have their “Reply” dialog boxes open for the same topic as for which I am writing a response. Like, in this way:

(see the text near the bottom; next to cancel button)

Perhaps, my query was resolved in the thread you linked to and I didn’t pay attention so you could please clarify :slightly_smiling:

Thanks! :slightly_smiling:


Is this perhaps more what you are looking for?

This happens to us regularly too, where multiple people will be working on a response and we don’t realize it. Then we hit the reply button about the same time or one person spends a lot of time writing a post and then just before they hit reply, they see a new post come in that negates the sometimes lengthy post they’ve been working on themselves.

This would certainly be a cool feature to help with these situations. You could then babble or slack the person to see if your replies are similar and only one of you needs to write the post.


Maybe easiest to code in a transaction lock.

i.e. if anyone else has the reply composer open, show a type of “sorry, someone beat you to it” modal.

But would that be any less “doesn’t feel really good”?

That is probably way too aggressive for most forums. For popular topics, I’m sure many forums enjoy having multiple replies happening at once, especially since someone might have a draft sitting around for awhile (frequently I do in other tabs).

This would just be more of a courtesy that they might want to ping others who are responding to coordinate their responses.

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What if the modal was “Someone is already writing a reply, are you sure you want to continue” (or something similar)? That being said, I still prefer a small notice on the post editor of who is actually writing a reply, even if it is only a staff feature.

I like the mockup that @GaurangTandon provided in his earlier post. The notice that showed how many were working on the replies with the option to see who they were.


I find this to be the best option. Modals are a little blocking or something like a hindrance. As you could see in the sample I provided, that small notice is quite clear and simple and doesn’t provide any hindrance as well.

I don’t see the point in this being a staff only feature. It is something that affects all users whether new or regular or moderators and limiting it to staff would - I feel - defeat the whole purpose of setting up this feature.

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My comment was in reference to discussion brought up in a few other threads regarding presence based features. People had brought up concerns both about overwhelming the UI (I don’t think this does), and about user privacy. I would love to see this available to everyone, but if the Discourse team is concerned about the above two issues, then I would rather see it as staff only than not at all.

Keep in mind, “Sam is Typing” feature can be quite paralysing especially if there is no chat backchannel.

Unlike “Sam is Typing” that happens in chat, where people go: “Whatever I don’t care all white boxes must be filled with text” in forums you stop and think… ahhh Sam is already taking care of this so I might as well leave it alone.

But what if “Sam” thought the same about you, now stuff that may have gotten an answer will not.


I think this is a very important concern, but it could be avoided by the modal idea suggested by @Mittineague (but not locking). If a modal appears only when the reply dialog is opened with a warning that someone else is typing, then “Sam” will never see that “Jomaxro” is typing, and thus not stop his reply. “Jomaxro” will then make a decision, “hmm, I think I am about to say the exact thing as Sam, so I am not going to continue” or “Sam always writes awful things, I better write my own reply to ensure everything is clear”.

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I admit it might be a bit annoying to get “ninja’d” or “sniped” especially if a lot of time was spent researching and typing out a well thought out comprehensive reply.

It has happened to me and others more times than I can remember.

I think most of us take it lightly eg. “EDIT: Ah Ha @soandso beat me to it! I’ll get you next time :wink:

So I wonder how much of a problem this really is.
Sometimes there are more than one question to be answered and sometimes there can be equally correct replies that are in a different perspective.

There have been times when I’ve posted a reply, and then someone else makes a post saying what I think is essentially the same thing I said but said in a different way.

Sometimes it’s my reply that “clicks”, sometimes it’s the other.

I would be interested in seeing any studies that have been made regarding what would be the bigger “turn off” in terms of user engagement.

  • “same time posts” that made an in-progress reply redundant and moot.
  • knowing someone else was already “on it”

I am by no means an expert in user engagement, but my feeling would be that the former is a much larger turn off. If someone just spent 5 minutes writing up a detailed reply, only to have someone else post what they was going to say (even if written in a slightly different manner), they would likely be pretty unhappy to have put in a great deal of effort for what amounts to nothing (especially if they don’t want to ninja post and cancel the reply). It they knew someone was already on it, I think they would feel good knowing that the issue is likely being taken care of. That’s my 2 cents at least.

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You have made a good point. But, let me give you a scenario:

  1. A user posts a topic.
  2. SS and GT are currently online.
  3. SS opens the topic. He opens the “Reply” dialog box and starts writing.
  4. Say 15 seconds later, GT opens the topic and its Reply dialog box.
  5. Now, GT - who hasn’t started writing - sees “SS is typing…”. GT thinks: “All right. Someone’s already writing it out. Let me sort out another post.” SS also sees: “GT is typing…” on his side but he has already written some 4-5 sentences and now would not stop writing since SS will not give up his hard written post (even if it’s just 4-5 sentences). Also, GT will immediately quit the Reply dialog box within 5 seconds and so the notice, for SS - that “GT is typing…” will quickly disappear.

At least, this is the way I think how it would work. Even if SS and GT both stopped writing, then the topic would still be there in the “Latest” tab and one of them might pay his attention back to it within few minutes.

Alternatively, we could also attach to this feature something like:

N users writing since %time%; click to see who

where %time% is the time passed since the earliest user (out of the N) began writing. This way GT would be firmly sure that: “SS has been writing since 1 minute; must have written some large amount…”

Or, yes, @jomaxro made a good point, some warning modal like:

 SS has been typing since n minutes. Are you sure you wish to continue?

And I agree with @jomaxro regarding the fact that -

“same time posts” that made an in-progress reply redundant and moot.

would be a big “turn off” for user engagement (though I too am not even a novice in user engagement; but answering from my common sense)

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Just to provide the flip side, I’m completely against this feature. Discourse is not chat. Chat has this feature, it may be a perfect fit for Babble (if you can figure out the UI for it), but I don’t see it useful in a Discussion Platform.

In a Discussion Platform, you want as many voices as you can get, you don’t want people to back off because a staff member is typing up a reply too, or another person who is more experienced. You want everyone’s opinion, even if it is very similar to what someone else wrote.

I can only see this feature limiting discussion opportunities instead of encouraging it, and for that reason alone, I’ll kindly ask that if it does get implemented in core, that it be controlled by a setting. As hiding it via CSS will still cause a performance hit for those who don’t want it, and seeing how it can have a negative impact to discussion, that performance hit is a bit unfair to those communities.


I am “partially” completely against this feature, I am OK with it in messages, especially in “group” messages, providing the group with visibility on what the various group members are up to.

It can get a weird if you leak visibility out of the group.

“Sam from team Discourse started typing a reply to my support issue, he never submitted it, Sam hates me”

We will not be enabling this kind of feature out-of-the-box for public topics. If we ever enable it anywhere we will allow disabling it.


As part of my due diligence research into Discourse, I watched a YT video where @codinghorror explained that Stack Exchange (Overflow?) developed in ways he hadn’t expected. From memory, users used functionality in ways that hadn’t been anticipated.

I was struck by codinghorror’s candour and it reinforced my previously held view that software systems, at least in part, should be allowed to develop in a non rigid, organic fashion.

With this in mind, I’d like to see the type of functionality proposed by the OP made available to the community. Not specifically ‘user is creating a post’ type feedback, but perhaps a more general publish and subscribe mechanism than is currently available. Especially one that allows subscriptions to be made on the client, with a view to enhancing the UX experience. Agreed, it would eat up bandwidth, but I see that as a nice problem to have.

Empower developers, administrators, clients and customers in ways we can’t imagine and I think we’d be delighted with the results.

This sounds a bit vague to me. Could you elaborate? You’ll probably want to start a separate feature topic for each of your ideas.