"Shadow" link for moved topics


Hi, on my other non-Discourse forum there is an option to leave a “shadow” link in the first category when moving a thread to a different category. This is useful to prevent situations where the user goes back to the category he originally posted in and, upon not finding his post, thinks that it was completely deleted by a moderator.

Maybe in the case of Discourse, this could be implemented with an option for the “shadow” link to automatically fade away after the original poster visits the thread, or possibly after a specified period of time.

(Jeff Atwood) #2

This is already implemented. When you edit the category the user who owns the topic is notified of the edit. It covers exactly the situation you describe.

I suggest maybe trying these things out a bit first?


No it isn’t. I’m referring to moving the entire topic to a different category, and leaving the topic title still visible in the original category listing, together with a link to the new category that it was moved to, like this:

For example if you moved this thread out of the “feature” category, I would like to see this topic still listed here, with a “moved” label and a link to the new category.

Shadow links aren’t just for the topic owner. They help other users who previously found a topic in a category listing to not lose track as well. Additionally it helps users understand what sort of topics aren’t relevant to the category, so they don’t keep posting irrelevant topics there.

Notifications aren’t enough. Many users ignore them completely.

(Scott Trager) #4

I’ve gotta +1 this one as well. Shadow Topics are a very useful feature. I would like to add that if this is implemented there should be a configurable option in the admin panel that lets you adjust how long the shadow topic lasts either on a board-by-board basis or globally.

(Jeff Atwood) #5

Which is entirely the purpose of the category change notifications delivered to that user.

Non-issue, as if you are tracking or have otherwise participated in the topic, your notifications for the topic will continue as usual. They are completely unaffected by the category change.

Why? Just to grief everyone else in the feature category? What purpose does it serve to keep a duplicate link there, to a topic that doesn’t even belong in the feature category in the first place?

If you are ignoring notifications, how exactly did you find out I posted this reply to you? :wink: To argue that users will ignore notifications, well, users might opt to turn their computers off and go live in a cave, too. Or just quit the forum for reasons. That’s possible. But is it likely?

Bear in mind, too, that recategorizing a Discourse topic does not change its URL, because URLs to topics do not include the category. So if for some reason you had old-school bookmarked the URL to the topic, rather than just relying on the automatic tracking (you created it, you replied, etc) and read time tracking (you read it for more then 4 minutes) you’d be able to get back to that topic from the same URL no matter how many times it is “moved” from one category to another.

I feel very strongly this “shadow topic” feature is due to weaknesses of old forum software design, e.g. they had no practical notification system when recategorizations occurred, and/or their URLs were affected by category, so they had to spam everyone on the site with these shadow links as a result.

Personally, I’m not a fan of spamming everyone due to deficiencies in old software. Everyone who would care about that topic either is notified directly, or doesn’t care because everything just keeps working as you’d expect.

(Carighan Maconar) #6

I pretty much agree. It’s a lot of noise on the forum for no reasonable benefit because you get your notifications anyhow. And the OP is assuming people never ever leave a specific category on a very large forum, which I’m not sure is even a common use case.

(Bill Snider) #7

Shadow links are a waste of time when the topic/reply is tracked automatically. And I love the fact that users are notified automatically. Now my moderators don’t have to do it for every post they move.