Recently while reading a long topic on Discourse with many posts, I came across the “Summarize this Topic” button. I initially thought that this button would allow me to write a summary of the topic which others could read. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the button instead allowed me to view a condensed version of the discussion with some posts hidden.
That got me thinking though: what if Discourse allowed users to create community-editable summaries of long, popular threads? This would be useful in all sorts of situations, such as:
Product support questions: add answer / progress in finding answer
Long discussions on feature proposals: document community consensus, and the current point the discussion is at
Any sort of long-running discussion where it’s difficult for a new participant to understand the discussion without reading everything
The existing “summarize this topic” button is helpful in those situations to some degree, but it still requires a lot of reading and can’t sum things up nearly as well as a human might be able to.
To be clear, I’m not advocating for replacing the “Summarize this Topic” button; this suggestion is for an additional feature, not a replacement.
What do you think? Good idea? Or not worth the effort?
True, but all of those actions would require you to be a site administrator, or at least a mod. Regular community members can’t edit other people’s posts, or mess with post metadata.
Right. In the original post I said:
what if Discourse allowed users to create community-editable summaries of long, popular threads
So the way I’m envisioning it a human (or multiple humans) would be doing the writing, and I expect this would only actually get done for long, popular threads. That’s why I also made the comment at the end about whether this would get used enough to be worth the effort.
Can you create “wiki posts” that anyone can edit? If so, that does seem pretty close to this feature. The only thing missing would be a way to move the post to the top of the thread, right below the original post.
Ah, in that case that is pretty close to what I’m proposing here. In fact, if there was a button that allowed a regular user to do that, and a way to ensure that the wiki post displayed above all other replies in the thread, that would basically be a rudimentary implementation of this feature.
This seems like it might be the best option. We’re toying with it and found a few side effects, the worst of which is that Replies, Views and Activity counts are reset. So a topic might have 100 replies and 1000 views, at which point we decide it needs a summary, and after the ugly trick there are 0 replies and 0 views. Any thoughts how to maintain the counts?
Could a webhook help automate this for new topics? I have a webhook, and receive a topic event with posts_count=1, so I know it’s a new topic. Immediately after that, I receive a post event with post_number=1.
At that point, I assume I could easily create a second post via the API as a placeholder for the summary. But I would very much prefer to have the summary as the first post- can I juggle the posts at this point somehow, via the API? Maybe delete the first post, add my summary post, and re-post the first post?