Temporarily hide post / mark less important?

I’m having a problem that a Topic starts up with a good Post, but then devolves quickly into useless me too Posts, and no policy seems to fix this behavior. Then, someone actually responds with a great Post, followed by a bunch of other me toos and uselessness. Then another great Post. The thread becomes 100+ posts long, but only posts 1, 15, and 62 are worth reading.

What I’m thinking of as a solution, is a plugin or something that let’s moderators mark posts as ‘hidden’, and so when a user views the thread, those posts are collapsed. However, anyone can click on them to open them, and you can click to open them all. I don’t want the less important posts to be deleted or unviewable, but I don’t want them in the Topic browser’s face.

Is this possible now in Discourse or via an existing plugin? Do you have any suggestions other than mine to solve this problem of the long Topic with mostly useless Posts?

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This is already possible via the “Summarize Topic” button at the top of the topic. This will only appear on topics longer than {x} posts where {x} defaults to 50 out of the box, but can be adjusted via site setting.

When a topic is too long to read, and you want the TL;DR version. Try that first.

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I looked into “Summarize Topic”, and although it was a good effort, it relies on Likes and maybe some other automated things. This doesn’t really get the summary right because many of the “me toos” are liked. I really want a human moderator to pick.

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Is it realistic to expect a human moderator is going to go through every single topic and manually mark “just the good posts”?

If this kind of radical moderation is needed, I suggest deleting all the meaningless “me too” posts, which will be suppressed (soft-deleted) for all non-staff users visiting the topic. Then post a staff reply that says “hey, any me-too replies will be deleted, please only reply with {rules}”

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Me too! It could be a team of moderators or people with a high TL. Or use a weighted Like score with more weight given to higher TL users.

Yes, for some forums, and no for others. I review all posts in my forum.

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I would also appreciate manual hiding of posts as a feature. In my case, it’s to hide my own off-topic moderator posts and replies to it.

More concretely, we repeatedly have people post logfile content as plain text rather than preformatted/fenced code blocks and I keep fixing that and posting a public reply with an explanation. We are also trying to establish a culture of liking posts (no idea why people are ignoring the :heart: button) so I’m also posting public hints on that.

A lot of the time, that will be a single off-topic post and that’s okay, but sometimes people reply to my post and then I might reply again so that there is a longer sequence of OT posts and it is those that I would like to hide.

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Would this be different from the “transparent deletion” system you suggested here? It sounds to me like it solves a similar problem (which I completely agree needs solving!).

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Good point. I didn’t see this here as deleting but you are right: it corresponds to the highest level of transparency that I suggested there:

So, yes, if the transparent deletion would be implemented, it would make sense to integrate it with the hide posts feature.

But since it seems that transparent deletion is not anywhere on the roadmap at the moment, I’d still like to push for manual post hiding.

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It’s been years. Is this possible now? I think this is important for big forums.

I also think this would be a good feature to have.

Until this feature exists one workaround would be for the moderators to hide just the text of the less important posts.

Like this

Just edit the post, select all the text, press the :gear: symbol and select “hide details”.

I wish to second this so much. I too have the need to hide some posts in a topic.

In my case we don’t have that many posts, but some of them are not contributing much value, but too much to justify deleting them.

We already have a summary post at the very top, so that doesn’t solve the problem. We just simply want to make posts that aren’t contributing as much value as the other ones less apparent, but still viewable.

It would be perfectly fine if such posts were collapsed and there was a grey text saying “Click to show this post” or whatever, the important thing is that they don’t show by default and that users see that they’re posts that exist but aren’t shown fully, and that they can click on the post or similar to show it.

I searched the forum here but can’t find anything like this. Is there anything that can do this yet?

Often this request simply means:

“I am a moderator and there is tons of junk in a particular topic, I don’t ever want to delete anything cause I am afraid to hurt people’s feelings”

There are quite a few options you have:

  • People do get over being deleted, you can simply be a bit harsher and delete for the greater good

  • You can split off the gold into another topic

  • You can make the OP wiki, and just summarize and link to all the great content in the mega topic from there.

Manually “shrink” portions of conversation is an interesting request but in practice I think it is just masking dealing with an underlying problem.

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I think it is fine if you announce intention to “clean up”, explain why the topic is being pruned, and indicate it’s specific to certain topics like that one.

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Guys, this is not about an inability to clean up threads. I have personally already deleted and split/moved numerous posts in the threads I’m considering when supporting the request we’re discussing here.

In fact, that’s exactly the type of maintenance I was doing when I noticed I had gotten a reply in this topic.

Deleting posts is not the proper thing to do here, at least not in my use case. If it was, I would have done it already.

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Does not reflect the above, so maybe you should create a new topic then, if your posts are off-topic in this particular topic?

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I have a forum. It’s about a collection of creditors trying to organise legal action. having ‘hidden’ posts and information layering is a critical feature that’s missing.

  1. The topics are about solving problems. Some posts are highly relevant and imprtant to high level understanding. Some posts are not. The less relevant posts are not useless. Often they add nuance to an argument. Sometimes they are a record of a key player’s opinion (agree/disagree). It is critical to be able to view these discussions in a leveled way.

  2. As others mention popular does not mean important and even if there is a correlation popularity is often mixed up with random personality factors, not information. Summarize post fails miserably time and time again. It fails so often it’s not even worth telling people to use because it creates such confusing threads.

  3. Turning loud messy topics into more organised reference topics allows busy forums to essentially turn topics into wiki pages extremely quickly. Allowing moderators to mark hidden / less-important posts would make this possible. It would really increase the value of your product.

If you don’t want to allow hidden/variable-importance marking of posts in Discourse, then allow moderators to create curated ‘views’ of the topic, links to which are available at the top of the topic and in other appropriate areas of the interface.

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IMHO, I find the option of being able to collapse manually posts (whatever the reason or rationale), a good idea. Couldn’t this be done with a plugin ? If interested people contribute some $ and ask a plugin to be developed with that function, it would make everybody happy. Would such a plugin be complicated ? (doesn’t seem too much, but maybe I’m wrong on this).

Then quite honestly I think you should choose different software, other than Discourse. I’m not sure any forum software does what you describe. Can you point to any actual examples of this on the Internet?

Unfortunately not. Also, despite my temporary frustration when I know that a particular feature would make my life much easier, I wouldn’t consider switching away from Discourse unless there was an obviously superior forum platform (which I think is unlikely). Discourse does a lot of stuff really well and is an excellent product.

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Right, I didn’t mean it as a challenge specifically, but does any software really do this?