With the new right gutter, where should "Reply as Linked Topic" go?

Good stuff!

I feel like the Reply and Tracking state widgets belong at the bottom of the progress bar rather than the top, FWIW.

Also, will have to figure out where “Reply as new topic” goes…

I’m sure those details will be addressed along the way.

Admin note: The #pr-welcome tag on this topic refers to this basic spec by @DeanMarkTaylor.


I still quite like your mockup for this from way back in the day, putting it in the top-right of the post editor.



I like that idea (the reply as new topic button), but with locked topics (like a FAQ or a guide for a video game for example) it could be a problem.

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Actually there’s a simple solution for that. Instead of removing the Reply button entirely on locked topics like we do now, we could show a “Reply as linked Topic” button there instead.

The editor would have to be able to recognise when the only option is to reply as a linked topic, so that there’s no way to toggle back to “reply-mode” when you’re replying to a locked topic.


This will indirectly make easier to reply to a closed topic.

And I love it :heart:.


The only downside I can see to this is that the Reply button is pretty noticeable, and depending on why a given topic was closed you might not want Reply as a Linked Topic to be emphasized.

But possibly this is a minor downside that could be moderation policy’d around.

It certainly sounds good to me, otherwise!


Yes! This would solve my use case almost completely. I bet that reply-as-linked-topic is used largely when reply is not an option anyway. And this way it would be obvious. IMHO this would be a great idea regardless of these new gutter changes.

Maybe an option could be added to the regular reply to split it off when that’s what people wanted. Perhaps reply-as-linked-topic could become one of the small icons (with :heart: :flag_black: :bookmark: and so on) that could be controlled in settings.


As much as I think it’s not particularly … great UI, perhaps this is the way to go:

Where the default is “reply”, but there is a little drop down docked to the right of the reply button (a small hit target) that lets you select “reply as linked topic”.

I prefer this to @erlend_sh and @mcwumbly mockup of permanently adding it to the composer in the upper right, which gives Reply as Linked Topic way, way too much prominence in my opinion.

Google Inbox also kinda buries this function (anything other than “Reply”, really) behind a vertical ellipsis, which is how I think we should handle it too, more or less. This is a very rare action, it should not be prominent in the UI.


I have some deeper questions, though:

Do users truly not know how to cut and paste links between … well, anything on the Internet?

Is it that hard to get the link to a topic or reply, such that we need to make it a one click operation to create a new topic with a pre-filled link in it?

Is it really that common that a new topic needs to be created based on an existing topic? (Or, perhaps it’s only “common” if the topic is closed so no replies are allowed, and should be offered in that specific case?)

… do we really need “Reply as Linked Topic”?


This would be a tough click target on mobile. But more importantly, we’d be adding a new button-element for a 1% action. Even flags are used more often than Reply-as-linked, and no one seems sad about flags getting demoted to the ellipsis menu.

I like the Google Inbox example. Couldn’t we just apply that to @mcwumbly’s old mockup? That ellipsis menu could also be used to toggle Whisper, Mod post and other such things that don’t belong in the formatting menu. We actually could use a new menu location for things like these.


Where would it go on mobile?

The gear icon in the editor is already filling this role. Move that to ellipsis in editor at upper right?

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We actually have a button there already on mobile. It’s used to toggle the formatting button on/off.

Here’s a quick mockup of what I’m proposing. We flip the position of these two buttons (maybe repurposing the gear icon to a vertical ellipsis), and add “Reply as linked topic” as an option in the top-right menu.

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Mobile can’t do it today… So why worry about mobile right this moment, as today (on anything but the timeline branch), the reply to linked topic is in the gutter which mobile doesn’t see.

I’m not saying it shouldn’t be on mobile, just that, that problem might be best for another discussion another day versus getting back to what is currently available in Production sites, which is showing it on Desktop.

This is a very good question. The biggest reason I like it is for closed topics. But I think somewhere there is a suggestion for showing a dedicated button on closed topics to continue the discussion as a linked topic, which solves that problem.

I rarely see the use of it by our users, we moderators use it to discuss “problem” topics in a secure category every now and then, but to be honest, copying the link and pasting it, versus a click the link and change the category… are sort of a moot workflow (at least to me).

I wonder how easy it would be to write a Data Explorer Query to see how many regular users are using this feature.

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Is there any way to do this today on Meta? I couldn’t find anything but wanted to be sure.


No, probably not. Let’s just live without it for a while.

What I usually want to do is quote an existing topic when I start a new one, anyway. So I end up deleting the automatic “Continuing the discussion from…” text and link, and just let the quote be the reference.

And I often do this weird workaround anyway:

  1. Quote reply a few sections.
  2. Select all, cut
  3. Discard draft
  4. Go to front page
  5. Create new topic
  6. Paste
  7. Write topic and save it.

Keyboard shortcuts. Use j/k to select a post and then press t


You can save a step there using C to create a new topic, that way you don’t have to go to the front page. :wink:


Interesting, so maybe “Quote Reply” should have the little drop down to select start a new topic, like this:

But then again as @cpradio pointed out the keyboard shortcuts also work for this kind of power user scenario…


I could try that if it’s a lot easier than the spec above, but otherwise I’d go without the feature until the in-composer switch can be explored.

I came up with a couple of queries. The one finds “Reply as” topics, the other both “Reply as” and “copied link” topics.

WITH op_posts AS ( SELECT id 
                , raw
                FROM posts 
                WHERE post_number = 1
FROM op_posts 
WHERE raw LIKE '%Continuing the discussion from%'


WITH op_posts AS ( SELECT id 
                , raw
                FROM posts 
                WHERE post_number = 1
SELECT COUNT(topic_links.id)  
FROM topic_links 
JOIN op_posts 
ON topic_links.link_post_id = op_posts.id
WHERE topic_links.internal 
AND topic_links.reflection 

I tried a bit to get them into a single query but gave up (for now)

On my localhost I got 15 and 28 - so about half and half
But of course I use localhost to test things, not real statistical analysis.

IMHO it would be good to get real statistics from a real forum and use those in judging how prominent the feature should be.

If you use badge_posts instead of posts that should exclude private categories.

Also, I did not come up with a query to find “Mod split to new” topics. i.e. those that member(s) should have started a new topic, but made off-topic posts instead.

FROM posts 
WHERE action_code LIKE 'split_topic'
AND raw LIKE '%posts were split to a new topic%'

Granted, having a more visible “Reply as” probably won’t reduce off-topic posts much, but maybe.

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