Forum moderation: when to merge, close, archive or delete posts?

(This post has been split from Delay of the Board of Trustees election)

@Qgil-WMF this is the kind of WMF notice
(relevant for short time and had no follow-ups)
I would archive or even delete to de-clutter this Forum.

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This is a very good point. Let’s discuss an approach that we all can follow.

Discourse offers many options to organize content, including features to process posts automatically. Separate topics and posts can be merged in a single topic, they can be closed, unlisted, archived, and deleted. Confused? Yeah, it can be confusing. :slight_smile:

But this is a simple way to look at this:

  • Unlisting is an exceptional measure. Something is going on with a recent topic or post and you want to remove it from visible places while dealing with it.Those with the link still can access it normally.
  • Close → Archive → Delete is a logical sequence. To decide where a piece of content belongs we need to ask: how useful is this content for the forum users today and in the future?

We could start with something like this:

  1. For announcements and updates, try to have topics updated over time instead of starting new topics for each update. This is also good because topics get more readers, and then Discourse’s notifications and algorithms promote the established topics better as long as they receive updates, comments, reactions, and views.
  2. When an event ends, do some cleaning, merging, closing, and archiving topics as needed.
  3. In event categories, consider setting automatic timers by default i.e. “Close topic after 3 months without replies.”
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Did I open a pandora box? tooo many options to do and discuss :-p

Because it is week before Summit I would not do it now, but ask if WMF
folx can start doing simple clean-up with the WMF notices that are not
originating-targeting specifically Forum, but were made for all
channels and then archive them together (if they got zero text
replies) into something like ‘past-generic-WMF-notices’…that way
decision making is skipped and because links remain active (directing
to that archive) there is no loss, waste or problematic IMHO.

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Sorry, I didn’t want to overwhelm with options. :slight_smile:

If the problem is clutter created by obsolete posts that didn’t stir discussion and won’t stir it, then archiving these topics is a good default option. Let me archive Delay of the Board of Trustees election so we can see what this looks like.

Merging single-topic announcement posts in a single “Archive” topic is a good idea. However, I don’t think that the best criteria is “announcements by the Foundation” and the best solution is to mere them all in a single topic. Instead, I suggest we create these Archive topics in any category needing them, and then we archive there any obsolete announcements. This way that information can still be found at a category level (i.e. imagine someone wants to check everything about #identify-topics-for-impact including archived posts). Nowadays the Foundation is th main poster of these announcements but hopefully there will be other posters as more groups get involved in MS implementation of recommendations and adopt the forum for their communications.

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I agree. Would only add [Archived] to the start of topic title so it is obvious to all in all views/displays and not just to people who carefully open the full view or know how to interpret the lock icon correctly *(which is not most intuitive). If I was Discord developer I would make sure archives are more visually distinct from live and urgent content.