Meta thread: How to request to opening old thread?

Hi, is there a place to ask for opening old thread?

If not, do we have a mean like DM to @moderators to suggest it?

If also not, I opened this as a meta thread to request opening old thread.

Hi, I would like to open Installation of Rust with x86_64-unknown-linux-musl target to ask the author a few questions.

You can just make a new thread and mention the people in question, along with a link to the old thread. For now, I opened the old thread.

5 Likes

Thanks Alice. I sent him an an DM after opening this topic. Will reply in the thread I mentioned if I got reply from him.

Flag it. Click the ... button, then click the :black_flag: flag, then choose "something else."

3 Likes

Thanks for creating this thread. I've been wondering about this too and I don't quite get why threads are locked. It seems unwelcoming to me — an unnecessary barrier put up just when I've found great information that I want to comment on or ask further questions about.

While that is certainly an option, I would much prefer if people post in the relevant threads. Creating new threads scatters the information across the forum and I'm not sure why that is seen as better?

Perhaps the concern is that people might no longer be interested in the thread? If so, I suggest they unsubscribe as necessary if the notifications should be too many. On the other hand, I cannot "auto-subscribe" to interesting threads when new threads are created all the time.

As I understand it, this is because otherwise people routinely post stuff in old threads that really should go in a new thread. Some things make sense to post in the old thread, but other things certainly don't.

There are still a bunch of very old threads from before the timer was added that are still open, and usually, when those threads are revived, it more often than not falls into the category of something that really should just have been a new thread, e.g. a completely different question that the poster thinks looks similar to the one in the thread.

1 Like

To elaborate furthre on what alice just said, I've observed that many newcomers to the forum search for a topic and find a thread that's 3 to 6 years old, then blithely resurrect it, probably not realizing that they are now in zombieland — that the original posters may no longer be active in Rust (or perhaps even alive), and in any event that they are unlikely to have current advice on such old material.

I can see that happen for sure! However, can we not live with those mistakes as they occur instead of trying to lock things down and make everything tidy? We teach people how to do it better next time, just like we used to teach people about top-posting back when mailing lists were a thing :slightly_smiling_face:

That way we could get rid of the unsightly padlocks all over the forum. In my eyes, doing so would remove barriers for participating in the discussion. This makes it easier for new members to join the discussion and it might keep relevant information together.

Yeah, that sounds like a weird situation on the face of it. However how is it actually different from posting a new thread?

I see posting in an old thread as equivalent to posting a new thread plus notifying potentially interested people.

Even if none of the original thread participants listen/care about the question, the post still brings the thread to the surface and all the new forum participants can now see it and offer help and advice.

I expect the posts here to be read by many more than the people who write in the threads. I know from myself that I often end up on forums looking for answers — without writing anything myself. For a reader like me, it's useful to have relevant information together in the same thread.

It heavily depends what kind of thread we're talking about. If there is a thread in the help category and the thread has been marked as solved, then that person surely isn't interested in getting their thread taken over by someone else's question related to the topic and constantly getting pinged by every additional comment. If someone feels the need to contact the person on that matter, a direct message is the better option.

On the other hand, if there is a help thread and no one ever answered the question and someone can actually provide the answer, I think it's justified to re-open a thread. It doesn't make sense to open a new thread just to answer a question from another thread.

Personally, I'd rather have threads auto-closed and re-opened via request (as it is currently the case) than having to request, that a thread should be closed where forgetting about it means, someone could resurrect a thread years after the last comment has been made.

I generally don’t want to comment on a thread until I’ve read it through and know what’s already been said. Resurrecting a tangentially-related old thread means that I have to wade through lots of unrelated material before I get to the part that someone needs help with today.

If someone starts a new thread that refers to the old one, on the other hand, I can start thinking about their problem immediately and refer back to the old thread as needed.

2 Likes

My issue is the "unintentional" resurrection of zombie threads. If such threads provided every reader with a

NOTICE: This thread is obsolete but has been resurrected!

then I would not find myself reading dozens of posts in the thread before realizing that the issue being discussed had already been addressed by an RFC that was implemented years earlier, or had already been discussed-to-death and shot down because of undesirable impact on other parts of the Rust ecosystem.

If there is some serious reason to revisit a years-old issue, so be it. However I do not consider casual appending of a query to a years-old thread to be "a serious reason". The poster—usually a Rust nauplius—should start a new thread and reference the old one. That way those of us who follow every active thread on the forum can see the reference and recognize what has happened before being sucked into an already-concluded discussion.

1 Like

Another reason is that many posts on old threads are spam, so locking old posts cuts down on the moderation that the volunteer moderators have to do.

There's also issues with contentious threads where commenters are piling on someone, and it's hurtful to reopen a thread like that every x months.

There's not nearly as many downsides to posting new threads and linking to old threads as needed.

Adding text for people to read isn't likely to solve any problems; we have enough trouble getting new folks to use code formatting :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I thought the timestamps on every message here would be more than enough to see if a topic is new or old. I get the feeling that I use the forum very differently from others here — which in turn makes me wonder if I'm just an odd case :slightly_smiling_face:

I used to a moderator on the Mercurial mailing lists and I don't remember spam to be a significant problem. We didn't allow posting without being subscribed so a daily scan through the mails was all that was needed to release the few wrongly stopped mails.

But of course, I don't know what kind of filtering this forum allows. Since you have to register to post, I would have imagined that spam was pretty insignificant.


Do we have any control over how the closed threads appear visually? The message right now is pretty generic:

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

Can we change it to something along the lines of

This topic is old and has been closed. We invite you to open a new topic if you have further questions or comments.

I think that is more positive: it doesn't talk about things being forbidden ("no longer allowed") and it makes it clear that we want to hear from new users.

Bonus points if the message could explain how to start a new topic with a nice quote from the old topic.

Another reason why it makes sense to me to close topics after a while is that Rust (at least the ecosystem) is evolving really quickly, so the answer might have changed entirely since, say, three years ago. Posting in an existing thread brings all that old information to the top again which could definitely confuse people.

Maybe. If I don't get a reply to something in months, I'll very likely have found some other solution, or decided it wasn't a worthwhile thing to do in the first place. At the least I'm working on something completely different by then.

Discourse has a lot of settings, but on a quick look, I didn't see a setting to change this message's text. If someone can find it for me and tell me what to type in the admin setting search box to bring it up, I'd be happy to change it.

1 Like

Thanks for looking!

I'm not sure if you have access to it, but it's in Customize -> Text

Not sure if you want to bother changing it, though.

Thank you! I was looking under Settings rather than Customize. And geez, friggin programmers, like 10 separate settings for this??? sigh

Anyway, I decided to change the text to:

This topic was automatically closed after %{time}. We invite you to open a new topic if you have further questions or comments.

I don't see this reflected yet on existing closed topics; I'm not sure if that means it hasn't propagated yet or if the close text is stored with each post and we'll see the new text with the next post that gets autoclosed :woman_facepalming:

3 Likes

Welcome to the wonderful world of localizing software. It’s basically the only way to ensure grammatical sentences in a bunch of different languages.