[POLL] Should SketchUp forum use the Discourse Question Answer plugin?



Reference the following Discourse forum plugin:


Should SketchUp forum use the Discourse Question Answer plugin ?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided

0 voters

… and if so how ?

  • No, not applicable … SketchUp forum should not use StackOverflow type QA topic threads.
  • Yes, but It should ONLY be per topic thread if the thread starter adds a “QA” tag. (This way they can be mixed into the current categories side-by-side with discussion topics.)
  • Yes, but there should be dedicated QA subcategories to keep them separate from general discussion categories.
  • Yes, both types should be used. (Dedicated categories and allow any thread to be converted to a QA thread by adding a “QA” tag.)
  • Maybe, but perhaps implemented in another way. (I’ll elaborate below.)
  • I have no idea …

0 voters

Thanks for voting ! …


New category: Wish List
Should topic threads stay open or be closed after 90 days?

A tag is good to identify them though and a category makes everything tidy. However newbie users seeking help are probably the ones that need the QA topics the most and they are also the ones that will probably be less knowledgeable in how they would create a QA topic.

The QA post should have a clearer method than a tag or category to allow newbie users to create them easily, the methot should help them being sure of what they are doing. In the end the method could insert a tag in the topic title but I’d rather have them mixed with other discussion topics in the already existing categories.


I voted “No”.

I think there is some merit in the idea, but after trying to read the referenced topic on the Discourse forum, there are things that seem to me to be problematical. Most especially that the act of voting can change the order of the replies to the original question. As I would expect that some of the replies will actually be discussion, and not only specific “answers” to the question asked. And the timeline of the discussion might be destroyed, making the discussion difficult to follow and, perhaps, nonsensical.

Now if the poll question had been phrased differently, something like: “Should SketchUp forum experiment with the Discourse Question Answer plugin, using a single category for that purpose, with the “QA” tagging feature disabled in other categories.” I would answer “Yes”.

I love experiments! We should do more of them, not just in this forum, but in real life as well - especially in government - but that’s a Corner Bar discussion, so I’ll stop here.

If a “suggest edit” feature (or plugin) existed in Discourse (it appears it does not), I’d be pushing hard to try it - as a time limited experiment.

And speaking of experiments, I think use of the “auto-close” feature on this forum is a failed experiment, but again, that’s a discussion for another thread.

I wrote the last two paragraphs as examples of experimentation. I hope nobody addresses the specific topics here - they already have their own threads!


I don’t know what this would really be useful for. I support whatever is the simplest approach with the fewest new concepts standing between the user and the solution to their problem.


Well it is said that the highest voted reply is displayed just below the original question opener.
So this helps people get right to the best answer for these types of threads.

I didn’t take that away from the discussion. Just that the best answer was displayed at the top just below the question. Can you provide a link to this ?


I could, but frankly I prefer not to. Why? I tried reading the entire discussion once and found myself with my eyes glazing over and stopped after about 5 minutes!. I really don’t want to wade back into it to document the source(s) of my general impression.

I’d much rather go ahead and try it - as a defined time limit experiment - then see - and evaluate - its usefulness - which I assume would complaints if I’m correct and replies lose their timeline order.


I don’t know if it can be switched on for only one category (like Meta) as a test.
I suppose it could (or all others switched off.)

Then we could play in here, or in a test sub-category of this … ie named “Forum Help Questions” ?


The details I remember, with a far clearer recollection than the reply reordering, are that they can be enabled in specific categories, enabled anywhere by using the “QA” tag, or both.


I’d suggest “[Experimental] Forum Help Questions”


Okay, I looked into this. And you are correct, viz:

Angus MacLeod said at meta.discourse.org in Question Answer Plugin

Posts are arranged, first by the number of votes they have received, then by the date they were posted.

Others using this plugin also did not like this, so the plugin author made changes last September (of 2017.)

Angus MacLeod said at meta.discourse.org in Question Answer Plugin

I had some time yesterday, so I brought this plugin to a point where it makes a bit more sense.

  • Replies to replies always appear underneath the reply they are replying to in the order they were posted.

  • Replies to replies are indented and smaller (even ‘comment-like’ you might say).

  • You can’t reply to replies to replies.

I’ve attempted to make these changes feel ‘natural’, so:

  • Posts are staged in the order described above;

  • Neither the topic-timeline or its alternate the topic-progress box are added to the topic dom. Both represent the posts in the order they were posted, so they don’t make sense here.

  • 'The show-replies button and the reply-to-tab are prevented from being inserted into post. Both are either don’t make sense or are just visual clutter in this style of topic.

IMHO, The main premise of the plugin is to create answer threads, not discussion threads.

This means that it is likely best if these kind of threads are in a separate category, so posters know to be in either question mode starting a QA topic, or in answer mode answering one of the questions.

The replies (answers) are purposely ordered by the highest number of upvotes so that the best answers percolate to the top.

This means that there needs to be strict protocol when posting replies into these QA threads.

  • Each reply must be written as a response aimed at the original poster and their question.

  • Posters should not respond to each others answers directly, ie dispute facts, quote and add extra tidbits, etc. as these replies are going to sink to the bottom out context. (EDIT: The plugin was updated to allow 1 indented level of replies to an answer, but no replies to replies. Ie, keeping discussion at a minimum, but allowing thank you, etc., … adding a tidbit to the best answer.)

  • Any extended discussion needs to be broken off into a link-related discussion thread of it’s own (likely in a discussion category.)

  • It might mean that only Admins, Sages and the highest ranking membership have answer rights in these threads.

  • The official Solved plugin solution can override the crowd voted answer, but will not change the re-sort done by the QA plugin. (This may have an advantage if after some time, several good answers have partial solutions, and an admin consolidates all the good info into one admin post as an “official” solution.)

So, since these QA threads are not discussion, I will change my implementation vote above to separate categories only. Having them mixed in with discussion topics will be confusing to people, especially those who like to add worthless posts like “I have the same problem also!”.


Now … it also occurs to me that perhaps this plugin could get a feature update that produces two (2) reply listings below the original post.

An answer listing section, and a discuss listing section.

  • Each section collapsible or within it’s own tab.

  • Only the answer section would be re-sorted by upvotes, and votable.

  • The discuss section would always be chronological.

A replying poster would choose which section to post to.

If they post to the answer section, they’re only allowed to quote from the OP within the QA thread, but can quote from other threads. (This is to prevent discussion in the answers.) If they attempt to quote another answer, they’ll be asked to instead post to the chronological discuss section.


ADD: After reading more of the plugin thread, I find the author is not interested in doing any more major features. He’ll fix bugs and add little admin control options and switches, but he says this plugin is at the bottom of his priority list.


Wherever this might be tried, I think it’s virtually certain that people will add discussion type replies.

For many original questions, someone is going to inevitably reply with a way of doing it that is convoluted, requires multiple plugins, and is hard to follow. I see it as inevitable that people will ask for clarification, or point out much simpler ways, or suggest no-cost extensions in place of high cost ones.

So I see no way, as Discourse and this feature is now, of avoiding a mixed up timeline. That’s the reason I voted “No”.

But as in all things, I could be wrong. Which is way I just want to repeat my call for us to experiment with this, in one Category. For a defined period. Then bring up a new discussion here in Meta: Do we keep this going? Extend it? Shut it down?


Why, yes.

Agree. I suggest a “How to” sub-category of Meta, where we can experiment with
How do I do such and so forth …?” questions about using the forum itself.

No Problem. They don’t get as many upvotes, their convoluted answer sinks toward the bottom.

Since the plugin doesn’t allow for replies to repliers, the “replyee” will have to edit their original answer, or add another answer to the “stack”.

No problem. They should just add their own answer aimed at the OQ so that they can receive votes.

Isn’t this the way Quora works ? (Except we here won’t remove or edit answers, … short or otherwise.)


Oh! I probably didn’t read it closely enough to see that nuance. Wouldn’t be the first time!

I’m actually not sure! I’ve been on Quora a lot lately, and haven’t figured out a consistent pattern to how they order the answers they present. It might be Upvotes/View, or just pure Upvotes, or a combination, or some other criteria I can’t discern!


This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.