Suggested update on very old topics


About a year ago, @Jody turned on a Discourse feature that automatically closes a topic after a user definable period of inactivity:

With a bit of tweaking, we’re now at the point where new topics automatically close after 3 or 6 months of inactivity (depending on category), but there are still topics created more than a year ago that don’t automatically close! I realized this today when this topic appeared in my “unread” page.

I think it’s time for an @administration or @moderators group member to go back and close all topics where the most recent post is 7+ months old.

Agree? Disagree? Please chime in!

Note: I’m suggesting this for consistency (i.e. If we’re going to auto close, then ALL topics should be subject to it), not as an advocate for automatically closing posts. If you want to suggest removing the auto-close, please talk about it in a separate topic! Personally, I’m not yet, even after a year, 100% convinced it’s necessary, but I won’t go into further detail in this thread, but I’ll probably chime in if someone cares enough to start a new thread.



You did not mention that there is also Category control, and some categories were (and perhaps others should) have the autoclose features switched OFF.

These categories should be at least:

  • Meta
  • Developers (and both subcats)
  • Extensions


I didn’t?

Emphasis not in original.

I can envision a (preferably separate) thread where we can discuss which categories shouldn’t auto-close. But leaving that aside for now (and assuming we come to agreement on this set of categories), would you agree that old posts (created before any auto-closing was applied) in categories not in the “do not auto-close” set should be closed?



(1) Mainly on principle.

USERS have specific control over notifications at the bottom of each topic.
USERS have general control over THEIR notifications in THEIR profile settings.

I’ve myself been setting many old topics that popup (which I’m no longer interested in) to either “Muted” or “Normal” instead of “Watching” or “Tracking”.

(2) Take a look at the forum stats for Topics.

All Time : 22.2k
Last 7 Days : 138
Last 30 Days : 687

I do not wish a task of manually closing this many potential topic threads on anyone.

(3) I dislike the heavy handed closing of topic threads that are not “solvable” questions.

In my opinion topics should not be autoclosed unless the OP or a moderator has marked them solved.
(After the checkmarking their “closeclock” can then begin tolling.)

(4) I’d much rather the sages, mods and admins do more moving of threads to the correct category.
(USERS can mute entire categories that they are not interested in.) Ie, the “better things to do” argument.

But I said all this before, … and like I don’t run this place anyway.

Sorry I missed your mention of categories.


Disagree. I don’t like the idea of closing topics as a routine operation. I would certainly not suggest devoting a lot of manual effort to closing old topics.

Live long and prosper, old topics! In a former job we had a forum-like system that was launched in about 1982, and literally 20 years later some original topics were still growing. Nobody complained.


This topic ought not to “close 3 months after the last reply”. Nor should most other topics. It would be myopic.

No topic ought to autoclose. Closing a topic should be done only by admins, only restrictively, only manually, only on a case-by case basis, and only after a specific reason for closing has been posted in the topic.

One example of a reason for closing could be if the basic premise of a question has become so hopelessly outdated as to be misleading, such as perhaps asking “How come Google enables loading such amazingly detailed geodata into their new program Sketchup?”, people take the bait and no-one stands corrected. Should an admin close a topic, the admin ought to kiss it off with a clear public post explaining why.

The reason why keeping topics indefinitely open is a better default is that good questions and good answers usually have a value that holds good for many years. Open topics should thus be conducive to better posting discipline. Users gain not from historylessness, devil-take-the-hindmost opinions, or the same questions being asked and answered multiple times in different places. They gain from topics that remain open because they matter and beacuse there almost always remains another good way of solving the problem at hand. And from having the people who pull the strings listen.

Three months is nothing in the world of Sketchup. It never has been.


I just want to reiterate that I’m suggesting this primarily for consistency. I remain on the fence as to the wisdom of any use of the auto close feature of Discourse, but strongly on the side of “all or nothing”.