Closing and locking unanswered threads

Recently a number of my older threads have been closed and locked by admins. Some of these are open questions. Why would you lock these ?

I have in the past found or started threads when looking for information, not found what I was looking for, subsequently solved the issue myself and then gone back to update the thread with the new information for others to find later. That can’t happen if you lock the threads.

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We are aware of that scenario. However, we found that to be a very rare case. In fact, the most common scenario were users finding a thread that’s 1+ years old, or even threads from when the project started, and replying on them, adding comments like “I have this problem too” or something else that may add little to no value to the topic. This is called necro bumping, which creates unnecessary noise and gets in the way of new topics or current discussions.

There are other boards that are more strict on topic closures (like 30 days). 60 days should allow for enough time for a solution or another comment on any topic.

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I’d guess that the two frequent scenarios are: (1) not seeking at all and simply creating new threads, and (2) necroing ancient relics.

One has to also remember that there are two user groups. The first has a question/problem. The second has answers. It would be ideal, if the first group would search first. It is less likely that the users in the second group look for trouble, particularly with specific keywords. Would you?

On active forum unsolved threads can sink past the front page while none with answers passes by. However, it is still possible (but not very productive) to bump every two months, forever?

one man’s noise…

If someone else comes along later with a “me too!” does this not mean it’s a recurring issue ? I would see a lot of "me too"s as people upvoting an issue for a solution. So the more noise it makes the more important it is to users.

And… isn’t it likely any new users looking for the answer and seeing a lock will either not post so a valid query drops off the radar completely or open a new issue so there’s no indication that the issue has been raised by others in the past added to which subsequent users searching will find it harder to locate a thread with an answer ?

  1. It’s a new topic for the necro bumper.
  2. Someone new to the forum (who never saw the old post) may know the answer.

( worst case of this is other sites where actual bugs get closed if there’s no activity after a set period ! stats look great though… )

In my opinion (and my opinion only), responding with “me too” does not help the original poster nor those trying to provide support, especially if they do not provide something of value in addition to “me too” (e.g. something they tried that didn’t work for them, to keep the conversation open). Think of the numerous github issues out there with people only saying “me too”, whether to try to get attention or to circumvent the stale bot. Those maintainers will typically ignore it as spam or close the issue entirely. Yes, this is different from our forums here, but the general problem is the same.

With that said, I think you are ignoring or forgetting folks who show up a year or more after the fact, when either the original poster (and likely the forums) have moved on to something else or that particular Rocky Linux version is no longer supported. However…

There are also cases when a topic is solved and it has been half a year or more, this happens:

  • A user finds the solution does not work for them, so they revive an old topic instead of opening a new one
  • A user insists on not asking a brand new question that is only semi-related to the actual topic
  • A user insists on trying to be helpful by providing some other solution, despite the solution already existing in the thread
  • A user insists on trying to be helpful by providing information that isn’t topical or does not make sense to the topic, which can cause unneeded confusion and may cause readers to simply treat it as spam

All of this creates unnecessary noise in the form of emails, desktop notifications, and visible topics in the forum category. A user seeing a “locked” topic would be inclined to create a brand new topic, sometimes using something akin to “this post was locked and didn’t have the answer”. I have not seen many cases that a locked topic would stop a user from ever posting about that subject again.

A large chunk of users do not use the search function of the sites and forums they use. Some start at google and end at google. There will always be duplicate threads, solved or not. There is no getting around this.

With that said, as a user types in the editor when making a post, similar posts will appear on the right side of the editor. This is advantageous to the user who is trying to ask their question, where they may or may not see other users with their issue regardless if there is a solution or not.

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