Cannot be changed in any way - archiving


  • sockdevs

    As per this topic, we have a topic that is marked archived, and Jeff's post clearly says:

    This topic is now archived. It is frozen and cannot be changed in any way.

    Right up until it was changed. Perhaps the wording should be different, because to me "cannot be changed in any way" is a lie and lying to users is bad.

    Note: I'm well aware that raw DB edits etc. would negate anything posted there but if it says 'cannot be changed in any way', I would at least take that to mean 'cannot be changed in any way through the normal interface' which clearly isn't the case here.



  • @Arantor said:

    Right up until it was changed. Perhaps the wording should be different, because to me "cannot be changed in any way" is a lie and lying to users is the way that Discourse works.

    FTFY


  • Banned

    I don't know

    This topic is now archived. It is frozen and cannot be changed in any way except by admins.

    Seems like information porn. Clearly admins can do everything including freeze and unfreeze topics.


  • sockdevs

    Of course they can, which makes a mockery of 'cannot be changed in any way'.

    I was going to suggest "It is frozen and cannot be changed." but that's almost as bad.

    Question from the peanut gallery: what's the actual difference between archiving and locking?


  • Banned

    Main diff is that you can no longer like anything on archived topics, they are meant to be left as immutable relics, which I just made mockery of :blush:


  • sockdevs

    So why can you like things on a locked topic?

    Principle reason things get locked is because it's being ended by someone operating in a moderation capacity. Sometimes that's the author. Sometimes it's a moderator.

    Maybe it was time sensitive and expired. Maybe it got too heated. Maybe it broke the rules. Or maybe it's the author taking their ball and going home.

    Whatever the reason, it's run its course. Ended. Finito. If you're doing that... what's the difference between that and archiving?

    In both cases you're calling time on a topic. Ending it. The only difference is one of them can receive likes.

    If I might suggest: drop one of the two options and simply have 'locking a topic' and be done with it.


  • Banned

    To be honest I don't really buy the need for both concepts, they are too interchangeable for me.

    But I think @codinghorror felt quite strongly about having both.


  • sockdevs

    That's kind of my point. I don't see what the difference is, either semantically or technically (though I accept there may be a difference technically I'm not aware of, especially if you do some rebaking that might not apply to archived posts)

    Mind you, this does lend some support to my hypothesis that Jeff hasn't spent any real time with forum users. One of the few things I did learn from hanging around the SMF people on and off for 5 years is the sheer diversity of ways people use and abuse forums, and the sorts of things people are trying to do. Having two different ways to lock a topic is not one of them.

    One thing I did notice that came up is the idea of a user lock vs a moderator lock; if a user can lock/unlock their own topic, what happens if a moderator locks it? (Answer: a user should not be able to unlock their own topic if it was locked by a moderator and they're not a moderator) I don't know if you guys have the idea of a non-moderator locking their own topics, especially as I can see the argument of it being a barrier to discourse, but it is also relevant at this juncture.



  • @Arantor said:

    I don't know if you guys have the idea of a non-moderator locking their own topics

    I just looked at a topic I started, and if there is a way for me to lock it, it is well-hidden. Given that this is Discurse, well-hidden describes most of its features, so that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, but my first impression would be to say, no, they don't.


  • sockdevs

    That was my interpretation too - but like a bunch of things, it could simply be turned off here knowing that we would likely abuse it if it were here.



  • So you mean to tell me that you three (Jeff and the trout fish) sometimes disagree and possibly bicker about features and how they should be implemented? I'm shocked.

    I was under the impression that every day at Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc. was like an amazing utopian bubble paradise with rivers made of chocolate and umpa lumpas harmonizing while coding ruby on rails and javascript.

    No?



  • @Frank said:

    umpa lumpas harmonizing while coding

    I'm pretty sure working under those conditions would constitute constructive dismissal. And/or induce "going postal." With likely acquittal on grounds of insanity or justifiable lumpacide. On the other hand, it would explain some of the insane design decisions...

    @Frank said:

    rivers made of chocolate

    Bleh. Any chocolate made in batches sufficiently large to form a river would be dreck.

    Filed under: Chocolate


  • Banned

    @Frank said:

    I was under the impression that every day at Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc. was like an amazing utopian bubble paradise with rivers made of chocolate and umpa lumpas harmonizing while coding ruby on rails and javascript.

    I would say its more like hunger games

    Filed under: I like to think of myself as Katniss, I am pretty like her



  • @sam said:

    I am pretty, like her

    FTFY



  • Well look on the brightside. Someday you will be on a yacht drinking crown and coke and sailing the Bass Strait to Tasmania.

    Actually, my friend told me the waters there are fairly treacherous.

    Just park the boat and drink crown and cokes...Nah, you'd probably be bored to death.

    Keep doing your startup stuff, you and Jeff and your trout fish are really good at 'reinvigorating the internet of things'.

    Oh, and thanks for the leadership badge on meta.discouse.org. That was a nice surprise (it's possible you had nothing to do with it and I got parceled via some thresold but thanks all the same).


  • sockdevs

    Damn straight, Google is the Chocolate Factory (so spaketh The Register, and thus the Googlites are the Oompa Loompas)... I kind of see CDCK as being Jeff sat in a big spinning chair stroking a white fluffy cat and laughing maniacally.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Arantor said:

    I kind of see CDCK as being Jeff sat in a big spinning chair stroking a white fluffy cat and laughing maniacally.

    "Do you expect me to post, Jeff?"
    "No Mr. Bond. I expect you to scroll."


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place



  • +1
    Because a simple like really doesn't do this justice.



  • @sam said:

    I would say its more like hunger games

    Filed under: I like to think of myself as Katniss, I am pretty like her

    Can you solve this love triangle thing once and for all then?



  • You forgot a monocle and some old national railroad maps so he can route his shock troopers (I mean ruby-programming umpa lumpas) through backwoods terrain effectively.

    Well that's a day in the life of your garden variety startup of which (I did only once in my life).

    Maybe they will make bank (or starve) depending on fate, luck and perseverance. I am leaning more towards bank, but the discourse wildfire needs to spread.

    Thanks to @antiquarian for the term "garden variety" to enter my daily portfolio of fun things to say...



  • I regret that I have but one like to give for this post.



  • @sam, I'm pretty sure that you can alter the Discourse of human history by archiving the Likes thread.


  • mod

    No! Well, at least not until we hit 10k posts.


  • :belt_onion:

    @HardwareGeek said:

    I regret that I have but one like to give for this post.

    It's ok, I got my first (I think?) "Nice post" outside the "Likes" thread. Contribution appreciated.


  • mod

    Yeah, it's hard to say when you have so many from the "Likes" thread.


  • Banned

    @Arantor said:

    I don't see what the difference is, either semantically or technically

    Closed means "complete .. for now"

    Archived means "complete, forever, and not of any further use. May also be eventually deleted or moved to cold long term storage areas."

    Remember that closed topics allow pretty much everything except for adding new replies -- you can edit, like, delete (your own posts), and so forth.


  • Banned

    @Onyx said:

    No Mr. Bond. I expect you to scroll.


  • :belt_onion:

    I... I clicked "Like".

    Forgive me TDWTF, for I have sinned.


  • sockdevs

    Ah, so I was right, you really do have no idea how forums operate.

    Topics that get closed very very rarely reopen. If they're closed, it's because they were closed for a reason, and in the vast majority of cases they have no need to reopen because whatever caused it to close in the first place won't suddenly go away.

    Just because you like to differentiate them does not mean real actual users will, and I'm sure that you'll get 'but why can I do <things> in locked topics' because you're trying to reinvent how something has been working for well over a decade in this fashion.


  • mod

    I think it would be appropriate to use your crowbar on your own kneecap. Or purchase a purple dildo for each poster in the Likes thread who mentions @Voldemort.


  • Banned

    @Arantor said:

    Topics that get closed very very rarely reopen

    That's fine, but who are you to deny someone who posted something funny on a closed topic their precious likes?

    And I think you also have the right to edit your posts in a closed topic, too -- or even retract (delete) them.


  • mod

    @codinghorror said:

    And I think you also have the right to edit your posts in a closed topic, too -- or even retract (delete) them.

    But then it isn't really closed. It's just "no new posts, but you can change what you already said."


  • :belt_onion:


  • sockdevs

    Firstly, not everyone has the same insane hard-on for gamification that you do. True story: I added likes to SMF 2.1 as a built in feature, dropping the old karma feature. While this was mostly regarded as A Good Thing (but certainly not unilaterally a good thing, plenty of people still wanted the old karma feature)... quite a few people asked if there was a way to turn likes off. Not everyone wants to run forums the same way.

    Honestly, I think you have a bad design here. Two separate things that do much the same thing but have minor semantic differences that you're keeping separate to justify your need for it. It's not a need that exists here in the real world.

    Why do you need to be able to edit posts in a locked topic? Better question: why can't you edit them in an archived one? Because of a semantic meaning that you think you need and that in practice doesn't exist.



  • Because deleting old information and discussions is useful for historical relevance.


  • mod

    @Arantor makes a good point. Maybe the best way to approach this would be for the admins to be able to configure what it means on their site when a topic is closed. Then you don't have to worry about the difference between the two, and users know immediately what the lock icon means on a given forum. Now that we're aware of the two states, I find myself checking which one is applied every time I see the lock on a topic. Now that is a barrier to enjoying the forums.


  • sockdevs

    The best bit is if you have a topic that's both because then it gets two padlock icons.


  • Banned

    @Arantor said:

    a semantic meaning that you think you need and that in practice doesn't exist

    Tons of real world examples of close vs. archive/freeze from Stack Exchange, based on usage of millions of users across 100+ sites.

    A few examples:

    1. A user that keeps forcefully retitling or incorrectly recategorizing "their" topic. Archiving freezes the topic.

    2. To signal topics that are on their way to being deleted / archived as not relevant or old. There's a huge archive section at Something Awful, for example. Go check it out.

    In general, yes, Discourse is more open to editing than your average craptacular 1999 era "designed by PHP geniuses" forums. That does not mean other people edit your posts (with the exception of staff, if they want to) but it does mean we give you more rights to download an archive of all your posts, withdraw (delete) your posts with 24 hours warning to others, and edit your posts out of the box for up to a year after posting.


  • mod

    @codinghorror said:

    Tons of real world examples of close vs. archive/freeze from Stack Exchange, based on usage of millions of users across 100+ sites.

    You've pointed this out before, but the fact you are making this comparison indicates you need to be reminded: Discourse isn't meant to be used like Stack Exchange.

    @codinghorror said:

    A user that keeps forcefully retitling or incorrectly recategorizing "their" topic. Archiving freezes the topic.

    Archiving would be the - what was the phrase you've used on other topics? Nuclear option? Close enough. - Archiving would be the nuclear option in this case because it doesn't just keep the user from retitling the topic, it keeps everyone from posting to that topic. Or liking. Or deleting a post. Or doing anything. In other words, this example sucks.

    If you want to keep the methods, you need to at least have different icons for them. Having identical icons that mean different things is a bad idea, especially in the second use case you described. In that situation, no one sees the warning, because it just looks like the topic is closed.


  • sockdevs

    Are you trying to tell me Stack Exchange is a regular forum now? Because it isn't, and you can't use it as an example of how a forum should be BECAUSE IT'S NOT A FORUM.

    In general, yes, Discourse is more open to editing than your average craptacular 1999 era "designed by PHP geniuses" forums.

    Speaking as someone who actually WORKED on those, fuck you and your arrogance. (Btw, that Coding Confessional everyone laughed about? I'm the one who made the confession there. I cannot believe how clever you think you are, when you clearly have no fucking idea whatsoever about the subject matter you're talking about)

    And it proves my point because you clearly haven't actually used any of those forums, because they're obviously beneath you, despite the fact that there are new forums being created every single day with those products. (Here's a hint: when trying to better an existing product, understand what that product offers out of the box and then better it. They have years of experience on you.)

    You speak as though these are new problems that Discourse is now just tackling, when everyone else did it years ago.

    Locking a topic in the conventional manner typically does both of the things that you're talking about on those outdated, outmoded forums. Sometimes the deletion or archival is automated, sometimes it's not. Up to the admins how they play that game, whether they even want to.

    You also seem to think that editing your posts long term is a good idea; there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate why it isn't - aside from fucking around with archived discussions and trolling people (and sometimes in a terrible way), it also opens the door to a very nefarious form of spam where you get new users come in, make a load of seemingly relevant posts, and then a week later go back and edit them. These reasons are why the other systems normally prevent editing after a given period of time - and usually much shorter than a year.



  • I think I'd argue stack exchange makes for a more regular forum than discourse.

    Why the hate for retitle/editing a topic? There's an edit limit that can be set globally. Forums aren't supposed to archive/delete old data in any way shape or form, mainly because old topics have meaning to the site.

    Now, the other side of the coin: Maybe we should archive and delete old posts. It would make those pesky bug reports and change log tracking disappear forever, because discourse is being used as a bug tracker.


  • Banned

    We can not strip or merge the concepts cause we already have a customer that needs the two different states. Boing Boing lock topics after a week and archive stuff occasionally.

    I agree that the semantic difference is subtle and sometimes confusing, that said this is a moderation feature and really not something that effects end users that much.

    The editing concerns are already addressed here, and if @PJH never wants to archive a topic again (or lock a topic again) he can chose to do so.


  • sockdevs

    @Matches said:

    Why the hate for retitle/editing a topic? There's an edit limit that can be set globally. Forums aren't supposed to archive/delete old data in any way shape or form, mainly because old topics have meaning to the site.

    Actually it depends on the forum. There are forums that are very time sensitive in their material, used for short-term discussions about current events. As a result you wouldn't want to necessarily keep everything.

    @sam said:

    We can not strip or merge the concepts cause we already have a customer that needs the two different states. Boing Boing lock topics after a week and archive stuff occasionally.

    I agree that the semantic difference is subtle and sometimes confusing, that said this is a moderation feature and really not something that effects end users that much.

    The editing concerns are already addressed here, and if @PJH never wants to archive a topic again (or lock a topic again) he can chose to do so.

    It's funny, because other forum software doesn't have this limitation. The normal route, though by no means the only one, is to lock things in place that have run their course, and have a dedicated category/board/forum/whatever your terminology of choice for a section is, whereby topics are read-only to non-moderators. You know, category-specific permissions. You keep whatever semantic meaning you're using for the distinction without having two features that are almost identical.

    As for not affecting the end users that much... that depends. On a forum that is lightly moderated like this one, there's no problem. On a more heavily moderated forum it is definitely a source of confusion.


  • Banned

    @Arantor said:

    On a forum that is lightly moderated like this one, there's no problem. On a more heavily moderated forum it is definitely a source of confusion.

    Sure, but on such a forum you could go down the route of moving "locked" topics to a "graveyard" category, nothing is really stopping you.


  • sockdevs

    That's my point. On all the normal forum systems, you have a variety of choices to suit how you want to deal with such things, without the software trying to pre-empt you into doing it the way they thought best.


  • Banned

    Well now you're just hurting my feelings, @Arantor :crying_cat_face:*

    @Arantor said:

    you clearly haven't actually used any of those forums, because they're obviously beneath you

    Oh, but I have. Several memberships on web forums I've been using for 10+ years now.

    One of the motivations for the Discourse project was remarking

    I've been using this shitty PHP web forum software for 10 years, and of all the hundreds of links and noisy crap it sprays all the screen, I've clicked on maybe 5 of them. Ever.

    Ten years, man. Ten years! That's such an epic failure of software design, when a user uses 5% of the UI in ten years of regular use.

    @Arantor said:

    You speak as though these are new problems that Discourse is now just tackling, when everyone else did it years ago.

    Well, yes, existing PHP-era forums do lots of stuff, all of it poorly, and in ways users generally can't even understand.

    @Arantor said:

    Locking a topic in the conventional manner typically does both of the things that you're talking about on those outdated, outmoded forums. Sometimes the deletion or archival is automated, sometimes it's not. Up to the admins how they play that game, whether they even want to.

    OK, so everyone has their own take on this? Just like Discourse has its own take on this?

    @Arantor said:

    it also opens the door to a very nefarious form of spam where you get new users come in, make a load of seemingly relevant posts, and then a week later go back and edit them

    Understood, and I am definitely interested in this case. The way this usually manifests on our partners at How-To Geek, for example, is one "user" will open a topic asking for a good anti-virus solution, then another "user" pops in and answers "oh I have a great solution I just heard of, Dog's Face Anti-Virus!". We have automatic same-IP new user warnings when this happens.

    Some kind of automated warning when new users go in and edit a lot of their stuff would be good -- we have also seen long-term users who ragequit and decide to deface all their existing posts as a "screw you" on the way out. Unfortunately kind of a common pattern.

    We do of course rate-limit editing and posting and tons of other standard, common user actions as a matter of general policy; new users have even more severe rate limits in place.

    @abarker said:

    If you want to keep the methods, you need to at least have different icons for them. Having identical icons that mean different things is a bad idea

    We had different visuals for Archive but @sam decided to pull them and use the close visuals. It is "close" enough, I think.

    @Arantor said:

    category-specific permissions

    Already exists, of course, and already possible. Recategorize a topic into "hidden" category or "read only" category, with those specific permissions set.

    * if I had any


  • sockdevs

    @codinghorror said:

    Well, yes, existing PHP-era forums do lots of stuff, all of it poorly, and in ways users generally can't even understand.

    And Discourse is an improvement? Whatever you're smoking I don't want any.

    Ten years, man. Ten years! That's such an epic failure of software design, when a user uses 5% of the UI in ten years of regular use.

    I'm not disputing that the current UI isn't ideal. But it's far from the epic failure you think it is and crusading against it IS an epic failure.

    So what if I don't use 95% of the UI in regular use? I've never used 95% of Word's UI in 10 years either, does that make it a UI failure? (And we can ignore the Ribbon for that discussion)

    It shouldn't be how much of the UI you use. I don't expect to use more than 5% of Discourse's UI over time, well, no, that's a lie. There's not enough of it to limit basic functionality to only 5% of its UI. Call it 10% then. I don't expect to use more than 10% of Discourse's (much more limited) UI over 10 years. Still a UI failure?

    OK, so everyone has their own take on this? Just like Discourse has its own take on this?

    No. While the crusty oldsters don't generally mandate a given behaviour, most sites tend to do it in a consistent fashion to each other, within the realms of their needs. Not all sites have a need to archive anything, nor do all sites have a need to lock topics on a regular basis.

    Having your own take is fine - provided that you understand the tools that you're trying to reinvent and I'm still not convinced you actually do.

    Unfortunately kind of a common pattern.

    Which is why long term editing is not a common option at all and trying to push Discourse as having it as a plus for Discourse is also failing to learn from the lessons of established software.

    If you're going to reinvent something, you need to be sure you understand what you're reinventing. This topic is merely another example of the disparity between how you think it should be and how real world use demonstrates over and over and over.

    I think you're a year into your plan for Discourse? I've been actively a part of development of forum systems for the last five. You begin to realise that you had it all wrong at the start when watching users.

    Already exists, of course, and already possible. Recategorize a topic into "hidden" category or "read only" category, with those specific permissions set.

    So you have two distinct ways of doing it, and one that virtually clones one of those two. In my book that's called bloat, not to mention user-confusing. But as we're kind of tired of repeating: Discourse is confusing on every level because it consistently defies our expectations.


  • Banned

    @Arantor said:

    And Discourse is an improvement?

    Clearly it is a complete failure. That's why we're using it right now.

    I would also respectfully point out that 100% open source forums based on a modern non-herpes server stack are exceedingly rare.

    So it's a pretty good blend of technologies. You know we're trying to get out of the – what I call the MySQL and PHP ghetto, you know, where that's just sort of the de facto standard. Not because it's actually any good but because well it's installed everywhere so that's what I call server herpes. Every server has it. So if every server has it then that's what you gotta use. But we're trying to sort of break that paradigm up a little bit and say, "Hey, Discourse is so good." It's a little bit like VisiCalc. I mean you got – that's kind of a strong comparison but it's so good you want it on your server, even if it requires Ruby and Postgres and Redis and things that are good, you know? Things that are modern.

    @Arantor said:

    I'm not disputing that the current UI isn't ideal

    Not ideal? "Classic" forum UI is a total god damn disaster. See the "Where’s the Information?" section of this post, for example:

    Or just feast your eyes, feast them I say, on the glory that is the world's largest BitCoin forums.

    Beautiful, no? Edward Tufte wept.

    And the worst part is apologists who tell you the current godawful forum design status quo is "good enough". It was, ten years ago. But the world moved on.


  • sockdevs

    I didn't say Discourse was a complete failure. I asked if it was genuinely an improvement over the 'ghetto', and it seems that I and a number of the people here do not agree with your assertion that it is better.

    Bitcointalk is running SMF 1.1.x, which came out in 2006, and I'm not sure how that's actually helping your argument. They don't especially want to change the UI - because in 2011 they approached me and a colleague about building a new forum software for them. And even then they still wanted to keep the same look, or something very similar.

    Coincidentally they didn't want to go to SMF 2.0, partly because they didn't want something that looked 'Web 2.0 ish' (their words) and partly because they preferred 1.1 for security reasons. I found this most amusing, especially after the last couple of times they were hacked because I had to help investigate what happened. Just like I did after Avast's forum got hacked.

    That linked article (the one that isn't by you, basically), has some interesting points when it comes to 'where's the information', but all the points around expertise and sharing of 'wisdom' apply almost as much to StackOverflow as they do to forums.

    If you want to run a Q&A type deal, run a Q&A type software. If you want to have a place where people talk, run a forum. Conversations run off topic. This place is practically the worst of the worst for that, but the fact is that's just how people are.

    A forum that is predominantly Q&A is a fairly dull place to be, because it has no humanity. It's not a community at that point. I've been to many forums over the years - both for receiving and giving help in my own way - and none of them left me so cold as Stack Overflow did. It's just names on a screen with e-peen all around how much 'wisdom' one has.

    I would also respectfully point out that 100% open source forums based on a modern non-herpes server stack are exceedingly rare.

    Of course they are. I guess it didn't occur to you that there might be a reason for that and it isn't the one you think it is.

    The (vast) majority of people running forums are doing so on cheap-ass shared hosting. No VPS, no fancy deployment, just your average couple of bucks a month GoDaddy-like shared hosting. Discourse won't work on that. You've already eliminated the largest segment of the potential market.

    On the flip side, you're catering to your actual market reasonably intelligently, but not because of any conscious decision you actually made. You chose the DC stack for your own reasons - to, as you put it, get out of the ghetto. The net effect is, coincidentally, users that will use the software more along the lines you thought up because if they're already buying into the ecosystem in the first place (by investing time and money to go to non-terrible hosting and to go through and install Discourse), they've already sunk that time and energy in, and as such aren't going to let it go.

    I seem to recall a comment about installation of Discourse being in the 15-20 minute range, whilst pointing out that all of the crusty PHP forums are in the 5-10 minute mark, just like WordPress is. Funny that.

    Oh, and SMF supports PostgreSQL these days. As do some of the other options. Interesting. Just because you use PostgreSQL doesn't automatically make you better than a software that uses MySQL. It simply makes you more pretentious.


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