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Revival of old forum threads vs. archive function
Thread poster: Katalin Horváth McClure

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Apr 14, 2010

There were two cases today when somebody replied to a very old thread (one was 3 years old, the other was 7 years old), bringing it up to the top of the list. It happened in the past, too, and after seeing these two cases today I thought it was quite possible that those threads were "revived" by mistake, I mean the person posted a new post did not pay attention to how old the last post was. Especially one of them, that was discussing an issue that was most likely solved years ago, but after the first new posting, people started discussing it as it was a "live" case, because by then it was even harder to notice how old the initial part of the thread was.

I think it would be a useful function to warn the poster if the thread he/she is about to post to is old, to make sure he/she really wants to revive that old thread.
"This thread was started on MM-DD-YYYY (X years/months ago), the last post was on MM-DD-YYYY (X years/months ago), are you sure you want to post to this thread?" - or something similar.
I am not sure where would be the best to draw the line, but I think anything older than a year would justify such a warning.
Or perhaps 6 months?

Or perhaps any thread where the last post is older than X years (or even one year) would be automatically "locked" (="archived"), so everything would be readable, but no more postings could be added. If someone wanted to discuss the topic again, he/she could start a new thread (perhaps mentioning the old one with a link). This would allow for someone who really, intentionally wants to pick up an old, but perhaps interesting topic again, and would prevent the new potential contributors from having to flip through several pages of old stuff.
This locking would be different from those cases where a Moderator/Staff locks a thread due to rule violations, (because those topics cannot be discussed again), so maybe it would be better to call it "archiving". (Inserted "archived" above.)

Any opinions?

Katalin


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:01
Member (2008)
English to French
seconded :-) Apr 14, 2010

I second the suggestionicon_smile.gif

 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Seems sensible to me Apr 14, 2010

Thirded.

 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:01
French to German
+ ...
Would be very useful... Apr 14, 2010

indeed.

 

Andrea Jarmuschewski  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:01
Member (2007)
French to German
+ ...
Me too Apr 14, 2010

I'm all for Katalin's suggestion too.

 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:01
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Implementation Apr 14, 2010

Hi Katalin,

Good thinking, and a very useful suggestion. That said, I'd have thought that this issue (i.e. converting old threads to "archived" status) had already been dealt with by staff. I vaguely remember that this suggestion came up before.

Steffen


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
Good idea Katalin Apr 14, 2010

I have drawn the thread to staff attention.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:01
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
My vote too Apr 14, 2010

-- And I have also wondered whether it would be possible to add a 'self deleting' option on some threads that are only interesting for a limited period of time.

Here I am specifically thinking of threads announcing events and conferences etc., that are no longer relevant after the date. Reports with pictures and feedback etc. are usually set up on different sites or threads anyway.

Probably people would forget to tick the box or whatever to activate it, but in theory things like 'Remember the powwow on Saturday' should self-delete by the next Saturday at the latest.


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:01
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't agree with locking (archiving) old threads Apr 14, 2010

I accept the idea of warning users about how old a thread is, but do not agree with the idea of locking threads after a certain date. Many threads started a long time ago deal with issues that are still current, such as software, rates and grammar/language points, and we should have the right to make new posts in these cases.

I always add to threads whenever I have a contribution to make (whatever the age of the thread) and can assure you I never do it by mistake. I actually think reviving an old thread could be a good idea, as quite often important issues get forgotten and need to be re-raised.


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 16:01
SITE STAFF
What kind of thread are we talking about, and why are they "revived"? Apr 14, 2010

Hello all,

Indicating the last post date more clearly from the forum post form when a thread has been inactive for a certain amount of time might be a good idea. It might be interesting to look at what the thread is about and why it gets "revived" (this may happen by mistake, as you mention, Katalin, but it's more likely that it's just the thread that was most easily found by the poster when searching the forums for help).

It may also be good to note that others have complained that certain topics get posted over and over again in separate threads.

In the case of help topics, it might be in the best interest of all to have those topics covered in the ProZ.com Wiki, where the articles are easily found, read, and can benefit from the collaboration of everyone in one place. Subjects like those Paul mentions, once in the wiki, would stand to benefit from the experience of anyone who chooses to add to it, leading to articles which are strong, comprehensive, and of great help to future seekers of help or information.

For those not already familiar with the ProZ.com Wiki, you can find it under the "Member activities" tab. There is also a forum to discuss articles for and in the wiki, at http://www.proz.com/forum/899

Regards,

Jared


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Jared - examples Apr 14, 2010

Hi Jared,
Thanks for looking into this.
The two threads I saw yesterday were these:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/8343-rates_per_character.html
The last post in this was over 7 years ago.

http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/69920-tired_of_so_called_professionals_in_my_community.html
The last post in this thread was 3 years ago.

This morning another one appeared (perhaps Paul was illustrating his point), the last post in this discussion is from 2001.

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/587-is_prozcom_really_that_good.html

Another thing to consider, that old threads where discussion was conducted under a different set of rules, if "revived", may be against current rules. In fact one of the postings in this thread is violating current rules as it mentions a specific outsourcer.

Hope these links help to understand my point.
Thanks
Katalin


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes and No Apr 14, 2010

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

I think it would be a useful function to warn the poster if the thread he/she is about to post to is old, to make sure he/she really wants to revive that old thread.
"This thread was started on MM-DD-YYYY (X years/months ago), the last post was on MM-DD-YYYY (X years/months ago), are you sure you want to post to this thread?" - or something similar.


I agree so far. You remind the poster and the poster might say. "Yes, I am sure. This topic is still hot", or " I have some new developments to add to this topic" or the like. The poster might have read all the information on the topic in that and in other threads and still think appropiate to add data or inquiry more about it.

Or else, he/she might realize the thread is old and look for more info and decide a new post is no longer convenient or relevant.

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
Or perhaps any thread where the last post is older than X years (or even one year) would be automatically "locked" (="archived"), so everything would be readable, but no more postings could be added. If someone wanted to discuss the topic again, he/she could start a new thread (perhaps mentioning the old one with a link).


Disagree. I have always complained about members that don`t take the time to browse around the fora and post a question that has already been dealt with dozens of times.

In those cases I usually suggest the poster to invest some time in browsing the fora and if he/she still doesn`t find a right answer to his/her question or problem, please come back to the forum and place the proper question adding that the information provided so far is not enough in his/her case.


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with Paul Apr 14, 2010

Paul Dixon wrote:

I accept the idea of warning users about how old a thread is, but do not agree with the idea of locking threads after a certain date. Many threads started a long time ago deal with issues that are still current, such as software, rates and grammar/language points, and we should have the right to make new posts in these cases.

I always add to threads whenever I have a contribution to make (whatever the age of the thread) and can assure you I never do it by mistake. I actually think reviving an old thread could be a good idea, as quite often important issues get forgotten and need to be re-raised.



Ditto.
I must add this to my previous comment.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Warning is OK-ed so far, that is good Apr 14, 2010

Thanks for all the opinions.
So far it looks like the idea of the warning sounds OK to everybody.
I think it would be helpful to implement it.

The other idea about the archiving was a secondary one, and I agree it has pros and cons.
However, I am not sure why people think the "archive lock" would prevent people from browsing and reading the content. I did not suggest deleting/hiding those threads at all.
That would not be a good idea, precisely for the reason that often times posts in old threads could answer someone's current question, thus, preventing posting another thread. The sort of archiving I was talking about would not hinder searching, finding and reading any of the content in those old threads.

If someone thinks the topic that was discussed in an old (let's say 9 year old) thread should be re-raised again, I would think there was a specific reason, event, happening that made the person think that re-raising the issue would be a good idea. In that case, wouldn't it be better to start a new thread, stating the current issue, the current question, the search that resulted in finding the old thread, link the old thread, and write why the old thread did not answer the question (if it did, than there is no need to revive the discussion), or how it is relevant to the current issue the poster wants to discuss. I think that would be more helpful to the potential contributors.

But others might think differently, and that is fine with me.
I just stated my view based on 10 years of active use of the site.

I am sure staff will make the right decision.
Katalin

[Edited at 2010-04-14 15:46 GMT]


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:01
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The 2001 thread Apr 14, 2010

I would like to inform Katalin that my posting to the 2001 thread was indeed to illustrate the point. I looked for an old thread that was still current, and replied to it. I chose this thread because from 2004 (when I joined) to now ProZ has changed a lot (for better or worse) and I felt the thread could be revived. Some differences: partial memberships, no more quotes paid with BrowniZ - I think the first change was beneficial, the second was not. From 2001 I guess changes were even more profound, so through my new posting I have brought the thread up to date.

 
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