Limiting number of replies in a thread

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
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    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.
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ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
I for one would support this change. Of course, whenever there is change there is a natural tenancy to resist it. To the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" argument I would say "it is broke", at least to a certain extent for the reasons already stated. Just because the current system "sort of works" doesn't mean it can't be improved upon, even if it means users having to adapt.

I've seen quite a few other forums that have had similar maximum limits and no one there has ever raised it as an issue. Although off the top of my head I can't remember what the actual maximum number of posts was set at.

To be honest I think that this is a non-issue for anything other than those threads specifically dedicated to Merlin add-ons. We've already heard from @Adamm but it might be interesting to also hear from @Jack Yaz, @thelonelycoder, @Xentrk, @Martineau and @dave14305.
 

dave14305

Part of the Furniture
I've never run a forum, so I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. I still see evidence that search and/or indexing for older threads is broken, at least in those threads that were moved to the new AddOns sub-forum. Perhaps there's no way to fix it, so the workaround is to abandon the old threads and start new ones. Pure speculation.

I've said before that we're all guests at Tim's party (or something close to that). Tim doesn't really owe us an explanation or require consent before making any changes. But we all must live with the consequences of those changes, whether positive or negative.

As a newcomer to the mega-thread circle, I have less to lose than Adamm or thelonelycoder or Jack Yaz. But if those threads won't be easily searchable anymore then I don't think there's much choice here. I can live with the results either way, but I can imagine a lot of repetition in posts, or more links to detailed documentation on GitHub instead of detailed first posts.

I also can't imagine trying to support a Merlin add-on outside of the ASUSWRT-Merlin forums. It's like Mr. Sulu wanting his own starship when all the action was on the Enterprise. But that's just me and I only speak for me.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I have a natural tendency to resist change for the sake of change. I see no benefits to an artificial limit for the unrealistic hope of a better user experience (with multiple threads to search, with unknown criteria, and more than likely similar symptoms that will further confuse a new user, not help them find a solution/answer).

Curious what other forums have such limits in place?

What is most bothersome to me is arbitrarily assuming that a thread has run its course in '3, 2, 1...'.

Why not fix what is really broken (search) and leave the trees and forest alone?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Curious what other forums have such limits in place?

Other forums tend to be more heavy-handed with moderation when dealing with such issues, like locking threads.

I used to be a regular follower of Mozillazine. They had daily Firefox build threads posted. And every day, the previous day build thread was getting locked, and a new thread was started. That took a moderator's intervention to do this every day.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Locking a thread because of a new build of a web-browser makes sense to me. Locking it because it reaches 'xxx' posts does not.

I understand that the less hands-on a moderator has to be the better (less chance of burnout), but I don't think that is much of an issue on this forum though? I may be wrong on this point, of course. :)
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Another point I'd like to make. I use the "watch" feature on all megathreads of projects I support, that means I usually reply to any questions within minutes/hours. Limiting posts will remove usefulness of this feature and make support harder as I'd have to manually search the thread, addons section and merlin section for support queries. That's a huge regression and step backwards.

In the most respectful way possible, If I as an thread author prefer supporting a megathread how does this affect others? I never once have asked tim/merlin/other members to offer technical support for my projects, so If I intentionally want a megathread vs multiple spread out support threads I think its fair that we have that choice. If other users prefer to have individual release threads they should also have that choice.
 

thelonelycoder

Part of the Furniture
I have already decided to again creating a new thread for each major release. I suggest @Adamm do the same. Our posts view metrics can easily be seen for the threads we create. Just sort by replies and one can add the numbers (AB-Solution's and the Diversion threads have well over a million views combined).
I do, however, have some metrics from my webserver if I care to look, which I only rarely do.
I know that Skynet and Diversion are at this time the most used and popular addons in use around these parts of the web.

I suggest to @thiggins to lean back for a while, let us settle into our new forum and see how things work out.
Give us at least until end of year before you slam down the hammer and force-limit thread replies numbers.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Another point I'd like to make. I use the "watch" feature on all megathreads of projects I support, that means I usually reply to any questions within minutes/hours. Limiting posts will remove usefulness of this feature and make support harder as I'd have to manually search the thread, addons section and merlin section for support queries. That's a huge regression and step backwards.

Having addons to their own dedicated subforum does make this much easier now, and the addition of prefixes allows threads to easily be filtered/identified. I will take care of moving posts out of the Asuswrt-Merlin forum when necessary (I already do a lot of regular cleanup for that with all the Asus sub-forums), and also properly tag new threads that are missing the correct prefix.

I doubt the addon subforum will get enough daily posts to require going beyond the first page for a daily check, maybe the second page at worst.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I do, however, have some metrics from my webserver if I care to look, which I only rarely do.

If you'd like some easy to browse metrics for that, I suggest setting up awstats. I have it setup on my fwupdate VPS, but I can't rely on it since I have a CDN in front of me (which means only a fraction of the actual trafic reaches my server and gets logged). I still keep it set up because occasionally I may disable the CDN for 48 hours, just long enough to get a snapshot of current usage. Wouldn't be a problem for your server however since I suspect you don't use a CDN.
 

thelonelycoder

Part of the Furniture
If you'd like some easy to browse metrics for that, I suggest setting up awstats. I have it setup on my fwupdate VPS, but I can't rely on it since I have a CDN in front of me (which means only a fraction of the actual trafic reaches my server and gets logged). I still keep it set up because occasionally I may disable the CDN for 48 hours, just long enough to get a snapshot of current usage. Wouldn't be a problem for your server however since I suspect you don't use a CDN.
I have awstats running for the more or less raw stats and Matomo for granular Webviews.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I have awstats running for the more or less raw stats and Matomo for granular Webviews.

Cool, never heard of that second one, I'll have a look - thanks.

Nice seeing I ain't the only old schooler here that still uses AWstats :) Most people are going with Google Analytics these days. Got GA set up on my project website, I still need to better integrate it through Cloudflare to get more accurate results.
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Merlin deals with more daily posts than anyone and he is on board with the change.

I will also investigate improving search. But the thread limit will be imposed on all threads in all forums, no exceptions.
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Merlin deals with more daily posts than anyone and he is on board with the change.

I will also investigate improving search. But the thread limit will be imposed on all threads in all forums, no exceptions.

I’d like to think as the site owner you would take others input pretty seriously. There has been no overwhelming majority asking for change (or supporting the idea at hand) and legitimate concerns with the proposed change without a technical reason requiring it.

Its quite clear your personal thoughts on the matter, but I implore you to consider the ripple effect this change will have by crippling site functionality. If you are willing to lose some your oldest most active members who have helped grow this site over the change I can’t stop you, but it is quite disappointing as someone who exclusively released projects on this site.

I hope reason prevails before a decision is made.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
Locking it because it reaches 'xxx' posts does not.
Makes a lot of sense to me. It's easy to start a new thread, cut and paste the first post if necessary, but as a user, I *hate* slogging through page after page of "works good", etc, just to find the 1 in 1000 post that has something useful. I'd rather see a thread "cleaned", but starting a new one works too. These topics are typically too volatile to have much value in the long term. You could argue that anything over 6 months could simply be deleted (although you could easily argue against that too). But, from a professional and technical standpoint, the majority of old posts is just noise. And, honestly, I do not run certain add-ons because if they *need* a 7000+ post thread to support installing and running, I don't have the time or energy to read that. Have a tutorial, install guide etc, that gets locked, then have release or individual threads for issues. Much more valuable IMO.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I see no value in multiple threads about the same topic stating "works for me" posts either. Neither are those types of posts 'noise', rather another metric of a positive experience for users too.

Assuming that any thread can simply be deleted after 'x' amount of time is puzzling to me too. The old posts are part of the history/growth of this site. And offer an easy way to 'catch up' for anyone that needs to.

I myself did that very thing when health issues made it hard or even impossible to participate daily (even just to read the posts, let alone reply to any) when and as I was able to just a few short years ago.

Posters who ask questions and those who try to help may not see a big change in how they absorb the available information exchanged. But the script creators like @Adamm have made very good points in why an arbitrary number of posts may persuade them to choose to stop participating here.

I feel that most other script authors feel the same as @Adamm too, but are concerned about the lack of understanding shown so far.

I honestly hope that their point of view is considered fully and taken into account for the final decision.

If not, I fear this great community will be just a mere shadow of what it is today.

I have not seen any good reason posted in this thread for this type of drastic change (that doesn't have a just as good counter-point).

I have sadly not seen this thread as a two way conversation either, but rather just a way to introduce this change that has seemingly been already decided on.

I sincerely hope that everyone participating today will still be part of this great forum a year from now.

Fixing the search engine is much more pertinent than setting arbitrary post limits that will actually impact the usability of the site for the people who bring the traffic to it in the first place.

@thiggins please keep these great forums viable and usable for all. Thank you.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I feel that most other script authors feel the same as @Adamm too

That is not what I see. thelonelycoder said he was going to go with separate release threads, and dave said he doesn't mind.

I have not seen any good reason posted in this thread for this type of drastic change (that doesn't have a just as good counter-point).

I gave two very detailed reasons why having monolithic threads was a bad idea. Want another one?

Have you ever used a ticketing system?

Because, this is how issues are normally managed: one separate ticket per issue. It's the only way to keep any kind of logic or order in managing them.
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Have you ever used a ticketing system?

Because, this is how issues are normally managed: one separate ticket per issue. It's the only way to keep any kind of logic or order in managing them.

But no one is asking you to offer technical support for our scripts. If you choose to manage your own release threads this way then that’s your choice to make, much like it should be my choice to keep a megathread.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I don't see this as a detriment to script writers at all. You now have your own sub-forum and major scripts have eye-catching tags to draw attention.

Would it be useful if I had one thread for each product type? How about putting all posts for wireless routers into one big ol' thread? Or maybe I should just merge all AddOns into one thread?

Why not look at this as an opportunity to present a more user-friendly experience for people discovering your script for the first time? Create an introductory sticky post that you can update over time and direct users to specific topic threads.

Allowing threads with multi-thousand posts is sloppy moderation and that's on me. Now that I've discovered the problem I'm addressing it.
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Allowing threads with multi-thousand posts is sloppy moderation and that's on me. Now that I've discovered the problem I'm addressing it.

It seems more like you've engineered a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. You can't fix computer illiteracy by imposing artificial limits.

Take the stickied threads in the merlin section for example, the readme sticky has been up for over 2 years, yet two of the most common questions that get asked on a daily basis are "can you support model xxxxx" and "how do I flash this on my t-mobile device". Despite being a highly visible thread people still refuse to read it and ask the same questions hundreds of times.

Now take the Skynet thread for example. Under your suggested new limits, we would have threads that are only 20 pages. I challenge you to find any current issue/bug with Skynet that can't be resolved by reading the 20 most recent pages that date back to June 27.

How someone chooses to handle support for a release thread where they are the sole developer and support desk should be their own decision, you should not be imposing your personal preferences on those of us who have had a working system for 6+ years and counting. If Merlin or any other developer wants to limit their threads to 10 or 20 pages, that's great they should have that option if they feel it works best for them. But don't force these personal preferences on those of us that clearly don't agree nor want them.
 
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