Limiting number of replies in a thread

dev_null

Regular Contributor
The same process that has made this community thrive the past 6+ years. You've made your point clear you would personally prefer to see smaller threads, so let those of us who agree with your line of thought do that and the rest of us continue handling our threads how we prefer. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when the system currently works just fine. If I'm okay with personally supporting a megathread, you should be okay with it.
I'm just a "regular" user here, but I feel compelled to weigh in. While in most instances I prefer the approach to open a new thread for each issue, in the case of skynet and several other mega-threads, being able to search the thread for issues is actually quite helpful. I don't then need to parse through 100 different search results to find the context for solving whatever has led me to the search.

I understand that thiggins owns the forum, but as Adamm notes above, if the thread owner is in favor of keeping a mega-thread, and is routinely monitoring it and providing support, and there is no technical reason limiting the number of responses, why change?

I'd vote for leaving the thread-building to the tool owner, and keeping all the Merlin tools on snbforums, rather than risking a split to another platform.

FWIW, I would also like to see the addons be re-integrated into the Merlin FW forum. Carving them out makes little sense, and the enjoyment of being able to scroll through a single forum to see the totality of what's going on in Merlin-FW-world was one of my daily treats. Negotiating several sub-forums to get the gist of developments removes that simple pleasure, again for no discernible reason.

Thanks to @thiggins and @RMerlin for your consideration and support.
 

archiel

Regular Contributor
The recent move of ASUS Merlin AddOns into their own sub-forum has brought something to my attention. Namely, the extreme length of some threads. I've found multiple threads with page counts over 100 (there are 20 posts per page), with the highest being 383 pages long with 7,644 replies (and counting!)

Threads of this length are not helpful for newcomers to a discussion, nor do they help with quickly locating answers to specific problems. They also put the entire discussion at risk in the case of accidental deletion (yes, it happens).

So I am considering implementing a limit on the number of replies to a thread. I'm thinking of 200 (10 pages @ 20 posts per page). The limit would be count-based only; there would be no time limit on when a thread could be replied to. This would apply across all forums.

In the meantime, please consider starting a new thread when you have a specific question instead of just adding on to a thread. And use the Prefix drop-down if the available selections match your post topic.

As an end user who has slowly learned how to enhance the functionality of his home router (and understand other options that may be of interest) I fundamentally disagree with the assertion that threads of this length are not helpful for newcomers to a discussion.

For me, the OP provides the core information on how to apply a script or application and the most recent pages assist in keeping up with 'what's new', however it is everything in between that provides the why, including the occasional detours that can humanise otherwise very dry discussions.
It is through the why that non-developers like myself can begin to understand not just how a particular script works, but how this will interact with other scripts - it also provides the space for ideas to be put forward, discussed and accepted or rejected - for me it is just as important to understand why something is a 'bad' idea. Splitting discussions into smaller threads greatly increases the probability (in my view) that I will miss something that of relevance (even if only tangential) to my setup, because the headline topic does not seem pertinent.

Home routers may be relatively simple devices compared to professional perimeter devices, but getting the best out of them (and not doing anything too stupid) is not, and having the breadth and depth of input in these forum is what makes me choose both Asus and snbforums. The biggest challenge for me has never been the length of a forum, but rather the weakness of the search engine, which I am truly grateful is now to be improved - to date if I have wanted to find anything I have ended up using google to find the relevant pages on snb, which does not make sense.

If I consider these forums, compared to those I use for other software whether at home or at work, they are among the very best and one of the very few that choose to visit regularly. Where add-ons are concerned, imposing an artificial limit on the length of a discussion is only likely to damage the quality of the conversations and by extension, the site.

I would ask you to reconsider the proposed changes.
 

JacquesR

Regular Contributor
The implementation of an improved search function could significantly change user behavior and result in fewer repetitive/redundant posts. It therefore seems prudent to me to track whether it has a limiting effect on the "monster" treads before implementing this change, in case the stated problem (which I personally don't find persuasive, but there's no question that it's thiggins call) can be alleviated through a less disruptive mechanism.

(And this could perhaps be combined with pre-publication moderation for devs who were willing to do that, in order to direct people to a FAQ, rather than posting another question on the same topic.)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The fundamental differences I see between one thread that the developer started, and multiple threads are as follows.

The organization is not only inherent, logical, and in a date/time format, but it also allows the developer to answer authoritatively once and be allowed to be repeated/linked later in the thread. With no one forgetting where they saw that answer or 'fix'.

With a single thread, all the positive points made by others above are present and preserved, including the 'why'. In multiple threads, I see much duplication (and that is even more wasteful for all members here) and worse, more of a disconnect of the 'why' some things need to be in a certain order too.

Multiple threads cannot be searched effectively when the same questions are asked over and over. Finding the answer makes it that much harder to get to (you will need to read all those threads to see them pointing to other threads, ad nauseam).

'Watching' a single thread is far easier than monitoring an entire subforum.

Nothing stops anyone from creating a new thread if they feel they must. But the people that provide support, a single thread is infinitely easier to not just point to, but also to search through too.

If the developer was likened to a Manager in a company, this would be akin to a single thread providing access to that 'manager' in a single step for both the user and the developer, vs. having to make many smaller jumps many more times to provide the same support.

Not only is this disrespectful of the developers' time, but it is also the same for the user too. Why create a new thread when a simple post would suffice?

Having the Addons subforum outside (at the same level) of the RMerlin forum is also questionable too. They are obviously intricately tied together.

Specifically, for myself, some of the points above are moot (I read all posts daily on the entire forum here), but for anyone else, developer or user, having 'more' posts does not equate to easier access to that information nor to an easier method of support for those increased number of threads either.

Again, choice is king. Please let the developers proceed as they know best (and more importantly, how they've made it work for them and their users for so long now).
 

XIII

Very Senior Member
I'm not sure I have anything to add about the subject itself, but I do hope that the most vocal people in this thread agree with this recent Seth Godin post:

Seth Godin said:
You can be agreeable without agreeing.

In fact, most of the time, we’d rather spend time with people who have a different point of view but are willing to be agreeable nonetheless. It’s far better than the alternative.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
@thiggins I honestly find it incredible that you are so willing to cut off a community that is essentially all of SNBForums daily traffic rather then just admit this was a terrible idea and instead work with the community rather then against it. The addons section alone has more user interaction in 70 threads then the majority of the site combined spanning thousands of threads. Just let those numbers sink in for a moment... If it weren't for the community built around Merlin's firmware and our addons this site wouldn't exist anymore, that's just the reality of the situation.

In 7+ years I've never once felt the need to criticize how the site is run and dedicated countless hours of time and effort building the community, but I'm afraid this change will singlehandedly be the nail in the coffin. I can personally say if Skynet's thread is closed as you have previously threatened, I will be moving all my projects to a more inclusive community or honestly just killing the projects all together. I can't in good faith let you wipe 6 years of history for no good reason and pretend like that's a reasonable coarse of action.

I think its very fair to say that myself and the other most influential/active members have "earned a seat at the table" when it comes to decision making, this thread was initially supposed to be a suggestion, but when you found out the majority of users didn't agree with you it became a forced change.

I can count on one hand the amount of times any of my threads have required moderation of any sort, so its honestly just a lame excuse saying these long threads are out of control. I am the sole developer / support desk for all of my threads, I have never asked you or any other member to step in and assist, so I don't get how the length of my threads affects you even in the slightest, you don't even post in this section going off your profile history.

Its also quite ironic that the site owner has stirred up what is usually a drama free community by trying to pit us against one another by labeling individual members such as @RMerlin as either "supporters" or "non-supporters" as a means of self serving bias. Perhaps its time you visit some larger tech forums and see how they handle exponentially longer threads and get some perspective on forum moderation and community building.

I once again on behalf of the community ask you to reevaluate your position before you alienate & inadvertently kill off the active userbase left on the site.
I also again voice my concern. amtm and Diversion will continue to receive updates and support by me. I'm just not sure at this time if this board is the right place for that.
Don't make us leave @thiggins and lose a place where we were welcome, respected and had fun while providing enhancements to Asus routers that other communities and brands only can dream of.
I'm the one who asked Tim to create a separate forum for addons. The reasons I felt it was due for that was:

a) The increasing number of addons and discussions relative to these addons
b) Give more visibility to those less popular addons that quickly sank on page 10 (like Adamm's FW building script)
c) Encourage more threads to be created to discuss addons in general

It certainly helped for the visibility, an Asus engineer specifically mentioned to me in an Email that he had noticed the new subforum, and that he had been taking a personal look at some of these addons (we even discussed more in depth at least one of these specific addons).

So no, moving addons to a separate forum had absolutely nothing to do with secret agendas or to make things more difficult. That particular change was on me (and of course had to be accepted by Tim), and I felt it was appropriate for these reasons.

The only thing I have to add is I support whatever option developers and Asuswrt-Merlin dev support. And I go where ever they go for their continued support and community support.
 

SwampKracker

Regular Contributor
I fully support anything Tim chooses to do with his forum. After all, we do not pay for the privilege of using it. So, stop complaining about something you get for free and deal with the changes.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
I fully support anything Tim chooses to do with his forum. After all, we do not pay for the privilege of using it. So, stop complaining about something you get for free and deal with the changes.
Or go somewhere else. Though I imagine if the supporters go somewhere else if this place will not still be "free". Agree to disagree, things are changing. The question is, who wants cheese with their whine?
 
Last edited:

kernol

Very Senior Member
I feel a bit like a benevolent "MITM" watching this thread - I can appreciate and sympathise with both sides of the discussion.

As a noob back in Feb 2018 [but an old hand on forums for 30+ years] I struggled with the extraordinarily long threads that existed for "Add-Ons" [and I still do].
At the time the AB Solution AdBlocker was around 130 pages deep and it took ages to trawl through the posts at a time when I lacked the confidence to just jump in with my first router add-on.

That said - I can appreciate the resistance coming from add-on developers who have been permitted [from inception] to build these mega-threads and have a single point of contact with the baby they have produced and nourished over the weeks, months and even years. They do need to carefully consider the end-user experience though - it is neither easy nor welcoming in its present form. It is really important and rewarding for a developer to do everything possible to encourage noobs to take the leap and use their offering.

My other difficulty was the Forum's search functionality - I get way better results using Google confined to searching within "snbforums.com" for any query I might have. A serious and extensive revamp of the built in search engine would be welcome.

So - an earnest appeal to the opposing factions - PLEASE find a compromise - preferably by direct, open and frank "one on one" discussions [rather than continued posts here]. Without it, this topic has the potential to breakup a really great "family" of developers.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Since I always say it's hard to argue with data, I figured I'd try to apply that approach to this situation.

Over the weekend, I took a look at the Skynet threads' post pattern to see how many days it would take to hit a limit of 500 posts (25 pages @ 20 posts per page). Excluding an early period from April 2014 to June 2017, I found it would take an average of 84 days, with a range from 34 to 171 days.

Given this level of activity in some threads and the preferences stated for long threads by some, let's try a different approach.

I propose to auto-close threads 6 months after they are opened. For you long-thread lovers, this would give you two threads per year to deal with, with all the posty goodness you can eat during that period.

This change would apply across SNBForums and also address necro-posting, which annoys some of you and isn't my favorite, either. It would start on November 1.

You also may have noticed the new Similar Threads feature, which pops up a list of similar threads based on thread title when viewing, replying or opening a new thread. I hope this can help prevent the dreaded "oh, not that question again" and maybe even help users craft more informative thread titles.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@thiggins, let me be the first to thank you for this!

I have to be truthful, I didn't even think about a time limit to a thread. This makes much more sense to me, at least. Two threads a year for all the developers can certainly be workable, I hope.

Btw, I previously posted that I didn't see the 'Similar threads' section. I do see that now (below). Another excellent improvement here.
 

Morris

Regular Contributor
The recent move of ASUS Merlin AddOns into their own sub-forum has brought something to my attention. Namely, the extreme length of some threads. I've found multiple threads with page counts over 100 (there are 20 posts per page), with the highest being 383 pages long with 7,644 replies (and counting!)

Threads of this length are not helpful for newcomers to a discussion, nor do they help with quickly locating answers to specific problems. They also put the entire discussion at risk in the case of accidental deletion (yes, it happens).

So I am considering implementing a limit on the number of replies to a thread. I'm thinking of 200 (10 pages @ 20 posts per page). The limit would be count-based only; there would be no time limit on when a thread could be replied to. This would apply across all forums.

In the meantime, please consider starting a new thread when you have a specific question instead of just adding on to a thread. And use the Prefix drop-down if the available selections match your post topic.
I totally agree that these long threads are brutal. As someone that just installed a number of new scripts they made the process quite painful. I believe you are on the correct track splitting off the add on scripts from the Merlin Forum. I feel that each of the scripts or at least the most popular ones world be best served by separate forums. This would allow the use of stickies to provide valuable information as well as open discussions with a thread for each topic.

Limiting thread length will simply result in second and third and forth... threads on the same subject and will not aid in readability and clarity. The long threads are a symptom of insufficient organization and that has evolved over time and is nobody's fault, it just happened.

I'm new to SNB yet have been on others since the invention of forums. I encourage you to continue what you have started by creating forums for popular scripts and what ever else may come along.

Morris
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Since I always say it's hard to argue with data, I figured I'd try to apply that approach to this situation.

Over the weekend, I took a look at the Skynet threads' post pattern to see how many days it would take to hit a limit of 500 posts (25 pages @ 20 posts per page). Excluding an early period from April 2014 to June 2017, I found it would take an average of 84 days, with a range from 34 to 171 days.

Given this level of activity in some threads and the preferences stated for long threads by some, let's try a different approach.

I propose to auto-close threads 6 months after they are opened. For you long-thread lovers, this would give you two threads per year to deal with, with all the posty goodness you can eat during that period.

This change would apply across SNBForums and also address necro-posting, which annoys some of you and isn't my favorite, either. It would start on November 1.

You also may have noticed the new Similar Threads feature, which pops up a list of similar threads based on thread title when viewing, replying or opening a new thread. I hope this can help prevent the dreaded "oh, not that question again" and maybe even help users craft more informative thread titles.
I'm glad to see you have noticed the overwhelming support against the proposed changes, its a step in the right direction. But again this is just the same artificial limitation with a different spin on it and has the exact same negative drawbacks.

Lets leave these guidelines as opt-in, grandfather current threads or exempt threads with the release tag. Otherwise any "auto close" feature will just lead to the same underlying issues pointed out over the past 6 pages.

fwiw; The similar threads feature is a handy improvement.
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
Automatic time or length based lock creates the same issues. Both will break the ongoing conversations in the middle for no reason. The thread may stay idle for days, then a new fw/script release re-starts the conversation again. I would eventually lock only threads with no activity for a month. This will prevent resurrecting of old threads for no reason.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KW.

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
I would eventually lock only threads with no activity for a month.
Actually, no. Thread digging doesn't happed so often. Not a real issue. Similar Threads and improved Search are both good additions, but after 6 months most of the results will be read-only. New users will have to make new threads to ask a question. In 1-2 years time Similar Threads will generate 2 pages long results. There will be many MANY similar threads, created just because of auto lock limitation. The 2 new excellent tools will become less and less useful over time. Few pages of search results in few pages of similar threads.
 
Last edited:

kernol

Very Senior Member

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

dev_null

Regular Contributor
Glad we have a compromise.

Any chance of re-integrating the Merlin add-ons back into the main Merlin forum?

Or at least embedded as a sub-forum within that (compromise)?
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
E How to know my maximum number of threads and my internet speed Other Discussions 5

Similar threads

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top