Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

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Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Tekky » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:54 pm

TL;DR

Whenever a moderator moves a thread to a different sub-forum, a link to the thread should be left behind in the old sub-forum, so that the thread can be easily found again.

What ?

Currently, when a moderator moves a thread to a different sub-forum (for example from "General Discussion" to "Ideas and Suggestions"), they never leave behind a link to the new thread location. I am suggesting to change this policy by always leaving behind a so-called phpBB "shadow topic".

Why ?

By not leaving behind a shadow thread when a thread is moved, it can be very hard for people to find a thread again and they may get the false impression that the thread was deleted. Especially new users will be unaware of the "View your posts" forum feature and this only works for finding threads that you have already posted in.

I have been informed by a moderator that he does not leave behind shadow threads because he was told to do so by the developers.

However, I assume that this only applies to the bug reports sub-forum, because the developers are using that sub-forum as a bug report management system where threads are constantly being moved to different sub-forums based on the status of the bug report. Therefore, the bug reports sub-forum would get cluttered with shadow threads very quickly if they were left behind whenever a bug report was moved to a different sub-forum. Due to this, it is understandable that the developers do not want any shadow threads in the bug reports sub-forum.

But I see no reason against shadow threads outside the bug reports sub-forum.

In contrast to normal threads, shadow threads do not get bumped to the top of the list whenever a new post is made. Only the main thread (which will be in the correct sub-forum) will get bumped to the top of the list.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Jap2.0 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:41 pm

I just noticed this thread, so I'll post the same reply (slightly edited) as I did to the other one:
Tekky wrote:I agree that new users should be welcomed to the forum instead of facing severe criticism for breaking forum rules in their first post.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in pointing out to the new user that he did something wrong, as long as this is done in a friendly manner.

JohnyDL wrote:new to forum, first post moved to the suggestions forum and now they can't find it to reply, I'm pretty sure that they won't have known to look for the ideas before or that lists like this are generally bad.

I agree that moving threads of new users is a problem. That is exactly why I have suggested that, whenever a moderator moves a thread to a different sub-forum, a link to the thread should be left behind in the old sub-forum. The message board has a feature designed specifically for this purpose.

Here is a link to my suggestion thread:
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=53959


Tekky: I think that's an interesting idea. I see how it coule be useful for new members, however I'm not sure how well that would work. You would still partially have the topic in that forum, which would kind of defeat the topic of moving it - for example, what would the developers do witha topic that got moved from bug reports to technical help? Would they have a new subforum for that, which would completely defeat the purpose? Etc. I think all these problems could be worked around, it just complicates it a bit more than you make it sound. Personally I think that maybe when a new user's topic gets moved, then they should get a pm saying something like this (I did my best to make it accurate to this topic, but I'm unsure where it was moved from, I'm assuming general discussion):

"Your topic After 400+ hours a few problems and suggestions was moved from the subforum General discussion to Ideas and suggestions because it contains ideas and suggestions for the developers. You can see all your posts by clicking the view your posts button in the header."

Perhaps it could include something about the rules if they broke any of them. Obviously that's just a rough draft. I'm unsure which iddea would work better.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Tekky » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:24 pm

Jap2.0 wrote:You would still partially have the topic in that forum, which would kind of defeat the topic of moving it

No, it would not defeat the purpose of moving it.

As I already pointed out, the shadow thread will not be bumped to the top of the sub-forum's list of threads whenever someone makes a new post in the thread. Only the main thread (which only exists in the correct sub-forum) will be bumped to the top when this happens.

So, yes, you are correct that the visibility of the shadow thread will initially be the same as the main thread. However, the shadow thread will very soon be forgotten, because it will never be bumped to the top of the list, whereas the main thread will behave normally and be bumped to the top of the list whenever someone makes a new post. That way, anyone looking for the thread in the old sub-forum will still be able to find it in the expected place.

Jap2.0 wrote:for example, what would the developers do witha topic that got moved from bug reports to technical help?

This is not a good example, because, in my original post, I explicitly stated that my suggestion should not apply to the bug reports sub-forum, because the developers are using it as a bug management system where threads get moved around all the time, even if they were posted in the correct sub-forum.

Jap2.0 wrote:Would they have a new subforum for that [...]

There is no need for creating an additional sub-forum. If someone creates a new thread in the wrong sub-forum, the main thread gets moved to the correct sub-forum and a shadow thread is left behind in the wrong sub-forum.

Jap2.0 wrote:Personally I think that maybe when a new user's topic gets moved, then they should get a pm saying something like this (I did my best to make it accurate to this topic, but I'm unsure where it was moved from, I'm assuming general discussion):

"Your topic After 400+ hours a few problems and suggestions was moved from the subforum General discussion to Ideas and suggestions because it contains ideas and suggestions for the developers. You can see all your posts by clicking the view your posts button in the header."

Perhaps it could include something about the rules if they broke any of them. Obviously that's just a rough draft. I'm unsure which iddea would work better.


Yes, this suggestion of yours would be good for the person who posted. However, what about all the other people that may be following the thread and suddenly can't find it anymore because it was moved to an unknown location? They will only be able to find the thread with the "View your posts" feature if they made at least one post in that thread.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Ranakastrasz » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:28 pm

I find it annoying when i cant find a thread that was moved.
When a thread is moved and leaves behind a link its great. I can still find it, but i know it is not part of that forum.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Tekky » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:31 pm

The moderators on the OpenTTD forum (which uses the same forum software as Factorio) also create shadow threads when moving threads to different sub-forums.

As an example, here is a link to a sub-forum with a few shadow threads:
https://www.tt-forums.net/viewforum.php?f=21

The shadow threads can be easily identified, because the names of the threads are prefixed with "Moved: ".
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Kajanor » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:59 pm

I usually don't leave shadow topics, because they kinda clutter the forum.
For example, I regularly move topics from Technical Help to Gameplay Help, or vice versa. If I would leave the threads as shadow topic, this would "create" off-topic posts in that subforum. And I don't like off-topic. So I don't leave shadow topics.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Loewchen » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:07 pm

And shadow topics do not time out, that means you need to remember to remove them by hand later, which in itself takes absurd many steps to do, you can faster delete a new topic than a shadow topic.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby JohnyDL » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:38 pm

I had a different solution for ideas and suggestions being posted to general, I'm not sure how applicable it is to other parts of the forum (like people not knowing the difference between technical help and gameplay help)

Also I may have posted it in the wrong place, maybe not though since the people it's most going to be helpful getting the input from are those who dwell in ideas and suggestions
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby daniel34 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:41 pm

EDIT: written before JohnyDL made his post above, 3 minutes earlier

Loewchen wrote:And shadow topics do not time out, that means you need to remember to remove them by hand later, which in itself takes absurd many steps to do, you can faster delete a new topic than a shadow topic.

I think that's the reason why we don't use shadow topics at all. I also moderate the Steam forums, and if you want to move a thread to another subforum you'll get the option to leave a redirect, which is essentially the same as a shadow topic, but you can determine for how long that shadow topic should stay, the options are 1 hour / 1 day / 1 week / 1 month / permanent. Since phpBB doesn't offer that functionality (automatically removing the shadow topic after x time) I have never used it here. I also don't think we should leave shadow topics around, since most of the time it is new users that post in the wrong forum and we have to move their thread. Keeping a shadow topic in the old location would be wrong, and they won't have any problems finding their posts by clicking on "View your posts".

I don't think that the "After 400+ hours a few problems and suggestions" topic belongs in Ideas and Suggestions, and I don't approve that it has been moved there. Since it contains a lot of different ideas we should have notified the original poster about the fact that threads in Ideas and Suggestions should only contain one single idea or suggestion, which Koub did in the first reply, but then moved the topic anyway.

Actually, most of what you are speculating here comes from JohnyDL's post, which says
JohnyDL wrote:new to forum, first post moved to the suggestions forum and now they can't find it to reply, I'm pretty sure that they won't have known to look for the ideas before or that lists like this are generally bad.

This is his assumption, we don't know that the original poster (Mchief05) was unable to locate their post or any of the replies. Unless he makes a statement regarding his post and the handling of it, don't make posts criticising our (the moderators) work.

We appreciate every hint that is constructive, but as it currently stands (at least for me) shadow topics are just a crutch to help people find their posts, not a long-term solution. I'd rather have the Steam feature where I could keep a redirect for a certain amount of time, but the team behind phpBB don't intend to introduce something like that in the near future.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby JohnyDL » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:54 pm

yeah my assumptions are just that I'm not claiming they're either accurate or precise just reasons that benefit of the doubt could be given ^_^
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby eradicator » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:13 pm

I read that (rather unforseen) discussuion that suddenly popped up in the 400h topic...and i totally agree with the moderators in here. Shadow Topics would be annoying for the frequent forum readers because they wouldn't move "quicky out of the list view" because there's not that many new topics/bumped topics most of the time. If they additionally lack a timout function i don't see any benefit at all. Changing forum policy for the very few new users that *might* (pure speculation) require such a feature to the detrement of all other users is not a very good idea. Moving topics around is supposed to make things more orderly after all, and not create even more chaos.

Also i initially wasn't aware that the 400h thread was moved to Suggestions because it had the warning in it that it was against the rules of that subforum. That is indeed a bit weird. My logic on this would be that the topic was originally posted correctly in "General Discussion" (if that is the case?) precisely because it does not fit the rules of Suggestions & Ideas.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Jap2.0 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:41 pm

Tekky wrote:
Jap2.0 wrote:You would still partially have the topic in that forum, which would kind of defeat the topic of moving it

No, it would not defeat the purpose of moving it.

As I already pointed out, the shadow thread will not be bumped to the top of the sub-forum's list of threads whenever someone makes a new post in the thread. Only the main thread (which only exists in the correct sub-forum) will be bumped to the top when this happens.

So, yes, you are correct that the visibility of the shadow thread will initially be the same as the main thread. However, the shadow thread will very soon be forgotten, because it will never be bumped to the top of the list, whereas the main thread will behave normally and be bumped to the top of the list whenever someone makes a new post. That way, anyone looking for the thread in the old sub-forum will still be able to find it in the expected place.

Jap2.0 wrote:for example, what would the developers do witha topic that got moved from bug reports to technical help?

This is not a good example, because, in my original post, I explicitly stated that my suggestion should not apply to the bug reports sub-forum, because the developers are using it as a bug management system where threads get moved around all the time, even if they were posted in the correct sub-forum.

Jap2.0 wrote:Would they have a new subforum for that [...]

There is no need for creating an additional sub-forum. If someone creates a new thread in the wrong sub-forum, the main thread gets moved to the correct sub-forum and a shadow thread is left behind in the wrong sub-forum.

Jap2.0 wrote:Personally I think that maybe when a new user's topic gets moved, then they should get a pm saying something like this (I did my best to make it accurate to this topic, but I'm unsure where it was moved from, I'm assuming general discussion):

"Your topic After 400+ hours a few problems and suggestions was moved from the subforum General discussion to Ideas and suggestions because it contains ideas and suggestions for the developers. You can see all your posts by clicking the view your posts button in the header."

Perhaps it could include something about the rules if they broke any of them. Obviously that's just a rough draft. I'm unsure which iddea would work better.


Yes, this suggestion of yours would be good for the person who posted. However, what about all the other people that may be following the thread and suddenly can't find it anymore because it was moved to an unknown location? They will only be able to find the thread with the "View your posts" feature if they made at least one post in that thread.


Sorry - I only skimmed thorugh you post here, and assumed it was pretty much the same as your other one. Those are some good ideas, and I'm much more open to the idea now. The only problems I see are clutter (which will be helped somewhat if it doesn't get bumped up, but it doesn't completely solve the issue) and the fact that users will still get lost in the bug reports section.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Trudel » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:54 am

How about a quick pm if the user is new. Could be a saved draft along the lines of:

"Your thread has been moved to subforum X. Please be aware of the following rules..."

Not a too time consuming solution I would assume.

Edit: I see Jap 2.0 has already suggested this, sorry. :oops:
Last edited by Trudel on Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Jap2.0 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:52 am

Trudel wrote:How about a quick pm if the user is new. Could be a saved draft along the lines of:

"Your thread has been moved to subforum X. Please be aware of the following rules..."

Not a too time consuming solution I would assume.


Did you read the thread :).
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Trudel » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:22 pm

Jap2.0 wrote:
Trudel wrote:How about a quick pm if the user is new. Could be a saved draft along the lines of:

"Your thread has been moved to subforum X. Please be aware of the following rules..."

Not a too time consuming solution I would assume.


Did you read the thread :).


Yes, but judging by your reply I must have overlooked or misunderstood something. :?: :)

Found it. :D
Last edited by Trudel on Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Koub » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:52 pm

I'll auto-quote myself (but as it's from a PM, most of you can't have read it) :
Koub wrote:Actually, I used to create shadows when I started moderating, when I felt I made sense, but the devs - who were the only admins of the forum at that time - asked me to stop doing so, probably for good reasons, even though I don't exactly know why.


And this is where it came from :
kovarex wrote:Please, don't leave the shadow topics when you move it, I have to always clean it.


When Kovarex tells me something, I obey :)
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Tekky » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:29 pm

As I have already stated in my original post, I am sure that this statement of Kovarex was related to the bug report sub-forum, because the developers are using it as a bug report management system. I don't think he cares about shadow threads in other sub-forums.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Koub » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:43 pm

olafthecat wrote:Perhaps have shadow topics, but have them auto delete after a month.
You could also have an option to not view them.

We have no way to "autodelete" shadow threads. If ever, this would have to be done manually.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby Tekky » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:17 pm

Koub wrote:We have no way to "autodelete" shadow threads. If ever, this would have to be done manually.

I personally see no need to (auto-)delete shadow threads, because they will soon be forgotten anyway, once they are no longer on page 1 of the thread list. As I previously pointed out, in contrast to "normal" threads, they do not get bumped to the top of the thread list whenever someone makes a new post in the thread.

This, of course, only applies to threads outside the bug report sub-forum. For the reasons already stated, there should never be any shadow threads in the bug report sub-forum, because the developers are using it as bug report management system.
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Re: Suggestion: Leave behind shadow threads when moving threads

Postby eradicator » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:24 pm

Tekky wrote:
Koub wrote:We have no way to "autodelete" shadow threads. If ever, this would have to be done manually.

I personally see no need to (auto-)delete shadow threads, because they will soon be forgotten anyway, once they are no longer on page 1 of the thread list. As I previously pointed out, in contrast to "normal" threads, they do not get bumped to the top of the thread list whenever someone makes a new post in the thread.

And as I previously pointed i doubt that most subforums have a sufficient influx of new threads to push the shadow ones out of view that fast (your OTTD example had several shadow threads right on page one). And even if they did i still don't like the idea of permanent shadow threads because it would still be annoying for people who do look past page one. Besides this is all speculation becaues there are no official statistics about how many threads are moved per day/week at all. Or if newcomers actually care about such a feature. There's also probably a large amount of people who just register to shoot off two or three questsions/suggestions and then never come back becaues they weren't answered/ten other people already had the same idea and they were disillusioned.
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