Rationale behind topic closings


Just curiosity here. Not a criticism.

Is there a specific rationale behind the way discussion threads are managed?

Are the threads closed automatically? Or explicitly by an admin of the site?

I get that some topics are better as StackOverflow topics. But also wondering if there is suppose to be a specific way a thread can or should be marked as open ended vs close ended.

Seems like there are use cases for both. But perhaps having the ability to classify the thread as such up front would be helpful. With visual indicators.

Somethings are long discussions that probably never should be closed. And others are truly quick and can be truly resolved.


Apologies for the slow response, but I believe @tomdale and @wycats want a lot of topics that are technical and code-based in nature on Stack Overflow rather than here.

That seems to be the main source of the topic closures I see – “should have been on Stack Overflow”. If your topic is a practical question with a code sample that can be answered without a lot of discussion, the kind that is perfectly suited to SO, it probably does not belong here.

I do not speak for the operators of this forum, however, that is just my outside observation.


Yep. That’s exactly our philosophy.


Thanks @wycats @jatwood

Perhaps, “rationale” is the wrong word to use. I get the StackOverflow vs. general discussion. Seems reasonable.

I think my curiosity was more about the mechanics of the way the forum worked.

Is the locking and closing of threads semi-automated? Or flagged by an administrator for some specific criteria or stated forum policy? Is there an exposed end user interface to this process? e.g. mechanism to request or appeal the locking of threads? Maybe something as simple of seeing a list of locked threads excluding obvious spam or offensive posts.

I have seen the locking threads or “this thread will close in 5 days” type messages in other places where the discourse software is used (boing boing, etc). In some cases it just seemed like the forum software itself was being a little too arbitrary, or in some cases was happening automatically without administrator intervention. But that just might be my ignorance, not being privy to the day to day administration of the forum or some of the nuance of forum policy.



Automatic closing is signified by a “this topic will automatically close at {date}” message at the bottom of the topic. Then when the close occurs, a staff message is inserted in the topic at that time.

  • That can be specified per-category, as in “every topic created in the {foo} category will close in 5 days”.

  • A moderator can decide to add an auto-close interval to a specific topic, as in “the bug referred to in this topic is fixed, close this topic in 24 hours just in case someone has something else to add or the bugfix was somehow incomplete”

Other than that, all topic closings are specific individual moderator actions.

There is no “users cast votes to close” mechanism for topics in Discourse.


And that’s roughly how the Ember forum works :slight_smile: