GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

More discussion management thoughts

user-659915 | Posted in General Questions on

Some web forums close down a discussion thread after a while, either when some specific period of time has passed or some specific number of comments have been posted. Given that in GBA discussions a) the most useful commentary tends to be very much at the front end and b) there has been some concern and confusion expressed at the resurrection of ancient threads and c) it’s the very long threads that tend to get really silly, is this something to consider implementing here? Dan?

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Steve El | | #1

    Hear, hear.

  2. J Chesnut | | #2

    There are several older discussions that contain information that I have and may continue to want to go back and reference.
    If GBA has enough web space I see no problem with allowing past discussions to remain in a chronological queue as they do now.

  3. homedesign | | #3

    I think GBA should charge for Martin's Blogs
    Or allow only paying members to read blogs over one year old.
    I would gladly pay for that

  4. Riversong | | #4

    At a minimum, questioners should be encouraged to start a new thread rather than piggyback their question onto an old, similar thread.

    Perhaps if it was made clear that only if they start a thread with "Ask a Question" do they receive notice of answers, there would be fewer resurrected threads.

    Unfortunately, some revived threads are because someone with a sales pitch is scouring the web for any discussion which relates to their product. For that reason alone, it might be good to close threads after a month or two (keeping them available for reference but not for revival).

  5. user-659915 | | #5

    J Chesnut - for clarification, the suggestion is simply that the comments are closed, not that the thread becomes unavailable. I agree that the discussions are a valuable archive which should be retained, neither do I see any particular reason to shut them off from non-subscribers.

  6. HDendy | | #6

    I think this could be a good idea and solve some of the issues. If you want to revive an old thread, just quote a portion of it and bring the topic back to a new thread. Only a serious post would go to that trouble.
    Combine that with only a positive rating button. Any ranking should reflect how helpful your advice has been, not how many people you P.O.

  7. homedesign | | #7

    actually the current system has no relationship to the number of people that are pissed off
    It only takes one

  8. Riversong | | #8

    As the Wise Ones say:

    "Better to be pissed off than pissed on."

  9. user-659915 | | #9

    Good grief, I'm beginning to think even providing the ability to post images was a bad idea.

  10. Riversong | | #10

    Every technological "solution" has unintended consequences.

    I've been saying this to deaf ears.

  11. homedesign | | #11

    The editing feature is very handy

  12. homedesign | | #12

    deleted due to change of subject

  13. Riversong | | #13

    This would at least solve some problems right out of the box.

    HA HA, that's a good one.

  14. jklingel | | #14

    James M: All good points. Now, what is the Magic Number at which the ax drops? 30? BTW: Is there a way to get the CAPTCHA to show up before I try to post? I always hit "post", get an error, then it appears. I then fill it in and post again. No biggie, but annoying. Is it just my set up, or is everyone in that boat? Thanks. klingel

  15. Think Positive | | #15

    Let's all be positive

  16. Joe W | | #16

    On most boards I frequent (often, due to the nature of my business), forums are directed by volunteer (or paid) "moderators." I'm sure Martin and Daniel have much better -- and more valuable -- work to do than babysit. And volunteers? Not sure any of those of you who qualify as "experts" have the desire or time or, perhaps, technical ability to deal with it. (Too, moderators often don't post on their own.)

    But I do know from experience that people who want to rant or whine will find a way to accomplish it no matter the format.

    One suggestion, if it's in order and the software allows for it, is to link poster's online names to PM (personal message) boxes -- that way, if I have a question for Robert or Michael or whoever, I can ask them directly rather than taking a thread off topic. It also allows people who want to chide or make a personal complaint to "take it outside" which also helps keep things on track.

    But sometimes a topic generates passion or information that makes for length -- I belong to one group where the conversations are usually less than 5-6 posts; last week one lasted for 5 pages and it was all good stuff. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to set an arbitrary length for a conversation.

    And speaking for myself: I try to read all of every topic that has even remote application to my interests -- and I often find something of value brought up long after the initial posts are made. I suspect that's because I'm NOT an expert; for a mere consumer/owner any and all information is (or might be) useful. You guys may get bored, but I don't.

    And when I do, I feel free to just skip ahead until something more useful shows up. That's the reader's "edit button" at work.

    Joe W

  17. user-659915 | | #17

    John K: I have no idea what the magic number should be, or even if it's a good idea. Just noticed that some sites practice it, and wondered if it had any relevance to the issues Dan is grappling with on our behalf.

    Talking of other sites as models, Facebook is not to be ignored. Of note: they've ignored repeated requests for an unlike button, there are no user ratings, and real names are expected. The result: more than half a BILLION registered users, no moderator intervention to speak of and scarcely a flame war to be seen. Not that FB hasn't had a few problems, but it has succeeded so phenomenally well because it is a really, really well-structured site. I came across this comment on a tech blog this morning:

    "Part of Mark Zuckerberg's genius was to push this country towards a real-name culture. To use his site is to use your real name—no pseudonyms, no anonymity—and to use your real name is to be forced to stand by your words."

  18. user-659915 | | #18

    BTW, the CAPTCHA should not appear at all if you sign in as a registered user before you post.

  19. Riversong | | #19

    "Part of Mark Zuckerberg's genius was to push this country towards a real-name culture. To use his site is to use your real name—no pseudonyms, no anonymity—and to use your real name is to be forced to stand by your words."

    This could be evidence of my own genius, but people here expect me to be humble so I'll just say:


  20. Riversong | | #21

    No, I meant HERE, HERE.

    As in "let it Be Here Now".

  21. jklingel | | #22

    James M: I stay logged in, usually. I type here, then hit "Post". That is when CAP tells me its message. Below "Your name:" is my name. There is a red asterisk after "Answer:", and a note below some other words that says "(red asterisk) required fields". As for the limitation on responses to a thread, that is a tough one, yes. On one forum I read, there is a "Do not allow replies to this post" button. Maybe the original poster could be allowed to hit a button and post a standard phrase like "Thanks everyone. This has been very helpful", which closes the thread. Then, if someone wants to continue, he/she can start anew. I think that would at least stop the tangential vectors that sometimes happen, as I doubt that anyone is going to START by babbling or getting away from substance. Dunno, and good luck to Dan. klingel

  22. T7sX5ebany | | #23

    To use his site is to use your real name—no pseudonyms, no anonymity

    Since I appreciate that there are entrenched views on this, I leave it to the participants on GBA to make their own judgments on whether this is possible or not. If it is possible it sounds like a good idea. If not it can safely be dismissed. Anyone want to discuss green building?

  23. homedesign | | #24

    That sandbagger really hates these cans!

  24. user-757117 | | #25

    John, I appreciate your sense of humor ;-)

  25. 2tePuaao2B | | #26


Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |