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POLL: What should the maximum number of posts in a thread be?

Continue the thread in “Monumental S2S thread part 2” and use the link option to link the last post in the old thread to the new one.

Ha! I see Tom is writing the same as me as I type :wink:

Actually the latest S2S thread went to 68 before the results/reports started appearing.

I’m starting to think that this topic and poll are, to quote the Bard, “much ado about nothing”. Seventeen topics that were active this year exceeded 100 posts, of which four exceeded 200 posts and one reached the current limit of 500. The number of topics that were active this year? A little under 1,300! So we are discussing and holding a poll over a mere 1.3% of all topics in the reflector this year. Another way of looking at it is that only 1.3% of all the threads active this year were sufficiently interesting, complex or controversial enough to grab the attention of participants enough to generate more than 100 posts. You see what I mean? We are exercising ourselves over something that statistically speaking is trivial!

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Why the limit?

If it is an attempt to control off-topic postings, that is an indirect method. Posts can stray far off the trail in a few responses.

If it is to make the website discussions easier to deal with, we do have the in-thread search.

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I was “managing” the internal discussion groups at Hewlett-Packard. 5000 engineers not easily managed. Building newsgroup culture always required personal attention. Changing the software was pretty useless.


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I agree, but we have explored the opinions of our participants, which can’t be bad.

The original issue / question / debate arose about whether 500 was an appropriate limit, or whether threads should be allowed to go beyond that.

The survey is so far revealing that a significant majority actually want the limit to be much less.

Off-topic postings was never what this was about.

Maybe a poll about why people want to limit the size of threads…


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Please correct me if my information is incorrect, but I thought initially Discourse is set to unlimited number of replies in a thread. If this is so, why is this option not in the survey (i.e. leave as default).

Does having a large number of replies in a thread actually cause some system/application problems? If not why are we discussing this at all?

If a large number of replies does cause excessive system/application load - what is the recomendation from the software company who write discourse?


Discourse limit is 10,000 (hence that option in the poll). We had it set at that until the 12m Challenge thread that we felt was unwieldy and we reset it to 500. (I’d forgotten about this, and had it in my head that 500 was the default - but I was wrong).

Many people don’t have an up-to-date PC or latest smartphone. Long threads can be cumbersome in such cases. Anyway, we put it to the SOTA community to find out what is best for everyone.

As a long-time engineer, I like to know what problem I’m fixing before I change something. After the change, I can see if that problem was fixed.

So what are we fixing? Repetition? People responding without context? Topic drift? Site navigation problems?

“I don’t like long threads” looks like a symptom, not the root problem.


87 votes.

Ahh the vocal minority strikes again :wink:

Time to follow my own advice from post 6

Aha - that is why there is the (IMHO) enormous jump from 500 to 10,000 in the survey. This was my earlier point where I would have liked 750 and 1000 options. If 10,000 is the default, I could see such long threads being impractical of course.
My vote is still for 750 even though it’s not in the list. But that’s onlty the opinion of one person.

73 Ed.

If it aint broke don’t mess it about.

I voted for 100 but it does seem pointless.
73, Rod

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Not particularly vocal - it is a simple poll that basically asked “Do we keep it at 500, remove that limit, or in fact reduce it?”

You have to assume that those who don’t vote fall into a similar distribution as those that do.

…depends on how you measure the jump. As I demonstrated earlier, the actual growth from 100 to 500 isn’t much lower than that from 500 to 10,000.

In contrast, the growth from 500 to 750 is tiny. In any case, those objecting to 500 at the start were objecting to the concept of a limit, not agitating for it to be slightly increased.

Or don’t care!

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MT felt it was “broke” when the 12m Challenge thread happened, so “fixed” the limit to 500 then. The “Light at the End of the Tunnel” thread reaching that caused legitimate objections to be raised.

So, rather than making a subjective choice about whether or not it is “broke”, or analyse what the underlying problems are with very long threads, we simply ask the community what they want to see in terms of thread limits.

Same thing! (Think General Elections or referenda).

Brian, your post sums up the situation brilliantly! We’ve had one thread in the last three or four years which has crossed the 500 limit and someone on the MT has decided to run a poll. Something that could have been easily resolved by a simple click of a mouse, has now come to this.

For those who wish to read, post in and enjoy the “Tunnel” thread… (30,000 hits being the clue,) let them do so. A modicum of common sense would have easily resolved an issue that dosen’t even exist.

But, oh no…

As for the poll, let me tell you just how important this issue is, or how much the paricipants care about a thread crossing 500 posts…There are “just” shy of 12000 participants in the SOTA scheme, of which a pathetic total of 87 have even bothered to vote!

With the onslaught of Social Media, trust me, this Reflector is in no postion to be closing down threads.


Just start up “Light at the End of the Tunnel part 2” Mike.