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Hi, it seems to be well-established in this forum to close threads when the TO has decided that he has got enough answers. I find this very strange since it ...
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  1. #1
    Linux User Manko10's Avatar
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    Closing threads


    Hi,

    it seems to be well-established in this forum to close threads when the TO has decided that he has got enough answers. I find this very strange since it stalls all further discussion. I am moderator in another forum and there normal user can't close their threads and that for good reasons.
    Sometimes a novice can't actually assess whether a solution is good or not due to the lack of knowledge. For instance, a user asks why he can't write to the root folder as a normal user and someone suggests to run chmod -R 777 /. The asking user would say “Wow, thank you,” and close the thread, deterring other more experienced users from warning him that this is probably not a good idea at all.
    That is a very extreme example but situations like that happen frequently, albeit not that extreme.
    Sometimes also adding a "glad I could help you" is a nice gesture, although not necessary.

    One concrete example that recently occurred: http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/new...at-bashrc.html
    I wanted to add something but couldn't. Although the link might be enough, further discussion could be useful. The TO doesn't seem to need it, but he is not the only guy on the Internet. Many other users might find this thread with Google.

    Closing threads may be good for deterring other users from taking over foreign threads for own topics, but in my experience, this is not necessary. You can see that here in the forum as well. Not all threads are closed after finishing discussion and most of them are not taken over by others. Surely, a few, but there a short hint that a new thread should be opened, suffices. No great effort.

    I would strongly recommend disabling closing of threads for normal users. That's against open and free discussion and makes questioners commanding the answering users.
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  2. #2
    oz
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    Hello, Manko10

    The board administrators have covered this topic both between themselves in the private admin forum, and here in our Feedback Forum many times in the past.

    As board administrators, we've decided to try keeping content fresh whenever possible. Threads can only be locked by board admins, and marked "SOLVED" by board admins or the person that started the thread. Any thread that is more than 6 to 12 months old and revived by a user might be locked by a board administrator. Otherwise, we've found that we have old threads, some as old as 10 years old, constantly being dragged back into circulation.

    The old threads are not removed from the board but merely locked, and nothing prevents registered users from starting their own help request on the same subject, so nothing is really lost. Leaving threads open simply because someone else might like to add additional information leaves us in a position that no thread should ever be locked because there will always be someone that thinks they have something of value to add.

    The thread you refer to above is a good example of a thread that needed to be locked. The thread is approaching 6 years old and someone comes along and added something that was of little or no real value instead of starting his/her own thread requesting help. It's highly doubtful that the OP is still monitoring the thread, waiting for helpful answers. Note too that all new members are asked by private message and by email to read the forum rules and forum etiquette before posting, but apparently that doesn't always happen, leaving some threads to be locked by our board admins.

    The current board admins often discuss any user feedback within the admin forum, so if we should decide to change the way we do things, those changes will likely be reflected in changes to our forum rules and forum etiquette.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux User Manko10's Avatar
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    Ah, didn't see the date. I also have nothing against closing old threads as long as they are older than a couple of months.
    Sometimes it just seemed like TOs could close their threads themselves, but if they can't, everything is fine. There are many forums on the Internet where exactly this happens: users can close their own threads and do it as soon as they think their question has been answered, which is actually pretty bad.
    But if threads can only be closed by moderators, it's all okay. You are right: the thread above needed to be closed since it's pretty old, didn't notice that.

    EDIT:
    Er, why is my thread closed, when I mark it as solved? That's exactly what I meant: users should NOT be able to close their own threads. Marking as solved is good, but closing is not good at all.
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  5. #4
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manko10 View Post
    EDIT: Er, why is my thread closed, when I mark it as solved? That's exactly what I meant: users should NOT be able to close their own threads. Marking as solved is good, but closing is not good at all.
    We feel that a user should be able to mark his/her own thread as "SOLVED" and have it closed if he/she is satisfied with the solutions given at any point in time? They can of course reopen their thread if needed, as you've already found out.

    Nothing is preventing another user from opening their own thread if they need more help than was given in someone else's thread, so again nothing is lost. We encourage users to start their own threads if they need additional help and they can leave them open as long as they like unless a thread starts aging and someone comes along and raises it back to the top, like in your earlier example.

    I personally dislike coming across threads that are marked "solved" by the OP in other forums, but apparently everyone else thinks they are never solved and the thread seems to continue on forever, but that's just me. Either way, you'll see a change in the way the "SOLVED" plugin works should we decide to change things.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    oz

  6. #5
    Linux User Manko10's Avatar
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    We feel that a user should be able to mark his/her own thread as "SOLVED" and have it closed if he/she is satisfied with the solutions given at any point in time? They can of course reopen their thread if needed, as you've already found out.
    That is not the point. Marking a thread as solved is good, but closing is not a good idea.
    I wrote the main reason in my first post:
    Sometimes a novice can't actually assess whether a solution is good or not due to the lack of knowledge. For instance, a user asks why he can't write to the root folder as a normal user and someone suggests to run chmod -R 777 /. The asking user would say “Wow, thank you,” and close the thread, deterring other more experienced users from warning him that this is probably not a good idea at all.
    Nothing is preventing another user from opening their own thread if they need more help than was given in someone else's thread, so again nothing is lost.
    It is actually the other way round. It's not mainly about other users who search for help and would need additional information (also, but not only), it is first of all for the user who opened the thread. Particularly novices can't always decide whether a solution is good. When they close their thread, no other user can correct wrong or even dangerous solutions. In the end other people coming from Google would see this wrong solution and adapt it. So not only the thread opener has a bad solution for his problem, but probably many other users too.
    Take a thread like this: http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/pro...t-2-lines.html
    If the user had closed it, I would've never been able to post a solution that is better than this odd one he used. I don't know whether he actually read that, but in my experience, many users read answers for their threads even if they think, a good solution has already been given. But if they are able to close their threads, they would of course never come back, since no one is able to answer anymore. And other users coming from search engines would not see a better way of getting things done.

    I personally dislike coming across threads that are marked "solved" by the OP in other forums, but apparently everyone else thinks they are never solved and the thread seems to continue on forever, but that's just me. Either way, you'll see a change in the way the "SOLVED" plugin works should we decide to change things.
    In the forum where I am moderator, we also use the "mark solved" plugin (or a comparable one), but threads are not closed when the user marks them solved. That works pretty well. Users don't cut discussions and other people like you, who don't like reading threads, which are marked as solved but still continue, don't have to read those threads. If you see that a thread is marked as solved, it is very likely, that an adequate solution has already been posted, so you can omit that one. But other people, who have a better solution or even a warning if a posted solution is dangerous, have the chance to warn the TO and of course all other people who read this thread later.
    Last edited by Manko10; 12-15-2010 at 10:09 PM.
    Refining Linux Advent calendar: “24 Outstanding ZSH Gems”

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