Discourse wants long rambling posts instead of posts replying to specific comments

I’m getting a message from Discourse telling me not to reply to individual posts, but to put it all into one long post responding to everyone at once.

That’s a recipe for an extremely muddled … discourse. Specific responses to specific posts is by far a better way to carry on a discussion.

But not too long, can’t have a post more than some number of characters.

And not too short.

Complete sentences important

I’ve gotten that message too, but it’s not a requirement, like it is to not have too short of a post.

Not a requirement.

Not yet.

Discourse: the Goldilocks of message boards.

Or maybe Discourse has a plan to silence us completely. It’s starting with the longest and shortest posts and the window will gradually tighten until a post must be more than 60 characters and less than 61 characters.


Think about it.

@Discobot, is this true?

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

If you post 3 comments in a row, then you do get locked out of commenting again until someone else posts–it’s not even timer based. Others have complained about this.

It’s unclear if this can be overridden by an administrator. It’s moderating something that we never found useful to moderate on our board before, so it obviously doesn’t need to exist. But we don’t have an active administrator right now, unfortunately. So all our “punch up” fix requests have gone dormant. The list is still pretty large–Discourse comes, out of the box, with a bunch of stuff set that it really shouldn’t, at least, for existing communities who already have their own standards. (Not to mention some features that don’t fit any forum if you don’t want it to become an echo chamber)

Really? Wow. I wonder what happens if you say “Discourse” 3 times into a mirror in a dark room (shudder).

So if you post 3 times in a row in a thread you’re locked out of that particular thread until someone else posts, then? That’s not that bad an idea on reflection-- keeps one person from spamming up and dominating a particular thread too much. But I take your point that there shouldn’t be ‘features’ baked in that can’t be changed by a site admin to tailor standards to the existing community.

On the old board, the polite way to handle multiple responses was to put them all into a single post, and not do individual posts to each. So nothing at all has changed, except the nagging.

Yes it has, if people are being locked out after three posts in a row.

As I recall, this is only the case for new users who just signed up. The idea is that you don’t want the “someone is wrong on the Internet guy” (and it’s always a guy, let’s be real with each other here) replying over and over in the same topic.

The other nuance here is that an existing user replying to that new user breaks the chain, and unlocks the ability for them to reply more.

One thing we haven’t dealt with, but has come up a fair bit such that I’ve been mulling it over for a while, is the “wall o’ text” new users who may not reply over and over but basically write novellas and completely dominate the conversation by sheer force of … er … typing.

This seems to be incorrect. I just tried multiple consecutive posts in this thread here and was locked out after the third post.

Upon attempting the fourth consecutive posts, I am not able to post it. The warning box about it does not have any kind of “post it anyway” button. Just an “OK” button which doesn’t post it.

ETA: Now waitaminnit. I just tried to make a fourth post, with a very different result. See next post for details.

Okay, I made four consecutive posts there. This is what happened:

First, I made three consecutive posts. Upon making the fourth and clicking on the “Reply” button to post it, I got a warning box with a message and only an “OK” button.

But after making the above post in this thread, and then going back to that other thread and making a fourth post, something very different happened: As soon as I started typing in the fourth post, a much larger message appeared in the preview area, but when I clicked on Reply, it posted anyway.

Did this happen because I made a post to a different thread (the above post) after the third post to that other thread? Or because a certain length of time had passed?

Anyway, we clearly have at least some circumstance where four consecutive posts are strictly disallowed.

Ah yeah, you’re right. This is a different limit. I tested try.discourse.org (note that unlike 99.9% of other Discourse instances, every new account on try.discourse.org is automatically granted trust level 1 instead of starting at zero) and I can confirm it’s a default on behavior:

(I artificially jacked the brightness up, so you could see in the background that this account posted three times in a row. Also in my defense there are a lot of safety features in Discourse around new user sandboxing so I apologize for the confusion.)

To clarify, the overall philosophy this is encouraging is the following:

Rather than briefly replying over and over ad nauseam, which maximizes metadata and minimizes actual discussion content, as well as dominating the discussion to the detriment of other voices – try to consolidate your thoughts into one or two thoughtful, longer form replies.

And naturally the tools to do this are all built in – with the overlay editor (which stays visible even if you navigate to a different topic) you can easily quote multiple posts in a single reply, mention multiple @users when replying, and so on:

Like so

That said it is a site setting so if the site staff / admins decide that, yes, it is a good idea for a single user to be able to sequentially reply to the same topic 10, 100, 1000 times in a row… this limit can be disabled wiith 30 seconds of work by visiting the Site Settings area in Discourse.

codinghorror, thanks for explaining what’s going on. However, I remember threads on the old boards where one person would try to respond to five different comments from five different posters, all in one thread, and it would just turn into an unreadable trainwreck. If in the same thread one poster is talking about apples and another is talking about sheepdogs, I’ll respond to them separately, because they are separate conversations. A single long post replying to lots of different posters does not help the discussion, in my opinion. And a tangled up discussion will end up using up meta data in any event.