Moderation: merging + splitting topics

@Leverkusen , I fully hear your concerns. There are always gaps between intent and perception – this even happens between the mods! This legibility is further obscured by the way that Discourse is structured. I totally understand how jarring + frustrating these actions can be. Does @mdoudoroff’s suggestion above help bridge this gap? Should we be investigating customizing Discourse’s software? Just let us know what you’d like to see in terms of alerts :slight_smile:

re: the title of the mentioned thread, this is in line with conventions established by others in our community. though the search term ‘RIP’ also brings up module chatter, it does include direct and sincere eulogies. I’m sorry to hear it came across the way you described, but I hope this info helps.

re: splitting that particular thread, my own read of the flow of events doesn’t raise any flags. I believe the interest (stated by a few folks in the thread) was in respectfully separating discussion about MW and discussion about losing Mike.

re: splitting threads + merging topics vs asking people to copy their contributions or rewrite, the difference is rooted in a division of labor. our “job” is to remove as much pain as possible from internet discourse, to foster conversations that will hopefully create community. moderating lines is joyous, but it is not something any of us does to flex power or ego – when one of us decides to merge topics or move posts, it is because we genuinely believe that (through our experiences watching thousands of posts unfold) it is in the interest of better conversation for the majority.

personally: when I perform moderator actions, it is with future visits/visitors in mind. I always ask myself if leaving things the way they’re unfolding will help someone who wasn’t present for the conversation easily stumble upon / search for the topics and feel like they’ve found what they need.

I am sorry that you find yourself on the painful side of our best efforts and I appreciate you sharing your perspective. I hope this message at least helps address your short-term frustrations.


As someone whose career is built on extending an open source web platform: highly recommend you think very carefully about this path. It can paint you into all kinds of corners, leave you unable to benefit from security updates, expose your users to bugs that the platform maintainers can’t or won’t help you with, etc.

(Realize this is a derail! But it shouldn’t really be on the table unless there’s a vital need that you know you have full-time people to dedicate to. With love, and recognizing the good intent behind the suggestion: it has very bad ‘code smell’. Carry on! :heart:)


oh, for sure not an informed question – just opening doors! thank you for the child lock :wink:


First of all, yes, your message and taking care of my concerns eases my furstration - thank you for that!

And I also see your points about what is manageable and possible from moderator side regarding how it is organized.

I suppose while probably sharing much in attitude towards those concerns; we just differ in practise. I think I prefer the general less active moderated MW style to the somehow more ambitious lines approach - mostly because I don’t have much trust in attempts to organize people to their own best. Though only from the perspective, that I don’t think it will work very well, that is - not implying any paranoid or ractionary-libertarian fears here. And also this does not account to some clear lines regarding racism/sexism, that sadly do not exist at MW.

Regarding the thread title, thank you for the clarification. I would still prefer a simple notation of the fact that is not implying anything but then I just file it under interesting cultural particularities. Same with the lines moderation style - I seem to just have to learn to cope with it.

I know that I can find my posts in my profile as @mdoudoroff suggested above - but: they are displayed with the title of the thread they are in. When the thread title has changed or they have been moved to another thread ( or both in this case :roll_eyes:) I find a list of threads in my activity stream, I never participated in. That is a bit confusing when I already am confused and try to understand what is going on.

What I wish to see in the forum software is that an automatic message is sent when a thread title has changed or own posts get otherwise moved, merged or split. That message should lead to the new location then - not to the old one, where it is not anymore.

The right way to handle these kinds of suggestions, without forking the Discourse project, is to filter them upstream to Discourse itself. Probably one of these categories is a good starting point:

If users and mods (especially mods!) think Discourse can improve, it would be helpful to ALL Discourse communities if you shared your concerns in the locations above.


I appreciate the moderation of the forum and believe most of the mods have the communities’ best interests in mind.

Could a possible cheap solution be to prepend a glyph to modified/moderated titles? I know this doesn’t solve the continuity thing…

as tempting as it is to create a meta vortex by suggesting to split some of the latest posts here into a separate “Moderation: splitting topics” thread could one of the mods rename this one to “Moderation: merging and splitting topics” instead to reflect the bigger discussion happening? (it’s not allowing me to edit my OP anymore).


(also, lolol, I subconsciously used + instead of and. smh. that wasn’t part of the request, Derks!)

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i kinda liked that actually :slight_smile: thanks Dan!

we’re back to +.

– derail over


fwiw, i frankly support @tehn’s swift action in moving mike’s memorial out of the thread that was mostly highly negative critique of his work as MW’s creator / moderator. (and tbh a lot of good old soapboxing (*), because this is the internet.) because those really should not be stuck together - to leave them that way is not compassionate to the bereaved.

such a move is better done sooner and later and we don’t have the luxury of taking polls on every such decision. if a mod sees a request, and strongly agrees with it, it may just happen.

that said, the points raised here are totally valid; my biggest takeaway is that it might be a cool idea to create new threads as a separate step in advance of actually moving existing posts.

(there are some basically technical complications though; consider: 1) you make a new thread and encourage its use, 2a) new posts on new thread, 2b) new posts on same topic in old thread, 3) you want to move posts from (2b) but the timeline is now all scrambled in the new thread and can’t be fixed. that’s the argument for “sooner is better than later” doctrine of moving posts.)

[*] to be clear - i like soapboxing, aka being polemical. it’s just not always appropriate, or what someone needs to see in a google search.


I know it’s all good intentions but as it happens this illustrates my concern at best: I just might not want someone else to decide in wich context I should speak. Taking control over people out of a strong opinion what should be should not be. And if anyone sees a request he may not see the people who don’t see a reason to request anything from the Superviso…

i really appreciate your points. i think you might be missing one of mine, which is basically that this:

taking control over people out of a strong opinion what should be

… is almost by definition what a moderator has to do. the only question is where to draw the line. we can all agree that there “should” not be advertising spam or pure hatespeech, and we’re fine with mods directly “controlling” that content, even thought it was also presumably made by “adults.”

so, there is a line of “should” somewhere.

so where i’m hearing you, is when you say that it feels bad to have things moved when they are not obviously spam or hatespeech, and i am agreeing with you, and agreeing that a) the “line of should” is maybe a little on the “heavy” side, and b) that other options should be duly considered probably more than they are right now.

but i am also offering two considerations pulling it in the current direction: one is kind of prosaic - the fact that moving things too late leaves a sticky mess.

[i’ll speak for myself here. the great majority of my forum interactions are in a technical role. it is _vitally important_ that topics are neither too muddled, nor too diffuse, and that timeline be maintained as much as possible - otherwise it makes it hard for me to participate fully and - i hope - valuably. if we had to take a poll before splitting/merging technical topics i would simply give up.]

the other is about social norms - treating eulogy content as requiring particular attention and remaining aware that all of this is in the public record, and that death brings in a lot of new readers through search. (i’m speaking from experience when the death of a loved one is also the death of a semi-public figure.)


There is a faint memory of you asking if I do acknowledge your points as you do with mine - I thought I have read it during a sleepless period oft last night and felt I had to respond but now I cannot find it. So maybe it was just an urgent dream. :slightly_smiling_face:

Anyway, taking that experience serious, of course I do acknowledge your points. And also I do really appreciate that we can discuss these things here, as this is hardly possible with the moderation over at MW. It’s what makes Lines a different place.

I find this is a bit polemic as spam and pure hatespeech are not meant to be mutual communication but simply a manipulative attack. I would not consider both as adult behavior in the intended sense here.

I can understand your point regarding the more technical discussions though. I would also prefer those threads to be focussed and not somehow muddled. Especially since I do not understand most of that talk but nevertheless, due to the opensource/diy development philosophy of monome devices, need to somehow participate or at least follow those discussions to get my set-up working. I really appreciate your commitment and want you to have an environment where working on things is fun and practicable for you, knowing that it’s sometimes me deranging things with uninformed questions and concerns, not having a tech background.

Maybe my point is just that heavy handed content management might not work that good with non-technical or broader subjects. Now we have a commemoration thread that with a discussion of the appropriateness of his nickname and a thread about the situation over at MW that seems a bit cold-hearted in its focus regarding the sad circumstances. People are people I guess…

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my decision to split the discussion was done out of respect and compassion. to mix the two topics seemed to me a tragedy. the goal of moderation is to make better discussions. there is not room for eulogizing and contentious critique in the same thread. people should have the choice to read/participate in one and/or the other separately.

i have no intention of censoring the MW topic (provided it stays within the COC)

i fully understand your discomfort with splitting. we’ve attempted to be minimal and transparent, and we’re always listening and responding to feedback. please let us know how we can do better.


Wondering why this thread

is separate from this one…

They seem very similar…

Just saying…

The “//// pictures …” topic is not modular specific. At one point someone wanted a place to specifically share modular system photos, and it took on a life of its own.

Since there is a high volume of modular photos I can see why having a separate topic for that makes sense, so they won’t completely drown out the pics of other types of “sound-making machines”.

Open to other perspectives…


Thanks, just curious, not trying to move anything in a specific direction…

It seems to me that the “show us your modular system” thread started as a “modulargrid plans” sharing place, with some room for evolving/envisioned systems and discussion/feedback about it, and did not feature much photographs (in the beginning).
Also pictures there tend to be taken with the intent of making it legible what modules constitute a particular system, whereas the general pictures thread features some plants and feels more about providing context around the gear, or an “artist’s impression” of it.
Just my synthetic perception of the two topics.


Yes, that’s absolutely true. The “modular system” thread didn’t start out as a photo share at all, it was to share modular grid or images of your system for discussion and sharing system building ideas.

It’s sort of evolved into more photos, but still feels different than the more widely scoped photos thread(s) which are more akin to our own private instagram in some ways :slight_smile: