Moderation Tools: Closing Topics

Here at Get Satisfaction we believe that companies should have honest and direct conversations with customers. We built our product around the company customer pact, to encourage people to engage in an open way to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly about products and brands.

But we recognize that even authentic conversations have a natural end:

Problem Solved
Imagine a customer writes on your community to tell you that one of your features stopped working. You ask your engineering team to take a look and launch a fix as soon as possible. A few days pass and folks write in to tell you all is well so you finally mark the problem as solved. You also archive it, because there’s no value in letting this conversation show up in your community’s search results.

Decision Made
There are times a customer will suggest an idea for your product on your community. You review it and, after some constructive back and forth with the customer, decide you won’t act on the suggestion. The customer has provided you with reasons to do it and you’ve explained that it’s not part of your roadmap, so you mark the idea as “not planned”. In this case, you don’t want to archive the topic, because it’s important that other customers understand your rationale for not offering something.

Company Updates and FAQs
Sometimes you just want to announce something to the community, or explain how your product works. While you definitely want these topics to show up in search results – especially if you’re writing FAQs – they don’t really lend themselves to a conversation. If customers have questions about an update or an FAQ, it’s best they create brand new topics that can be addressed individually, with the attention they deserve.

Until today, community moderators didn’t have a way to truly close these conversations. This meant customers who found old and even archived topics could – and generally did – add new comments to a thread that was conceptually closed.

This is why we’re introducing a new moderation tool called Topic Close.

How does Topic Close work?
All moderators will now see a “Close” link with the rest of the moderation actions, on the right column of the topic:


A confirmation message will be presented to ensure moderators don’t close a topic by accident:


Pronto! The topic is now closed.


Note that topic close is also available as a bulk action. Moderators may close several topics at once by visiting the Management View:


What happens when a topic is closed?
Closed topics no longer accept new replies, comments or tags. They still accept votes (+1 button) and can be followed/unfollowed. If a topic already had replies, comments or tags, these will not be deleted – we simply prevent new content from being added.

The reply button is also replaced by a banner to properly indicate the topic no longer accepts new contributions.

How can I use Topic Close to create FAQ content?
As any Get Satisfaction moderator knows, once a reply is added to a topic, it is no longer possible to edit its original content. So closing topics will be very helpful if you’re writing content that you want your customers to refer to, but that you also expect to change overtime.

All you need to do is post a new topic with the information you want, and then close it. In the future, if you want to make edits to it, you can simply click the “edit” and “edit subject” links:


What if I accidentally close a topic?
No worries! Any moderator can re-open a closed topic by clicking the “Re-Open Topic” button. This changes things back to normal, allowing new replies, comments and tags to be added via the community user interface as well as the API.

I’m an Engineer. ¬†Does Topic Close impact the Get Satisfaction API?
Yes! We have extended our API to accommodate this new feature:

  • Attempting to add a new reply/comment via the API will generate an error indicating the topic is closed
  • Attempting to add a new tag via the API will also generate a similar error
  • Reading topic details will include two new fields:
    • is_closed: true, if the topic is closed; otherwise, false
    • closed_at: present only if is_closed=true. It shows the timestamp of when the topic was closed

What now?
We’re super happy with this addition to the moderation toolbox and we’d love to hear your feedback. Please take it for a spin and let us know how you’ve been using topic close!


Posted in Moderation, Product Updates
3 comments on “Moderation Tools: Closing Topics
  1. Dom says:

    Thank you all SO much for adding this feature. The moderators and admins here @ have also wanted this feature for a long time. It’s very needed as we have multiple users comment on certain topics which we’ve deemed as “Closed Topics”. Now we can finally close the topic without fear of new users commenting there. Thanks so much!


  2. fred says:

    Why did it take so long to add such a simple feature available on the simplest tools available today?

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