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Should Support Threads Auto-Close After 6 Months?

Should Support Threads Auto-Close After 6 Months?

For users maintaining their own websites and developers expanding the software,'s support forums serve as an essential resource and conduit for discussion. When visitors visit the forums, it's usually a sign that they've encountered a problem and need assistance to move on with WordPress. They need assistance with a variety of common self-hosting issues, such as interpreting error messages, moving websites, debugging their sites following updates, and more.

Three weeks ago, a ticket was created on Meta trac suggesting that change the auto-closure feature in support forum threads to an alert indicating the thread's age. Unless they are actively closed before then, threads presently automatically close six months after the last reply.

There are others who disagree with the idea of keeping support tickets open. A number of commenters argued that this method could result in a backlog of pointless responses or numerous individuals joining threads with comparable but unrelated problems, making it challenging for engineers to address the initial request.

WordPress support forums administrator Yui stated that old topics tend to draw spam, me-too pileons, and random replies. It is rare for a genuine comment to be required for something that hasn't received any action in six months.

Although it is now policy to leave such subjects closed, where the circumstances are compelling, it may be able to make an exclusion and manually reopen the topic upon request (this can be discussed on the Support team weekly chat, if necessary).

Contributor to WordPress accessibility Joe Dolson supports granting plugin authors the authority to decide when to close a thread—a change that at least partially resolves the concerns at hand.

According to Dolson, allowing plugin writers to end a thread might help ease the situation. That could be a substantial load, though, if there were thousands of open help threads.

I believe that closed help threads ought to be handled more effectively. The fact that auto-closed threads simply *cannot* be reopened since they will simply close themselves again is a concern. I'm not sure I should just leave them open, though.

I believe that in order to prevent this from becoming completely unmanageable, plugin authors *must* be able to close threads at the very least.

Modifying the thread closure policy may also affect the plugin-displayed metric that shows the number of issues that have been tagged as resolved in the previous two months. The resolved threads metric might not have as much value if more users are permitted to join open threads.

Hinds suggests a hybrid strategy that maintains auto-closure but restarts the auto-closure clock by enabling plugin contributors to reopen threads.

An alternative would be to have them close automatically, but with a button that lets plugin developers open them again and specify a new time limit of, say, six months, before they close automatically.

It's easy to overlook that the majority of people do have access to a large community of WordPress experts on Twitter and other networks who are willing to assist them with questions; for this reason, the forums continue to be a vital support system for users. The question of whether or not extending the duration of a thread will improve the experience is still up for debate among contributors. On Meta trac, there is still discussion on altering the auto-close policy.

In my opinion, it is more crucial to have this discussion about how quickly plugin reviews become outdated. People may give a product a low rating due to a particular problem. However, the review persists even after the plugin's creator resolves the problem. I think this can result in an unjust perspective.

A review flag indicating to the author that the issue has been resolved would be fantastic. If it's feasible, at the very least, link the plugin version number to the review. As of right now, it's only the date, but what if the user is reviewing a problem that has already been resolved while using an out-of-date plugin? The road is convoluted.

As a plugin developer, I believe that the WordPress software is the focus of the support forums; nevertheless, specific plugin communities that presume similar functions are, to put it mildly, difficult to navigate.

It's annoying that support threads close automatically, that it's difficult to tag and rapidly filter topics, that there aren't any moderation tools available, that I have to rely on apathetic moderators, and that old threads that I've spent hours investigating automatically get deindexed.

I'm hoping that one day we'll be able to move the support button from the plugin forums to GitHub Discussions, or at the very least, utilize some of their functionality.

Although I can understand why auto-closing is crucial for developers, as a user, those older posts can be helpful when I'm trying to solve a problem because I can create a new post and reference the older one if that looks helpful. I would not change auto-closing; instead, I would allow developers the option to override as needed. While I am sure that this is the exception rather than the case, it makes sense for a developer to be able to reopen an old post.

A "re-open this thread" button would be nice. That's a great concept, in my opinion, but I'd also let the person who wants to post something fresh handle it. It will be challenging for me to choose which thread to reopen because I write plugins. Give the user that option as well as the ability to close a thread and recommend starting a new one to the plugin developer. The plugin developer can decide to close threads after a year if they so desire.

Support forum topics now automatically end after six months as opposed to a year.

In my instance, the plugin's ranking suffered because I neglected to subscribe to it and was unable to respond to any of the 12 help posts. I went through and marked them all as resolved because I don't think the plugin should be permanently ranked lower in search results due to a resolved issue (my inability to receive notifications of the threads). It may be a little bit of a cheat, but this is the best I could do for the plugin because dot org won't let me really assist the original posters.

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