We're pondering a change to the forum threads, making it so they are automatically closed after being inactive for a year.
Can't really think of any downsides to this to be honest, but let us know if there's any compelling reason you can think of that we would want to keep them open.
I would agree with such a move - however I would be more conservative and suggest something like 6 months of inactivity. 6 months of inactivity from the last post on the thread would still provide a generous amount of time before closure.
I'm not strongly against it, but I do think it's a mistake, and am wondering about the rationale.
About 95% of "old thread revivals" we see are by spammers. They are, however, easy to recognize and deal with - and I doubt spammers would go away just because we close old threads - so the problem would only move to more recent threads, where it'd be harder to recognize (no big obvious date jump), and adversely affect more members who're currently active.
And the 5% of non-spammer revivals shouldn't be made to suffer under the spammers. Because there are useful revivals. People posting "hey did you ever go on this trip, how was it?", people coming back to ancient "off topic" threads, and so on. Basically, because of the old thread warning we already have, anything being revived by real people tends to be useful (it doesn't always have an effect or a reply (that we see; they might exist over PM though), but it was worth making that reply). I distinctly remember a time when that was otherwise, when people were mistakenly reviving old threads because they didn't realize that they were old, so I'd say the current situation is exactly where we want to be.
The rationale is to stop those old threads from reappearing and then getting a new life. Not such a problem if you're not subscribed, but I think for people subscribed to those old threads it can be a real problem.
Another option might be to block answers on old threads for new members? That would probably cut out all the spam answers too.
What if we make it so that you have to have posted xx posts to be able to revive an old thread? I realise this might still allow some of the more sneaky spammers to then revive an old thread, but they'd have to know about the limit and all first then.
Peter and me were also discussing treating the travel companions forum differently, perhaps closing/hiding old threads there altogether. That seems to make a lot of sense to me as there's a noticeable 'expiry date' on those offers, and a lot of people might not even realise how long those threads live on when they're posting them originally.
We could of course make a similar exception, the other way around, for off topic threads, which do make the most sense as revivable in my mind.
My main reason for doing this would be cutting back on the annoyance that is getting an email notifying you of a thread you subscribed to 5 years ago
Maybe wait 24 hours with sending out email notifications for revived threads - checking after 24 hours if the new reply is still there before actually sending out any emails? 'course, that still leaves the case of a spammer reviving, and non-spammers not realizing this, and posting further replies. Maybe as soon as a "revival post" is flagged as spam, ignore it for the purposes of sorting threads, so it sinks back down into the depths again? That should cut down seriously on innocent followup replies, and us moderators will still see the flag through the red warning message at the top-right of the screen.
Closing only travel companions threads after a year without activity also sounds good to me. Not certain about hiding them altogether.
Quoting Sam I Am
...........My main reason for doing this would be cutting back on the annoyance that is getting an email notifying you of a thread you subscribed to 5 years ago
1. How about automatically expiring subscriptions after XXX period of time, maybe with an e mail to the subscriber about what is happening & to re-subscribe if they wish.
Or has that already been discussed?
2. Personally, I think all very old posts should be deleted.
But anything useful being used for FAQ's or as a 'Useful old posts' section. A bit too labour intensive I expect.