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Making forum topics a discussion post


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Hi guys! So as I was doing some schoolwork, I noticed that in the discussion posts, that I cannot see other students' replies to the discussion prompt until after I have posted at least 1 reply. And that is what I am suggesting here!


Suggestion: To hide replies from other users until you have posted a reply to the forum topic.

Follow-up suggestion: To disable editing your own reply and limit editing to forum staff.


How it would work: 



In the topic creator's point of view, there would be a third tab next to "Content" and "Poll" labelled "Discussion" to indicate that this is a discussion post. Checking the "Discussion post?" box would hide all replies to the topic until the viewer makes at least 1 reply to the topic. By default, this box would remain unchecked. Alternatively, this could be labelled "Hide replies?"


There would also be a second option, "Allow replies to be edited?" to enable users to edit their replies to a topic after they have posted one. Since users can normally edit their replies to a forum topic, this box would be automatically checked by default from the topic creator's view. If the "Allow replies to be edited?" box is unchecked, then the user who posted a reply to the topic cannot edit their own reply, and the power would be limited to forum staff, or a forum club admin (if posted in a club).


How the viewer would see the opened topic:

http://prntscr.com/10psckg http://prntscr.com/10pt3jx


In the screenshots above, pretend that I am another user who wants to reply to HelperNate's topic. Before I (the outside user) clicked on the topic, I could see from the surface the number of replies the topic has, and the number of views it has. If the "Discussion post?" box was checked when HelperNate created the topic, I would not see who last replied to the topic, and when. Now when I open the topic, I can see the initial post that HelperNate has posted, and I wonder to myself "This topic has x replies. Where are they?" then right above the typing box at the bottom, I would be greeted with a message saying that this is a discussion post and that replies were only visible if I posted at least 1 reply to the topic. When I post a reply, then all of the other replies from other users becomes visible. Depending on how HelperNate set the topic, I want to edit my reply, but the edit button is not there. This is because HelperNate unchecked the "Allow replies to be edited?" checkbox upon creation of the topic.


How would this be relevant to the forum?

In the words of one of my professors, "You cannot see other student responses until after your reply. This is done to help support original student work." If this feature were added to the forum, this would be most relevant to discussion-type posts, background contests, and other topics in which you want the viewers to provide originality in their reply/work!


For instance, let's say a Main Owner of a chat I am a staff member at created a forum post that prompts the staff members to provide their feedback on the rules and how they can be improved. To combat plagiarism from other users responses and have original thoughts, the topic creator would go to the "Discussion" tab in the content creation menu and check the "Discussion post?" box. If they didn't want the staff to edit their responses after submitting their replies, the topic creator would uncheck the "Allow replies to be edited?" box in the "Discussion" tab of the content creation menu. This would encourage the staff to provide original feedback and potentially be careful with what they type before submitting.


Another example could apply to a background contest, poem contest, or any type of contest that allows users to submit original work on the forum without seeing others' replies beforehand! For a background contest, the topic creator could leave both boxes "Discussion post?" and "Allow replies to be edited?" checked in the content creation menu upon creating the contest. This would allow the participant not to see the entries of other participants before they post a reply, but because "Allow replies to be edited?" was checked, the user would be able to edit their reply after submitting. This could be used if a mistake was made, or the user wants to add/remove a background. The contest host could provide a sample background in the initial post and explain the specifications when making the contest a discussion post, and they can also instruct that any new backgrounds must be submitted as an additional reply by unchecking the "Allow replies to be edited?" checkbox in the content creation menu.

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I think it's a useful option for topic creators in certain situations, for the reasons you've provided.


It could be an effective strategy to stop 'yes men' and 'group think' phenomena. It would help to obtain more authentic, unbiased responses from users, as they cannot be influenced by what other users have written.


The downside to this idea is that it could make public discussions quite boring, if they appear empty until you post something. Sometimes you just want to read a discussion for fun without intending to participate in it, and you might have nothing useful to contribute.


These topics could also receive lots of replies stating the same thing, because as we've established, users won't know what's already been written. This is very good for identifying trends, but can lead to repetitive comments.


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I personally like this idea, but I can only see this being useful in private sections of the forum. For example, I think this would be extremely useful when having discussions in the Contributors section.


I don't think this would be a good feature for public topics for the reasons Crow has mentioned. Perhaps, this would only be useful in public sections of the forum for specific topics like background contests. If implemented, this should probably be only available for a specific group of people (like forum moderators).

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This would be good only for a minimum of limited things, from my perspective it has several cons. In addition to what Crow said, sometimes there are many comments of great help and interest for other people that help them solve a certain problem without the need to post, or simply read, find out or soak up information and new things.

For creative writing contests it would be fine, but for bg's contests I don't see much sense, once you post your first entry, you will be able to see the designs already posted, and after that you can continue adding entries. Even without this option, if there is a "plagiarism" it would be so obvious as to let the user know.

I think it is better to expose the public opinion/idea, since if someone else had the same idea as you and you realize it was posted, you would not post the same or would you? As a result of this, you may come up with a new idea or have a good attribution for the common idea already posted. PD: (This problem is due to not reading or searching), and this is because there are already too many posts and not all people have or take the time for this.

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