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Posting in the Java forum of the community I have seen one thing happen more often than not. I have seen posters post onto a thread that has been solved years ago, but just weren't marked as solved by the OP. Take for example this recent thread in the forum. This thread was started on 20th April 2004, to which the first reply itself was 15 days later. On that day itself, the OP thanked the replier and never posted again on the thread which makes me believe that his query might have been solved. But he didn't mark it so. Then more than an year later somebody posted onto the thread again asking for the docs for the s/w, to which the first reply was four months later. Today after lying there for more than 3 years the same thread was revived by a poster asking for help using the s/w. To which I have posted my reply suggesting the poster to start the new thread siting that this one's more than 4 years old.

The point I want to make over here is, can't we have some auto-marking mechanism for threads which identifies the time the last post was made onto a thread and if this is more than some pre-specified value mark the thread as "solved". One thing that could be done before doing so is to check that the last post isn't by the OP, which would mean that somebody has "offered" something to him but he hasn't returned to it.

Yes it is perfectly possible that the OP's query might not have been solved, but his non-return could be safely taken as a green signal to close the "issue". Because it means one of the two things, either the query is solved and the OP has just forgotten to (or not taken care to) mark the thread as "solved", or he doesn't want to get it solved anymore. There can be a broad category of causes for non-return that might fall into this category but what it more or less means is that, he isn't interested in the solution (atleast from here) anymore, and that should suffice us to proceed towards marking the thread solved. I am sure that this decision of auto-marking would be correct on the community/forum's part but for a rare number of cases in which the OP always has the option of marking the thread unsolved again and opening a request for help on the topic again. Also he could check the reply offered to him earlier and then decide whether or not to open the thread again.

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Last Post by verruckt24
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I'll be quick ... one of the main points that I'e always stressed was that threads are not just there to help the OP but to help many, many other people as well, years into the future. If someone a year down the line has the answer to the question, then by all means, post it so that it will be helpful to everyone else, regardless of whether the OP abandoned the thread.

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So what in your opinion should be the right course of action for someone who a question similar to one asked in a thread (which was started years ago and has been dead since but was not marked solved) but doesn't find it answered from the previous posts on that thread. Should he be posting to the same thread or starting a new thread.

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>The point I want to make over here is, can't we have some
>auto-marking mechanism for threads which identifies the time the
>last post was made onto a thread and if this is more than some
>pre-specified value mark the thread as "solved".
What makes you think the new member in question will bother to check that the thread was solved? It's already clear that he didn't bother to look at the dates. I don't think your solution buys us anything.

>Should he be posting to the same thread or starting a new thread.
He should be starting a new thread. However, there's nothing we can do (short of closing threads after a certain age) to stop him from posting to the same thread. If he posts to the same thread and it's a suitably new question, feel free to report the post and a moderator can move it to a new thread.

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>What makes you think the new member in question will bother to check that the thread was solved?

The fact that 'Solved' appears in bold, a bigger size font, and besides the thread title, where it is hard to be missed by posters who might accidently post onto such a thread, whereas the date appears below the thread title, in smller size font and is light coloured. And I didn't say that the new poster cannot post if he absolutely wants to post onto an old thead, which I don't think would be the case, I am saying marking it solved, would be a concious effort on our part NOT to make him post accidently onto an old thread.

This because it happens that one misses the date of the last post while posting, it has happened once to me.

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>where it is hard to be missed by posters who might accidently post onto such a thread
Even the posters who get to the thread via Google? Also keep in mind that we're talking about the same people who unfathomably manage to ignore the sticky threads that say "READ THIS FIRST!!!".

I applaud your noble intentions, but in reality people just don't give a damn. No amount of friendly reminders will change the behavior you want to change.

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I'm very lazy and haven't read this entire thread so I don't know if this has been brought up already but, when a thread hasn't been replied to within a couple of months, there is a little notice above the quick reply box that says, "This thread is more than three months old. Perhaps start a new thread instead?"

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Auto-marking threads as solved would defeat the purpose of having the 'solved' feature in the first place. I don't want to know if a thread has been active within the last 3 months, I want to know if the issue was resolved.

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I like that he disapproved of your already closed thread... Dick.
you dont have to disapprove my already closed thread
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>I don't want to know if a thread has been active within the last 3 months, I want to know if the issue was resolved.

I agree with this statement as much as I can, but I was hoping for some mechanism where we on our part can prevent somebody reviving an old thread with a question. I can understand somebody making an effort to answer the original question even after six months, rather it should be done.

But I suppose there's no way to do that.

Also and one thing, yes however we try we cannot change the behaviour, but we shouldn't leave room for a reason for not changing.

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Well, tough luck. Thread bumping used to be highly discouraged, to the point that we would close threads that got bumped, but Dani disagreed and said that if it's a relevant, on-topic bump, it shouldn't be looked down on, no matter how old the thread is. So while the message at the bottom of old threads stating that the thread hasn't been active for three months is encouraged to discourage pointless bumping, there's no real rules against it.

If you want a different policy on replying to old threads, you'll first have to convince the admin that her opinions on bumped threads are wrong.

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>one of the main points that I'e always stressed was that threads >are not just there to help the OP but to help many, many other >people as well, years into the future

I don't think I'll try to convince her much on that since I liked the above statement from her as much as I have liked any. This is a real strong and convincing statement, which made my opinion in this matter align with Dani's. And yes this is true, a forum's goal should be helping as many people as it can and not only the OP. So, if someone can post useful information, even if it is six months down the line we should be open to it.

And on a much lighter note, if I need to convice her because of reason that I stated in my previous post, (people putting in their questions in old threads), let me get enough posts and rep points under my belt before I can start of thinking to do that. ;)

Lastly thanks everyone for presenting your views on this topic. Dani, Narue, John A

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