Reducing New Topics Similar to Old Topics

Would it be possible to put in a filter when a new topic is ‘titled’ to do an automatic search and suggest existing topics prior to posting? An example is travel insurance. If another topic were being created such as ‘travel insurance for NZ’ Discourse could suggest all other travel insurance topics and ask the member if any are applicable and if they would be happy to add their post into a selected existing one?


It exists. I have got such a warning several times when starting a new topic. The filter isn’t very good as it gives many false positives but its there.


Would you consider the filter only return more current topics? Eg added to in previous 12 or 24 months.

I’ve noted that when creating a new topic I sometimes get a warning that the topic is similar to ….

It can take some effort to use the search tool to identify existing topics before looking at the opening and most recent posts.


The message ‘it is similar to’ seems the underlying problem.

It needs to encourage the post being added to one of them. It is not irrational for someone to want a specific question answered and such is the problem of proliferating topics.

The forum seems to be getting increasing parallel as well as attracting off topic but within the broad topic ‘excursions’ as a result.

might better be rephrased "Would you add your post to one of these topics that may already have the information you seek?’ ← too wordy, but. With a radio button to select. It is not obvious new users would recognise each ‘similar’ topic is a hot link, and where a hot link takes one would be to the top of a potentially old dormant topic. Where to position (top or bottom) becomes a judgement call.

A detail, but yes in the general sense a topic that has been updated in the last say 12 months?


That is a good idea. Some form of words like “You are likely find answers already given and to encourage better replies by keeping the topics together.”


I’d suggest adding something like: “Please consider using one of the following existing conversations…”. As a general rule, I think it is useful to directly request people to do what you want them to do, rather than merely hint.

In direct marketing, it is usual to test alternative wordings, to discover which actually works best. In the present case, a direct marketer’s instinct might lead to having every second attempt at a duplicate topic be given a different wording, and then see which wording produced the least dupicates - that is, which wording best encourages the enquirer to use an existing conversation. Is such testing of messages possible here?