RFE: User should be able to mute a topic

Muting a topic should act like muting a conversation in Gmail. After the user mutes a topic, that topic will never appear in either the unread or the new post lists. Boards whose only unread topics have been muted will also not display as having unread topics.

This basically lets the user look at a topic, go, “Eh, not interested,” mute it, and not give it another thought. This would let users opt out of seeing trolling or posts outside their area of interest. Discussion of world news/politics, for example, is nothing but noise when you’re here for discussion of IF alone.

A search of extensions on the phpBB website didn’t show up anything implementing this feature. Searching the web didn’t turn up anything useful, either.

I would be willing to try to hack this feature into a phpBB extension myself some weekend, if I knew it would have a home here when I was done.

I’d definitely use it, sounds great.

I’d use this feature a fair bit for decluttering, definitely.

Good idea. Also an ignore forum option would be handy. This site seems to have a feature like that, but I can’t see which Mod they used.

It would also be nice if posts made by people on the foe list would not show up in the unread posts list.

There isn’t enough underlining, boldface, all-caps and oversized blinky-text on the Internet for how much “yes” this deserves.

I’d also like an option to not show posts quoting posts by people on my foe list. Pudlo’s been on my foe list for a while now, but I still see posts quoted by people replying to him. It kind of defeats the point of a foe list if you still see half of what the troll is posting.

Just for the benefit of all those with David on their foe list… :laughing:

In my experience, kill files are not a particularly good way to manage trolls, partly because other people whom you don’t intend to ignore will reply to trolls, and partly because trolls can still ruin the community for people who don’t actively manage their kill files.

I recommend secret bans instead. In a secret ban, the author’s posts are visible only to the author and to administrators, but no one else. Eventually, the trolls go away.

Here’s a phpbb mod that implements it: phpbb.com/community/viewtopi … 5#p3136484 (The author of this mod calls them “tarbs” instead of “trolls.”)

Topic muting doesn’t have to be just for trolls – if there’s a long discussion going on about how to do stuff in a system you don’t use, it might be nice to prevent it from showing up in the “unread messages.”

The advantage of foe lists over bans, secret or otherwise, is that each user can manage their own foe list. It seems to me as though the moderators want to keep a light touch with banning, and it usually seems to work out reasonably well (though I might not be in the best position to judge, not having been the target of any of the most obnoxious behavior). But without suppressing foe-posts from the unread list, and perhaps posts that quote foes, the foe list isn’t that effective.

dfabulich: That sounds like a great way to handle trolls.

The mute topic request isn’t directed towards trolls, though an individual user might use it that way. Trolls are ultimately for admin/mods to deal with. As a user, I just want to not be bothered about new posts each time someone makes another comment on the Megaupload proceedings (to give a concrete example). Those posts are not trolling the community, so banning (silent or otherwise) is inappropriate, but I don’t care about it, and I don’t want to have to manually ignore it each time I scan the new posts/unread posts lists. Throw in 3 or 4 active topics that someone doesn’t care to read more about, and the new/unread signal drowns in the noise.

I’d favour a permanent ban. If a troll registers another account, ban that. If he registers another, ban that. And so on. Sooner or later, even the most persistent troll will get the message and either leave or behave himself.

Secret bans normally are permanent. They’re permanent and secret.

There’s no easy way to tell when a troll registers another account; you just have to wait for the troll to do more damage and then ban based on the new behavior, after the fact. With secret bans, trolls don’t bother to register another account. They just go away of their own free will.

Another subtler technique is a “slow ban,” which just makes the site horribly slow for the troll account.

I agree; that makes sense.

I’ve been looking at how phpBB handles this all.

When you look at the index page, the forums listed there can be marked out as having unread content. Right now, that’s just a simple comparison of timestamps: when was the last post made to that forum versus when was the last time the user looked at that forum’s topics. Making a forum show as having unread posts only when that last post wasn’t in a muted topic would mean a lot of database hits, since you’d have to actually pull the posts for each forum in order to cross off the muted topics and calculate a possibly earlier latest (non-muted) post date. That’s probably not worth it, and if you’re relying on the unread/new posts searches, it doesn’t matter, anyway, since you’ll mark all read when you’re done.

Filtering the new/unread search results looks doable so far. You’re already pulling topics, so omitting them based on a condition should be dead simple.

Long story short:* Clearing the “unread posts” icon next to the forums on the index page won’t be happening.

  • Filtering out muted posts from the new/unread search results is in the works.