What's the best way to respond to duplicate topics?

Here’s a recent example of what I mean, and then I’ll follow with some questions and thoughts:

This particular case reminded me of another topic that I’d seen recently, so I replied in the new topic :point_up: to point the user to the older topic :point_down::

That’s the easy way for me, as a regular user, to try to point someone else in what I think might be the right direction (if I happen to know of a relevant preexisting topic), but it also seems like I’m adding clutter to the Forum:

  • I’m adding content to a new topic that may not need to exist as a new topic.
  • My adding content increases the visibility of that new topic, potentially leading to more comments and more clutter.
  • Having more than one topic about the same subject matter means that some users might read or contribute to one but miss the other.

It just seems messy, and I want to be a productive contributor and follow the Community Guidelines:

Sometimes I’ve seen posts in a long topic (frequently in Wishlist topics I’ve read) where a Moderator has merged (an)other post(s) into that topic, so that makes me wonder if I should just flag :triangular_flag_on_post: a new topic that seems like a duplicate instead of replying and trying to redirect the other user:

I’m not trying to be a Moderator, and I certainly don’t want to create unnecessary work for the moderation team, who I think are already doing a great job. This would probably be less of a frustration if everyone took the time to search for a relevant topic before creating a new one…

…and I really try to do that—including with this topic—but I know that some users don’t do this, and I’m also aware that even a well-written search query might not find all relevant results, especially if a topic is mis-tagged and/or mis-titled. I just want to try to be a positive contributor here and help out when I can, and I’d like to learn the best way to do that:

  • What’s the best, most effective, most efficient, and/or recommended way for handling cases like this?
  • Should I respond as I’ve been doing and try to redirect the user who posted the new topic? One potential advantage of doing this is that the other user can get a response without awaiting a Moderator’s involvement, but does that cause any problems?
  • Should I flag the new topic for a Moderator to possibly merge it into an existing topic?
  • Should I do both?
  • If I respond to a new topic or post that probably should be merged into an existing topic, does that just create more unnecessary junk for a Moderator to deal with and/or does that affect the ability to merge/move topics/posts?

One possible answer: I’m overthinking this. (This is what I do.)

What say ye, Forum?

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I think maybe often people arrive at the forum with a sense of urgency and so if they do browse or search for a similar topic before posting their own it’s not for long.

I appreciate that you are trying to be the best you that you can be. It speaks well of you. :slight_smile:

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That’s kind of you to say, thank you.

I do think that happens, too, and I can understand that. I don’t do an exhaustive search before creating a new topic, but I try to plug in some relevant terms to get a sense of whether I’m experiencing something unique or if maybe there’s already something for me to read, possibly get an answer without even posting, and perhaps contribute to ask follow-up questions or help someone else out.

I’m not trying to pick on the person whose post I referenced :point_up:, either; that just happened to be the most recent (of several) examples where I thought it might’ve been better categorized in an existing topic and have another vote added to that wish. If anything, that new topic was an incentive for me to start this topic and ask some questions that have been on my mind already.

…then there was some unnecessary rambling/ranting…

Part of that probably stems from my own frustration in recently trying to assist a completely different user who responded to me at one point that he or she doesn’t “have time searching all over the forum….” This boggled my mind and did not ring true at all, because at that time this user’s profile had been on the system for only 10 days, yet this person had already created 14 new topics, many of which were clearly issues covered in other topics that could’ve been found with a minimum of search effort.

How does someone say that he/she doesn’t have time to try to help himself/herself by looking for an answer but does have time to create and follow-up (with multiple replies) on so many new topics…and expect to be taken seriously? :exploding_head:

I gave up trying to answer that person’s questions after that.

Others didn’t, though, because a lot of the people here are truly helpful, and I appreciate that. Part of what frustrated me with that situation was seeing these people—including Moderators—spending time responding to this person’s multiple posts even after others and I had tried to redirect this user to relevant existing content. It left me with the impression that this person was abusing the time and patience of others, so now I avoid that person’s topics, because I’m at least somewhat aware of the limits of my own patience.

Another part of the frustration was the feeling that this person was really doing himself/herself a disservice by not taking the time to seek out the answers that are already there and then hopefully learn something and grow in the process. Too many people just want to be spoon fed or have things done for them. :disappointed:

The way this user was operating, I’m not convinced that merging into existing topics would’ve solved the problem anyway, because the new topics just keep coming….

I don’t know if any Moderators will provide feedback on this one, though if any do then I hope they realize that I admire their effort. I’m just sorta lookin’ for “best practices” guidance on this one so that I’m not wasting too much of anyone’s time (which is probably moot at this point).

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In a case like this, sometimes I will flag it for the mods and copy the link of the thread I think it should be moved into. That way it isn’t much work for them to move because I’ve already given them the location of the other thread.

Sometimes I will respond and just tell them where would be a more effective place to have that discussion (such as in the wishlist which Wyze actually tracks).

I think that in general the mods DO want to merge duplicates into the same topic, but sometimes there are so many duplicate threads, that we often just let it slide.

I think it can also be difficult in some cases whether to consider something part of the same topic or a slightly different one. How general or specific does a topic need to be in order to be considered the same or different? Some of that is subjective and thus discretionary, while sometimes it is really obvious when something is part of the same topic. :man_shrugging: Use your best judgment. The mods are good people. They’re not going to get upset at you for trying to help and if they decide to do something different, it will help to give you an idea for future reference in similar cases.

In general, if I flag something with the intent to help the mods, I do so in a way that is clear I am not telling them what to do, but rather either posting a suggestion or flagging something that I am guessing they want to handle it that way, but I really don’t mind/care if they choose not to. I mostly use it as a sort of “Just bringing this to your attention as I think you’d want it on your radar, do whatever you want with it.”

The reason mods appreciate flags is because there are so many new posts and comments every day that it takes a lot of effort just to keep up with them. Mods may not have a chance to read them all, so flagging helps make their time more efficient as they can make sure they direct their attention/discretion on the posts that might need a little more priority than the normal or frivolous posts.

Actually, I’d also love to hear from some of the @Mods their opinion on how much “help” they would like with flagging, or any other recommendations on what would be helpful or why, so I’m going to tag them and see if a couple will give us some insight on what they like here. :slight_smile:

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I wondered about that, too. Glad to know I’m in good company with this thinking.

This is what I think I’ve mostly been doing so far.

Right. That’s something I considered. I’m not trying to be a Moderator, and I also don’t want to step on someone else’s toes or present it in a way that seems like I’m telling someone how I think they ought to do things. This is why I like asking questions!

I think I’ve flagged only one post so far. I’ve been kind of wary about that and don’t want to get into a “flag happy” habit if that’s going to annoy people. That’s why I referred to the Community Guidelines section about how flags are used here and wanted to solicit some input. Hopefully a discussion like this would be useful to others, as well.

Ditto, and I appreciate the thoughts you provided, as well.

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Short answer: If you see posts that can/should be consolidated, then yes, please flag as “Something Else”. As Carver says, it’s not that much work if you provide the links to both conversations. We do try to keep the forum tidy and consolidated. It will never be perfect, but every little bit of help from the community is appreciated.

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I like the…

I guess @Loki really is low-key. :shushing_face:

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We try to keep it tidy as much as possible, but we cant be everywhere or on all the time. :slight_smile: We try to take care of as much as possible now so its much harder for things to get out of hand.

Using the flag feature is the best. If you choose the “Something Else” flag you can type in info just like @carverofchoice stated, links, descriptions, etc.

In response to the “Should I respond as I’ve been doing and try to redirect the user who posted the new topic? One potential advantage of doing this is that the other user can get a response without awaiting a Moderator’s involvement, but does that cause any problems?” comment, If a Mod has to merge a post into the original post, or it to an existing wishlist, your response directing the user to the other topic may be out of context or look out of place if it gets merged with the reply or topic your are flagging. Situational dependent, but we could or may only merge the original post and not the/your replies so there isnt any comments of “the original or existing wishlist is here ######” replies in the actual post that your referring to. If that makes sense. :slight_smile: Then all your work going into the redirection reply would be deleted or closed if the duplicate topic is closed.

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That totally makes sense, and I appreciate your taking the time to explain that. I don’t know how your merge tools work, so it’s good to know that adding comments doesn’t actually cause an additional problem (if I understand correctly).

It’s not that much work, but maybe I should just create a template like what @SlabSlayer seems to use. I’ve seen a lot of posts where a user’s first post to the forum will be to suggest an idea for a new feature or product, and @SlabSlayer seems to have boilerplate text to drop in that welcomes the new user and directs that person to a post that explains how the Wishlist works. Seems pretty slick. I dig it.

I took action on that topic by merging it with the applicable Wishlist.


If i were to include your reply of:

in the merge, it would appear that you are redirecting the poster to the wishlist that the reply is already in, and folks may not understand that its a merge from somewhere else. In that case i wouldn’t include the reply. If the case where a wishlist request is made outside of the wishlist system, and there is conversation about or supporting said wishlist request, i’d merge those replies also with the original post to the existing wishlist and it wouldn’t appear out of place.

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I see that! :+1:

The remainder of your explanation totally makes sense. Thank you! :upside_down_face:

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