New Feature: Topic Actions

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thebirdman23
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Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:37 pm
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thebirdman23
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New Feature: Topic Actions

Post by thebirdman23 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:37 pm

Topic Actions is a small feature to enhance user interaction. They allow administrators to setup a forum in such a way that topics have actionable states that change at the discretion of that topics owner.

Say you setup a question-answer forum on your board. Users come in and post their question as a new topic. When a new topic is created it is put into an "Unresolved" status. As users post, eventually an answer is submitted that the topic owner is satisfied with. Once this happens the owner selects this post as "Accepted" and the topic status moves from "Unresolved" to "Resolved". While waiting for an acceptable answer, users will undoubtedly post things the owner feels are unsatisfactory which can be marked as such (Rejected/Needs Work).

Now for some details. When a board administrator is setting up a forum they should be presented with an "Actions" section. Here, they can set the "Initial State" of topics (Unresolved/Open/Available/etc..) as well as the individual "Post States" (Accepted/Rejected/Needs Improvement/etc..).
Each "Post State" will have an associated color. This changes the color of a posts background container when its state changes.
The "Post States" can be optionally toggled to update the topics status to that state (1 or more states must be selected).
Selected states can also have an optional action, (lock topic/move topic/remove topic?).
The topic owner should be allowed to change the state of a post at any time and changing the state of a post will revert any action of the previous selected state (unlock topic/move topic back to original location).
A topics current state should also be clearly visible when browsing through the topic listings on a forum.

Another example would again bring us to a buy/sell/trade section on an administrators board. A user posting an item for sale would display their topic as "Item Available". Users making low-ball offers could have their posts set to a "Rejected" status. Once a reasonable offer comes along it can be marked as "Offer Accepted" and the topic locked. The topic will then show "Offer Accepted" to anyone browsing that forum. Once the trade is completed the seller can come back and swap the post from "Offer Accepted" over to "Sold" and the topic could be automatically moved into a "Sold Items" subforum.

There are probably many more use-cases for this, especially since the states can be customized, each post can have a changing state, and states can have optional actions. A board administrator is only limited by their creativity at this point.
All-in-all this feature promotes intractability between users and the ability for them to take on a role in keeping the forums clean and tidy along with saving their time by displaying pertinent information at a glance where it is needed most.

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Re: New Feature: Topic Actions

Post by kinerity » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:03 am

thebirdman23 wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:37 pm
Say you setup a question-answer forum on your board. Users come in and post their question as a new topic. When a new topic is created it is put into an "Unresolved" status. As users post, eventually an answer is submitted that the topic owner is satisfied with. Once this happens the owner selects this post as "Accepted" and the topic status moves from "Unresolved" to "Resolved".
There's already an extension that does something similar.
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Re: New Feature: Topic Actions

Post by thebirdman23 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:40 pm

Thank you kinerity for the suggestion. That extension provides a very specific use-case for the feature I've outlined above. The ambiguity of my proposed idea opens the door to many possible scenarios extending way past that of a simple question/answer type forum. For this reason is why I feel it should be part of the phpBB core functionality. This idea opens the door to a new level of user interaction for many different types of discussions. I urge those of you down-voting to consider this before doing so.

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Re: New Feature: Topic Actions

Post by AmigoJack » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:14 am

This can be easily achieved thru post icons already: the topic's first post can have the question mark until the post author feels to change it to a different one. Moderators can also change individual post icons to index them. The only thing left would be being able to also search topics/posts by icon and/or sort a forum by it.
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Re: New Feature: Topic Actions

Post by thebirdman23 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:13 pm

Hey AmigoJack thanks for the input. At a glance that seems like a reasonable way to achieve basic functionality of this idea.
Unfortunately it does not allow a topic owner to apply an action for each individual post in their topic. It also does not allow for the automatic locking and/or moving of topics if an appropriate action is taken on a post. It doesn't provide a lot of the other useful functionality either, like a posts background color being changed to reflect the current applied action. This is just three of the many useful features. Yes, manually changing post-icons would give users basic at-a-glance info on the topic, but this idea provides so much more detail and user interaction.

If we're going with the Q&A style example, the question asker can mark posts as 'rejected' or 'needs improvement' and finally 'accepted' upon finally receiving an acceptable answer. Nor does it account for board administrators being able optionally have topics with accepted answers automatically locked and/or moved to a 'solved questions' sub-forum. Again this is just one very specific example setup.

Furthermore my idea is ambiguous in nature allowing for completely customizable 'action tags' resulting in any number of possible uses extending past a simple Q&A forum. In other words, this idea would broaden the scope of what phpBB can offer any community which is why I believe it should exist as a core feature.

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