Tue 30 Oct 2012 10:18PM

Archiving Discussions

PS Paul Smith Public Seen by 132

The card on Trello has 4 votes so it seems like there's support for this feature.

Use cases:

1) A user creates a dummy discussion as an example or for testing and then realises it's in their group history forever. The User or Group wants to get rid of this discussion and never see it again.

2) A user creates a discussion within a group, a consensus is reached, the decision is acted on and "completed". The Group then wants to put this discussion into a seperate area so that it can be looked at or referenced later but isn't in the list of what is currently being decided on.


How would we want this to work and what would it look like?

Will archived discussions still be viewable? Or should there be an option when archiving to keep it in history or not. (check box?)

If archived discussions are still viewable

Will archived discussions be locked? Eg/ Can someone still comment or create a proposal on an archived discussion?

Is it better to be able to dig up "dead" discussions or start a fresh new discussion referencing the old one?


Paul Smith Tue 30 Oct 2012 10:31PM

Sorry the discussion info is a bit of a mess but I wanted to get the brainstorming process started.

What I'm currently thinking is that the archive button would be in the "show discussion" page, and have two options: Archive to and Delete.

The Delete would effectively archive the discussion into the database abyss where it's just never displayed but the data is still stored.

Archive to History could have it's own filter in the groups page so you can look through archived discussions.

Personally I think once a discussion is archived it should be locked and if at a later date it needs discussing again it would be best to just start fresh and reference the archived discussion.



Jon Lemmon Wed 31 Oct 2012 6:27AM

These are all questions for our users aren't they? Maybe we can conduct a few quick user interview questions and to figure out what people want.

My gut feeling is that we want to start as simple as possible with this feature. From what I've heard, the biggest need at the moment is for an admin to be able to hide a conversation from a group that is misleading or problematic. But I could be wrong.


Jon Lemmon Wed 31 Oct 2012 6:29AM

PS - Thanks for starting this conversation. =)


Aaron Thornton Wed 31 Oct 2012 9:47AM

Once we have @mentions we could get user feedback at with the ease of a prompt mention...


Benjamin Knight Thu 1 Nov 2012 12:29AM

Super keen to see this happen! Most urgent thing is admin ability to archive test discussions to get them out of the way so new people coming in don't get confused by junk. One possibility is that archiving shifts things into the "previous decisions" list, but its focus could be expanded out to "older discussions/decisions". Sensible starting point?


Jon Lemmon Fri 2 Nov 2012 12:46AM

I don't think it should be shifted into the "previous decisions" list, because that is a list of proposals, not discussions. However, perhaps we could make an identical feature, only titled "archived" or "hidden discussions". It might only be viewable to admins, and they would have the ability to "unhide" a discussion, or to delete it entirely.



Benjamin Knight Sat 3 Nov 2012 1:09AM

Jon, I was suggesting that "previous decisions" could be broadened out to "previous discussions/decisions" so it could include both. Just an idea - separating them out might make more sense


Richard D. Bartlett Sat 3 Nov 2012 1:20AM

I prefer Jon's take over Ben's. The 'previous decisions' list is a record of group activity. The 'archived discussions' list is a list of stuff that happened that nobody needs to look at.

I'd probably start by making it visible to anyone in the group, in the interests of transparency, just hidden one click away in exactly the way the Previous Decisions list is.


Benjamin Knight Sat 3 Nov 2012 1:28AM

Sounds good to me


Jon Lemmon Sat 3 Nov 2012 3:45AM

Visible to anyone? Hmm... what are the use cases here?

  1. Group has a discussion that now needs to be hidden from new users (this has already happened in the Enspiral group)
  2. User creates a confusing discussion that isn't helpful for the group and should be hidden

If we go with private, we knock out both use cases. Public we only knock out use case number 2. Currently there is no way in the app to hide a discussion. If I didn't have server access Enspiral would have been put in an awkward spot after the member nominations went through. Anyway, I'm not saying that hidden discussions should definitely be private. Just wanted to point out the consequences of both options. Can we think of any other use cases here?


Richard D. Bartlett Sat 3 Nov 2012 10:31AM

I'm not 100% convinced case 1 is legit. I'm one of the 'new users' you're referring to and I went looking for that specific discussion and was bugged out to not find it. It felt really at odds with transparency and I'm not at all convinced that it was good that you had the superpowers to delete it.


Paul Smith Thu 15 Nov 2012 12:53AM

In the interest of making things less confusing, let's just focus on Use case 1 for now as it seems highest priority.

Effectively what the user wants to see is a delete button for discussions for when something goes wrong or just needs to be removed.

There are some problems super powers wise with someone having the power to delete a discussion but... are there any ways to work around that?

Maybe only discussions with no comments (or under a threshold) could be delete-able?
Or have a 24 hour window where a discussion can still be removed?


Jon Lemmon Thu 15 Nov 2012 9:51AM

I have a strong inclination that admins need the ability to delete a discussion at any time, regardless of how long the conversation has gone on for or how many comments have occurred. I think admins should be able to do nearly anything.

And maybe we say that the discussion is just "hidden" instead of deleted. So if some of the group members complain about it being deleted the discussion can always be retrieved.


Richard D. Bartlett Fri 16 Nov 2012 4:50AM

So, give admins the option to hide a discussion but don't worry about building the 'retrieve' feature until later?


Jon Lemmon Mon 19 Nov 2012 2:18AM

Basically yeah, although I think building in the "retrieve" functionality is so simple that it could probably be done at the same time.

Sounds like it's time for some mockups!


Paul Smith Wed 21 Nov 2012 1:24AM

I'm not really sold on the "retrieve" feature, Archive/Deletes should be a tough decision and rarely used so I don't think it should be an easy option to get them back.

I've added a mockup on mybalsamiq with where I think the option would be. I think changing the small down arrow to a cog might make sense too? (In the discussion title bar).


Paul Smith Wed 21 Nov 2012 1:25AM


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 21 Nov 2012 4:00AM

Screwy permissions on that link, I can't access.

Does balsamiq have a permission setting to make it viewable to anyone without forcing login?


Jon Lemmon Wed 21 Nov 2012 4:28AM

Just sorted out the permissions for ya @richard


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 21 Nov 2012 4:40AM

Agree with everything Paul :)


Aaron Thornton Fri 23 Nov 2012 9:51AM

Yep agree with not making it a back and forth thing with hiding discussions.


Josef Davies-Coates Tue 9 Jul 2013 4:20AM

I think the use case 2 (in the context above) is important too. e.g. looks like this https://www.loomio.org/discussions/1236 has been done now, no? So shouldn't it now be closed/ archived? i.e. put in an 'archived discussions' area and locked so no new comments can be made. Perhaps with a note saying something like "want to re-open this discussion? start a new one".


Richard D. Bartlett Tue 9 Jul 2013 4:32AM

On this topic, I've been thinking that every thread should have an 'outcome' field, that may or may not be connected to the existing proposal outcome feature.


Matthew Bartlett Tue 9 Jul 2013 4:58AM

@richarddbartlett discussion initiators could be prompted say a fortnight after the last comment to provide an outcome or archive


Tom Lord Thu 11 Jul 2013 11:44AM

We've got archives in Econsensus. We're pretty randomly flexible, so we can just shove anything into the archives - this takes trust :-) We can rarely also move something back out of the archives into life, or in our case, between decisions and proposals if we feel that it's been made erroneously.

The archives are, as you'd expect, useful for us to hide dead topics, or proposals that didn't go anywhere.

Making search find archives by default (and allowing disabling) seems like a reasonable step - people may not know the state of something they are looking for.

We also talked about the related idea of making feedback on something "old" - e.g. we have a proposal, we decide to do some stuff, and we agree to review our decisions in 6 months. In some way, if we can see that previous discussions, comments, concerns etc. are "before this review" then we can maybe re-use the same screen and start a fresh review of the same decision. Maybe if everything on a discussion is "old" then it is the same as being in the archives, or if everything on a proposal is "old" then it didn't get made. We haven't got there on this one yet :-)


Richard D. Bartlett Thu 11 Jul 2013 8:56PM

Thanks @tomlord, that reminds me, it would be really great on some decisions to have a feature that automatically prompts a review in X months.


Aija Zvidrina Tue 16 Jul 2013 10:18AM

I do not know whether this would work for other groups, but because I can't help but associate Features group with something like a bug tracking system (e.g. Jira or Bugzilla) I would suggest options like Close (No more edits and comments can be added), Reopen (Need to provide a good reason and possibly to be approved by admin), Clone (if we would decide not to let open, but just start a new discussion based on existing one), Link (I will start a new discussion about this as that would require a visible discussion ID).
Sorry, that it might seem not to be so related to the initial description, but I think Closing of discussion is definitely a needed feature and could possibly postpone delete and archive problem (as for me in those cases quite a big thought on who and which level are allowed to do so is needed).


Danyl Strype Wed 17 Jul 2013 12:12AM

We only agreed to implement delete in Indymedia codebases for use cases like neo-nazis open-publishing propaganda videos on Indy sites and leaching our bandwidth. Since we are only talking about storing text, not images sound or video, I don't think delete is required.

I agree with @paulsmith and @aijazvidrina that it would be helpful if co-ordinators could Close a discussion, and only they could Re-Open a closed one. I agree with @jonlemmon and @richarddbartlett that 'Closed Discussions' should be archived separately from 'Previous Decisions', as well as from active discussions.

I also agree with @richarddbartlett that it would be helpful is Balsamiq mock-ups were publicly viewable, rather than requiring log-in.


Josef Davies-Coates Thu 18 Jul 2013 10:13PM

Now the search feature has been enabled (yay!) I think it is more important than ever that archiving be implemented; quite a lot of top results for a few of the searches I've tried have been really old discussions/ proposals that have basically been done/ implemented - they shouldn't be the top results!


Danyl Strype Fri 19 Jul 2013 2:01AM

Thanks for the new Search function, that was amazingly quick (Agile?) I would add to my comment below that there should be two kinds of archiving:

  • Closed:

    • for discussions which have run their course
    • still visible to group members
    • stored in a searchable 'Closed Discussion' archive
    • excluded from searches of active discussions
    • can only be Re-Opened by a Co-ordinator
  • Hidden

    • for discussion which are tests, duplicates, mistakes, or relics of misuse
    • visible only to Co-ordinators
    • Can moved to Closed, or Re-Opened by Co-ordinators

I notice in the ''feature release' thread that a 'delete discussion' feature was rolled out in Feb. Once an archive function is in place, I would suggest deprecating the 'delete' function for the reasons I gave below.


Chris Taklis Thu 22 Aug 2013 3:41PM

that would be very useful if we can somehow archive our discussions we don't need any more for discussion or decision making but we still need it as references or other ways of use.


[deactivated account] Thu 30 Oct 2014 10:45AM

Sorry to up this discussion, but it looks like it never came to a conclusion (there were surely other priorities one year ago). The "archiving" subject started here, it continued here, and it was launched again here, and not sure I found all of them but this one seems to be the most advanced one. If you know a more appropriate thread about this, please let me know.

Talking about 'archives', we should not miss what it is: something that does not appears in front, but that everyone can consult if needed.

Moreover, an 'archived discussion' should be a closed discussion, in which we can't comment again, unless it is opened again, or a new one is opened.

Till now, my trick is to create a group called "ARCHIVES", and I put in discussions I don't want users to be bothered with anymore. I made it private so that users don't effectively see them and can't effectively comment them again, but my wish is that users could still read them, in a specific 'archived' tab, or at the bottom of other discussions.

This last point makes me come to a conclusion: as you may develop a 'pin up this discussion' feature to put discussions at the top with a flag "sticky", you may develop nearly the same 'archive this discussion' feature that would put discussions at the bottom with a flag "archived" (and deactivate comments).


Alanna Irving Thu 30 Oct 2014 8:46PM

Thank you @Grégoire Barrault - I agree! This feature is in the roadmap: https://trello.com/c/nvuXmHPB

I hope we can build it soon.


Poll Created Fri 31 Oct 2014 6:04PM

Regroup 'pin to the top' and 'archive' features Closed Fri 7 Nov 2014 11:09AM

by [deactivated account] Mon 27 Feb 2017 10:26PM

3% of members voting is not enough. One week may be not enough to let people vote, or most of 182 people in this group are not active anymore, or they're not interested in this subject.

So I will put another proposition, the Chris Talkis' one, because it's also a good proposition to talk about, and this time I will set 2 month to discuss about it and vote.

We could regroup the 'pin discussion to top' feature:
and the 'close/archive discussion' feature:
on Loomio Roadmap.

Archiving a discussion would be equal to: pin discussion to bottom and close comments. This way, sticky and archived discussion would be two sides of the same coin and could be developed together. Also I think this solution follows Loomio's principle: keep it simple :-)


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 66.7% 4 JK JD MM DU
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Disagree 33.3% 2 RG CT
Block 0.0% 0  

6 of 276 people have voted (2%)


Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino)
Mon 3 Nov 2014 6:51PM

Seems an obvious way to do this.


Rob Guthrie
Thu 6 Nov 2014 7:03PM

I don't think that someone is going to think "I don't want this discussion, so I'll pin it to the bottom, now where is the "pin to bottom" button' Ouch!


Chris Taklis
Fri 7 Nov 2014 8:47AM

i have better idea for close/archive.

A category on right side which the discussions will go there and won't show on main page and will have [archived] in beginning. And will be easy to search for them.


[deactivated account] Thu 6 Nov 2014 8:34PM

@robertguthrie in our groups, rename the title of a discussion to prefix it with [closed] when it's over or when the decision is implemented or refused.
"pin to the bottom" seems more convenient than renaming the title of the discussions.

The only thing that bothers me a little is that it hapen from time to time that someone add a comment to an old discussion after it's closed. If it remains pinned to the bottom, people might miss it (for dummies discussions, it is the intention but if we use it as a flag to indicate the discussion is closed it might be annoying)


[deactivated account] Thu 6 Nov 2014 9:20PM

I should precise my idea: when you click the 'archive discussion' button, it should work nearly like the 'pin up' button, since the discussion get sticked to bottom instead of top, but moreover, the comments should be closed when using 'archive discussion'. And to keep being clear the button should be called 'archive', and not 'pin bottom'..


Rob Guthrie Thu 6 Nov 2014 10:02PM

I think I find the features, as described, clearer than what is being suggested. A button to close a discussoin, and a way to see closed discussions seems more direct and clear than "pin to bottom"


Poll Created Sat 8 Nov 2014 3:26PM

making an archived discussions page Closed Mon 1 Dec 2014 10:04PM

by [deactivated account] Mon 27 Feb 2017 10:26PM

Here is a consensus. This proposition gathered more votes than previous one, with no disagree. People prefer to have dedicated buttons and page for archives than to have only a label.

As I said in my last comment: the concept of archiving takes a crucial part in the group management process itself. Having specific buttons and access would help to formalize this step in the process, and newcomers would understand instantly what is passed and what is present.

The proposition provides a detailed description of how archive process can be handled, which seems to please most of Loomio's beta testers.

Since this subject has been more discussed and developed, I expect its card in Trello's roadmap will go to 'soon improvement', but I don't know how this happens. Please let us know!

Archiving discussion should happen this way:

  • in the discussion options (the cog-wheel menu), there is a button 'archive discussion';
  • when you click this button, it asks for a confirmation (in case you miss-click);
  • if you confirm, then comments and propositions become inactive, the title of the discussion is preceded by '[archived]', and the discussion does not appear anymore on the main page;
  • on the right side of any group, there is a button 'archives' that let you access to the page where all archived discussions appears;
  • you can read an archived discussion just like a normal one, the difference is that you can't comment or propose anymore;
  • in the archived discussion options (the cog-wheel menu), instead of the 'archive discussion' button, there is a 'reopen discussion' button, that allows you to get back the discussion to the main page, with comments and propositions opened again;
  • a discussion can't be archived when a proposition is currently running in it;
  • only coordinators can archive and reopen discussions (later there could be another option in the permissions group menu).

People then will have choice, when talking again about a subject, to get back the discussion, or if it is too old, to open a new one and reference the old one, still accessible.

I think that this archive feature would be a great help for the Loomio Community group itself, then for Loomio's development, because there are already a lot of old thread that just get users lost. It's like a virtuous circle for Loomio's improvement.


Results Option % of points Voters
Abstain 4.3% 1 M
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

23 of 277 people have voted (8%)


Chris Taklis
Sat 8 Nov 2014 3:29PM

exactly that it was what i thinking of archiving!!! It's the best description ever.


Alanna Irving
Sun 9 Nov 2014 7:40PM

seems like a good design to me


Ben Burton
Tue 11 Nov 2014 6:25PM

It's a simple fix and could be revised at a future date if more functionality were needed.


Richard D. Bartlett
Tue 11 Nov 2014 11:01PM

Great description. Details might change slightly in implementation but totally support the main direction.


Sir Wumpus
Tue 11 Nov 2014 11:41PM

Great proposal, very well written. I would like to suggest that the person who originally opens a discussion should have permission to archive it later, however.


Sophie Jerram
Wed 12 Nov 2014 12:46AM

yes please


Steve Coffman
Wed 12 Nov 2014 4:10PM

  • Like

Stacco Troncoso
Fri 21 Nov 2014 9:03AM

Very useful


Sun 23 Nov 2014 9:40PM

I've just been showing Loomio to a group and they found the number of discussions overwhelming. This proposal seems to cover everything well


Greg Cassel
Mon 24 Nov 2014 6:00AM

I'm pleased to support this simple and elegant means of reducing group clutter.


[deactivated account]
Wed 26 Nov 2014 8:46PM

Group decision making is a complex business as it is - reducing the clutter by archiving now-irrelevant discussions will simplify the interface and improve the user ability to find and focus on what is important. This Proposal was well presented.


[deactivated account]
Fri 28 Nov 2014 9:08PM

As others have said, it will relieve the front screen clutter.


mix irving
Mon 1 Dec 2014 4:04AM

like. Also need to consider implications for search


Alanna Irving Sun 9 Nov 2014 7:39PM

Archiving has been in the backlog for a while... feel free to vote on it. https://trello.com/c/nvuXmHPB

I agree it's a good idea.


Mikey Mon 10 Nov 2014 7:43AM

i'm in favor of functionality found in GitHub issues, namely being able to:
- close discussions
- label discussions with arbitrary tags
- filter discussions (from within the page listing discussions) for open/closed status and any labels

i think what's being proposed here is very specific to one use case, where a more general solution might be better for more use cases.


Alanna Irving Tue 11 Nov 2014 12:04AM

@ahdinosaur I agree... most of that is in the roadmap backlog. We've intentionally not made any implementation decisions because we need to sit down and design a cohesive feature set to meet these needs. Some of the functionality will come in with the 1.0 alpha interface, but probably not all of it.


[deactivated account] Wed 12 Nov 2014 10:28AM

Sorry for this false notification, I said I would set 2 months for voting, I may have miss-clicked; now it is corrected.


Alanna Irving Sat 15 Nov 2014 8:58PM

@Grégoire Barrault It would actually be better to set a much shorter closing date. Do we really need to keep this open for two months? This project moves so fast who knows what the focus will be two months from now. I would suggest only a week at maximum.


[deactivated account] Sun 16 Nov 2014 11:23AM

@alanna you are right. Development evolves faster than that and 2 months is probably too much.

For the previous proposition I set one week, but it seems members hadn't time to check their Loomio's activity, at least. This time I set more to see if more people would vote. There are twice more voters till now, but it may be the result of a more tangible proposition. Or people really like this feature so they have a motivation to connect and vote, whereas sometimes they don't feel affected by what is proposed.

Also, as archive feature is a 'later' improvement on trello, we are not in a hurry, so I set 15 days from now instead of 2 months, and let's see what happen...


[deactivated account] Sun 16 Nov 2014 1:09PM

@ahdinosaur , yes it's specific to one use, but all groups end up needing it as the number of discussions inevitably grows. This feature remains compatible with close, label, and filter ones. For example, the archive function would use the label 'archived', or the close function if it exists.

I assume that what is proposed here is a bit heavier than just filter, since the concept of archiving takes a crucial part in the group management process itself. Having specific buttons and access would help to formalize this step in the process, and newcomers would understand instantly what is passed and what is present.


Simon Sun 23 Nov 2014 9:44PM

A question, has there been any discussion about 'saving' Loomio group discussions when Loomio is being used by public sector types who need to comply with public records requirements, etc.?


Alanna Irving Wed 26 Nov 2014 10:23PM

@simon1 yes there has been discussion about the need for archiving. I think it will go along with a feature to save as a printable PDF format as well.


Simon Wed 26 Nov 2014 10:38PM

Thanks for responding to my question, @alanna. It's good to know that archiving for recordkeeping purposes is on the agenda.


Wael Al-Saad Sun 30 Nov 2014 5:52PM

Will search results look for content in achieved discussions ?


Alanna Irving Tue 2 Dec 2014 8:13PM

@Grégoire Barrault thanks for hosting this proposal and creating that nice outcome! This feature will definitely make it into the roadmap at some point. Right now, we're focused on finishing the transition to Loomio 1.0, but early next year we'll have a chance to look at new functionality users want.