Discourse message: "your topic is similar to..."

Another dumb thing is if you create a new thread - totally different from any thread that exists - it will give you a default message that your new thread is kinda like some other thread and maybe you should reply to it instead of making a new thread. Even if it’s totally different.


I don’t mind this one. You know your thread will be totally different, but the system doesn’t; it only recognizes key words. And as seen on TUD, people (especially newcomers) often ask questions that have been asked many times before. And as this list grows, that will happen more often here, too.


It would be fine if the topic was actually a repeat!

But you can make a post that is totally different and it gives the warning. That makes it pointless.

Here’s an example:


I agree with you that the “Your topic is similar to…” message from discourse is dumb. By the way, arugula can’t be grown on the moon, so it is the same as the earth arugula, but martian arugula is different.


I am sure @Sam mentioned martian arugula a while ago.


But: the point of this message is different. It is best for SEO to have focused threads that don’t repeat. It is also best from the point of view of finding knowledge: the less threads you need to find, the better.

When you start a new thread, Discourse gives you the closest thread titles available (however different they are), to give you the choice of continuing in one of these other threads, or starting a new thread altogether.

So, in other words, it is not a warning but a feature.

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When it does it regardless of whether the new topic is similar to anything that has ever been posted or not, it’s just another message that people will tune out.

If it had better analytics to see if the new post was similar, it would provide value.

“Hey I am seeing a Discourse pop-up that I don’t usually see. I should look at that and read it.”

is different than

“Same Discourse pop-up I see every single time which never applies, just like the arugula thread, so I will ignore it.”

Eventually people tune it out, and it provides no value. Even if their thread is identical.


I agree it is a con.

OTOH, it is not the same every time, since it actually gives you specific thread titles that are different every time. I can only speak for myself: I have at times decided to add a post to an existing thread rather than start a new thread when finding relevant thread titles in the message.

I did a test for a topic that I know there are several threads on (calibration) - to see what the recommendations are. As you can see, what is returned was worthless advice.


The algorithm would be better if it only matched specific phrases or word combinations instead of individual words. If it searched for “pairing a second receiver” or “second receiver” instead of just “receiver”.

Or perhaps there could be certain words that could be flagged to search for, such as “Fiasp” or “Basaglar”, and other more common words could be ignored.

Or it could ignore posts in a different category. For example, if your post is in the Insulin category, it should ignore posts in CGM as duplicates.

Things like that could make it better.

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This would be worth reporting to Discourse. Possibly the recommendation engine is broken? If the advice is worthless right now, the feature is a con, not a pro.


But Eric wanted to discuss eating arugula on the moon, not growing it. I imagine it tastes the same, but you might have trouble keeping it in your salad bowl.