Automatically pruning threads on here to ease the financial burden

Hi Guys,

As laid out here

the forums are costing a lot of cash but it’s okay just now, however we run at the top end of our plan with Discourse who host.

The automatic pruning of threads (which are actually ‘topics’ if you Google for Discourse details) doesn’t seem to be an option but Admins can set threads to automatically delete after a certain time period:

Topic wrench, set topic timer, then select delete.

Maybe a @moderators member can check if they are able to set this too?

Anyway I guess question 1 is: @sean does it seem like the size of our data is a big issue and so deleting old threads might help?

And after that question 2 is, should we ask the admin/moderator team to add this to any daily/evening/lunch threads that come up with a week’s delay or something?

May also be worth considering for Selfie threads as these are permanent records of people’s faces and possibly might cause someone an anonymity issue with their employers/etc. at some later date. Like it’s great to see everyone’s faces but it’s pretty transitory for most of us, right?


Actually there may be a way for all of us to achieve this.

@admins can one of you look at the settings for the ‘Rubbish’ sub-topic for Social. I believe I set that to automatically close any thread after 24 hours of inactivity. Maybe it’s possible to have a sub-topic that auto deletes after an inactive period and thus a ‘Daily Thread’ or ‘Transient Thread’ subtopic could be started that auto deletes all threads posted in it.

Then we would all be able to start threads in that sub-topic and they’d get deleted after the time period and there’d be little need for intervention by mods or admins.


You’re right it shouldn’t be much. Obvoiusly this would be about clearing out a lot of threads and including those which have photos in them. I am presuming the system will delete all stored media at the same time.

As I say, I don’t know if this would help Sean’s finances.
OTOH when it was raised there seemed to be a general sense that maybe some threads would be better forgotten in general so we might want to consider this in any case.

(If photos are a drain then clearly removing selfie threads might make an impact.)

A couple of thoughts, having only skimmed the other thread

  • I’m not sure if Sean has said what his plans are yet, I think the other thread was running ahead a bit with all kinds of plans, but as much as we’re a community, I’m mindful that we’re also Sean’s community… Totally cool that we discuss, but let’s not decide anything without him :slight_smile:
  • may be worth investigating whether we can self host on AWS/Google Cloud/Azure with the Open Source discourse cheaper than the hosted version - I think a good few of us have the nous to support it technically, although obviously they/we need to be willing to. With the pageview stats and storage reqs it should be possible to size something to see how it compares. It would leave Sean more open to relying on goodwill support, but I think this community has enough goodwill to manage it.
  • I can set auto-delete timers - I think discussion of a policy on what content we want to delete/keep for whatever period is a decent idea… At this stage maybe we just talk about the principles and then worry about the mechanics of how we achieve whatever in due course? I’ve historically been in favour of keeping everything that doesn’t break our guidelines, but I can see arguments against. Perhaps we have a “gold” section for threads we want to keep for whatever reason and eventually everything else is cleared, with certain types of threads lasting different lengths of time?

I have no idea how their plans stack up against AMZ or others TBH but this certainly makes the case that installation isn’t a big deal

Obviously the trickier thing can be installing updates. Right now we are automatically updated with anything they’ve tested and fixed which wouldn’t happen on our own, plus if something goes down we are not the people have to spend our time trying to make it come back online.

1 Like

Aye, that’s why I think it’s just worth a look rather than something that’s definitely a way forward… Discorse’s plan may be competitive anyway and off course support involves effort on our part :slight_smile:

If it’s dockerised that does simplify upgrades a touch as well, although we wouldn’t get them as quickly.

Okay going to Sean’s post here

Seems like the page views are the killer not the space.


Crawlers are a big issue as are anonymous users.

Might be worth looking at making Robots.txt avoid more topics, maybe social and also possibly just making the Social board only visible to logged in members (not sure if that’s possible though).

1 Like

Comparing Sean’s limits with the standard packages shows he must be on some kind of hybrid between the $300USD/month one and the un-priced Enterprise (I guess the price is always bespoke on that). Ouch.

I’m still on the business package and for a long time they kept me on the standard one as they saw we were doing funding.


Oh right okay. You definitely have a greater amount of storage and page views than this allows as standard. That’s great that they give us this level of charity.

I know you’ve said the legacy forum posts generate a lot of Google interest, but how about this forum? I’m just thinking of those numbers up there of page views coming from people who aren’t logged in and crawlers and what we might do about removing sections of the forum from casual viewers?

It was $220 per month until January.

Last month’s bill

If 10% of users made a small donation it would obviously really help. If 1% made a donation of note we’d not need to worry for a while.

I’m looking at I can show more ads to non logged in users and also how we can add more ads to the old social boards.

Hey… whaaat?

is that something where they just charge a big extra because you went over?

I mean that’s double business but it’s not Enterprise level of allowance. Ouch OUCH.

But first you seeing much revenue from this site? You’ve claimed the old legacy boards result in financial help but do these forums add much? If not then I’d say you might want to consider making even the entire site a logged in users only affair for a month or so and see what happens?

Equally you’re talking about that old Social Board but if you’re meaning to reset the current DiS site to static and cost as little as possible I think jettisoning the old forums is pretty much step 1 there. There aren’t even any links to them from the site now.


I don’t know if this is just me, but I wouldn’t treat daily thread as so automatically disposable. Quite often you’ll șee something from an old daily thread linked to in something new as part of discussion. I have referred back to old threads where someone has given me advice, or a link to something useful that I might have lost, a recipe or recommendation, etc. They can be very useful and valuable.

A week definitely seems like an unnecessarily harsh limit on information which while largely banal at a glance can contain value to people.

I can understand more the arguments for deleting selfie threads because of privacy and potentially them being more of a drain on space.


Think this seems sensible irrespective of space considerations, particularly for the selfie threads. Maybe with other daily/monthly type threads they could be deleted after say six months from the last post unless someone has flagged them up as meriting retention?

1 Like

Hey @discourse do you have any advice on lowering our costs?


Have a feeling they no longer respond to this and instead you should go on their meta.discourse site but we’ll see

1 Like

Yup… That’s largely why I think it’s worth discussing so IF it seems like a sensible way forward, everyone can go in with eyes fully open :+1:

1 Like

Genuinely one of the ideas from Buddhism that I find most useful is that accepting temporary and changeable nature of things is a good way towards happiness and that letting things go and accepting they are impermanent is a good idea.


Just to clarify, I mean that wrt to being OK with threads coming and going, not the site itself, I want that to outlive us all, just off to PayPal

1 Like

Years ago I was on a cycling forum which worked exactly like this. Any thread posted in the “off-topic” forum was deleted after 2 days of inactivity. Always been surprised that it’s not more common as I thought that was a great way of splitting out the inane daily chit-chat from the other stuff. I talk to my colleagues every day but I’ve no idea or interest in what I said to them at lunch last Tuesday

Could you do it using a specific tag or would it need to be a separate category? Either way, decision would be with the OP on where to start their thread and then it should be clear to anyone replying that their bons mot are unlikely to be preserved for posterity. I guess mods would always have the possibility to move a thread (or split out a sub-thread) on request when the discussion goes in some other direction.

1 Like