FAQ - How to pull separate messages & merge them into a new topic

Submitted by Mark McD on Thu, 11/24/2011 - 06:53

Note: this FAQ created to document what I consider to be the best way to split-off separate messages and merge them into a new topic someplace on the forum. Comments or questions welcome.

Assumption: there is a topic with a bunch of off-topic posts intermingled with on-topic posts. As a moderator, you want to move off-topic posts into a new topic of its own, change message titles to match the new topic, and maintain message sequence. It is not possible to simply split the topic into two whole pieces because messages are intermingled through the topic. For this exercise, it is assumed the new topic or "destination" topic does not yet exist.

1. Find the earliest post in the thread, click the "Split Topic" option to the right of the message.

2a. You'll get a small Split Topic dialog box.
Notice there's a field asking "Subject For New Topic", defaulting to the same name as the current topic.
Notice there are 3 split-type options, choose "Only split this post".

The 3 options explained:
- "Only split this post" just pulls out the single message and creates a new topic in the same board.
*always change the name of the split message to avoid the confusion of having two topics with same name
** for this exercise, this is the option to choose.

- "split topic after and including this post" splits the topic into two parts starting with the selected message and after.
*as before, always change topic name to avoid having two topics with the same name.
** good option when you have a topic that can be cleanly split off into a new topic.

- "select posts to split" - theoretically this one allows selective picking of various messages in a topic to be split off.
*as before, always change topic name
** while it seems this would be the best option for our need, it is VERY CONFUSING to use, the sequence can be difficult to
fathom as the order appears backwards, and messages in the "history" view look different. Use first option instead!

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2b. The process will be: split off each message separately, change the topic for each split message to be named something like Temp1, then Temp2, Temp3, consecutively. Realizing that split messages will show up in the same board as the parent topic, it's okay the temporarily named split messages will be visible to everyone, if the operation is done fairly quickly, there should be no problems. The sequential naming makes it easy to merge the separate messages later in the right sequence.

3. After each message is split, it presents options to go back to the Message Index, or the Origin Topic, or the New Topic.
While in process of splitting off individuals messages, use Origin Topic to go right back to the topic being operated on, works well.

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4. After splitting out all separate messages, they'll appear in the same board as the parent topic.

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5. Need to MOVE the first split-off topic to its new home.
Open the first temporary message, choose MOVE TOPIC from the bottom left.
The MOVE TOPIC dialog appears, the default options are shown below, you must make changes to the options:

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Step1: From the dropdown list, select the Board where the new topic should go.
Step2: check "Change the topic's subject"
provide the New Subject
check "Change every message's subject
Step3: Uncheck "Post a redirection topic" (remember, you're moving/merging temporary topics)
Step4: click Move Topic button to finish.

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6. Once the first message is moved into place, you can quickly merge the remaining messages sequentially.
Open the next split-off temporary topic (the 2nd one), then from the bottom pick Merge Topics.

A large Merge Topics dialog appears, select the Target Board from the dropdown list.
(the listing of topics within the selected board will display accordingly)

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7. Find your previously moved topic from the list (see image above):
Important: click the small "split-paper" icon to the left of the topic name, not the topic name itself.

Another Merge Topics dialog appears (see image below), it can be a bit confusing.
It should show two topics, the first being the "target" topic, the second being the topic getting merged into the first.
*Be sure to check "Change the subject of all the messages" (it's unchecked by default).
*At the far right, there are check boxes to send notifications to the each message author, they're checked by default,
choose whether you want to check or uncheck the option. If checked, for each message moved notifications get sent.
Click Merge Topics.

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8. Should get a message the topic was successfully merged, with options to go back to Message Index or Newly Merged Topic.
Typically, select Message Index, to repeat the merge process with the additional split topic pieces.
*The action of merging a topic does remove it from its previous location, thus no need to delete any of the temporary messages.

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9. Look at the newly merged message to make sure everything looks okay. Done!