This page is part of the Moderating Microsoft Forums series.

Merging a thread is the process of combining two threads for a variety of reasons. Only two threads can be merged at one time, but you can perform multiple merge operations with additional threads. When merging threads, you need to consider which is the “main” thread that will remain after the merge operation and which is the “merged” thread, which will be combined with the main thread after the operation completes. After merging threads, only the main thread will remain. The main thread is usually the one with higher page views or replies, but not always.

Note: You cannot merge posts – only whole threads.


The key reasons for merging threads are:

·        Like-threads exist, so merging them helps ensure search engine optimization so the main thread is easily found. Like threads include issues such as posters asking about the same error message.

·        The original poster is not aware that a similar discussion is taking place on another thread.

There are also times when moderators specifically do not want to merge threads. An example is when two posts ask questions about the same error number, but in different situations. For example, a Windows Update error 646 for KB967642 should not be merged with Windows Update error 646 for KB972581.

Procedure


The following procedures outline how to manage the scenarios under which threads would be merged:

·        Same user creates duplicate threads – there is no specific rule that prohibits a user from doing this. If the original post of a thread is truly duplicates, follow these guidelines:

o   If there are no replies to one of the original posts in a thread, the one without replies can be deleted.

o   If there are replies in either or both of the original posts, merge one into the other.

  • Original posts contains the same error message – Even if the text is not duplicated, but the spirit of the post is to obtain help for a specific error message or code (such as Windows Update error 646), merge one thread into another. This example is shown in Figure 1.

 

Figure 1: Two Threads with the Same Error Message

  • Original posts contain similar generic problem description or question – Examples of such similar issues (shown in Figure 2) include:

o   Lost key

o   How to upgrade

Figure 2: Similar Posts Example

  • Original posts contain very thorough problem descriptions, but describe the same problem.

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