I came across many discussions (mainly in meta) that are quite lengthy (e.g., this discussion). As a result, it is quite difficult to go through all the answers/comments and I feel like I'm getting lost and miss entirely the whole point of the discussion.

My questions:

  • How can we prevent discussion from going on and on, without any apparent conclusions? It seems to me that a discussion that has no conclusion(s) is pointless and is quite a waste of time.
  • Would it be appropriate to "close" a discussion at some point (when it gets too lengthy)?
  • Is it possible to require (either the person who "closed" the discussion, or the OP) to provide a comprehensive summary of the conclusions drawn from the discussion?
  • Who should have the authority to decide when a discussion should be concluded (OP, moderator)?

EDIT: Recently, I came across this discussion which is closely related to the aforementioned discussion. It's obvious that some conclusion or closure for the first discussion would have benefited a lot the second discussion.
These two examples only emphasize the need for a conclusion/closure for discussions.

  • tag wiki are the most appropriate place to put summaries of important discussions. For your example, I'd consider updating signatures tag wiki – gnat Jan 30 '13 at 7:37
  • Why would something about asking a question be put in the tag wiki? – Dave Newton Jan 30 '13 at 10:29
  • Why exactly would you want this? While on the main sites discussions need to stopped and cleaned, Meta lives from discussions...how else are we supposed to reach a common point (even when the point is only that we disagree)? – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 20 '13 at 10:16
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby - I'm all for lengthy discussions, but what's the point? what is their aim and goal? I am not in favor of discussions for the pure sake of discussions. I believe that discussion should reach some conclusion at their end. Therefore, my question is (1) how and who can decide if a discussion reached its end? (2) when such decision is made - how can a discussion be summarized and where should the conclusion be published? – Shai Feb 20 '13 at 10:29

Not clear what you are asking here, anyway my $0.02:

  • Long discussions that lead nowhere do get deleted. One example I remember is discussion about "What Stack Overflow Is Not" which was even meant to act as a faq however eventually the moderators understood it will cause more harm than good.

  • Answers are deleted from long discussions, either by their author or by moderators when they realize it's not adding to the discussion.

All in all, I don't see any way to improve this any further or create any real summary. If anyone is interested in the discussion he'll just have to sift through the posts and possibly through the comments.

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