Combine multiple threads - or at least improve the UI
People who are new to Teams almost reliably start new conversations instead of adding to threads. In other words, the context goes missing - which is one of the key elements that make Teams so powerful.
Multiple requests to combine threads have been declined here. I can only imagine that technical reasons are the source of the declines, because many people and organizations are dealing with this issue.
Therefore I'm repeating the request - and if the decision "at this point" is still the same, then please put some effort into the UI to make it clear (!!!) to people (because it obviously is not at this point) that they are starting a new (!) conversation and do not add to an existing conversation.
Yes, it says in the field to "start a new conversation" - but when you look at the reality of what's happening, people do not read (or understand) those words and keep creating new conversations.
PC Surgeon commented
Yep, I work for the NHS, we're rolling out Teams and are trying to use it properly, however the mess caused by orphaned threads is causing people to drift back to direct messaging, which is a real pain. and is likely to cause important information to be missed We really need to be able to merge threads
David Forrest commented
Just ran into this problem today. Newbie spun off a new thread (Conversation) instead of hitting Reply and continuing. Really need to bring that back into the original Conversation.
Aditya Prasad commented
Very much need this feature - otherwise we have a whole lot of new threads relating to the same conversation and then people just choose to revert back to group chat or Direct messages, due to the messy presentation of the information.
As an interim fix, maybe they can rename the New Conversation to New Thread and amplify the Reply button in the threads, to prevent this (not sure if this will achieve the final result).
I work for an international Business within the construction and Critical Envirinmen sectors. We use this feature heaviliy for dailiy comms and coordination.
The concept to combine user / admin selected chats including meeting chats is of imense benefit from an adminstration perspective and user functionality.
Even a simple grouping option that would allow chat to be selected and grouped would be a starting pointing point and easy to impliment from a programming perspective.
In light of the increased usage over 2020 and beyond, I would hope the MS will take some positive steps to listem to their users and enterprises. Other platforms can perform such functionality for which such a large developer name should have no difficulty with.
Kosta Sampalis commented
Everyone is pointing out the obvious. People especially new users tend to just startup a new conversation instead of replying to the appropriate post/thread. We rolled out teams in pilot to a small groups trained them and they still fail to use the replies inside a thread.
If people keep doing the same mistake the. Obviously something’s wrong and requires your immediate attention; especially when admins keep asking for this feature for over 3 years now.
Sure the new button has made it a little bit more clear allowing for less mistakes but still users tend to forget and populate the channels with orphaned posts that cannot be MERGED to OP.
MS Team is new to my organization - one of the largest employers in NH.
After less than a month, combining 'Chats' and 'Threads' has already become a desired feature.
I'll add my voice to this. It is nearly pointless to use the Teams message feature if it becomes cluttered and disorganized by new users constantly replying in new posts. You can keep asking the users not to do so but in the end it just creates friction within the team and new ones keep doing it anyway.
There is a work around if you wrote the message in the wrong place.
Copy the text of your message and paste it into the correct area, then delete your original message. Works in both cases e.g. where you created a new conversation but meant to reply or visa versa.
Still this is a faff and as far as I can tell is not an option for the owner of the Team. Maybe admin has the power to delete other's posts but even then "admin" would be posting the corrected reply.
Oliver Burger commented
Even experienced users sometimes type their answers in the wrong text field, new users do it all the time.
Why was the original request declined? Because MS thinks, users most of the time don't have a choice but using MS software non the less?
When several hundred people tell you they need a feature, then you should at least consider it and give some explanation, if you decide not to do it.
This is frustrating!
If you don't trust the admin, at least let the user who accidentally posted the reply as a new conversation to move it into the thread. My channel is a mess, and while I can ask people to do it right, there's no way for anybody to clean up.
An option to bring separate threads together that belong together would be great.
Also it would help to have the possiblity to shift a thread from one channel to another. Sometimes the team members post in wrong channel and it would be important to bring this to the right place.
Third it would be good to have the thread newest post on the bottom of the list - and not inbetween.
Frank Lam commented
It's interesting because last month the UI did change and there was a "New Conversation" button to let the user know they are creating a new conversation instead of replying to the current thread but for some reason it disappeared and we're back to the previous method. Perhaps people were hijacking existing threads for a new conversation.
The UI needs to be revisited. If not then at least give users the ability to merge a new conversation back into the original thread so there can be some sense of organization in a team channel.
Scott Myers commented
Agree 100% percent. Searching for a way to do this is what led me here.....
Siim Vollmer commented
Agree, this is so frustrating to see everyone starting new conversation without linking it to the topic and currently you can't correct it.
I've been asking my colleagues to delete their one sentence conversations and adding more meaningful replies.
Alternatively I would recommend to move the NEW CONVERSATION away from bottom of the screen either to the side (simple + sign might be enough) or top of the screen where it can't be associated with any prior conversations.
The company I work for recently started using Teams, and this poor UI is driving me crazy. Everyone (including me) on our team has made this mistake. It's already pretty hard to follow the action on the "activities" feed, but this makes it nearly impossible. Lots of requests and comments go unread.
Dennis Schultz commented
This has been declined in the past, but this would help especially since threads tend to move. 473 votes in 2016 before it was declined https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16930585-drag-chat-messages-to-merge-them-into-one-reply-th
I don't get how come this was previously requested by hundreds and was declined, there are multiple reason why is this important
1- People do mistakes, and they reply to the main channel instead to a particular thread, this needs to be corrected, if not by posted then by Channel/Team admin
2- When we use an channel email in CC, we expect to receive replies, it makes sense that the whole email conversation is added in the same thread, it is a nightmare to track different bits and pieces of emails related to same topic (check attached file)
3- eventually certain threads needs to be stitched or at least linked together (same to what UserVoice do when they combine different requests into one)
We want this feature and NOT because of people mistakingly starting a new conversation when they should have replied. (Please just change the UI already to fix that problem!)
Sometimes a conversation is started by someone who missed the exact same conversation a week or 2 before. Often though, they'll add a new perspective or piece of information, so the conversation continues in their new thread. To avoid covering old ground, and so that everyone can see the full conversation easily, we'd like users to be able to somehow "link" the new conversation with the old conversation - whether that is a simple merge of the 2 threads or by some other means.
Here is an example for when users "Start a new conversation" when they should be "Reply"ing to an existing one [the 5/14 8:59 AM thread is the original one]. We end up with 6 different "Conversations" with the posts out of order, and also sometimes with other conversations in between...:
[Yesterday 12:47 PM] Chad
They say where it is as I don't see it on the payroll intranet site.
[5/14 8:59 AM] Chad
Enterprise Systems Anybody know if Payroll is supposed to or has sent out a MAY time sheet?
12 replies from you, Michael, Stephen, and Chad. Press Enter to expand replies.
[Yesterday 12:49 PM] Chad
[Yesterday 12:50 PM] Chad
that's the main page, but I had to go through offices and then payroll. Not linked from main company forms page
[9:09 AM (Today)] Noris
Hours Worked column
[Yesterday 12:51 PM] Chad
Looks like we have to fill in the entire form ourselves, month, days...
8 replies from Noris, Chad, and Stephen
Reply <https://teams.microsoft.com/l/message/19:<UID>@thread.tacv2/<UID>?tenantId=<GUID>&groupId=<GUID>&parentMessageId=<UID>&teamName=<Team Name>&channelName=<Channel Name>&createdTime=<DateTimeStamp>>
This mess happens because some people sometimes "reply" correctly, and other people sometimes don't.
As you can see Chad and Noris started new Conversations (when they should have replied), but they also replied to existing ones too. so it is not an issue of "teaching" the user, it is the UI design issue when people are in a hurry, or don't stop themselves to not just start typing in the big box, but rather clicking reply first.
So, the user just accidentally starts typing in BIG TEXT BOX "Start a new conversation...", when what they really want to do is to "Reply" to the one above. The link/words "Reply" are right above the textbox to "start a new conversation".
If this was a button (like a large "+" plus symbol) off to the right side, that they would need to click on to expand the "Start New Conversation" text box, then this wouldn't happen.
Regardless, we need a merge option (like the Edit, Delete, etc. options) to move (to a new channel) or combine duplicate thread topics into a single conversation (merge with a different/existing parent message).
Eric Janson commented
I agree. I'm trying to convince my office to use Teams instead of emails for threads, but it's much easier to "reply all" to an email than to "reply" in Teams, compared to "Start a new conversation". I make the same mistake myself constantly.
Ideally, threads could be combined (at LEAST by an admin), and ideally via drag-and-drop. THEN, thread could even be named (i.e. the thread can be given a subject, so to speak).