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A question we're sometimes asked is why a member can't reply to a topic or post a new one. You can tell if a topic is locked because it will have a padlock inside the conversation bubble, like this:
Why does this happen? Here are the top five reasons:
Some boards in the active Community can't have new threads created on them except by staff. Locked content is maintained by the moderation team, and typically includes announcements, information, or tips. A great example is the board this post is located within, the Community Guide. An exception to this is the Community Events board, which is unlocked whenever something special is happening. We'll let you know when this is going to occur, so set the date, stick around and participate!
In a board where members can post freely - which is almost all boards - you may see a thread or two up at the top that is locked. These are usually presented by the moderation team and left in a prominent place for all members to have handy, because these posts contain important information. Please stop in and have a read if you run across one!
Let's be honest: not all topics will receive sustained interest by the Community and it's members. It may be a great thread, but it's one that's now gathering more dust than comments. Once a post is thirty days old or older with no new comments, it's eligible to be locked by the moderation team. While we typically don't begin to lock them until well past thirty days, you might see it happen at any point over that threshold. Was a great tip of yours locked? Help it live forever by posting it in Tips from Members.
As the Community has grown over the years, so too have the boards and how the content is displayed. As those changes were made, older content from each generation of the forums has been moved into The Archives. All posts and topics in the Archives cannot receive responses because they're content from a previous version of the Community (the information could also be outdated). New topics can't be posted in the Archive, either. We don't believe in removing appropriate content forever - you'll always be able to find archived posts.
This is the most unlikely reason you'll find that a topic has been locked, but it does happen every once in a great while. If a topic is locked before it's time, a member of the moderation team will end the topic with a notification that it is being locked and an explanation of why this is happening. We don't like to lock topics early - we want your voice to be heard!
There may always be an unexpected reason why a topic is locked, but I think you'll find that those are extremely rare and an exception, rather than the rule. Almost any locked board or topic should fit the above guidelines.