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How do I take a duscussion board and make it read only for the case of it being closed so that no one can post any more? Is there a way that a button to close the thread can be created to make it easy for non-tech people to easily use?

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There is no out of the box way to do it. There may be many approaches to accomplishing something like this. The first thing that comes to mind is a close discussion flag on the subject. At which point you may be able to trigger a workflow that will strip out all permissions on that subject. However because of how the discussion lists are set up, it may not allow you to close off the ability to reply to said subject. You could maybe use some jquery to check and remove the reply option. I think this is something that I would have to toy around with first. This is assuming you are using 2010.

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Hello. Yes I am using 2010 and am very new to Sharepoint. I am trying to learn how to do things at this point. –  Scott Apr 20 '12 at 12:06
    
I just ended up making a choice box with Open and Closed as options. At least now only open converstaions show on the main page. –  Scott Apr 27 '12 at 15:24
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