Anyone who creates an original post (not a reply) should have an option for a "universal reply" to those who have replied to them... For instance, if you were to create a post in a community where you suggested that a group of people get together for coffee, and you had 20 people reply to that topic, you could then create a "universal reply" that would contact all of them, letting them know the updated status on your original post. All of those people would receive email notification of your reply if they have signed up for emailed replies. I think this feature would make communities a much more powerful place for planning, organizing, and scheduling, and it would reduce the need to take conversations like this to email, external mailists, etc.
The Universal reply would (or should) be displayed as a post aligned to the left, essentially in the same alignment as replies to the original post, but with some kind of icon denoting its universal status ( I was thinking of an icon that looked like the pencil w/ swirl logo or at least a circular arrow surrounded by a bunch of our generic "people" icons...) This feature could help reduce the incidence of those multiple reply threads that finally align ludicrously over to the righthand of the page.
When a unversal reply is made, there needs to be some kind of note that universal replies have been made to the original post, ideally underneath the original post.
For instance, you might see the original post saying
Seattle Coffee Meetings
Would a group of LiveJournalers want to meet regularly each week for coffee in Seattle? Any idea where we should meet, and if so, how often?
Poll on suggested locations and dates
Poll results are in! First meeting scheduled!
... or something along those lines. Basically, the title of the Universal Reply would be displayed, linking to the full reply itself.
I think this is a fairly well-defined feature request, but I wanted to run it by the group here to see what people thought of it and to suggest any fine tuning for usability, functionality, etc.
Note: A slight modification to this idea. Community moderators/creators should also be able to make universal replies to any post in their community.