Author Topic: How do you feel about OT posts?  (Read 12097 times)

Offline serious crayons

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 18,313
How do you feel about OT posts?
« on: January 05, 2008, 04:31:56 pm »
Hey folks! Lately, there has been more than the usual discussion about off-topic comments. The moderators thought it would be a good idea to ask people in the BetterMost community how they feel about OT posts. We'll use that info in deciding how to respond to them or to complaints about them.

Please pick one or two of the options above (they aren't all mutually exclusive). If possible, please comment more specifically below. For example, if you think some topics are more compatible with OT comments than others, or if you think some OT posts are more welcome than others, feel free to elaborate on what makes for good OT or bad OT.


« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 06:04:14 pm by ineedcrayons »

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2008, 01:29:36 am »
Heya Katherine,

I think that it's perfectly fine and even desirable for threads to occasionally go off topic.  It seems important to me that discussion should be allowed to be organic and grow according to the flow of responses.  And, I do think some topics lend themselves to going off topic more than others.  The main thing, though, is that I think the thread should - at some point- be brought back to the original topic.   If a new topic emerges out of an established thread that's so big and so interesting and good at generating discussion, then I think it should be split into a new thread so that it doesn't turn into a permanent distraction from the original question/ topic of the established thread.  I think it's only fair to the original topic of an established thread that it remain the highlighted issue for discussion in it's own thread.  I think it also helps to keep things organized so people will know where to find a place to post a thought they're having about a particular topic.  If all threads went off-topic too frequently or too permanently, I can imagine it might cause a lot of confusion.  Especially to newcomers to BetterMost or newcomers to a topic.



« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 02:07:59 pm by atz75 »
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Lynne

  • BetterMost Supporter
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,291
  • "The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones
    • Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2008, 01:14:50 pm »
I completely agree with Amanda.

It's fun and interesting to see what thoughts lead to others as threads develop...sort of a stream-of-consciousness posting - I'm very bad about it myself.  But then if there's enough interest in whatever new idea(s) are presented, the threads can be split/merged/etc to keep the forum tidy.

-Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline brokeplex

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,247
  • LCARS
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 05:08:50 pm »
Either one of two solutions needs to be adopted:

1) clear rules involving off topic comments need to be established and enforced on all forums all of the time,

or

2) the OT rules need to be ignored and only personal attacks or hate speech needs to be restricted. 

Offline louisev

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,107
  • "My guns and amo!! Over my cold dead hands!!"
    • Fiction by Louise Van Hine
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 05:24:44 pm »
I am a regular at another forum called 'Rotten Tomatoes' and they have a rule against what they call 'Thread hijacking.'  If a discussion lends itself to meandering - like 'Heath Heath Heath' which is all about Heath no matter what it is - then the discussion is going to range widely.  However, if the discussion is about a particular political matter in Current Events and someone chimes in with a completely unrelated topic which derails the point that was under discussion, then that is a hijack - an interruption that may very well be intended to stop discussion or debate and make the topic fall apart as a result.  It depends a LOT on the topic - and I do think that the current events area should remain more focused than say the fan discussion or the blogs or other places.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


Scott6373

  • Guest
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 02:39:21 pm »
IMO it' a good thing if a certain topic sparks a new tangent, but those posters should be encouraged to create a new topic, and then the focus shifted back to the original thread topic.  I personally hate wading through pages of off topic posts to get to something related to the original.

moremojo

  • Guest
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 02:53:05 pm »
Some off-topic tangents are inevitable in many and perhaps the vast majority of threads. It is just the nature of human discourse, and discussion and critical argument should never be discouraged, in my opinion, in and of themselves.

At the same time, it is reasonable to expect a modicum of respect for the original poster's intent and wishes in creating their topic, and off-topic posts should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. When a moderator feels the need to step in and remind members of this, I think it wise to emphasize that the worth of the discussion in and of itself is not at issue, but rather the placement of such discussion. New threads should be encouraged to preserve and foster discussion that has lost its pertinence in the threads in which it first evolved. I applaud the existing record of our moderators in doing precisely this.

Offline dot-matrix

  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *******
  • Posts: 9,865
  • www.maleimagegallery.com ~Come Join Us~
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 02:53:48 pm »
To me, these threads are like a discussion, a conversation if you will and they are organic, they should go whereever the natural flow of discussion takes them.  

I'm not talking about people chiming in suddenly, who have not been part of the discussion with something so OT is has absolutely no bearing on any point within the conversation.  That's disruption to natural flow of things and those people should be encouraged to start a new topic.  

Also those people who sometimes hijack threads like chat rooms to check in with one another, not cool... they need to start a chat blog or go to the chat room or take it PM.  
Life is not a dress rehearsal

Online Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,995
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 03:04:38 pm »
I am a regular at another forum called 'Rotten Tomatoes' and they have a rule against what they call 'Thread hijacking.'  If a discussion lends itself to meandering - like 'Heath Heath Heath' which is all about Heath no matter what it is - then the discussion is going to range widely.  However, if the discussion is about a particular political matter in Current Events and someone chimes in with a completely unrelated topic which derails the point that was under discussion, then that is a hijack - an interruption that may very well be intended to stop discussion or debate and make the topic fall apart as a result.  It depends a LOT on the topic - and I do think that the current events area should remain more focused than say the fan discussion or the blogs or other places.

I agree with Louise.

I've said elsewhere that one of things that I like best about Bettermost is that "conversations" are allowed to "evolve." I would not want to see a more restrictive policy adopted--which would probably demand more time of the moderators--as elsewhere I've seen people become afraid to say anything for fear of getting their wrists slapped for going OT. It also leads to sarcastic remarks about zealous moderators.  8)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline souxi

  • BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,300
  • sex on legs
    • bats belfrey
Re: How do you feel about OT posts?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 03:07:49 pm »
Either one of two solutions needs to be adopted:

1) clear rules involving off topic comments need to be established and enforced on all forums all of the time,

or

2) the OT rules need to be ignored and only personal attacks or hate speech needs to be restricted. 

I agree with you. There have been occasions lately, on some threads, where the topic has gone totally off topic and upset people. It,s ok to take it slightly of topic occasionaly, if it,s to make a point, but on the whole I think it,s better to stay on topic. Just my HO, for what it,s worth.  ;)