Recently mstrchk pointed out that a post of mine had strayed far from the topic. I realized that I had committed an sin that often annoys me when others do it.
Look through a significant number of threads and you will find that, often, there are posts that bear no relation to the thread's title.
Typically, someone makes a side comment in a response and people start responding to that comment and a whole new dialogue falls under a completely unrelated title.
I think that we should try to minimize this sort of thing.
Perhaps a Community Manager might point out when people stray too far from topic and try to keep these threads "on topic."
Any thoughts, fellow Insiders?
Good points. One other option (but only for the person who started the thread or the community manager) is to branch the discussion. Look at the bottom of any reply for this
Click on the the "Branch" link and you can move the off topic posts to another discussion. Again, this is only available to the user who began the discussion. but it can be useful when things really get off track.
Of course the courteous thing would be to always stay on topic, however, as with normal (face to face) conversation, and especially in a group setting, it is fairly easy to stray from one topic to another. The branching function works great with straying conversation.
We can now do our own branching to new topics! The "strayer" can branch the conversation, or the original author can branch the conversation. (Or community manager or one of her associates can perform the function.)
Here's an example of a branched conversation:
This discussion was branched from a previous unrelated topic. If you are the original author of a topic, you can branch out a straying conversation to another discussion thread. Or the "reply-er" can branch to another topic from their reply. Or the NathalieF or one of her associates can branch for a member if requested.
I've had to delete two comments because others have beaten me to the point I wanted to make (damnable tablet -- geezer problem ). So I've moved to the laptop.
I'll admit that from time to time, I'll make a stray side quip to someone who I know will take it well (see the current "lucky" thread). But I would MUCH rather see a good-natured, humorous thread go slightly astray than be subjected to constant haranguing about the downgrade of elite benefits. If someone has a problem with the turn a thread has taken, she or he should use the deeply missed erc's line, "HEY, HIJACKERS! HOW 'BOUT STAYING ON TOPIC?!"
We DO have moderators, after all.
I have been an administrator on a Dutch forum for over a decade now;
what I have learnt in that time is that, given enough time, topics will always derail whenever there is no strict moderation (but then the question is: who should moderate? and also, why is it bad that a discussion derails?)
furthermore, there will almost always be "trolls"; these should be taken care of a.s.a.p. (warning, close follow and, 9 out of 10 times, they don't better themselves and should then consequently be banned (username, ipnumber)); luckily I haven't seen one of those on these forums yet