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Off Topic & Meandering

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Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Xisor » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:42 pm

Mypologies for anyone and everyone - poor word choice and the inherent factor of my possessing the so-called 'Pariah Gene' leads me to think that, in the wake of the (second) KNF thread-lock, it's worth actually airing my own views on the nature of discussion and poking you folk to share your own.

I largely agree with the principle of the moderation there, especially on the grounds of bringing disrepute to the forums.

That said, there is an air of inconsistency here. Or perhaps a lack of integrity.

Whilst I understand and entirely agree with the points made and listed, there are other elements that leave me head-scratching, though they're more than a little difficult to articulate in any way that doesn't seem like needlessly/fruitlessly complaining without constructive result.

To that end, the outline that the thread was off topic: I can only say 'yep, fair enough'. Well, that and 'but that's how threads go'. They wander, they meander, people address points and other ones arise: tangents exist and are followed/pursued. The fixation with keeping threads on topic as per their original post seems, to me, to be... quite misguided. Misjudged, perhaps. Ineffective even, depending on what the goals of the atmosphere of the forum(s) actually are.

Indeed, fixating on the original post and thread title seems odd and, though not really wishing to state my intent to step out of line and into anarchy with respect the decision the forum's moderators came to... I do feel like it's a silly stance to take. (I shan't report folks if the thread reaches eleven pages and we're not strictly talking about the original post. Unfortunately, I've effectively made this title an instance of Russel's Paradox, so I'll happily report anyone who actually address any of the points made in the original post.)

To be brief: 'Film Review Corner' is just films or almost anything to do with them. F'r ex: notification of news about upcoming films, or discussion about films that's really not actually any form of review. Basically any old thing vaguely relevant to films.

Similarly, 'What Are You Reading' is frequently spammed by posters merely linking their latest reviews. Contrast that with the recent chain of discussion in it where a few posters really went into wide depth on the forum and in their posts about what they're reading: 'twas extremely interesting.

Well, it was for me.

Now, I've absolutely no issue at all* with people publicising their reviews, but it does vex me more than a little that they're not being put up in, say, updating their signatures (used by many Boltholers who have a blog to represent their blog). It's "What are you reading?" not "What have you written about something you read an indeterminate time ago? And aren't actually posting in the thread, but linking us away from the Bolthole. Where's the brand loyalty?"

Hmm, that wasn't anywhere near as concise, but it's illustrative and highlights my own biases on the topic** too.

So, thoughts?

---

The Atmosphere of the Forums & Threads

Obviously folks are here for different reasons and get their kicks in different places: reading fanfic online isn't a huge thing for me, but seeing into the minds of those writing it? Glorious, I love it. (Well, strictly I love you lot and find it exquisitely interesting.) That said, the idea of 'keep your conversation focussed and tight' strikes me as... horrific. Perhaps I gotta learn good banter; perhaps I'm 'bad chat'? :o

Well, nevertheless, it's always nice (for me at least) to be hearing from folks and getting a look into that brain-soup people guard so tightly (and get so angry about when you try to eat it...). As XKCD once said:

I'm So Meta Even This Acronym.

---


* Actually, that's not true. As a Scot/Brit/anxious/reluctant/proud/reserved person, my inclination is to be disparaging with respect to people tooting their own trumpets. I recognise my failing, however, and am keen to correct it.
** Violation/invocation of the paradox?
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Rob P » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:33 pm

On this occasion someone needs to create a post called 'Why every single portrayal of the UMs is great/terrible' and let it flow from there. Nearly every thread lock has resulted from such discussions.

If i've any gripe with the forum topics, it is to do with the decision to start discussing upcoming releases in the spoiler section (at the stage no one has read them) and then continue the same thread as the spoiler thread when the book has been read by some people. It makes it really difficult to enjoy the anticipation posts when you are trying to avoid reading the spoiler posts. That is a type of meandering (and thus on topic!).

I actually like the angry defence of a fictional universe posts; it brings the place to life* (twice a year).

* Not that it's dull the rest of the time, but it is sometimes.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Athelassan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:22 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Rob P about the spoiler zone posts. A few members of the forum are lucky enough to have early access to the books (enough people for there to be legitimate discussion) but the problem with that is that, as he says, it tends to confuse the threads about anticipation. The result, for me at least (since I really don't want spoilers) is that for the last couple of months before a release I'm trying to read as little about it as possible on the forum. Which seems the wrong way round, really.

Regarding the locked topic(s), I do appreciate the transparency of the process and that the mods will take the time to give reasons for the locking, whether I agree with those reasons or not. Other forums of which I'm a member, you'll see (often long) topics locked with no explanation, deleted without comment, or they'll say "locked for review" which nominally means that it's not final, but in reality it always is and you never hear from it again. That always annoys me.

I do concur that being "off-topic" isn't always, or perhaps ever, a good enough reason in itself to lock a topic. Especially where the topic originator is still contributing to the discussion. This forum's never been too bad for that sort of aggressive moderation, though. That topic probably did deserve to be locked, as (to be honest) it was becoming obvious it wasn't really going anywhere positive.

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby J D Dunsany » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:12 pm

Hope you don't mind, but I've moved this out of the 'Off Topic' section because, although it has 'off topic' in the title, it's very much 'about the bolthole'.

As far as Xisor's post is concerned, I'm not really sure exactly what you're trying to say so I apologise in advance if I end up misrepresenting you. I'm assuming that you're disagreeing with the decision to lock the Know No Fear thread and are promoting the freedom to ramble and debate in a fairly organic way. And I actually have some sympathy with the desire for that freedom. I think we're reasonably relaxed about 'off topic' conversation in things like the 'What Are You Reading' and 'Film Review' threads precisely because they're so generic and, consequently, more difficult to delimit. With something like a thread on a specific novel, the topic is much easier to define and that means it's easier to see when things are veering away from the topic. As was the case with the Know No Fear thread. As a mod, what you try and do is wait a bit to see if it'll get back on topic (which most of the time it does), but in this case it didn't. Add to that the fact that the debate had stalled somewhat with people re-stating positions that had already been established and it felt like the thread had reached the end of its natural lifespan in any case - or at least it had gotten so far off-topic that getting it to return to a discussion of Know No Fear was an unlikely prospect.

Your point about the nature of threads is a little disingenuous. Not all conversations follow the pattern you mention in your original post. The vast majority of them seem to respect the very basic premise that if a thread is about a stated topic then posts should be (generally - and there's always going to be some wobble in that regard) about that particular topic. Because I think we understand that, although in some respects some conversation on the Bolthole is very much like a particularly interesting/erudite debate with friends we've not (mostly) actually met, it's not identical to that experience in a formal sense. The topic title serves as a crude form of branding, to some extent. Yes, that's restrictive, but it's also eminently useful to anyone who fancies reading or getting involved with a discussion on a particular topic.

And I understand that that's an exceptionally obvious thing to state, but we do seem to be missing the obvious at the moment - that the whole notion of topics and particular areas of the boards is there to help board members - or visitors - find their way around.

I do understand why off-topic diversions happen and, in some respects, I wish there were an easier mechanism for switching to new topics when it's become apparent that a major drift has happened. As I said, though, it's a fairly rare occurrence. The Know No Fear thread has been a very rare and extreme case.

All the best,

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:04 am

I've glanced at the last three pages of the thread to sort of pick up what went wrong and whilst I can't fault the thread being locked, the tone being one that can be (mis)read as being one of a growing nastiness and being slightly off colour it doesn't seem to have been handled very well.

How hard would it be to identify that the tangent has grown too large and ask for the conversation to be given its own thread?

Temporarily locking things whilst mods talk and then coming up with summary judgements is the sort of moderator behaviour I feel uneasy and distasteful with. The reasons given are reasonable for the most part but if you're going to have statements thrown out like
Going off-topic is fine, but not if people KEEP going off-topic and keep responding to each other's comments on that because they JUST HAVE TO REPLY.
with the emphasises placed where they are that's the sort of comment that could be read as a dig and with a thread locked where is the right to reply?

Where is the opportunity for the people participating in the heated discourse to hold their hands up, say they're sorry, thank the mod for pointing out that things were getting a bit out of hand and moving on? In the heat of the moment immediate and long winded replies may seem wiser than they do otherwise, outside perspective is sometimes warranted. I appreciate that some time earlier Mods had to step in and warn people about snide comments which is fair enough if we can't be civilised the thread gets shut down, but passionate discourse with long replies responding to an other's points isn't inherently a bad thing. Wall of text or not, relevance to the OP or not someone says something and people want to offer their thoughts on the subject that is all cool. It's when people start to lose the semblance of respect toward each other that things get hairy.

So all in all I don't think the thread needs locking really, tell people to clear off to another thread for one or more topics that are currently being discussed and are deemed too far removed from the original topic, if the thread can't cope without those tangents it will die and slink off anyway as is the way with all threads. Seems odd to force new Know No Fear thread that may cover some of the ground of the last one, babies and bathwater come to mind for some reason.

Just out of curiosity can the mods split threads and if so do they have the capability of choosing which posts get split off? Because that would've been the obvious solution to the issue.


As for the dumping of links on the Reading thread or what not. I'm a bit of a stick in the mud whereas I want discourse and thus largely I want ideas and thoughts about the content of the link to accompany a link so that we can have the start of a conversation about the link. Which is a bit of a worry when you can have mods say
very involved discussions composed of long, dense chunks of text
in a way that is somehow detrimental to the notion of very involved discussions. I don't mind reading reviews and articles and the like but I'm mostly here to give my opinion and be subjected to the thoughts of others and those others are the people of this forum whom I broadly enjoy interacting with. If I wanted to exchange snippets and just crowd source interesting links I'd stick to Twitter or Facebook.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:17 am

That last quote you chose perhaps needs contextualising, schafe.

If you look at the post from which you lifted it, it should (I hope) be clear that it was the fact that the off-topic conversation was composed of 'long dense chunks of text' that was the problem. Very often, threads veer off-topic for a fairly brief exchange of views and, from a mod point of view, that's fairly manageable (you ignore it), but, in this instance, the off-topic convo was... well, daunting. And, as I mentioned above, wasn't going anywhere.

It should, I hope, go without saying that 'long dense chunks of text' in themselves are not undesirable - or I'd have to go around moderating myself quite comprehensively, for a start. :)

Regards,

JDD

PS: Oh, and people had the opportunity to hold their hands up and say they were sorry. They chose not to take it. Looking back over the thread, there were two mod interventions in the last two pages and only one member acknowledged either of them. I think that's pretty poor, personally.

PPS: As for mods splitting threads... not easily, I don't think.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Athelassan » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:07 am

Hmm, on the "acknowledging moderators' comments" thing, I do appreciate what you say. However, a lot of the time, acknowledging such comments actually makes things worse. Narry's first comment, for instance, was a sternly and fairly worded reminder not to get personal. So long as everybody abides by that, the best thing to happen is that everybody bears that in mind and then continues as if it hadn't happened. Responding to that, even if just to acknowledge it, can just make things worse, because it provides more opportunities for people to pick up on those responses and cause further problems ("aha, so you admit you were being rude!")

Regarding SH's second post, well, I was aware by that point the thread was going down the predictable route and by the time I saw that I'd already written out my last response, and there was a whole load more content by the time I'd written it so I just pressed "submit" and went to bed. On a reread, though, it wasn't entirely clear in that context that SH was using his "mod voice" rather than just a ... snarky comment. I'll put my hands up and admit to being cavalier there.

The other thing, though, is that, for most people, apologising means you've done something you think you ought to apologise for. I'm British, so I apologise all the time for no reason, but that can be misinterpreted and it's something I'm trying to train myself out of - on international discussion forums at least (sorry about that) - because I find an apology is too often seen as an admission of wrongdoing and taken as a cue to occupy the moral high ground, which, again, in topics that require moderation, can make things worse. Or, in the worst-case-scenario, the mod takes your apology as an admission of guilt and blames you.

Now, I don't think I said anything on the thread that I need to apologise for (apart from ignoring the mods, for which I apologise) and I doubt the other principal correspondent in that enterprise does either. So... should we apologise? I'm not sure what the "right" answer is (although if people think I should, I will). I know that there's a general social consensus that it's always better to apologise, but when I think about it in detail I do sometimes think that an insincere apology isn't really worth anything.

That's probably more of a philosophy discussion, though.

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:20 am

Oh I got that JDD, sorry to seem misleading, however there was an earlier comment about "walls of text" that seemed to suggest it was a bad thing as well and whilst I appreciate both were made in relation to the posts not relating to the original post I can't help but feel that drawing a connection between a thread being locked which is a bad negative step (at least in the context of Bolthole behaviours) and the fact that people were expressing thoughts in a long manner is somewhat regrettable.

If splitting was an option the long unrelated posts could've been siphoned off, or the acknowledgement that a subject off the original topic was gaining a head of steam could've been used to provoke a new thread in a more positive manner perhaps. It's semantics really and my poor quoting doesn't help but I was making crass judgements and vast generalisations based on perceived trends of an increase in hollow link posting which coincided with this somewhat.

Personally it can often seem a bit forced and unorganic to read something in a thread and start a new thread riffing off it, I don't think people should be in anyway dissuaded from responding at length to what they read if their responses may not be 100% relevant to the OP. Nor do I think they will be necessarily but someone has to brainstorm the nightmare scenarios.

With regards acknowledging Mods, it depends on the context I suppose, there is soft and hard moderation. Narry's stern words don't really need any response but there is scope for friendlier more informal moderation. Talk was of the thread developing a pattern, someone saying "hey there's this pattern developing lets try and sidestep it" could work as preventative action. Apologising is an odd one, it's a bit like when something offensive is said and followed with "no offence" mostly it is used in a manner I find sort of despicable however it is sometimes good to stop, pause appreciate how you may be coming across and express which ones you're not intending. In this situation the Mod can make the call that the conversation is either stopped or moved and the first person who comes to the thread after that wanting to move the conversation can then reply with a link to the thread they set up where it can continue. Moderator acknowledged life continues. Maybe that wouldn't have happened, maybe the mod would've been ignored but locking threads without any real warning offers little scope for a resolution to occur either which way.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Athelassan » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:53 am

To be fair, the mods don't lock many threads, and they usually give warnings before they do. There was a warning in that thread before the locking, even if the reason it was locked wasn't strictly the same as what the warning was for.

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Vivia » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:36 am

Xisor, not sure I understand all of it but I do get some of your points.

I don't see why people should go off-topic in threads. I mean if we throw in a few things for fun it's fine but not going on, with huge chunk of text, about 'other' things. Respect people's limited time to read and perhaps ask yourself if this is what people want to read.
My suggestion is to keep things simple. If one must go for so many words then perhaps there is editing to be done. I censure myself all the time, usually for the better. :)

I think it boils down to clearer rules and guidelines. For example, rules on how to not go off-topic in threads, and perhaps make it very strict for the Spoiler Zone because that's where things tend to go sour, to not be a jerk to fellow Boltholers, respect the mods and so on.

Dunsany, I think it's bad form when people ignore a mods request, kind of shows the state of mind, but I can also see why it happens. The mods don't have a big presence here on BH, to me the most recognisable one is Shadowhawk.

Btw, Film Review Corner should be changed to Film Corner because we discuss films more than review them.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Xisor » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:07 am

Fine points, I'll admit. I'd also, in the spirit of Ath, apologise for not being so clear. That said, it is meandering. I mentioned that in the thread title. ;)

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Attitudes and views

Culturally, everyone has a different idea of what mods do, how respect should be given, how you treat someone with respect and, indeed, to what level you're allowed to criticise someone or something before it becomes inappropriate. We all have different yardsticks, even if we were siblings, so it's perhaps worthwhile bearing in mind a little room for friction and dissipation of that. Hell, even a spot of learning's all nice and well, though a drive towards homogenisation doesn't strike me as desirable... fortunately, I doubt anyone's actually pursuing that. (I just fear we'd end up in that most awful hell by accident. :o )

For a while, and especially of note with Narry's contribution to the thread (and I'd echo Ath again: Narry's input was well measured. Stern, but also abrupt and suitably inclined to make you 'pause and think'. It also had the 'Mod Red' in it. SH's, however, reads as SH complaining about the fact that, after ten pages of conversation, points had moved from A to B to C. Going off-topic in the first set of responses, or going completely non-sequitur*), we have a 'don't let this boil over'. Be aware, be concerned, but don't let that stop you yammering.

A key point, and one that was generating heat (perhaps it was construed as an attack), is that Lord_Crull is demonstrably conflating Retcon with 'Change' and 'Addition'; it's worth bearing that in mind as it misrepresents and misdirects people in conversation. If that's construed as a personal attack... well, I can only apologise but it's a key factor in the on-going discussion. (And a key factor of why Lord_Crull's on my ignore list. Unwillingness to build any sort of bridge or even make choice of word compromises to aid comprehensibility strikes me as not only insulting, but knowingly derailing things by using the 'wrong words' to describe things.

To put it another way:
Mrs Doyle: There's always time for a nice cup of tea. Sure, didn't the Lord himself pause for a nice cup of tea before giving himself up for the world.
Father Ted: No, he didn't, Mrs Doyle!
Mrs Doyle: Well, whatever the equivalent they had for tea in those days, cake or something. And speaking of cake, I have cake!
Father Ted: No, thanks, Mrs Doyle.
Mrs Doyle: Are you sure, Father? There's cocaine in it!
Father Ted: WHAT?
Mrs Doyle: Oh, no, not cocaine. God, what am I on about. No, what d'you call them. Raisins.

I understand use of language, evolutions, vagaries of words, words having more meanings and such... but just resolutely confusing people by using words that are repeatedly called out as not meaning that... it's strange, it seems to be a case of willfully butting heads until someone adopts the use of a word.

Which, yes, I realise has ironic connotations here as it's precisely what I'm trying to get across. Hence making the point and then ducking out of the thread: You keep using that word - I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Apologoggles

With that in mind, holding up hands and apologising strikes me as vastly less important from a 'what are our objectives?' viewpoint than 'getting people to stop doing bad stuff'.

All that this, and the seminal 'Hogmanay Horror Hole' earlier this year/late last year, shows is that the effect of intervention is to kill off heated discussion. It can remain civil despite being heated.

That said, I'm not privy to everything, so I'm keen to say that, broadly, I suspect the vast majority of moderation here's absolutely grand. (On the basis that I don't see it, so it's probably effective. 'Works best when nobody perceives anything's been done', as it were?)

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Splitting Topics & Titles

Having hardly ever been on the admin/mod side of a forum (not in over a decade), it strikes me as something that, surely, should be embedded somewhere in the forum code. As in the actual eNuts and eBolts: the mechanism for splitting threads should surely be there, but if it's difficult, I can understand & sympathise with that. (That said, though Ghur and Narry are techy-chaps, I wonder what the actual technical limiter is on this as a process? Just actually, ludicrously complicated and effort-intensive?)

That said, there's another bit that can surely be chanced: topic titles. If they veer off-topic, but within reasonable connection (e.g. not non-sequitur), why not just amend the topic title to capture that addition and clarity?

As Vivia notes, my own vexation is totally alleviated if Film Review Corner becomes Film Corner.

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That All Said

I'm taking all this aboard. If I've been outta line, I'm learnin'! ;)

---

* Which is surely the actual problem with 'off topic'. Why respond to a thread if you're talking about something completely different? That's an actual problem that'd need moderation. Responding to a chain of conversation that simply progresses? I'd contend that's not something to actually worry about. Indeed, fixating on it as if it is even a problem in the first place strikes me as needlessly limiting; intellectually repressed, if you will.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:14 pm

Xisor wrote:
As Vivia notes, my own vexation is totally alleviated if Film Review Corner becomes Film Corner.


I put it to you that the Bolthole is a sphere and contains no corners.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Athelassan » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:38 am

schaferwhat‽ wrote:I put it to you that the Bolthole is a sphere and contains no corners.

Only if it's a perfect sphere. And it can't be perfect, because you're here.

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Ghurlag » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:58 am

A couple of lines from me, in the interests of opinion-disclosure.

Firstly, I don't want to promote the idea I'm toeing any kind of party line here, but I largely agree with what JDD said about off-topicness. The gist is that we appreciate that conversations wander, but there should be bounds on that wandering (after all, what would a 'topic' be otherwise?). We try and manage this in a sensible manner, and we don't charge into fairly general threads demanding people stop their straying, mostly because we observe that those deviations are more 'wobble' than actual derailment (the two posts above me are perhaps an illustrative example :) ).

The Know No Fear thread was a different flavour of fish entirely - the deviation wasn't a minor detour on a point of interest, it was a long-running discussion of such a nature that I considered writing 'argument' rather than 'discussion' just there. People didn't look like they were about to wrap up their point and mention some other bit of the book. Several people have acknowledged that the thread wasn't going anywhere good. Such a form of 'off-topic' is definitely more akin to derailment than 'wobble', and so I think it's a fairly good example of the sort of off-topic that requires mod intervention.

Of course, when points develop and you want to follow them up, it can be hard to see the harm in carrying down the diverting path a little further. My suggestion is that when you notice that you're in a discussion which has significantly diverted from the original purpose of the thread it's in, you create a new topic with the first post as your reply on whatever point is under discussion, and then simply post a link to said topic in the original thread. Your fellow conversationalists will follow you down this rabbithole and topicality will be preserved. This is very similar to 'take it elsewhere' but it maintains the flow of discussion a bit better, perhaps. I don't know, it's just a suggestion. Somebody try it and tell me how it went.

Secondly (was that Firstly three paragraphs ago?), I want to frown and tut at you, Xisor, for the below:
Xisor wrote:A key point, and one that was generating heat (perhaps it was construed as an attack), is that Lord_Crull is demonstrably conflating Retcon with 'Change' and 'Addition'; it's worth bearing that in mind as it misrepresents and misdirects people in conversation. If that's construed as a personal attack... well, I can only apologise but it's a key factor in the on-going discussion. (And a key factor of why Lord_Crull's on my ignore list. Unwillingness to build any sort of bridge or even make choice of word compromises to aid comprehensibility strikes me as not only insulting, but knowingly derailing things by using the 'wrong words' to describe things.

this seems entirely out-of-place in the current discussion (ironic as such a statement may be). You're basically revisiting the disagreement that caused that thread to be locked, in a manner (intentionally or not) highly likely to provoke Lord Crull to defend himself here. We don't want that in here, do we? My interpretation of your intent with this thread is that you want to discuss the moderation of the Know No Fear thread, and the question of moderating for 'off-topic' in general. That's fine by me. I've thrown my tuppence in on that. But I can't for the life of me see how this 'key point' is anything other than you venting some personal frustrations, and that's disappointing. I hope I've just missed something in your flow.

Finally, I want to clarify that there is a 'split topic' option. It's fine, as such things go, but it might not be the nicest thing to wade back through an 11-page topic with. I've only used it once or twice, I suppose it could be used more. Part of the problem in the Know No Fear case was that the discussion was getting fairly heated anyway, so even if we solved the 'off-topic' issue by splitting the topic, we'd probably have ended up locking the new 'retcon' topic.

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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:47 am

Athelassan wrote:
schaferwhat‽ wrote:I put it to you that the Bolthole is a sphere and contains no corners.

Only if it's a perfect sphere. And it can't be perfect, because you're here.

Ath


Ahhhhhghh it burns.

Anyways regard Ghurlag's united Moderator front statement, I think it is slightly more palatable for things to be locked because we're not being civil rather than because we're not discussing what we're meant to be in the right place. Which is a gross simplification of what happened true, I still think the locking of a thread while things are discussed removes the ability for the community to be prompted/encouraged into almost moderating ourselves which may not have happened anyways but there was a lack of clarity that the opportunity/ultimatum was given with regards the topic deviation that time. Which isn't the biggest deal in the world, I wasn't on the thread engaging in it, if I was I'd have moved it to a new thread anyway and expected it to be merged if the Mods gave the thread a clean bill of health.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Liliedhe » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:51 am

Is it possible to divide threads on the bolthole? In one or two fora I moderated, one could split a thread. If, say, a thread on Dragonball Z suddenly devolved into a discussion of Rurouni Kenshin, one could take those posts and make a new thread to discuss Kenshin with them. Neatly solved the off topic problem without needing to log threads.
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"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby Vivia » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:33 pm

They do that all the time on the Ravelry Rubberneckers forum. It's a good idea.

A key point, and one that was generating heat (perhaps it was construed as an attack), is that Lord_Crull is demonstrably conflating Retcon with 'Change' and 'Addition'; it's worth bearing that in mind as it misrepresents and misdirects people in conversation. If that's construed as a personal attack... well, I can only apologise but it's a key factor in the on-going discussion. (And a key factor of why Lord_Crull's on my ignore list. Unwillingness to build any sort of bridge or even make choice of word compromises to aid comprehensibility strikes me as not only insulting, but knowingly derailing things by using the 'wrong words' to describe things.

There comes a point when you have to give up and contact a mod about what you find to be a problem. Especially if someone does this over and over again in every topic there is no point in discussing it with them, let the mods take care of it. At the same time I can see why you didn't contact a mod because again, the mods don't have a big presence on BH.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby narrativium » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:50 pm

We're present. Mostly it's just a good forum where we don't have to use our powers often - which I like, because I get to have arguments and debates and be silly, and people don't have to worry that we're just about the banhammer. Most people here seem to know when they're approaching the line they shouldn't cross, and self-moderate anyway.
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby LordLucan » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:21 pm

Athelassan wrote:
schaferwhat‽ wrote:I put it to you that the Bolthole is a sphere and contains no corners.

Only if it's a perfect sphere. And it can't be perfect, because you're here.

Ath


He's got you there Schaf...

Also Viv, we mods are present. We are simply lurking in the dark recesses, peering up at you with bleary eyes filled with monstrous hunger, waiting... ever waiting... and then... and then...


...


Anyway, I'd say a bit of off-topic is fair enough (and indeed, inevitable in most discussions, as we tend to connect things we bring up in one book to other themes, stories and ideas we've heard about elsewhere). I think there are specific varieties of off-topic behaviour. The point where off-topic tangents begin to resemble vendettas and rehashings of remembered past slights is where things generally get unacceptable (or when threads veer off into madness town, a la the hyper anti-feminist tangent in the lovecraft thread).
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Re: Off Topic & Meandering

Postby sam vimes » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:26 am

IMO off topic will happen we like it or not, but for the most part the members on here tend to be self regulating, and get back on track fairly quickly, unlike the dbz fan fic salon going off topic was almost the norm it seemed at times, but then I am one of the few guys thier all the rest are women so perhaps they were communicating in a secret woman code lol.

In regards to other points raised in this thread the moderating is for me a case of case unseen and unheard but I know it goes on, but if I feel something is wrong and I pm a mod over said problem its sorted faster than you can say Emperor protects, only thing I dont like is the red text thing makes my eyes ache a little.

And aswer me this why is SH nearly always on is he a Necron in disgue or somethiig? chap seems to hardly ever sleep!
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