PDA

View Full Version : Off Topic?



solomon levi
07-08-2012, 01:32 AM
I've had this understanding, even before this forum, that whoever starts a thread
is the one who knows the topic, the intention.
Others may come along and give their own interpretation, but ...
It's like whoever starts a thread - that's their house.
You don't come into another's house and tell them how to keep it.

I don't know. Does this make sense?
Maybe the thread starter should have the right to say what is on or off topic.
It's simple enough for anyone to start their own topic.

As a moderator, how do I know what the topic is, unless I started the thread?

Does this mean anything to anyone?
I think it'd be cool to allow the thread-starter to designate what is on or off topic,
how far they are willing to allow the thread to stretch.

Like, I don't mind that the "Do you feel time speeding up?" thread has become a discussion about time,
even though that is not the topic.

What do you think/feel?

Is there a need to keep things "on topic"?
How do we measure/regulate that?

Andro
07-08-2012, 03:27 AM
It can be a fine line to discern between a thread that's moving towards exploring the original topic from different angles and a thread that's completely wandering away from its foundations.

If the OP doesn't seem to mind or care about this fine line, I think it's part of the responsibility you/we agreed to accept, to make that distinction,
with the focus on maintaining coherence and ease of orientation for other forum members.

There are roughly two main 'off topic' types that I can discern:

1. Context-Coherent 'off topics' (possibly expanding the scope of the discussed topic, but still coherent within the primal context, even if presents different angles to look at it).

2. Non-Context-Coherent 'off-topics' (filling the thread with stuff that is largely unrelated).

If the second type appears to be the case (like when the 'Woman's Work and Child's Play' thread began to wander towards discussing alchemical texts in general, and their value according to culture and the periods they were written), I think it's preferable to create a spin-off thread and move the 'wandering' posts over there, and I did it with with the readers in mind, especially the newer readers/forum members who are performing searches, looking for stuff that is most relevant to their particular interests.

So sometimes I feel it's needed to make a call, although it's much better IMO if the OP's (and in fact everyone who posts here) can take this responsibility upon themselves.

solomon levi
07-08-2012, 04:16 PM
Well, if I may encourage everyone to read and listen carefully to threads,
then we can avoid a lot of straying into chaos.
Sometimes it's hard to decide a title for a new thread.
Read the post to get the context for the thread.
The thread title isn't necessarily the subject.

There's (at least) two things going on here - communication and sharing knowledge.
Sometimes people want to talk about what they know regardless if it is the topic/communication.
To me, this is hijacking a thread.

Anyway, we do the best we can.
It doesn't take respect to "share" knowledge. It does to listen/communicate though.
IMO that would make a better forum.

I'm just one person. If I'm alone in this opinion, let me know so I won't hassle anyone.

Said another way - the "me" attitude is what leads to the kind of people that get banned.
In a way, not listening and communicating, but rather taking the opportunity to talk
about yourself/your knowledge, regardless if it is the topic, is that "me" behavior.

What is evident to me - the person who starts a thread sets the tone and topic.
If people aren't interested in communicating with the thread starter about the thread topic,
why not start your own topic/thread? To me this is just disrespectful. "What I have to say
is more important that you/what you said." Or sometimes it's lazy - someone didn't read the
whole thread. We've seen problems happen because of that before.
Of course we deal with problems as they arise. I'm just saying some awareness on everyone's
part would be helpful.

To me, this is also important for the survival of the forum.
When I don't feel like I'm communicating with anyone or being heard,
that doesn't make me want to write posts. It makes me think of writing a
book or a blog.

If that's just me, fine. "Go write a book, asshole!" :)
But I'm trying to see where others are at through this thread.

Ghislain
07-08-2012, 04:33 PM
Sol

I don't think this happens on purpose (most of the time) threads just drift.

I think its nice if the Admin pop in and make people aware that this is happening
and that it has been brought up here.

I guess we could all do with a reminder now and then.

Ghislain

Krisztian
07-08-2012, 06:26 PM
I don't think this happens on purpose (most of the time) threads just drift. I think its nice if the Admin pop in and make people aware that this is happening
and that it has been brought up here. I guess we could all do with a reminder now and then.

O this Forum is meant for reading, sharing of knowledge, having fun, so forth. I'm sure there're other points to insert.

I agree with Ghislain, some topics tend to 'just drift' overtime. Sometimes there's benefit to drifting, I have learned vital information from 'off comments'.

I come here to have fun. Pick up useful information. . . . But this Forum is not my life, it's just a part, one part.

I'm not defending anyone when I say it's reasonable that people go 'off topic' because people interpret differently. It happens. But the points others made about creating new Threads, well, why not?

zoas23
07-08-2012, 06:46 PM
I've had this understanding, even before this forum, that whoever starts a thread
is the one who knows the topic, the intention.
Others may come along and give their own interpretation, but ...
It's like whoever starts a thread - that's their house.

Oh! Is the artist who paints a picture the one who knows the final meaning of his work of art?
Is he the one that owns the right to say what his work actually means?

In my own case, I like it when moderators are doing nothing at all, except in extreme cases (in this forum, the only extreme cases seem to be a few cases of "I am the living God, everyone kiss my ass, it is a priviledge for you to read me, the letters I type get stained by the dirt of your mortal vision, so don't even dare to reply to my posts, except for saying 'Amen', etc"). But those ones seem to be rare exceptions.

Also, cutting the threads in two seems to be fine too. Androgynus seems to be enthusiast about doing such thing, and I have no problems with that. It is OK if that keeps everything organized.

But, my opinion is that the more rules it has, the less enjoyable and interesting a forum becomes (I am mostly thinking about an Animal Rights forums that was OK until the moderators decided to destroy it by creating a 100 pages document with "rules"... and expected all the posters to read it and learn those rules by heart... until it mostly became a forum in which 2 moderators talk to each other).

solomon levi
07-08-2012, 07:26 PM
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input.
So, 4 votes for me to chill. :) Can do.
Thank you.
Anyone else?

Andro
07-08-2012, 09:03 PM
In my own case, I like it when moderators are doing nothing at all, except in extreme cases (in this forum, the only extreme cases seem to be a few cases of "I am the living God, everyone kiss my ass, it is a priviledge for you to read me, the letters I type get stained by the dirt of your mortal vision, so don't even dare to reply to my posts, except for saying 'Amen', etc"). But those ones seem to be rare exceptions.

There are also the spammers who somehow manage to get in, and in most cases you won't even notice they were even here :)
Not to mention cleaning up double posts, suggesting & facilitating forum improvements (like the new Google search function), answering logistical questions and personal requests in PM and handle whatever unexpected issue that may pop up :)


Also, cutting the threads in two seems to be fine too. Androgynus seems to be enthusiast about doing such thing, and I have no problems with that. It is OK if that keeps everything organized.

'Enthusiast' wouldn't really be my wording choice :)

There are many threads here with a life of their own, often drifting in interesting directions that may be perceived as 'off-topic', but somehow still context-coherent in the 'bigger picture'.

However, there are a few relatively RARE cases where threads wander completely off topic, like posting general site-related issues or personality-related complaints on threads about practical alchemy (for example).

Whenever I'm intervening in this way, I do it to keep things easy to search and find, and also to hopefully make the sharing experience more coherent and flowing, not only for the participants in the thread, but also for the 'outside' readers.

I certainly don't HAVE to do it, but sometimes it's seemingly the only thing that can prevent a thread with great potential from turning into a multiple-personality chatterbox.


But, my opinion is that the more rules it has, the less enjoyable and interesting a forum becomes (I am mostly thinking about an Animal Rights forums that was OK until the moderators decided to destroy it by creating a 100 pages document with "rules"... and expected all the posters to read it and learn those rules by heart... until it mostly became a forum in which 2 moderators talk to each other).

I think that compared to many other forums, this one is fairly relaxed, Rule and Mod-wise. And IF new guidelines are added, it happens in most (if not all) cases following some disturbing incident.

However, if anyone wishes to raise an issue about these things, there is this Site Related area - and there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

Although I have the best intentions at heart for this forum, I also know what the road to hell is paved with :)

This is OUR forum. I'm just the cleaning lady :)

So comments and suggestions are welcome!

Krisztian
07-08-2012, 10:22 PM
I'm just the cleaning lady.

I sure got a good chuckle out of your comment! Thanks. That was humorous.

I see you more as a 'Museum overseer'!

Awani
07-08-2012, 11:07 PM
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input.
So, 4 votes for me to chill. :) Can do.
Thank you.
Anyone else?

5 votes;)

I know what kind of posts you are thinking off that just seems to come out of nowhere, off topic... but in other cases such posts can be a result of YOUR post... I know I have done this on occasion where someone posts something that triggers perhaps another kind of idea/understanding and so when I post it might seem off topic. This is one of the downsides of internet conversations when we lack the visual part of conversations... and the direct kind where misunderstandings can instantly be rectified.

I think splitting threads that go off topic is the best remedy. And usually works great.

Some of the really long threads are almost like that game where you whisper DOG in someones ear, and it travels through many people and the final person says CAR (for example).

The off topic posts that are done by some new member just to advertise an idea or agenda is delete-able... they are also easy to spot when they occur. Andro has caught some of these quite quickly in the past.

:cool:

zoas23
07-08-2012, 11:19 PM
Oh... for some reason the quote button isn't working for me right now, but it always does.

Anyway... yes, this forum has very relaxed rules... and that's great. It is enjoyable. I like it here.
I mostly meant to say: "please, don't find the solution to a problem that doesn't exist!" :)

Andro
11-29-2012, 04:31 AM
The fine line of staying on-topic...

Since we've had some recent 'on/off topic' related misunderstandings, I would like to reiterate a few things:


It can be a fine line to discern between a thread that's moving towards exploring the original topic from different (even remote/wide) angles, and a thread that's completely wandering away from its foundations.

If the OP doesn't seem to mind or care about this fine line, I think it's part of the responsibility you/we agreed to accept, to make that distinction,
with the focus on maintaining coherence and ease of orientation for other forum members.

There are roughly two main 'off topic' types that I can discern:

1. Context-Coherent 'off-topics' (possibly expanding the scope of the discussed topic, but still coherent within the primal context, even if presenting different angles to look at it).

2. Non-Context-Coherent 'off-topics' (filling the thread with stuff that is largely unrelated, and/or related to another topic/agenda altogether - a.k.a. 'Thread Hijacking').

If the second type appears to be the case, I think it's preferable to create a spin-off thread and move the 'wandering' posts over there, and when/if I personally split posts, I do it with with the readers in mind, especially the newer readers/forum members who are performing searches, looking for stuff that is most relevant to their particular interests. An exception to this second type would be if you manage to establish a clear and coherent connection between the seemingly unrelated material you are adding and the original topic of the discussion.

So, sometimes I feel it's needed to make a call, although it's much better IMO if the OP's (and in fact everyone who posts here) can take this responsibility upon themselves.

In addition to the above, there are those cases when people start a new thread/topic and they specifically ask to observe/maintain some basic guidelines for what they do and don't wish to be discussed in the topic they started.

If this is the case, please respect the wishes of the OP, bypassing the above categorizations, even if you think/believe/assume/are certain that what you've added to the respective thread is the very 'mostest supremest' definition of 'on-topic' :).


I've had this understanding, even before this forum, that whoever starts a thread
is the one who knows the topic, the intention.
Others may come along and give their own interpretation, but ...
It's like whoever starts a thread - that's their house.
You don't come into another's house and tell them how to keep it.

So, sometimes, it may be a better idea to be wise & allowing than to be 'right'.

Just something to consider...

Thanks.

DonSweet
04-16-2014, 01:51 PM
Androgynus ...

Curious ...

Are you referring to me not staying on topic?

And an FYI about my posts/thoughts/statements:

I don't consider myself an "authority" about anything. I joined this forum to learn, express myself and explore, but also to be challenged. It may appear through my writings that I want to think of myself as "the smartest guy in the room," but that's not the case.

In my writings, I've implied in several ways that, "I'm not like you," particularly when it comes to Western/European thinking, but that's not really the case either. I'm struggling to keep from being sucked into false paradigms (or paradoxes), too.

If my affirmative and self-confident statements are being mistaken for the arrogance that I think I know everything, it wouldn't be the first time. Underlying all of my posts/statements/thoughts will always be the implied statement: If you don't agree, please tell me why.

I'm never hurt, insulted or defensive over opposing views or criticism ... I relish it. Please note: Unlike many people who insist on being right and are hurt when opposed, I relish being proven wrong.

How else can I learn?

Andro
04-16-2014, 02:20 PM
Androgynus ...
Curious ...
Are you referring to me not staying on topic?

Among a few others.


And an FYI about my posts/thoughts/statements:
I don't consider myself an "authority" about anything. I joined this forum to learn, express myself and explore, but also to be challenged. It may appear through my writings that I want to think of myself as "the smartest guy in the room," but that's not the case.In my writings, I've implied in several ways that, "I'm not like you," particularly when it comes to Western/European thinking, but that's not really the case either. I'm struggling to keep from being sucked into false paradigms (or paradoxes), too.
If my affirmative and self-confident statements are being mistaken for the arrogance that I think I know everything, it wouldn't be the first time. Underlying all of my posts/statements/thoughts will always be the implied statement: If you don't agree, please tell me why.
I'm never hurt, insulted or defensive over opposing views or criticism ... I relish it. Please note: Unlike many people who insist on being right and are hurt when opposed, I relish being proven wrong.

The above is yet another example of derailing a thread topic ('Paradox Power', in this case), bordering on thread hijacking and disregard for the stated subject of this thread and most of the posts in it.


Sometimes people want to talk about what they know regardless if it is the topic/communication.

To me, this is hijacking a thread.

Said another way - the "me" attitude is what leads to the kind of people that get banned.
In a way, not listening and communicating, but rather taking the opportunity to talk
about yourself/your knowledge, regardless if it is the topic, is that "me" behavior.

What is evident to me - the person who starts a thread sets the tone and topic.
If people aren't interested in communicating with the thread starter about the thread topic,
why not start your own topic/thread? To me this is just disrespectful. "What I have to say
is more important that you/what you said." Or sometimes it's lazy - someone didn't read the
whole thread. We've seen problems happen because of that before.
Of course we deal with problems as they arise. I'm just saying some awareness on everyone's
part would be helpful.

This is not a chat-room. The threads are topic-specific to keep a coherent flow AND to allow OTHER readers to easier search for their own areas/topics and interest.

Everyone is entitled to their views/perspectives. Just post them under the appropriate threads/topics. If such threads do not (yet) exist, create new ones.

So as to no longer derail the Paradox Power (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3797-Paradox-Power) thread (and potentially future others), I've moved those last two posts here, to the Off Topic Thread.

DonSweet
04-16-2014, 03:11 PM
Androgynus ...

Really?

You really think so?

Interesting.

I start my post quoting from the video that started the topic, and discuss an important key statement made by the presenter, yet I'm not on topic?

Really?

Are you really sure about this?

The very first post of the thread utilizes a video that takes several minutes wherein the presenter discusses a false paradox -- a paradox that isn't a paradox at all -- and I support those statements with observations of my own ...

... yet I'm off topic and require admonishment and discipline?

Did you actually watch the video?

Did you understand what Mr. Franklin was saying?

Over nearly twenty minutes he went into great detail to explain that most people live a false paradox ... that they live to the expectations of others, when in fact they should be living up to their own expectations of themselves.

Is this not a key aspect of the topic itself?

Is the topic exclusively about "paradox"? and the definition of the word itself? ... which seems to be how the majority of people are responding.

Then why use a video that clearly, unmistakably discusses a false paradox?

Doesn't your choice of that video illustrate that often our perception of a supposed paradox is false? That it isn't a paradox at all?

I'm beginning to think you neither understood my response (in any fashion whatsoever) nor was your, "Please share what you think ..." statement in any way sincere. I did, and you simply deleted it.

I'm beginning to think you don't want to hear anything that you don't want to hear ... right, wrong or indifferent ...

... particularly since you've deleted my response entirely. That makes it fairly clear who wants to be perceived as "the smartest guy in the room."

It appears this forum is more of a dictatorship than I'd imagined.

Awani
04-16-2014, 04:14 PM
Don't take everything so seriously. We're just trying to keep things on-topic... if it's off-topic we usually split into a new thread... and if you want to post something that might be off-topic create a new thread. Simple as that.

As far as dictatorship is concerned Alchemy Forums is 100 % a dictatorship, and I am the dictator... although I see myself as a very benevolent one. A dictator that is trying to create a space where respectful discussions can take place about alchemy, that is all.

Andro has not deleted anything, he has moved it... deleted posts are only posts that are grounds for banning, spam or double-posts.

:cool:

Andro
04-16-2014, 04:14 PM
... particularly since you've deleted my response entirely.

"nor was your, "Please share what you think ..." statement in any way sincere. I did, and you simply deleted it.

The only thing you posted that was ever deleted, was a personal attack towards another Member.

So please chill and maybe re-read the forum's Rules & Guidelines (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/announcement.php?f=5&a=3), as well as what Dev wrote above.

Andro
12-11-2014, 09:27 AM
Guys,

This is a topic-based forum with topic-based threads.

It is very different from other platforms, such as chat-rooms, YouTube comments, facebook, etc...

Please read/sense what a thread is actually about, before replying.

Expanding on a topic from different angles is not the same as inserting a topic-related reference and then taking it somewhere else altogether.

So please stay on topic, gentlemen.

Largely off-topic content will be moved/relocated.

If the pattern persists, such content will be simply deleted without notice.

We simply can't spend all day managing topic continuity.

Please do not reply to this post.

Thank you.

DonSweet
12-13-2014, 06:41 AM
Note to readers and mods ...

Happy to have my posts adjusted to conform to forum rules.

Anyone who reads me knows I can go off on a tangent. It's not intentional. I just find myself in a stream-of-consciousness now and then, as I'm sure many of you understand.

No offense meant.

Andro
12-13-2014, 07:09 AM
Happy to have my posts adjusted to conform to forum rules.

Then you're missing the entire point...

We're not 'The Adjustment Bureau' :)

The point is to stay on topic in the first place.

We don't have the time/resources (and the will, for that matter) to move content around so often.


We simply can't spend all day managing topic continuity.

This Forum is not a public service, all admin/mod work is done on a voluntary basis, and we can't be asked to periodically move content around if there can't be a little more Attention/Intention to what is posted and where.

So again, if this persists, such content will simply be deleted permanently and we will have to part ways. I really, genuinely hope it doesn't come to this.


Anyone who reads me knows I can go off on a tangent. It's not intentional.

Why not make it intentional, then?

Let one of the New Year's Resolutions be to intentionally stay on topic :)

"Your Attention is where your Intention is"

So just a bit more attention... Not a lot to ask, IMO...

And please, let's stop 'debating' this, because it is not even a 'debate'.

It's purely administrative.


No offense meant.

None taken.

------------------------------------------------------