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Thread: Off Topic?

  1. #1
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    Off 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.

    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?
    http://serpentrioarquila.blogspot.com/

    "To conjure is nothing else than to observe anything rightly, to know and understand what it is." - Paracelsus

    "Why, then, don't you act when you see the danger of your conditioning? The answer is you don't see... seeing is acting." J. Krishnamurti

  2. #2
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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.
    http://serpentrioarquila.blogspot.com/

    "To conjure is nothing else than to observe anything rightly, to know and understand what it is." - Paracelsus

    "Why, then, don't you act when you see the danger of your conditioning? The answer is you don't see... seeing is acting." J. Krishnamurti

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    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
    Open Book
    "Dogmatic Assumption Inhibits Enquiry" Rupert Sheldrake

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislain View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by solomon levi View Post
    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).

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input.
    So, 4 votes for me to chill. Can do.
    Thank you.
    Anyone else?
    http://serpentrioarquila.blogspot.com/

    "To conjure is nothing else than to observe anything rightly, to know and understand what it is." - Paracelsus

    "Why, then, don't you act when you see the danger of your conditioning? The answer is you don't see... seeing is acting." J. Krishnamurti

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Androgynus View Post
    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'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by solomon levi View Post
    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.


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

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