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Thread: OP's rights

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    Senior Member Kopachris's Avatar
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    Default OP's rights

    Should the OP of a thread have the right to bring that thread back to its original topic (as long as he or she does so civilly), or should the thread be allowed to derail every which way? Discuss here. We might not end up making an official forum policy for this, but perhaps we can clarify the de facto standards.

    (Dunno if this actually belongs her per the board title "Site Feedback & Technical Support," but it's the only real meta-board we have.)
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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Hi.

    Yeah- this is a good place for clarification.

    Every energetic poster (I can think of) has indulged in some digression from time-to-time. Perhaps something said in the thread might remind a person of an amusing incident or observation that a follow-up poster feels is worth sharing. If too much of this goes on, then the OP (or ANY participant, for that matter) can civilly call for return to the header-topic, and not be out-of-line.

    When (in the judgement of Administration & Moderation) the digressions sink to the level of willful and deliberate thread-hijacking or derailment efforts, then they cross the line.

    Your Administration & Moderation team has over a quarter-century's worth of experience looking at these things. We know willful when we see it.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    I think my thoughts on this are probably already known, but I want to be perfectly clear.

    In my opinion, any thread here should be treated in the same manner as an ordinary adult conversation, and though the OP doesn't have any special 'rights', I think the members of this forum should feel consideration for actually addressing what the OP wants.

    Of course, this is going to vary. For example, if someone posts a funny picture or an anecdote, then there is much greater scope for people saying whatever they like and taking things in any direction. But if someone is asking a direct question, hoping to get an answer from the kind members of this forum, is it not a bit rude to just post largely irrelevant remarks or jokes?

    I think one of the greatest problems with the forum at the moment is that people very often use the topic of a thread as a springboard for making quick jokes. They are occasionally funny, but when 75% of responses are snide remarks, one-liners, or responses to the snide remarks and one-liners, then it's an issue.

    This is why I disagree slightly with Chi_townPhilly's statement that moderation is appropriate in circumstances where digressions are "wilful and deliberate thread-hijacking or derailment efforts." I think people need to be moderated even if they're not putting in a concerted effort to derail, but are actually just being a bit of a nuisance.

    Of course there is always room for a discussion to flow in various directions depending on what people say - that's what conversation is. Conversation is not someone politely asking a question only for a group of people to then respond with idiotic jokes in some apparent contest to see who can be the most surreal or get the biggest laugh.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    The most interesting thing I take from all this is that I act quite cautiously before starting a thread. I feel as if it isn't important enough for even a few of you out there then it is not worth putting up. Strangely, however, and much to my surprise and delight...I've read posts in threads I've started where people actually mention if 'this was something the OP wanted' and I've even been asked if it is 'okay' to do certain things or say or include certain things.

    I found this to be quite refreshing even though I never felt as if it was my place to tell anyone what they can or can not say so I just kinda get a bit shy and uncomfortable at those times. I feel, 'it's your forum...go ahead and post.'

    Still, I do recall one instance when I actually thought I was creating what could be a lovely thread...completely off topic and in the community forum but still something folks could benefit from. I called it 'Keep Looking Up!' and if you want to see the extremes of types of posts that can be made in a single page of a thread...I invite you to look it up (sorry I don't know how to link!) and read the first page and a half of following posts after my OP. Sadly, in this case, someone I completely did not expect to try and 'derail' not only such a natural and simple thread as this but really any thread at all...well, that was the main person that just didn't seem to go away. You'll notice, however, that after a couple of comments I just disregarded that user and hoped for the best and that someone would gain some pleasure or knowledge from the thread. Hopefully,...someone either has or eventually will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_townPhilly View Post
    When (in the judgement of Administration & Moderation) the digressions sink to the level of willful and deliberate thread-hijacking or derailment efforts, then they cross the line.
    When the moderators feel that the posts are "willful and deliberate thread-hijacking or derailment efforts", what do they do? Do they warn the posters with a PM? Do they wait until the OP requests that people stop posting in such a manner? If the OP does request that people stop derailing, will the moderators generally act or only if they feel things have exceeded a given line (I assume this is the case)? Do the moderators have a tally of the number of times individuals have acted inappropriately? If so, can someone be banned temporarily for minor offenses if they repeat often enough?

    I have, of course, seen moderators step in and warn "the thread" that things must settle down, but that seems rare compared to the hijacked posts out there. I know moderating is a very difficult and time consuming job, and I am extremely thankful for all the work they do. I would not want them to have to increase their posting and policing of threads any more than now.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    It shouldn't be so much about rights, priviledges and obligations. It's about some basic courtesy to just stick on topic.

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    ...will the moderators generally act or only if they feel things have exceeded a given line (I assume this is the case)?
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    Do the moderators have a tally of the number of times individuals have acted inappropriately?
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    If so, can someone be banned temporarily for minor offenses if they repeat often enough?
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    I would not want them to have to increase their posting and policing of threads any more than now.
    Thanks for that! And we won't have to increase our policing of threads if posters abide by the
    Guidelines & Terms of Service. More specific to the issue at hand, be guided by two policies-

    1) Intentionally disruptive posting is "trolling," and will receive assessments as such.

    2) Within the limits of the existing rules, we will try to shade towards allowing expression, so long as our Guidelines haven't been violated.

    The question that motivated the topic header has been asked, and it has been answered. If there's any further doubt, please consult the Forum Rules. If still uncertain, feel free to PM a staffer.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Nov-29-2011 at 02:46. Reason: spelling
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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