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Forum Etiquette: Emphasis on sticking to topic?

#1 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 03:18
Although I'm new here, it's time for me to quibble: I'm really confused about the emphasis on "staying on topic" here. I'm on America Online, and just not used to that heavy emphasis whatsoever. What's the reason for being so strict with this? If it's server space or preventing REALLY inappropriate stuff, then that makes sense to me. Otherwise, I don't really get it, and if someone would explain that to me, I'd be much more comfortable with it. I might have missed something too, so I want to assure everyone that I'm not trying to be rude or anything--I just want to know a few specifics ^_^
Courtney (Danagasta)
#2 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 05:17
AOL? Oh, dear. The reason staying on topic is such a big deal here is primarily because they don't want wasted space and don't want inappropriate stuff, but also because it is a Tintin forum. And the main purpose is to talk about Tintin related stuff. I sometimes wander off topic too. Not always intentially either.
Don't worry, I'm sure you will figure it out soon enough.
(most forums place an emphasis on "staying on topic.")
#3 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 10:25
It's important to stay on topic where appropriate as quite often simply adding a comment or an unrelated question to a post can send the thread totally off course and make it harder to keep up with as people will want to be talking about the original topic and the new one.

Also quite a lot of stuff has already been covered in the past and if a topic doesn't have it's own thread it can be hard for newer members to see what we have talked about in the past.

#4 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 10:29
I have to admit it took me a little while to get used to what seems to be quite strict guidelines on staying on topic, as other forums I'm a member of ramble all over the place - and it's quite nice to do so.

I'm sure admin or a moderator will answer the question definitively soon, but I think it is purely so that things are easy to find on the forum. So if you veer from the original topic, they'd prefer a new topic started. Many Tintin fans drop by here to search for info or just ask questions, and if it's easy to find then that help a lot. I do think that's sensible, even if you have to watch what you're writing sometimes (I often get into ramble mode so have to be extra careful! It's good for me).

I might be wrong...

Edit: Sorry Rik, cross-posting!
Harrock n roll
#5 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 13:51
I think there is great value behind staying on topic. First, as Rik says, wandering of topic makes it harder for other members to participate in the original discussion. Secondly, the off-topic theme may have already been covered before, or be good information buried within an irrelevant thread. As mentioned above, it's easier to find info on a subject if it's in it's own appropriate thread.

My feeling is that if we allowed people to wander off-topic the forums would develop into a free-for-all where practically every subject under the sun gets discussed in every topic. Also I would contest that we place “heavy emphasis” on it. In any good discussion things will be covered which are peripheral or irrelevant to the topic, deciding whether it's off-topic or not is at our discretion. However, I think most people appreciate that it's nice to read a thread about, for example, “Favourite Haddock insults”, which doesn't wander into a five page discussion on where to obtain VCDs.
#6 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 15:25
In any good discussion things will be covered which are peripheral or irrelevant to the topic

Exactly! That's what I mean right there. I'm not used to strict standards on a computer, especially not with AOL. They make you sign a "Terms of Service" agreement,but nobody abides by it and really isn't expected to do so. If you're "TOSed" for anything--reported, that is, you simply call, complain, and get three months of AOL for free.
As for saving space, that makes logical sense. Bulletin boards (I'm guessing this runs on a BB system) take up enough server space as is.
I don't change very easily, so you'll have to forgive me as I get used to the system here. It's a Taurus thing LOL
#7 · Posted: 26 Jun 2005 21:35
Yes things can be discussed that are off topic but they are better in their own thread. Best example I can remember is a discussion on Explorers on the Moon and I made a comment in the thread that there was no evidence Wolff actually died.

Someone else started a new thread and a lively discussion entailed.

Besides this community isn't huge and there is no need to economise on the number of threads.

Also by insisting people do not go off topic it stops all sorts of problems. Quite often for example you will see a new member has bumped about 4 threads about Snowy all asking a question about where they can can buy t-shirt with Snowys face on it.

Information is hard enough to find as it is, a good example is the news about the R1 Tintin DVD released recently. I started it a new thread but could have easily simply posted a message in another thread about Tintin DVD, not as many people would have read it.

Also not everyone has time for trawling through every single post on the forums. Although I visit the forums a few times a day I do not read every post made. For example I am not that interested to read about the voices in the Ellipse Nelvana series and hence do not really look at that thread every time someone posts.

However I would be interested to know if E-N were planning to make Jo, Zette and Jocko into a cartoon series (not that they ever would).

Under the current system I can be guaranteed that I'm not going to miss anything like that buried away in another thread. I rely on the members of the forum and the moderators to keep things on topic and post new threads where appropriate.

I'm sure many of the members who don't visit very often appreciate it as they can skim read the topics and decide if and when to post rather than having to read everything in case they miss something


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