I know forums where I would have been perma banned a long time ago because of my terrible on topic/off topic post ratio.
An off topic that opens and closes in a few posts is a normal part of any healthy conversation. I’d hate a too much strict regulation. This forum would be very boring.
Opening a new thread for every slight off topic leads to an Infinite Topic Sprawl™ which isn’t good too, since after a while gets reiterating and duplicating threads (this happend a few times here, too).
What is bad is a thread that, after a few posts, permanently derails from the topic. But we’re all too polite to make it happen.
That’s why we’re on this forum instead of on those.
So no, @TaarakVakil, we don’t need additional moderation. We’re all adults. Civilized. Occasionally telling each other to *beep* off, respectfully. Not like
Oh, my. This was intended ti be a thread about moderators, not a thread about the legitimacy of off topics! Doesn’t anybody think of the children???
Oh nooooooooo, the children!!! I guess we do need moderators to keep us on track. And to fix all of our spelling errors while they’re at it.
Why haven´t we checked the children? click beeeeeep
Like MMucasFlem, of course.
I only know that what happens in this forum doesn’t happen to me both in real life and on other Internet discussion boards. When I talk with friends about a specific topic, we do it because we are interested to discuss that specific topic, to the point that derailing from it happens only rarely and briefly.
Since we are genuinely interested about that topic, it comes naturally to stay on track. If some people are not interested in discussing a topic, they just don’t participate actively to the discussion and if they try to change the topic, it can happen only if other people are interested to change it.
What happens in real life among friends, though, is that when people observe that others are busy discussing a specific topic, they don’t even try to disturb that process.
In forums, this can be different, especially if a forum is used in part as a CHAT, where the concept of classifying discussions doesn’t exist.
A discussion about a specific topic (in forums) has a completely different flow than a discussion in an everything-goes stream of text (in chats). They can be both ok, but they are also extremely different and somewhat incompatible because the chat model screws up the classification of discussions.
Maybe the issues with the chat model become more clear when we take under consideration the majority of people: those who just read this forum and even more importantly those who are searching (and will search in the future) for TWP information on search engines. To them, the endemic off topic of this forum is a disservice, because they were interested to find/read about something (a hint, a feature of the game, the meaning of a scene, a technical issue, etc.) and that information can be acquired only reading and ignoring a lot of OT posts in the same thread.
This phenomenon doesn’t help those users (who are also Terrible Toybox customers or potential customers) and as a consequence it doesn’t help the game either.
Main consequence: both search engines and me avoid suggesting this forum to users who have to find specific information.
It doesn’t even help us when we want to use the internal search engine of the forum.
I’m ok with using this forum as if it was a chat software for the few super-fans, but it’s also important to be aware of the negative sides of not contributing to organize information that can be useful to all the other people.
So, yeah, OT makes you feel free. It also has consequences.
Well, I use to skip a lot of comments here as well - as you can see by this once again.
But, I’m not sure if this problem could be reduced by creating new threads for every driftage, because it wouldn’t decrease the number of posts. It may help to understand which topic they are discussing about, but reading the most recent comments does as well.
Moreover, it’s unlikely that we really could teach the members here to always create a new thread whenever the discussion drifts to another subject.
Are you suggesting to create a chat section on the forum?
Well, I have to say that I agree with your main argument and its consequences. On the other side, it would be so boring to stay always on track. This is exactly the same problem I encountered when joining another forum with old users: that time I was on the other side, I was the newbie. But day by day I got into the community and felt at home in the end. One of the things that helps us, me Zak, Guga, Seguso is the telegram chat, when we are mostly off topic.
You saved a lot of discussions about pizza, sofas, bidet and more!!!
P.S. I always take your words as useful warnings (yet by @Someone) about off topic. Four or five short messages max. that are off topic are bearable from the reader, more I also suggest to open a new thread.
This is how it ought to be on forums, but it differs from my experiences. Okay, if there is a really important topic - such as a marriage or a burial - or if the participants are really interested in the topic - e. g. if you are talking about tennis with some mates from your tennis club - everyone has enough discipline/interest to bear this subject in mind and follow the topic strictly. But, discussions of this kind are exceptions, in my opinion.
In unexceptional discussions, there use to be so many cross-references that the topic drifts off easily. The high number of followers here increases this phenomenon.
I know this issue from verbal discussions, if someone likes to make jokes. It really can demotivate those who were actually interested in a more objective talk. Nonetheless, I think that there is no effective remedy for this issue.
Ron hires a full time Mod that shifts all to new Threads and askes to please proceed there with that topic
Off Topic for no special reason:
Is somebody open for an unsalaried communtiy service as an honorary member at the moment?
Asking for a friend
Í´m not takin´ out yer trash, man!
Being here is already a honor.
It was worth a try.
I agree with @BigRedButton: In most of my discussions the topics are changing, even if there are only two persons involved.
IMHO the biggest “problem” of this forum aren’t the off-topics. It’s the way the posts are presented: In Ron’s (WordPress) blog answers are intended. So you can see that there is a new discussion. Here in Discourse all replies are just listed in, well, a list. So the focus of the users stays on the last post. This leads to the situation that in WordPress there are different threads in one blog post while in Discourse one discussion stops and a new begins within one thread.
With the WordPress scheme you can easily “cut” an intended discussion and put it in a new thread. In the linear Discourse scheme you can’t do that.
Aha! You are going off topic too.
This is what I like in this forum. I wouldn’t be here, if we just talk about broken save games or solutions to a specific puzzle. We are a community, sitting in a (virtual) bar and chatting about games we love. So it’s natural to drift away. And it’s damn funny. (I have laughed my beep off. Several times.)
Me too, I would really miss that.
Also it´s not like people who have specific issues and questions aren´t instantly helped with.
Yep. And in most cases the topics are going off-topic if the initial topic was discussed.