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  #1  
Old 07-28-2009, 03:16 AM
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Come on guys, this is really starting to get silly. I can't remember going into a thread and when it's past the first page or two still being on the orginal topic.

I understand that threads are like conversations and they can shift but some could be useful and more than once I've thought about putting in my two cents, offering advice or speaking from my experience only to find that the topic is about something nonsensical.

This website has a place for chatter,specifically created to stop this sort of behaviour. So why does it still happen so often?

I find myself only really posting on poetry, because answering questions older than a day usually involves comments getting lost in the midst of a battle or a conversation. It's the same repeat offenders (I am well aware that I am no angel in this matter, but some are most definitely worse than others). Has there been any form of discipline? A gentle PM to say maybe they should chat someplace else? Have the staff that repeatedly take or encourage a topic been reprimanded? It sets a very bad example and I belie Writer's Beat is becoming a poorer place for its members when they can't have an unpolluted discussion on writing.

And if this goes off-topic I won't find it funny at all, just a testimony to what a wasteland this place is becoming.

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Old 07-28-2009, 04:07 AM
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Things go off topic from time to time, but I think as long as the discussion moves in a manner that can be followed and isn't just people talking about their day, its not a big issue.

I don't think that a discussion about sex leading to AIDS or a discussion about Republicans leading to politics in general and then patriotism is a bad thing. Its an open dialogue.

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So how about that weather? *I tried really hard not to, I really really did*
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:21 AM
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That's not what I'm talking about. I understand that threads evolve, which I said. It's the amount of crap that pollutes threads. Takes them away from anything useful, into just plain drivel.
The five post requirement thread for example.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:52 AM
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Okay...that's pretty bad, I didn't realize most of that was there.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:28 AM
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In cases like the five post thread you cited, Kal, I notice that the original question was answered in the first page, and re-answered whenever the thread was revived. As for all the chatter, all I can think is that some people have a lot more time on their hands than I do. *shakes head*

It seems a bit hard-nosed to delete light banter when the thread is otherwise empty, as in that case where the question was answered and the OP moved on. Perhaps another option would be to lock the feedback threads when a basic question has been answered? However, as you point out, rolicking thread hijacks appear in all forums.

The board games forum was designed specifically to handle off topic chatter, and the staff try to redirect people there. An example would be the Newbie Cave thread, which was started just to give certain members a place to chit-chat so they wouldn't be hijacking another thread.

I think the problem might be that some perceive rules about hijacking much like some perceive helmet laws ("important, but not if I'm just biking a short way") or trespassing ("the place is abandoned; no-one will care if I go here").

The staff do try to keep threads on topic--especially complex or contentious threads like in the IT forum--but we'd be hard pressed to police every member who adds an aside, tangent, or joke to existing threads. And most of it isn't harmful.

I thank you for bringing this up. It's important to know the noise level is getting high enough to cross the line from friendly chatter to roar. The staff will be more active in redirecting such chatter to board games or PMs, and we'll post a general announcement if necessary.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HoiLei View Post
The staff will be more active in redirecting such chatter to board games or PMs...
Better still remove the board games, chatter, etc; pare the site down to the job in hand. Hopefully we'd lose some members along ther way and cut down to the core who actually remember what the site is for rather than those who come here because even their imaginary friends won't talk to them.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
Better still remove the board games, chatter, etc; pare the site down to the job in hand. Hopefully we'd lose some members along ther way and cut down to the core who actually remember what the site is for rather than those who come here because even their imaginary friends won't talk to them.
What's wrong with people having friends here and playing games together? Sure its a writing forum but there's nothing wrong with fellowship between writers. Hell, getting to know another writer really could pay off in the long run. I don't see why you would think games and things of that type, kept to their own section is any worse than the Intellectual talk section.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:54 PM
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I've got nothing against people chatting, or asides in threads, because things do crop up. I've just been noticing it more and more and more and whe I saw that it took the biscuit for me.

The thread then went back on topic. I just think that especially the staff members should not be so easily distracted.

When Jay Harrison and myself were on the staff, I started a thread about missing another member, and he quite rightly said didn't we close a thread a newbie made just like this one? I dont understand why there aren't gentle nudges to members to keep it on topic or move it to the café.

Not all the threads will have been answered and abandoned, and a line has to be drawn otherwise something important could easily be lost.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:02 PM
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Chit chat is all right in its place. All sorts of people come here, so we have quieter critique areas for some, debate tables for others, and places for the off-topic chit-chat. Everyone has a different style. I even vary with my mood: I've had plenty of fun in the Board Games in my time.

It's only when there are pages of aimless board game type chatter in other people's threads that it becomes a problem. Then people have to wade through it all to read the posts with content.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Fame<Infamy View Post
I don't see why you would think games and things of that type, kept to their own section is any worse than the Intellectual talk section.
I think the IT section should go also. It can be a useful sounding board, and some members are capable of debate, but the moron factor generally is too strong.

Originally Posted by Fame<Infamy View Post
What's wrong with people having friends here and playing games together?
That sentence tells me what's wrong with it. I don't want to play games. I have no intention of making 'friends' in this virtual world (I have real flesh and blood ones) and certainly I don't want to be friends with the kind of person who thinks posting in the "Guess my favorite color" or whatever kind of thread is a preferable alternative to an overdose or barbiturates. The moron quotient on this site is too high.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
I think the IT section should go also. It can be a useful sounding board, and some members are capable of debate, but the moron factor generally is too strong.



That sentence tells me what's wrong with it. I don't want to play games. I have no intention of making 'friends' in this virtual world (I have real flesh and blood ones) and certainly I don't want to be friends with the kind of person who thinks posting in the "Guess my favorite color" or whatever kind of thread is a preferable alternative to an overdose or barbiturates. The moron quotient on this site is too high.
For a site that ranges in age from 13 or so up to 60 something, there has to be different stuff to keep people entertained. Yeah its a writing forum, but I can't think of any forum that stays alive on one trick. Regardless of how extensive that one thing is.

Those kind of things don't hurt a site and discussion is what forums are all about. And the people on here are flesh and blood, they're no different than the people you meet in person. I have friends nearby too, but I have online friends that I am also really close to, some of them I've known six or seven years and I met them on a forum. Maybe the forum is here for writing, but there has to be some sense of community to make it tick.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:32 AM
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I have to agree with that. I don't play the games much myself--sometimes I'll pop into one or two that interest me--but if people want to play them, they often get to know each other and become more a part of the forum than if they just talked shop all day. Having a little "off topic" section for people to play around in also helps keep that sort of thing off the main board. People have a place to exhaust most of their idle chatter urge. Plus, as the common wisdom goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:15 PM
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There is a point, though, where it's too much. On any given time when I come on and click New Posts, the first half-page is usually monopolized by board games, and sometimes it's annoying to weed through and get to the stuff actually worth reading. They definitely have their place, and serve to redirect some 'spam-lust', but I wouldn't mind if a couple word association games died off.

As to non-Cafe topics being hijacked...I haven't actually seen too many of those recently. In the five-post thread, the question was pretty much exhausted on the first page, so there was really no point in repeating what had already been said, so a little casual conversation is pretty harmless. In fact, it could even be argued that new posts keep the topic near the top, so that people wondering the same thing are more likely to see it...but to each their own. By the very nature of conversations, they make sense in some places more than others. "If you want to have a conversation, go to the Cafe" is a little bit stringent sometimes.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:04 PM
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I can't give examples because I really don't want to waste my time, but it happens a lot on this site. Enough for it to have come in conversation with other members, past and present. Introduction threads quickly get trampled over, no longer saying welcome to people but having a chat and in jokes, which may alienate or include a new member. Personally I wouldn't take the risk with that.

Maybe I've just out grown what writer's beat has to offer.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kal View Post
no longer saying welcome to people but having a chat
Wait...a chat with the members whose topic it is, or pre-existing ones? I think it's important to get to know them a little and make them feel comfortable. When I join a new site, I want the people who respond to be welcoming, but if everyone just says "Welcome, welcome, welcome"...it gets generic, and there's no way to know if they really mean it. If they ask you questions about yourself, give you information, involve you in a discussion, that says to me that they care.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:41 PM
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I meant that I've seen a fair few that became back and forth or in jokes between existing members.

Obviously talking to the new member is a good thing.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:00 PM
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Is it so wrong to show that we're friendly? Takes a bit of pressure off the newbie.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:05 PM
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I personally liked to see the way members interact with each other on this site when I was new - it's part of what made me decide to sign in here, and it was confirmed once I became a member
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:10 PM
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There's friendly and there's cliquey. Too much of existing members having a chat without really including the newbie and it can become alienating.

I'm not having a go about talking to new members, I'm just saying off-topic threads have been on the rise, and nothing was done so I let you know.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:33 PM
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The bigger a site gets, the more there will be off topic banter. Even then, many times the topic comes back later.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:09 AM
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I know I'm late on this thread, but...

Look, it's a debatable topic.

There are lines everywhere. And they're all personal.

Frankly, I think the reason why this forum is alive is because of the Writers' Cafe and the off topic banter.

Honestly, it does get a bit tiring wading through all these 'useless' posts, but when they're not too high and not too silly it does.

While Mike makes valid points... you get to the opposite spectrum where everything's serious and... the community's gone; people just come and go in their self-centred world... not to name, but many other forums are like that. It's all about the member. They come, they go. It's a serious forum. There's no banter, no off-topic and no discussion... just the writing.

And there's a point where people lose interest.

Admittedly, this forum can get out of hand. There are a lot of younger people nowadays, though, and that must be taken into consideration.

I think the banter and off-topic stuff contributes to the community; builds characteristics and traits that people can see when transferred to paper - but of course there's a limit.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:18 AM
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A lot of things on this forum can get a bit moronic at times and we are all contributors to it in one fashion or another. Overall the site is well policed, considering the admins have lives outside of this netherworld. Lately there has been a large influx of new folks joining the site and they all seem to think it is a site they would like to engage it. They started as guests reading the same threads we all do, by and large, and they have read the off topic junk without it scaring them off.

Some will join and stick around and some won't. Can't please everyone. Sometimes I think we are all a bit guilty of taking ourselves too serious. Maybe we should save it for the things that really matter. You make a good point Kal, but I don't think regimentation fits the demographics. Just an opinion.

As for joking around with the newbies, it's nice to know who has a sense of humor and who doesn't.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SW View Post
Admittedly, this forum can get out of hand. There are a lot of younger people nowadays, though, and that must be taken into consideration.
True... the forum always takes on a different tone in the summer, when so many younger members are active. But that's not a bad thing; we're here for all types of writers.

Originally Posted by SW
I think the banter and off-topic stuff contributes to the community; builds characteristics and traits that people can see when transferred to paper - but of course there's a limit.
I think you hit the nail on the head, SW! It's about balance. I wouldn't want to be somewhere that was all work and no play. Sometimes, I get such a kick out of the playful banter here that I read it aloud to family members! On the other hand, when the banter takes over entire threads or becomes offensive to the members who started them, it's gone too far.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:03 PM
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On another site:
Writingforums.org they have it to where if your posts are fluff, then they dont count, they dont even show up in your total amount of posts.
But if they are critiques and are helpful to another member than they count. And without these you are not allowed to post a story.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kal View Post
It sets a very bad example and I belie Writer's Beat is becoming a poorer place for its members when they can't have an unpolluted discussion on writing.
And you think restricting what people are allowed to say will set a good one?

If i want to say purple monkey dishwasher i will!

Its up to the OP to bring the reigns back a little, and but the topic on rails. But seriously we should be able to say what we want!

That said, I can understand you annoyance if there is a thread about.. Lets say fantasy novels. And someone comes in and randomly says "I like Crime novels! and starts talking about crime novels."

There is nothing wrong with threads going off-topic. Do you get annoyed if your talking to someone and over 10 minutes the topic has changed? no. you don't. This is hardly any different.
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PenPen View Post
And you think restricting what people are allowed to say will set a good one?

If i want to say purple monkey dishwasher i will!

Its up to the OP to bring the reigns back a little, and but the topic on rails. But seriously we should be able to say what we want!

That said, I can understand you annoyance if there is a thread about.. Lets say fantasy novels. And someone comes in and randomly says "I like Crime novels! and starts talking about crime novels."

There is nothing wrong with threads going off-topic. Do you get annoyed if your talking to someone and over 10 minutes the topic has changed? no. you don't. This is hardly any different.
The thing is, that on a forum there shouldn't be an instance where two people are simply talking about their day in the middle of a thread on a discussion about something. I have seen it happen before and its just unnecessary.

They've tried making new topics when new things come up in other topics, that's how forums work a lot of the time, topics inspire other topics. Yes we have freedom to say what we want, and really the OP has no power over the direction the discussion takes. But it shouldn't just dwindle down into a conversation that is of a personal nature and has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CTK View Post
The thing is, that on a forum there shouldn't be an instance where two people are simply talking about their day in the middle of a thread on a discussion about something. I have seen it happen before and its just unnecessary.

They've tried making new topics when new things come up in other topics, that's how forums work a lot of the time, topics inspire other topics. Yes we have freedom to say what we want, and really the OP has no power over the direction the discussion takes. But it shouldn't just dwindle down into a conversation that is of a personal nature and has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.
Well, why not?

I mean its obvious not to make it too personal, but that goes for anywhere on the internet. If someone reads this thread, gives their reply and then notices my avatar. Why cant they just drop in a "PS: PenPen, Whats your avatar from?" And then why cant I reply?
I mean, besides the obvious irony in leading a thread about people going off-topic, off-topic.

It might be a little different if someone came in and asked me that question while ignoring the rest of the thread. But once they have given a reply to the original ideas of the thread whats the problem?

Its obviously unacceptable if someone comes in and starts being racist, sexist or anything thats meant to offend. But otherwise, I see no problem.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by PenPen View Post
Well, why not?

I mean its obvious not to make it too personal, but that goes for anywhere on the internet. If someone reads this thread, gives their reply and then notices my avatar. Why cant they just drop in a "PS: PenPen, Whats your avatar from?" And then why cant I reply?
I mean, besides the obvious irony in leading a thread about people going off-topic, off-topic.

It might be a little different if someone came in and asked me that question while ignoring the rest of the thread. But once they have given a reply to the original ideas of the thread whats the problem?

Its obviously unacceptable if someone comes in and starts being racist, sexist or anything thats meant to offend. But otherwise, I see no problem.
First off, the first thing I noticed about you was the name and the avatar...let no man speak ill of Evangelion.

Anyway what I mean is prolonged conversation about each other's day, pages of back and forth chatter. If people mention the off hand thing for one or two posts, its fine, but it can snowball into this just looking like an IM log.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CTK View Post
First off, the first thing I noticed about you was the name and the avatar...let no man speak ill of Evangelion.

Anyway what I mean is prolonged conversation about each other's day, pages of back and forth chatter. If people mention the off hand thing for one or two posts, its fine, but it can snowball into this just looking like an IM log.
^^
Eva fans unite.
But yes ok, YOU know what evangelion is (and +1 to you!) but not everyone does. maybe bad example?

Ahh! I see what you mean, yes that could get quite annoying. But After the op's question is finished or the topic has for-filled its purpose, if another conversation has come up why not let it continue?

But, say we started talking about NGE now. again, apart from the irony, it would be a little annoying.
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by PenPen View Post
^^
Eva fans unite.
But yes ok, YOU know what evangelion is (and +1 to you!) but not everyone does. maybe bad example?

Ahh! I see what you mean, yes that could get quite annoying. But After the op's question is finished or the topic has for-filled its purpose, if another conversation has come up why not let it continue?

But, say we started talking about NGE now. again, apart from the irony, it would be a little annoying.
Its funny because what usually happens is a thread gets horribly off topic, comes to an end, then some new member finds it posts and puts it back on topic. Problem is it could spend pages off topic.
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