Author Topic: Dredging up old threads  (Read 5615 times)

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CakeEater

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Dredging up old threads
« on: June 02, 2012, 03:47:43 AM »
I belong to a craft-specific forum which has a page for threads with newest comments. There is currently a new member who is also very new to the craft who is obviously doing a lot of back-reading in the forums. Good idea - I certainly read a lot of old threads when I joined. Except new member is commenting on lots of old threads.

Sometimes when people comment on old threads, it's to give updates on situations, or to ask a new but related question. However new member is just making observations on long-resolved situations, or adding her opinion to debates that are long-finished, or even offering advice to posters on threads that are years old.

Obviously it's annoying me a bit, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's rude. I don't think it's top notch forum etiquette, though. What do you think?

Corvid

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 04:10:16 AM »
I see this in another forum that I check in on and, in the case of that particular forum, at least, I think it's ridiculous.  There's been a huge turnover of regulars participating there so when someone does this, they're talking to people who haven't been there for years.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 10:34:24 AM by Corvid »

Lynn2000

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 10:09:10 AM »
I guess it doesn't seem rude to me, unless they're bringing up hurtful threads that people wish could be forgotten--like if a thread contained a bitter disagreement about techniques which all the established members have moved on from, agreeing to disagree and dropping the subject. Seeing that pop up at the top of the "unread posts since last visit" list (to use the language from our own forum) might irritate quite a lot of people, bring up bad feelings, and start the debate once again. Even then I would guess the new person isn't so much rude/malicious as clueless.

Occasionally on here I've seen people respond to a thread they found, without realizing it started and ended years ago (probably done it myself!). Sometimes another member will add the next post in that thread, saying something like, "Hi, welcome to the forum! Just so you know, this thread was started in 2007. I think BeadLover10 resolved her issue, but if you'd like to discuss the topic again/ask your own question, you could start a new thread."
~Lynn2000

Two Ravens

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 10:27:22 AM »
Aw, zombie threads. Yes, they can be annoying. I for one have been reading a thread, found one post and thought "I totally agree with this" and then realize I actually wrote it years ago (I guess its better than thinking I was an idiot.  ::))

Maybe someone could PM the newbie and let her know this is generally frowned upon?

artk2002

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 12:20:29 PM »
Ah Necromancers. One blog I frequent just changed software and it now locks threads older than a few months, so that people can't revive them.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Yvaine

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 12:27:23 PM »
Aw, zombie threads. Yes, they can be annoying. I for one have been reading a thread, found one post and thought "I totally agree with this" and then realize I actually wrote it years ago (I guess its better than thinking I was an idiot.  ::))

I've actually done this on here!  ;D There's some post, somewhere on the forum, where I tell the same anecdote twice about 2 years apart. I think a lot of thread necromancy is completely accidental; you're reading old threads and reply, forgetting that you were digging in the old threads in the first place.

squeakers

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 12:39:57 PM »
Ah Necromancers. One blog I frequent just changed software and it now locks threads older than a few months, so that people can't revive them.

A forum I belong to does the same thing except instead of locking the thread completely you are greeted by a Reaper who advises you that "this is an old and dead thread, do you really need to post to it or should you make a new thread?"  Because sometimes there is new info to be added (game maker finally fixed a glitch, celebrity discussed died, murderer confesses etc.)
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

O'Dell

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 01:01:50 PM »
My understanding is that "necroposting" is considered rude per techno-quette. It will likely taper off once the newbie is done reading the old threads. If you want to give her some friendly advice that it's better to start new threads if she wants discussion rather than bringing old stale threads to the top.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Venus193

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 01:13:16 PM »
I have seen this at delphooey in a popular forum as a troll move.  The remedy was very unpleasant.

jaxsue

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 01:53:50 PM »
I don't like zombie threads. They should stay dead and buried - the only exception is if the OP has a vital update.

TheVapors

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 02:13:25 PM »
Thread necromancy. I can't say rude, but I would say (depending on the forum setting) it's in bad taste. More often pointless and annoying rather than rude.

Perhaps I'd call it a foruming faux pas.

I know that the few places I frequent it makes no sense to dredge up old threads, because the information was so long passed that things either have changed since the post was made, or the situation has already been resolved/forgotten.

I think that when new people do it, they either don't think about how the threads are years old, or they want to feel as though they are participating when they don't feel they can quite yet add anything to any newer threads.

I like the idea of software that would automatically close threads after a certain length of time. Or even a general sticky on the forum that requests people not necro unless it's to add some vital information.

MariaE

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 04:26:24 PM »
I think it depends a lot on the thread. If for some reason the "Special Snowflake" should go into hibernation for a couple of years (unlikely, I know ;) )  then I don't think it would be rude to revive it to post a new story. But the examples in the OP seem off.
 
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CakeEater

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2012, 04:37:38 PM »
Well, she's at it again this morning. Gave advice on a non-payment situation on a thread started two years ago, contradicted a very established and helpful member's advice to someone else on a new thread, and started a new thread complaining about the number of stickies in the forums, and that 'everyone hates stickies on all the other forums she's on'.

Will wait and see how long it takes for one of the very long-standing members to say something.

TootsNYC

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2012, 05:11:27 PM »
Aw, zombie threads. Yes, they can be annoying. I for one have been reading a thread, found one post and thought "I totally agree with this" and then realize I actually wrote it years ago (I guess its better than thinking I was an idiot.  ::))

I've had this happen to me!

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Maybe someone could PM the newbie and let her know this is generally frowned upon?


I wouldn't say, "let her know this is generally frowned upon"--that sort of unsolicited advice, especially if worded that way, is not that well received. I know; I just received a "you're doing it wrong" PM from someone at a forum I'm on, and I did not appreciate it at all.

You might have better luck if the tone is, "Hey, I noticed that you've been commenting on a lot of the threads, and I wondered if maybe you didn't realize how old they are," but I think you still run a risk of alienating her. That's unsolicited advice.

And I do like the comment that Lynn2000 suggested (and I think a public welcome like that is better than a PM):

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Sometimes another member will add the next post in that thread, saying something like, "Hi, welcome to the forum! Just so you know, this thread was started in 2007. I think BeadLover10 resolved her issue, but if you'd like to discuss the topic again/ask your own question, you could start a new thread."

A similar wording could be used in PM--but please don't chastise or "advise" people via PM.

Otherwise, I think you just wait for it to die down. New people sometimes have trouble fitting into the group--they'll probably get it eventually.

One of the things that happens on a forum is that people may consider it to be a resource. So a thread on non-payment may pop up on a search for someone, and her advice might actually be relevant. (In some situations like that, I might have started my comment with, "I know this is old, but I had a thought that might be useful to someone who comes to this thread later." Or I've added a comment like that to the thread right behind the newbie, much as Lynn suggested.

blarg314

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Re: Dredging up old threads
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2012, 09:45:46 PM »

It might be worth emailing a mod, and commenting that there has a been a problem with zombie threads recently, is there a possibility of locking threads that have been inactive for a certain period?

I do think that deliberately resurrecting zombie threads is generally rude, first because it clutters up the forum with things that older users have already responded to, and second because once a thread is resurrected, people tend to respond to it without noticing that it's old, so it keeps spiralling on.

It's different when an old thread is brought active for a genuinely new update, particularly by the OP. But if old threads are locked, they can always start a new post and link to the old one.

I'm on one forum where this is an issue due to the forum setup. At the bottom of a thread page it lists "Related Topics", but doesn't filter by date. So you look at it, see an interesting post, click on it, don't realize it's from ten years ago, and accidentally bring it back to life.