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Author Topic: "Take to other thread" requests  (Read 12411 times)

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cabbageweevil

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"Take to other thread" requests
« on: February 24, 2015, 12:22:44 PM »
Just a general thought for possible consideration by “the government, and the citizenry” of eHell.  And, not something about which I’m militantly angry – just, for me, in the “slightly niggling and puzzling” department.

Clarification: this concerns “Time For a Coffee Break”, generally seen as the “fun and relaxation” section of eHell; where being firmly on-topic is envisagedly less of a requirement than in the more-strictly-etiquette-dedicated majority of the board.

It quite often happens on threads in “Time For a Coffee Break”, that people latch on to a particular topic for conversation, led to by the thread’s general theme, and enjoyably converse about it at some length. Someone – plainly not interested in the particular rabbit-hole which is being gone down -- then makes a post to the effect of, “Can the discussion about [random example – long-beaked echidnas in New Guinea]  be taken to its own / another thread?”

At a couple of times in the past – not recently – I’ve found myself in this firing-line; but this isn’t personal – I’d just wish to air something which has frequently come to my mind, re this specific issue. “Time For a Coffee Break” is supposed, as I understand it, to be the relaxed and informal section of the board, where people may (within the general civility / decency guidelines) chat as they wish, about what they wish. Time and again, though, one sees in “Time For a...” threads, this “Please take this discussion elsewhere” motif .

It baffles me a little – and has me wondering how it squares with people’s general ideas of etiquette.  In real life with real people interacting: if someone is caught in the midst of a conversation which they find boring, surely it would not be thought acceptable for them to say, “this stuff bores me – please change the subject”; or, “you lot please go off over into that corner of the room and discuss New Guinea long-beaked echidnas with each other;  I and those sensible people like me, who want to talk about something interesting, will stay right here.”  The real-life polite thing is, surely, to detach oneself from the boring conversation and either join a conversation elsewhere, which interests one; or just “muse” solo.

If there is stuff being discussed on a “Time For a...” thread, which a participant finds boring – is it so hard for said participant just to ignore and skip over the boring stuff;  or to post something in the thread, about another element of the thread, which does interest them, and may stimulate discussion which will interest them? (And / or, for them to think, “soon enough, the tedious topic which annoys me, will die off, of itself...”).  I’m ready to be persuaded that I am in error / out of step with etiquette / rude without realising it; but if I were to post, especially in a “Time For a...” thread, “Can Topic X be taken off to...?” – I’d feel that I was behaving in a rude and special-snowflakey way – and making myself liable to be told what I could do with my request.  Please, if appropriate, correct me – tell me “no, this is not at all rude to do”; or, “rude or not, it’s part of the culture of this board; love it or leave it”.  I’m just curious, and a little bemused.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 12:27:39 PM »
I personally like it when that happens.  Maybe I'd like to discuss echidnas in more detail but don't want to do so in the Special Snowflakes thread.  So I create an echidnas thread and those who are interested can follow me over there and those who are not no longer have to skip over posts that are not of interest to them.

Plus, if there is any controversy with the echidnas, then that's the thread that's locked, rather than the long running, much enjoyed Special Snowflakes thread.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

Bexx27

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2015, 12:40:58 PM »
For me it depends how the request is worded. I do find it annoying when it's something like, "this thread is supposed to be for special snowflake stories. Can we please move the echnidna discussion to another thread?" There's nothing wrong with a bit of thread drift in the off-topic section, and a long conversation that never strays from its original topic actually seems likely to be stagnate and become boring. If I'm not interested in the particular direction of a drift, I skim over those posts until the thread lands on something I want to read about. It seems pretty rude to post, essentially, "you people are boring me. Talk about something I find entertaining." The best way to redirect a thread is to contribute something substantive and on topic yourself, not to demand that others do so.

Sometimes, however, the thread drift is sustained and it's obvious there's a lot of interest in long-beaked echidnas. In that case, I see nothing wrong with suggesting a separate thread for people who want to focus on that topic.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Yvaine

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2015, 12:52:56 PM »
For me it depends how the request is worded. I do find it annoying when it's something like, "this thread is supposed to be for special snowflake stories. Can we please move the echnidna discussion to another thread?" There's nothing wrong with a bit of thread drift in the off-topic section, and a long conversation that never strays from its original topic actually seems likely to be stagnate and become boring. If I'm not interested in the particular direction of a drift, I skim over those posts until the thread lands on something I want to read about. It seems pretty rude to post, essentially, "you people are boring me. Talk about something I find entertaining." The best way to redirect a thread is to contribute something substantive and on topic yourself, not to demand that others do so.

Sometimes, however, the thread drift is sustained and it's obvious there's a lot of interest in long-beaked echidnas. In that case, I see nothing wrong with suggesting a separate thread for people who want to focus on that topic.

Or it's gotten controversial--like Outdoor Girl says, it's better for the spinoff to get locked; it's annoying when an epic Coffee Break thread with five years' history gets locked because someone couldn't resist arguing politics on page 506!  ;D

rose red

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2015, 01:09:29 PM »
Many times, I find the subject of the topic drift very interesting. I'm not bored at all. However, when I click on Ghost Stories, I want to read about ghost stories. When I click on Food, I want to read about food. Think about the excitement of thinking that you are getting a new instant-justice story only to find pages and pages and pages on chocolate. I love chocolate, but it's like false advertising when you're expecting justice stories.

EllenS

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 01:30:14 PM »
Many times, I find the subject of the topic drift very interesting. I'm not bored at all. However, when I click on Ghost Stories, I want to read about ghost stories. When I click on Food, I want to read about food. Think about the excitement of thinking that you are getting a new instant-justice story only to find pages and pages and pages on chocolate. I love chocolate, but it's like false advertising when you're expecting justice stories.

Also, sometimes only a small handful of folks will be participating in a rapid discussion (friendly or contentious) on the specific sub topic within the more general thread, while posts introducing new ideas get shoved out of sight.

I think that's a sign that the sub-topic has a life of its own, and both would benefit from getting separate space. Kind of like breaking up a plant that's overgrown its spot - by transplanting the new shoot, both are more vigorous.

I don't see it as being judgemental of the new topic, but it is unfortunate when I really wanted to reply to an interesting new post on the thread, but there are now two pages of quick jokes or disagreement separating it, and nobody will know what I'm talking about.

No, nobody would verbally do that at a party, but they would'nt have to, because people can physically flow to different spaces.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 01:54:44 PM »
I think message boards are different that in-person conversation, because there is a defined topic within each thread (in my experience, at least, in-person conversations don't usually have a title defining that we are talking about [topic X]  ;)). For me, the appropriateness of starting a spin-off thread depends on (1) whether it's actually interfering with more on-topic posts (rare, IME) and (2) how far the tangent is from the original topic.

1. Under most circumstances, I think it's better for someone interested in the original topic to write their own post on that topic, rather than asking/telling others not to discuss the subtopic. If people are interested, then the original topic will pick back up. If that line of discussion has died, then it won't and it's time to let it go. I've see a lot of comments like "Can the [topic X] discussion move to another thread? I'm interested in the [original topic] stories" without actually offering any [original topic] stories. I personally find that quite irritating--if you want to discuss [original topic], then discuss it--don't expect other posters to change their discussion to entertain you. Unless the subtopic is flooding the thread so fast no one else can get a post in, there's nothing stopping people from posting [original topic] stories, so if there aren't any, it's presumably because no one has any to post at the moment.

Of course, if someone tries to tell you you're off-topic for discussion the original topic of the thread, it would be reasonable to point out that it's the original topic, but that's usually not what's happening when I see posts about taking a topic to another thread.

2. As far as off-topic stuff goes, if a Ghost Stories thread (to borrow rose red's examples) has gotten sidetracked into a lengthy discussion of chocolate-making, then I think a polite request to move it to a new thread is reasonable. However, if a bunch of posters in a Ghost Stories thread start discussing poltergeists specifically, then I think it's unreasonable to expect it to move--it's not off-topic; it's a subtopic of the original. Mentioning that the subtopic seems popular enough to support it's own thread would be fine, but IMO implying it doesn't belong in the original thread and shouldn't be allowed to continue there is out of line. That's just natural conversational drift. If you want to discuss other ghosts, then it's up to you to post about it and see if you can revive the more general conversation.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2015, 02:11:05 PM »
I think if you are going to redirect a thread, bean dip with your own story. At least, that'd what I try and do.

It does get annoying when people HAVE moved the discussion on and someone goes back to that topic.

PastryGoddess

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2015, 02:25:24 PM »
Each thread in the coffee break folder has a different topic.  So if there is an off tangent discussion that has been going on for a couple of pages, IMO its time for it to move to a different thread so that people can continue that conversation while allowing the original thread to continue. 


DavidH

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2015, 02:27:01 PM »
I think the fundamental difference between a message board and a live conversation is that the topic you are reading about is defined.  To me, it's more like going to a book club or bible study and someone starts turning the conversation to cooking.  In that case, it's appropriate to say can we stick to the topic at hand and then talk about your favorite bean dip recipes after the meeting. I don't think it's a commentary on how interesting or not the new topic is, merely that it is misplaced in the current thread.

There was a topic a while ago about food thieves at work that turned into cats taking food.  Both can be fun stories, but they are different topics and should be so labeled.   

cabbageweevil

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 02:43:19 PM »
I think message boards are different that in-person conversation, because there is a defined topic within each thread (in my experience, at least, in-person conversations don't usually have a title defining that we are talking about [topic X]  ;)). For me, the appropriateness of starting a spin-off thread depends on (1) whether it's actually interfering with more on-topic posts (rare, IME) and (2) how far the tangent is from the original topic.

1. Under most circumstances, I think it's better for someone interested in the original topic to write their own post on that topic, rather than asking/telling others not to discuss the subtopic. If people are interested, then the original topic will pick back up. If that line of discussion has died, then it won't and it's time to let it go. I've see a lot of comments like "Can the [topic X] discussion move to another thread? I'm interested in the [original topic] stories" without actually offering any [original topic] stories. I personally find that quite irritating--if you want to discuss [original topic], then discuss it--don't expect other posters to change their discussion to entertain you. Unless the subtopic is flooding the thread so fast no one else can get a post in, there's nothing stopping people from posting [original topic] stories, so if there aren't any, it's presumably because no one has any to post at the moment.

Onyx_TKD -- you totally chime in here with my feelings, and express them more succinctly than I could.  Especially as, it's re an informal, "unbuttoned" part of the board (on more-precise / serious parts, IMO more OK for posters to rein others in for going off "hither and thither").

Lynn2000

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2015, 04:48:57 PM »
I think the fundamental difference between a message board and a live conversation is that the topic you are reading about is defined.  To me, it's more like going to a book club or bible study and someone starts turning the conversation to cooking.  In that case, it's appropriate to say can we stick to the topic at hand and then talk about your favorite bean dip recipes after the meeting. I don't think it's a commentary on how interesting or not the new topic is, merely that it is misplaced in the current thread.

There was a topic a while ago about food thieves at work that turned into cats taking food.  Both can be fun stories, but they are different topics and should be so labeled.

POD to this. So, I don't think one can apply all the rules for a live conversation to a message board.

I do prefer when someone enthusiastically says, "I've made a new thread to continue the echidna discussion! Here's the link!" rather than when someone just chastises. Usually I try to post something germane to the thread topic, in an attempt to redirect it. I know sometimes threads get locked when they drift from their topic too much, even if the thread is really long and enjoyable.

However, I don't think an individual should feel especially chided, if they happen to be the last poster before someone requests a change. Maybe if you are called out by name, but that would be very rude! I think it's more that the poster has reached their breaking point with the many echidna posts, and is not targeting any one particular person for going off-topic.
~Lynn2000

Hillia

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 06:03:04 PM »
But sometimes the side topics really take over the thread.  A recent example is the fanfic discussion on the Craft Freebies thread.  Obviously this was a topic a lot of people felt strongly about, but it was really taking up a lot of space.  I'd see that the craft freebies thread had a new post and hop in, only to find 3 more contributions to the fanfic discussion.  Most of the topics on the thread went on for just a few posts, but fanfic took up a few pages.  That was one that I feel did deserve its own thread.

Benni

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 06:35:47 PM »
As I used to tell my girls when they were little:  It's not what you are saying, but how you are saying it.

There is:  Folks, this conversation about the mating habits of turtles is so fascination, I just started a new thread about it - please go here to continue the conversation.  Now back to the subject of this thread, how to tell your DH that his cooking stinks - one time I....

Then there is: Take this to a new thread, this has drifted too far and not everyone cares about the mating habits of turtles.

Anyone who posts like the first post I have no issues with.  The ones who post like the second, well it isn't quite polite is it?

For threads that are very long and have gone on for years - self-police.  Do whatever to be sure the posts stay on topic and do not get the thread locked.

EllenS

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Re: "Take to other thread" requests
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2015, 06:51:09 PM »
There is "polite" and there is "indirect". As we have had long threads about, being direct is not necessarily impolite.

Yes, saying "Take this to a new thread, this has drifted too far and not everyone cares about the mating habits of turtles," does come off as dismissive and snarky.

However, "Could the discussion of the mating habits of turtles move to a new thread?" I think, is a perfectly polite direct request.