Suggestion: moderate thread-drifting

CapnZapp

Legend
Sometimes threads evolve naturally. They start discussing one thing, and end up discussing something only tangentially related. A charitable term for this could be that threads drift.

But sometimes a bunch of posters clearly disagree with the OP, doesn't like the topic and direction of a thread. If not moderated, they can easily take over the thread, even have it discuss the exact opposite of what the OP intended for the thread to discuss. In this case, the thread doesn't drift, it derails.

Is this just a call for thread ownership? No. I know threads aren't owned. But some subject areas become effectively impossible to discuss in a constructive manner on ENWorld, if you can't have a thread free from dozens of posts that mostly argue against the OP and the title topic. You can feel effectively booted from your own thread when you see it discuss the polar opposite of the topic you started it for. It's often enough for as few as two or three posters to fill a thread with ten pages of unrelated chatter to effectively shut down discussion, all with zero risk of getting moderated.

And so I ask that the ENWorld mod team reconsider their current "do nothing" approach. Just asking these posters to take their discussion to a thread of their own would be a huge step in the right direction.

It's possible I'm not even asking this for myself, so I wanted to take this opportunity to make this request for other, future, posters.


Best Regards,
CapnZapp
 

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Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I nominate as Exhibit A:
The necromancer / paladin thread that has changed from "how do we play these characters together" into a discussion of Absolute Evil and alignment.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
To respectfully put forth a different take.

We seem good at respecting positive (+) threads and P.E.A.C.H. threads, and ones like those that are asking for only constructive disagreement might be a place where a light moderator touch could be useful if someone drifts.

But in general the drifting I've seen recently is what we have always done, but is more noticeable and impactful because with the new (fantastic!!) software change we no longer have a threaded comment option. If a few people did a deep dive into a concept with that, it was contained there. No matter how active the posters were. Now it shows up interspersed with everything else, just appended in chronological order. If we have some active posters responding to each other it can end up being the majority of the new reply section.

But it's not inherently bad to focus on part of a topic, one method of resolution, the ripple effects something causes, or the whatever the deep dive is about. It's just more disruptive because we've lost the tool that would previously contain that for those that wanted to discuss it.

So, is there a way to regain that tool or something else that fulfills the need, instead of asking moderators to get involved for what could be reasonable behavior but due to an artifact of the posting system is exacerbated?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Same as the last time you asked, we are not planning on increasing our workload by moderating what people talk about beyond the restrictions already in the rules.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
A modest proposal: don’t respond to posts you consider “off-topic”. I’m not saying use your ignore lists, just...don’t engage those postings. Not even to tell them they’re off topic.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But sometimes a bunch of posters clearly disagree with the OP, doesn't like the topic and direction of a thread. If not moderated, they can easily take over the thread, even have it discuss the exact opposite of what the OP intended for the thread to discuss. In this case, the thread doesn't drift, it derails.
Which might indicate a combination of two things:

a) there's limited interest in, or agreement with, the OP's intended discussion or topic; and
b) the OP or an early reply has touched on something - which may or may not be all that related to the intended topic - for which there is appetite for discussion, and away it goes.

Personally I'd not want to see this moderated in the least! I mean, hell - if a thread is started regarding the benefits of apple trees over orange trees and somehow morphs into a discussion of 4-stroke chopped-out Harley-Davidsons, at least there's still interest in the thread even if nobody other than the OP really gave a flying fig about trees of any sort. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I nominate as Exhibit A:
The necromancer / paladin thread that has changed from "how do we play these characters together" into a discussion of Absolute Evil and alignment.
Like nobody saw that coming fifteen miles away, that a Necro-v-Pally thread would spawn an alignment debate! :)
 

Which might indicate a combination of two things:

a) there's limited interest in, or agreement with, the OP's intended discussion or topic; and
b) the OP or an early reply has touched on something - which may or may not be all that related to the intended topic - for which there is appetite for discussion, and away it goes.

Personally I'd not want to see this moderated in the least!

I understand the desire for moderation in this. Sometimes, you really do want to discuss something that is of limited interest. That's a legitimate desire. Heck, it's the entire reason this community exists. But if that thing is tangentially related to another topic that is much more popular or hotly debated, it can be impossible to discuss the limited interest without getting drowned out. Especially when your "limited interest topic" is something that demands a slower discussion (i.e. requires longer, thought out posts, possibly even with math) and it gets drowned out by a page full of sarcastic one liners.

Is there any way to bring back forked threads? At one point this was on option that I think worked well for this. If someone starts a series of posts that drift away from the main topic, someone could just create a new forked thread to continue that topic and leave the original discussion intact (done tactfully, of course).
 

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