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Placing the original post in a thread prominently





jeffryjon
I seem to spend most of my time in the frihost forums in Philosophy and Religion. Some of the threads get pretty long and drift increasingly off-subject. I may be as guilty as anyone else in this 'crime', though have received complaints from someone about this problem and equally, have found the need to quote myself in a thread in an attempt to bring the thread back on track.

Since the suggestion came to mind, I've given a little consideration to the implications.

1) The approach could create many more threads which could be good and/or bad
2) The approach could increase the chance of a thread being completed as opposed to fizzling out due to circular conversations.
3) It may have no effect at all.
4) The technical complications may make it impractical (I'm not suitably experienced to decide this, though it occurred to me that it may be possible to place 2 windows, one of which is the review as we have now and another which displays the original post).
Blaster
I'm not really sure what you are getting at. Can you explain more clearly?
truespeed
Blaster wrote:
I'm not really sure what you are getting at. Can you explain more clearly?


Quote:
New postPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:58 pm Post subject:


He means this,apart from the first post,the following posts don't contain the thread title above them.
jeffryjon
Or something of a similar value. If I look at the contents of the reply to this page, I have at the top Frihost Forums > suggestions but not anything that reminds me what the suggestion is. Below, I have a portal which allows me to review the topic in the reverse order that it was posted. In this case and at this stage of the thread, that's very easy to do.

If we look at another example of a reply, let's say to the thread "Outrageous: Denmark re-publish Mohammud cartoons", the review only takes me back as far as a post made as the 4th post of the 12th of 13 pages. Unless the original title of the thread, or the original post is quoted in one of these posts, there is nothing on the reply/quote page to act as a reminder of what the thread was actually intended to discuss.

The problem (understandably) is that subjects often lead to other subjects being discussed on a thread and if the post is interesting enough to the postees, it continues to go astray. I'm not suggesting that alternative subjects should not be discussed, just that they belong in another thread and it would be helpful if the person writing the post had something to remind them what the thread is supposed to be about.

I know, it could be argued that the postees have a responsibility to stay on subject, but reading through a few posts in the philosophy and religion section would quickly show that threads go off track at least as much as staying on track. Bikerman suggested I could post my suggestion here, which seemed a good idea.
deanhills
@ jeffryjon. Understand completely where you are coming from. Particularly those threads where two people are "chatting" for longer than one page and sometimes off-topic as well (actually really need to be reminded that they are off topic but very rarely are reminded in the Philosophy & Religion Forum). And both of them are writing lengthy postings as well.

I think there should be a way that we can always see the original thread in front of us, or at least the topic of the original thread, as when we are writing responses, such as I am doing now, the Subject Line is completely blank. Perhaps there could be a way to always have at least the topic of the thread visible, with a link to the original posting?

In addition to having the topic always prominently available, there should be some rules (I think there already are but not enforced) against two people hugging the thread indefinitely to the point of excluding all other posters. Especially when it goes over more than a reasonable number of postings. It may be fun for the two, but for others who have to read through all of their discussion to get to the point of what is being discussed, especially when the two of them are writing those half page long postings, it is exhausting. Most would probably give up and just skip the thread when they can't get to the bottom of it with a quick scan.
jeffryjon
I had thought about asking for a "Vote for a new a new thread" button with a counter which could show how many postees agree that a new thread is warranted. Obviously, this is a whole new suggestion, so let's try for the subject and/or original post being displayed first.
ocalhoun
jeffryjon wrote:
Obviously, this is a whole new suggestion, so let's try for the subject and/or original post being displayed first.

I would make a new spin-off topic for it, but I've already done that twice in the last 30 minutes, so I'll just make a brief note here, fully aware of the irony of sidetracking a thread about how to avoid sidetracking:

You could report the first sidetracking post, and request that a moderator split the topic.
jeffryjon
ocalhoun wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Obviously, this is a whole new suggestion, so let's try for the subject and/or original post being displayed first.

I would make a new spin-off topic for it, but I've already done that twice in the last 30 minutes, so I'll just make a brief note here, fully aware of the irony of sidetracking a thread about how to avoid sidetracking:

You could report the first sidetracking post, and request that a moderator split the topic.


Totally agree here, though reporting posts also presents problems, especially in the Phil&Rel section. Since most people avoid conflict, it would probably be left to 1 person and may bias any further threads they take part in. I was hoping some kind of 'vote' button would be both softer and give a better feel of how many others would like to expand on something. I'll post a thread for this one.
ocalhoun
A report doesn't have to be bad, you could just use the 'mistake' category, and explain in the text box.

No user needs to be punished just to bring the tread to a mod's attention.
jeffryjon
So should we call the button 'Whoops'? But then we'd have to write a note to say what the whoops was.

I'm not really a big fan of reporting (except for technical issues or if something's broken the rules in a big way). Since the problem seems to exist more in Phil&Rel and I've received comments about other issues, I've tried to make it a fun thing as I think to some extent our problems are unique. There's a thread in Phil&Rel called 'Forum Philosophy'. I'm deliberately taking a back seat on it for now, as I'd like others to share their ideas.
deanhills
jeffryjon wrote:
I'm not really a big fan of reporting (except for technical issues or if something's broken the rules in a big way). Since the problem seems to exist more in Phil&Rel and I've received comments about other issues, I've tried to make it a fun thing as I think to some extent our problems are unique. There's a thread in Phil&Rel called 'Forum Philosophy'. I'm deliberately taking a back seat on it for now, as I'd like others to share their ideas.
Why don't you just write a PM to Chris? I'm almost certain he will respond immediately as he posts very regularly almost around the clock. He does seem to enjoy debating with you and would perhaps better understand exactly where you are coming from particularly since it is a Phil@Rel issue. A report may not have a quick turnaround, and by the time that someone does respond to the report the "off-track" discussion may have taken a different turning.
jeffryjon
With regard to suggestions to the original post, it was Chris who suggested I place it here, which seemed to make sense and I did. Thanks for the suggestion though. Very Happy
Bluedoll
@jeffryjon
I would like to thank you for posting this suggestion and your well thought out ideas even though I am merely a lowly member without any decision making authority. Still I think your ideas are good ones and do appreciate reading them. I like the two posted ‘ideas’ in this section but have to admit bounced back and forth somewhat confused for a while. My comment - although I see a desire to find technical solutions or make rules to a complex problem, I feel the only way to actually address them is by using a non technical approach and from the position of humble non-administrative member status, appeal!
Sad
jeffryjon
ocalhoun wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Obviously, this is a whole new suggestion, so let's try for the subject and/or original post being displayed first.

I would make a new spin-off topic for it, but I've already done that twice in the last 30 minutes, so I'll just make a brief note here, fully aware of the irony of sidetracking a thread about how to avoid sidetracking:

You could report the first sidetracking post, and request that a moderator split the topic.


Yes, I'd thought about reporting, though as said already I'm not keen on the idea except in cases where someone is being deliberately abusive. There's a possibility it could lead to over-moderation or alternatively if the moderator doesn't like the idea, the suggestion fails to reach the eyes of all the other postees.

I'm quite new to this forum compared to many others and can only speak about my own experience, which is Chris seems to be a good moderator (in his role of moderator). I've seen accusations of unfairness directed at Chris but have no personal experience that would cause me to agree. On top of this, I didn't want this to turn into a 'moderator splits a thread' situation. It was more a case of encouraging a postee to make a new thread if it was interesting enough to pursue and to do it in such a way that I, or anyone else, isn't seen as hijacking a subtopic created by someone else.

There's no easy answer and whatever is or isn't decided will undoubtedly lead to others getting their feathers ruffled. The question in my mind is whether we're better to stay with what we have and live with threads that go seriously off track and sometimes become a tangled mess of on-track/off-track posts, or create something that increases the chance of a thread pursuing it's original intention in the hope of it ending with something conclusive. Never easy in subjects such as these.
deanhills
jeffryjon wrote:
With regard to suggestions to the original post, it was Chris who suggested I place it here, which seemed to make sense and I did. Thanks for the suggestion though. Very Happy
Well that probably better explains the problem then. Thanks for the feedback. Smile
ocalhoun
jeffryjon wrote:
So should we call the button 'Whoops'? But then we'd have to write a note to say what the whoops was.

Rolling Eyes
Use the report button above your own post, and check the box that says 'mistake'...
Add a description if the mistake is not obvious.
Done.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
I'm not really a big fan of reporting (except for technical issues or if something's broken the rules in a big way). Since the problem seems to exist more in Phil&Rel and I've received comments about other issues, I've tried to make it a fun thing as I think to some extent our problems are unique. There's a thread in Phil&Rel called 'Forum Philosophy'. I'm deliberately taking a back seat on it for now, as I'd like others to share their ideas.
Why don't you just write a PM to Chris? I'm almost certain he will respond immediately as he posts very regularly almost around the clock. He does seem to enjoy debating with you and would perhaps better understand exactly where you are coming from particularly since it is a Phil@Rel issue. A report may not have a quick turnaround, and by the time that someone does respond to the report the "off-track" discussion may have taken a different turning.

I am neither able nor willing to set policy and nor can I change the actual coding of the forums. For that reason I suggested that this belonged here as a suggestion when jeffryjon raised it with me. It seems to me that this is the best place to discuss it......
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
deanhills wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
I'm not really a big fan of reporting (except for technical issues or if something's broken the rules in a big way). Since the problem seems to exist more in Phil&Rel and I've received comments about other issues, I've tried to make it a fun thing as I think to some extent our problems are unique. There's a thread in Phil&Rel called 'Forum Philosophy'. I'm deliberately taking a back seat on it for now, as I'd like others to share their ideas.
Why don't you just write a PM to Chris? I'm almost certain he will respond immediately as he posts very regularly almost around the clock. He does seem to enjoy debating with you and would perhaps better understand exactly where you are coming from particularly since it is a Phil@Rel issue. A report may not have a quick turnaround, and by the time that someone does respond to the report the "off-track" discussion may have taken a different turning.

I am neither able nor willing to set policy and nor can I change the actual coding of the forums. For that reason I suggested that this belonged here as a suggestion when jeffryjon raised it with me. It seems to me that this is the best place to discuss it......

I thought Jeffryjon covered that quite well by himself in his posting below. And that was already acknowledged by me. By the way, did you notice his style of writing? Perhaps a good style for you to emulate? Very courteous, no sarcasm, no condescension, no references to "clown" or similar derogatory remarks.
deanhills wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
With regard to suggestions to the original post, it was Chris who suggested I place it here, which seemed to make sense and I did. Thanks for the suggestion though. Very Happy
Well that probably better explains the problem then. Thanks for the feedback. Smile
Bikerman
Yep, no lies, insinuations and personal comments either, which is probably why the replies are equally courteous.

When I need advice on how to post, Dean, then you may be sure that I will seek it.
mOrpheuS
jeffryjon wrote:
Placing the original post in a thread prominently

Certain forum scripts (like vBulletin) have mods that allow showing the first post in the topic at the top of every page of that thread.
They call it "Chief first post".
Maybe something similar could be implemented ?

Or maybe the first post could be added above the "Topic Review", on the "Post Reply" page.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Yep, no lies, insinuations and personal comments either, which is probably why the replies are equally courteous.

When I need advice on how to post, Dean, then you may be sure that I will seek it.
I would not dream to advise you on anything Bikerman. I gave you an example of what I see as courteous posting. I also reminded you that jeffryjon had already responded to my enquiry, you duplicated his response.

By the way, should I copy your posting for use later? Looks as though you have called me a liar again?
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