Why do so many threads go off topic?

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HeroOfHyrule
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15 Sep 2020, 1:37 pm

It seems like whenever I open a thread, after the initial page or so, there's some people having complete conversations or joking around amongst themselves, not even really discussing the topic or focusing on the rest of the thread.

Wouldn't it be better to take that to PMs? It makes threads seem longer than they are, is distracting, and I noticed can make people respond to the thread less. Aren't we not supposed to derail threads, or is there something I'm just not getting here and this is normal?

I don't have an issue with people talking to each other, but this being constant has always confused me.


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VegetableMan
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15 Sep 2020, 1:45 pm

Human nature, I guess. Personally, ir doesn't bother me too much as long the side conversations aren't volitile. I do understand your concerns, though. It does make for more posts to wade through.


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envirozentinel
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15 Sep 2020, 1:48 pm

Chitchat and deviation from the thread topic often happen ; it's almost inevitable. We don't usually intervene unless it veers way off topic, as we don't want to be seen as heavy handed and we encourage people to be themselves on here. This is the preferred social space for many users, and where they can have "conversations" with others. They aren't really breaking any specific rules unless they've "hijacked" the thread for themselves rather than starting their own thread.

PMs are certainly to be encouraged and I often take an issue to PM if I'd prefer not to discuss it on the open forum.

It can be annoying to an OP (or a respondent) when his or her thread gets derailed, but the best policy is usually to skim over the stuff you don't really want to read.


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HeroOfHyrule
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15 Sep 2020, 1:53 pm

envirozentinel wrote:
Chitchat and deviation from the thread topic often happen ; it's almost inevitable. We don't usually intervene unless it veers way off topic, as we don't want to be seen as heavy handed and we encourage people to be themselves on here. This is the preferred social space for many users, and where they can have "conversations" with others. They aren't really breaking any specific rules unless they've "hijacked" the thread for themselves rather than starting their own thread.

PMs are certainly to be encouraged and I often take an issue to PM if I'd prefer not to discuss it on the open forum.

It can be annoying to an OP (or a respondent) when his or her thread gets derailed, but the best policy is usually to skim over the stuff you don't really want to read.

I guess that makes sense, but why is that allowed to happen on so many threads? I'd understand if it was just a handful, but the same people get into conversations on every thread they respond to. If it's easy to skim over it, it's just as easy to head on over to PMs without being upset by doing so. If your conversation takes up a page or more in total it shouldn't be in someone else's thread.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


Steve1963
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15 Sep 2020, 1:57 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I guess that makes sense, but why is that allowed to happen on so many threads? I'd understand if it was just a handful, but the same people get into conversations on every thread they respond to. If it's easy to skim over it, it's just as easy to head on over to PMs without being upset by doing so. If your conversation takes up a page or more in total it shouldn't be in someone else's thread.
I'm not sure what you want the mods to do here -- do you want them to remove posts that go off-topic?

resists urge to derail thread



envirozentinel
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15 Sep 2020, 2:01 pm

@HoH: Just how it happens sometimes. Such "off topic" responses are seldom bothered with unless someone reports the thread for being off topic. This is very occasionally done and the thread can then be split at a mod's discretion. We don't just edit, delete or sand stuff without good reason.


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HeroOfHyrule
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15 Sep 2020, 2:07 pm

Steve1963 wrote:
I'm not sure what you want the mods to do here -- do you want them to remove posts that go off-topic?

resists urge to derail thread

No, I just don't see the same type of off topic behaviour on some other forums I've been on. I don't expect off topic posts to be removed, but it seems rude to me to have a full conversation on someone else's thread when it takes the same amount of time to type up a PM going, "Hey, why don't we continue our conversation here?"

I'm also not talking about a few exchanged comments, I'm talking about what eventually equals pages or more of them. That doesn't seem necessary at all and I know I've seen other people express that this annoys them because it's not really constructive.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


HeroOfHyrule
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15 Sep 2020, 2:08 pm

envirozentinel wrote:
@HoH: Just how it happens sometimes. Such "off topic" responses are seldom bothered with unless someone reports the thread for being off topic. This is very occasionally done and the thread can then be split at a mod's discretion. We don't just edit, delete or sand stuff without good reason.

Once again, I'm not asking for responses to be removed or edited in anyway. But thank you for your responses, I guess.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


alex
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15 Sep 2020, 2:24 pm

Maybe we can do a better job of trying to have people stay on topic.


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Mountain Goat
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15 Sep 2020, 2:25 pm

Threads I reply to go off topic. It is how my mind works. If I talk directly I can get mindblank which is like hitting a wall. I guess it is like a stutter but worse in that I can't think of anything. However, if I shift the conversation on a tangent, I can avoid this wall.
Now I have always done this. I keep going off on tangents and hope to eventially reach the point I was trying to origionally make. Sometimes (Actually often) I never get to reach the point I was intending to make before the other person ends the conversation.
I have only realized why I do this recently with the mindblank I get when trying to talk to doctors (Where one does not get time to explin things in a non-direct way) and I connected the reason why I kept going off on tangents. It is to avoid this mindblank from happening. I have always done it but never known why as it is a self taught without realizing it type thing.
The problem is that as I have learnt to think in this way to avoid this from happening, I will also do the same as I type and I don't need to do it as I type but I do. When I handwrite I usually do it less as it takes me more effort.



HeroOfHyrule
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15 Sep 2020, 2:33 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
Threads I reply to go off topic. It is how my mind works. If I talk directly I can get mindblank which is like hitting a wall. I guess it is like a stutter but worse in that I can't think of anything. However, if I shift the conversation on a tangent, I can avoid this wall.

Trust me, I'm not talking about you MG. I've never had an issue with your responses and I'm not really talking about tangents. I do a slightly similar thing (but heavily edit and downsize my posts because I get embarrassed lol).

Alex wrote:
Maybe we can do a better job of trying to have people stay on topic.

Thank you for your response, Alex. One of the mods PM'd me for examples, which I also appreciate and will do once I can get onto my computer.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


Joe90
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16 Sep 2020, 5:32 am

This annoys me too. One time I started a thread and a member stated that they liked another member's avatar and then the whole thread turned into a discussion about the avatar, which was completely unrelated to my thread.

In some forums I've been to it is actually against the rules to go off-topic. But WP doesn't seem to have this rule, as well as not having the no necroposting rule.


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DeepHour
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16 Sep 2020, 5:49 am

Not sure it's that bad an issue on the whole. I think anything that injects a bit of participation into a thread is usually a good thing, though I can see how it could be annoying if there are gross deviations in a thread dealing with a serious topic.

In these days of reduced participation, do we really wish to discourage anyone from contributing? Quite recently I saw the 'General Autism' forum go over six hours without a single post - a few years ago there'd have been at least about 10 posts per hour, even at the quietest time of day.


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Mountain Goat
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16 Sep 2020, 5:51 am

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:
Threads I reply to go off topic. It is how my mind works. If I talk directly I can get mindblank which is like hitting a wall. I guess it is like a stutter but worse in that I can't think of anything. However, if I shift the conversation on a tangent, I can avoid this wall.

Trust me, I'm not talking about you MG. I've never had an issue with your responses and I'm not really talking about tangents. I do a slightly similar thing (but heavily edit and downsize my posts because I get embarrassed lol).

Alex wrote:
Maybe we can do a better job of trying to have people stay on topic.

Thank you for your response, Alex. One of the mods PM'd me for examples, which I also appreciate and will do once I can get onto my computer.


I am often heavily editing my posts and half of the longer ones I never actually send.



The Grand Inquisitor
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16 Sep 2020, 6:00 am

Joe90 wrote:
This annoys me too. One time I started a thread and a member stated that they liked another member's avatar and then the whole thread turned into a discussion about the avatar, which was completely unrelated to my thread.

In some forums I've been to it is actually against the rules to go off-topic. But WP doesn't seem to have this rule, as well as not having the no necroposting rule.

Well you can use the report feature to report a post that's off-topic, so there are obviously some standards around off-topic posts.



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16 Sep 2020, 6:14 am

Even a regular user can attempt to put the conversation back on track, simply by starting with "Back to the OP..."


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