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What keeps a thread alive?
Old 02-04-2019, 03:56 PM   #1
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What keeps a thread alive?

So often I feel like a thread killer. I don't know whether it's because I get to them too late and everybody who's interested has already commented, or because my contribution is too irritating and drives people away, or maybe I just don't express my thoughts clearly and all I've done is confuse people.

But I can't help noticing that once I enter a conversation it winds down pretty quickly. So I am going to ask for advice which may help me become a more useful member of the forum.

What aspects of a post will help the thread continue? Alternatively, what aspects of a post are most likely to discourage further interest?

I'm not talking about the threads which the moderators terminate. Those I can usually figure out for myself. Nor am I talking about threads which garner only a few responses. Those probably just don't evoke broad interest.

I'm talking about threads that had either novel or perennially interesting (money, vice, etc) topics and for a while invite dozens of responses before flaming out in a hurry.

I know that I relish volleys of creative one-liners (Nemo and Travelover are rich sources for these), but I also like reading longer, thoughtful posts which include both an easy-to-follow sequence of reasoning plus some colorful wordplay.

However, I probably am not the best judge of what interests others. So I'd appreciate your suggestions on what to put into, or leave out of, a post so it helps fuel additional conversation.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:03 PM   #2
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Please relax about this. It happens to everyone, believe it or not.

I remember another forum I used to frequent where one of the regular members had the username "threadkiller". He was actually quite normal in all respects, but felt frustrated because this happened to him often enough that he noticed it.

The only rule of thumb I would apply is that the best posts are those that either provide useful information (accurate, we hope) or perhaps a really funny take on the subject. The worst posts are those that belittle another poster or contain needless snark.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mdlerth View Post
What aspects of a post will help the thread continue? Alternatively, what aspects of a post are most likely to discourage further interest?
Your questions are similar to, "What is the meaning of life (or death)?"


I think the answer is to participate in additive fashion to those threads you are attracted towards. Add something, and as noted already, hopefully it is accurate. It's very difficult to be correct 100% of the time. If you notice something wrong, there is a helpful way to point to an error.

The threads you start, like "Portfolio as Art" are probably more attractive to creative types. So I think the number of replies would be less than for other threads.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:31 PM   #4
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Maybe I'm not paying attention (that does occasionally happen) but I haven't noticed it with any one poster in particular.

I suspect what keeps a thread alive is the number of people who have or have had an interest in that topic. One of the longer-running threads I ever started once dealt with the topic of "Revoking your parent's driver's license". Clearly, lots of people had dealt with that, were in the process of it, or could see that they would soon have to. (BTW, the responses were very helpful to me.)

College issues for soon-to-be-adult kids is another topic that I've noticed generates a lot of interests and posts, and every time someone comes up with an unusual wrinkle it generates a lot of interests and posts. While we don't have any kids, I often find those threads interesting to read although I have little if anything to contribute.

Just bear in mind that virtually all threads do eventually fade away when the topic becomes exhausted and every possible angle has been discussed. Except, perhaps, whether is it best to pay off the mortgage or invest... oh, nevermind.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:52 PM   #5
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Maybe you give the perfect, complete answers, and there's just no need to continue debate or discussion anymore!

OK, maybe you aren't on this forum as often as some of us (definitely myself included) and by the time you see a thread and comment, it has pretty much run its course already anyway.

Nothing comes to my mind about your posts that I think they are so misguided that they derail and kill a thread, or anything like that. I doubt it's anything to worry about.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:07 PM   #6
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Look, this thread has continued so there’s hope.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:09 PM   #7
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I think people might be afraid of the ring. They don't want to be bound in the darkness.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:19 PM   #8
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The Tesla thread has over 2300 posts and is frequented by only a few remaining posters. Test your theory of being a thread killer and lob a post into the Tesla thread!

If you don't know much about the Tesla stock or the car, just make a fictitious claim about battery life and see if that kills it (or recharges ERD50 into action)!
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:23 PM   #9
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A thread doesn’t have to be kept alive/active to be interesting or useful.

Some of the most godawful boring threads go on and on. Undead they continue.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
The Tesla thread has over 2300 posts and is frequented by only a few remaining posters. Test your theory of being a thread killer and lob a post into the Tesla thread!

If you don't know much about the Tesla stock or the car, just make a fictitious claim about battery life and see if that kills it (or recharges ERD50 into action)!
There are a few threads that just...keep...going...and sometimes I wonder why.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:24 PM   #11
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I also like reading longer, thoughtful posts which include both an easy-to-follow sequence of reasoning plus some colorful wordplay.
FWIW, I've found both your new topics and posts very thoughtful and interesting. I read responses a fair bit, but often don't notice the poster unless I find something they've said particularly memorable. My impression is your posts are as you described above.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
A thread doesn’t have to be kept alive/active to be interesting or useful.

Some of the most godawful boring threads go on and on. Undead they continue.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:32 AM   #13
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I find plenty of threads that have misleading subjects that I skip over. Then when they are still going, I check and find a very interesting subject being discussed but usually too late to contribute original material.
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What keeps a thread alive?
Old 02-05-2019, 11:59 AM   #14
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What keeps a thread alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan View Post
I find plenty of threads that have misleading subjects that I skip over. Then when they are still going, I check and find a very interesting subject being discussed but usually too late to contribute original material.

I agree. A well-written subject (not always easy to do) can help generate interest and also save other members a little time when scanning new topics.

I think (?) you can’t change/edit subjects without forum assistance so that’s another reason to take a little care.

It’s not a bad thing to post something that attracts a small percentage of readers/replies, maybe it’s just a “boutique” thread.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:20 PM   #15
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I think (?) you can’t change/edit subjects without forum assistance so that’s another reason to take a little care.
/mod hat on
Hoping I don't open a Pandora's Box here, but if someone needs a change to a thread title it isn't a big deal for a moderator or admin to change it. Most often it is for a typo, but sometimes for a clarification if desired/needed.
/mod hat off
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:29 PM   #16
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/mod hat on
Hoping I don't open a Pandora's Box here, but if someone needs a change to a thread title it isn't a big deal for a moderator or admin to change it. Most often it is for a typo, but sometimes for a clarification if desired/needed.
/mod hat off

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Thanks, good to know.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:33 PM   #17
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Sometimes if it's a specific question it can be answered within ten posts so a quick death. Some threads have a difference of opinion on the answer thus the people go back and forth to see who is right or who thinks their right. Then there are the fun ones that no answer is wrong and they can go forever. This could be one of them.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:44 PM   #18
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I have a good feeling about this one, Mdlerth. My very first thread, I got yelled at, told I was bot and was put to shame. I wear that memory like a medal. It makes me feel unique.

You go ahead and say something shocking, irreverent, puzzling, quirky, sad...just surprise everyone. I love it.
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:08 PM   #19
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I have a good feeling about this one, Mdlerth. My very first thread, I got yelled at, told I was bot and was put to shame. I wear that memory like a medal. It makes me feel unique.
Wasn't your thread about how you could get your post count up to get more stars? (or was that thread by someone else?)
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mdlerth View Post
So often I feel like a thread killer. I don't know whether it's because I get to them too late and everybody who's interested has already commented, or because my contribution is too irritating and drives people away, or maybe I just don't express my thoughts clearly and all I've done is confuse people.

But I can't help noticing that once I enter a conversation it winds down pretty quickly. So I am going to ask for advice which may help me become a more useful member of the forum.
I like your posts! I think they are fine, just as they are. I suspect that nearly everyone agrees with me, and I do not recall ever hearing anything snarky about your posts from anybody.

Maybe they are too late in the thread, or maybe you notice threads that end with your post, more than other people notice them.
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