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How to respond to thread-jacking?
Old 04-29-2010, 10:05 AM   #1
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How to respond to thread-jacking?

I'm disappointed that "More Pension Woes" has been shut down. My original question got completely swamped by an off-topic argument that consumed between 2/3 and 3/4 of the thread. I tried early in the diversion of the thread to get it back on track with a humorous remark, then yesterday used the "report thread" button to ask the moderators to take action (relocate and rename the hijacked thread and put the original question and the very relevant link that was added Tuesday night into its own new thread). That request either never got through or was turned down, the OT argument started up again, and now the thread is closed before there was much chance to discuss the info in the links from Governance magazine. I've looked at some and they are exactly the sort of info I was trying to get.

Is there anything I could/should have done as the OP to keep the thread on topic? Was the "report thread" button the wrong way to contact the mods about this? In this situation, is it appropriate for non-mods to ask people whose OT comments are taking over, to start their own thread? Is it OK for me to start a new thread on the same topic as my original question and/or the Governance links?
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:26 AM   #2
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If you really want to pursue a topic and the thread loses focus or perspective, you can start a new one beginning with a summary of the key observations from the previous thread. Like a moderator getting a discussion group together after a coffee break.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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If you really want to pursue a topic and the thread loses focus or perspective, you can start a new one beginning with a summary of the key observations from the previous thread. Like a moderator getting a discussion group together after a coffee break.
Good answer.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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I don't know if it is technologically possible here but years ago when I was a SYSOP at Compuserve as moderators we could divide a thread and carve out the OT stuff to a separate thread or if there was too much of it we could divide out the original topic and make a new thread.

Of course, while it was technologically possible it was sort of time consuming to do and involved a lot of judgment calls (so many posts would be sort of on topic but sort of off topic) that we didn't do it very often.

Whether to allow thread drift is always a question of moderation philosophy. I've done quite a bit of forum moderation and some places have allowed threads to drift wherever while others have been downright draconian in avoiding thread drift. (I don't know what the philosophy is here.)
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
Is there anything I could/should have done as the OP to keep the thread on topic? Was the "report thread" button the wrong way to contact the mods about this? In this situation, is it appropriate for non-mods to ask people whose OT comments are taking over, to start their own thread? Is it OK for me to start a new thread on the same topic as my original question and/or the Governance links?
vBulletin to the rescue!

Create yourself a "social group" for your subject of interest, announce it to the board, and invite any interested members to join you there. (Go to "Social Groups" (Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community - Social Groups) from the User CP, scroll down to the bottom, and select "Create a New Group".) You can allow anyone to join the group or you can issue invitations to limit your new topic to those potential contributors you feel offer the most value. As the group creator, you'll have godlike moderator powers* to edit posts.

But as for your "on topic" question, I think it's unrealistic to expect a focused answer from asking a question of 8000 posters at a cocktail party. You can keep asking people to stick to the subject but you'll feel like a nag.

I've participated at other boards where the moderators attempt to keep the topic on focus or they split out threadjacks. I think the constant interference (and nanny-nagging) is really quite unpleasant. I also think an effect of the "moderation" (which really isn't so moderate after all) is to drive away potential contributors-- perhaps to boards like this one.

You could test your on-topic hypothesis by reposting at Bogleheads or M*'s "Politics" board. I think the research will make you appreciate this board, despite all its flaws & foibles.

(*Hyperbole & sarcasm...)
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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If you really want to pursue a topic and the thread loses focus or perspective, you can start a new one beginning with a summary of the key observations from the previous thread. Like a moderator getting a discussion group together after a coffee break.
Exactly--please start a new thread and word your first post very narrowly. It likely will still veer off topic but hopefully will come back to the topics in the first post. Kyounge, I'm amazed that your first post to the thread in question sparked so many responses!

Sometimes threads go off on tangents when some of the responders may feel the original questions have been addressed and discussed at length, or they have a different agenda. Sometimes the end of a thread with its different focus can be as helpful or entertaining as the first responses as people share information and viewpoints. While it might be more helpful in some cases for new threads to be started addressing these different issues, we don't have rules that require it.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:14 AM   #7
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This thread topic is OK...

But what I really want to know is...

Should I Pay down the Mortgage or invest the extra money ?

And...

How will I know when I have enough ? And how will I know when exactly I should retire ?

Also there is a nice man I met selling variable annuities... Are they any good ?
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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This thread topic is OK...

But what I really want to know is...

Should I Pay down the Mortgage or invest the extra money ?

And...

How will I know when I have enough ? And how will I know when exactly I should retire ?

Also there is a nice man I met selling variable annuities... Are they any good ?
Hmmm... first can we discuss whether dogs or cats are better pets?
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:22 AM   #9
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But what I really want to know is...

Should I Pay down the Mortgage or invest the extra money ?
Why are you assuming ownership? Renting is better....
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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Hey, I have this SIL with a gambling problem and she wants me to mortgage my house to pay off her gambling debts, should I?
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:54 AM   #11
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:55 AM   #12
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We don't have an on-topic rule here. We have split threads in the past. It can be a bit tedious to do as you manually have to go through and pick and chose what goes where. It is easier to do early in a thread that is going off in two directions. In your case I would do as Micheal suggests and summarize the pertinent discussion and start a new thread.

As far as how a problem gets reported the report post function is the best was to bring something to the attention of the moderators.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:47 PM   #13
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I think the idea of thread "ownership" is quaint. It is like someone has control like in a corporation. Isn't this just a herd of cats (or a pack of dogs) seeking some fun?

MichaelB is right on. And after three unsuccessful tries, you should go somewhere else.
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:11 PM   #14
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I'm disappointed that "More Pension Woes" has been shut down. My original question got completely swamped by an off-topic argument that consumed between 2/3 and 3/4 of the thread. I tried early in the diversion of the thread to get it back on track with a humorous remark, then yesterday used the "report thread" button to ask the moderators to take action (relocate and rename the hijacked thread and put the original question and the very relevant link that was added Tuesday night into its own new thread). That request either never got through or was turned down, the OT argument started up again, and now the thread is closed before there was much chance to discuss the info in the links from Governance magazine. I've looked at some and they are exactly the sort of info I was trying to get.

Is there anything I could/should have done as the OP to keep the thread on topic? Was the "report thread" button the wrong way to contact the mods about this? In this situation, is it appropriate for non-mods to ask people whose OT comments are taking over, to start their own thread? Is it OK for me to start a new thread on the same topic as my original question and/or the Governance links?
Yeah...... Seriousness here can be an issue when many of the members have to keep a name tag on so they can remember who they are.

But trying to be serious, and not talking about dogs and cats, I second Nord's idea about a social group, although, Ive not found anyone who wants to participate on my social group on Downeast Maine. Kinda hard to use your God-like powers when there is no one there to SMITE.

But if you start one I'll go there and talk with you about it, and if you're lucky, you be able to SMITE me.

Z
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:02 PM   #16
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The problem with "serious talks" is that everyone has already made up one's mind, and the discussions do not seem to go anywhere. Same with political threads that are now banned.

It seems like when it comes to "money talk", such as where to get the best HELOC or something like that, people tend to pay more attention. Even market movement discussions, meaning "buy, hold, or sell" can get contentious fairly fast.

I guess I am just explaining why I like to joke around here more than participating in serious discussions. Similarly, I have learned to not get goaded into political talk with one of my brothers at family get-togethers. I only left the dinner table with a bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:46 PM   #17
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I like bacon.
By itself? I really prefer it with tomato and let us eat more.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:00 PM   #18
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By itself? I really prefer it with tomato and let us eat more.
Come on Z, in one post you are supporting the idea of keeping threads on subject, but as soon as someone waves bacon in your face, off you go down a different path
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:13 PM   #19
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ask the same question a different way possibly?
eventually you will get some indirect information and possibly some direct answers too

There are times when I quote another thread in a new thread as well trying to bring many points to front burner to discuss
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #20
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Well, I like this board with all its off-topic tangential departures. It's more like a real life, casual conversation between friends.

I regularly visit the bogleheads' forums but gosh, they are so serious over there and the moderation is so stringent that it makes for a dry, boring, and repetitive read. No thank you.
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