Should chit-chat remain on-topic?
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Thread: Should chit-chat remain on-topic?

  1. #1
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    Should chit-chat remain on-topic?

    Many (probably most) chit-chat discussions get off-topic and remain off-topic for many posts and often for many pages. This is reasonable for many chit-chat discussions since that is what chit-chat is, however there are many discussions that don't fit anywhere else that do have a defined topic.

    It is very, very unfortunate that so many discussions get as far off-topic as they do. What happens is that people with limited time that only want to spend time on topics that interest them are unable to do that. Therefore the only people that participate in chit-chat are people with plenty of time to spend wading through discussions that most people don't care about.

    There are a few regulars in the chit-chat forum that I expect to say that it is reasonable for discussions to stray off-topic. Those will be tempted to do that in this discussion. Is there anyone else that are not regulars that can comment? Do the off-topic discussions prevent you from participating in discussions you would be interested in discussing?
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  2. #2
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    Sorry Sam, I'm a regular , but you may still be interested in my opinion I hope!

    Even in the Chit Chat forum, threads should stay on topic where possible. If someone asks a question intended to be discussed, and there is nothing left to say in regard to the discussion, then logically the discussion should cease.

    There are three types of threads with this regard: on-topic, off-topic, and uncertain.

    On-topic would include the thread which triggered this one, Sam's "View of Arnold Schwarzenegger from outside California" thread, which means that off-topic posts there should be considered inappropriate.

    Off-topic would include Tom's "Apathy" and "Boring" threads. These clearly have no topic and are intended to encourage random banter.

    Uncertain threads, as the name suggests, are unclear where the limits are for off-topic posts. This includes the "Where are we from" thread. Obviously not all the posts are about members' origins, but that does not make them inappropriate, and yet the thread has more focus than the "off-topic"-type threads. In this case, you must use your judgement.

    Most of the time it should be easy for a member to determine what category a thread falls under and post a reply accordingly.

    As for this thread, I certainly hope it will remain on-topic!
    SolarFlare

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  3. #3
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    Yes, SolarFlare, your comments are useful and relevant. Thank you. Your comments are a great start for this discussion.
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  4. #4
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    This is another reply to Gabriel's off-topic comment in the other thread. I now see that Gabriel is the moderator of this forum, so I must assume that his comments are official, but if this issue has never been discussed then it should be.

    Is it stated somewhere that this forum is different from the other forums in the appropriateness of going off-topic? The requirement to be on-topic is being aggressively imposed in the VC forum; in my opinion, too much. I know that this forum is open for discussion of nearly anything, but does that definition also state that it is appropriate to go off-topic?

    Perhaps this is not the appropriate forum. Perhaps I should have created this thread in the Feedback forum.
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  5. #5
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    I would like to add that if the thread creator explicitly requests that the thread stay on topic, then it is unreasonable to disregard this. A stray comment here or there is fine, where in programming forums it may not be, but to go several posts in a row about a different subject is a bit stupid. If you want to post off-topic, start a new thread; it's not like there's a quota for threads here.

    There is a practical side to this argument. If there is a meaningful discussion about red triangles (and come on, who doesn't love red triangles), but it gets covered up by junky posts, then a post continuing on topic may be lost. People who know the thread is off-topic already may have stopped checking it.
    SolarFlare

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  6. #6
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    Thank you for your additional comment, SolarFlare.

    I think it is relevant to say that the chit-chat forum could provide the important purpose of providing a mechanism for members to get to know each other, which can be very useful. Some people might say that the chit-chat forum is not useful but there is a need for members to be able to communicate with as few requirements as possible. It is reasonable for some threads to have a limit on the discussion because many people don't have the time to wade through irrelevant discussions.

    If it is decided that chit-chat discussions can be hijacked, then I will create a thread in the Feedback forum requesting another forum for miscelaneous discussions that are defined to be topical.
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  7. #7
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    I would like to quote solarflare from the thread

    http://www.codeguru.com/forum/showth...hreadid=230116


    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by Xeon
    Who does this face resembles most?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Solarflare wrote

    Why, that's Walt Disney of course! Contractor for the Egyptian pyramids and ambassador to Mars!

    That picture is not of Walt Disney... let's see how long it takes this thread to go off topic!
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  8. #8
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    Sam,

    There are two sides of the coin. One side is getting way off topic and answers being hardly related at all to the original subject. The other side is being locked in a question that people disagree with.

    Your thread about Schwarzenegger starts with the premise that people are more influenced by his roles than by his real character and voting will reflect this. This was what people disagreed with (explicitly or implicitly) or commented on and hence the answers were not answering your question, but were still on-topic (the topic being Schwarzenegger running for Governour). Granted, the sub-thread about Reagan and America's involvement in the fall of the east block wasn't relevant to the subject, but it's hard to just ignore comments that you strongly disagree with.

    On the other hand, galathea's post is entirely on-topic, even if it doesn't give an answer to the question.

    Think about an analogy with a programming forum. Someone writes:
    I am trying to sort an array of CStrings but qsort has a bug and this doesn't work correctly, I get all kinds of strange problems after sorting.

    How can I fix qsort ?
    Is an answer that recommends using std::sort off-topic because it doesn't answer the original question ? Is an answer that details the performance differences between introsort (std::sort) and qsort off-topic ?

    P.S. If you want just an answer to a question like "Is your view of Schwarzenegger more based on his roles in movies than his real character", then post a poll. Then you will get an immediate answer to the question.
    Last edited by Yves M; October 8th, 2003 at 10:52 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Yves M
    There are two sides of the coin. One side is getting way off topic and answers being hardly related at all to the original subject. Granted, the sub-thread about Reagan and America's involvement in the fall of the east block wasn't relevant to the subject, but it's hard to just ignore comments that you strongly disagree with.
    Then nobody should have brought up reagan in the first place.

    Neener Neener.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Mick_2002
    Then nobody should have brought up reagan in the first place.
    I think you are off topic in the current thread
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Tom Frohman
    Take that solar
    A dagger to my heart! You see, that thread was from before I became the paragon of excellence that stands before you today. Besides, it was in gray text, meaning it wasn't intended to be read. Hey Tom, why don't you tell everyone what the next post in that thread was?

    But seriously, at the very least, if the thread starter explicitly requests in the first post to stay on topic, I think common sense dictates you should honor the request.
    SolarFlare

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  12. #12
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    I think what you have in mind Sam is

    Main Entry: dis·cus·sion
    Pronunciation: di-'sk&-sh&n
    Function: noun
    Date: 14th century
    1 : consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate
    2 : a formal treatment of a topic in speech or writing
    But this is the chit-chat forum

    Main Entry: chit·chat
    Pronunciation: 'chit-"chat
    Function: noun
    Etymology: reduplication of chat
    Date: 1710
    : SMALL TALK, GOSSIP
    - chitchat intransitive verb
    it like water running over textured terrain. Depending on where
    it starts it sometimes heads straight down a single furrow and
    yet other times it endlessly divides and converges.

    Stream of consciousness man.
    Wakeup in the morning and kick the day in the teeth!! Or something like that.

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  13. #13
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    No!

    It is easier to skip reading a post if u felt it is irrelavent. It might be off-topic ... but your pointing to individuals whenever they say something off topic is rude.

    You yourself have 4 - 5 posts pointing people to stay in topic and that it self is off-topic ... This thread is really uncalled for

    I would say you can just do a general request to "Please stay on topic" in the post and most people would respect it.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Tom Frohman
    I would like to quote solarflare from the thread
    I notice you were the first to post an off-topic photo; the photo of a chipmunk. The thread did not get off-topic much more than that until you posted the question "Wfranc, Is your avatar the state flag of Massachusetts?".
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  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Yves M
    Your thread about Schwarzenegger starts with the premise that people are more influenced by his roles than by his real character and voting will reflect this.
    Originally posted by Yves M
    P.S. If you want just an answer to a question like "Is your view of Schwarzenegger more based on his roles in movies than his real character", then post a poll. Then you will get an immediate answer to the question.
    The following is the entire question I posted in the other thread:
    Originally posted by Sam Hobbs
    In my opinion, Arnold Schwarzenegger gives the wrong impression to the world for a few reasons. The main rason is that people are not likely to see biographies of him but they are likely to see him in roles such as The Terminator. I am not familiar with The Terminator because it seems like the type of movie I have little interest in. Am I correct that movies such as The Terminator give a bad impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger and therefore convey the wrong impression to the world?

    I think this is something that everyone in the world is qualified to comment on, at least if the have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator and/or similar movies.
    Notice that you are misquoting and misrepresenting what it says. Please, if you want to refer to what it says, please be accurate about what it says.
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