Add option to mark replies as "off-topic"
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Jun 14

Hello everyone (staff)

When starting a new thread, there is a curious little option labelled "This post is 'off-topic', ie. more play than work". In my mind this ("more play than work") is an odd interpretation of the phrase "off-topic". It's doubly odd that only the thread starter can mark something as off-topic, since logically anything that relates to his post would be "on-topic".

The forum rules do not mention the phrase "off-topic" but does mention "straying from the topic", which in my opinion is the same thing.

Either way, I would like there to be the option to mark *replies* as off-topic (or, in ProZ.com forum rule speek, as "straying from topic"). Straying from the topic is perfectly normal in the forums, but sometimes it happens too soon. I find it less obtrusive if the posts start straying from the topic after the second page or so, or after a few days when no further on-topic replies appear.

Some members start posting off-topic remarks fairly soon after the initial post, and moderators are not keen to remove such replies if they are not otherwise offensive or harmful. I assume these posters realise that their replies are off-topic, so if they were presented with a highly visible option to mark their replies as off-topic (err, sorry, as "straying from topic"), they would do so. It might also help moderators overcome their fear of overmoderation if they have the option to change a post from on-topic to "off-topic/straying from topic" without having to remove the post entrely.

So, I have two suggestions:

1. Change the wording of the current new post check box from "This post is 'off-topic', ie. more play than work" to something like "This post is more play than work" to reflect/respect the common meaning of "off-topic".

2. Add a checkbox in the same row as the Post/Preview/Cancel buttons for a replier to mark his reply as off-topic or "straying from topic". Such posts would then have a different background or use greyed text or a smaller font or suchlike.

2.1 When replying to an off-topic post, the off-topic checkbox should be automatically ticked as well, although the replier should have the option to untick it.

It's no good to say "forum rules say we should not stray from the topic" because straying from the topic is a tradition at ProZ.com. Rather, give new repliers the opportunity to see that a reply that they're about to reply to is going to be useful to the original poster or not.


[Edited at 2018-06-14 06:16 GMT]


Chris S
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:27
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Off Jun 14

In my experience of these forums, they all go off topic by the end of the first page: the "tradition" mentioned above. Personally I don't mind that. Any topic can easily generate a more wide-ranging discussion, sometimes a valuable one. I don't think anyone needs to be told when a topic has wandered off on a tangent.

[Edited at 2018-06-14 07:22 GMT]


Thomas T. Frost
mughwI
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tom Jun 14

Tom in London wrote:
Any topic can easily generate a more wide-ranging discussion, sometimes a valuable one.


Yes, it's true that some discussions "evolve" over time to cover other topics, but what I'm trying to target are posts that are truly irrelevant (jokes often fall into this category, and unfortunately jokes are more fun to reply to, so they tend to pollute a thread quicker than the joker might have intended).


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:27
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Even Jun 14

Samuel Murray wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
Any topic can easily generate a more wide-ranging discussion, sometimes a valuable one.


Yes, it's true that some discussions "evolve" over time to cover other topics, but what I'm trying to target are posts that are truly irrelevant (jokes often fall into this category, and unfortunately jokes are more fun to reply to, so they tend to pollute a thread quicker than the joker might have intended).



I don't even mind that.

If there could be a button to delete all posts by self-promoting attention-seeking bombastic boastful idiots (mentioning no names) that would be useful.

icon_smile.gif

See? I'm already going off-topic.

[Edited at 2018-06-14 08:21 GMT]


Chris S
Jennifer Forbes
mughwI
 


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