"OT threads to be deleted" - maybe they shouldn't?


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Andrew Rothman
February 23, 2004, 12:19 PM
I can think of two very good reasons that OT threads should be closed, and not deleted.

It makes the moderator's action public and transparent. This is important in building and maintaining the trust of the users.

I am in no way implying that any mod here has. or would, abuse the "delete" power. But when posts disappear, there is no possibility for other moderators, Oleg, or the general public to see why it was closed, and to agree (or diagree, for that matter).

I know, and understand, that this is not a democracy. It's a very benign dictatorship, as it should be. But a little "government in sunshine" is a good thing anyway.

The second, less-important reason, is that it clearly demonstrates to other users exactly where the ever-changing line of "off topic" is this week.

I would be interested to hear what the mod crew thinks of these ideas.

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Mal H
February 23, 2004, 03:27 PM
Reasonable questions, Mpayne. I'll have a go at them.
I am in no way implying that any mod here has. or would, abuse the "delete" power. But when posts disappear, there is no possibility for other moderators, Oleg, or the general public to see why it was closed, and to agree (or diagree, for that matter).

I know, and understand, that this is not a democracy. It's a very benign dictatorship, as it should be. But a little "government in sunshine" is a good thing anyway.
On the first point, we thought about that from the beginning so instead of actually kicking them off into the ether, we move them to our secret hiding place where any moderator can view them. :) We did want some way to bring a "deleted" thread back from the dead if it any single mod thinks that it should be. To date, the number of OT threads that have been resurrected totals: 0.

The main reason we delete the OT threads from the public forums is to discourage any posting of them in the first place. If we simply close them as OT and leave them in full view, then there is no reason for a member not to post an OT thread. They know it will/might be closed, but so what, their little gem is out there for all to see until it sinks out of sight. There is a phenomenon you may or may not have noticed - when a thread is closed and remains in a public forum, the number of views skyrockets on it. In a sense, closing an OT thread defeats our purpose in closing it and gives the thread more attention than it deserves.
The second, less-important reason, is that it clearly demonstrates to other users exactly where the ever-changing line of "off topic" is this week.
Actually, the line of what is off-topic or not is fairly constant. I'm not saying it doesn't change at one tme or another, because it does, but certainly not weekly or even monthly. However, what does change most often is the work load of the moderators, both on this board and in "real life". There are periods of time when there isn't enough time to fool with an OT thread so it hangs around. Then when one of us has some spare time, we close (delete) a bunch of them. I'm sure that when that happens it looks like we are on a rampage, but that isn't the case.

HTH

Andrew Rothman
February 23, 2004, 05:24 PM
That's fair enough.

Still, why not make the OT purgatory viewable by anyone? It is moved out of the incorrect forum, but still available to the paranoid.

This would not apply, of course, to patently offensive or inappropriate material.

Jeff White
February 23, 2004, 06:13 PM
Mpayne asked;
Still, why not make the OT purgatory viewable by anyone? It is moved out of the incorrect forum, but still available to the paranoid.

Wouldn't that just give us a forum where anything goes? It would most likely just encourage people to continue to post off topic subjects as they'd still be viewable. I think the private forum is the best option.

Jeff

Mal H
February 23, 2004, 06:17 PM
Come now, think about it. If the OT threads were still viewable but in a separate forum here on THR, wouldn't that forum be the long sought after Non-firearms Forum that folks have asked for literally over 100 times. It has been stated about that same number of times that THR is a firearms and related topics board, period.

An "out of sight - out of mind" policy is best for OT threads.

Andrew Rothman
February 24, 2004, 12:50 PM
Your points are well taken.

It's hard to find the the balance between keeping-it-on-topic and accountability and transparency.

Since there is such a broad base of moderators, I don't think accountability is a problem.

Transparency would still be my ideal, but I do see your points.

Thanks for the thoughful answers.

Mike Irwin
February 24, 2004, 02:10 PM
"If the OT threads were still viewable but in a separate forum here on THR, wouldn't that forum be the long sought after Non-firearms Forum that folks have asked for literally over 100 times."

If you leave them open for people to post to, yes.

I'm pretty certain, however, that forums can be setup that can be viewed, but to which no one other than moderators or administrators can post.

P95Carry
February 24, 2004, 03:37 PM
I'm pretty certain, however, forums can be setup that can be viewed, but to which no one other than moderators or administrators can post Certainly with VBulletin Mike that IS the case. There are access rights for all members ... usually full, except for the admin/mod ''invisible'' ones.

I think the pretty black & white policy is the best ... and people pretty much know what is what. Never ever will please everyone but ... pleasing most of the people, most of the time, is a pretty good achievement.

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