Closed threads - I really want to understand!


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Andrew Rothman
April 18, 2004, 12:36 PM
I'm sorry. I just keep wondering.

Why is it that 10 or 20 or 50 people can be having a good, civil discussion in a thread, and one or two people act like jerks, and the thread gets closed?

It seems to me, from my outside perspective, that it would be better to punish the malefactors and not the whole group. But this doesn't happen.

It seems to me that a personal attack or foul language could be dealt with through an excalating set of penalties, from warning to suspension to expulsion.

Could some mod please explain why one or two jerks can control the life of a thread?

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Derek Zeanah
April 18, 2004, 02:00 PM
I rarely close threads, but I'll give this a shot...

Threads have a lifecycle. It's not uncommon for a thread to begin on one topic, then move to something that's more interresting to the overall population here. It's called thread drift, and it's a common phenomenon.

Sometimes, threads move to the point that they are no longer on-topic, and (judging from past experience) are not likely to return to being on topic. So, we kill them.

In other cases, tempers have begin to flare and we know (also from past experience) that an upstanding member is going to get poked-and-poked-and-poked 'til he gets to the point where he lashes out in a way that's inappropriate. At which point he may get banned (likely due to tunnel vision and poor interactions with mods in private discussion afterward). Rather than watch this play out, we'll end the thread before things spiral out of control, and try and salvage things.

Then, there are threads that have a topic (like homosexuality, or abortion, or my-god-is-bigger-then-your-fake-god) that historically never have any redeeming qualities. These are simply closed.

It's not an issue of "punishment;" it's more an issue of our inability to make a thread move back on topic once it's drifted past the point of no return.

TheBluesMan
April 18, 2004, 02:26 PM
Derek has given a very good synopsis of the way we try to work things around here.

Don't forget that if a thread gets closed because a couple of clods are sniping at each other, that doesn't mean that you can't post another thread on the same topic. You might even reference the old thread as an example of what *not* to do with the new one.

Of course if the thread was off-topic, posting it again wouldn't be a good idea.

Gary H
April 18, 2004, 05:01 PM
Don't forget that if a thread gets closed because a couple of clods are sniping at each other, that doesn't mean that you can't post another thread on the same topic.

I recently had a thread regarding U.S. Muslims that really interested me. My interest came from a number of things that I had heard, or read, but never heard directly addressed from Muslims that I trust. Anyway, the thread evolves into the " my-god-is-bigger-then-your-fake-god" as pointed out by Derek. I came to the conclusion that starting a new topic would also degenerate. Other threads seem to prefer nuclear weapons to firearms. Perhaps, there are some topics that just don't make it on a public board that attempts to keep everyone on good terms. An effort that is well appreciated.

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