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  • How to have a conversation in the sandbox

    The "Obama v Clinton: which is more dreamy?" thread and the new socialism thread have made me realize that some people here and other people here have very different ideas about how a thread should be structured.

    I am in the group that sees a thread as a conversation around, but not necessarily about, a topic. Like people sitting around a table in a bar, the topic meanders a bit. Like people sitting around a table in a bar, sometimes we show a poor attention span. In short, a conversational style.

    Others seem to be frustrated by this, to say the least, and seem to think that a thread should be about a topic and that people are being silly or disrespectful if they stray from that topic.

    Since these are two very different approaches, and since I've never meant disrespect to fellow TGers for THIS reason, I wanted to start a converstaion...SORRY...a discussion about this topic and only this topic. The purpose of this thread is to present both sides, not really to solve anything. The solving anything forum is a different forum, as anyone who's been here a while knows.

    OK I'll start. I think socialism is dumb and Obama is totally dreamy.

    Kidding. I like the more conversational approach. As long as the discussion is interesting and the people are interesting, I don't really care about much else. From what I can tell, there is no reason why a single thread can't comprehend several topics at once. Cing and I could be working on one tangent while Luna and Scratchmonkey carry the original topic's torch. When Cing and I are done with our thing we may get back on topic, we might disappear for 2 weeks, or we might get more interested in another subject in another thread. I don't have a problem with any of that.

    I'll let one of the other style's advocates respond, if you dare!

  • #2
    Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

    I actually don't mind topic drift, and tend to be the worst offender in going off on a tangent. But I'm also anal-retentive about organization, and a worry-wart about satisfying others' desires, so I figured if people were complaining about things being too hard to follow, I'd rather not hear constant complaints about topic drift and do something about it.

    I hate listening to people whine, esp. when it would be so easy for them to address the problem on their own. So instead of having to read more complaints about drift, I started the thread.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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    • #3
      Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

      Oh, and I did the same thing on the Linux thread for a completely different reason: Cing's problem is likely to be complex and require a lot of exchanged information, so rather than make it hard to find the answers in a more generic thread, I split off that specific problem. This also means that if someone googles for an answer to the same problem, they find an information-rich thread at TG instead of having to filter out a lot of chaff. (I tend to think of forums as long-lived data mines, esp. those targeted at product support.)
      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

        I don't know what this thread is about, or why I chose to post here, but I just wanted to say that my skin has been hypersensitive the last few days and I have no idea why. I feel like I need to strip down just to stop the cotton from scratching my body.
        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

          Originally posted by Rincewind View Post
          I don't know what this thread is about, or why I chose to post here, but I just wanted to say that my skin has been hypersensitive the last few days and I have no idea why. I feel like I need to strip down just to stop the cotton from scratching my body.
          Try benedryl and/or zyrtec. I'm sure you've rubbed ample quantities of lotion all over your body already...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

            Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
            Oh, and I did the same thing on the Linux thread for a completely different reason: Cing's problem is likely to be complex and require a lot of exchanged information, so rather than make it hard to find the answers in a more generic thread, I split off that specific problem. This also means that if someone googles for an answer to the same problem, they find an information-rich thread at TG instead of having to filter out a lot of chaff. (I tend to think of forums as long-lived data mines, esp. those targeted at product support.)
            Yes I agree! If I were in a forum talking about BF2 and suddenly saw a 3 page discussion about Rincewind's itchy johnson, I might conclude that everyone here was ADHD.

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            • #7
              Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

              Ok if I follow your logic Leejo and if I may play devil's advocate here I will bring the big flaw in veering off topic in a thread. I do like your view about a thread being a conversation but as more people become involved in the discussion it gets more and more difficult to address both conversations in the thread. Example if you start a thread asking for say stock market advice and as people post their advice and Cing and Luna branch off into say mortgage finances it CAN become confusing and difficult for others to address both conversations. Do people make one post to address each conversation or do they try and condense their thoughts of both subjects in one thread. Are you following me here?
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                Good point Drizzid. Now can we please get back to Rincewind's itchy rash?

                Seriously, I think that the example you gave is a good one, because there have already been a couple of brief side discussions in the fantasy stock market thread. However, the main subject matter continues as people post about their trades. It seems to me that the strength or weakness of the original topic determines how well or poorly people stay on topic. Look at global warming. People have stayed on topic for 3 50-plus page threads.

                Obama v Clinton may be a poor topic, since obviously a good number of us will respond "uh...neither?" and because you cannot discuss the strengths or weaknesses of these two candidates without also discussing the areas where they agree and disagree. Once you start discussing those differences, you will probably start talking about which of their two positions is better. Etc. I might start a thread "Hating Women or hating blacks: which do you prefer?" and I bet that thread would stray almost immediately. "So, uh, how's the weather?" might start a conversation, but it's probably not going to command people's attention for very long.

                My suggestion is that if a thread starts drifting, and if it bothers someone, lead by example. Keep talking about the subject you want to discuss and if others are interested they will discuss it with you.

                There are exceptions. If I were to start a RIP thread for someone, I might be a tad offended if someone decided to take a dump on the memory of the deceased. I trust that it's obvious where such lines exist.

                Rincewind, where exactly is it itchy? Did this begin when you fell into a pool of toxic waste? Have you been masturbating especially often lately? Have you tried any creams or lotions?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                  I'm totally fine with a thread wandering around from topic to topic, as long as it stays mostly on one topic at any given time. When side topics pop up, usually either the new topic or the old topic will command more attention, and the lesser valued topic will taper off within a page or so. And this is fine as long as the coexistence is brief. However, when a single thread spawns several different discussions that each draw attention and none of them dies out, then its probably time to split the thread so that each topic can get the focus it deserves.

                  On a similar line of thought, if you see a topic that you personally think deserves more attention that is starting to die out in a larger thread, thats a good time for you to repost the topic in a new thread so it can get more focus, rather than attempting to prop up the discussion inside a thread that has moved on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                    I avoid all RIP threads, because they totally clamp down on honest expression about the shortcomings of the deceased. If you start an RIP thread, don't expect me to read it unless I'm a fellow yahoo about the stiff who thinks he never did wrong. And since that's unlikely, I don't see myself ever reading such a thread.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                      Hey, Leejo...hypocritical much.
                      Maybe if you didn't spam every topic it wouldn't turn into that...SOMETHING called and EDIT button.
                      05-17-2008, 04:33 PM - leejo
                      05-17-2008, 04:35 PM - leejo

                      **Note** No posts were made in between these posts.
                      Me - I'll Just blame bush.
                      Disciple - Bush? Is that some sort of slang for women? - Hahaha I love disciple.

                      btw Bush = worst president ever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                        Thats one reason after about 2 pages i either stop posting or i forget what the topic is about. To many people take the inter web entirely to serious. You make one wrong jest at someone, and someone entirely different is offended when it wasn't intended to be that way.

                        Atleast you can understand and read Leejos posts, edit all you want, might actually do you some good.
                        that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                        -Vulcan

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                        • #13
                          Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                          Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                          I avoid all RIP threads, because they totally clamp down on honest expression about the shortcomings of the deceased. If you start an RIP thread, don't expect me to read it unless I'm a fellow yahoo about the stiff who thinks he never did wrong. And since that's unlikely, I don't see myself ever reading such a thread.
                          I don't have a problem with that at all. Nobody forces me to attend the funeral for someone I don't like, but if I do attend, I think it's important to be polite. Same with an RIP thread.

                          I was simply attempting to find an example of a thread in which it's inappropriate to deviate from the thread's stated topic. IMO the people who cannot resist dumping on someone's memory in an RIP thread really need a lesson in manners, and I'm happy to give it to them. A while back I started the "good news from Iraq" thread and expressly asked people to constrain themselves to the thread's topic and I explained why. If someone wants to start a "bad news from Iraq" thread with the same request, I will honor it to be polite.

                          But a thread about two living politicians, for example, with no such explicit request, doesn't command the same focus or respect, IMO. Having said that, if anyone ever starts a thread and goes out of their way to request that participants stay on topic, I'd personally consider it rude to do otherwise. I also understand that one limits debate and discussion this way. Just as when I'm a guest in someone's house I may refrain from asking "is that cat pee I smell?"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                            Originally posted by leejo View Post
                            Rincewind, where exactly is it itchy? Did this begin when you fell into a pool of toxic waste? Have you been masturbating especially often lately? Have you tried any creams or lotions?
                            It's not itchy. It hurts. It's super sensitive... Don't know how to describe it other than that. It's that way mainly on the back of my thighs and just below my shoulder blades on my back. It's been that way a week or so now. No lotions or or pools of toxic waste. No sexy time.

                            Unfortunately, my co-workers frown on the idea of me upholstering my chair with minx fur and taking off all of my clothes.
                            ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
                            No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

                            <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How to have a conversation in the sandbox

                              Originally posted by Rincewind View Post
                              It's not itchy. It hurts. It's super sensitive... Don't know how to describe it other than that. It's that way mainly on the back of my thighs and just below my shoulder blades on my back. It's been that way a week or so now. No lotions or or pools of toxic waste. No sexy time.

                              Unfortunately, my co-workers frown on the idea of me upholstering my chair with minx fur and taking off all of my clothes.
                              Hmm. Well I always say you can learn everything you need to know about life by watching The Jerk:

                              Lord loves a workin' man
                              Don't trust whitey
                              See a doctor and get rid of it.

                              So....have you tried seeing a Dr. and getting rid of it?

                              I also always say "be kind to your colon and you colon will be kind to you". So.....you know....be kind to you colon!

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