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Ziggy587
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ziggy587 Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:31 pm

I just want to echo my idea that we should (if only temporarily) lock some or all of the monolithic threads.

The Random Thoughts Thread has had some good back to back (to back) content recently. But it seems that any new thought blocks further discussion from previous thoughts. If each thought was its own thread, those conversations could progress more.

Here's some great thread-worthy topics recently discussed in the Random Thoughts Thread, in reverse date order...

1) AMD vs Intel - Current performance, cost, sales, etc.
2) DVD/BD quality and tech talk
3) SD vs HD streaming

And that's just the past month. Any time a new line of thought is posted, responses to previous thoughts have stopped cold. If each discussion listed above was it own thread, those conversation could (and probably would) continue on. I know I definitely would have eventually had more to say on #2 and #3, but they got "blocked" by new thoughts. Those thoughts end up getting lost entirely. Once a thought in a monolithic thread are bumped by new thoughts, out of site out of mind. If they were their own threads, I would see them and remember to come back to them.

And again, there are only regulars responding in these threads. It would be way more encouraging for a passerby to join up in a conversation if it's a dedicated thread versus a monolithic thread.

Even for a regular, it's hard. The Random Gaming Thoughts thread looks like it has had some interested talk recently, but I haven't been keeping up with that thread. So the only way I can join in is if I can catch up, which I'd have to have the time to do. It's not easy to catch up when you have to scan through conversations backward to find out where they started, THEN you can read through it and THEN you can join in. Again, if these conversations were their own threads, I could see a new topic started easily and be able to easily read it from the start.

So, I say again, these catch-all threads are hurting forum participation. Maybe not in whole, but definitely in part.

I do like the Random thoughts threads. They're great for "Hey, you ever notice how it's hard to get the last little bit of jelly out of the jar?" Yeah, that doesn't have to be it's own thread. But too many potentially great topics get lost in there. Even something like the Switch thread, a lot of those posts should be new threads. "Hey, Game X was just announced" should be it's own thread.

So my idea was to lock these types of threads to encourage people to create new threads when appropriate. The last post in these threads (and edited into the first post as well) could read something along the lines of, "Have a though you want to share? Please create a new thread!" The threads could always be re-opened if need be.

But I can offer another idea. The mods can split off posts into new topics. If we notice something posted in a monolithic thread that has potential to be its own thread, we should split it off into a new thread. I don't know if this is easier said than done, I just know that it is possible. For example, the last post (as of the time I'm posting this) in the Switch thread. I definitely would reply to that, but I couldn't at the time I first read it. I forgot to come back to it because it's in the monolithic thread. Out of site, out of mind. This wouldn't have been the case had it been it's own thread.

Anyway, just saying.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by marurun Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:29 am

I do like the idea of spinning off narrow threads for the monolithic threads if they do take on some life. I just can't see locking those larger threads, however, because there's not really any rule the violate, and someone will just start a new one, and then we'll have two. People are going to post how people want to post, unless there's a forum rule driven by some compelling issue. I recognize why you would propose we do that and what you would hope would be accomplished by that, but I don't think it would really fix the issue.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ziggy587 Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:20 am

Thanks for spinning off those two threads!

I don't disagree. I do like having the random and general threads, and I like being able to post throw away thoughts in them instead of creating a pointless topic. How hard or time consuming is it to spin posts off into threads? I can point out ones that I notice, but I'd hate to be a backseat mod. I don't want to be annoying either with requesting spin-offs here and there.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by marurun Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:32 am

It is kind of a pain, in truth. Better to catch them early. Spinning off those two did take some time.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by Ziggy587 Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:02 am

I think it's important to note that in both cases of the spun off threads, there were a few members that posted in the new thread that didn't post (on topic) when those topics were part of the random thread. Which, although only 2 examples and not especially scientific, is some credence to the theory that the monolithic threads hurt participation.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by jp1 Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:14 pm

I know that over time as my personal and professional life have gone through significant changes I would withdraw from the forum for necessary attention in other areas. As of late I've been lurking a bit, waiting for some discussions to jump into... I was deeply saddened to see the state of things upon my return. I guess that's what happens when you take something for granted.

I did have to step away myself for mostly life related reasons this time, namely no free time. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the toxicity of myself and others surrounding the political thread wasn't a factor in that. Mostly in that I don't feel like the opportunity was there to discuss things in more civil way once things cooled off and it left a sour taste in my mouth being censored. I've had a lot of changes in my life and while generally the same political bend prevails, I've come to understand a lot of different points of view in ways I couldn't before. In any case, that's all water under the bridge.

It would be sad a day indeed to visit the Racketboy forums and find they have disappeared entirely. I hope things can turn around and this isn't a relic of better times.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by pierrot Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:36 pm

Welcome back, jp!

What do you think, though. Would you have been more likely to join a conversation if there were more of them in separate threads, instead of the monolithic ones?
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by jp1 Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:17 am

pierrot wrote:Welcome back, jp!

What do you think, though. Would you have been more likely to join a conversation if there were more of them in separate threads, instead of the monolithic ones?


Thank you!

To answer your question, absolutely. I have always been opposed to the catch all threads, further in the past if someone tried to post outside of them they were shouted down with "We already have a thread for that!" which I actively advocated against and felt had a negative impact on the community and the quality of conversation as a whole.

For instance, I have recently acquired a switch, I've been at a loss about what to grab first (once I get the family fun candidates covered). Looking at the single "Switch discussion thread" is pretty daunting since it is now many pages long and I don't have time to read through them all. If I post in the thread or outside of it, at least in the past, with this question the typical response might be that this has been discussed in depth in the existing Switch thread. Of course there are tons of resources for finding the "top" games, but when you are looking for something that a retro enthusiast might enjoy those aren't really comprehensive.

Moreover, I think that the fact that the discourse has been limited has really impacted the boards. More than hurt feelings and such, the participation in these threads was always high and I feel like locking them and restricting the scope of what can be discussed makes the boards a less inviting, less stimulating, and frankly less interesting environment. One of the things that differentiated Racketboy from other places in the past was the ability to discuss some of these more difficult topics in a mostly non-toxic environment. I understand that some problems came up because of that, but doing away with it entirely feels like overkill. Emotions can run high with certain topics for sure, and lines do get crossed, I'm as guilty as anyone for that. The opportunity to continue the discussion when you can step back and be more logical about things in an effort to find a middle ground or at least at peaceful resolution is an important part of community healing...and it was removed.

The landscape of the world we live in has changed so immensely since the last time I was active here. There are many members who I would love to hear from about this, because the community at large has a diverse and intelligent base that can often offer some insight into things that I may not have considered. The fact that all I can do is come and say "Well, how about these games fellas?" is what we have landed on just saddens me. Seeing people leave, be banned, or otherwise ostracized from the community due to lack of judgment because of personal problems or high tension discussions was something else I never agreed with. Cancel culture was in full effect on the boards here even before it became a (disgusting) practice in the outside world. Keeping the peace is a hard job, I get that. Doing it at the cost of keeping a diverse culture that can offer many differing perspectives and life experiences has a negative impact though.

There was a sort of witch hunt mentality going on which was fully unacceptable and something needed to be done to rectify that. Burning the whole thing to the ground just wasn't the move IMHO, however I'm not sure what alternative to offer. I think everyone just needed some time...

I will say this, as if I haven't said enough already, I miss Racketboy as it used to be. Thorns and all, it was my favorite place to visit on the internet.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by pierrot Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:45 am

I hear what you’re saying. Even before 2016, I don’t think it was that uncommon for people’s feelings to get hurt, though. Personally, the current policy suits me fairly well. I’m not sure many people were actually banned, either. From my perspective, many members simply withdrew from the boards. Some of that may have been from borderline harassment, but it may have been in equal part where people ended up in their lives at that time. I suppose my point is that we don’t necessarily know that the political discussions, and the actions taken to reign them in were in fact what drove down participation. You may be right, though. I don’t mean to discount your perspective at all.

I think you could pretty freely ask a switch related question in its own thread, without being chastised for it. Getting responses may be another matter, but there are still good people hanging out around here. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot more mellow than it used to be.
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Re: Have all the "Official X Threads" hurt forum participati

by marurun Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:51 pm

Yeah, the politics/world events thread had to be burned to the ground. There were lots of people leaving as a result of it. That was also around the time forums everywhere started to see declines in visitation, so it all kind of got wrapped up into a big ball of suck.

As for people saying "Don't make a new thread for x", that was only for very specific stuff. Like, here is a topic that already answers the very specific question you just asked. Nobody would do that and point to one of those long-running monolith threads. Further, nobody can remember what's on those threads, anyway, so new posts are the way to go.
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