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Author Topic: A Suggestion on Thread Closings  (Read 8960 times)
Crackerjacker
Member

Posts: 67


« on: May 05, 2004, 04:57:51 PM »

Rather than counting on people to pay attention and almost inviting people to either end up embarassed or defensive (which might lead to them getting in arguments that get them banned from this forum) why not actually lock threads that are declared closed? It seems out of place with any and all internet etiquette I'm aware of to realistically expect people to not post on a thread with a statement from the person in charge. I'm not saying that I myself would do this as some sort of rebellious action or something, all I'm saying is that it really doesn't seem fair to me to "declare a thread closed" and then act like a community has let you down when people post on a thread that is still technically open. In my book a thread that isn't closed as in locked, isn't closed at all and if I got in trouble for posting on said thread I would consider it a great injustice. What I'm meaning to say is, perhaps this a policy that could use updating. Really, wouldn't it be better to just lock them from the start when you first declare them closed?
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2004, 05:04:27 PM »

Cracker theres several threads on this subject already in this forum you might want to search on.

They describe in great detail why threads aren't locked.

But I do have to say, and sincerely no offense intended at all, but if you're implying its a great injustice for us to expect you to pay attention before posting, I'm not going to be able to agree with you.

The Forge isn't a "whoa, just read a comment and now my fingers are burning to reply" kind of place.

Its a "you had better make sure you read the entire thread thoroughly before even beginning to hit that reply button" kind of place.  And that means, yes, you are expected to read all the way to the bottom, discover the closing notice and choose to voluntarily follow that notice.

It may not be standard "netiquette" but it is standard adult behavior.
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Crackerjacker
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2004, 05:08:01 PM »

That was why I specifically tried to adress that while I might not do it, that I don't think it would be unreasonable for others to do so. That is, I don't think that it's anything worth embarassment and very possibly being set up for elimination from the board, and could very easily be solved.
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2004, 05:14:08 PM »

Hi Crackerjack,

When you write, "elimination from the board"... are you implying someone might be banned from the Forge for posting on a thread after its been closed?

Cause that doesn't happen.  It doesn't happen.  I mean, nobody gets "eliminated" from the Forge -- ever.  And certianly, if somebody posts after a thread's been closed... you know.  No big deal.  Either the person will bring up a point that's really good that nobody saw and it mosey's on a bit longer (I've seen this happen a couple of times), or someone says, "Good point, why don't you start a new thread with that."  Or if it's really not worth the bother, people will just sort of not post a follow up and the thread will drift down the screen.

No big deal really.

These are the rules that keep the Forge the Forge... But they're not tests to see if you're "cultured" enough to stick around.  No one gets beat up or tossed bodily from "the club" for making a faux pax.

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Eric J-D
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2004, 07:02:43 PM »

I have to agree with Ralph and Christopher.  In addition to the excellent reasons Ralph gives for why threads aren't locked (i.e. the Forge is not a place where people just "post from the hip" as it were), I would add another reason:  closing threads without locking them demonstrates the faith that the Forge has in its members to be mature people.  Locking threads suggests that we can't trust people to be either observant or responsible.

I like the fact that this place is built on a sense of trust among its members.  Sure there is the odd occasion when someone slips up or, rarer still, deliberately violates a request from a moderator to close a thread, but as Christopher said, no one is in the business of ejecting anyone here.

That said, I agree that the Forge expects more from its participants than other boards do.  If you haven't already read the stuff on GNS, Social Contract, Why System Matters and so forth, you'll see what I mean when you do.  But these higher expectations are also what makes this place so special, and I don't mean that to sound either arrogant or elitist.  Having these expectations in place leads to some very wonderful things.  First, it means that when you ask someone a question here (as I have done a lot of lately despite my normal tendency to lurk), you can be damn sure that the people who respond to it have given it some thoughtful consideration.  There is nothing perfunctory about most of the responses to questions at the Forge, and I attribute this directly to the high expectations folks here have.  But second, having such high expecations also raises the bar for your own conduct here.  The result, in my opinion, is that each of us becomes more careful and considerate in our responses.  Not locking threads, in my opinion, is just an extension of the higher expectations that folks here have for our own and others' behavior.

That might sound idealistic, and I know that it doesn't always work out that way, but I have found that it succeeds far more often than it fails.  

Cheers,

Eric
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Crackerjacker
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2004, 05:19:49 AM »

That's all good and well that it can function that way on the Forge most of the time, but my question is: what good reason is there for not actually closing a closed thread? What reason is there for not locking closed threads?

If you don't lock a thread when you have the option to, then it seems to me that you really arent trying to keep people from posting on the thread. And I can't see any reason as to why it would not be just as easy to lock the "closed" threads (which really aren't closed at all). If you can think of one, please tell me, but so far all I'v heard are things about the "enlightenment" of this board.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2591


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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2004, 05:37:15 AM »

Quote from: Crackerjacker
That's all good and well that it can function that way on the Forge most of the time, but my question is: what good reason is there for not actually closing a closed thread? What reason is there for not locking closed threads?


This was already answered, albeit not too clearly.

1) It's a litmus test for respectable behavior. If you read before posting, the current way is no bother for you, and if you don't, you get a slight tap until you start to.

2) By keeping a thread open Ron&Clinton keeps threads equal. If they were to close threads many people would skip those threads to get to ones they can answer to. This would run counter of the sentiment that you can discuss things from closed threads.

3) There's no punishment for posting accidentally or out of ignorance, so it really is no problem to keep those threads open. When it's beneficial in other ways, why not? It's not the way many do things, but in my experience that's a reason to try it. Seems to work so far.

I hope this cleared it up, but by all means read again what others already said.

Basicly, if you think the current way is a problem, shouldn't you give argument against it? The embarrasment angle was covered by Valamir in noting that a little embarrasment without repercussion is a quite suitable "tap" for not reading the thread to the end before posting. Outside of that, is there a reason to change the current way?

If I were cynical, on the other hand, I'd tell you that the current way is predicated as a part of Forge conditionalisation; people are brainwashed by little things to accept Forge and reject other ways of handling these things ;) When you get hooked by trust and civility, it's hard to think of a reason to go back to force on those matters. Why force thread-closing when we get to enforce our own civility by not posting to closed threads every day? Currently we get to be virtuous by abiding, but with a locked thread, there's no choice as there's no possibility.

[/i]
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2004, 05:55:24 AM »

Here's an even better reason:

Ron and Clinton have enough to do without dealing with dozens of "thread closure" requests every day.

You see, EVERY thread becomes closed after a period of time, regardless of whether it is verbally "closed" by a moderator or not. Usually a week or two of inactivity on a thread is enough to close it by etiquette, and move any further thoughts or discussion into a new thread.

As well, Ron and Clinton are not the only ones who "close" threads -- the originator of the thread can say, "Thanks everyone, that answers my question," and the thread is then closed. In these cases, again, the moderators would have to be contacted and the thread locked by them. Even more work.

Honestly, I'm not sure why you're gung-ho on the idea of visibly locking threads? If it ain't broke, and it surely isn't, why add unnecessary complexity?

The system works fine as is, and won't work better with this suggestion implemented (and honestly, it would cause more problems than it would solve).
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2004, 06:13:09 AM »

The actual reson the moderators have given for not locking closed threads is that locking a thread inevitably conveys the undesired impression that continued discussion of the topic of the locked thread is forbidden. (See this thread for one from-the-horse's-mouth explanation along those lines). The Forge's policies on closing unproductive threads, splitting subtopics and side issues into new threads, and not allowing new posting to outdated threads are all designed to encourage further discussion of topics, whenever correspondents have new questions to raise or new insight about those topics to offer. (The rare threads whose topics are truly off-limits, such as spam threads, do get locked and moved to Inactive.)

As far as I know, all speculation about other motives suggested for these policies, including any plot to tempt newbies into error so they can be smacked down, or any desire to test or demonstrate how well-socialized or obedient Forge participants are, is spurious.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Paul Watson
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2004, 06:20:33 AM »

I agree with all the above posted reasons for keeping the current system, especially "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." To that I'll add the issue of appearance.

Most boards simply don't have the concept of a closed thread. Threads are either open or locked, and when they're locked its for rather negative reasons. Whenever I see that lock icon, strikethrough subject or whatever visual cue a given board uses for locked threads, my first thought is "Oh, boy, what did somebody say now?" It usually indicates a flame-war, intollerable personal attacks, a thread hopelessly threadjacked, or some other out-of-control anti-social behaviour.

Given the regularity with which Forge threads get closed, seeing a whole lot of those little lock icons on a thread list would look really bad.

I also appreciate the assumption of maturity that this policy demonstrates. It is also indicative of respect for the board members. A while back, on an night when I was hosting a game, my supply of coffee got to the point where I had only enough left to get me through the next day. I'm one of those people who simply can't function without a steady supply of coffee. I explained this to my guests, asked them to stop making coffee, and they did. I could have locked it up, making it impossible for them to make any more coffee, but that would have been disrespectful to my guests. They're mature individuals, perfectly capable of honouring a reasonable request.

Likewise, on this board, the participants are mature individuals, perfectly capable of honouring a reasonable request to close discussion on a particular thread. As opposed, locking threads would seem to indicate otherwise.
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2004, 06:21:10 AM »

ADDENDUM to my above post:

Regardless of the above, sorry, the answer really is: there's a higher standard of conduct at the Forge than elsewhere.

Feeling as though you're being picked on because you post to a closed (but not locked) thread is no one's problem but your own. So what's "in your book" and what's "technically true" (lawyer talk) doesn't matter one bit: it's community standards.

Changing the rules because a person believes it is injust for them (or anyone) to have to pay attention, or to adhere to expected standards of behavior without physical force (such as locking), is a very foolish reason to change the way things are done, because in such a situation it would seem to me the problem is not with the rules as they stand or the way things are currently done.

Otherwise, the argument is "You didn't lock your house, so don't blame me for stealing from it! It's really your fault!" When we all know, no, it isn't anyone's fault but the thief (and that includes the person who failed to lock the house -- the act of theft isn't their fault, nor are they even a contributor to it -- the full weight of the action remains solely with the thief).
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Crackerjacker
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2004, 06:34:54 AM »

Another point of mine that I didn't make clear is that my main point is that Ron Edwards has the time to post "this thread is closed" on a thread, wouldnt it of taken almost no more time than that to lock said thread? It's the instances where the order is an official decree from the important people that can get rid of you if you screw up that I think that they should go ahead and lock the thread when they post "this thread is closed". I'm not asking anyone to go out of their way to perform some extraneous task, I'm just asking that when the people who make decisions take the time to declare a thread close they should go ahead and lock it.

Another point I'd like to state is that I consider it pretty rude behavior in itself to create "tests" for members of a board, to see if they're on the level of the forum. The fact is, the Forge is a forum like countless others, and while of course it has it's own way of doing things like others does, it seems more than a bit pompous to me to set traps, even if there aren't huge consequences, for people that aren't being rude at all, just expect the logical thing to be done. Logic dictates that if one doesnt want people posting to a thread, and they are a moderator, they can just lock it. In fact, it is not rude or stupid at all for someone to assume that any thread that is not locked is open to be posted to.

In fact the most appropriate analogy for this situation is not "don't blame for stealing you're stuff, you didn't lock your house", it is "you left your door wide open in a culture where the social norm is that it is ok to walk into open doors, hoping someone would walk in so you're gaurd dogs could have something to attack" Because the idea that it is ok to post on any nonlocked threads is the norm in the internet community, as far as I'v ever seen anywhere online.

In fact, I'm afraid of this thread being closed. I'm afraid of the moderators posting here and then expecting the topic to be "done with", I'm afraid of getting in trouble just for this suggestion, and I'm also feeling quite outnumbered and match, because I'v got all these things to worry about by posting just a nonharmful suggestion while I have probably most of the board arguing against me, and they all feel like the moderators have their back. On the other hand, I feel like every argument against mine is backed by the invisible weight of Big Brother.
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Shreyas Sampat
Member

Posts: 970


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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2004, 06:45:28 AM »

Crackerjacker, what's wrong with your argument is that you're assuming that Forge culture is identical to the cultures of ither Internet fora.

It is not.
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Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2004, 06:55:29 AM »

I think you might be best served by taking some time off to understand what people are telling you.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
I consider it pretty rude behavior in itself to create "tests" for members of a board, to see if they're on the level of the forum


Luckily, that doesn't happen.  And your continued assertions are bordering on offensive.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
The fact is, the Forge is a forum like countless others


No.  It's different.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
it is not rude or stupid at all for someone to assume that any thread that is not locked is open to be posted to.


It is both when the owner of the sandbox has placed a "closed sign" on that corner.  Why should said owner have to erect a chain-link fence under the assumption that the other kids won't respect his authority?

Quote from: Crackerjacker
as far as I'v ever seen anywhere online.


The world is a big place.  Welcome to somewhere different.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
I'm afraid of getting in trouble just for this suggestion


Even if Ron pops in an closes the thread, you're not "in trouble."  There is no "Big Brother" here.

See my first statement above.

Chris
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Paul Watson
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2004, 06:58:38 AM »

Quote from: Crackerjacker
Another point I'd like to state is that I consider it pretty rude behavior in itself to create "tests" for members of a board ...

... it seems more than a bit pompous to me to set traps ...
No one is creating tests or setting traps.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
In fact, it is not rude or stupid at all for someone to assume that any thread that is not locked is open to be posted to.
No one is suggesting its rude or stupid.

Quote from: Crackerjacker
... and I'm also feeling quite outnumbered and match, because I'v got all these things to worry about by posting just a nonharmful suggestion while I have probably most of the board arguing against me, and they all feel like the moderators have their back. On the other hand, I feel like every argument against mine is backed by the invisible weight of Big Brother.
When you join an existing community with a long history and a social contract for behaviour that is perfectly functional, it behooves you to follow along with it. That's just the way the world works, inside and outside of cyberspace. If you decide to swim against the current, you shouldn't be surprised to find that most of the community resists.
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