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locking things

Started by Ron Edwards, June 03, 2002, 09:41:35 AM

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Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Over in the RPG Theory forum, Eric (Pyron) asked a good question:

"... Ron, why bother moving everything from the first tread to a new one, if you can simply lock it. If you feel that locking gives a controllish and restrictive attude, then you should already know that the forge is like that already and that not one cares. This attitude makes Spammers leave quickly and people like me, adapt my attitude quickly. It's O.K."

My general policy on moving stuff around with Super Moderator Power goes like this:

1) If a new topic or angle of discussion has arisen that (a) is clearly attracting interest or (b) is de-railing the stated topic, then I split it out. This isn't to stop discussion; it's to permit what are now two discussions both to continue.

2) If an old thread gets resurrected by a new post, I split the new post into a starting thread of its own. This is a big deal, and some folks have a hard time understanding it. My view is that discussions exist in time. The dynamic and even topic of an old discussion exists as a unit, in time. Since then, points that a person made a year ago have been through a lot of turnover in his or her mind since then, based on discussions. Also, relationships among members have changed (eh, Jack? Ralph? Fang?).

I prefer to have these old "units" exist as a point of reference, and for new "units" to begin with all of us engaged as we are now, not trying to backtrack and re-garb ourselves in the old context (which may have been negative or conceptually-blocked, in some cases). The old discussions are tremendously valuable as references as we work out the topic - which may be the same topic - in the context of everyone's current outlook, relationships, and understanding.

3) If a thread gets started in an inappropriate forum, I move it so that people can (a) find it if they're cruising that forum looking for that sort of topic, and (b) the overall goals of that forum can be referred to as a baseline for the specific goal of that thread, if necessary.

Overall, my desire for #1-3 is to promote the most productive conversations possible, via rigorous parameters, not to "control and restrict." The difference between these two things is (1) hard for some to perceive at all, and (2) hard to implement successfully, each and every time.

All of #1-3 is about having the discussion continue in as productive a way as possible. Locking things down, though, strikes me as a "Stop" signal rather than a "Continue" signal, so I tend to avoid it as much as possible.

I totally agree with you, Eric, that the way things are done here is unattractive to spammers and leads at least some others to adjust their behaviors to the standards of discourse.



Ron, have you considered some sort of "auto-lock"? That is, how hard would it be to code it so a thread is automatically locked a month after the last post on it is made, so that you HAVE to start a new thread to talk about an old topic?
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT

Ron Edwards

Hi Kirt,

I think such an automatic-lock policy would cause more problems than it would solve.

The whole "Stop" signal connotation for anyone coming to the Forge would be almost impossible to avoid. I can't see any way to convince someone that our discussions are "open" if each one is irrefutably ... well, closed. The closed-to-add-posts concept and the closed-to-further-development concept are inextricably linked in many people's minds.

Currently there is no hard-and-fast rule for when a thread is now "too old" to add to. It depends on the specific forum (some are slow, some are fast) and it depends on the specific thread - some just get bumped off the main page through bad luck, like a flurry of new threads, and are still candidates to add to, in my view; others are "done for good" much earlier. I don't see any way to standardize that - can you imagine, if a thread is comfortably active for X days, and then everyone realizes "Uh oh, it's gonna lock soon!" and posting is thereby affected in some way? Serious hassles.

So unless a variety of objections arise about the current move/lock policy, I'm planning on sticking with what we've got.


Jared A. Sorensen

Quote from: xiombargRon, have you considered some sort of "auto-lock"? That is, how hard would it be to code it so a thread is automatically locked a month after the last post on it is made, so that you HAVE to start a new thread to talk about an old topic?

I think Ron's and Clinton's "hands-on" approach is best. Automating everything would be more efficient and easier (I s'pose), but ultimately I LIKE the fact the Ron and Clinton read all the posts and really stay involved with the site. Kind of a iron hand in a velvet glove real flame wars, limited amount of off-topic chatter, no thread short, very few of the problems that other message boards deal with. Ron and Clinton really care about this site and RPGs and it shows in their approach to Moderation.
jared a. sorensen /