I've been wondering why there have been so few questions/threads this year compared to previous years. It seems like everyone is posting and replying to the thread on "Jiffy Mini-Greenhouse for Starting Seeds". Since I had no opinion on that and don't ever plan on using them I hadn't bothered to read it especially with over 80 posts on the topic. Then tonight I thought I'd check it out and see what all the interest was in the mini-greenhouses. Much to my surprise, there weren't 80+ posts on the mini greenhouse, but rather it looked like everyone lost the ability to start new threads and just added to the one at the top of the list. I stopped counting at 10 the number of distinct questions/discussions that had nothing to do with Jiffy Mini-Greenhouses. I didn't read all the posts and refuse to do so as many of them I have no interest in and I don't have time to read all of them to find the few that I could/would contribute.
I realize that all forums are organic and develop their own life from the many and varied interests/knowledge of the participants, but a lot of information is lost to many when it is grouped under one heading. I assume (maybe incorrectly??) that I am not the only one with this complaint/suggestion for improvement.
I would kindly urge everyone participating to start new thread topics where applicable and reference threads where appropriate. I would much rather click on multiple threads to read (with appropriate headings) than have to sift and winnow through one thread with many different topics discussed.
I am as guilty as the next person in "hijacking" threads, so I'm not trying to assign any blame, I would just like this forum to function to its' full potential.
>> I would kindly urge everyone participating to start new thread topics where applicable and reference threads where appropriate. I would much rather click on multiple threads to read (with appropriate headings) than have to sift and winnow through one thread with many different topics discussed.
I suspect that part of the reason here is the same reason that many websites flourish or exist at all: most people use them as social media, and participate mostly because they enjoy chatting with a community of friends.
The most frequent outcome that I've seen ovedr the years, from insisting on "on topic disscusions only", has been a rapid drop in posting frequency, followed by a dropout of many of the contributing members.
One possible strategy is to just start more threads yourself. It looks like this is only the second thread you've started. Maybe pick a topic out of the chat thread, select some aspect of it, and start a thread with that in the title. "Lure" people to the thread.
Alternatively, remember there is no statute of limitations on old threads. Page back into forum history and find something interesting from 2002. Post to it, and that will "bump" it up to the top of the forum list. But contribute something to it: a summary of the concensus or disputes, a picture, a success story, a failure story, or a link to some relevant and useful page.
The same complaint was heard in the propagation forum: 90% of the posts were on one long chat-plus-question-answering thread, which suited the contributors. But other people wanted to read articles (not contribute), and tried to get the contributing members to convert their community chat room into an unpaid reference library. We suggested that they at least contribute questions.
And I acknowledge that DG management would rather we produced organized threads of text that will attract new subscribers. But I notice that frequent contributors quickly ask most of their own questions and share their own knowledge 5-10-20 times, then it is mostly the social "chat" pleasure that keeps them around.
Probably people that want to write articles, write articles, or start their own blog.
It is true that I have only started a couple of threads, because I have over 20 years experience in the industry and have very few unanswered questions that are relevant to this forum. If you had looked further into my profile you will see I have over 100 posts in the last few years and almost all of them are answering questions or providing information to the OP. I enjoy being able to help others and share my experience and this is the main reason I hang around here. I also enjoy the social aspects but when threads contain so many posts with so many different topics and questions unrelated to the thread topic, it is difficult to contribute. I don't have time or the interest to read all posts on this or any other forum (I doubt few people do), I read the topics posted and read the thread if I think I can offer advice or if the topic is of general interest to me.
I'm not trying to force anyone to change, I was merely offering a suggestion that I think would make this forum easier to navigate and more informative to all. For me, reading a blog (which is what some threads have turned into) is too time consuming so I don't bother.
BTW, I am not looking to convert this into an unpaid reference library, I already have one of my own.
I did see that you have made many posts, and apologize for not noticing that you are a frequent "answerer".
>> I'm not trying to force anyone to change, I was merely offering a suggestion that I think would make this forum easier to navigate and more informative to all.
I appreciate that. It's true that I took your post as urging and pleading, more than suggesting. I think I was influenced by many years of exposure to "thread police" who DO try to get other posters to do what the TP want, not what the posters want. Admins get to do that, of course, but I appreciate that, as a non-Admin, you are just suggesting.
Actually, since you're a heavy contributer, by my standards you SHOULD get to urge and plead or even scold to a considerable degree!
My irk should only be directed at non-contributing readers who want it to be easier for them to take without giving back - without even giving back well-thought-out thread titles for questions.
I think the real benefit of starting new threads for new topics is that the people asking the questions will get more help since more people will see their questions. Aside from that, if threads turn chatty and the original poster doesn't mind that things have gone off topic there's nothing wrong with that. But many people (especially newer folks) don't realize that if they tag onto an existing thread with a completely different subject many people who might be able to answer their question will never even see it. I don't think it's about discouraging social/chatty threads, it's about making sure that people get the best answers when they have questions.
The best compromise that I have seen is where the moderator has enoguh time to follow the chatty thread, and actively "snips out" Q&A posts and transplants them into new threafds that she creates, with meaningfull thread titles.
As long as everyyone who was "Watching" the chat thread is added as a "Watcher" of the new thread, it isn;t disruptive to anyone.
However, that new thread often degenerates into "chat" also!
The biggest downside for me of 200-post-long drifting threads is that it makes the current DG "forum search" tool almost useless. That tool only pulls up the THREAD that contains the searched-for text: not the post.
Thanks all for understanding. I'm sorry that I was misunderstood and that I got a little snippy in my reply to you (RickCorey). It is tough in a forum when we don't personally know each other and we all make a lot of assumptions based on a few (usually quickly) typed words.
I agree that it would be helpful for the moderator(s) to exercise some editorial control and snip out posts to new threads with appropriate new headers but, I don't have any idea if they really have the time to do that, if they read all posts/threads, or if they have any policy in place that allows/prevents them from doing so???? It could prove tedious for them and might anger some as well.
If one of the moderators is reading this perhaps you could comment...
One further suggestion for all of us either participating or reading this thread. When someone does post off topic questions in a threads we are reading, kindly remind them that they will probably get more responses and better information if they start a new thread.
There are only a couple of admins so I have a feeling they're quite busy and I really doubt they have the time to monitor threads in all the many forums to see if everything's on topic or things ought to be snipped out. I've seen them occasionally shut down or move threads in very "purposeful" forums like Plant ID when they get too chatty, but I don't know if they were actually watching it or if a bunch of people complained about it and that's what brought it to their attention. But in general I doubt they'd have the time to start monitoring & chopping up threads, so I think the best way to deal with the situation is to post polite reminders when it might be appropriate to start a new thread.
No problem, I think it was well-deserved and in line with my own comments, into which some snippyness probably also crept!
It seems as if decades of thread police have pointed things out to me often enough that now I have a conditioned response which I do try to edit down into something more printable. But YOU haven't repeated yourself dozens or hundreds of times, so I should only have said something like "good luck".