On replying to old threads



  • For whatever reason, I was thinking about the annoying Spectate Swamp thread that's been going on for a year and a half now and also the fact that the "regulars" here tend to get really bitchy if someone replies to a thread that is more than a couple of weeks old.  I've seen this behavior in other forums as well, and I've never understood it.  Side Bar, for example, currently has 214 pages containing 5,342 threads going back to Dec.30, 2004.  If you aren't supposed to post any replies to old threads then why are they there?  Seriously.

    Then I came across something I saved a while back but had forgotten about.  I think it was written by Joel
    Spolsky, in response to complaints that on his forums a thread doesn't
    move back to the top of the list when someone posts a reply in it.  Most of the time I find Joel to be a pompous self-important blowhard, but in this case, I think he might be on to something:

    The
    tendency to worry transient conversations to death at endless length is
    neurotic.  The urge to keep everything in view eternally is
    pathological.  Before TCP/IP entered your life, you never had those urges with regard to normal REAL
    conversations, did you?  Nope.  Because when they were gone they were
    gone, and that was that.  You never even gave it any thought.



    But now, in an age where transient, essentially meaningless
    conversations can be preserved and added to, forever, you start getting attached
    to them.  Well, that's not healthy.  It's like saving string.  It's like
    keeping piles of old newspapers around your house until you die
    and the local news runs a story about "That Crazy Eccentric on Elm
    Street Who Died, Leaving Behind Forty-Three Tons of Rotting Newsprint, and
    the Ambulance Team Can't Get the Stretcher into the House."



    We talked about blahblahblah yesterday.  Let's talk about something else
    now.  Nobody REALLY CARES what we said a few days back, and if the
    software lets it slide out of view after a decent period, that's for the
    best.  Let it go. You're too young to live in the past.

    And it made me think.  Since everyone gets so worked up about replying to old posts, why not adopt a different system.  Given the amount of posts that are typically made here, two pages is more than enough for Side Bar which is the most heavily used forum.  That's currently 24 days worth of posts and means that someone could only visit once every 3 weeks or so and still keep up on what's new.  In this forum, one page gives you 4 weeks worth of posts.  Why not have a system where every time a new thread is started, the oldest one falls off?  Are we really that much in love with zillion page Spectate Swamp trolls?

    So I say, put your money where you mouth is.  If replying to old posts is really so terrible, then follow Joel's advice and get rid of them.



  • From what I know, the whole thread necromancy scare originally came from forums with a faster, uh, post frequency than we have here. There, when no one posted in a thread for longer than a week, that thread would quickly slide off to page 2 or 3 of the forum, pages, which almost no one visits anyway. (And so, the effect would be pretty similar to your idea.)
    But on the rare occasion that someone did visit them and posted again, it would pop back to page 1 and confuse and irritate everyone else who had long forgotten the thread and thought it was a new one. I know this happened a few times to me here in TDWTF, too.

    But IMO it's a different situation if the forum is so slow anyways that threads stay on the first page even if they are "dead".  Here, noting much would change for the visitors if someone reviewed it again and it would cause no irritation. This seems to be pretty much the policy that is employed on TDWTF, too, as you can see, e.g. in the Oracle forum. (The "empty string" thread in particular seems to have died in mid-2006, resurrected for the first time in 2007 and is now somewhere completely beyond good and evil in thread necromancy terms.)

    I don't agree with your quote, though. In the past, we didn't have the means to store meaningless conversations. Now we have. So what? From time to time, it can be useful to look them up again. But if we're already making software changes, why not add a module that warns users if they are about to post in an old thread or simply automatically locks them?



  • I like to browse through old threads and old newspapers. It gives you a sense of perspective; hey that really was funny, that was just a load of hot air, that was more important than I thought at the time, why did we miss that. Occasionally you need to clean up, but we're talking bits and bytes here, nothing that will prevent the guys with the strecher from coming in.

    As to replying to older threads, I'm occasionally tempted myself. My personal rule is:

    • don't post just a "I'm agree" or "OMGWTF"
    • offering a solution to a problem stated 3 years ago, maybe. Others may be googling for the same problem.
    • useful/funny/new insights: I don't think anyone will mind.

    But then again, those last cases are rare, so just locking to prevent spamrezzes (which are the major offenders) wouldn't really hurt.

    On Joel Spolsky: am I the only one who likes his posts?



  • @b-redeker said:

    I like to browse through old threads and old newspapers. It gives you a sense of perspective;
     

    Another thing is that it's fair for newbies. Most forums with a core community develop some kind of history. Unwritten rules, incidents, inside jokes, etc. It is less frustrating for newbies if they have a chance to look up that stuff if they like and less annoying for old members if they have fewer newbies who post the same tired XKCD comic for the dozenth time.

    I think that's another flaw in Joel Spolsky's analogy. In the real world, you aren't archieving your casual day-to-day conversations, yes. But in the real world your conversations aren't watched by a few hundred strangers, either. (Exceptions exist of course...)

    Also, we all forgot the most important reason, which is of course that you can keep track of your post count and do something for your e-penis.



  • This is a virtual world, not a real world. Nothing needs to be deleted, ever. And why should it be? People put time and effort into writing those posts. I could see closing the threads after a month or so, but they should never be deleted.

    For a more pragmatic reason, I like to go back to my old threads and update them as things happen. For example, I've updated the Windows Live Messenger 2011 one several times as I've made new discoveries about the program, I've updated the Gawker thread when I found an article explaining the hack in great detail, etc.

    @b-redeker said:

    On Joel Spolsky: am I the only one who likes his posts?

    He's a very mixed bag. I like his emphasis on usable software, and his support of human QA (instead of replacing humans with unit tests, which a lot of companies sadly are trying to do), and some other things. But on the other hand, he has this annoying bordering on obnoxious "best of the best" attitude. Plus, despite working for Microsoft and presumably absorbing Microsoft culture, he's extremely New York. And that just rubs me the wrong way.

    The wrongest thing he ever wrote was the piece about Microsoft strategy, "how Microsoft lost the API war". That article is complete trash.

    Edit: oh, and he had one of his smart programmers waste time writing a program to cross-compile ASP into PHP. Which didn't work entirely. So now they have to write code in a strange dialect of ASP that only his company uses. That's pretty WTF right there.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Most of the time I find Joel to be a pompous self-important blowhard, but in this case, I think he might be on to something:

    The
    tendency to worry transient conversations to death at endless length is
    neurotic.  The urge to keep everything in view eternally is
    pathological.  Before TCP/IP entered your life, you never had those urges with regard to normal REAL
    conversations, did you?  Nope.  Because when they were gone they were
    gone, and that was that.  You never even gave it any thought.



    But now, in an age where transient, essentially meaningless
    conversations can be preserved and added to, forever, you start getting attached
    to them.  Well, that's not healthy.  It's like saving string.  It's like
    keeping piles of old newspapers around your house until you die
    and the local news runs a story about "That Crazy Eccentric on Elm
    Street Who Died, Leaving Behind Forty-Three Tons of Rotting Newsprint, and
    the Ambulance Team Can't Get the Stretcher into the House."



    We talked about blahblahblah yesterday.  Let's talk about something else
    now.  Nobody REALLY CARES what we said a few days back, and if the
    software lets it slide out of view after a decent period, that's for the
    best.  Let it go. You're too young to live in the past.

     

    I'm very sorry, but literally every single sentence of that Spolsky quote is incorrect or has grave issues in relation to the whole. Every single one.

     

    Do you want me to be explicit and counter every sentence?



  •  Even the "Nope"?



  • I'm a relative n00b, especially to the forums, and I enjoy looking at old threads here.  Personally, I would be reluctant to post to an old thread, but it's nice to know I could.  I don't really see it as much of a problem, because mods could always just delete any non-valuable posts anyway.



  • @PSWorx said:

     Even the "Nope"?

     

    Yep.



  • @frits said:

    I'm a relative n00b, especially to the forums, and I enjoy looking at old threads here.  Personally, I would be reluctant to post to an old thread, but it's nice to know I could.  I don't really see it as much of a problem, because mods could always just delete any non-valuable posts anyway.

    We mods, wouldn't delete them.  Unless they were spam.  We try to generally do as little "modding" as possible.  It keeps the flow of the forums in users hands :)

    PS: I will add that sometimes we may "sanitize" a post if it gives specifics on a company and a security issue someone found on their site or such. 



  • @galgorah said:

    We try to generally do as little "modding" as possible.  It keeps the flow of the forums in users hands :)
     

    Well, that's only possible because we're a good bunch. Other groups are slightly more akin to, shall we say, a herd of cats (even if they're all nepetoid).

    I heard on another forum that the consistent idiotic behaviour of some members prompted the admin team to institute, as an experiment, a rule that on the face of it seemed rather strange and outlandish, unserious even. I haven't witnessed first-hand what the fuss was all about, so I stayed out of that discussion.

    Point being, we're a fairly unique group, not having any Tards & Trolls. After Morbius and Pesto took a break, I mean.

    Hell, we even managed to contain the swampie. :D


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    I heard on another forum that the consistent idiotic behaviour of some members prompted the admin team to institute, as an experiment, a rule that on the face of it seemed rather strange and outlandish, unserious even.
    ?



  • Maybe I'm being too generic. :)

    Summary: we don't do much modding because we don't need much modding; not because it's policy.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    Summary: we don't do much modding because we don't need much modding; not because it's policy.
    Not what I was questioning - I was just wondering what was being considered "strange and outlandish, unserious."



  • @dhromed said:

    we're a fairly unique group, not having any Tards & Trolls

    Well, we do, but they're quickly beaten into submission by the regulars (and some of the lurkers, occasionally), not by the mods, as on most forums. I recently went through a lot of old posts, and this seems to be a fairly new institution; until summer 2009, the mods took action to sanitize the forum; now you guys are hands-off, which leads to the regulars doing the beating. It works great - I'm not sure it would work everywhere, but it does.

    Also, I like the fact that going off-topic is not a bannable offense (exaggeration intentional) as on some boards.

    @dhromed said:

    After Morbius and Pesto took a break, I mean.

    That's the best bit. They're a bit of a special case (especially morbs) and I'm not sure you would be able to be able to explain that anywhere else.



  • @dhromed said:

    Maybe I'm being too generic. :)

    Summary: we don't do much modding because we don't need much modding; not because it's policy.

    I would say this is mostly due to the fact that we are USERS first and MODS second.  There isn't much seperation between the two.  I would argue that a sizable percentage of the "regulars" are also mods.  This means stuff gets fixed quick.   Plus being coders we tend to have smart phones that enable us to kill spam from the bar! 


  • @b-redeker said:

    Also, I like the fact that going off-topic is not a bannable offense (exaggeration intentional) as on some boards.

    So I've unlocked all of the vehicle items, all of the Assault items, and all but one of the Engineer and Medic items in Bad Company 2 and hit level 20. The main thing I haven't done is work on Recon, because I think they're cheap bastards... the three cheapest weapons in the game (sniper rifles, mortar strikes, C4), Recon gets every one. Besides, I get better kill/death ratios with Assault.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @dhromed said:

    we're a fairly unique group, not having any Tards & Trolls

    Well, we do, but they're quickly beaten into submission by the regulars (and some of the lurkers, occasionally), not by the mods, as on most forums. I recently went through a lot of old posts, and this seems to be a fairly new institution; until summer 2009, the mods took action to sanitize the forum; now you guys are hands-off, which leads to the regulars doing the beating. It works great - I'm not sure it would work everywhere, but it does.

    Also, I like the fact that going off-topic is not a bannable offense (exaggeration intentional) as on some boards.

    @dhromed said:

    After Morbius and Pesto took a break, I mean.

    That's the best bit. They're a bit of a special case (especially morbs) and I'm not sure you would be able to be able to explain that anywhere else.

    Morbs actually is a mod, and has been one for a while.

     Before summer 2009 there was a good of trolling/flame-baiting on the forums,  Most of that has calmed down now.  Although occasionally you still find it.  Most of what we encounter now is spam for medication or knock off shoes from china. 

     On a side note, my girlfriend recently came home laughing about this guy who walked into her store and proclaimed how he loved travelling to Argentina because he could get meds down there that were banned up here by the FDA.  He even offered to pick up some for her next time he went down...



  • @PJH said:

    I was just wondering what was being considered "strange and outlandish, unserious."
     

    Along the lines of: "All insulting or in any way negative comments about characters from MSPA will be restricted to the words mean ol' duck and pillweef".

    But, as I said, I can't find a trace of the problem that prompted that rule, so being staff of TDWTF myself, I assume it was made after reasonable deliberation, and perhaps with a smattering of innocent whimsy.



  • @dhromed said:

    @PJH said:

    I was just wondering what was being considered "strange and outlandish, unserious."
     

    Along the lines of: "All insulting or in any way negative comments about characters from MSPA

    Mystery Shoppers Provider Association? Massachusetts School Psychologists Association? Maritime Security Patrol Area?



  • Necroing old threads on this forum doesn't bother me just because it moves so slow and everything is so off-topic anyway. When topics that have been dead for years are still on the first page or two, necroing is inevitable. Except for those porn-spam necros we got for a while. I'm just glad my boss wasn't there when I found those!

    But on other more-active and more-focused forums it tends to drive me nuts. For example, you might see a topic titled "What CPU should I get?" and if you read it the original post is from 2004, but some moron necro'd it with a response about Sandy Bridge i7's. Or you see a topic from 2002 about how to implement something in ASP.NET and someone replies with stuff about LINQ to SQL Classes out of nowhere.



  • @galgorah said:

    We mods, wouldn't delete them.  Unless they were spam.  We try to generally do as little "work" as possible.  It allows us to be lazy :)

    PS: I will add that sometimes we may actually do something when there is no way out of it :'( 

    FTFY



  • @dhromed said:

    @galgorah said:

    We try to generally do as little "modding" as possible.  It keeps the flow of the forums in users hands :)
     

    Well, that's only possible because we're a good bunch. Other groups are slightly more akin to, shall we say, a herd of cats (even if they're all nepetoid).

    I heard on another forum that the consistent idiotic behaviour of some members prompted the admin team to institute, as an experiment, a rule that on the face of it seemed rather strange and outlandish, unserious even. I haven't witnessed first-hand what the fuss was all about, so I stayed out of that discussion.

    Point being, we're a fairly unique group, not having any Tards & Trolls. After Morbius and Pesto took a break, I mean.

    Hell, we even managed to contain the swampie. :D

    Wait, i thought i was a troll-tard, or a half retarded space monkey with superpowers, or something?

    Anywho, on-topic.

    PERSONAL PLEDGE
    I will dilligently make every effort not to ressurect old posts from now on (I will consider a post old if it is > 1 month old).

    If I do post to an old thread, I will limit those posts to (A) Answers to technical questions in the thread. (B) Bumps to threads with technical questions that I myself also need answered, provided said answer is not already in the thread.

    I will stop stirring the pot of crap that is the Spectate Swamp Mega Thread.

    how does that sound?



  • @Medezark said:


    Anywho, on-topic.

    <snip>

    how does that sound?

    Boring.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @Medezark said:


    Anywho, on-topic.

    <snip>

    how does that sound?

    Boring.

    Ok, I'll just randomly post to random topics then, as usual.



  • So do you think people will start "ironically" replying to this thread when it's old?



  • @frits said:

    So do you think people will start "ironically" replying to this thread when it's old?

    That would be on-topic. And boring.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @frits said:

    So do you think people will start "ironically" replying to this thread when it's old?

    That would be on-topic. And boring.

    But not posting would make them Ironically Ironic!


  • @galgorah said:

    But not posting would make them Ironically Ironic!
     

    Nobody wins. :c



  • I think someone's finally straightened it out.  There's a WebKing thread in sidebar that I SWEAR I saw a long time ago, but all of the posts are dated today.



  • @Medezark said:

    I think someone's finally straightened it out.  There's a WebKing thread in sidebar that I SWEAR I saw a long time ago, but all of the posts are dated today.

    Maybe the first post was a spam, and got removed.



  • I think it is not wrong to reply to old threads.



  • Guest said in On replying to old threads:

    So I say, put your money where you mouth is.  If replying to old posts is really so terrible, then follow Joel's advice and get rid of them.

    I actually agree with this guy. WTF do we need to store this old stuff? If it had ads I would think it's for the search engines.



  • @blakeyrat said in On replying to old threads:

    I like to go back to my old threads and update them as things happen

    Now you wouldn't be able if you were still alive, because of the 7 days limit.


  • area_can

    @frits said in On replying to old threads:

    So do you think people will start "ironically" replying to this thread when it's old?

    @wharrgarbl you got :hanzo: 'd


  • sockdevs

    @wharrgarbl said in On replying to old threads:

    Guest said in On replying to old threads:

    GODDESS DAMN IT FBNECROMAC


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said in On replying to old threads:

    I'm very sorry, but literally every single sentence of that Spolsky quote everything Spolsky has ever said or written is incorrect or has grave issues in relation to the whole. Every single one.

    FTF:trolleybus:



  • Guest said in On replying to old threads:

    pages

    What's a page?


  • :belt_onion:

    Every once in a while I'll come across something I wrote a long time ago and I'll think "Holy shit! That's actually pretty good. I wrote that? How the fuck did I do that?"



  • @accalia Hello @fox


  • sockdevs

    @wharrgarbl said in On replying to old threads:

    @accalia Hello @fox

    -_-

    We are unamused by you.

    We respectfully request that you try to be funny..... better....



  • @wharrgarbl said in On replying to old threads:

    @accalia Hello @fox

    Aren't you supposed to be pretending you're not obviously @fbmac?





  • @anotherusername said in On replying to old threads:

    @CreatedToDislikeThis no... that's @clippy.

    Are you relying on the 'one fbmac alt' code of honor here?



  • @El_Heffe said in On replying to old threads:

    Every once in a while I'll come across something I wrote a long time ago and I'll think "Holy shit! That's actually pretty good. I wrote that? How the fuck did I do that?"

    Yes. Me too. Exactly that. Except the opposite.



  • @accalia said in On replying to old threads:

    GODDESS DAMN IT FBNECROMAC

    @accalia said in On replying to old threads:

    We respectfully request that you try to be funny..... better....

    :trophy:


  • :belt_onion:

    @Lorne-Kates said in On replying to old threads:

    @El_Heffe said in On replying to old threads:

    Every once in a while I'll come across something I wrote a long time ago and I'll think "Holy shit! That's actually pretty good. I wrote that? How the fuck did I do that?"

    Yes. Me too. Exactly that. Except the opposite.

    I know, right?

    The same exact thing, only different.



  • This post is deleted!


  • @wharrgarbl said in On replying to old threads:

    Except I'm not trying to be funny, it's obvious

    Yes.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @wharrgarbl said in On replying to old threads:

    it's obvious you're @fox

    and it's obvious you're a dick, but we don't go on about it


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.