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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    What Do You Do About Off-Topic Forum Discussion

    To all of you who run forums... Do you have a policy on off-topic discussion? Do you allow it? Any limits on it? Relegate it to a special folder?

    I'm having problems with some forum members being unhappy about off-topic discussion being allowed and some forum members being unhappy when their off-topic threads get deleted.

    I'd love to hear what you all do to handle this?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot skyhawk133's Avatar
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    I (as do most I think) have a "Lounge" where off-topic discussion takes place. The rules are a little more relaxed in this forum, and I personally keep all the topics in this forum off the homepage and "new posts" boxes.

    As long as off-topic discussion is kept to these forums, members who would prefer not have off-topic discussion shouldn't complain, and those that want it can use that forum and keep it out of the on-topic forums.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, that's one of the options I'm considering. I really like the idea of keeping these messages out of people's sight unless they actually venture into that folder. If I end up doing this, I might even go one step further and prevent this folder from being included when someone does a search.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    I don't really know of a more democratic way of doing things. You have three options like you've already pointed out - not allow it at all, move it to its own section, or allow it anywhere. My stance has always been to have one section for off topic discussion. If somebody posts a thread off topic in another section, it gets moved. If somebody starts going off topic in a thread elsewhere that, the posts get deleted.

    Sometimes these off topic forums can get out of hand though...you might find that people participate more in the off topic section than everywhere else in the forums, which is no good...You'll need to draw the line somewhere. If activity in the off topic section gets out of control, restrict it.

    Lastly, something you can do to make the people happy who do not want to see the off topic posts - Create a usergroup or permission mask (depending on the software you run), and only let those people who request to see off topic information actually see it. Out of site, out of mind for those who don't want it.

  5. #5
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    Ah ha. Yes. That's a great way of handling filtering it out. I think I can create a special member group that has permission to see that board and members would only join that group if they are interested in seeing that board. Smart! I was going to hack the code here and there but that's a much better idea.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    Glad that idea helps you out

    Hopefully everybody is happy again in your forums

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru dojo's Avatar
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    I have off topics in all my communities, People can chat about other things and then get to post serious specialized info afterwards

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by dojo
    I have off topics in all my communities, People can chat about other things and then get to post serious specialized info afterwards
    Same here. There isn't a real reason why there can't be a Off Topic Forum. The forum would get too boring without one.


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