The Official FreeSK8 On-Topic/Off-Topic Approach

The Goal: Creating Better On-Topic Sharing.

One of the things this mod team has learned over our time on various forums is the importance of getting people the information they need in the most efficient way possible. Probably the #1 complaint over the years was that there was too much fluff to dig through in order to get to the meat in any given thread.

The solution to that is keeping off-topic content, whether they be offshoot discussions, jokes, or arguments out of the information stream.

Before, off-topic posts usually got swept up after the fact and dumped in somewhere like Derail Jail, but we won’t be doing that as it’s inefficient and we miss too much off-topic stuff with this retroactive approach. We’ll be happy to never have to move a post ever again.

Instead, we’re going to start using Discourse as it was intended. The designers of this software platform took handling off-topic posts into account when building Discourse, and the solution they came up with is as simple as it is effective:


As a community, flags give us the power to keep the information streamlined, and since they’re anonymous, there’s no downside to using them. By pulling a flag, you’re calling into question whether a post or posts belong in a particular thread, and the mod team will give it a final check before deciding to action it.

Here’s an official synopsis of the how flags work from the Discourse knowledge base:

If your off-topic posts are amazeballs and need to be preserved for future generations, there’s another option available as well:

Much like how you view pictures in “all the pictures and nothing of the else” and reply only in “replies to all the pictures and nothing of the else”, you can do that with off-topic thoughts linked out of on-topic discussions by sharing them in threads like:

Letting Off-Topic Posts Run Free:

But that doesn’t mean that FreeSK8 is a fun-free zone. We’ve set aside an entire category for fucking about called “The Watercooler.”

In this lawless, towel-snapping locker room of buffoonery, pretty much everything goes. We suggest leaving the flag-pulling at the door for the most part, but you can still use them if someone is truly offending you or some numbskulls are having a slapfight over which Backstreet Boys song is the best.

So unless you’re in a “Watercooler” topic, let’s start this community off in the right direction by utilizing this excellent, built-in, content-strengthening flag system.

Appreciate the community’s help with this, and please feel free to share your thoughts below.


Set it free Bilbo!


Can I flag this thread as off topic? :face_with_monocle:

PS: that’s a test who will flag my comment first as off topic…


I guess if you feel you must for some reason, but it’s certainly not off-topic.


Hm then no, because you always right :point_up:

I like the flagging strategy if people here also don’t get offended by it.
In the past it always had some negative taste when people flagged other people.

Is there some kind of regulation that for example I get automatically silenced for a day if I get flagged more than x times at one day?
Or from the other side that people can flag only x comments per day?


No, but it will drop your trust level. So a user getting hit with multiple “delete/agree” flags can get dropped down to where they cannot post as much.

We don’t have a limit, I believe. (Will check and update here.) EDIT: Users are currently limited to 20 flags per day. Will increase this if usage warrants.


I would like to hope we never get to a stage where a single user needs 20 flags in one day :flushed:


if users are just spamming flags all over the places, there should be some consequence to that, even if its off-topic (unless the flag is truly offensive / violation / privacy…etc)


We won’t be letting people be stupid in this way. This is why even with a robust flag approach that mods are still needed.


and if it’s truely amazeballs, like too amazeballs for the randomness topic, you can use the same technique to redirect to your own post about your new off topic topic and then it will be on topic.




Why is there no flag icon available under your posts?
Are discourse admins above the law?


I’m glad you mentioned that. I turned it off when I thought Andy was intending to flag this thread before others could see it. He since edited his intent but I forgot to revert. :joy:


Sorry if I made you scary @BillGordon
I could never be that rude… :joy:


Take that Clash losers…



mall cops get no respect from mall ninjas…

it’s the way of the mall


(Derail, boys.)