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.