TypeDrawers has endured many discussions about reactions. Moderators of the past had good reasons for settling on a simplified set of reactions (currently: Flag/Insightful/Disagree/Agree), but given that there are far fewer active moderators today, TypeDrawers needs some more assistance from the community when rules are broken.
Being off topic is one minor — but more common — violation that doesn’t warrant a Flag: Breaking the Rules, which is a fairly drastic and nonspecific alarm that draws undue attention. But a specific Off Topic warning from multiple folks could serve as a gentle reminder without having to post a message about the violation, further dragging the discussion off topic.
I suggest bringing back the Off Topic reaction, and hiding posts that get such a reaction from 3 different members. When a member reaches a certain total of Off Topic posts, they are warned and subject to future suspension, just like breaking any of the more serious rules
However the off-topic consequences should be enforced more heavily in certain parts of the forum (eg type critiques) where it could be annoying for OPs, if a focused critique is derailed by OT posts.
If the OP doesn‘t like that, OK, but why lower my social credit with a totalitarian penalty? Why are we so keen to judge one another all the time, with multiple-choice buttons? Bit too much like Facebook. Oops, I seem to be going off topic…
What if it is the button system which is scaring people off?
As for user points, I don’t think they play any visible role in TD as I understand it. The reason I supported a revival of this feature is to aid readers who would otherwise be distracted by off-topic posts, and provide violators with a subtle reminder (not so much a punishment).
In an ideal world, it would be great to partition the "off-topic" branch into a separate thread. As an alternative, five Off-Topic votes to collapse a comment is good.
In the Glyphs forum, there is a feature for splitting existing posts to a new topic without losing them:
I’m not sure if Vanilla supports this, but it feels like a cleaner and more transparent solution. Discussions can flow as they naturally do, and if a sub-thread starts to develop, it can be split into a new topic without having to delete and recreate the posts in the new thread.
And if a comment is not even tangentially related to the topic, it should be flagged. But (in my experience) that does not happen as often as follow-up posts slowly drifting away from the main topic.
I think maybe folks are over-concerned that they will be flagged when raising small but related topics. That’s not the intention. 5 votes is a high bar. This is meant only for clear derailments.
We should probably all do more new-thread-starting (I recall @Ray Larabie has modeled this well). I recently started a thread on forms of /a and /g in small optical sizes, and the conversation drifted to /ae and /oe. I was happy to watch that happen, but that could also have been started as a new thread, which would make that interesting discussion more findable for potential contributors and later searchers.
And you know what discourages participation more than anything? Favoritism. Like back when JP refused to rein in JM and this place became a dude-fest.
Stop looking for individuals to blame; this place has a cultural problem, and it started way before I was even a member. And I had no role in the most glaring recent disparity: an outsider's professionally critical post was dogpiled with flags, and then deleted outright (even though the person it was directed at did not need any coddling, and in fact became a victim herself) while the personal attack by an insider is just sitting pretty, with not even one flag.
The systemic vindictiveness is so pronounced that once the Off-Topic flag was made available again some people dug up old posts to flag them; and even a simple compliment from the wrong person gets flagged: https://typedrawers.com/discussion/comment/53837/#Comment_53837
"Flag responsibly"? Don't underestimate how important enforcing that is psychologically, especially to the newbies you aim to encourage.
@Stephen Coles is right. It's the frequency.
For instance, I appreciate how an author who is published with Oxford may want to air views on their typography. Yet, a running commentary of character profiles by an unsolicited narrator, with no known ties to the press, seems out of place. What warrants that kind of attention?
The author was undoubtedly off-topic, and flagged as such. However, I am more concerned by off-topic postings that stir the pot, and may escalate personal grievances by shaping opinion in unhelpful ways.
James Hultquist-Todd Hmm. Is the problem you are referring to that the same group behaving badly are now piping up when we ask for options to flag their behaviour?
What do you propose in its place? I am under the impression that the major problem is that moderation has not really been enforced here, leaving a few people room to dominate, troll and harass.
I didn’t subscribe to the “start a forum without X”, but that person should have amassed more than enough violations by now to be thrown out. Why hasn’t that happened?
What I still don’t get (at all) is the usefulness of the "Disagree" button as an anonymous reaction. It does not help any kind of discussion or improvement.