Bring back the Off Topic reaction

Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
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.
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Comments

  • Agreed, except the threshold for hiding should be much higher (ideally, proportional to the number of people who have seen the post) because there have been vigilante (and even orchestrated) mass-flagging efforts in the past.
  • It’s back. Let’s see what happens.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
    I believe it's set at -5 points (with each Off Topic reaction worth -1), but it’s not working on this post.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
    Years ago there was a “Like” reaction, but that was dropped as part of the simplification process and because it felt too similar to the other two positive reactions. I hear what you’re saying about those not always serving the appreciation purpose, and maybe “Thanks” is indeed a better distinguisher. Please suggest it in a new thread. 
  • Maybe if a comment gets too many Off-topic votes it collapses in an expandable button instead of negatively impacting on the user score?. So it doesn't derail readers from the post and doesn't punishes too much off topic comments.
    And if the user gets his comment collapsed 2/3 times, THEN the -1 points happen. What do you say?
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 325
    As a proud and inveterate off-topicker, I look forward to building up my off-topic count.
    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 a reader, if there was some way a comment could be styled or flagged as off topic by the person who posted it (or retroactively if needed), but kept in the thread, that could work. I could then just skip past the ones marked as off topic if desired (or just focus on them too ha). If there was an easy way to branch threads it could also solve part of the issue, as those who want to follow a branch could do so? 
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
    According to the software, five Off Topic votes should collapse the comment. It’s just not working correctly at the moment.

    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).
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 234
    The censorship approach to going "off-topic" in OUP thread feels wrong. 

    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.
  • Regarding the OUP thread: It’s one think for a natural shift in topic over the course of a conversation. Derailing a thread with attacks is another. Action was taken after complaints were received.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
    edited June 22
    That would be a nice feature, yes.

    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. 
  • I feel able to ignore tangents that aren't worth reading. This is the internet... Nobody knows I'm a dog, or that I totally skipped their off-topic post. 
  • Stephen’s thread about dominating a conversation has gone off topic in the natural course of the conversation and nobody has marked any of the posts “off topic”. The reaction is for a purposeful derailment of a thread.
  • The reaction is for a purposeful derailment of a thread.
    Quite rosy. Look harder (and wider). Too often it's for dogpiling by the clique. Which is why "What makes you write such an idiotic thing" did not get a flag, while an on-topic post pointing out that it's very natural for somebody to (unwittingly) have trouble with posting limits got five.

    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.
  • I think it might be time to remove the flagging system entirely; it causes more problems than it solves. 

    We can leave Insightful, Disagree, and Agree. Most of the time, when someone has an issue with a post, they reach out to the moderation team in private regardless of what happens with the flag system. As long as we moderators do our job there’s no need for it.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 904
    I’ve been proposing some community moderation because it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of capacity for official moderation, which would be totally understandable. If that's no longer the case, and you're able to bring in some help (thanks @Eris Alar!), I totally trust your judgment and admire your dedication. 
  • @Stephen Coles Cutting slack? Reputation? Sorry, that sounds very frat. Honorable behavior does not depend on anybody else's behavior. Even-handedness is what's needed.

    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.
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 234

    The more often you do stuff like that, the less slack you get cut, and the more likely the “dogpile” will form. 
    @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.
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited June 23
    > I think it might be time to remove the flagging system entirely; it causes more problems than it solves. 

    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? 


  • escalate personal grievances by shaping opinion in unhelpful ways.
    Which is also done implicitly (and anonymously) via flagging, and you can't flag that, so it's up to the moderators to rein that in, just like with explicit issues.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,173
    I think it might be time to remove the flagging system entirely; it causes more problems than it solves. 

    We can leave Insightful, Disagree, and Agree. Most of the time, when someone has an issue with a post, they reach out to the moderation team in private regardless of what happens with the flag system. As long as we moderators do our job there’s no need for it.
    In that case a per-post "report" link would be handy to facilitate that "reaching out."
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 221
    edited June 23
    > I think it might be time to remove the flagging system entirely; it causes more problems than it solves. 
    If it means no more conversations about conversations, yes please! 
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited June 23
    Here’s a message from a (the?) banned individual in my inbox. 


  • I like the "off-topic" button, if used wisely I believe it can be handy.
    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.
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