Meta Question

janbb's avatar

Is there a policy about derailing a question in Social?

Asked by janbb (62669points) April 11th, 2019

I know “off topics” can be flagged in General and I know Social allows more freedom but I often see questions that become so derailed by side conversations I have to look at the OP to remember what the question really was about. I realize I have the option to stop following at that point but I wonder if there should be a policy or if this is not a problem for others?

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14 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I think this is a very good point, I know people who are discouraged by that and don’t contribute because of it. Too many good discussions get lost.
Some people claim that the Q is “done” and that makes it OK, but I really don’t think it’s their call.
Thanks for asking this, @janbb.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s not just side conversations that do it for me. It really irritates me when someone—who usually didn’t read the details—misinterprets the question or answers the wrong question, not what was asked, and then the other responders take their cue from her and answer the same wrong question.

It also bugs me when someone enters the thread just to criticize the question, or worse, the asker. Silence is always an option. If you don’t like the subject matter or the point of view, just leave quietly.

But for me the biggest nuisance is the ones who seize every opportunity to post snide and mocking remarks, almost as if they thought they were funny, and to pound the same old tired wisecracks. I get that that’s who they are. (What a shame to be known in no other way.) When they enter, that’s usually my cue to exit.

Unfortunately, @janbb, I think it would be really hard to set a policy that covers these situations. I don’t think the OP can do much more than redirect the question—although when I try that, usually the off-topic noise just skips over me and goes on. It may be that there’s just no way to legislate cluelessness.

Anyway, the Godwin’s Law equivalent on Fluther is that sooner or later we’re going to end up talking about food. That’s not so bad, right?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Social’s always been a free for all, probably always will. Although as we discussed on another Meta thread, it’s being policed a little more lately, seems like.

Dutchess_III's avatar

IMO, by the time it gets “derailed,” the original question it’s pretty much all talked out. All that’s really left is for it to die. I’d rather see a side discussion myself.
I suppose you could ask people to stay on topic in the details.

ucme's avatar

Trust me, it all depends on who is transgressing, or conversely, who is trangressed against.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Many years ago, a mod stated to me in a PM that answers still needed to be relevant in Social, but they have much more latitude to how relevant. They further stated that answers wildly off topic would be removed. I can’t say if this is still the case today.

jca2's avatar

I like Social for this reason – I like the meandering path that conversations take, similar to conversations in real life. Sometimes in General, something will be modded for not being on topic, but yet maybe to some, what’s been discussed is relevant in some way, to them.

I always post in Social and not General. I enjoy the banter. Even if some comments are annoying, I like the humorous ones and I appreciate the fact that people took their time to post a comment on my question.

janbb's avatar

I wouldn’t mind if any mods are reading this if there is some feedback on this issue.

JLeslie's avatar

I generally like the banter, although when it gets very silly for very long I’m not too into it. I’ve never been big on pancakes and frizzer and whatever else. Not that I would ever flag it.

I don’t like when someone rips apart the original question, or jumps on the original poster, criticizing how they asked the question, or assuming the intent of the question, or assuming the mindset of the asker. I think it’s fine to clarify the question if it’s not understood well, but beyond that I’m not too fond of people being mean to the asker.

Demosthenes's avatar

I’ve asked many political questions that go completely off the rails. That is my experience on almost any website with that particular topic. A question about Trump has suddenly turned into a debate about whether or not God exists. Whatever. Sometimes I will try and get people back on topic, but other times I just accept that the topic is gone.

As for people responding just to shoot down the question/OP or deliberately ignoring the details, I will call that out every time.

canidmajor's avatar

It is unfortunate also that it it happens so often in General as well. Despite the assumption that the OP might not care, just because they haven’t actually objected doesn’t mean it’s OK.

Response moderated (Spam)
longgone's avatar

[Mod says] What @Hawaii_Jake said is correct. As I see it, the discussion in Social is free to wander to a new topic. That’s intended and, for many, a reason to use the Social section. However, a completely random post about the eggs I had for breakfast will be modded everywhere on Fluther.

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