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Old 2009-11-08, 11:44   Link #1
felix
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Problems with dicussion on AS, today

Discussion here is generally in a weird pleasant way better then other less moderated places, a consequence of creating a medium where the horrid mutations of the original conceptualization of message boards (ie. trolls, spam etc) can not exist. However by being so different its inevitable you create here your own harmful mutations.

This thread's purpose is for pointing out said "harmful phenomenons" nature; fixing it is not the issue here. Feel free to contribute your own observations and issues with discussions and threads.


Pattern: "One in majority"

Not really limited to AS, this happens in closed (or more professional) circles as well, with relative high frequency. Its' simpler to explain by example...
We have a topic "A or B", and these posts:
  1. replies in favor of A
  2. replies to post 1, in favor of B
  3. replies in favor of A
  4. replies to post 3, in favor of B
  5. replies to post 4, in favor of A
  6. replies to post 5, in favor of B
  7. replies in favor of B
  8. replies to post 7, in favor of B
Looking at the above the most common opinion would be: "Wow, that a pretty stable and balanced discussion.", of course that's what most people think; I mean its so balanced each side even takes turns (hint: you're suppose to have figured whats wrong by now.) Also, incidentally if we consider the fist post the opening and take it out (think of it as house rules,) then opinion B is in the majority in a way. Some of you may have guessed part of the problem, and I'll give you the missing bits in the example in a sec, but before I do lets analyze what is there now. First of all there is no opinion B. You don't think so? why? the opening replies in favor of A so even if (s)he gives a opinion B its utterly biased, nobody will really put much thought into it. "Oh but there are 4 replies with the opinion B" you might say. Truth is, that is not really opinion B, they are replies/rebuttals against opinions of A, they are merely "negative A" opinion, or if you want to be nit picky about my phrasing think of them as "the part of B that is a negative of A".

The general consensus is: "if someone posts something false, just prove them wrong", and indeed it does work, just not all the time. Why? well first of all, people who like to attack others opinions are also the ones who tend to take the most defensive stance, "convince" is far from the right word - there are not people that know what "humility" means. Secondly, For someone to counter opinion B, one must actually know opinion B, not that you don't have this vague idea what it is you just don't know what the support/opposition/neutral aspects of it are... and well (given the usual consequences, large threads, check in late blah blah) people will just guess; which is bad. Did I say "bad"? I really meant "self-defeat". Since you presumed you did not fight opinion B you debated "your self created" opinion B, and obviously you'll get the "that's not it" reply back (I just used 3 concise words, people here like to use 3 paragraphs) and this goes on and on, but that's another story/pattern...

Getting back to these bits that are missing. This typical situation (from above) is beyond the scope of moderation, I just can't see a way to fix something like that, so its probably better to just leave it to rot. However there is one simpler form, that happens a lot, that is fixable. If I told you each post in favor of A was made by a different person, then that would probably come as no surprise, you most likely presumed that anyway. But, what if I told you all the posts in favor of B were made by a single person? its more common then you think. To make it easier to understand lets make a analogy do a conversion. We're gonna convert from the electronic medium to the old roman forum medium (or maybe if I mention Greece and philosophers thats easier to grasp?). So what is our little supporter of B now? Well in a forum the idea is everyone gets a turn, everyone has a voice (there is no butting in line), also all the participants that take the stand at one point or another express their idea (he never does that so he's not really a participant to the discussion, he's just a some guy from the crowd). So how is this all proceeding? simple, each time someone speaks, he's "the guy" (from the crowd) who yells at them "you're wrong! blah blah". Is the guy a troll? from general consensus "no", he's not someone who went up as part of the discussion, he just went in into someone's opinion; you can say any piece of nonsense you like that, all you have to do is maintain the status quo of so called "conversation", and you'll only at worst be classified as a "idiot" but never a troll; since you never expressed your trolling as a opinion in the topic.

So what's the fix? surprisingly its the same for the real world version and the electronic one: "Please stop replying every few minutes and keep your ideas to yourself and come present in detail your side after people have had their say.", something like that; simple, yet never used against this form of noise here.

Note: I'm not implying people do this noisy one-man majority on purpose, that doesn't excuse it.

Pattern: "Multi-siding"

As I said earlier the offensive people (ie. the ones who like attacking others opinions) are also the most defensive ones. Well lets not kid ourselves, nobody likes being wrong (some people more then others).

So how does it work. Well a topic is meant to have one debate. People don't like this, it makes it hard to get back (you have to think, you have to have think about what your saying too; god forbid). So what do most people do? they split "their side" into multiple bits (a sort of reverse divide and conquer). Debating over little bits is indeed easier but as far as the original objective/topic/debate is concerned its countless times harder. To reach a consensus on this split up version you have to reach consensus on all of them. Wait does this actually work? hell NO it never works. You'll reach dead ends or things you don't have a answer to (the holes in your side of the debate), because of this process those pieces will never get solved since well its easier to skip them (that's why people divided to begin with). So how do people indent to win in the debate? (oh yes even if you do this on purpose or not, this you are very well aware of either way). You win via the other side forfeiting the debate. In other words you don't really prove anything, its just a win for your ego/pride and several extra millimeters for your e-peen.

How do people split it actually? simple the quote tag. Just quote each and every word in their post if you need to. Multiple posts are bad (because you can't have multiple opinions in a topic, not just because space issues), but by placing your "multiple posts" in one you circumvent that rule.

How is this fixed? Beats me, maybe allowing multiple quotes, but only if each of them is from a different user; but that's extreme measures. Unfortunately the option to "leave it to rot" isn't that great. This behavior excels at keeping stupidity alive; inevitably stomping smart conversation in the process.
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Old 2009-11-08, 13:48   Link #2
TinyRedLeaf
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Umm... there's always the power of Private Messaging!

Or, if you prefer, Visitor Messaging!


All of what you described above is just part and parcel of a debate. After all, if there weren't dissenting opinions, the thread would simply be a mutual-admiration party. And if you ask me, groupthink is more dangerous than being proven wrong.
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Old 2009-11-08, 14:04   Link #3
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
All of what you described above is just part and parcel of a debate.
I said they weren't? I said they were bad. Also you are the creature I speak of in the first pattern. You came, mumbled something about all I said being wrong (generalization ftw ehh), then left with out explaining your point of view. As I said, since you wrote something your post is viewed as a opinion, however everything about your opinion is a mystery, other then you disagree with what I said. I'm suppose to guess some "genius view" aren't I? =P
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Old 2009-11-08, 16:14   Link #4
xris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
everything about your opinion is a mystery
Boy, talk about the pot called the kettle black.

"maybe if I mention Greece and philosophers thats easier to grasp"
What in the world are you yourself mumbling about here!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
snip
tl;dr

I attempted to read the opening post but I gave up. Just what is the point of the thread? Who is it aimed at? What are you trying to say?

"This thread's purpose is for pointing out said "harmful phenomenons" nature"
Err, right, that helps sooo much.

Could you supply a summary (in English please) as to what the purpose of the thread is.
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Old 2009-11-08, 16:47   Link #5
Vexx
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There *is* the "one poster hijacks entire thread" phenom where one person feels compelled to answer every single post to the point where their posts dominate the page. Hell, I've even been guilty of that though lately I've been trying hard to stand back and not repeat what others have already said.

But that's just going to happen and I figure that is what the mods signed up to mitigate.

Debate as a formal exercise means that you can argue persuasively for either "side" and that you take the time to support your assertions with data. If one side can provide fewer facts or is unable to address challenges, then they *should* concede the argument and adjust to what they've learned. Realistically, though many just seem to run away or get violent.
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Old 2009-11-08, 18:29   Link #6
Kamui4356
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If I understand the opening post correctly, Cats, you want to ban splitting up posts? If I'm misreading that, feel free to correct me because I could be very wrong.

If I am interpreting it correctly, I'm not sure if that's really desirable. It's not just a matter of splitting the posts to make them easier to respond to, it can also be a matter of splitting them to make it easier to keep track of things. Also it is entirely possible to come to an understanding on certain arguments being presented, while still debating the rest. I'm not sure splitting the posts make it less likely to come to a conclusion. In fact it might work the other way around as a person is likely more willing to reach a settlement on certain aspects of their position compared to the opposite position, while they would not be as willing to come to a settlement on the whole.
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Old 2009-11-08, 19:00   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
There *is* the "one poster hijacks entire thread" phenom where one person feels compelled to answer every single post to the point where their posts dominate the page. Hell, I've even been guilty of that though lately I've been trying hard to stand back and not repeat what others have already said.

But that's just going to happen and I figure that is what the mods signed up to mitigate.

Debate as a formal exercise means that you can argue persuasively for either "side" and that you take the time to support your assertions with data. If one side can provide fewer facts or is unable to address challenges, then they *should* concede the argument and adjust to what they've learned. Realistically, though many just seem to run away or get violent.
Not every debate has a "right opinion" and a "wrong opinion". In fact, most debates here on Anime Suki don't, Vexx.

Consider recent debates over tsunderes, yuri, slice of life, and retro vs. modern anime (I've taken part in all of these debates) on Anime Suki's General Anime subforum.

What's the "right opinion" that dissenters ought to "concede" to here?

I didn't see either side of any of the debates completely "knock it out of the ballpark" so to speak.

Actually, one of the things that I'd like to see more of in Anime Suki is more people simply accepting disagreements; having more agrees to disagrees.
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Old 2009-11-08, 19:10   Link #8
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Couldn't the one in majority and multi-siding examples be left out? I mean, what this essentially comes down to is the stubborn, persistent user who will do anything to prove his/her stance right or get under the skin of whoever they are arguing with, isn't it?

It doesn't seem to me like the examples you mentioned would be a problem without that type of user. Those two scenarios both have legitimate uses. In fact taking that multiple posts/opinions are bad concept further would crush the forum experience completely. What would be a logical progression after this, you can't post any information of a similar nature to someone who has expressed it before, out of fear for redundancy?

People do repeat themselves, they are stubborn, they often do fill up a thread with annoying or even offensive viewpoints and chatter. There's also those who expand on what they originally posted, concede when they're wrong, and change their stance based on arguments from the opposite side. The first group is more prevalent because that's just they way most people are.

For the multi-siding thing, the quote system isn't even necessary to change the topic and generate confusion by splitting up an argument. You can just as easily do it without responding to any user at all. I split up what I'm quoting so I don't have to write out what part of an opinion I'm referring to. So instead of typing out in reference to, or in response to this, or this is how I feel about such and such I just quote the specific section so they know what I'm responding to. Can you omit valid arguments and split up the debate by doing that? Of course, it also isn't necessary to quote to achieve either of those things. I feel like the problem can be pinned on the user not the way they happen to achieve it.
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Old 2009-11-08, 22:40   Link #9
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Not every debate has a "right opinion" and a "wrong opinion". In fact, most debates here on Anime Suki don't, Vexx.

Consider recent debates over tsunderes, yuri, slice of life, and retro vs. modern anime (I've taken part in all of these debates) on Anime Suki's General Anime subforum.

What's the "right opinion" that dissenters ought to "concede" to here?

I didn't see either side of any of the debates completely "knock it out of the ballpark" so to speak.

Actually, one of the things that I'd like to see more of in Anime Suki is more people simply accepting disagreements; having more agrees to disagrees.
Sorry, I wasn't properly qualifying my ramble... the sort of debate I was referring to was "given a problem, what should be the solution?". You're pointing at another kind of discussion --- more akin to "what should we label this as?" For that, there may be better positions or more poorly defended positions... but you're correct, there really isn't a "right" or "wrong". If one is lucky, a *consensus* might emerge (such as the most recent 'who do we label as tsundere and what does it mean?' thread).
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Old 2009-11-08, 23:09   Link #10
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
I said they weren't (characteristics of a debate)? I said they were bad.
Oh dear, it seems I would have to "multi-side" in order to answer your query.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
So how does it work. Well a topic is meant to have one debate. People don't like this, it makes it hard to get back (you have to think, you have to have think about what your saying too; god forbid). So what do most people do? they split "their side" into multiple bits (a sort of reverse divide and conquer). Debating over little bits is indeed easier but as far as the original objective/topic/debate is concerned its countless times harder.
As far as I understand, you're saying that the above is part of the "problem". And I'm saying that's all part and parcel of a debate, hence not really a "problem" at all.

A robust debate is one where both sides state their propositions, and then proceed to attack the assertions. And there are several ways to do this, be it proof by deduction, proof by probability or proof by contradiction and so on.

Over the course of the discussion, it's more than likely that you'd find that your proposition needs to be broken down into component parts, because there will be cases where an entire proposition can fall apart because of a single incorrect assumption. Or, the opposite can also happen where you may find parts of a proposition worth salvaging even if the original proposition can no longer stand.

So, if the above is what you're quibbling over then, quite naturally, you'd never find a solution. Not unless you make it a "discussion" where no one is allowed to disagree with the original post, in which case all you'd have is a mutual-admiration party.

Frankly, the onus is always on the debaters themselves to bring their arguments back to the original topic. If they find that they can't then, quite obviously, they've gone out of topic.

Now, to a certain extent, I can understand what you're griping over. Quite often, a discussion can appear to go out of topic because the participants seem intent on debating only one of those side issues. In which case, the reasonable solution would be to request the creation of another thread. Or, they could take the side discussion into PMs or VMs, especially if it seems as though just a handful of participants are having a private conversation at the forum's expense (Cats: "what if I told you all the posts in favor of B were made by a single person? its more common then you think.").

All this is already part of the unofficial etiquette here in AnimeSuki so, again, I don't really see the alleged problem. If anything, it's more a failure at thread moderation than a problem in the discussion itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cats View Post
So what's the fix? surprisingly its the same for the real world version and the electronic one: "Please stop replying every few minutes and keep your ideas to yourself and come present in detail your side after people have had their say.", something like that; simple, yet never used against this form of noise here.
If I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that a poster should not be allowed to post another message until after an arbitrary number of posts by other people have been submitted?

I suppose that could work, but only for threads that see high traffic. If it's a thread with only a few posts, many of them by the thread originator, I think you'd run into some problems implementing your proposed solution. Perfectly legitimate messages could get blocked simply because not enough people have replied after you've submitted your first message.

So, again, since we have PMs and VMs, why not use them? People who are genuinely interested in continuing a side topic can always take it to private conversation and leave the rest to pursue the so-called main topic. As for those who are posting simply to disrupt discussion, then I think we have a troll. In which case, ignore him and, better yet, report the person or the post. Let the moderators decide whether to delete the posts or ban the individual.

Again, all this is already being done. The process works well enough. It's not perfect, true, but I feel it's better than your proposal of blocking replies.
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Old 2009-11-09, 23:25   Link #11
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I really really don't think it should be the place of mods to shape the debate into any particular form. They should only step in whenever there's abusive behavior towards someone else (other than organizing topics/threads). Yes, some of those things you cited can be problematic at times and I'm guilty of them myself too but seriously, any scheme to force some kind of utopian format of discourse is going to backfire.

Take for instance your admittedly extreme example of disallowing multi-part quotes from a single person (either you quote in entirety or not). If I understand you correctly it's because it dumbs down and perhaps ratholes the discussion by allowing people to pick and choose what they want to address. But even so there's nothing inherently disastrous about such methods of replying. It's not like you have to completely agree or disagree with everything someone else said, and you can have varying degrees of disagreement or agreement on various points from the same person.

And in your first major point, the bias of the OP's presentation for a particular view is going to be obvious anyways. Rather than forcing the OP to be a neutral and objective reporter, a better way is to simply allow opposing views -- even if those opposing views are simply a negation of the OPs. It may lead to addressing the OP by merely deconstruction his/her opinions but that is already good enough for balance. For example when someone gives you a solution to a problem you don't have to know the right solution in order to find faults with the other person's solution.

An entire colorful discussion is an aggregate of all these little points, addressed in all these different ways, from all these different personalities.
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Old 2009-11-10, 00:55   Link #12
felix
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Replying with out splitting a message into a hundred bits is not difficult, it should be the most natural and efficient way of going about it.*

Why?

First of all, a reply to a topic should be always directed at the topic. This means that when you are replying to another poster your post should merely be a consequence of said users post not a (direct) attack to said message. Intuitively you can think of this meaning that if the quote were to be removed from your message or moved to after your message (eg. this post), it would not lose context or meaning (or become confusing). When your message however becomes linked to the quote (eg. TinyRedLeaf's post just above) you are no longer replying to the topic, you are merely sending a message to said user, something which is more akin to a private message then a debate.

Its, interestingly, very easy and almost natural to turn a debate into a series of private messages. Is this bad? Well lets think about it: if we have a "topic A", and we are talking instead of "topic A" about "X's opinion of topic A" or "X's wording in his opinion of topic A" (later being more common), are we actually doing anything to help in the debate of "topic A"? Is proving someone is wrong, proof that you are right? The answer is no, so implicitly by proving someone's opinion is wrong is not going to bring anyone closer to the "truth" of the debate. As a last word on the subject, "proving someone wrong" is just a abstract concept of what is actually commonly happening, if we were to point fingers things like "correcting others (so called) mistakes" are higher ranked in practice then "arguing with others opinion".

Secondly, it should be more natural to not wish to split a thought since you are sending one thought or to phrase it otherwise: "your thoughts are as one" (at least they should be). If its easier to split your thoughts to reply then it means your thoughts don't really have anything to do with each other (does this sound right to anyone? considering its suppose to be a debate), possibly your thoughts can't even get along with each other in a single paragraph even if you try. So what's the deal here? my conclusions are that in such a case you are not debating, instead you are just mumbling things that given the narrow context provided by the quote would appear to sound right; even if in the broader scope they make no sense - or as often is the case, are redundant. In short a very childish way of debating (and noisy as well).

There is a exception, and that is when the quote is part of the text, for example if the quote acts like a example. In other words if you are talking around it (do not think: circles) not about it, so it helps prove the point you are making not provide a pivot for you to make a point (only the topic should do that).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vile View Post
Couldn't the one in majority and multi-siding examples be left out? I mean, what this essentially comes down to is the stubborn, persistent user who will do anything to prove his/her stance right or get under the skin of whoever they are arguing with, isn't it?

It doesn't seem to me like the examples you mentioned would be a problem without that type of user. Those two scenarios both have legitimate uses. In fact taking that multiple posts/opinions are bad concept further would crush the forum experience completely. What would be a logical progression after this, you can't post any information of a similar nature to someone who has expressed it before, out of fear for redundancy?

People do repeat themselves, they are stubborn, they often do fill up a thread with annoying or even offensive viewpoints and chatter. There's also those who expand on what they originally posted, concede when they're wrong, and change their stance based on arguments from the opposite side. The first group is more prevalent because that's just they way most people are.

For the multi-siding thing, the quote system isn't even necessary to change the topic and generate confusion by splitting up an argument. You can just as easily do it without responding to any user at all. I split up what I'm quoting so I don't have to write out what part of an opinion I'm referring to. So instead of typing out in reference to, or in response to this, or this is how I feel about such and such I just quote the specific section so they know what I'm responding to. Can you omit valid arguments and split up the debate by doing that? Of course, it also isn't necessary to quote to achieve either of those things. I feel like the problem can be pinned on the user not the way they happen to achieve it.
Regarding some confusion,
  • "this thread is about X being banned; mods tacking action Y", never said anything like that; only suggested solutions, not requested their implementation. I like to think this thread has more value in people understanding different expectations rather then forcing any which one.
  • "this thread is about pattern X and Y in the first post", its not, I just gave it to start off the thread. Feel free to post anything that bugs you in debates. It just happens I like to think a debate is best expressed as a collaboration of thoughts, you may have a different view; even a confused opinion is constructive to the thread in this respect.
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Old 2009-11-10, 11:29   Link #13
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I don't know how confused I am Cats, the first bullet you have there is in the opening post in the second paragraph. I read it and didn't respond to it specifically but as far as my opinion is concerned I'd say it doesn't matter whether you wanted something done or only wanted to point the problem out, my response wouldn't change much either way.

For the second bullet, like you said I just have a different view when it comes to forum debates. I think all in all the concern should be more focused on the quality of the post rather than variety of users, not to insinuate you wouldn't be concerned with quality already.

Last edited by Vile; 2009-11-10 at 12:05.
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Old 2009-11-10, 12:31   Link #14
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Cats - I see what you mean now. What I think you'd like to see more of is this...

Poster A starts thread over Topic A. Poster A gives his or her own take on the topic, but asks other posters for their own takes on the topic.

Poster B responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

Poster C responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A or Poster B, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

Poster D responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A, B, or C, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

And so on, and so forth, with gradually more and more different posters (the key word there being different).


At some point, Poster A, B, or C may re-enter the conversation to say to another poster "that's an interesting take; it gives me something to really think about and/or changes my mind", but otherwise each poster simply gives his or her opinion, largely irrespective of the opinions of other posters.


You could argue that this is a more free-flowing, informative, and multi-faceted discussion than the more direct debate approach that tends to result in posters falling into competing camps, with there being a natural pull for all new contributors to join one camp or the other.


Is this what you'd like to see, Cats?

If so, I can understand why, and I'll be the first to admit that I can frequently be guilty of debating opinions that I disagree with rather than skipping over disagreeable opinions to simply give my own view on a topic directly. Perhaps that's something I should work on.
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Old 2009-11-10, 19:00   Link #15
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You know, sometimes people just don't have anything to say about more than a single part of someone's post.

A lot of time I'll chop out a bunch from someone's wall-o-text so I can just refute or agree with one part of it. I don't see any reason why this should stop.

I'm not even sure I understand why you consider these things to be a problem.
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Old 2009-11-10, 19:48   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Cats - I see what you mean now. What I think you'd like to see more of is this...

Poster A starts thread over Topic A. Poster A gives his or her own take on the topic, but asks other posters for their own takes on the topic.

Poster B responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

Poster C responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A or Poster B, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

Poster D responds, gives his or her take - doesn't debate directly with Poster A, B, or C, but just gives his or her take on the topic.

And so on, and so forth, with gradually more and more different posters (the key word there being different).


At some point, Poster A, B, or C may re-enter the conversation to say to another poster "that's an interesting take; it gives me something to really think about and/or changes my mind", but otherwise each poster simply gives his or her opinion, largely irrespective of the opinions of other posters.


You could argue that this is a more free-flowing, informative, and multi-faceted discussion than the more direct debate approach that tends to result in posters falling into competing camps, with there being a natural pull for all new contributors to join one camp or the other.
That whole concept seems horribly dull to me. It would be like if you went to an AA meeting and everyone told their story, nobody else chimed in about it and then you all go home and nobody comes back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Is this what you'd like to see, Cats?

If so, I can understand why, and I'll be the first to admit that I can frequently be guilty of debating opinions that I disagree with rather than skipping over disagreeable opinions to simply give my own view on a topic directly. Perhaps that's something I should work on.
As long as what you're responding to is on topic you should also be on topic by default unless you personally start something off topic, there's nothing wrong with responding that way imo. Maybe you don't address certain aspects of the topic because you don't have something to say about them?

What about this thread here? We're in violation of many of the stipulations, would you say that it's a problem?
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Old 2009-11-10, 20:01   Link #17
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Vile - Ok, I see your point. It's probably better the way it already is.
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Old 2009-11-10, 20:42   Link #18
felix
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@ Vile: you're implying a debate has to be chaos? so that it may be "fun"? If that's what you're worried about, you can relax, its impossible to achive the ideal there even if one were to try (realistically). The ideal wasn't the point, the though was its possible to get a more fruitful conversation going by minimizing the really bad parts (by trying to aim for such things as the topic), so the conversation can stay clear and friendly longer (which is in everyone's best interest). After all, long topics aren't hard to read because they are long, they are hard hard to read because the noise is proportionate to their length.
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Old 2009-12-05, 18:13   Link #19
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The ideal wasn't the point, the thought was its possible to get a more fruitful conversation going by minimizing the really bad parts (by trying to aim for such things as the topic), so the conversation can stay clear and friendly longer (which is in everyone's best interest).
This is a very nice concept, but the rules of majority apply here too...there's a thread I've been visiting from time to time where the most frequent posters have decided to make a deviation the norm, and establish a situation where talking about the original subject of the thread, or taking a common route of conversation is seen as an interruption, neglected or frowned upon, eventually drowned in the other posters' everlasting...thing, whatever it is. (To make it a bit more clear I'll use the example of the "Medaka Box" thread in the manga section, where people talk more about the position of the manga and when it's getting axed rather than commenting on art,story,characters,etc.) Now, although one would say that there's plenty more fish in the sea and that I could have the same type of pleasure in any other similar thread, it's still a shame to see it happen.
On the downside, you can't really ask someone not to participate in a discussion if they're so genuinely hooked on it, after all forums were created for discussion, right?
Quote:
I'm not even sure I understand why you consider these things to be a problem.
To answer this part: it kills the need to post something, thus reducing the forum activity. If everyone's posting individually then every post besides theirs has no value, since it won't be quoted, taken into consideration, or even bashed. I tend to avoid choice threads for that very reason, no matter what I say, how objectively right or wrong I am, whether I can effectively counter someone else's opinion or not, one post from a new user, sharing the opinion of an older one will set in motion a meaningless "opinion cycle". I call it meaningless because it's one that has been used or discussed before in the same thread many times already, so further use of it provides nothing more than stating "what the community here thinks about this matter".
If you still have trouble seeing the damage, take this example instead: I've joined discussions where members start their post with "I signed up just to quote/answer to this" and kick off a debate, wherever it may lead. If you were a guest, checking a thread of the previous, recycled opinions type, would you be urged to take part in the discussion? I wouldn't, because in my point of view it was already completed at the point where its sources were exhausted (by sources meaning the choices that the users are presented with in the thread, as well as "other").
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