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Old 2010-03-15, 08:17   Link #1
felix
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Clear up rules concerning presenting generic topics in less generic ones

You have this somewhat annoying community split, where no side is in any disposition to listen to the other, which you do not deal with properly.

Here's the current example: "moe shows"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of Fire View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
You know, I think the anti-moe/ecchi crowd needs to realize that there are non-moe, non-ecchi series being produced every single freaking season as much as the next moe fan who is tired of being ragged on for "ruining anime", but are we seriously having this debate again? I can't be the only one who is starting to feel a more than a little burnt out regarding such topics. I don't mind if someone has some well reasoned insights to post, but I don't want to hear the same old arguments repeated over and over again.
This.

I wonder how many anti-mecha fans complained in the 1990's, when that was pretty much the prevalent genre.

That people don't like moe, ecchi, etc. is fine and dandy, but do they really need to point it out to me each and every time? While I can sometimes understand why people are put off by a certain show, they're not all as 'bad' as that and just because they (or even a majority of anime watchers) hate it, doesn't mean I should too. And I think the haters are bit too focused in getting others to hate what they hate. It's like a person is not allowed to have his/her opinion anymore.
While this may be the current problematic topic I'm sure there have been other similar ones in the past (harem? mecha?) and most likely will see new ones emerge in the future ("the industry is just relying on the same Baccano! formula for years now").

I'm not suggesting creating new rules/policies but instead combining current ones to clear up the situation.

The problem,

Discussing "stuff" related to the topic (lets pretend we're in a series thread) is not really discussing the topic itself. Its fine to hate parts of a show or not like this and that in the adaptation but when you start to talk about "current trends in the industry" or how "the industry is failing" are you still on-topic or is your post no more then a generic-reference to the show in question? To make it clear what I mean is: you are talking about some industry mumbo jumbo, most people will not care about (particularly in the series thread) and just referencing small parts of the show (which is obviously not really part of the "meat" of your post).

So why is this a problem? Well if you copy paste that kind of post in another thread, is it still valid? The problem is they are, and as the quote above mentions, these posts always mention the same things time and time again. You can copy paste a hate post from one moe show (for example) to another and its very much valid as a cross-reference, you can copy paste such a post to a "Expected series" thread and its still valid. And thats just the ones that actually bother to mention characters/plot between the lines of industry complaining/whining.

My proposal

Following the current rules/policies:
  • 2.5 Do not "cross post" -- I quote, "Do not post your message to an existing thread when it is not relevant to the topic.", as well as the plain meaning of the rule.
  • 2.8 Avoid flammable and cyclic topics -- yes all topics where these posts have emerged have just degenerated into a "religious debate", if it can be called that.
  • The policy of keeping every topic in one thread.
"Any post that focuses on aspects related to the topic (such as industry standards, some new fetish) which are only related to the show (at best) and can be applied to other shows, must be placed in their own topic as per breaking the combination of the 3 rules/policies."

Regardless if you agree with the above or have another opinion, one thing is for certain. You must deal with this one way or another. Keeping the current ambiguous status quo is only generating more and more noise whenever they emerge. And while you may not agree that these misplaced posts are bothering everyone or not, its plainly obvious the amount of high noise to virtually no signal ration they are generating is most certainly to nobody's benefit.
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Old 2010-03-15, 08:54   Link #2
KiNA
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Heh.. its one reason I stay the hell of Sora no Woto thread.. I get tired about one every few post repeating how shit the series is due to the copy pasted k-on art style.

>.> Its annoying really.. And one would think for someone who majorly involves in ecchi type series got immune by those hater posts.. well, guess what, I freaking hate loli type character as well.. but I dont go rant on every series that have lolis in them .. And I at least like to have my peace on the series I want to watch as well >.>

It goes both way really.. the haters and the defenders both guilty and in the end, I dont bother to go to any thread anymore but images specific threads.
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Old 2010-03-15, 12:50   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
My proposal
...
"Any post that focuses on aspects related to the topic (such as industry standards, some new fetish) which are only related to the show (at best) and can be applied to other shows, must be placed in their own topic as per breaking the combination of the 3 rules/policies."
Can you rephrase the proposal? It seems to be the crux of what you're requesting, but isn't very clear to me exactly what you are suggesting. Is it suppose to be an outline of a new rule? A comment on the current rules? A process for people to think through when posting? The highlighted section is particularly confusing given the choice of words.
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Old 2010-03-15, 14:38   Link #4
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightWish View Post
Can you rephrase the proposal? It seems to be the crux of what you're requesting, but isn't very clear to me exactly what you are suggesting. Is it suppose to be an outline of a new rule? A comment on the current rules? A process for people to think through when posting? The highlighted section is particularly confusing given the choice of words.
Well I could just suggest creating a new rule, but that's harder then telling you how the rules you have already apply enough for most cases that seem to make everyone unhappy as of late. Here is a re-phrase:
If the poster uses his post in topic X to vent his opinion of topic Y while referencing topic X. Then said user is potentially in a situation where he is cross-posting the same exact idea/topic over and over across the forum needlessly if either
  1. topic Y is new and topic X is the only context in which it applies at that given point in time, or
  2. topic X is identified by topic Y and is not simply a example of Y's symptoms.
Or in plain english again, if the topic is generic compared to the context topic it is in, then you are looking at "cross post" (2.5) of a inherently cyclic debate (2.8) over multiple threads instead of being contained in one single one. I say "inherently cyclic" because by allowing it to exist in each and every thread you are allowing the same points to go back to square zero again and againt and againt, etc.

A simple example,
  • Discussing "moe + anime industry" in Sora no Woto, or raising points about it would be bad. Correct way should be to open a thread in General Anime (presuming one does not exist already), which would work for all series and would avoid any cyclic behavior (as well as minimize whining/complaining from both sides).
  • Discussing how characters in Sora no Woto share similarities with their K-on! counterparts (ie. "they ripped of K-on!" etc) would be ok. Falling into exception (b) and partially (a).
Anyway I think the rule of thumb I implied in the title works best: if its generic or we heard it before it must be contained in its own thread to keep discussion quality high.

There are (potentially) other consideration like how having it as-is generates what KiNA described. However, I'm not even concerned with that now. Like KiNA pointed out there's no real "right" there so I think just making adjustments like this where current rules are just enforced more to reduce noise is a good alternative method of solving part of the problem with out any bad side effects or discrimination.
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Old 2010-03-15, 15:57   Link #5
xris
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So, to try an prune what you are saying so it makes some sort of sense, you appear to be requesting that we include the concept of "please stay on-topic" into the rules.

There are lots of basic forum etiquette that we have not included in the rules. If we did then the rules (which are already too long) would just become over-burdened with detail, so much so that they would become unreadable.

For example, we do not mention the following in the body of the rules.

* Please search and use existing threads before creating new ones.
* Please do not post if your intention is to just whinge and whine about a topic or another post.
* If you do create a new thread then please try and place it in the appropriate forum.
* If you do post then please try and remain on-topic to the subject.
* If someone posts something off-topic, please do not further derail the thread by replying to the off-topic comment.
* Please do not meta-post.
* Etc., etc.

We don't even have a rule against trolling in general. It doesn't mean that any of the above are acceptable. As we state in 1.0 General Rules

Quote:
These rules are only a guideline.
As such I would reject your request to change or amend the rules.

I don't understand why the examples you have given have not been reported as being off-topic because I would certainly consider them to be.
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Old 2010-03-15, 16:08   Link #6
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If I'm understanding you correctly now, you don't want to propose a rule change, you're asking the staff to apply the current rules more vigorously? Such that "less generic" threads are more heavily moderated; "[more] generic topics" are moved out as off-topic?

Your observations and suggestions are noted, but I can only really suggest that such off-topicness is reported. The report should assert the discussion is generic and recurring, with examples. Examples would help the staff identify all the relevant posts that might need moving/merging; the reporting user presumably knowing where else the discussion is occuring.

Edit: xris was quicker, I must be getting old ^^;
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Old 2010-03-15, 16:16   Link #7
felix
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@ xris

Pretty sure they have been reported. And I don't know what to say, I'm getting the feeling every moderator (except you and a few others) actually do limit themselves to just the guidelines.

I mean take bullet 2 in your post, I've been here for what 5 years, and honestly you could have fooled me. From what I've seen moderators (and I won't use names) have shown to me more likely to come in and preach to us how we should accept all the whining. You can even tell by KiNA's post and that of the people I quoted in my first post that whining in pretty much every topic is pretty much being protected.

As per including them in the current rules, as I'm trying to stress out I'm just asking you apply them, there's no include some new rule or anything. However a interesting question I have regarding what you just said, why isn't this written somewhere? I mean I understand its for the best to keep the forum rules section as minimal as possible but surely having some extra points written in something like a stick in this section here now and then would help a lot! Just your 6 points there are hugely informative from my perspective.

[edit]

@ NightWish

Yes I am "asking the staff to apply the current rules more vigorously", nothing more.

Question: is these extra rules xris mentioned written down somewhere for moderators or is there a assumtion everyone is on the same level. I ask because if those extra guidelines (particularly 2) where there already, I don't see how most of the current occasional moeblob flaimwars would even happen. And no its not a case of moderators not being there, at least Solace, Pellissier, White Manju Bun have been there, even participating in it and yes posts have been deleted but its typically never the source of the whining war (as KiNA pointed out subsequent defenders are also pretty much whining as well).
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Old 2010-03-15, 16:50   Link #8
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Quote:
apply the current rules more vigorously
The forum members can also help though, for example in order to avoid cyclic topics in case a thread hasn't been locked after fulfilling its purpose, a user who had participated in the thread can prompt the people who are about to start the cycle to a chain of older posts that reply to question X. Flaming needs more than one to break out, experienced members should either kindly post a warning on the potential flamer's profile or report said user, depending on the situation.
After being around for about a year, I've noticed that there are certain levels of tolerance when it comes to how off-topic a thread can get (which is usually debatable). Since holding a conversation with a thread's regulars concerning the off-topic-ness of a conversation in question would be quite tiring for everyone, I think leaving it to the mods' judgement is best.
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Old 2010-03-15, 17:06   Link #9
NightWish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
[Are] these extra rules ... written down somewhere[?]
If I were being pedantic I would probably say yes... here. Seriously though, I think they all fall under the "common sense" or "forum etiquette" banner, so not really. However, I'll address each in turn for completeness:
  • Please search and use existing threads before creating new ones.
    Although this message is common sense, it has in fact been sent to every user when they join for many years now (in one form or another).

  • Please do not post if your intention is to just whinge and whine about a topic or another post.
    Common courtesy? Not spelt out explicitly, but easily covered by the details of "Do not post nonsense." We just phrased it with a more positive slant: "Please only reply if you have something useful to add to the thread." Clearly, I think, a whine about a topic isn't useful to the topic itself.

  • If you do create a new thread then please try and place it in the appropriate forum.
    More common sense, but this is explicit in the welcome message and kind-a implied by the cross-posting rules.

  • If someone posts something off-topic, please do not further derail the thread by replying to the off-topic comment.
    And again... kind-a implied by the cross-posting rule notes.

  • If you do post then please try and remain on-topic to the subject.
  • Please do not meta-post.
    Although not explicitly in the rules they are basically just two of the many possible rephrasing of "stay on topic". Do we really need to included "stay on topic" in the rules?
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
I don't see how ... the ... moeblob flaimwars would ... happen. ... yes posts have been deleted but its typically never the source of the whining war
I get the feeling that the "moeblob flaimwars" are a specific single issue bugbear around which this more generic thread hangs? If posts have been deleted then I can only assume the trending topic of the threads in question has been refocused as the moderators saw fit.

If this doesn't meet with the community's needs more posts need reporting or more information needs to be given in the reports that are being made. As I said, references to related discussions (in the case of cross-topic posting) help staff identify the problems across threads, as observed by the person making the report. I don't have intimate knowledge of the threads you're talking about, but maybe select members of staff only follow one or some of the threads and don't see the patterns you do? Contrary to popular opinion we're not omnipresent or omniscient. If we've not re-focused a topic it is probably because we've not seen the cyclicity or cross-thread parallelism that you have.
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Old 2010-03-15, 18:36   Link #10
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightWish View Post
  • Please do not post if your intention is to just whinge and whine about a topic or another post.
    Common courtesy? Not spelt out explicitly, but easily covered by the details of "Do not post nonsense." We just phrased it with a more positive slant: "Please only reply if you have something useful to add to the thread." Clearly, I think, a whine about a topic isn't useful to the topic itself.
The main problem with assuming thats intuitive for us on the grounds of "common courtesy" is that just about every time you'll here the whining side bring out cutesy first. Things like "yes its not adding to the topic and yes its bothering everyone but its his opinion so its allowed" arguments are just about everywhere. That pretty much shutdowns anything to do with "courtesy". And really I don't see moderators actually getting past this freedom of speech shield either, which would explain why most of said whiny posts are not being dealt with at the source as I mentioned. Of course now I think linking back here would work as a solution, but just pointing out the issue at hand with having too much ambiguity in the guidelines. Not that having them too precise isn't equally dangerous as well.


Anyway, if you look at the rules themselves from a interface issue, the problem is not really people aren't reading them, its that they don't really have a reason to read those bits that you want them to read; and in this case to also read them as you want/expect them to read them (ie. interpret how there is more rules or courtesy there). I like how Jeff Atwood put it in one of his blog posts, I quote: "When I said users don't read anything you put on the screen, I was lying. Users do read. But users will only read the absolute minimum amount of text on the screen necessary to complete their task." (Treating User Myopia). In your case, users reading the rules will just focus on those rules you wrote down, nothing more. You can write "these are just guidelines" in big font sizes and repeat them like you have users will just not bother to make such a large time investment (its just not natural).

I mean think about it isn't it more time consuming for someone to think of all these things? (you gave me a sentence and I'm suppose to guess a entire novel) And really, a lot of the stuff just sounded so surprising when xris mentioned, but maybe I've just been hammered with the "freedom of speach shield" too much to see it naturally from that perspective. Which I think is also another problem. By allowing so much guess work to happen you are allowing for fake assumption on rules to happen.

Also, its easy to say: "well does not A => B". But then I can't really visualize that alone if B there never even occurred to me. This is probably the main problem with being too aggressive with the idea of keeping them so compact.
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Old 2010-03-16, 01:10   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
You have this somewhat annoying community split, where no side is in any disposition to listen to the other, which you do not deal with properly. (emphasis added)
I think you're being argumentative here, felix. Suggesting that "you," meaning I assume the moderators, somehow have a problem because of a "community split" seems to undervalue the "split" part of the controversy (if there is one).

Quote:
Here's the current example: "moe shows"
I agree that there is a group of forum members that perceive themselves as somehow embattled because they like "moe shows," while others supposedly see "moe" as the root of all evil. (For the record, I fall into neither camp.) Like you, I've seen this discussion recur in a number of different threads. You suggest a more vigorous enforcement of the rules, particularly those about pertinency . I suppose I would, too, but not at the cost of civility. As you say, today's moe might be tomorrow's Baccano. These disputes will never disappear because they're about matters of taste. Different generations of anime viewers will have different disputes, but it's disingenuous to think disputes like these won't persist forever on boards like AS.

Quote:
when you start to talk about "current trends in the industry" or how "the industry is failing" are you still on-topic or is your post no more then a generic-reference to the show in question?
No, I'd agree those posts are off-topic within program threads and should be relegated to General Anime. However I also understand the conflict between respecting the diversity of our fellow members' opinions and the need to stay focused on topic. Other than using the reporting mechanism, I'm not sure what else the moderators can really do.

Quote:
And no its not a case of moderators not being there, at least Solace, Pellissier, White Manju Bun have been there, even participating in it and yes posts have been deleted but its typically never the source of the whining war (as KiNA pointed out subsequent defenders are also pretty much whining as well).
I only read a very limited number of series discussions so I don't have a wide sample of current postings on which to base an opinion. Still, never being one to refrain from voicing my point-of-view, I'd say most of the moderators, including those you cite specifically, do an excellent job at fulfilling their most important role, monitoring for spoilers. That's the most basic AS policy, and I'm happy to see that it's enforced pretty strictly.

If you ask me for a solution, I'd argue for more sticky threads. Offering an on-going, sticky "state of anime" thread might provide a locus for debates about moe, fansubbing, prices, etc., etc. I guess I'm suggesting we create a whining thread, since whining does seem remarkably characteristic of the anime audience.

Since I have the floor, I'd like to suggest having some sticky threads in the Suggestions forum as well. We could accommodate perhaps 80% of the requests in Suggestions with half-a-dozen genre-based threads.

Oh, and felix, please don't take this personally. I think you raised worthwhile issues even if I think you were a bit harsh when it comes to our moderators.
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Old 2010-03-16, 02:16   Link #12
Solace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
No, I'd agree those posts are off-topic within program threads and should be relegated to General Anime. However I also understand the conflict between respecting the diversity of our fellow members' opinions and the need to stay focused on topic. Other than using the reporting mechanism, I'm not sure what else the moderators can really do.
I think the criticism here is that we aren't tougher on these kinds of people. Perhaps we could be, but that's a double edged sword. We don't want to stifle discussion just because someone has a differing opinion that strays off topic a little bit, but because we're not visiting every single thread all the time we also don't always realize if the problem is recurring or not or if it's even a problem to begin with. Feel free to ask any moderator here about our adventures in breaking up Shipping flame wars. It's brutal.

Reports really help us identify problem users and allow us to act quicker than simply looking for trouble. However this comes with problems too, in that most users file very vague reports like "flaming" "whining" or "spoilers". Because of that, we have to do investigative work and spend time reading through the thread to ensure we're moderating fairly. It's not unusual for arguments to extend for pages in a matter of minutes and the person who ended up being reported wasn't the person who started the whole thing to begin with.

So it's useful for users to be clearer about what exactly they are reporting. What exactly is the spoiler part? How is this user whining? Sometimes these things aren't clear just by reading the reported post and even murkier when we're just browsing around the various sections checking for spam and more obvious problems like obscene pictures and links to licensed content.

Speaking from a management perspective, it's easier to be made aware of problems than to look for them. The former allows for quick addressing of the issue and the latter tends to cause witch hunts.

Quote:
If you ask me for a solution, I'd argue for more sticky threads. Offering an on-going, sticky "state of anime" thread might provide a locus for debates about moe, fansubbing, prices, etc., etc. I guess I'm suggesting we create a whining thread, since whining does seem remarkably characteristic of the anime audience.

Since I have the floor, I'd like to suggest having some sticky threads in the Suggestions forum as well. We could accommodate perhaps 80% of the requests in Suggestions with half-a-dozen genre-based threads.
It's interesting you bring this up, as we recently had a strong discussion about the future of the stickies in the various sections. This might be something to revisit, if you're interested in fleshing out your proposal further I'd be interested in hearing your ideas.
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Old 2010-03-16, 03:20   Link #13
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I think you're being argumentative here, felix. Suggesting that "you," meaning I assume the moderators, somehow have a problem because of a "community split" seems to undervalue the "split" part of the controversy (if there is one).
Can you re-phrase? If you mean I'm somehow shadowing the split there, then yes. Its very easy to sound alarmist in such a topic, so I'm doing my best to avoid it, or xris will just have a field trip clobbering everything I say into the ground. On a serious note, you're right (if I'm understanding you correctly) but its just simply not my intention to tread on that more subjective side of things more so then I already have.
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Old 2010-03-16, 11:48   Link #14
LynnieS
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Could I ask that if the rules are clarified in the future, please don't add more sticky threads, but rather edit the existing ones instead?

I use a 15-in laptop at home, and when I browse the Gundam sub-forum, I can't even see the 1st non-sticky thread without scrolling first. Adding more sticky threads in other sub-forums would, IMHO, make the reading experience there just as bad. Perhaps even worse if the number of sticky threads goes higher for larger-sized displays as well.
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Old 2010-03-16, 12:33   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnieS View Post
Could I ask that if the rules are clarified in the future, please don't add more sticky threads, but rather edit the existing ones instead?

I use a 15-in laptop at home, and when I browse the Gundam sub-forum, I can't even see the 1st non-sticky thread without scrolling first. Adding more sticky threads in other sub-forums would, IMHO, make the reading experience there just as bad. Perhaps even worse if the number of sticky threads goes higher for larger-sized displays as well.
We won't be adding more stickies to the Gundam subforum. I agree it's a bit much as it is. One of the things the staff recently discussed was some measures on preventing and addressing sticky bloat (that just sounds gross doesn't it? ). We recently cleaned up General Anime for instance, since at one point we had something like 10 stickies there.

We're still not done mulling over our approach to other sections however in the interest of keeping this thread on topic let's not turn this into a debate about what people think of stickies on the forums.
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Old 2010-03-16, 21:20   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xris View Post
* Please do not meta-post.

Can I ask for clarification on "meta-post"? I assume it is different from "cross-post" since that was explicitly addressed. Does it mean "posting about whether people should be posting (e.g. in the current thread)"?

Sorry if this is obvious to everyone else.
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Old 2010-03-16, 21:59   Link #17
felix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joojoobees View Post
Does it mean "posting about whether people should be posting (e.g. in the current thread)"?
Well, that's pretty much what I understood it as when xris mentioned it. Basically no complaining about how people should write posts in discussion threads. Oh, its okey to talk about that here (somewhat) since that's part of the topic, but don't go overboard.
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Old 2010-03-16, 23:25   Link #18
Solace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
Well, that's pretty much what I understood it as when xris mentioned it. Basically no complaining about how people should write posts in discussion threads. Oh, its okey to talk about that here (somewhat) since that's part of the topic, but don't go overboard.
Something like that. Meta posting is when people try to act like a moderator by telling other users how to post or follow the rules. Stuff like "don't talk about rep" or "everyone please stay on topic". The irony in meta posting is that those who do so are participating in the same problems they are trying to stop.

As you say, small amounts of meta posting are fine (you see people linking rules in their signature for example) and expected even but when people get a big head over it they just make the problem worse. They aren't an authority figure and they only invite flames because of that (You're not the boss of me!). If they had simply contacted an actual moderator when they saw the problem and let the mod deal with it things would have been easier to resolve. Instead they just make the mods job twice as hard because now there's two messes to clean up instead of one.
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Old 2010-03-17, 04:12   Link #19
NightWish
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Age: 34
I think the meaning of "meta-posting" is generally best understood by comparison with a more commonly used term "meta-data", which is commonly defined as "data about data". In other words, "meta-posting" is "posting about posting". It is one of many almost-neologisms that get created by using the "meta-" prefix.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joojoobees View Post
[P]osting about whether people should be posting
Meaning, yes, your definition is correct in as much as it is indeed an example of when someone might be meta-posting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solace View Post
Meta posting is when people try to act like a moderator
Indeed, that behaviour is another very a common (most noticeable?) example of meta-posting. By definition it is a moderator's job to moderate a discussion, which often requires them post about the discussion (other posts) taking place, in the middle of the discussion. Hence posting about posting. Other user's doing this has all the implication outlined in Solace's post.

It does go wider than both of those though; it doesn't have to be instructive (as might be implied by the expression "should be" or "act[ing] like a moderator"). Simply posting to say you liked someone else's post is meta-posting. Saying "wow, we're up to page 100" is also meta-posting. Any time you post about a post, or the thread in general, you move the focus onto the posts themselves rather than the thread's topic.
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