@warren we created the off-topic category so people could have the freedom to discuss anything, and we also leave it effectively unmoderated. Certainly there’s no constraints regarding staying with the OP, so you are always free to post there or “reply on new topic” there. And I know you have done that quite a lot in the past. It has less visibility though, and I suspect that is at least partly why you aren’t happy with using it and are now asking for less moderation on the other categories. But we made it hidden because the front page of the forum was often full of off-topic posts that pushed all the more relevant topics off the page! Before that change was made, I argued against it for some time, but I had to confess I was wrong and it was the only thing to do. I hoped it was temporary, but it was far too frequent to be acceptable.
I think that you want a place to discuss things that are loosely related or unrelated to the project - just go compare what you post to what most people here post. You also want to be able to diverge in discussion in any existing topic when you choose. I’ll say more about why we moderate this in a mo.
Mods Welcome Feedback
@Warren I’m sorry you don’t value the work of myself and the other mods. But I think we do a good job, and without us I think the forum would be much less useful. It is up to the community though, and it is all your voices that determine the guidelines we follow, how we operate, and whether we are here at all.
So it is up to you all. I encourage everyone to consider the value of moderation and to say what you think works, is not working, and how it could be improved, and even how fantastic you think it is right now!
Staying On Topic
Lately we’ve been stricter regarding being on topic and that is something I thought was important to try, because so many topics started off with a good heading, some valuable q & a, or on the money discussion, and then were filled with a bunch, or often a deluge, of posts that were not adding value at all. Often petty squabbles.
It’s still happening, so we keep reminding people to stay on topic, reply on linked topic, or go to PM. We don’t enjoy this, it’s far nicer for us to just read and enjoy this vibrant, interesting community, but we do it because we believe it improves the value of the forum for most people.
Even with the effort to encourage more disciplined posting, we still end up with lots of topics that are very long and just not practical to re-read for those nuggets buried within which reduces the value of the forum a lot for me. Most times that I search for something I know was posted not that long ago, I don’t find it, because of this. We do tidy some of them up, but we get too many threads like that to be able to tidy them all up, because it is time consuming.
Who Is This Forum For?
The forum caters for many different needs. For people discovering it for the first time (particularly them - because we want the project to grow), people of all abilities, people wanting a quick answer, people wanting to get into detailed technical stuff, or economics, or etc etc. And people who’ve been here forever (or at least look as if they have ) and seen it all.
That’s a tall order, and obviously we can’t please everyone no matter how hard we work, and it is hard work, but we are always ready to hear from the community and learn.
Why Be A Mod?
In fact, the best thing about moderation for me is not the ego trip, which I do like a bit (so thanks is a great thing to receive I’ll tell you ;-)) but really it’s the learning. Not about SAFE, that too of course, but about people and myself in particular. So for me, although moderation is hard work (like you would not believe) and I put a lot of time into it, it is a privilege that I also enjoy, so long as I’m able to feel I do it with the support of the community. Without that I wouldn’t do it at all.
More views please - chip in without fear - all opinions are welcome because it is you who lead