@happybeing, I agree, this is not good. I am extremely busy right now, preparing a case about Bitcoin and VAT for the EU court among other things (should be applicable for other decentralized currencies too by the way ;)). So, if someone wants to join in as a moderator and start splitting some threads, let me know here in this thread.
I’m not sure it would help, but there are some default guidelines here now that we can build on. I’ll put up a more visible link to them.
The two people “off topic” will almost always think they’re on topic because they see the thread on the line of thinking. I think a good course of action might just be to say things are off topic at first. If that gets a bazllion thumbs up, then it’s probably off topic. Is the outcome of sub-conversation going to produce fruit pertinent to the main thread?
It is also quite natural for discussions to meander and lead onto other subjects, as in face to face conversations. It is not that people deliberately decide to go off thread topics (in the main) therefore, it is not something anybody should really be admonished for. It would be a simple process for whoever is moderating to move posts and start another thread, rather than admonish in any way. I think if people are worrying about veering off course, then interesting conversations could be missed. A general advisory in guidelines would suffice I think, rather than getting on people’s backs for it.
I don’t think that we should expect much change from just having guidelines (unfortunately people tend not to read such texts), but it could be a good resource for moderators to link to when they take action ("I moved this / I deleted this because X in the guidelines)
Thanks [ahemmmmmm] @chadrick ;-). I’m a bit reluctant because I am not sure I’m up to it (tact not always at the forefront) but I would also like to see if I can measure up, as well as help the community.
I too have certainly gone off topic, I’m sure most of us do at some time or other, and I would welcome being made aware of it when I do.
I agree with @Al_Kafir that admonishing is not helpful - unless perhaps someone needs it - in which case ideally that would not just be the decision of a single moderator. If things get bad enough to need that, it can be through moderator consultation, quiet words in PMs, and only in public if it gets rather drastic (as happened in the early days here - when one person was clearly Trolling and @dirvine decided to make it clear this wasn’t ok and take clear action).
I take my lead from @David - first step is to spot diversions and just move them to another thread.
I second the value of having some guidelines - not because people will follow them, but because it gives moderators something to refer to when deciding whether we are justified in stepping in, and to point to if people are unhappy. The community can then change things in the guidelines if what its there is not working how we want it to.
I am feeling the pinch of time lately, like @chadrickm, so we may need more helpers than just us two, esp while @David is so busy.
So, yes @David, I want to and if it doesn’t work happy to step aside according to community feedback or my own judgement.
Accepting that there aren’t programmatic binary answers to everything, and that some things require a human element of judgement is important. I think as a tech group, it’s easy to believe there’s an algorithm for everything. If there is, it’s a ways off. Especially in a place that revolves around human interaction.