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Off-topic threads

 
 
Chris Croughton
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      01-02-2005
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.

If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.

Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)

Chris C
 
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jacob navia
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      01-02-2005
Chris Croughton wrote:
> I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
> result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
> -- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
> off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
> lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
> complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
>
> If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
> stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
> they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
> explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
> they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
> like out of the group.
>
> Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.
>
> (Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
> extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
> I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
> schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
> use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
> receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
> bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)
>
> Chris C


I agree with you.

Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
beyond the letter of the standard.

 
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Michael Mair
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      01-02-2005
Chris Croughton wrote:
> I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
> result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
> -- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
> off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
> lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
> complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
>
> If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
> stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
> they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
> explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
> they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
> like out of the group.


Most of the time, people get a "you may try it in another group, maybe
...." along with the off-topic notice, so that there is actual payload
along with the noise.
Telling someone that his request is off-topic serves the purpose that
the OP knows that his request is off-topic and other participants know
that the OP now knows. Sometimes, I get the impression that many people
do not look at other posts downthread as they have to add an identical
response even after days. IMO, this habit adds to the traffic much more
unnecessarily.


> Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.


Topicality discussions usually are not off-topic in the respective
newsgroup.


> (Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
> extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
> I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
> schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
> use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
> receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
> bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)


It depends. Round here, I openly plonked only in three cases -- in two
cases accompanied by a reply which may have helped.
However, I can very well do without plonking openly and will in future
refrain from it round here.


Cheers
Michael
--
E-Mail: Mine is a gmx dot de address.

 
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alex
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      01-02-2005
Well said

I bet Mike Wahler loved this one
*smirk*


 
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Chris Croughton
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      01-02-2005
On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:23:10 +0100, jacob navia
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I agree with you.
>
> Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
> stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
> beyond the letter of the standard.


Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with something I didn't write. I
have little opinion on what should be on-topic here, if the general
feeling is that c.l.c is for only ISO Standard C discussions that's fine
by me. My objection is simply to the interminable threads which seem to
devolve into ad hominem attacks whenever someone posts something
off-topic, there are better and more mature ways of dealing with such
things.

(And yes, I was aware of the irony of posting a criticism on the subject
of being off-topic, where that post itself was off-topic. Recursion:
see recursion ad infinitum...)

Chris C
 
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Chris Croughton
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      01-02-2005
On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:26:35 +0100, Michael Mair
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Most of the time, people get a "you may try it in another group, maybe
> ..." along with the off-topic notice, so that there is actual payload
> along with the noise.


Unfortunately it seems that lately the requests haven't been anywhere
near as polite, and have spawned long threads in response.

> Telling someone that his request is off-topic serves the purpose that
> the OP knows that his request is off-topic and other participants know
> that the OP now knows. Sometimes, I get the impression that many people
> do not look at other posts downthread as they have to add an identical
> response even after days. IMO, this habit adds to the traffic much more
> unnecessarily.


Indeed. There are times when that happens because Usenet propagation is
still not perfect, of course, but it shouldn't happen all that often.
It should be rare, not the norm, that more than two people respond with
the same comment.

>> Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

>
> Topicality discussions usually are not off-topic in the respective
> newsgroup.


If they were only constructive discussions about which subjects were on
topic it wouldn't be so bad. Unfortunately, the topic seems to be
pretty well defined -- anything to do with Standard C (or any of the
standards) is on-topic, everything else is off-topic. There are a few
borderline cases where there is a question whether the standard actually
covers the area, but there's really not much else to say on the subject.

> It depends. Round here, I openly plonked only in three cases -- in two
> cases accompanied by a reply which may have helped.
> However, I can very well do without plonking openly and will in future
> refrain from it round here.


My preference is to use the format The Times (of London) uses: "This
correspondence is now closed", or words to that effect (i.e. "I've said
all I'm going to say on this subject"). Saying that you have killed a
subject makes sense (to stop others who might otherwise expect to engage
you in more conversation on that subject), to announce that a person has
been blocked seems only to encourage protests (and for the real trolls
morphing addresses to try to get round the blocks). The only time I
announce that someone is in my killfile (and that seldom) is if someone
queries why I didn't respond: "Sorry, I didn't see that, he's in my
killfile".

Chris C
 
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Keith Thompson
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      01-02-2005
Chris Croughton <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
[..]
> If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
> stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.

[...]

I seriously doubt that. I strongly suspect that the result would be
an increase in off-topic posts, since comp.lang.c would become the
place to go for answers to any questions that are even vaguely related
to C. The newsgroup would become less useful for its primary purpose,
discussing the C programming language as defined by the ANSI/ISO
standard(s) (and by K&R1 and earlier documents for the occasional
historical discussion).

I understand that something like this happened to comp.lang.c++ some
years ago, and it took a long time for that newsgroup to recover. I
don't read comp.lang.c++ regularly; perhaps someone who does (or did
at the time) can provide more details.

The ideal response to an off-topic post is a single brief followup
pointing out that it's off-topic. If possible, it's also nice to
suggest what a more appropriate newsgroup might be, but we can't
always know that. Since Usenet is asynchronous, we often get a number
of such followups, which can seem like we're ganging up on the
original poster, even though we're not. Long topicality threads often
result when the original poster complains that the rest of us are
being rude; such complaints are not always entirely unjustified, but
they're rarely constructive.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
 
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Mark McIntyre
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      01-03-2005
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26 +0000, in comp.lang.c , Chris Croughton
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
>result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not


You noticed /this/? Then your noticement skills need honing...

>Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
>complainers sem to post those a lot as well.


Actually, they're not offtopic as far as I'm aware.

>If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
>stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.


Dream on. If nobody redirected the offtopic posts to the right place, the
group would fill with zillions of posts about Windows, C++, unix, C#, shell
script, motorcycles, feminism and a horde of other topics.

>If they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
>explaining their error,


1) Many posters sensibly use fake emails to avoid spam
2) Sending unsolicited mail is generally unwelcome and may be illegal.
3) In some cases the responder would then have to do a considerable amount
of extra work, swapping to his email client, typing in some email address
etc. To do something that one keypress can do in his news client.

>pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
>they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
>like out of the group.


No. If its done secretly via email, nobody gets the message. It should be
fought right here, so that other casual visitors can be clear about the
topic.

>Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.


Topicality is definitionally topical in any group.

>(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
>extremely childinsh


I disagree. Often its important to let the other person know they've gone
too far. Silently killfiling them can leave them with the idea they've
'won' and for the sort of people you killfile, its generally pretty
important for them to be made aware they've not.

--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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Mark McIntyre
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      01-03-2005
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 21:15:52 +0000, in comp.lang.c , Chris Croughton
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:23:10 +0100, jacob navia
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> I agree with you.
>>
>> Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
>> stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
>> beyond the letter of the standard.

>
>Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with something I didn't write.


Its not entirely surprising - jacob is often chided here for posting
offtopically, and he has a strong view about it.

>(And yes, I was aware of the irony of posting a criticism on the subject
>of being off-topic, where that post itself was off-topic.


But its not offtopic. There's no irony.
--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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alex
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      01-03-2005
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup

I'd recommend comp.offtopic.discussion


 
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