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Old April 19, 2011, 08:14 AM   #1
otisrush
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Closing Threads

I've been an internet forum and bulletin board user for many years - on a very wide range of topics.

I'd be interested in people's thoughts on the concept of closing threads. In general I tend to find this behavior in gun and shooting forums more than in other topics I've experienced. Mind you - I hang out in TFL because I think it's done considerably less frequently here than other places I've been - but it's still > 0. I'm not knocking the moderators. I know you all put in lots of time and effort. I just find it intriguing that it seems our hobby tends to have forums that have this behavior while others do not.

The other places I've been (the non-gun related ones) have moderators - but they tend to get involved only if something degrades to someone being really beligerent. And even then it's done through private messaging - MAYBE deleting a response or something like that. I think it's fair to say the community learns of the action only if they notice something has been deleted or the person reprimanded reports that they were contacted by the moderator.

It seems to me if something is off topic or stupid or doesn't "get legs" it will die a natural death (i.e. "close") on it's own.

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Old April 19, 2011, 09:38 AM   #2
Mal H
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I won't give a long and drawn out answer to the question. Suffice it to say that TFL is a closely moderated forum and as such we will close/edit/delete wherever and whenever we see that the threads or posts require it.

We might close threads more frequently than those other forums you frequent because we try to stay ahead of the bickering that is inherent in almost any topic you can mention. In other words we are proactive instead of reactive.

If the subject of a thread is off topic for TFL or is "stupid" as you put it, we will close it on sight. We've found that such threads don't die a natural death, but some, otherwise good, members who participate in them will die an unnatural death by banishment. We honestly try to avoid that, and if closing a thread prematurely, by your reckoning, is the cost, then so be it.
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Old April 19, 2011, 09:38 AM   #3
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9 times out of 10, I agree with the staff; its for the greater good.

Once in a while.... I don't agree, just happened a day or two ago here. A member here was "ripped off" in an online gun part purchase. Thread got closed. His experience and thread might have saved another gun owner from a similar outcome. Certainly seemed firearms related to me despite some tangents other folks were commenting on.

All in all I think the staff here has created a tremendous resource for us all here and if the occasional egg needs to be broken so we can have an omelet, I can live with that.
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Old April 19, 2011, 09:40 AM   #4
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I agree, it drives me crazy too! Try as I may to like TFL the excessive moderator intervention makes it impossible to enjoy it in the way I should be able to. I rarely sign-on and participate as a result.
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Old April 19, 2011, 02:14 PM   #5
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I'm a Mod on a few different forums, I've yet to see the Mods on here bin/close a thread without reason. Read and follow the rules and they'll be no problems.
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Old April 19, 2011, 09:24 PM   #6
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I think I speak for the other mods when I say that I'd much rather read and respond to threads than edit or lock them.

I didn't come to TFL a decade ago to deal with problem threads and problem users, I came here because I liked the information interchange and the interaction with the members. Frankly the mod duties interfere with that.

I lock threads or edit them to keep them from getting worse and I do it when I figure it's the only way to avoid more cleanup work and more problems later. And I realize while I'm doing it that some folks are going understand why it's happening and and others won't.

Closing notes are always good, but sometimes it's not really possible to fully explain the entire rationale for a lock without writing a book.
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Old April 19, 2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
We might close threads more frequently than those other forums you frequent because we try to stay ahead of the bickering that is inherent in almost any topic you can mention. In other words we are proactive instead of reactive.

If the subject of a thread is off topic for TFL or is "stupid" as you put it, we will close it on sight. We've found that such threads don't die a natural death, but some, otherwise good, members who participate in them will die an unnatural death by banishment. We honestly try to avoid that, and if closing a thread prematurely, by your reckoning, is the cost, then so be it.
And thanks to ALL THE MOD's again.
follow the rules and regs not everyone likes "reality forums" just informational ones and ones without all THE DRAMA.......
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Old April 20, 2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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I think most people who regularly post on TFL know why a thread gets locked without the closing note.
I much prefer the proactive mods, this forum isn't here to bash on others.
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Old April 20, 2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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The mods do a fine job. When they close a thread, it's usually obvious why they did so.

If you can give reasons why a thread should be reopened, you can PM the mod who closed it. I've done it now and then, and a couple of times the thread was reopened...

I suspect it helps to have good reasons, and to be polite...
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Old April 20, 2011, 03:15 PM   #10
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The whining about thread closing is so tiresome as to be nauseating already.

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Old April 20, 2011, 03:38 PM   #11
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The way this forum is moderated is the only reason I still stop by. I am a member on 10 different forums on several different topics & active on 6 of them. Mostly for the quest of knowledge. The ones that I just stop by regulary are strictly moderated! I value your opinion on my topic, not on my opinion! The forums that aren't moderated never fails to host a keyboard terrorist! You know the ones, they are 10ft tall & bullet proof behind a keyboard! When they start barking I leave! I don't care for the drama either. If I had to vote for more or less moderation on TFL, it would be for more! Play by the rules, or don't play!! Mods, thank you for what you do!!
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Old April 20, 2011, 04:01 PM   #12
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I've been a mod on another forum for a couple of years now. Stuff happens that regular members don't see/hear. Mods don't act arbitrarily, they discuss what they do between the team. TFL runs a tight ship and they do it very well.
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Old April 20, 2011, 05:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy10mm
Stuff happens that regular members don't see/hear. Mods don't act arbitrarily, they discuss what they do between the team.
I was about to make this very point until I saw you beat me to the punch. This is in my speculation the most common oversight of regular members. All they see are valid/on-point posts. Sometimes, even after deleting posts, there's just no way of saving the thread and it's time to bring the axe.
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Old April 22, 2011, 07:53 AM   #14
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I've been a mod on several gun forums, mostly black powder forums that went under for one reason or another. I never understood locking a thread for getting off topic. If the thread has any further value it will get back on topic on it's own. If it doesn't it's fun to see where it ends up sometimes.
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Old April 22, 2011, 03:38 PM   #15
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"If the thread has any further value it will get back on topic on it's own. If it doesn't it's fun to see where it ends up sometimes. "

In my nearly 20 years experience in posting on electronic bulletin boards, threads that veer off topic normally do not go back on topic without direct and pointed intervention from either dedicated members or staff.

At its very heart, TFL is a focused discussion board. Discussion works best when it remains focused. That's why we have sections broken down by firearm types and disciplines.

That's why we've also started taking a harder line against those who post handgun discussions in the wrong handgun board.

TFL's focused discussion nature also tends to preclude both "letting threads flow to see where they will go" and any support at all for an "off topic" discussions board.
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Old April 22, 2011, 06:56 PM   #16
Shane Tuttle
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And to pile on Mike's point of focused discussion: We pride ourselves in having this board as a reliable source of information. Performing searches on a subject is quite the nightmare with threads riddled with useless noise. We try to separate the wheat from the chaff so researchers don't have to nearly as much.
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Old April 22, 2011, 08:46 PM   #17
otisrush
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Shane:

The point you make in your most recent post is excellent. When searching for information it is tough to find a thread that is 4+ pages long and have to go through it all to see where the nugget of gold is.

Thanks for all the replies. My question, in general, wasn't centered (or meant to be centered) on when threads get closed or for what reason. I understand there are rules and violating, in all likelihood, will cause a thread to get closed. I was just curious/observing the fact that guns/shooting *as a category* seems to have this practice more so than other hobbies/subjects.

Thanks again.

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Old April 22, 2011, 09:02 PM   #18
Mike Irwin
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"I was just curious/observing the fact that guns/shooting *as a category* seems to have this practice more so than other hobbies/subjects."

Well, in my view, a lot of that is simply because other hobbies/subjects don't have the kind of negative "press" associated with them.

In general, I think it behooves firearms boards to take a much more... professional, for lack of a better word... stance when it comes to discussion.

A case in point is the thread this evening asking about the best gun for pistol whipping.

A thread like that simply will not stand. It's an idiotic question on its very face, it paints all gun owners in a very poor light, and in probably the vast majority of scenarios where someone is beaten with a gun, it involves an illegal act, i.e., assault.

Such topics will always be closed at TFL.
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Old April 22, 2011, 09:35 PM   #19
otisrush
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Mike:

Excellent point. Thanks.

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Old April 23, 2011, 03:19 AM   #20
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I frequent a few other gun/outdoors forums, and I prefer TFL because of the close moderation.

If you have a valid point to argue, you won't have a problem here. If you simply wish to spew vitriol and hate, you're not going to be here long.

I come here because it's a place for serious discussion, while allowing for a little bit of humor.

The unmoderated/loosely moderated boards are OK if that's what you want, but quickly degenerate into folks trading insulting posts and I just don't care for that.

I've certainly made my share of tongue in cheek posts here, but I don't insult other posters and I'm happy with the way the board is moderated.
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Old April 23, 2011, 06:54 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
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Shane also makes an excellent point as for why we try to keep threads on topic.

The "information database" aspect of TFL isn't maintained by accident. Old threads are not deleted because of the wealth of information that can be found here.

No, not every thread is filled with gold, but lots of them are, which is the biggest reason why we encourage people to search TFL liberally. We understand that the vBulletin search isn't particularly awesome, but it's usable. Google's advanced search does an excellent job of pulling up threads.

It's expensive to maintain an ever-growing data repository. Members are very fortunate that TFL's founder is both committed to maintaining this site's history and is footing the entire bill for this place. Members have never been asked to kick in a penny for daily operations, and you'll also notice that, with the exception of the links page, there are no ads here.

Rich Lucibella deserves everyone's gratitude for both his generosity and his commitment to the shooting sports.
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Old May 4, 2011, 02:25 PM   #22
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This thread was closed
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=449742

I get that TFL is private, we're all here as guests and we agree to abide by the rules of the site as interpreted by the Mods. That policy should continue and TFL is usually well controlled and not heavy handed.

But the closing of this thread is heavy handed. The question posed by the OP leads directly to politics. Abortion and other political matters were posited as example or analogy intended to illustrate thought on the topic. In no way could this be construed to lead off topic because the initial poll created by the OP included politics as an answer.

Either the thread should have been closed immediately as inappropriate, or it should still be open. We are not kindergarteners. This is not the YMCA.

I think you are wrong here Mod. I think the thread should be re-opened.
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Old May 4, 2011, 05:37 PM   #23
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Lawnboy, see my post #9, above. I think it's more polite to question such decisions privately, rather than in the open forum.

Although I suspect you'll find the response to be something along the lines of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal H View Post
... we are proactive instead of reactive.
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Old May 4, 2011, 06:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Either the thread should have been closed immediately as inappropriate, or it should still be open. We are not kindergarteners. This is not the YMCA.

I think you are wrong here Mod. I think the thread should be re-opened.
So, by your claim of members already posting a thread that entices politics we should allow two wrongs be a right and never close the thread? Um, yyyeeeaaahhh, right....

Here's where you're off-base.

1. The OP did NOT lead to the nature of politics not allowed here. Members that post political content that isn't allowed in a thread is what lead to closing.

2. The nature of politics that aren't allowed here leads to members acting like kindergardeners. We have LOADS of threads in our archives, which prove this as a cold hard fact.

3. You're confusing the difference in discussing law & civil rights regarding what the government involvement is and pure politics.

4. In my observation, Glenn smelled a thread about to go sour based on his experience as Staff. He nipped it in the bud.

The ruling was sound and stands as Glenn saw fit....unless he decides to reconsider.

Oh, and Vanya's example is the perfect example of the practice.
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Old May 4, 2011, 07:09 PM   #25
Glenn E. Meyer
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Shane has it nailed. The OP may have led to politics but we let it go a bit. When Obama and abortion enters the debate - it's going to lead to some firestorm and ranting/raving posts. It is not our mission to referee such and TFL is not about that.

Even using an analogy can start the brush fire.

Perhaps we should have closed it immediately. But logic dictates that the letting it go for a bit does not precludes a later close or demand a reopening.

I would remind folks that this is a voluntary activity and just as you don't have to watch the View or watch MTV, if you don't like us - there are other wild and wooly gun forums full of ranting, raving and profanity.

I would also remind folks that the moderators bring considerable expertise and time to this enterprise as volunteers. Engaging in a close quarter hermeneutic examination of posts to distinguish between analogy and politics and forbidden subjects demands my salary be tripled.
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