ECG, is green font not allowed or can we take political jabs in GQ?

ECG, in the last two days, two old GQ threads were bumped by new members.

This one one was bumped with literally nothing more than what you called a political jab (I’m not arguing that point). You came in, told the new poster to not to make political jabs in GQ and left the thread open.

In this one, however, a new member came in, added some data to the thread, in a different font, and an hour later you locked the thread. In your post you said two things. 1)You can bump threads if you add new or significant information and 2)It is best to stick to the default font for posts. The person certainly added something significant to the thread. Lots of data in that post and you can’t honestly expect a new poster to sit there and check each person’s profile to see when they last logged on. Personally, since old threads are allowed when they add something new, I assume you locked it because it used the wrong font and I assume that’s what the new poster will think as well if/when they come back.

To my eyes, I read that as anything other than default font, wrong. Political jabs in GQ…not so bad. At least that’s how new members are going to see it.

Help me out.

We certainly don’t make this place welcoming for new posters. What do you think SisterSmile will think when she comes back to find her thread locked? It was a well thought out post, maybe she could have been a good poster, we might never know.

Here - links to the posts in question.

No complaint here from me.

I would support a rule that required a new member to be here for a certain amount of time before being able to bump a zombie thread. 20 years seems about right.

It would cut down on the bump-and-run members.

Or just the zombie flag many of us have been asking for for quite some time. Easy peasy - bury the Quick Reply box under a panel that says “This thread is X years old. Do you really want to reply to it?” and require a click-away to reveal the box, for at least the first 12 or 24 hour of new replies.

I think even new visitors would get the idea.

And, FTR, I’ve seen that (or something similar to it), on lots of other VB message boards.

Regarding the undead:

The rule in GQ is that we only allow zombies if the new post adds new information or adds something significant to the conversation. I tend to be a little lax in enforcing this rule, as sometimes zombies get revived and take on a life of their own and become interesting again.

The post that was closed was a zombie, but the main reason I closed it instead of seeing if it would take off again was that every single participant in the thread (except for the new poster) was either banned or hadn’t participated here since at least 2004. Because of that, I felt it best to close that one and let anyone who wanted to start a new thread on the same topic do so if they so chose.

I don’t tend to close zombies just for being zombies, as a hard-line enforcement of this rule tends to upset people who had an interest in the raised thread.

Regarding fonts:

There are no rules against fonts here. However, the board culture here prefers everything plain and simple and a lot of people get very annoyed with different style fonts and especially with different colors. The new user posted in a font that was just larger than usual, and wasn’t particularly annoying on my screen. It didn’t show up green for me, and the poster indicated that they had only changed it to make it larger.

Since posting with any different font can be annoying to some folks, and since this is a board culture thing and isn’t written in the rules anywhere (hence, there’s virtually no way for a new user to even know about it ahead of time), I usually warn new users who choose to use a different font that it’s best to stick with the default font.

The user’s choice of font had absolutely nothing to do with the thread being locked.

Regarding political jabs:

Political jabs are not allowed in GQ. I tried to be fairly kind about it for the new user, since they apparently didn’t read the GQ FAQ and didn’t know about the rule (how many newbies ever read FAQs these days?). But I did quote the entire rule from the FAQ, and to some new users that might come off as a bit harsh. I don’t think a new user seeing the rule clearly stated like that would think that it’s not so bad or that it’s something that they can do all the time and get away with it.

I edited the mod note for SisterSmile to clarify the font issue. If an experienced user could take my original mod note as saying it’s against the rules, then I think a new user might take it the wrong way as well.

That would be useful to the 5-10%* of zombie-thread-bumpers who aren’t trolls trying out a new sock by purposely bumping a zombie thread.

  • Unofficial estimate with high margin of error

True, but it would help keep regular users from getting mired in ridiculously outdated discussions. Unless that’s their intent.

If someone bumped it, you’d still read it. If you don’t want to read zombie threads, you’ll have to look for other clues. Check the date, look for old user names, notice that in really old threads quotes are bolded, new users that bump threads nearly always, for whatever reason use the title line etc.

I think people get more annoyed not so much that they read a bumped thread, but that they replied to one. Personally, I don’t care. If it held your attention to the end, does it really matter if it was 10 years old?

I just don’t get what the hangup is about zombie threads.

Look at the one about sweat bleaching shirts. What difference does it possible make that the thread is almost 15 years old. SisterSmile added new information to it. Is it really that big of a deal that it needs to be locked.

But, again, you can awaken a GQ thread with, literally, nothing more than a political jab and that’s okay. We’ll leave that one open.

SisterSmile did that and you closed the thread.
[noparse][/noparse] did the opposite of that and you left it open.

That’s some pretty inconsistent modding.

It’s not a matter of not wanting to read zombie threads - some are pretty interesting, and we’ve had more than one case of significant input coming along years or even a decade later. I am not in favor of purging or locking old threads.

However, on a board with a 16-year history, we do have a lot of dead threads, and at least once a week one gets bumped and provokes a string of humorously pointless comments before the participants realize the OP is dead, banned or otherwise long gone. I think some kind of feature that flags posting attempts to these threads, with one line for newbies and one for oldsters, would be an asset.

You are only comparing two threads out of all of GQ and are making broad generalizations based on that. You are also only looking at the issue of whether or not it’s a zombie, and again are generalizing based solely on that.

As I said before, I tend to leave zombies open for a bit just to see what happens to them, even if the new user doesn’t add anything significant. Technically I’m being a bit lax about enforcing the rule, but in my experience it works better this way.

Here’s another zombie that was revived with little new information, that I have not closed:

And here’s another one where the original thread participants were no longer around that I closed:

So I am consistent.

The part you are missing is that I tend to leave zombies open for a bit unless there is a reason to close it. In this particular case, the reason to close it was that all of the original thread participants were no longer around, as I stated earlier in this thread. I felt that it was better in this specific case that if anyone still had an interest in it they should start a new thread.

Here’s another one that I closed because it dealt with software, and software changes rapidly, making the original thread information obsolete. Again, I felt that it was better in this case for people to start a new thread if there was still interest in the topic.

What I am not under any circumstances doing is closing threads for green fonts and allowing political jabs.

Is there some particular reason you can’t just start a new thread on the topic and link to the old one?

I understand the idea of closing a thread because the participants are all no longer active. However, this doesn’t seem to be the rule for GQ. GQ is not (primarily) a conversation, it’s a question and answers forum. If new information is added, then the thread should remain open.

As for fonts, if it’s egregious enough to require comment, I suggest editing the post and removing it with a note, rather than mentioning it when moderating something else.

Yes. The same reason you keep them open in other circumstances. It practically never happens. There is a lot more inertia in starting a thread than continuing one.

For example, GQ requires you to be asking a question, which may not be the type response you want to give. You may want to add more information based on what the other person said. You can’t do that as a starting thread in GQ.

And, of course, there are other types of responses that are not technically against the rules but just don’t really fit how we use the forum. We expect a certain level to the questions we ask there. And there’s the general reluctance to start a thread unless there is a certain passion about the topic.

It’s one thing to close a thread when the topic is finished, and someone just bumped it for no good reason. It’s another to close it off when new information is brought in. If just linking and starting a new thread worked, you’d still be closing all zombie threads.

Closing a thread nearly always closes the topic for discussion.

(In this case, I distinguish between discussion and conversation–the former is about the topic, the latter is about the participants and the topic. In GQ, none of us care who said it–it’s all about the information.)

There is no specific rule for it. There’s also no specific rule for reviving a thread about software so long after the fact that software in general has changed. We can’t make rules for everything, and if we tried it would be exceptionally cumbersome.

Generally speaking, if new information is added the thread does remain open. In this specific case, the original thread dealt with a problem that a user named galyean was experiencing. That user is no longer around. There were only a few replies to the thread, and every single one of those users is also no longer around. SisterSmile’s contribution to the thread was also mostly anecdotal. It didn’t seem significant factually to me.

Do you want me to re-open the thread?

So the rule is that you can bump really old threads as long as you add something significant or new AND all (most?) of the other posters have logged in recently? I wasn’t aware of that rule.

Got it. Someone should add that to the registration agreement. FTR, the sticky at the top of ATMB only says:

“In Comments on Cecil’s Columns, Comments on Staff Reports, Games Room, General Questions, and Straight Dope Chicago: We’re less concerned about resurrected threads. The reasons we dislike zombie threads don’t usually apply. We’ll generally leave such threads open, unless there is some compelling reason for taking moderator action,”

Maybe we should just ban new users. That would solve this new user problem and it would be a lot easier than scaring them off with made up rules about fonts and that they can’t bump old threads that have inactive users or are about software.

If you want new members to join our board, don’t make them jump through hoops. Do you really think they’re going to go out of their way to link to an old thread and start a new one? Do you really think they’re going to wade through 70 pages of rules (literally, 70) to see if they can use a different size font (they can) or bump an old thread (also, they can). Do you think they’re going to stick around when they come back and find their thread closed?

Imagine having a problem with something in your house. You find a message board for it, ask a question, come back a few hours later and see a mod locked the thread and told you that you had too many typos and you put it in the wrong forum. The mod advised you to start a new thread if you want to ask again and please make sure to read all the stickies. Do you…or do you just find another forum to ask on?

You have to admit, this board can be pretty hostile to new members.

It can also be quite hostile to old members as well.

I wasn’t aware of it either. Seems to me like you just made it up.

I honestly don’t know why you are having such a problem understanding this. The problem with that particular post was that it was an issue that a particular poster was having and all of the others who had similar issues were all no longer active participants here.

Now if someone who actually still posts here had made the OP, then even though it has been fourteen years, they could at least say whether or not they were still having the problem. So in this particular case that would make a difference.

How does that somehow turn into an all-encompassing blanket rule regarding whether or not someone has logged in recently?

You keep making broad, sweeping generalizations based on one specific case, when those generalizations don’t apply.

SisterSmile was not having a problem with her house, nor was she asking for a solution to anything. Her post was more of a “me too” anecdote. Comparing this to someone looking for a problem is forcing her post into a different post than it actually is, and isn’t relevant to the conversation.

Saying that we should ban all users was being facetious and you knew that. I don’t know why you thought adding that would be productive to the discussion here.

The sticky that you quoted dates back to 2006 and even still references forums that no longer exist. The attitude towards zombie threads has changed significantly since that was written, first shifting to almost no tolerance at all for zombies, then shifting back to what it is now. The rules as I am enforcing them are basically how GQ has been moderated since before I became a moderator. If anything, it used to be more strictly moderated.

If you think that the current policy towards zombies in GQ should be addressed so that we are more kind to new users, well that is something that we can certainly discuss. I’m all for being kinder to new (and existing) users.

If you want to continue such a conversation, it would be really helpful if you don’t keep extrapolating specific cases into silly broad sweeping generalizations that don’t make any sense, and if you stop making mocking, facetious comments like banning everyone.

Here’s your reason for closing the thread I linked to in the op.

Upthread, you said it again.

Can you point me to that rule, or do you still want to say that I was the one who made it up?
Besides, how can I make up rules? I can’t lock threads or warn people. I can’t even gently nudge people into the straight and narrow without worrying about getting a warning myself.
ETA, yes, it was more strictly modded at one point (regarding zombie threads), they used to not be allowed, now they are allowed (except that they’re not). You want to make it more welcoming to new members, stop locking old threads, again who cares?

ETA2, and just so we don’t forget about it. The other thread, the one that stayed open, also in GQ, was bumped with, literally, nothing more than a political jab.

There is no rule. There is also no rule about bumping a thread about problems with netscape in Windows 98 to add in your own current browser problems. but again, that’s the type of thing where the original thread is so out of date that it just makes sense to start a new thread instead. We could probably come up with a thousand different scenarios, and not one of them is covered by a specific, all-encompassing rule.

I wasn’t trying to make a new rule. You’re the only one here who called it a rule.

Yep, you keep bringing it up, so we certainly won’t forget it.

And as long as you keep using these two specific posts to make broad-sweeping generalizations that don’t actually apply, your comparison of these two threads will continue to not make much sense.