Who determines what is a thread hijack?

  1. The OP
  2. Posters in general
  3. Moderators

Obviously, the answer is #3.

But, there seems to be a recent uptick in the cases of #1 & #2 flat out declaring that something is a hijack.

IIRC, the OP doesn’t “own” the thread. If the thread doesn’t go their way, or when someone disagrees with a post or poster, screaming “hijack” seems to go against established practice.

Has something changed?

You’d have been better off just reporting the post in that healthcare thread and then coming here to argue/complain if you got no response that way. Barring that, don’t play coy, and at least provide a link.

Yeah, it’s not limited to just that thread.

It looks to me like you were kinda hijacking that thread, though.

How was that a “hijack”, though? He made a claim, but was either unwilling or unable to back it up.

Providing a legitimate citation to the contrary is not a hijack, in my opinion.

Not really. Only mods can tell someone they’re breaking a rule with a hijack or insist that they stop but I think it’s always been OK for another poster to ask someone to stop because it’s off topic and they’d prefer to stick to the topic. Nobody is obligated to respect that request but blatant disregard for it could come across as being a jerk depending on the context.

In this context he got a little junior moddy about your hijack but not blatantly so. As long as we’re all junior modding now, the hijack was also a threadshit. You answered a complex and lengthy post by quoting one sentence from it and making a one sentence contradiction to it. Without stating what your position is in the debate or why you were picking that point to argue, that was really no different than posting “Because you’re wrong.”

There seems to be a growing problem with people confusing anecdotes and opinions with facts.

That may be fine in the Mundane forum, but it my opinion, it shouldn’t be allowed in GQ/GD/Elections.

Since I’m not a GD mod I’ll refrain from commenting on the specific thread referenced, other than to say that from my point of view as a non-GD mod, it didn’t look to me like anyone was making an accusation of hijacking simply because they disagreed or did not like the way that the thread was going.

Speaking in more general terms, no, there have not been any change in the rules about hijacking. And you are correct that the OP doesn’t own the thread.

The OP, or anyone else, can ask that posters stick to a particular aspect of a topic. The key here is that they can ask, as peers. They can’t tell everyone to stick to a particular aspect of a topic, as if they have control over the thread. Admittedly this is a bit of a subtle difference, but this is where the line is. You can ask as peers, but you can’t command as if you have authority.

Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to tell if someone is asking or commanding. The latter can get you in trouble for junior modding, so in general the best thing to do is report the post and let us mods sort out whether we think it’s a hijack or not and if we think any action is necessary in the thread to keep it on track.


Why do you assume that your opinions are facts? Isn’t it possible that you are the one “confusing anecdotes and opinions with facts?”

Well, I am a moderator for Great Debates.

And I say that, while posters may say ‘don’t hijack the thread’ it has no enforcement mechanism. On the other hand, if I or my colleagues say it, I encourage you to listen.

The best way to deal with a hijack is to report it. The three of us - Bone, Tom and me - will see it. You only need one of us to decide to intervene. If there’s no intervention, then all three of us have decided to allow the thread to go on its organic way.

Who says there’s an uptick? Where are these ticks defined and how did you determine that they’re moving up? What is “recent”?

What practice? Who established this practice, and when? Where is this practice documented? Why do you think it’s “screaming”? How do you measure volume on a text-based message board? How do you know for sure that the poster isn’t mute?

Says who? You? How is it not limited? If not there, where is the limit? Are you saying there is no limit? How do you know there’s not a limit that you just aren’t aware of? Have you checked all the way to infinity? Are you claiming to be God?

You know for sure that he was unwilling or unable? Someone can’t be both? What if he was willing and able, but had an emergency? Do you think if someone’s house is on fire, their top priority is to back up a claim made on this board?

“Seems” to whom? What people? How are they confused? Where do you see this problem? How can you tell it’s growing? How big was it before and how big is it now? Length, width, area or volume? Avoirdupois or metric? What’s the margin of error? Is it falsifiable? If someone tells an anecdote about an opinion about a fact, is that confusing?

Sven Johnson is right!

You are a goddamned master.

I don’t think hijacking a thread is all that against the rules, de facto … some subjects just naturally drift from one subject to another and if everyone participating is happily discussing the new subject then there’s no problem … we carry on …

If we get a drift from some people yet others wish to continue … that gives us two conversations mixed together and that IS a problem … the moderator will step in and tell the hijackers to start another thread …

Now if someone continues with the hijack after the moderators say to start another thread … then we typically see the rolled up newspaper come out and folks getting beat on … my point is that this is more of a “failure to follow moderator’s instructions” violation rather than a “hijack” violation …

None of the above includes “threadshitting”, “being a jerk”, “moderator whim” or “trolling” cases … except that again we have the symptom of a hijack, but the underlying cause is what’s usually called upon to deliver the forty lashes …

I was within my rights posting my unpopular opinion in a thread dedicated to posting unpopular opinions … that shit blew up in my face (obviously) … the Southern Oracle jumped right in and stopped any further discussion of my unpopular opinion … good for her, the discussion was clearly derailing the focus of the thread … and I was fine with that having won that thread … my shiny trophy is up on my mantle right now …

Bravo! Bravissimo! Encore! Encore!

Since this isn’t GQ, GD, or Elections, it’s perfectly okay to offer opinions as facts. :rolleyes::stuck_out_tongue:


I’m going to laugh over this all day long. If I wore a hat, I’d doff it! Outstanding!

Meh. Sorry, Jon. Manhattan said it better.