some way to mark Zombie threads?

No one is saying that nothing can be done. People are saying that there is no automatic way to do something like this in vB except for possibly with a hack. People are saying that either this is too much trouble for the Staff to do or that it’s not worth doing in the first place. I agree.

Because some of the posters in it may no longer be around to defend themselves. And most folks don’t like unwittingly responding to years old threads and discussions that are long since over. At least, that’s the way I’ve always understood it.

it would be a lot of work for the mods to examine and mark each thread. then if the thread has valid new input there would have to be criteria and examination of when to unmark it.

i’ve tried checking carefully for the date of the top message after reading a zombie and thinking of a reply which upon looking through the messages is almost what i replied when it was new.

Honestly, if they feel foolish about responding to old posts without checking the date on them, they deserve whatever feelings they feel.

If it’s a contentious thread where defending oneself is an issue, we’ll ordinarily close it.

Start with, what’s the prob with zombie threads? In most cases, there’s no problem at all. In some cases, people post without realizing that they’re responding to something that’s months old, or years old. So what? In a few cases, people respond to something they’ve already responded to. Again, so what?

So, we start with a very small problem.

And if there were an automatic solution, it might be worth considering. But when the “solution” to a small/non-problem is manual… well, it’s not the we can’t mark each zombie thread, it’s that it would take an inordinate amount of time. Just to suggest a process, it would have to be something like someone reporting a thread as zombie, the forum mod seeing that report, then going to the thread and marking it. The thing is, by that time, someone has already posted to it. So, it’s extra work, and it’s not going to solve any problems.

The ones that feel like a problem are the ones where you feel emotionally involved- someone is having a crisis, relationship issues, medical problems and you read along as it develops. Then you realize that the issue was from years ago and has probably resolved itself- it feels like a waste of emotional involvement and energy. Sometimes it even makes you feel a bit silly, when you’ve left some long, well thought reply and realize it was for no real purpose.

So while it may seem like a nothing problem to some, it can actually get quite annoying after awhile. I know. for myself, I’m not trying to invent a problem.

::checks current mod status::

I disagree that the mods should go through and label every resurrected thread – that seems like it’s going to be far too hit or miss to be effective. Instead, they should label every other thread [NOT A ZOMBIE]. This system will work for about six months or so, at which point some of these threads may themselves be revived, but I say we cross that bridge when we come to it.


These kinds of zombies are usually closed, that is, those that involve emotional issues.

Opening a zombie thread seems to be the number one first activity for most new members. They search google for a subject that they are interested in and find a thread here and chime in with their point of view. Often times the thread picks right back up again with new information on the subject. At least some of the original participants are usually still active and pick right back up where they left off, as if no time had passed at all. Generally they are opened because someone, somewhere, had something to contribute that could be informational and/or entertaining and on topic. But as soon as one appears - “omg zombie thread, zombie thread!!” Those posts are actually a waste of time to read but the original re-opener of the thread usually had something to contribute. At best all this can do is make the brand new member feel foolish and unwelcome.

To be upset about a zombie thread being re-opened is essentially being upset that the poster didn’t check the date of the thread before participating in it. But to have been inconvenienced by allowing yourself to read and participate in a thread and later realize it was a zombie means you were guilty of exactly the same thing.

No. The newbie has to specifically be looking for that thread. But once they post in it, it pops up where new threads are.

When you arrive at a thread from the front page, you know there is current conversation going on. When you arrive at it from somewhere else, you do not, and thus you have a stronger onus to pay more attention.

That said, I know it won’t happen, which is why I wish there was some better way to indicate a zombie thread. If I were sure the mods would catch it, I’d just ask them to edit the title. But often the mods haven’t even caught the thread yet.

The Mods replying to this suggestion seem to have adopted Maynard G. Krebs’ philosophy: “WORK? Who, me? Do something useful? Be of service? Why should I? Work? Nu, uh, not me, boy. I don’t do work, I moderate, you know, snark on people, explain at length why I can’t or won’t and shouldn’t do something simpler than tediously explaining why I can’t or won’t or shouldn’t do it, and to be insufferably snotty in the process. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Snottiness uber alles. Plus verbosity. Snottiness and verbosity, that’s key to being a good Mod here, plus obtuseness of course. Our THREE main weapons are snottiness, verbosity, obtuseness, and a fanatical devotion to the Dope–our FOUR main weapons are…” and on and on and on.

The simple point being simply suggested (and obtusely rejected) is that AFTER some poster has reported a ZOMBIE thread to the Mods (no additional work for you yet, so you can keep reading, it won’t hurt) you can either 1) compose a post explaining that it is a Zombie thread, and what exactly you intend to do about it–close it, leave it open but warn posters about attacking the dead and gone, just let it go, etc, which is what you typically do after a zombie thread is reported, and is in itself considerable work, or 2) put the word “Zombie:” at the start of the thread title, which is less work for you, unless you need to combine steps 1) and 2), which you won’t need to do the vast majority of the time. You could even keep the word “Zombie:” as a macro so you won’t need to keep typing it out. This might be marginally helpful, and would serve to justify your existence a little bit.

I think you’ve interjected your own prejudices into the responses of the mods in this thread. I actually got up out of my comfy chair and reread them. I didn’t notice their responses emphasizing the “work” aspect.

But it gave you a great chance to fire your salvo(which is probably saved as a macro).

Was I supposed to interject someone else’s prejudices? Or are you just saying that you disagree with me? Imagine my shock…

By the time it’s come to the mod’s attention, there is already a post saying, “Lookit the date, this is a revived old thread.”

New posters come to the website (often) because they’ve read a column and they’re interested in it. Or they’ve googled some situation (Fleming’s disease, say) and get to a discussion about it. They may not bother to check the date, especially amidst the flurry of registering, reading the thread, composing a post, etc. They’re new. They don’t know whether the thread is front page or not, nor even what that means.

So, my counter-suggestion: don’t dis someone for re-opening an old thread by saying “OMG, this is a two-year old zombie.” That makes the newcomer feel bad, and they probably don’t know what “zombie” means. My suggestion: be polite about noting that this is, indeed, an old thread and therefore some of the prior posters may not be around.

Then the thread gets reported. At that point, depending on the topic and awkwardness, the mods can close it or can let it sit. If the thread is left open, then anyone else coming to the thread will (one hopes) see the post saying that it’s old. And, of course, if it was left open, then the mods decided that the age of the thread wasn’t relevant. In short, “labeling” a thread doesn’t seem to me to be worthwhile.

An alternative might be to have the date of the OP appear, along with the name of the OPer, on the forum list. I have no clue whether that’s possible, we can look into it.

I work with a guy that likes to write things like this. He spends all his time writing emails, usually about some minor problem that everybody knows about but few are concerned about, reading and rereading them to make sure there are lots of big words that make him sound smart, throwing in some analogies that make him sound so very witty.

Then he sends the email, making sure everybody in the whole company is copied in, so that everybody knows he sent the email, and that everybody is correctly outraged.

Thing is, we all just ignore his emails, because we all know he has ulterior motives, and we couldnt really be bothered with the drama, we have work to do.

Threadshit much? Reported.

Sorry about the big words, and the way I spent all my time (about three minutes) writing this.

I know its not an end of the world sort of question, I just find it the most annoying part of participating in the Dope right now. Generally, the only way I realize its a ZOMBIE is when someone does post it, like you suggest above. Unfortunately, I’ve just gone through pages of old posts before I get to the one that says “ZOMBIE! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!”

I’d basically like it to be more obvious than it is right now that I’m about to open and read a thread that is old. I know its there on the date with the first post; but I open threads because they initially catch my interest and I go straight to the words and not to the date. Does anyone else first look at the date when they open the thread? I look at the text myself.

I accept the reasoning that its difficult to do and that’s why it isn’t done. But if it were easy to do, I’d just like that extra piece of information available to me BEFORE I decide to open the thread and read bunches of old posts.

Thanks to all

Reported to who? Oh yeah, these guys…

Pretty much impossible, it seems.:smiley: