splitting up GQ

Given the recent crush of question in the General Questions forum, is it possible to split GQ into subforums? This would help both people posting questions, and people with knowledge in certain areas trying to keep up with the questions. Even splitting it in two would halve the new posts in each new forum, letting a question stay on the front page for up to 6 hours, instead of the normal 3 hours :slight_smile: Maybe it could be split into 4 or 5 forums, each specializing in different topics?

A more radical suggestion would be to moderate the GQ area so that new threads had to be approved by a moderator. Once the thread was started (by being approved by a moderator), anyone could post to it normally. This would help weed out the nonsense questions, and ultimately reduce the burden on the moderators (since they wouldn’t have to read all the posts from a nonsense question before closing the thread, if they never let the question get posted). A 24-48 hour delay from submitting a question to approval and posting would be ok with me, if it lets GQ resume the normal function of fighting ignorance …


Bleh, I make quite a hearty living making money off bar bets. My Palm VII with the text-based web browser and the ability to get almost instant answers has paid for many drinks.

Excellent method of fighting ignorance in a group setting, sethdallob! Maybe GQ could be split, with one section having new threads moderated, and the other(s) normal …


I’m not so sure that requiring moderator approval would save us any effort. As it is now, we read all the questions, and specifically deal with (move or close) the inane ones. Under the method proposed by Arjuna34, we would read them all, and then specifically deal with (approve) the good ones. I’d like to believe that the good ones are more numerous than the bad.

As for splitting the forum, do you have any specific ideas on where to divide it? All the suggestions I’ve seen thus far on the topic are either an extremely arbitrary sorting of all threads into one of two categories, or would fragment the forum so much that you’d be left with a bunch of ghost towns.

I agree with Chronos; I think fragmentation represents a far greater threat to the vitality of the board than clutter.

Well, it’s a tradeoff, IMO.

On the one hand, if we divided GQ into two seperate forums, that means that any GQ thread would stay on its own first page of the thread nearly twice as long, which can be very helpful (more time for people to come up with answers before it sinks to the oblivion of Page 2). It also means it’s easier to divide the work for moderators.

On the other hand, it means figuring out where to divide GQ (US and non-US questions? Science and non-science questions?) and would mean more work for mods in that they’d have move threads around when people don’t recognize the category differences.

I would think that in the long run, this would ultimately increase the stress on the moderators. Right now, Manny and Chronos can pretty much choose when to sit down at the computer and work their way through all the clutter. But I’d think it would be 100% more stressful for them to know that the clock was ticking, that all over the world the Teeming Millions were waiting impatiently for them to release the latest questions about crotch-sniffing from GQ quarantine.

I don’t think a 24-hour or 48-hour delay is a good idea, either. For one thing, the “need help” threads typically need help today, not tomorrow or the next day, whether it’s computer tech help or car trouble help or “why is my stomach doing this?” health care help.

How would you split the forum, anyway? I sense that what you want, but are being too marvelously tactful to say :slight_smile: is a split between “serious questions” and “dreck”. I agree completely, but if you don’t have the mods decide, upon receipt of every new thread, what’s dreck and what isn’t, you would have to rely on the poster to decide whether his thread is dreck or a serious question. Posters who are capable of looking at their own threads and deciding, “Yep, this one’s dreck”, are also posters who are capable of understanding that the dreck belongs in MPSIMS, and they already put it there.

The mods do decide what’s dreck, to a certain extent, and lock or move it. And anyway, one man’s dreck is another man’s fascinating conspiracy theory. Chacun a son gout. Personally, I’ve learned so much about testicles since I registered at the SDMB, and I will be forever grateful to the folks who started those particular threads. Seriously.

A window to another world is opened for me daily, over in GQ. There’s no telling what it will be, and I think it’s perfectly wonderful. How dull it would be if it were nothing but “how fast does the Earth rotate?” questions.

Both my ideas would involve adding more moderators to GQ. If it’s just split up into separate forums, each one would get one or two moderators. I’d guess this would be easier than just adding several more to the existing GQ, since it’s probably easier for two moderators to coordinate on a single forum than four or five.

To split up GQ, I’d poll for suggestions first. My suggestion would be something like Help (where someone has a specific problem or situation- PC tech problem, legal problem, etc.), Science/Technical, and Other. Each forum would get a moderator or two. How to divide GQ is a good question …

In the case of moderated question submittal, I’d assign several moderators to judge the questions (determined randomly), and it would either be approved and be posted into the new, moderated GQ, or not approved, and be posted in the unmoderated GQ (or I suppose it could be placed in IMHO, the Pit, etc.). Once the question was posted it would be a normal thread, where anyone could respond, and moderators kept watch normally. This is a pretty radical idea, and I don’t know if it’s even possible with this board … just something to think about for the next 1-2 years maybe …

The big question is whether the large increase in board traffic will continue, as more people get connected to the internet, or whether it will level off. Are there any stats available on this (like a graph of number new posts per day over the last 12 months)? If my impression is correct, and growth continues like this for another 12-24 months, GQ will collapse, if manny and Chronos don’t go postal first :slight_smile:

In any case, this wouldn’t be something to rush- it should be debated and mulled over for a few months at least.


I support the idea of a split. How about a sub-forum just for computer or tech-related questions? How about one for medical?

These are specific enough categories where there would be little to no confusion as to what belongs where. Anything non-medical or non tech-related would stay in the grab-bag, so to speak.

This seems workable, although I’ll not lose any sleep worrying about whether it ever comes about.

I was going to make a few suggestions along these lines (although they may well have been made before), so I’ll add my two cents now.

I personally think that GQ definitely needs to be split up, just so questions stay on the main pages longer. It seems to me that a science/non-science split would be relatively easy for posters to figure out and for moderators to maintain, but I haven’t tried to count the threads in GQ to see whether this would produce forums very imbalanced in size.

As others have said, I think requiring moderator approval for a thread in advance would produce more problems than it would solve. While personally I would love to see GQ divided in “Interesting Questions” and “Dopey Questions,” this distinction would be impossible to enforce and the two forums would be of wildly different sizes (you decide which would be the larger).

One suggestion I would like to make that would both make GQ easier to use and (eventually) reduce board clutter is to make it a requirement that the thread title clearly contain a question (Jeopardy rule). First off, I’m tired of seeing threads titled “Silly Question,” - I often can’t decide which threads might be worth clicking on. (But some with stupid titles actually turn out to be worthwhile.)

However, forcing the poster to actually pose a question would, I think, also tend to make them think just a little harder about whether the question actually belongs in GQ or GD or IMHO (perhaps a forlorn hope). The penalty would simply be to have the thread locked (and deleted in either 24 or 48 hours), although the poster would be allowed to repost the query in the form of a question after the thread was locked. OK, at least initially this would cause increased clutter, since many people would re-post while the locked thread was hanging around (although in this case it could be deleted immediately). But if the policy were stated clearly in the forum descriptions . . . “Queries in GQ must include a question in the thread title. Those not containing an answerable question will be locked and deleted after x hours. . .” I think this might be workable once people got used to it.

Maybe this has been suggested before. Just a thought.

How about General Questions and Specific Questions? :slight_smile:

Seriously, let’s say you split GQ between Science and non-Science (to take one suggested choice). Most of the regulars would still read both forums. Maybe the “experts” would read one more than the other, but most people here are readers, not answerers. For this reason I don’t really see the value in having 2 first pages, rather than 1 first page and 1 second page, like we have in GQ today.

The only good reason to make new forums is to separate out a group of threads that only interest a specific population. Like moving IMHO polling to its own forum.

The main reason I would see is that it would keep questions on the first page longer, and thus more likely to be seen and answered. Dividing it in two would keep each question on top roughly twice as long, at least if the forums ended up being of similar sizes. And GQ is now running at about 5 pages as a default (questions responded to in the last 2 days).

I tend to answer questions far more often than I ask them. But often I don’t have time to look past the first page in GQ, or I can’t easily find a question that was there before that I’ve though of an answer to. Look, I’m a scientist, and this would make it easier for me to answer questions. This would help people who want their questions answered, not just the those who answer. And people just reading the pages are not the problem at all.

Seems to me a simple “science/technical” vs. “other” split would be easier to figure out and maintain than the sometimes hazy distinction between GQ and GD.

I can think of about seventy different ways to split up GQ, but the only one that, to me, had sounded practical so far, is a split into two forums: Questions of Fact and Advice.

Questions of Fact would be the place to post questions that, conceivably, Cecil might answer, and to which someone should know the answer–and other people might be interested in reading the answer:

Why did “Oil of Ulan” rename themselves to “Oil of Olay”?
Who invented American Cheese?
LaGrange points?

Advice would be the place for questions about medical problems, legal problems, computer problems, etc.:

Car advice -brakes on Geo Prism
How much help will I get from the Better Business Bureau Should I Bet My IRA on PLATINUM?

(All of these are currently on the first page of GQ).

Neither of these categories are dreck–that should (and much of it does) already go into MPSIMS. But there is a significant distinction, I think:

Answers posted to Questions of Fact would be interesting to many. Answers posted to Advice would almost always apply to only one person.

Just my $0.02.


I hadn’t seen a suggestion I liked and thought was workable (I particularly disliked the delay idea) until that last post by LazarusLong42.

That’s the way to go, folks.

Not much I assume… HAHA! :slight_smile: (what a difference a carriage return makes)

This ain’t meant to pee in anyone’s pudding or squelch the cogitation, but many of the topics seeking advice or opinions should be placed in IMHO anyway, not GQ. In my view, General Questions is for queries of a factual, or at least solvable, nature. IMHO is for your didacticism, pontification and supposition. At least that’s how it was 'splained to me.

I agree in theory, UncleBeer – but:

I currently have a “I need specific help with this file type on a floppy disc” lame ass thread going on in GQ. It is my strong feeling that there are a lot of smart cookies who read GQ who don’t ever step foot in MPSIMS or IMHO because of all the “virtual pillow fights” and “which Smurf would you like to buttf**k” threads that are always there. Can’t say I’d blame someone for not ever heading to MPSIMS or IMHO, if they just like general trivia and don’t really care for the “chat room” type of atmosphere. So, my point is, I would post things like that in IMHO, but I don’t think I’d get near the quality of responses that I get in GQ.
[sub]BTW, good to see you around, UncleBeer …i was wondering where you’d drifted off to. [/sub]

and, FTR (not that anyone is asking), I like LazarusLong42’s suggestion.

So do I, at least as a short/medium-term solution.


Hrm… I thought that “had sounded” was enough indicator that it wasn’t originally my idea :slight_smile:

Credit where credit’s due: The idea was spawned in posts by curwin, Scarlett77, and BunnyGirl in this thread. I’ve merely summed up, expounded, and become a vehement supporter.

I also tend to disagree with you, UncleBeer. It was always my feeling that IMHO was intended “for frank exchanges of views on less-than-cosmic topics” (as stated on the front page). When someone’s having a minor pain for which they obviously needn’t call an ambulance and can’t get to the doctor until next week, or someone’s having a computer problem… well, it may be less than cosmic, but it’s more important than “What is your favorite insult?”

OK, I’m up to $0.04 now.

SmackFu: Yup. Not to mention previewing. [smacks head]


Well, I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand dividing GQ into “questions of fact” and “advice,” but I see several drawbacks.

As some have said, “Advice” will draw questions that are of limited relevance to anyone who doesn’t have that specific problem. So if your not posting a question, what’s to motivate you going in there? Just to see if someone by coincidence happens to have the same problem that particular day? As a biologist, I promise you I ain’t going to check it out just to see if someone wants to know why his cat is peeing on the carpet. But I might offer info if the question was under “questions on science,” if it was phrased as a question about behavior.

“Advice” is going to draw questions dealing with computer, medical, legal, automotive any many other problems (as well as people asking “Why can’t I get a date?” - but of course if you have to ask that one on the SDMB it pretty much provides its own answer.) But I don’t think it’s going to draw many experts with the knowledge to give an accurate answer.

I think you need to consider this from the point of view of what’s the best strategy for actually getting an accurate and rapid answer to your question. I don’t think an “Advice” section is it, and that’s from my perspective as someone who tries to answer a lot of questions.