"This topic has been covered before..."

We’ve all been there (except for the newbies).

When thinking that a topic might have been covered before, I have tried the search feature at times, but have often gotten less than ideal results. Usually too many posts that match some minor point, but don’t address what I’d like to posit.

And sometimes, I just want to be able to participate in the discussion.

Sometimes I posted a topic. And someone mentioned that it had been posted before and offered the thread. Kinda helpful, kind of a post-killer.

I wondered if anyone found any value in a forum dedicated to those topics that have been done ad naseum. It would be easier to narrow a search to and browse such a forum.

Mods would have the best notion of what the candidates would be, but I have seen relationship stuff like nice-guy/bad boy stuff a lot.

Maybe it would be redundant or no value, but I thought I would just throw it out there.

Actually, I find it much more irritating that you can start something and get someone annoying pointing out that it’s been discussed before.


If someone resurrects an old thread to join a discussion you get ‘Why did you revive an old thread’?

Damned if you do…

It’s been suggested that you should search the boards, possibly with the new boardreader.com thing, then, if you want, start a new thread which links to the one in which the topic was previuosly discussed. This is an attempt to make everyone happpy.

Here’s my own algorithm, with which some may disagree:

Search the board. Also, search Cecil’s columns, Google, etc.
If you find your answer, stop.
If you don’t, but you find a thread where it’s discussed but not answered, either post in that thread, or start a new one linking to the one you found. Which of these you do depends on the nature of the question:

Factual question (Does water boil in space?), the thread has few replies, and it’s not anwered: Post in that thread if you can add information. Else, start new thread, link to old.

Factual question, argued but never solved: Start new thread, link to old, so that every poster doesn’t have to wade through the old one.

(Mainly applies to GQ, CCC, CSR and some CS)

Tough-to-answer question (Does water boiling in space mean God doesn’t love us?), asked in GD, thread has few replies, no real progress in the debate: Post in that thread if you can add something. If you can’t add anything, let it be*.

GD-style question that has been extensively debated: Start new thread, linking to old if appropriate, as long as you have something new to add. If you’ve got nothing to add, let it be*.

(Mainly applies to GD, some CS)

Mundane & pointless topic, poll, largely unimportant matters, etc. (Who thinks boiling space water is cool? (TMI) ): A matter of opinion. If it’s worth starting a thread over, start a new one, possibly linking to old, unless there exists a very similar thread which received very few replies.

(Mainly applies to MPSIMS, IMHO, some, BBQP, some CS)

Question pertaining to the history of the board, past events of a potentially inflammatory nature, or rough times in SDMB-land: BE VERY CAREFUL what you post. Anyone with a personal connection to those events, even moderators, may not look kindly on it being brought up. Certainly DO NOT RESSURRECT the old thread. Even linking to it is risky. Be very cautious with this.

*Note, some posters feel it can be appropriate to start a new debate again, ewven if it’s been discussed before, so that new ideas can be considered form different angles, etc.

I just want to point out that posting in old threads is frowned upon here. Some recent discussions on the subject:
Stop reviving 2 year old threads
Ancient Thread Suggestion

I have to put my hand up as one of the people who will try to provide a link to previous instances of a topic; It’s not intended to be a reprimand or thread killer at all (although I appreciate it sometimes has that effect), just a link to pertinent information.

Except perhaps in cases like the missing dollar or ~gry questions, where the thread needs to die quickly.

How to properly use the search feature would probably be quite beneficial. I hope that hasn’t been discussed before :slight_smile:

And it’s also mentioned in the ATMB “guidelines for posting” FAQ.

I just picture this ‘person’ who doesn’t post much except to say that it’s been posted before and provides 2 or 3 links to said posts.

Maybe we need an “it’s been searched for” smilie to thward said person. :rolleyes:

You’re talking about me, aren’t ya? Aren’t ya?

I will confess that I am a linker. OTOH, as Mangetout pointed out, the intent (at least when I have posted links) is to provide background. I’m more likely to do this in GQ, where the object is, ostensibly, to garner information, not to engage in wide-ranging discussions.

I’ve certainly never posted a “been there, done that, got the scars and T-shirt” link in GD or IMHO with the intent to kill a discussion, (although I have been sorely tempted on a few ocasions to do that in the Pit).

While I appreciate the intent of the OP, I suspect that neither a “tired old refrains” Forum nor a “golden oldies” Forum would be very practical. (And I do realize that I have mischaracterized the proposal, but I suspect that such a Forum would be reduced to one or the other pretty quickly.)

(And, on a quite practical note, do we really want to give Manny and Biblio even more work to do, moving all the dozens of repeated questions out of GQ as each poor newbie misses the FAQ that explains that they must search the oldies Forum, first?)