Why post to a thread where you have no stake?

In this thread on beer without alcohol we had a post:

Sorry, RealityChuck that you are my example. Nothing personal. It just sort of stuck out and made me wonder.

I have seen this happen on many threads and I’d like to get an understanding from the members. Why do you post to a thread when your input is not relevant to the conversation? In this case the thread was asking opinions from beer drinkers and a non-beer drinker responded. I’ve seen similar occurrences in threads asking general questions where a poster adds their two cents that have absolutely nothing to do with answering the question or in the opinion threads where a person posts something that is not even tangentially related to the subject.

If the thread was “Do you prefer big or little dogs?” I’m not going to post “I prefer cats.” Seriously, what’s the point of jumping in?


It’s more than likely going to depend on circumstances. In a lot of cases it may be an attempt to redirect the question or point out that the OP is asking the “wrong” question in some regard. This doesn’t always have to be a jerk move (although it can be), but, for example, if someone asks “how can I do X to achieve Y?” someone can point out “while I don’t know how to do X, Z would probably be a more efficient means to achieve Y.”

Often taking the form of “have you considered Z?” which may or may not be helpful, depending on what the OP is looking to achieve.

  1. Attention-whoring.

  2. An attempt to expand the OP

  3. An attempt to add additional data points to the OP which may or may not be desired or relevant

  4. A rebuttal of the OP

  5. A denial of the OP’s reality

  6. Bacon

  7. It’s a message board. Do any of us really have a stake in anything here? (Ed and Una excepted).

Well, I have no relevant answer to your question, but I do drink beer. Let’s talk about that!

  1. Yeah, most likely
  2. Acceptable and actually germane to the OP
  3. See #3
  4. Ditto
  5. Yeah, I’ve seen these delusional people
  6. It’s always the answer. And for our kosher, halal and vegetarian players at home I heartily recommend getting Bacon Salt. It is actually a kosher product. My Jewish friend tried and said, “Is this really what bacon tastes like?” I told him it was pretty close. He responded, “I’m going to go kick the shit out of my rabbi now for not letting me have this.”
  7. Probably related to #1.

This is a WAG, but I think sometimes it’s a more-or-less automatic response based on the idea that, when someone asks you a question, the polite thing to do is answer it.

I notice the thread you pointed to as an example had, as its title and OP, a direct, “would you…?” question. If someone asked me a question like that directly, I’d feel obliged to give some sort of answer, even if it wasn’t all that relevant or meaningful. And if I were sitting around making idle conversation with a few buddies or coworkers and someone piped up with a question like that, I wouldn’t think it unusual if everyone made some sort of response, even if it was an “I don’t” response.

Sometimes it’s just someone trying to be funny.

What the hell is with the War on Humor (let me know if Fox ‘News’ has rights to the War On phrase) at this board lately? Chrissakes, does every post have to be laser focused on the OP with no hint of silliness, unless it’s approved by a committee?

I agree that there is a potential for this board to take a very bad turn down the wrong road by essentially regulating humor. We have already recently seen the moderator supported ban on mild jokes about half of the human race. The other half cannot be far behind, in interest of fairness.

Even in General Questions it is, or used to be, acceptable to make a joke after a few factual responses have been made.

The entire concept of **The Straight Dope ** news paper column was to address factual questions with humorous, entertaining, and factual responses.

That will all be lost, like tears in the rain.

I understand that and have been guilty of it myself. It seems like there is a preponderance of smart-asses on this board NTTAWWT. I mean situations where there should be legitimate answers and someone posts something that’s not only not in the ballpark, it most likely never got out of the parking lot. Asking a question like, “Was Tom Sawyer being a dick for getting the other kids to paint the fence?” shouldn’t get a reply, “Well, Beethoven’s Fifth has a particular structure…”

I find the tendency of posters to fly into anything from a snit to a full-blown temper tantrum because someone posts something tangential to a thread to be at least as arrogant and self-important as any such attributes they assign to the interlopers.

I don’t see many really off-the-wall or uninformed contributions, at least not until late into threads, and I don’t think the occasional short interjection of humor or side comment on a topic exactly derails or devalues it. Oftentimes those who object to it missed the point and/or derail the thread more by their complaining than the “offender” did.

Just move on if you think a post doesn’t contribute anything.

My reply was also along the lines of “don’t like the taste now, so probably wouldn’t sans alcohol”. I thought it germaine to the OP in that alcohol is not the determinant in the amount of beer I drink. Perhaps I misinterpreted the question.

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight on the internet, we shall fight in print and in comedy clubs, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on the air, we shall defend our stupid jokes, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the forums, we shall fight in the “Comments” sections, we shall fight on The Daily Show and on the Colbert Report, we shall fight in the hills (with a Hungarian phrasebook); we shall never surrender.”

I do, but that may just be a sampling variance. I think it tends to happen in Great Debates more frequently than elsewhere, and I do read a fair number of Great Debates threads.

That’s hard to do when a series of inappropriate replies have ruined what would otherwise have been a nice, informative thread.

I don’t understand what you mean by "stake’? But anyway, my answer would be “because it’s there.”

I have never done what the OP describes, so I wouldn’t know why people do that.

Agreed… In the thread in question, I mentioned that I don’t drink…but that if alcohol-free beer existed, I would drink it. For me, the hypothetical creates the relevance. Simply saying, “I don’t drink” doesn’t answer the full question.

But as you say, the question was addressed to all, and a very brief “Not relevant to me” is not an inexcusable offense. Waste of time, at worst, really.

Because chicken was on sale?

I agree, but welcome to the internet. I think overmoderation is a worse disease than occasionally letting a thread get bent.

There is also nothing - *nothing *- preventing those interested from continuing the thread from whatever point they consider valid. I see that all the time.

Sometimes it’s just a way to subscribe to the thread.