Zombie threads, can anything be done?

I am sooooo tempted to resurrect an old ATMB thread about zombie threads. But I didn’t. So suck it high school psychologist, I do have some impulse control.

Moderator Warning

etv78, you’ve been around plenty long enough to know that personal attacks like this are not permitted outside the Pit. This is an official warning. Do not do this again.


The idea that there’s something wrong with breathing life into a thread that’s been dormant for a while is so completely weird to me. Heaven forbid someone might realize that some old content on this board is interesting enough to start talking about again. WTF. Oh no, some of the posters might not be around anymore! That’s true of threads from two weeks ago, too. Seems pretty straightforward to say, “huh, I guess that person isn’t going to respond – maybe they’re gone,” and move on.

And there’s something in particular that’s always bugged me about this “no zombies” hand-wringing. I’m willing to concede that there’s a legitimate difference of opinion, and that if the board administration wants a “no zombies” rule, there are some (IMHO unconvincing) reasons for that, and that’s their prerogative. Fine. But why is it acceptable to have such an asshole reaction when newbs aren’t familiar with this particular quirk of board culture? It’s like making an arbitrary rule that you’re not allowed to use the letter T more than 40 times per post and acting like the new people who violate it are dumbfucks. Great way to attract new users!

We don’t want that. In the last couple of years we’ve actually relaxed the rules on zombie threads- we still sometimes close them, but only if the thread is really ancient and if the new post is off topic. And yes, I agree it can be off-putting if 6 people jump in with the “BRAAAAAINS” jokes and new posters often don’t appreciate it.

Even after C K Dexter Haven just listed four specific problems with zombie threads?

One reads a message board–especially a heavily trafficked one such as this–with certain assumptions. One assumes the thread they are reading is a reasonably current conversation, from a contemporary perpsective, with posts by people who are still around, still interested in the topic, and likely to respond if points in their post are addressed. All of these assumptions fail in a zombie thread, making it easy to post inappropriately. Of course one can read the time stamps before posting, but even with the rash of zombies, 99%+ of threads are contemporary and it’s difficult to remain in the habit of checking every single time.

That’s where your argument fails. Posting in a thread you thought was current but is actually a zombie isn’t “inappropriate”. Hell, *knowingly *posting in such a thread isn’t inappropriate.

I bet “feasible” would have been a word closer to the intended meaning. As in “Yeah, it’s feasible, as in it’s not literally impossible. But I certainly wouldn’t want to devote all my days to doing it.”

“Zombie Patrol” would be like taking up a solemn crusade to eliminate baggy pants. Baggy pants aren’t generally illegal or immoral, or even frowned on in some circles, and some people actually like them. And yes, you certainly could start a MADD-style public awareness drive opposing baggy pants… but since there’s no actual concrete (or even abstract) harm in baggy pants, other than annoying a few people… why bother? Especially if the crusade turns into some kind of tedious grind.

For my part, I save my tedious grinds for World of Warcraft. I used to devote some of it the anti-vandalism patrol at Wikipedia, but I came to realize that my grind time was actually better spent at WoW, since the payoff and sense of accomplishment was a lot better there.

Yes, even after. See my “IMHO unconvincing” above.

Well I sure as hell don’t and don’t understand why anyone would make that assumption. As you went on to explain, it’s a faulty one.

Oh no! You might accidentally respond to an old thread if you’re not diligent about checking the timestamps! And then … something terrible! What’s even more insidious is that there might be no negative consequence whatsoever, leading you to cease to even care about checking the timestamps! My word!

I’m pretty sure it’s been said in previous about Zombie-AtMB thread but there’s an add-on for vB to automatically close threads after so many days. You can exempt some forums if you like. For all I know, it’s built into newer versions.


So it’s up to the admins if they want to allow them to continue or not.

The OP is missing the obvious flaw in their suggestion. Once someone revives a zombie thread it no longer has the status of “no replies or no views (if that is possible) in ‘x’ days”.

The person who revived the thread doesn’t care that it’s a zombie, they have something that they want to say. They are the only ones that will see the zombie indicator, it will disappear immediately afterward.

No forum software can compare the dates between the x most recent posts to see what the interval is. There are active threads that go on for months. Is it a zombie if the 1st and last threads on a page were three months apart but people had been conversing the whole time? And many people show more or fewer posts per page than the default.

I am not offended by zombie threads. I am intrigued by posters who replied to the original thread and then reply to the zombie version and wonder if they have a sense of deja vu while responding to the resurrected thread.

So the only way to make sure that there is an amusing one is to make sure at least 100 people make a zombie joke per thread - got it.

We have work to do people.


I will sometimes not realize it’s a zombie, start reading, think of a response, continue reading, and then read a post where I made that response already.

I shrug and move on, not start a crying fit that I’ve already read the thread.

Umm, who the hell would have a crying fit over it? You seem a little bizarrely defensive here.

Does it take braaaaaaaaaaains?


I read it as everyone who starts these types of threads that whine about posting to a zombie without realizing it, then feeling embarrassed about it. You know that many have done that, even if they didn’t use the exact words.

What’s ironic is that while they seem to have a problem posting to zombie threads, they’re seem to also have no problem posting threads that pop up on ATMB at least once a month.

I love when that happens! It’s like I send props back to my past self for my brilliant contribution. :smiley:

I don’t really see these threads as whining or crying over the horror of accidentally posting to a zombie thread. More of a pet peeve for some folks. This thread certainly seems to show a much more emotional response on the other side of the argument, frankly.

And every forum has some subjects that keep getting brought up. That’s just part of the nature of a largish poster population, human nature and the internet. No point “whining” about that.

You know what’s worse than zombie threads? The monthly ATMB thread complaining about zombie threads.