Off-Topic Posts (message from the admin)

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Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 5, 2007 - 11:06am

There has been some discussion in the forum about whether the off-topic posts should be allowed to continue.

I have to admit that I've grappled with this issue several times. The off-topic forum was intended as a place where the formerly friendly and like-minded Econo-Almanac community could talk about non-housing aspects of life (yes, there is such a thing).

"Where's a good running trail?"

"Who serves the best Dim Sum in SD?"

"Why has Battlestar totally gone to hell, what with the love triangles and the character drama and the general lack of stuff getting blowed up by robots?"

These are the types of topics I suppose I envisioned when I created the off-topic forum. I never imagined that it would lead to the kind of vitriolic political and religious flame wars that routinely arise there. Perhaps I was being too optimistic (something of which I'm rarely accused), but I just figured that there are so many places on The Internets that are expressly intended for these types of highly personal and controversial subject matters that it wouldn't make much sense to discuss them here.

That said, it's clear that at least some of you like talking and/or viciously laying into one another regarding these topics. And this forum is, you will recall, pretty much entirely unmoderated (until now, the only non-spambot participant ever to be banned was accorded this honor only after repeatedly libelling me). So in consideration of all that, I'm going to let the free-for-all nature of the topics discussed here continue for now.

However, there are going to be a couple rules (for new content starting now):

  1. Post it in the off-topic forum. Off-topic (specifically politics-n-religion) threads that are created in any of the other forums will be deleted without warning or explanation.
  2. Do not threadjack. If a thread is about housing or economics or anything else for that matter, replies that steer the discussion towards marginally relevant politics-n-religion topics will be deleted without warning or explanation. Please note that when a reply gets deleted, all replies to that reply are automatically deleted, so respond to off-topic stuff at your own risk.
  3. While I'm at it, I'm going to add another rule that applies to all topics: don't be a jerk. By which I mean, if a thread is moving along in a perfectly civil manner, and you post the first highly negative or personal-attack-y response, you're being a jerk. Stop it. Repeated jerks will be banned from the site.

We (I and my lovely wife, who helps with site administration) have very little time and even less desire to police the forums. I don't even have time to read all the threads -- nowhere close -- let alone moderate them. So be warned that the application of the above rules will be completely arbitrary as we come across things. We won't catch nearly everything, and we aren't going to spend undue time figuring out whether something's off topic before deleting it (so when in doubt, keep it in the off-topic forum).

Spotty enforcement notwithstanding, hopefully these guidelines will make the forum a more enjoyable place for all, or at least most.

Incidentally, in response to a specific question, for technical reasons I am unable to exclude specific forums from the "Active Forum Topics" list. So if you don't like seeing the off-topic stuff, you can use the main forum page, or just let your gaze pass quickly over threads about [George Bush | Hillary Clinton] before your eyeballs begin to burn.

For what it's worth, I continue to find the forum an excellent source for (housing related) info and analysis. Some people have pointed out that the housing downturn's slow-moving nature, in addition to the fact that the mainstream has finally punched in, make for a quiet forum. I agree, and my reaction is: so what? If there's only one post per day, and it's interesting and insightful, then the forum has served its purpose as far as I am concerned.

For now, let's see how this new approach goes. I appreciate everyone's help in keeping the forum a valuable resource.


Submitted by novice1027 on July 5, 2007 - 11:44am.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

Submitted by PerryChase on July 5, 2007 - 12:28pm.

Rich, you're just so non-confrontational. I've seen you on TV and you seem pretty mellow.

For me, I don't think the off-topics have been rude or out of line.

While I disagree with jg and many topics, I'm perfectly OK when he gives me a hard time. I certainly don't loose sleep over his comments. To me it's all Internet banter.

Submitted by jg on July 5, 2007 - 12:49pm.

Okay, Rich, I consider my knuckles rapped.

Submitted by PD on July 5, 2007 - 1:10pm.

Thanks, Rich!

Submitted by sdduuuude on July 5, 2007 - 1:58pm.

Thank GOD you posted this.
Oh, crap. Sorry.

Submitted by jg on July 5, 2007 - 2:04pm.

sd-, you're irritating PD! You know, wrath of G--!

Submitted by GoUSC on July 5, 2007 - 3:19pm.


Maybe consider having one of the more respected and active posters become a moderator that can help you police the site a bit.

I am happy you are making some changes. Seems ridiculous that there are discussions of religion on a site like this.

Submitted by PD on July 5, 2007 - 3:26pm.

jg, have you ever been a movie theater where a group of teenagers would not stop talking? I once asked a group of teenagers to be quiet in a movie theater. They responded by throwing spit-balls at me throughout the movie. Why are you acting like a teenager?

It was perfectly reasonable to ask that politics and religion stay in marked off-topic threads.

Submitted by jg on July 5, 2007 - 3:35pm.

Oh, PD, when you ask adults to live within strict rules set by one with a strong opinion, some adults chafe at the bit. I've seen it in the Navy and in the private sector, especially with those who are not otherwise blindly obedient.

The 'bear' posters on this website are, by definition, not blindly obedient.

Sorry that I'm not sufficiently obedient; I'll work on it.

Submitted by PD on July 5, 2007 - 3:39pm.

Strict rules, jg? lol! You are only being asked to keep to the topic. Can't you do that?

Everyone slips once in a while, but when things become pervasive, reminding people to follow the rules is not amiss.

Submitted by jg on July 5, 2007 - 3:48pm.

Gee, GYSGT PD, maybe I belong on a comic blog, but my simple but creative mind starts running with the possibilities when I see some of the things written.

At my next confession, I'll ask our parish priest for help on this.

Oops! Sorry!

Submitted by eyePod on July 5, 2007 - 4:10pm.

Thank you! It is totally appropriate.

Submitted by drunkle on July 5, 2007 - 5:11pm.

why has battlestar gone to sod? it's been st:ng'd, 90210'd, it should be renamed soapstar galactica...

it happened in the 2nd season tho... first season, top notch scifi. got bought, extended, bring in the hack writers, splat. no more galactica.

Submitted by rockysan99 on July 5, 2007 - 5:18pm.

Rich, you're all over it, Bruddah!

Submitted by NotCranky on July 5, 2007 - 5:36pm.

Good call Rich. I admit to being one of the worst offenders. It did bother me that a few of us were interfering with the flow of housing topic threads. The organizational guidelines for post are great. I am sure we will all be glad that my contributions as real estate bear and reformer of American society,especially jg, will be separate.
Thanks for all you have done for us Piggingtonians.
Best wishes

Submitted by admin on July 5, 2007 - 6:15pm.

Perry: You are right on with the non-confrontional call. However, the accusation of being "mellow" is even less common than the accusation of being optimistic. :-)

Radelow: Thanks for the offer but let's let the folks talk about whatever they want as long as it's "contained" (you know, like subprime) to the off topic forum.

JG: No knuckle rapping was aimed at you or anyone in particular -- we are just trying a new approach so that the forum will hopefully meet everyone's needs. In the future, though, attempts to incite o-- t---- debates may be met with an appearance of The Ruler whether camouflaged with dashes or not...

Submitted by CAwireman on July 5, 2007 - 8:43pm.

Definitely an eb and flow to the Piggington blog. I think Rich's call a good one. Probably will get a little quiet around here for a while. Sort of like when PS stopped posting.

The only sure thing is change. Here's to a more focused, though likely less entertaining, future.


Submitted by patientrenter on July 5, 2007 - 8:55pm.

Thanks, Rich.

Patient renter in OC

Submitted by drunkle on July 5, 2007 - 11:02pm.

it's true what they say. never bring up religion or politics in polite conversation. does an internet forum qualify as polite conversation?

Submitted by rankandfile on July 6, 2007 - 12:32am.

I think Rich made the right call. Let the "free market" blog police itself. You have every right to voice your opinion on something, but if you don't like a particular thread or post, don't read it! How's that for a novel solution!

If you have something more interesting to post, by all means please do so. Otherwise, take the 12.57 seconds needed to scroll through a thread and determine if it is worthy of your time. If it is not, move on! Why do you need to create more rules and restrictions for everyone else simply because you are too lazy to move on to a new thread or too incompetent to start a new one on your own?

Submitted by CardiffBaseball on July 6, 2007 - 1:50am.

Oops should have read this before my last post. Good idea.

Submitted by NotCranky on July 6, 2007 - 11:33am.

Baseball guy, You are such a holy terror I think you should be banned retro-actively! Just kidding! You seem like a real nice/good man and I look forward to disagreeing with you all the while keeping Rich's new guidelines in effect.
How is that for intolerance?
4runner I like you too, and owe you a response, but I won't post on that thread we have been using.
Best Wishes

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on July 6, 2007 - 11:41am.

"if you don't like a particular thread or post, don't read it! "

But, how do I know I don't like it before I read it ;)

Submitted by 4runner on July 6, 2007 - 11:56am.

Thanks Rustico. I enjoy airing it out.

I looks like we'll just have to wear nametags with our handles at the next social...

Submitted by jg on July 6, 2007 - 12:52pm.

Oh, that's easy, Dr. MM/FSD. A quick glance shows whether there are typos, run-ons, and proper paragraphs, which hint at not much self-editing --> difficult to follow --> disregard.

That, at least, is my heuristic.

Submitted by sdrealtor on July 6, 2007 - 1:36pm.

I guss you nevr reed my posts as I nevr slf edit anything

Submitted by jg on July 6, 2007 - 1:39pm.

One of my other heuristics is that certain posters -- such as you, sdr- -- I read without fail.

Oops, I meant s-- diego realtor.

Submitted by NotCranky on November 18, 2008 - 10:18pm.

Bumping this for newer piggs who have brought up questions about off topic threads and the comportment of piggs.

Submitted by sdduuuude on November 19, 2008 - 1:21am.

Nice work, Rustico. Bump.

Submitted by peterb on November 19, 2008 - 10:16am.

Isnt this an OT subject? The irony continues.

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