This is meant to be more of a net-etiquette or style question, not as a question of "rules and regulations".

I've noticed that some topics generate long, long responses. After a certain point, usually between 50 and 100 responses, the topic has drifted, side topics come up, and arguments start popping up between commenters. Some of the threads can extend to hundreds of comments.

The long threads become difficult to follow, to say the least. In the past, I have closed one of my own topics, for that reason, and was sent an email suggesting that I was censoring the thread.

What is the consensus? Once a topic is started, is it expected to be open until the end of time? Is there a limit that, while respecting the freedom of speech of respondents, will also recognize that a cumbersome or excessively divisive thread is less beneficial and it's time to move on?

Of course, someone who wants to branch out into a new topic, can always start one.

I'm curious about what A|N members think of "term limits" - not imposed by a moderator, but decided the original poster? If the poster thinks enough is enough, is it wrong to close a topic, or responsible to do so?

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I think, like in all other cituation, a warning is nice. If you let others know that you are no longer interested in the topic and wish to close it, that would give other the chance to set something up and invite other from that topic over. Other then that there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to close your own topic if it no longer suits you or benefits the direction you were taking it, it is your topic and in some sense your job to decide what is on topic or not and if it is still of value to you that way we dont have a bunch of random dead topics all over the place that have wound down from a topic of sexism down to everyone commenting on masterbation instead of the OG topic. I feel it just always polite to warn other of your intentions becuase in away ideas are like children they maybe yours but once released into the world they are affected by everyone and affect every one in return. So what was once yours has been streched in to the limits of some else mind and rebirthed into the jumble you find beneath it and handed back out for other to do the same to it so giving people a warning so the can swoop up the thought babies would be a decent courtesy lol wow i have issues
I closed one - repetition had set in. Also, I have ADD and it wasn't shiny anymore...
My wife got a big LOL, almost ROFLOL, with that one .... She said she would probably use it.
Thank you for not writing "I am ADD". I keep wanting to say to people who write as if they are the essence of ADD: "So! You're the one to blame for my inability to keep on track and I want chocolate!"

Oops. Sorry Daniel. Off track.
That would make an impressive supervillain.
I think we should get page numbers back instead of "next", "last" etc.

I get completely lost, trying to follow conversations these days. Too often I discover I've replied to something that was several pages ago.

I don't mind long threads (my longest on h2g2 had close to 100,000 posts last time I checked), but being able to navigate them easily is a must.
i agree that the page numbering system was easier for me. Ning works in mysterious ways.

As you state, the getting completely lost issue is there. For me too. I think that more limited conversations is helpful. The countering aspect is that some people feel they are being cut off.

Can't please everyone. It looks like, here, it's up to the original post person.
Yeah, we need page numbers back. Very useful.

I am of two minds on this issue. I think leaving it up to the OP is a reasonable solution.
Not only numbers - but the nav should be at the top and bottom of every page. I feel this way because the way the threading works a reply to a reply (etc.) pushes earlier initial replies to further pages and replies to replies (etc.) can also end up at the top of the page so you may want to back up from there.

It would also be cool if you could mark something as "read" or, even, collapse it.

But, ning is who needs to hear this - not A|N.
Should Discussions have comment limits or expiration dates?

In general, no, and no.

However, for example, if someone is looking for ideas on what to do for a particular special day (say... Darwin Day) in the Forum, they should feel free to close it down when they get as much info. as they need. I wouldn't close down such discussions in the Celebrate! group because it is intended for year round discussion of secular celebrations and commemorations. Location, location, location.

Sometimes side conversations are useful, and sometimes not. I'd say leave it up to the individual who posted the discussion, unless it erupts into pitched battle and someone is violating the Terms of Service or Rules & Guidelines. Then, a moderator or administrator should step in and shut it down.




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