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Etiquette Around Starting New Threads


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#1 ErikJMS

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:08 PM

Hi all of you who have been in these forums much longer than I have,

I have a question about when it is considered appropriate to start a new topic in any given forum. My experience with internet discussion boards has been that people start new threads fairly often, even when talking about a subject for which they may have started a thread in the near or more distant past. This was usually because old threads were rarely read by most of the members on a board, so if someone wanted any attention, a new thread would usually do the trick much better than would replying to an old thread.

Here, though, I see that people post in the same threads even for years at a time. It is not clear to me yet whether lots of people read old threads or not; there are some old threads that are quite lively, and others that consist of a long conversation between two or three people. So it is not clear to me yet whether it is as useful to revisit one's old threads when one has something more to say on the topic, or to start a fresh new topic.

Also it isn't clear to me what the culture on the forums expects people to do regarding starting or not starting new threads. Is it considered bad form to create a new topic to "supersede" an old thread? Is there a rule, or is there a custom, or is there just what people tend to do nobody feeling strongly about it one way or the other?

Of course, since I am a survivor, I try to avoid breaking unwritten rules. :) But I cannot quite figure out what the rule is in this case. Should I stop worrying and just post in whatever way feels natural?

#2 blondie2002

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:07 PM

I'm sure there are. (I don't remember all the rules, but I think there's an explanation in the public guidelines and terms of service section.) :oops: I guess I was wrong.

#3 Charleigh

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

There's really no written rules on this matter. I think a lot of it is personal preference and what you are comfortable with. We are pretty easy going here and no one is going to be upset with you for whichever way you decide to go.

I personally would start a new thread. Some people just have this knack for keeping threads going and going, I don't have that! Just do what you are comfy with!

#4 Kate

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:49 AM

Hey Erik,

Charleigh is right, there isn't any hard and fast rule about this. I think posting as feels natural to you is a great start and probably the best you can do.

We do have this thread, How to Get Responses, where there are tips for ways to increase the chances that people will reply to your posts. In it we suggest keeping your posts on a particular topic confined to one thread, but it really depends.

We've had times in the past when people go on a bit of a posting spree and start multiple (sometimes MANY multiple) threads in one forum in a day or two, and in those cases we recommend that they take some time to think and condense all these thoughts into one thread, because there is no way people will be able to reply to all them - they're just going to feel overwhelmed at the amount of posts by one person. We've also had times where a person has been struggling with a particular issue short-term and started a lot of threads about that in a short time - again, we will often ask them to condense it, if the different posts are essentially about the same thing or could easily be combined. For example, saying they're sad about x situation in one thread, and in another saying they are also angry about x situation - that could be one thread and would be better if it were one thread. If the theme of the posts was about x but the topic was very different, we wouldn't worry at all.

It's really a case by case basis. If you start lots of threads and we ask you to combine them (which doesn't happen often) it's not a problem at all - you won't be in any trouble or anything like that. Personally, if something triggers me or I'm upset about something, I might keep a running thread on it for a few days, but if two months later I still want to talk about it I'm more likely to start a fresh thread. That's just my preferred style - I'd suggest just going along with whatever your preferred style on the board is too.

Take care,
Kate

#5 ErikJMS

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:43 PM

Thanks Kate, Charleigh, and Blondie!

I will just do what seems reasonable then. Back in the old days of usenet, I was on a newsgroup that had 100s of new posts every day, and one had to filter the results just to see one's friends. Starting multiple threads was sometimes the only way to get people to notice you were there, but I won't try that here. :)


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