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A Debate about Debate

Sep 19, 2008

  1. Threads should never be locked permanently

  2. Threads should be locked after 2 months inactivity (with option to restart).

  3. Threads should be locked when they are stuck in a loop (with option to restart).

  4. People who can't control themselves should be temporarily suspended from the Debate subforum.

  5. People should never be barred from discussion for any reason.

  6. The edit post feature should be removed.

  7. The edit post feature is too valuable to remove.

  8. A "Debate" Archive would be a good idea for old, inactive or locked debate threads.

  9. Threads in the Debate subforum should be approved by the moderators.

  10. Anyone should be able to start a Debate thread, any time.

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
    1. Normally we don't allow debate of DoA's policies, but with the permission of the other moderators I am abusing my position to start this one. :) Usual disclaimer, which is that just because we're asking doesn't mean we'll definitely implement a change one way or another... but we wanted to know your thoughts.


      We've been talking about how some topics degenerate, run in circles, or simply become "stale" after they've been going for awhile. We were thinking that it might be nice to lock threads after either a certain period of time without fresh content (either in the form of people just saying the same thing over and over or a thread just dying naturally), a certain number of posts, or a certain degree of off-topicness.

      After 200 or so posts, most latecomers no longer read the posts before their own... and most of the time, the topic has shifted substantially from the opening post. At that point, it might be more successful to lock the thread and ask that members create "spinoff" threads. Also, when a thread is resurrected months or years later, conditions may have changed in ways that would make it interesting to start the discussion afresh, even if it is a repeat topic.

      What are your thoughts on locking debates? Should it be done, and if so, when?

      Tangentally, what are your feelings on when people start demanding that a thread be locked? Should it be locked at that point, or should those posters be told to get a hike or be barred from posting in the thread?

      If you're going to reply, please have an opinion. Please also be respectful of the moderators and other forum members. :) Thanks!
    2. like you've pointed out some debate threads seem to go in circles either that or they get off topic or personal, or become so old things have changed and people are debating over the past ( i havnt seen this last one happen but i guess its possible >.<)

      in those cases i think the tread should be locked, theres no point in it anymore and its just taking up space

      i dont know that i'd lock a thread for reaching a certain amount of posts if it was still going well though

      all in all i think the mods do a good job at what they do and i support them with whatever dissision they make >.<

      sorry if thats not really helpful
    3. I think it'd be nice if certain threads were locked after they died. You know, like a few months without any posts.

      As for threads that members demand be locked. I think if the notion gets 2nded and 3rded by other members, I do think that the mods should look into the thread and make an assessment of the situation to see if the thread really does need to be locked or not.

      Case in point, the Incest through dolls thread. Many of us pleaded for that thread to be locked because it was beginning to go nuts. Granted, it calmed down after certain members departed the discussion, but it probably should have never reached certain points. And at the end of its run when Zag (I think it was Zag :sweat ) locked it things that shouldn't have been said were said, that basically caused it to hit the fan again.

      As for spin off threads, that's nice, but I kind of wonder if that would create a lot of recycled topics after one has fallen off the first page. For example, a thread on dolly cross dressing. Debate lasts, then dies, thread is locked. Some one finds said locked thread, can't post on it and posts a new thread on dolly cross dress from the same or a similar aspect. Cycle continues.

      Just wondering. . . what about debate thread stickies for topics that are done a lot. Kind of like in one forum I visited they had a sticky for the Abortion debate and in the anime section they had the "What's your Favorite Anime Character?" thread because so many of those threads were cluttering the place. Why not a sticky for big or popular topics?
    4. I agree that debates tend to run in circles. After a certain point so many people have posted that new posters either have to read through 15-20+ pages in order to get through all the arguments that have already been made. By that point people are starting the "debate", and I use the term debate loosely because by the time it's reached that many pages it tends to lose focus entirely, all over again.

      I know this because I've gotten into this cycle and it's not a fun place to be and it doesn't really help further the debate.

      While some people might not like limiting discussion about certain hot topics. Originally debate topics had to be approved, correct? I don't think that's necessarily a bad idea. I also like the idea of being able to "restart" topics. The old thread can be available for reference, but considering how fast things have changed in this hobby it makes sense that debates be allowed to be current.

      200-300 posts isn't a bad idea for a limit, it can move pretty fast to get to that point. A time limit might also not be a bad idea. Maybe after 2 months, especially if a thread is hovering around the limit, it might not be a bad idea to lock a thread? I think this is enough time for conditions/opinions to change in the hobby for a debate to benefit from a restart.
    5. Sure, I think that could work. New threads would be made each time a topic needs "refreshing"-- rather than having 1 single behemoth thread (i.e. over 200 posts) to carry the weight of all those recycling subdiscussions. Especially the old ones that won't get re-read by newcomers. That way, people who've already squeezed all the life they want to out of a topic the first time, they can just leave the new thread alone & let it be freshly addressed by people who're coming to it anew.

      Many of these topics really should remain open to fresh discussion, especially as new members arrive, & as topics age and change. Even if the discussion starts to go in circles again, at least it's new people going around the mulberry bush, & the old-timers don't get exasperated.

      (I'm assuming you'd use discretion for each case, of course, i.e. not lock a good discussion that's still going like wildfire, just because it's reached 200 posts.)

      I'm not sure about locking "2-months dead" topics, though, if they haven't gotten their 200 (or whatever) posts. Some topics are sorta 'sleepers', & don't take off too fast, but catch on later.

      Depends on how/why they're making such a demand... If they're just saying "this should be locked" because they're upset, maybe just ignore them or issue a warning. But I wouldn't bar them from discussion, unless they persist in being a nuisance to others who are clearly still having a good discussion around them. Maybe they just need to cool down & can participate properly later on.

      If they're asking for the thread to be locked because a LOT of people are getting upset, and the discussion is spiralling out of control, then I still think your current "temporary lockdown" cool-off procedure works. If cool-off doesn't help, then kill it.
    6. oh and as for the part about having subjects change and maybe when a moderater needs to leave a post warning the members tog et back on topic or whatever, what if you made a highlight thing?

      ok for example on myspace when you go in your inbox all your unread messages are highlighted in blue while the rest of the page is white

      so what if we made it so that everytime a mod or the person that started the thread posts a reply its highlighted?? that way it draws attention to that particular post so people know what to look for??

      this would also help with any other types of threads not just the debate ones, like if someone posted a gallary and got a ton of comments on it and you asked a question about the mold or clothes or something instead of scanning through all the comments or avitars for the reply you could just look for the highlighted boxes?

      maybe its not as good of an idea as i think it is lol but i thought id suggest it anyways >.<
    7. Sometimes when you come to the debate section it is all the same threads you've read before. So it feels like there is nothing new to read or discuss.

      I don't think anyone can nessicaraly (sp?) say when a thread is "dead", so it would be hard to say when to lock a thread.

      A neat idea could be a "Debate Archive". We have other archives, why not a debate one? Threads, say after two months old or 200 post or 10 pages, ect, could be sent there, so there is always fresh debates to read! Just a suggestion, but I think it would be nice.

      Some debates get so off-topic that I think they could be locked sooner or not sent to the archive. The archive could also have the threads "cleaned up" before being locked. Another suggestion.

      ~Chaos :daisy
    8. I suppose the strong point of a 'post count' lockdown is it is completely arbitrary, and thus fair. Certainly political and competitive debate usually has time limits; I can also see how such a policy might easily be abused, though. It is already challenging enough to express an unpopular opinion, let alone defend it.

      Also, there is the potential that a productive and lively debate could go on for ages - especially if it is one that current events might effect. But I guess in that case, starting a new thread specific to that development would not only be appropriate, but wise - for the sake of clarity if nothing else.

      I have been a member of boards where long-standing debates are simply left stickied and even given their own mods. Those can be kind of fun, especially if they gain a life of their own, complete with running jokes, 'teams', 'mascots' and even a scorecard.

      Really, if a debate is troubling to you - you don't have to read it.
    9. Oh cool, I was kinda hoping a thread like this would pop up o.0 (HORRIFICALLY LONG TEAL-DEER-INDUCING post ahead)

      I used to frequent another forum where we had a debate subforum and it was a VERY pleasant way to pass time. The threads were shorter than DoA’s, but we tended to be very wordy in our posts and so it was still work to read through them. However, most people did. The posts, though wordy, were always a pleasure to read through because everyone did their best to bring something new to the table – a new idea, a different angle of support/disagreement for an old one, new sources/links/examples to support ourselves (we liked using those.) Also, even though the tone of debates was always somewhat serious aside from the occasional sarcasm, smiley or in-joke reference, everyone was amicable to one another. Disagreements in debate –and we had some big differences of opinion, because we debated things like religion, gay rights, abortion, etc. on a regular basis - rarely, if ever,led to hurt feelings. (Also, being a writer’s forum, we tried our best to phrase ourselves well, which I can’t say for everyone here… but that’s a rant for another time >.>)

      On a board like DoA with thousands and thousands of active members, debates tend to reach a positively “unreadable” length in as little as a few months. It would take a dedicated debater indeed to even *skim* some of the longer ones. This is why I haven’t really posted on the DoA Debate boards, even though I love written debate - it’s difficult to know whether you are bringing a new idea to the table (but it's even more difficult to actually DO this.)

      Meanwhile some debates here seem to like zooming in on one area – example: a newcomer to a debate on comfortable socks may discover everyone debating open toe vs. closed toe and ignoring previously mentioned issues such as wool vs. cotton or something. They may have something great to say about fuzzy knit socks but no opinion on toes, so they either post and get ignored or elect not to post at all. Also, some of the threads have topics which are not necessarily similar in theory, but identical things being said on both of them - what's the point of that? Finally, people have an unfortunate tendency to take things personally (in all fairness, DoA is actually better about that than a lot of forums o.o) and become offended when the validity of their points is brought into question (which is meant to happen in a debate.) Problems such as these grow more serious as a thread gets longer.

      Locking threads after a certain amount of posts… *might* do something (automatically sending topics to a "debate archive" after a while sounds like a good idea, too. ) Perhaps it would encourage people to take the time to discuss thoughtfully, and the threads would move slower and yet be richer in content. Then again it might devolve into “WHO CAN POST THE FIRST 8D LOLOL.” I honestly don’t know which is more likely, I haven’t been around DoA long enough to judge its population so well >.> It might be interesting if the “lock/archive after x pages” policy is temporarily tested out (if it was decided against, threads could later be unlocked) just to see what happened… hopefully the positive outcome. Hopefully =/ (Heh, sorry if I sound rather mean in this post >.>)
    10. When a thread gets stuck in an endless circle as the same arguments are repeated again and again and again and again, it's probably time to consider locking it up. Also if threads really start getting off topic to the point that the OT material starts overwhelming the on-topic material the thread is probably done, or if a thread really just starts to degenerate into ugliness where nothing is being accomplished.

      I think that depends on the thread and the number of posters who are upset and why. If everyone is happily debating away and one person is having issues, it doesn't make much sense to lock the thread. If something is going on that's really upsetting more members and posters seem to have rational complaints, then it may be worth considering shutting the thread down--maybe for good, or maybe just a little while to let things cool off before continuing the discussion.

      I've seen both things happen in debate threads--someone will break in and worriedly proclaim that things are getting out of hand and we shouldn't be arguing and lets all just agree to disagree, when in fact everything is quite civil (after all, the point is to actually debate--this isn't the general discussion forum). On the other hand, I've seen some pretty harsh comments get thrown around from time to time where the complaints and requests for a thread locking make sense. It's all a case by case sort of thing, but I would avoid getting lock happy--and some threads hit rough patches and then straighten out again.

      I kind of agree with this--there are a number of threads that get started that are barely debatable and seem to end up more as discussions, and then there are some topics that are just asking for a flame fest. Going back to having topics approved would avoid those situations and maybe help add to the quality of the debates.
    11. I think overall its a good idea. Some of the longer threads are simply unreadable.

      That said, the one thing you may have to make allowances for is that this hobby changes with time, and there may be some members who want to start over in a new thread with the same or similar topic after a while (say, maybe 6 months, to name an arbitrary figure). Things change and maybe new issues arise after some time that merit new discussions. Also people move in and out of this hobby all the time and perhaps there will be some newbs who feel sad that they missed out on the conversation the first time around.

      For example: the whole 'copying dolls' thing. When I was new to the BJD world back in '04 the copying issue revolved around several illegal knockoff companies or hobbyists imitating peoples faceups or characters, and then it moved on to people making parts or new bodies for dolls like 'Twiglimbs', and with the advent of minimee the copying debate took on a whole new focus as to the ethics of having your favorite celebrity sculpted and cast.
    12. In terms of locking debates at the request of readers, I think the mods need to determine the difference between a passionate debate (which can get quite heated) and a flame war. I don't mind someone having a strongly different opinion than my own, as long as a certain level of mutual respect is maintained.

      As far as threads getting dated- we just had a fairly interested and heated discussion in the elitism thread. It was the first time I had looked at the thread, and there is no way I could wade through all the pages from the very beginning on to see if those points had already been made.

      As a relative new-comer (nearly two years), I found the debate interesting, and likely the other people who posted were not in the original debate. So I could see maybe archiving all but the posts made prior to the past 30 days, for instance. That way people new to the hobby but with an interest in a certain issue can still comment and see what other people have to say.

      I suspect that for important topics, people tend to cycle through them as they come into the doll community, and then move on. So it would be nice to leave popular topics up. If a topic hasn't had a post for a couple of months, then I say probably people aren't all that interested and it should be archived or removed.
    13. The big threads do get rather unwieldy and people tend to stop reading them, but you might end up with numerous spin-off threads instead. But I suppose with a little moderation, the spin-offs can be controlled too (joined up if more than one has been created close together).

      It sounds like a good idea. A suggestion is to lock a debate when the thread has fallen silent for two months (random time I come up with) and if it has more than 200 posts (random number).

      Meaning relatively small threads should probably be left open since they wouldn't have a problem of being too unwieldy and it wouldn't be too painful for people to read through.

      I think this sounds like a good idea.
    14. One of the main problems I have with the debate (and an unfortunate number of other discussion topics) is the people who don't even bother to read the previous page, or even anything beyond the starting post, before lobbing in a post out of the blue, especially if it's been repeatedly answered earlier in the thread.
      Then the thread gets bogged down with people answering the same thing over and over again, and the replies can get kinda snippy, and then hurt feelings abound. Unfortunately, it's the kind of thing that can't really be solved by locking posts... Perhaps with the internet version of squirt bottle training?

      That said, archiving older posts once they hit a critical mass might be a good idea, provided that any re-started ones link clearly to them.

      And as for the locking threads because of complaints, as a lot of people have mentioned, it's really the kind of complaints that matter. In my experiance a lot of people get offended just because they like to be offended, and some go out of their way to be offensive. There's a lot less of that on DoA than other places, but it's still there.
      It's my honest opinion that you have no business being in a debate if you aren't at least a little open to opinions that you may not like. But if there is a legitimate complaint, the Mods should, and do, take a close look at it.
    15. I honestly don't feel that debate adds much to DoA besides drama. Certain people really abuse their privileges (in many senses of the word) and take it as an in to be rude, offensive, cruel, ignorant- everything we don't want in this forum.

      I really feel DoA would be a better place without this subforum. People can bring the debate somewhere else. This is a DOLL FORUM not an air your prejudices free-for-all.
    16. Topics can move really fast here on DOA. I think probably after a month or two it would be fine to lock old debates.

      I also think Mods should have the ability to lock a debate when it is active if the thread has become repetitive and pointless, or has wandered of the initial subject.
    17. As much as a detest anything that goes past the 8+ page mark, I would hesitate to lock something just because the post-count is becoming too unwieldy. It would probably be a very unpopular idea, but I'd rather the mods delete extraneous posts to help control thread size, rather than lock an interesting and respectful debate.

      If the forum software allows, maybe there could be a timer on debate threads that only allows for posts after X amount of time. For example, if Person A posts an opinion, then the next person who posts cannot do so until two minutes have past, and so on. It would certainly help cut down on any knee-jerk reactions, and prevent threads from going from 1 page long to 22 pages long in under 10 min.

      I don't agree with mob rule concerning lockdown of threads even when they start to get heated. I think it will lead to situations where we will have X number of people posting in favor of locking a thread, X number of people posting in favor of leaving it open, and the only thing accomplished will be to drive the entire thing off-track and make the post count go up, up, up. If a thread is worthy of being locked, I'm sure a mod will step in to do it. I don't think they'll need a "show of hands" so to speak.

      Should debate threads ever be locked? If a debate thread hasn't been touched in a month or so, I think it would be best to lock it and let a new thread be created if the topic resurfaces.
    18. This is actually a very good idea! It does seem like a big issue is that everyone posts overtop eachother and important points get burried in reaction.

      However, tempting as it may be to trim posts, it would open a whole can of worms. I mean, the mods, awesome as they are, are human too, and as such, their views are subjective.
      Would a post really be deleted just becuase it's really off topic, or because it's something the particular mod doing the deleting doesn't agree with? The temptation would just be too great.
    19. I think we should lock the old threads after they get stale or repetative, and instate some sort of.. six month rule or something. The same topic can be repeated in a sane amount of time, since things do change.
    20. I think the threads should be locked after a long while with no posts. I have a feeling it would be impossible to do, but it would be nice if someone following the debates could write up a neutral summary for both sides, to be posted when the thread is locked. That way if someone wanted to redo the topic they could see what had been discussed before and not repeat points already made.

      I think only the mods should decide whether a debate should be locked. Otherwise if we didn't like what someone said, we could get all our friends to support locking threads. It would also lead to abuse of people saying 'lock it' anytime they felt offended.

      I don't like the idea of limiting the amount of time anyone could respond. If I tried to respond and couldn't because someone else hit 'send' two seconds before me, I wouldn't bother trying again.