Divide instead of close

How about if moderators split discussions when they deviate from the topic instead of closing them?

I mean, it’s normal for discussions to wander here and there. Sometimes you go back to the actual topic and sometimes interesting new topics for discussion arise.

Closing a topic as soon as it completely ignores the topic is understandable. But I think it would be nice if moderators would split new discussions that are within the other rules of this forum into new threads instead of closing them.

Many interesting discussions are unfortunately ended far too early with the current procedure.

What do you think?


There’s the obvious problem of sorting through posts and determining which ones are off-topic and which aren’t. You can’t always look at a series of posts and determine a single point where it went off-topic. Even if we can, that usually takes a not inconsiderable amount of time. In some cases we’re talking topics with over 100 posts that we need to re-read and make a call of where it all went wrong. Sometimes it just makes more sense to throw your hands up and say “Well, this is a lost cause.”

There’s also the vilification factor. We, the moderators and Xojo staff, are accused of all manner of shenanigans and bad-mouthed whether we delete a topic, close it, or split it. We’ve tried simply asking people to not go off-topic, which typically gets replies that cause further action, in some cases personal attacks on the responding moderator. We’ve tried locking topics, which can get DMs or emails about how we shouldn’t be locking topics and accusing us of stifling healthy discussion. We’ve tried splitting topics, which, for whatever reason, seems to get people riled up just the same and results in other accusations about the impropriety of the moderation. Given the choice of having that play out on the forums or via DM/email, it’s an easy choice when you’re trying to foster a helpful and positive community.

The bottom line is, we use the tools that we feel are best suited to the situation. We split when we think it’s the right call, we lock when the entire thread has gone too far off the rails to be saved, we delete when there’s a rule violation or some other content-related issue (like when I split a discussion recently and there were comments that didn’t belong on either thread and were entirely unrelated to either easily discernible discussion).

We say it over and over again, and it’s the truth. We don’t want to moderate. We want everyone to follow the guidelines, be mindful of the discussion, and be respectful of one another. We all have other work we need to be doing. It’s not an easy job but we do our level best…not for Xojo the company, but for Xojo the community.