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Do you "manage" serial off-topic posters? If so, what do you do to get them back on-topic?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by CyclingTribe, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    A key to growing any forum is developing a sense of community - a connection with, and between, our members based on a shared interest and passion for our core subject; but what do you do with someone who's content is predominantly off-topic? Someone who spends all their time in the social parts of the forum but adds little or nothing to the core subject content?

    I'm just curious as to whether anyone does anything to discourage, stop or manage majority off-topic posting?

    It doesn't have to be something aimed at the individual(s) - it could be something like setting your off-topic forums to not count posts, etc.

    Let me know if you look at this and how you deal with it?

    Shaun :D
  2. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    Best thing to do would be to remind them to have a healthy mix of on-topic and off-topic threads. Be sure to thank them for their support.
  3. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Is this something you've done yourself? Did you use PM/email or did you make the request more public?
  4. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    My members will make mention of serial off-topic poster and the off-topic poster quickly gets the point. But if your members don't speak up, then I would send a Conversation to the serial off-topic poster.
  5. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    I don't exactly encourage it but i do welcome any active member that isn't a spammer.. Off topic content is equally as important to the community as your niche discussions are to a visitor coming from a google search... I have no problems with serial off topic posters as long as they post in the appropriate forums.. All members that arnt troublesome are important to the over all big picture and health of any forum that has a community vibe.. As a matter of fact i avoid the on topic discussions on my own forums because now that they are populated with members i am no longer the authority or expert on the niche discussions... Which delegates me (the Super Amin) to the off topic forums for fun.. That and older more established forums usually have the same questions asked dozens and dozens of times oover.. I answered them all at one time or another and just got tired of recycled topics..
    Jeanette and melbo like this.
  6. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    I really hadn't thought of it like this. As a community matures and bonds are created, people naturally want to share other aspects of their lives with each other, on or off topic. This is probably a sign of a healthy community :)
    Dr.Who likes this.
  7. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    As noted this is a good thing. But the OP specifically has a problem with a serial off-topic poster, that would be one that never posts on-topic and might have no interest about the forum main topic, I think this can be a problem.
    melbo likes this.
  8. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    Agreed. We're having a discussion about this very issue with our staff this week. The mix of on and off topic as a good thing was an aha moment for me.
  9. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    I am that very person on my own forum.. I dont see the down side as long as he is not thread crapping and keeping his off topic content in the appropriate forums..
  10. Fred.

    Fred. Well-Known Member

    If everyone is going off-topic I ask to stay on topic. But for the rest i'm happy they post something. :D
  11. empire

    empire Well-Known Member

    We don't allow off-topic content, so if a topic is drifting off topic, we post a reminder in the thread to get everyone back on track. We have a clear list of exactly what we consider to be on topic. If necessary, we remove posts and PM members. We just let people know that the subject might be more appropriate for a personal blog or another site. We do have an introductions area where posts aren't counted.
  12. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I'd be more worried about passive aggressive people who act with intent to harm or foul than I would about someone who posts off topic things, and one mans trash is another treasure.

    Let's take for example here at xf, would you think it would be better to tell someone not to only post in the OT sections even if they have no questions or anything of substance to add to the primary topics?

    To someone who is trying to not to post in primary areas where they can't necessarily contribute (leaving only the OT sections) ....you are basically telling them to not post anymore which is fine if your point is trying to get them to leave...but if you want them to stay....telling them to not post in the only places they currently have something to say and post is more than likely going to have the opposite effect .

    If they had something topical to contribute they probably would have already or will do so when they have contributions to be made and in the meantime they are using a section of the forum where they can say whats on their mind.

    I guess it all depends on your agenda though.
  13. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    In general, social posting on forums is a natural extension of those who registered for the subject content originally.

    I find it odd when users register just to post in the general area, especially when it's for a paid product (and they have no intention of purchasing said product), for example.
  14. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Okay, well to add further context - an example member has 36,000+ posts and less than 50 are on-topic - everything else is in a small number of long-running off-topic threads that have become rather exclusive to a very small group (around 15 or so similar serial off-topic posters). One thread in particular can account for upto 10% of the site's total daily posts - with the content being mostly one-liners, quoting of multiple replies in multiple posts (instead of one reply), emoticons (as a reply) and exclusive "in" comments related to the group.

    Whilst we have ignore members, ignore threads and even ignore forums (so that other people can filter out this low-level stuff) - my concern was piqued recently when I found a couple of these members bragging about their post counts and their "status" on the members list (they've also serially "liked" each other's content too so they appear high-up on at least two pages of the notable members list!).

    Turning off posting counting for the off-topic forums would work in one regard, but would seem to punish everyone else for the actions of a few. The small group are not breaking any rules, so kicking them off would only be seen as bad management and would create longer-term issues of trust, and changing the rules to have some sort of on-/off-topic metric or percentage would be painting myself into a corner since it would likely catch more than the limited few who I feel are a problem.

    It also goes against the grain of building a community. I've always tried to keep as many members onboard as possible and create an environment where everyone is welcome, but the volume and low-level nature of the content from this very small number of posters is tipping the balance and I've been mulling-over ways of dealing with it fairly and reasonably without impacting negatively on the rest of the membership.

    Perhaps a PM to each individual is the way to go? :confused:
  15. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    Boy that's the kind of problem user some forum admins would kill for. My problem users are much more toxic. Those are the people I focus my attention on. I guess off topic posters just sent on my radar. But if that was a problem on my forum i wouldn't hesitate to shoot them a p.m. and let them know how I felt about the way they interact on my site and a future course of action if it continues.
    CyclingTribe likes this.

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