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Sidebar: Sidebar

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tarav

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Sidebar: Sidebar

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Ok, this is me making a sidebar of our conversation regarding sidebars. Please post any opinions on sidebars in this thread now. I think it is a good idea for us to make new threads for discussions that are off topic(different from the subject title). Edited by: tarav at: 5/31/07 3:46 pm
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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You just wanted to make a thread that read: "Sidebar: Sidebar". You joker!If you want to discuss this joking within threads, maybe we should start a sidebar: "Sidebar: Jokes about Sidbar threads"? How are you Tara? Long time no see!Mr. P. But atheism is no more a religion than not playing chess is a hobby. - Robert Sawyer - Sci Fi AuthorI'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George CarlinI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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tarav

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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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Here is part of the conversation from the other thread(Re: BookTalk's Purpose: Religion, Atheism and Freethought)that is relevant here:garicker: One area that might be improved is if the sidebar discussions that sometimes begin to dominate a book discussion were rerouted to another thread so that those who were interested could continue their chat and those who weren't wouldn't need to wade through all the extraneous (though no doubt fascinating) material to get to posts that actually discussed the book under consideration.Mad: I think that's a good idea, but there needs to be some generally acknowledged etiquitte on the matter, and that etiquitte needs to be demanded and politely observed. It could be relatively simple: we decide on a word that means, "This line of thought is tangental to the main current of this thread -- if you want to continue that tengent, please open it in another thread." The word "SIDEBAR" would work. So if two people start discussing a topic that threatens to derail the thread, other people could post short responses that say something like "SIDEBAR: witchcraft", and good etiquitte would require that the people talking about witchcraft in a thread devoted to "The God Delusion" reroute their conversation to a new thread.garicker: Talking about moving tangential discussions out of the book discussion threads.Mad: ... there needs to be some generally acknowledged etiquitte on the matter, and that etiquitte needs to be demanded and politely observed. It could be relatively simple: we decide on a word that means, "This line of thought is tangental to the main current of this thread -- if you want to continue that tengent, please open it in another thread." The word "SIDEBAR" would work. So if two people start discussing a topic that threatens to derail the thread, other people could post short responses that say something like "SIDEBAR: witchcraft", and good etiquitte would require that the people talking about witchcraft in a thread devoted to "The God Delusion" reroute their conversation to a new thread.garicker: This could be one of the duties of the moderator of a particular book discussion -- with gentle reminders from the other participants. But I see no reason why a moderator couldn't ask those who start off on a tangent to move their discussion to another thread. That would prevent the book discussions from being highjacked and should help keep them on point.
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tarav

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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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LOL, Nick--you're right, I did just wanna do that! Sorry, I missed your post when I went back and pasted from the other thread. I am a busy woman these days. You'll have to catch me and chat so we can catch up!
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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Incidentally, while I'm not opposed to my suggestion taking a life of its own and turning into something quite different from what I imagined, this isn't exactly what I had in mind.What I initially intended was a broadly acceptable way of letting people know that it would be polite to take a tangent to a new thread. So, for example, if Rose and Frank were discussing "Gun Control" in a thread started for that purpose, and Chris made a point about drug control as a correlary, all fine and well. But if someone else (say, Niall) picked up that theme and made a reply that took the subject of drug control along a tangent that was no longer really about gun control, Rose and Frank might reply with a post that only said:"Sidebar: drug control."Which would tell Niall and Chris (and anyone else involved) that the polite thing to do would be to move all talk about drug control to a new thread so as not to impede the discussion about gun control. Does that make sense?Which isn't to say that it's a bad idea to mark sidebar threads. Maybe Chris could provide a posticon, or we could decide on one of the already existing posticons (the down arrow, for example), to indicate that a thread is a sidebar to an already existing conversation. That will save us space in the subject line.And also, when we start a new thread as a sidebar to an already existing thread, it would probably be best to start that sidebar with a reference back to the original thread -- either a link, or just the subject line of that thread. If you want to be even more specific, you could provide a link to the actual post where the sidebar left off.So, at minimum, the drug control sidebar to the gun control thread would have a subject line like either,Gun Controlor,Sidebar: Gun Controland a first line that would read something likecontinued from the "Gun Control" threador which provided a link to that thread. You dig?
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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quoted from the "BookTalk's Purpose: Religion, Atheism and Freethought" thread, Garicker: This could be one of the duties of the moderator of a particular book discussion -- with gentle reminders from the other participants. (See what I did there?)Expecting it to be a moderator duty is probably expecting too much from the moderators. It isn't their job to read every thread. I think the idea will work much better if we just treat it as etiquette that passes between contributors. No one should take offence if someone in a thread marks a given topic as a sidebar. Nor do sidebar requests have to be final. If I'm willing to make only drug control comments that are relevant to the gun control topic, then there's no real reason to start a new thread. Sidebars are really only useful when a topic ceases to be immediately relevant to the topic at hand.If for example, someone where to interrupt here and say "Sidebar: moderator duties", it would be a debatable point as to whether or not we're actually better off starting a new thread on the matter. If you and I were to start talking about how moderators deal with spam, then yeah, we've probably gone off on a tangent, and it would be polite to Tara if we moved that discussion to a sidebar. But so long as we're talking about moderators only to consider their role in moderating sidebars, then it's relevant and we can argue that we're still talking about the original topic of the thread.Hopefully, we're all adult enough that this won't lead to debates very often. If someone can give a good reason for why an apparant tangent should remain part of the original thread, then we should accept it. But by the same token, if someone requests that we move a tangent to a new thread, we ought to seriously consider doing so, just out of courtesy. More than one exchange on the matter is likely to wreck a thread. And really, the best ways to decline a sidebar request are likely to be either, "I'd rather talk about the original topic anyway", or "I only brought that up to make this point, and now that I've made that point, I'm gonna drop the tangent." And really, if you can't keep your comments relavent to the original topic of the thread, then what's the point of insisting on posting in that particular thread?Also, if we're going to run with the sidebar idea, we ought to also make a conscious effort to give our threads pretty specific names. That way, if there are sidebar requests in a thread, we don't have to discuss what the original topic was -- it'll be written at the very top of the thread. Edited by: MadArchitect at: 5/31/07 7:39 pm
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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I have finally alleviated my confusion on this issue as the terminology being used here is slightly confusing. I think you guys are using the term "Sidebar" to reference stilting of off topic, tangent, and digressing conversation. This is most definitely common practice on the best run forums on the internet. "Sidebar" on the internet is more a reference for page design in which a box is placed on the side of the content with links and auxiliary data, very common in the blogging world. No brainer on branching out off topic contents of one thread into its own thread. I am not sure of how ezBoard works, but in other forum software, it is rather easy for a moderate to chicken pick posts and shift them to a new thread after the fact for very seamless removal of off topic posts and inclusion of them into a new topic. Definitely a requirement for a well run forum.
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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The term sidebar probably is confusing from a web standpoint. I think we're probably getting the term from its judicial sense. We might be better off using the term "Tangent" anywhere we discussed using the term "Sidebar". Thus:"tangent: moderators."That said, again, I don't think we should count on the moderators to handle this for us. Firstly, I'm not sure ezBoard provides the capacity to "chicken pick" posts out of threads. Secondly, sometimes the tangents come in the middle of replies that are otherwise on topic, and it wouldn't make sense to move the entire post just to remove the tangent. And lastly, expecting the mods to do so puts a lot of strain on the mods. This is a forum run by volunteers, and they have other things to worry about.
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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Conversations wander and it is next to impossible to force people to stay on topic. Simply bringing up the fact that a discussion has digressed is usually enough to bring it back on track. Mad is right that it is not practical for the mods to bare the responsibility of steering discussions. They are more for keeping people civil and kicking out those that cannot play fair.
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Re: Sidebar: Sidebar

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Mad suggested that we, "make a conscious effort to give our threads pretty specific names." This is so valuable in an online forum. If the thread subject is specific people can make an educated decision as to what threads to enter and what threads to skip. Misleading and vague subjects frustrate everyone, although we all do it at times. Sometimes a funny subject title is worth the laughs, but as a general rule we should all try to be honest about the contents of our threads.
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