Keeping topics "on topic"

After a lot of recent observations, since my return to the forum, I decided I would try and put something together which brings together all my thoughts on threads on forums.
Some of this is getting quite relevant now, given some of the recent exchanges.

There are guidelines on the matter in community guidelines, but I get the impression, some have not read, or choose to ignore, so I will say my little bit here.

Anyone starting a thread has an idea in their mind where they, the OP would like the conversation to go. Title is important, to gain the interest in the first place, then there is the content. Making sure what you are saying is relevant to the catagory, and of interest to others is key to getting a good thread going.
Obviously from time to time, the conversation digresses a little from the main topic, so it is important at this time for a Mod to make the decision to split the thread or not. This is where the confusion starts for some.

In my view, any topic which begins to digress, and receives 5 or more replies in succession to the new topic of the thread, requires consideration of moderation. It is sometimes unfair for the OP to see their thread go off topic and become about something else.

Post hijacking is most irritating, when someone replies to a thread with the intention to promote something else, or say something of absolutely no relevance to the conversation. I would implore people to be considerate and think carefully before doing this to someone elses thread. It is ignorant and unfair.

If a topic is split, a link is always supplies to the new discussion, but care needs to be given to ensure all parties understand why, and also have access to continue their conversation. The reason for splitting topics is quite simple. If you search a certain subject you are interested in, and see a thread with 48 replies, this is clearly the informative one you are looking for. Until of course you realise 41 of the replies are banter and off topic.

Post bumping and multiple replies.
This gets quite annoying too, 8 consecutive replies from one person, either making various points separately, or replying to other comments one by one. A neatly seamed reply with it all in one post makes far easier reading, at most a couple if the points being made are separate.
To reply to someone directly, or quote them is quite simple, highlight the text of their post you wish to reply to, the option of “quote text” appears, and will include a mention to this person in your reply.
You can do this multiple times all in one reply, just highlighting and quoting text each time.
Doing so really helps keep a thread on track, and avoids confusion about who the reply is directed at. It also prevents thread dominance, which can appear a little excessive at times.

The moderation team is responsible for watching over the topics and threads on this forum, but all do it as a courtesy to the community. So please be considerate of the above when using the forum, so we can all share the responsibility of keeping a happy, friendly, but free place to discuss matters. If there are any issues which concern you, please feel free to contact one of us, even if it is about another of us.


If there are any other points you wish to bring up about forum etiquette, please feel free to post it below. However, please keep the above in mind.


I have one point to make about multiple replies: it is all very well to edit a single post in terms of neatness but I have been caught out by this on more than one occasion. I compose a reply, with a quote, but then find that the original post has changed. Am not sure what can be done about that when a reply is in progress (other than advice to post more slowly!) but I reckon that once replies have been posted to an original, an edit of it should really only be for typos?

1 Like

I get your point Brett, but sometimes it is only when you read back that you realise how your reply sounds, and need to change it, in order not to come across as a pretentious arse.

Out of interest, what happens when you are mid post and the original changes? Does it refuse to let you post it, or just quote the old / new thread instead?

1 Like

I try my best not sound like a pretentious arse before I hit the button but please don’t ruin my day by saying that you haven’t noticed. :slight_smile:

It will allow you to post the reply even though the quoted text might not match. Not to mention the reply no longer being appropriate sometimes. I conceded the point that this is difficult to address - more of a concern is when there are a number of replies already posted and an original is changed - that is where etiquette could come into play IMHO.

1 Like

I know I can be guilty of adding multiple replies on certain topics - for instance the FHFW thread - Is everyone okay with me adding more Facebook events to that thread as I create them & any updates etc for instance.

I won’t take offence if anyone says it’s not okay :slight_smile:

1 Like

NO COMMENT !! :joy:
Just kidding, you succeed…most of the time. Like the rest of us lol

Aaah as I suspected. I guess in cases like that, having the option to edit your own, albeit annoyingly, is good to have. As opposed to TOSS which only allows edits for a short time.

It is indeed a tough one to manage, and as I say, sometimes there is good reason to single reply and others to multi reply. The latter being the preferred of course. And in most cases which I refer to, the replies are not even quoted, they are just consecutive replies, which could have been condensed into one.

It’s not one person, there is no right or wrong, just etiquette, and ease of following a thread.

I don’t think that replies updating a thread, and keeping people informed is an issue at all. But on other threads where discussions are being had, some people occasionally yourself, but plenty of others, appear to read a reply, reply to it, read the next reply, reply to it lol. Does that make sense.

Like I say, this isn’t about picking people out, just about making threads easier to read. Of course I appreciate that sometimes, when you have limited time, it is the only way, quick ready, reply, work, and repeat.

No call for perfection or anything here, just my observations. :slight_smile: I could be completely on my own here.


I think that’s a very fair post by @anon64893700. Yes there are some of us, not just @pauline, and possibly myself included, that sometimes write a slew of short posts (perhaps whilst distracted by other things), and those posts could have either been:

  • condensed into one
  • “likes”
  • less chatty

As always we need to bear in mind that forums work differently to chatrooms. Each post:

  • bumps a topic
  • causes notifications to be emailed to multiple people
  • forms a body of content that sticks around forever

Just something for us to think about, myself included.


Glad you are learning with us @anon5422159 :wink:
Points well made there.

1 Like

Cool guys, yes it makes sense @anon64893700 I know there are a few topics I dominate so was just checking it wasn’t a problem posting updates etc :slight_smile:

1 Like

Never a problem Pauline, just observations.
Updating info on a thread is perfectly fine, fear not :slight_smile:But obviously posting “bump” or similar to falsely bump a post is not on :slight_smile:


I was tempted to reply to each post in this thread :wink:

I think a link to some basic tutorials might help, I expect not many people read through the community guidelines, and those that do quickly forget them.

You should also keep in mind that if you want as wide an audience as possibly to post, not everyone is particularly IT literate and some guidance will help people in terms of how to post pictures, multi-quote etc - easy if you are used to forums but not for everyone.

I think post hyjacking is mostly unintentional but a valid concern, I think the way posts gets split now generally works though threads can look confusing post the split.

1 Like

I dare you !!! (just kidding) :wink:

Agreed, sadly not something I have to time to invest in, but try where possible to explain how to use forum features. I am sure there is no objection to anyone else making such tutorials, simple screen grabs etc. Good idea, and thank you for suggesting it.

I agree, split topics can look rather awkward at times, I am still learning the process myself. That said, hopefully as all users get used to the ins and outs of the forum, there will be less and less need for such things. I certainly don’t like having to do it.
Maybe there should be a simple little moderators “Oi” which can be posted to get threads back on track? lol

As regards emphasising the guidelines for new users. I did try to point out the community guidelines (which are in the FAQ) on the Chandos thread the first time it all blew up. The FAQ is accessible from the site menu, and is also summarised in the automated message from me that every new member receives.

A lot of people take the time to read the guidelines, but some don’t, and choose to barrel into discussions with reactionary and inflammatory posts, having barely read other posts on the topic. That kind of behaviour needs to be called out, which is what I did on the Chandos thread, and on the BLM topic.

I fear that creating more documentation won’t help here. We’re dealing with people who haven’t read (or complied) with the existing documentation, so creating more of it is a bit like putting thousands of 20mph signs everywhere because a handful of people ignore the well-known 30mph limit (that they were taught in their driving lessons).

It’s an enforcement / re-education problem on a case-by-case basis, not a lack of documentation problem. That’s just my opinion, anyway.

1 Like

I was not very clear in my original post, by tutorials I meant more on how to use the site as opposed to guidelines, which I would agree gentle guidance and reminders are best on a case by case basis.


I got it first time around :wink:
Still in total agreement. Might have a look at trying one or two myself at some point.

I was going to send you a link to another forum where I think the tutorials are good and cover the basics of what people need, but I can’t work out how to message you! Can you write a tutorial on that :grinning:

1 Like

@oakr think I misinterpreted the original post, sorry (jumped on your mention of “community guidelines” - which were at the front of my brain at the time).

Messaging is available to users of trust level 2 and above - if you get verified you’ll have access to this. In the meantime, feel free to share links to other forums directly here (appreciate your discretion, but we’re not protective about linking to other forums here on and you’re welcome to do so)

Thanks Chris, ok here goes I’m pretty sure it’s a non competing site, and if you like photography which it appears you do, it’s a great forum both for beginners and more advanced users:

Forum tutorials


Thanks, good to find a new photography forum, and yes, they’ve clearly spent time putting that section together, with all the screenshots etc, and a dedicated link at the top of the site.

I’m nervous of adding extra headers / links to the top of because so many of our members are on smartphones, and it might eat into limited “screen real estate.” But perhaps I could make the “FAQ” link on the menu a bit more obvious, and we can add sections to the FAQ, or treat it like an “index page” to further detailed topics. @moderators are able to edit the FAQ page to add new content - please do so at your leisure.

I wonder also if we could “borrow” how-to’s from other sites that use the same forum software as (Discourse). is where the Discourse software is discussed - worth having a browse if you’re interested in the workings of the forum

1 Like