Nothing to add? Then please don't comment


I want to make a plea that folks please post relevant comments. So many threads are clogged up with “I can see where this is going”, “we’ve been here before”, “this is getting heated”, “this reminds me of a story …”, “I once knew a chap …”

The effect of commenting on a thread, rather than engaging in the subject of the thread, is a flattening, diminution, and clogging up of the thread.

The recent thread on aircraft noise in Forest Hill is a good example. Some of the comments seem designed to deflect attention away from aircraft noise in Forest Hill.

If people are bored, feeling sociable, in the mood for a chat, perhaps this site can provide a different space, a chat-room?


Yeah I agree


You can always take things to the Lounge.

Do you feel the mods could have been more proactive on the aircraft noise thread in splitting things off into other threads? Any other examples? We’re a bit damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-don’t on the subject of keeping threads on-topic. If we do step in, we’re often told we’re being too rigid and killjoys. Personally I like to keep threads tidy but have been relatively hands off as of late, letting threads do their own thing. I’d be happy to find what the consensus is from members on how they’d like things run. And to hear from the other mods too!


Agree with Rachael - and think the best approach from mods is occasional gentle nudges as opposed to any kind of intervention.

Regarding @DevonishForester’s post I tend to agree - some “conversational” topics are good for the forum, but other topics are peppered with replies that don’t add any new information, and could have been a “like” instead. One example: What noises of the area bother you?


Really? That is a valid example of people adding pointless replies? And there was me thinking it seemed quite on topic compared to some.

Agree though @RachaelDunlop, and coming from someone who has moaned a lot recently, I get your stance.


I was initially wary of the ‘noises’ thread thinking it would just become a list of moans. But actually there are some specific problems with specific businesses that have been identified, along with suggestions of solutions, and that’s important.

I could have added my own pet peeve: ‘the bloody parakeets, and the robin that sits in the tree outside my bedroom singing all night because he thinks the streetlight is the sun’ but didn’t because… well, that’s just a moan about something that can’t be changed.


Aaah come on, where is that moaning spirit Londoners are famed for. So it’s nature, demand a cull or something lol.

Yup, does seem to have had some interesting input.


This thread appears to have gone off-topic. Am sure I’ve seen this somewhere before…


Sorry you are right.
I am guilty of the above, adding comments which don’t add too much to the main body of the topic, so will keep the spirit of this thread in mind in future posts.
Fair point @DevonishForester


Frankly I dont quite see the issue particularly with the aircraft noise thread. Other then a couple of short diversions and a slight modicum of banter everything seemed on topic to me. And I’ve just reread it.

Compared to most community forum a bit of banter is tge least of anyone’s concerns compared to the vitriol and trolling which can be common place.

Here if you feel items hve got too off topic there is a flag option as @ChrisBeach often reminds me. And I’ve seen as a result sections siphoned off and moved to maintain the integrity of the conversation.

In that matter I think our mods have a deft touch and usually act well. And people adjust their behaviour appropriately.


As a user I disagree premise of up-most importance “keeping a thread” on track. Sure if it goes way off then the topic should be split or closed or users nudged but surely these threads are a conversation between locals. As such I dislike being told not to post - I will post what I feel adds to the conversation even if it veers slightly off topic - even if it annoys OP. Conversations do that and so do threads - it is perfectly natural and makes a thread read well. I don’t see an issue with either noise threads aside from a couple of political comments from people who should know better :wink:

As a mod (and as one who doesn’t do much modding!) then I tend to leave threads alone unless there is a flag which I note there isn’t on either noise thread and good things have been posted. People seem to be enjoying them and, for me, what that is the point of all this if you aren’t enjoying it. The alternative rigid approach seems unnatural and can result in stilted threads that amount to no more than a list.

As a mod and user I think the balance is just about right at the moment.


It would be a shame for anyone to feel they couldn’t post. But it is important to keep topics (mostly) on-topic, because forum conversations are long-lived, and organised by category and title, and that’s how people find what they’re looking for, and avoid what they’re not.

If members want to reply but are concerned they might be off-topic, simply reply as a new linked topic instead.

In the aircraft noise topic, Snazy asked what other noises bothered people; but then I think he realised this might take the topic off-course, so he created a new topic to discuss other noises. This new topic was popular, and the aircraft noise topic stayed on-track. All good :+1:

The “noises that bother you” topic stayed on track, but the reason I brought it up earlier is because the topic creator responded personally to a lot of the replies, which is a nice friendly thing to do (and is what you’d expect if the topic were a blog post), but on a forum post, this is unnecessary, IMO, if these replies don’t add any new info. It’s a signal / noise ratio thing.


Aaah makes sense now, cheers for the clarification.

I agree that some wiggle room needs to be had, a couple of back and forth comments does no harm and sometimes opens the topic up more. But some do go wildly off topic and never return. The issue there is, is the off topic chatter worthy of its own topic. Worth moving or just left. And how has it impacted the OP.


Yes, agreed, but where the posts take a stand-off position rather than engaging with the subject, I feel there’s a problem.

There’s a big difference between the topic meandering or broadening out, and someone saying: “I think you’ve got out of bed on the wrong side today”, “How may sherbets have you had tonight?”, “We’ve heard all this before, yawn”, “This seems to be going nowhere”, “this is a waste of time”. Those kinds of comment kill off a thread.

Maybe meta-comments are what I’m objecting to - comments about the conversation rather than participation within the conversation.


I quite like meta-comments - I think they are often more interesting and perceptive than the comments. Without them, threads are in danger of becoming either purely anecdotal or like a too ponderously chaired academic seminar - i.e , in both cases, potentially not much fun.

You can always ignore them - or, ,better still perhaps, imperiously brush them to one side.


Well looks like this option is now in use at least over in the wheelie bin topic. A short bit of banter between @Londondrz and myself has received multiple (how many is multiple?) flags apparently and is now hidden from view.

Is this now an indication that banter is to be discouraged in general?




It looks that way.


If a post receives two flags, or one flag from a member that is then “agreed” by a mod, the post will be collapsed.

In this case the flag came in from a member and was agreed by a mod (me). I don’t generally intervene, but I felt regular members like you and @Londondrz help set the tone for newer members. The posts were off-topic and weren’t general-interest.

Don’t forget, the OP gets notified whenever someone replies, as do others who are “watching” the thread. Some threads are conversational by nature, but this was a very specific local thread in a public area of the forum.

If others agree this was heavy handed then I will take a lighter touch in future.


I haven’t read the offending posts but when multiple posts are flagged for going off-topic rather than causing offence or other breach of rules, then it just looks like censorship. This is a forum and if non-offensive ‘banter’ is not allowed then what’s the point of it all.

However, I do agree that it is for the regular members (particularly moderators and owners) to set the tone of the forum for newer members - which is why it annoys me so much when one or two people have obsessions that end up dominating every discussion. Leaving aside the obvious example, but until last year there were individuals who would turn every discussion into an opportunity to blame the EU/ECHR. Since last year we get exactly the opposite, with a few individuals determined to blame Brexit for everything that goes wrong - sometimes even without justification!

And the idea that two people can force a post to be hidden without any other action taken is also problematic, otherwise I could gang up with a friend to prevent somebody being heard at all.

In summary:
non-offensive banter on a forum = good
obsession = bad