May be worth reminding regularly that splitting topics is an option

Taking some liberties with the situation, behavior, impact framework:


Today I found myself thinking: “I had forgotten that you can always ask @deeplow to split a topic if you notice that questions appear which sound interesting but are not strictly on-topic (may not be of interest of everybody in the thread), next time I’ll call that out early.” Trying to keep the distinction clear while, in practice, creating sub-threads is without doubt a bad idea in hindsight.

(Suggested) Behavior

As someone who has recently joined the forum, I think it wouldn’t hurt reminding that the above is an option from time to time. :woman_shrugging:


At a personal level, I think such a reminder would make after-the-fact observations of “it’s too late now, people won’t join the conversation anymore” feel less unfair, and the forum feel more inclusive to newcomers. After all, structured conversation is a skill and requires practice too. (That was not a quote by the way, only the retranscription of my perception.)

I hope this makes sense and helps increasing the number of collaborative conversations on the forum!


Yes! Although reminding people is kind of hard (because I have to remind myself to do that and people may find it annoying), I think whenever I split threads I think I can give some context to people.

From my moderating experience the best possible situation for starting a sub-thread is when an adjacent topic sparks out of another one and someone mentions @deeplow or flags the topic to ask for it to be split.

  • the perfect - It’s especially fruitful if I get there within the first 4 or 5 replies to that off-topic as it has already engaged users in the new topic, hopefully hasn’t alienated the other thread and can be easily split

  • the bad - when I get too late to the conversation and it’s already too entangled to split “cleanly”. In these cases I just ask people to stop the off-topic and open another thread for that if they want.

edit: now looking back at it, I actually am in favor of people deviating in a different direction from the original thread. Isn’t this how real-life conversations happen?

Of course this means more work, for me. But if people call me out to when a thread can be split (by flagging, for example), it’s not that complicated.


Thanks for the reminder; I should’ve asked for a split elsewhere but just sat around expecting it to happen since I wasn’t sure whether it was worth splitting.

Sometimes I worry that threads will fission into an unmanageable tangle of threads if we split too often. If it wasn’t for the off-topic policy and limited participations in those threads, the splitting could go nuclear (pun totally intended).

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