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 Post subject: What is Off Topic?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:19 pm
Posts: 1447
Location: Wisconsin
Sex: Female
Are you a published author?: Yes
Sometimes the greatest question asked among users on any Forum regards what exactly is meant when a post or series of posts is declared ‘off-topic.’ While the explanation may not seem all that complicated or involved, it is often entirely useful to those who have the responsibility of correcting off-topic threads and to those who are posting responses in the first place. First of all, there are two kinds of ‘off-topic’ situations. The first one is an off-topic thread; the simple definition of an off-topic thread is any new thread that does not fulfill the intentions of the specific forum or section it was posted in.

For example, a review of a brand new Christian Fantasy novel does not belong in the General Discussion Forum; a thread of the said nature should be placed in the Reviews Forum. All threads started in the incorrect section are corrected by Moderators, as users cannot move their own threads to different section. In the interest of freeing up a bit of work for the Moderators, we ask that users double check to make sure they are posting their new topic in the correct forum.

The second ‘off-topic’ situation is a bit more involved and difficult to always spot. These types of situations are composed of off-topic posts or series of replies to a thread. An off topic post, by definition, is any reply made on a thread in which the author’s original goals or purpose is either distorted or ignored or otherwise misused. These types of errors may be corrected by the user him/herself, by Honor Roll Members, or by Moderators. The most effective way to prevent off-topic posts is to always double check your response with the original thoughts, questions, or ideas posed by the thread’s author; do not rely on the other replies as a method to determine whether or not your post will be off topic.

If you think your reply will potentially be considered off topic and does not line up with the purpose of the thread as denoted by the thread’s author, it would be best if you take what you have written and send it as a private message to the thread’s author or to the person to whom you are replying. By PMing instead of replying on the thread, you are still able to say what you wanted to say and you are saving the leadership team time and effort in trying to put the thread back on topic. If you are unsure of whether or not your response will lead to off-topic conversation on a specific thread, take the safe route and PM the author instead of potentially creating a series of posts that do not relate to the author’s original intentions.

Each and every thread composed on Holy Worlds is designed with a purpose in mind, a purpose often conveyed by the author from the start though thoughts, explanation, questions, or ideas. It is in the best interest of the Forums that we keep the original intentions of the author in our minds at all times when replying to a thread. With this sort of devotion to focus and original purpose, our discussions will not only be meaningful, but will often cover many details that would otherwise be skipped over in the name of voicing an on-the-fly opinion.

We challenge all Holy Worlds members to continually and consistently test their replies and threads so that we can avoid the totally ‘off-topic’ situations all together. Sometimes they will happen, and we understand that; we definitely do not want to seem like we are discouraging any side comments whatsoever (we are not that mean. . .). But, we also hope that with an awareness of what ‘off-topic’ means that we will be even more careful and willing to avoid such situations.

Blessings to all,
Hannah Marie Lenover

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