@Jolly, I don’t recall a thread ever being deleted. Yes, threads have been closed, but not deleted. As I said in the prior paragraph, moderators have my permission to use their judgement to temporarily close threads when necessary. They don’t have my permission to delete threads. I consider the recent thread closing an isolated incident. If I am proven wrong (and I don’t believe I will be), I will address any change in circumstance when it happens.
For point of information, threads have indeed been deleted in the past. Of course the evidence is now inaccessible, but trust me, this isn’t the first time, and I’m not talking about cases of comments having been shut off.
My track record is clear in not wanting to give “a veto power to a small group of determined people” for anything. People will be able to mark a thread as off-topic. At a certain threshold, the thread will come to the attention of editors, who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.* The thread will continue to appear in the Hot Topics of members to choose to view off-topic threads.
That sounds like a very good compromise.
Once the redesign is in place, the practice of moving threads to the forums will be discontinued. I’ll also be increasing the number of catch-all off-topic threads. The basketball, football, and soccer catch-all threads seem to work out well. A political catch-all thread should work out as well.
That’s fine for other sports, but I’m not sure that it’d work for the far more free-flowing topics like politics, music, restaurants, or other topics that usually spring up when the topic of the posted article has been exhausted. The difference is that whereas the NBA or the NFL usually find every fan of those sports focusing on one or two topics at a time, that’s not the case for politics or other non-sports off-topics.
In the second phase of my re-design, I will test the ability to post basketball, football, and political news. The content will not be available on the front page but will available in a dedicated off-topic area of the site. Members will also be able to subscribe to this content and view it on their personalized homepage.
Speaking for myself, I have no interest in posting articles that are strictly political, and unrelated to baseball. In the real life of BTF, there are two ways that “political threads” generally evolve.
The first is simple and direct: Repoz posts an article about John Rocker or Luke Scott or a possible All-Star game boycott by Latinos, and nature takes its course. These posts are clearly political in intent to begin with, and the “baseball” part of it is little more than a figleaf. Unless you issue Repoz a cease-and-desist order, these political threads will always be a part of BTF, and it’s kind of incongruous to complain about them.
The second way political threads evolve is that a baseball thread hits a dead end, someone interjects a tangentially related political comment, and others pick up on it. This is the sort of evolution that a few Primates call “hijacking”, but two points about that need to be made:
First, “hijackings” take place all the time, and political hijackings make up a small part of the picture. I’ve been annoyed by similar thread takeovers on the off-topics of food, wine, beer, rock music, sci-fi/fantasy movies, video games, computers/i-pads/i-pods and countless other subjects I have little interest in discussing. But I don’t complain, because it’s obvious that the original topic had died a natural death, and there was more interest in these other “off”-topics. We all have different interests, and as long as mine are respected, I’ll never complain about those of others.
Second, most attempted hijackings die a natural death of their own, and don’t succeed if the interest in the original topic was still there. When you’ve got 15 Hot Topics showing on the main page, there’s little risk of off-topic threads “taking over” if there’s any interest at all in the purely baseball threads.
And while it’s easy to say to both us and Repoz, “if you want to post a political article, do it off the main page”, what do you do in the far more commonplace instances where a thread gets successfully “hijacked” because there’s more interest in the new topic than the old one? This is where I see the danger lying, if someone (anyone) is granted the power to summarily remove such threads off the main page, even with the existence of an option that enables those who don’t want to view these threads to opt out of them. The bottom line to me is that everyone should have the option of maintaining any thread he wishes on his personal main page, and that nobody should have the power to remove it off my main page just because he (or they) decides arbitrarily that it’s “political” or “off-topic” in general.