Staying on topic

In addition to what is mentioned in Properly Naming, Tagging, and Writing Your Posts, it is ALWAYS good form to stay on topic when posting something. This helps in a number of ways, but primarily:

  1. It is much easier to find relevant topics/thread subjects when searching for answers to questions you may have.
  2. It is much easier to get answers, suggestions, and recommendations in a single focused discussion than trying to follow a thread that meanders all over the place.

So what should you do regarding this? Well, that is pretty easy...

  • Use a meaningful subject line. Instead of saying you need help urgently, summarize the problem in your subject line. If you are getting an error message that you need help understanding, put the text of the error or a summary of it in your subject.
  • Ask one main, on topic question in each thread and post it in the forum that is most applicable to your inquiry. A post with more than one question on different topics is often less likely to get the same attention as a post that is focused on one issue/inquiry/topic. That also makes inquiries and replies easier to follow (not to mention find).
  • When you post a reply to a message ask yourself, "Does the original subject line describe the contents of my message?" If the answer is no, you probably want to modify the subject so other members of the forum can decide whether they are interested in your message.
  • Do not hijack a thread. Thread hijacking can have various forms:
    • a response to a throwaway remark in the thread, taking the thread on a tangent to the original subject matter. Although sometimes humorous or otherwise interesting, this can provoke a feeling of resentment from the original post author.
    • a reply posted by a Be Communities member that SHOULD be the start of new thread.
    • an intentional act of trolling (e.g. Spam). In these sorts of situations, please report the post by clicking on the yellow triangle with the ! in it (in the "footer" of the suspect post) so the site administrators can review it for removal.
  • Pursue off-topic discussions using Be Communities conversation (i.e. private messaging) system or separately by e-mail. Often a technical thread will evolve into a friendly chat on some other, unrelated topic. This is good because it is part of what makes this site so useful. When the discussion has moved away from the original topic and it is likely no longer of benefit or interest to most members, consider moving the conversation off the forum.
  • Review your post before posting. Yes, we have all done it... write, write, write, post. Then you go back later and realize that you missed an important "not" or left out an image or diverted completely off topic. No article should go unreviewed, even if all of what you wrote was perfectly on topic.

We all benefit by following these best practices.