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Off-topic threads

P: n/a
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.

If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.

Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)

Chris C
Nov 14 '05 #1
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P: n/a
Chris Croughton wrote:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.

If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.

Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)

Chris C


I agree with you.

Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
beyond the letter of the standard.

Nov 14 '05 #2

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Chris Croughton wrote:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.

If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.
Most of the time, people get a "you may try it in another group, maybe
...." along with the off-topic notice, so that there is actual payload
along with the noise.
Telling someone that his request is off-topic serves the purpose that
the OP knows that his request is off-topic and other participants know
that the OP now knows. Sometimes, I get the impression that many people
do not look at other posts downthread as they have to add an identical
response even after days. IMO, this habit adds to the traffic much more
unnecessarily.

Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.
Topicality discussions usually are not off-topic in the respective
newsgroup.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)


It depends. Round here, I openly plonked only in three cases -- in two
cases accompanied by a reply which may have helped.
However, I can very well do without plonking openly and will in future
refrain from it round here.
Cheers
Michael
--
E-Mail: Mine is a gmx dot de address.

Nov 14 '05 #3

P: n/a
Well said :-)

I bet Mike Wahler loved this one
*smirk*
Nov 14 '05 #4

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On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:23:10 +0100, jacob navia
<ja***@jacob.remcomp.fr> wrote:
I agree with you.

Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
beyond the letter of the standard.


Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with something I didn't write. I
have little opinion on what should be on-topic here, if the general
feeling is that c.l.c is for only ISO Standard C discussions that's fine
by me. My objection is simply to the interminable threads which seem to
devolve into ad hominem attacks whenever someone posts something
off-topic, there are better and more mature ways of dealing with such
things.

(And yes, I was aware of the irony of posting a criticism on the subject
of being off-topic, where that post itself was off-topic. Recursion:
see recursion ad infinitum...)

Chris C
Nov 14 '05 #5

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On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:26:35 +0100, Michael Mair
<Mi**********@invalid.invalid> wrote:
Most of the time, people get a "you may try it in another group, maybe
..." along with the off-topic notice, so that there is actual payload
along with the noise.
Unfortunately it seems that lately the requests haven't been anywhere
near as polite, and have spawned long threads in response.
Telling someone that his request is off-topic serves the purpose that
the OP knows that his request is off-topic and other participants know
that the OP now knows. Sometimes, I get the impression that many people
do not look at other posts downthread as they have to add an identical
response even after days. IMO, this habit adds to the traffic much more
unnecessarily.
Indeed. There are times when that happens because Usenet propagation is
still not perfect, of course, but it shouldn't happen all that often.
It should be rare, not the norm, that more than two people respond with
the same comment.
Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.


Topicality discussions usually are not off-topic in the respective
newsgroup.


If they were only constructive discussions about which subjects were on
topic it wouldn't be so bad. Unfortunately, the topic seems to be
pretty well defined -- anything to do with Standard C (or any of the
standards) is on-topic, everything else is off-topic. There are a few
borderline cases where there is a question whether the standard actually
covers the area, but there's really not much else to say on the subject.
It depends. Round here, I openly plonked only in three cases -- in two
cases accompanied by a reply which may have helped.
However, I can very well do without plonking openly and will in future
refrain from it round here.


My preference is to use the format The Times (of London) uses: "This
correspondence is now closed", or words to that effect (i.e. "I've said
all I'm going to say on this subject"). Saying that you have killed a
subject makes sense (to stop others who might otherwise expect to engage
you in more conversation on that subject), to announce that a person has
been blocked seems only to encourage protests (and for the real trolls
morphing addresses to try to get round the blocks). The only time I
announce that someone is in my killfile (and that seldom) is if someone
queries why I didn't respond: "Sorry, I didn't see that, he's in my
killfile".

Chris C
Nov 14 '05 #6

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Chris Croughton <ch***@keristor.net> writes:
[..]
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.

[...]

I seriously doubt that. I strongly suspect that the result would be
an increase in off-topic posts, since comp.lang.c would become the
place to go for answers to any questions that are even vaguely related
to C. The newsgroup would become less useful for its primary purpose,
discussing the C programming language as defined by the ANSI/ISO
standard(s) (and by K&R1 and earlier documents for the occasional
historical discussion).

I understand that something like this happened to comp.lang.c++ some
years ago, and it took a long time for that newsgroup to recover. I
don't read comp.lang.c++ regularly; perhaps someone who does (or did
at the time) can provide more details.

The ideal response to an off-topic post is a single brief followup
pointing out that it's off-topic. If possible, it's also nice to
suggest what a more appropriate newsgroup might be, but we can't
always know that. Since Usenet is asynchronous, we often get a number
of such followups, which can seem like we're ganging up on the
original poster, even though we're not. Long topicality threads often
result when the original poster complains that the rest of us are
being rude; such complaints are not always entirely unjustified, but
they're rarely constructive.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #7

P: n/a
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26 +0000, in comp.lang.c , Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
You noticed /this/? Then your noticement skills need honing... :-)
Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
Actually, they're not offtopic as far as I'm aware.
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.
Dream on. If nobody redirected the offtopic posts to the right place, the
group would fill with zillions of posts about Windows, C++, unix, C#, shell
script, motorcycles, feminism and a horde of other topics.
If they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error,
1) Many posters sensibly use fake emails to avoid spam
2) Sending unsolicited mail is generally unwelcome and may be illegal.
3) In some cases the responder would then have to do a considerable amount
of extra work, swapping to his email client, typing in some email address
etc. To do something that one keypress can do in his news client.
pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.
No. If its done secretly via email, nobody gets the message. It should be
fought right here, so that other casual visitors can be clear about the
topic.
Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.
Topicality is definitionally topical in any group.
(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh


I disagree. Often its important to let the other person know they've gone
too far. Silently killfiling them can leave them with the idea they've
'won' and for the sort of people you killfile, its generally pretty
important for them to be made aware they've not.

--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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Nov 14 '05 #8

P: n/a
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 21:15:52 +0000, in comp.lang.c , Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote:
On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:23:10 +0100, jacob navia
<ja***@jacob.remcomp.fr> wrote:
I agree with you.

Blatantly off topic threads (World catastrophes, religious
stuff, etc) should be banned, but not C topics that go
beyond the letter of the standard.
Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with something I didn't write.


Its not entirely surprising - jacob is often chided here for posting
offtopically, and he has a strong view about it.
(And yes, I was aware of the irony of posting a criticism on the subject
of being off-topic, where that post itself was off-topic.


But its not offtopic. There's no irony.
--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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Nov 14 '05 #9

P: n/a
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup

I'd recommend comp.offtopic.discussion
Nov 14 '05 #10

P: n/a
Trolling square Chris Croughton was jivin' on Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26
+0000 in comp.lang.c.
Off-topic threads's a bad trip! Dig it!
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the


[Blah, blah, blah...]

Please, people, do not feed the trolls.

--

Dig the even newer still, yet more improved, sig!

http://alphalink.com.au/~phaywood/
"Ain't I'm a dog?" - Ronny Self, Ain't I'm a Dog, written by G. Sherry & W. Walker.
I know it's not "technically correct" English; but since when was rock & roll "technically correct"?
Nov 14 '05 #11

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"alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> writes:
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup


By convention, discussions of topicality are considered topical.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #12

P: n/a
yes but this is a strictly C only ng isnt it?
this thread has nothing to do with C so its off topic.
Nov 14 '05 #13

P: n/a
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26 +0000, Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote in comp.lang.c:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
You are wrong about the results. Perhaps I've been around usenet
longer than you, although I am not nearly as old a hand as some.

Another reply alluded to the problems that comp.lang.c++ has some
years ago, but the poster said he was not a regular reader of that
group and hoped someone else could supply the details.

I was reading and posting in comp.lang.c++ 7 or 8 years ago when it
was completely flooded with Visual C++/Windows API posts. The C++
language was in the final stages of having its original ANSI/ISO
International Standard issued, yet the posts about the language proper
constituted less than 25% of the total, actually around 10% IIRC.

It finally took a concerted effort by a group of dedicated regulars to
clean up the group, to become the useful resource that it is today.

Over the years, other groups that I enjoyed have been totally
destroyed, never to recover, by the clueless, the rude, the ignorant,
and the arrogant.
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.
Some people feel that they own the Internet and usenet, and notions
such as topicality or even good manners are not part of their mind
set. It often takes repeated applications of the hammer to pound the
nail all the way home.
Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people, not
schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you". If you want to
use a killfile to remove posts from people whose posts you don't wish to
receive, please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups, it keeps my
bloodpressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)
Actually, plonking by long tradition is topical in any group, and it
does server some purpose. Figuring out the potential benefits is left
as an exercise for the reader.
Chris C


There are some technical groups, comp.lang.c and comp.lang.c++ among
them, that provide excellent free advice from some of the most
knowledgeable programmers in their respective languages in the world.
These groups are incredibly valuable resources because of those
knowledgeable regulars.

One of the first casualties of a group gone out of control is usually
the loss of many of the best of those regulars. When most of the
content is off-topic drivel not pertinent to the subject they are
willing to share their expertise on, they leave. Even when groups are
cleaned up, some never return.

And, of course, your own post is itself off-topic. While discussions
of topicality are topical, discussions about what to do about
off-topic posts really are not. And it will spawn a thread of its
own.

Fortunately, you are not really going to change the behavior of most
of the regulars here. I say fortunately, because in the end you would
not like the result if you did. I've seen it too many times before.

--
Jack Klein
Home: http://JK-Technology.Com
FAQs for
comp.lang.c http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
comp.lang.c++ http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/
alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++
http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~a...FAQ-acllc.html
Nov 14 '05 #14

P: n/a
On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 12:17:41 +1100, "alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote
in comp.lang.c:
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup

I'd recommend comp.offtopic.discussion


*plonk*

--
Jack Klein
Home: http://JK-Technology.Com
FAQs for
comp.lang.c http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
comp.lang.c++ http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/
alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++
http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~a...FAQ-acllc.html
Nov 14 '05 #15

P: n/a
left kindergarten yet?

"Jack Klein" <ja*******@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:u6********************************@4ax.com...
On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 12:17:41 +1100, "alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote
in comp.lang.c:
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup

I'd recommend comp.offtopic.discussion


*plonk*

--
Jack Klein
Home: http://JK-Technology.Com
FAQs for
comp.lang.c http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
comp.lang.c++ http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/
alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++
http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~a...FAQ-acllc.html

Nov 14 '05 #16

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"alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote:

[ Learn to post: leave in some context when you reply. Like this: ]
Keith Thompson <ks***@mib.org> wrote:
By convention, discussions of topicality are considered topical.


yes but this is a strictly C only ng isnt it?
this thread has nothing to do with C so its off topic.


You miss Keith's point. Discussions of topicality are on-topic anywhere,
everywhere, no matter what the normal topic of the group. This is not
just true in comp.lang.c, but everywhere on Usenet.

Richard
Nov 14 '05 #17

P: n/a
rl*@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl (Richard Bos) writes:
"alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote:

[ Learn to post: leave in some context when you reply. Like this: ]
Keith Thompson <ks***@mib.org> wrote:
> By convention, discussions of topicality are considered topical.


yes but this is a strictly C only ng isnt it?
this thread has nothing to do with C so its off topic.


You miss Keith's point. Discussions of topicality are on-topic anywhere,
everywhere, no matter what the normal topic of the group. This is not
just true in comp.lang.c, but everywhere on Usenet.

Richard


I suggest we all stop feeding this troll. If we don't respond,
perhaps he'll go away.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #18

P: n/a
On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 14:06:02 +1100, in comp.lang.c , "alex"
<ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote:
yes but this is a strictly C only ng isnt it?
this thread has nothing to do with C so its off topic.


Try taking some "reading for comprehension" lessons.

--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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----= East and West-Coast Server Farms - Total Privacy via Encryption =----
Nov 14 '05 #19

P: n/a
On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 15:19:16 +1100, in comp.lang.c , "alex"
<ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> wrote:
left kindergarten yet?


Talking to yourself again?

--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
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Nov 14 '05 #20

P: n/a
Chris Croughton wrote:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that
they don't want to see off-topic discussions
posting off-topic messages complaining about the lack of topicality!
Please don't respond to off-topic questions or other off-topic posts.
If you can't ignore them, please use your kill file.
Please don't respond to off-topic cops.
If you can't ignore them, please use your kill file.
The comp.lang.c newsgroup is *not* moderated.
No one has authority to censor contributors.

It is pointless
to admonish a new subscriber for posting an off-topic question.
If you think that a post is off-topic,
you have the right to express your opinion
and attempt to convince other subscribers to ignore it
but you will probably be more effective
if you simply ignore it yourself.
Off-topic posts are *not* a problem.
We can simply ignore them.
It is the responses to off-topic posts that are a problem.
You can verify this observation with a simple survey
of the comp.lang.c archives.

Subscribers to the comp.lang.c newsgroup are *not* omnipotent --
they are just "know-it-alls".
Debate over off-topic questions are usually *not* helpful.
It is almost always better to re-direct off-topic questions
to more appropriate forums where there are real experts.
Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic,
but the complainers seem to post those a lot as well. If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.
I agree.
Most of these complaints don't help subscribers make up their minds
about what is topical and what is not topical.
The best way to discourage off-topic posts is simply to ignore them.
If they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever,
and if they really want
they could then fight those battles as much as they like out of the group.

Or someone could RFD a group c.l.c.topicality to discuss those things.

(Making a post just to say "*PLONK*" or "You're in my killfile" is
extremely childinsh and does nothing to improve the level of discussion.
I thought this was supposed to be a group for intelligent people,
not schoolchildren going "Na-na-na-na-na-can't-hear-you".
If you want to use a killfile to remove posts
from people whose posts you don't wish to receive,
please do so -- I do so myself, in many groups,
it keeps my blood pressure down -- but keep it to yourself.)


According to the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing

http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/

plonk

<networking, abuse> (Possibly influenced by British slang "plonk" for
cheap booze, or "plonker" for someone behaving stupidly; usually written
"*plonk*") The sound a newbie makes as he falls to the bottom of a kill
file. While this term originated in the Usenet newsgroup talk.bizarre,
by 1994 it was widespread on Usenet and mailing lists as a form of
public ridicule.

Another theory is that it is an acronym for "Person with Little Or No
Knowledge".
Plonkers are trolls.
There is no reason to tell other subscribers that you are going to
"killfile" them except to evoke an emotional response from them.
These trolls never use killfiles.

If you are going to "killfile" someone, please do it quietly.
We don't want to hear about it. My personal feeling is that
comp.lang.c would be a much better newsgroup
if more subscribers used their killfiles.
Nov 14 '05 #21

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On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 22:09:26 GMT, Keith Thompson
<ks***@mib.org> wrote:
Chris Croughton <ch***@keristor.net> writes:
[..]
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. [...]

I seriously doubt that. I strongly suspect that the result would be
an increase in off-topic posts, since comp.lang.c would become the
place to go for answers to any questions that are even vaguely related
to C.


No, it wouldn't because there would be no answers to the OT posts.
Those who posted such questions would soon get tired of getting no
response, and the newsgroup would become known as a place where only
on-topic posts were relevant.
I understand that something like this happened to comp.lang.c++ some
years ago, and it took a long time for that newsgroup to recover. I
don't read comp.lang.c++ regularly; perhaps someone who does (or did
at the time) can provide more details.
I don't know what happened there, did the regulars keep answering the OT
posts?
The ideal response to an off-topic post is a single brief followup
pointing out that it's off-topic. If possible, it's also nice to
suggest what a more appropriate newsgroup might be, but we can't
always know that. Since Usenet is asynchronous, we often get a number
of such followups, which can seem like we're ganging up on the
original poster, even though we're not.
Yes, there are synchronicity problems. However, three or four short
posts just saying "this is off-topic here, please see the FAQ at <>" and
possibly mentioning a couple of more useful newsgroups would not be a
problem.
Long topicality threads often result when the original poster
complains that the rest of us are being rude; such complaints are not
always entirely unjustified, but they're rarely constructive.


It's the responses to these which result in the noise. If someone won't
take "not wanted here" (expressed politely) as an answer, ignore them
(killfile them if you want) and don't rise to the bait.

Chris C
Nov 14 '05 #22

P: n/a
AA

"E. Robert Tisdale" <E.**************@jpl.nasa.gov> wrote in message
news:cr**********@nntp1.jpl.nasa.gov...
According to the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing

http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/

plonk

<networking, abuse> (Possibly influenced by British slang "plonk" for
cheap booze, or "plonker" for someone behaving stupidly; usually written
"*plonk*") The sound a newbie makes as he falls to the bottom of a kill
file. While this term originated in the Usenet newsgroup talk.bizarre, by
1994 it was widespread on Usenet and mailing lists as a form of public
ridicule.

Another theory is that it is an acronym for "Person with Little Or No
Knowledge".


All this time, I thought "plonk" stood for "Person Leaving Our Newsgroup
into Killfile"...
Nov 14 '05 #23

P: n/a
On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 22:06:45 -0600, Jack Klein
<ja*******@spamcop.net> wrote:
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26 +0000, Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote in comp.lang.c:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality! Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
You are wrong about the results. Perhaps I've been around usenet
longer than you, although I am not nearly as old a hand as some.


I've been around for over 12 years, and seen many groups with problems
with "off-topic" posters. I've never seen one where bickering between
the regulars every time someone posts off-topic has helped.
Another reply alluded to the problems that comp.lang.c++ has some
years ago, but the poster said he was not a regular reader of that
group and hoped someone else could supply the details.

I was reading and posting in comp.lang.c++ 7 or 8 years ago when it
was completely flooded with Visual C++/Windows API posts. The C++
language was in the final stages of having its original ANSI/ISO
International Standard issued, yet the posts about the language proper
constituted less than 25% of the total, actually around 10% IIRC.
Let me guess, the regulars were responding to the OT posts?
It finally took a concerted effort by a group of dedicated regulars to
clean up the group, to become the useful resource that it is today.
Hmm, I've looked in that group (I'm a C++ programmer as well as a C
programmer). It's not very 'clean'...
Over the years, other groups that I enjoyed have been totally
destroyed, never to recover, by the clueless, the rude, the ignorant,
and the arrogant.
Indeed. Many of them in my experience because they encouraged trolls by
responding to them.
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'. If
they wish, they could send email to a person posting off-topic
explaining their error, pointing them to the FAQ or whatever, and if
they really want they could then fight those battles as much as they
like out of the group.


Some people feel that they own the Internet and usenet, and notions
such as topicality or even good manners are not part of their mind
set. It often takes repeated applications of the hammer to pound the
nail all the way home.


Many of those being some of the 'regulars' who think that they 'own' the
newsgroup.
Actually, plonking by long tradition is topical in any group, and it
does server some purpose. Figuring out the potential benefits is left
as an exercise for the reader.
One is that the plonker shows themselves as a person who wants to be
seen to be "doing something". By the time it gets to that stage anyone
with any sense will have killfiled the plonkee silently if they were
worth killfiling.
There are some technical groups, comp.lang.c and comp.lang.c++ among
them, that provide excellent free advice from some of the most
knowledgeable programmers in their respective languages in the world.
These groups are incredibly valuable resources because of those
knowledgeable regulars.

One of the first casualties of a group gone out of control is usually
the loss of many of the best of those regulars. When most of the
content is off-topic drivel not pertinent to the subject they are
willing to share their expertise on, they leave. Even when groups are
cleaned up, some never return.
Indeed. When some of those people are themselves responsible for the
mess...
And, of course, your own post is itself off-topic. While discussions
of topicality are topical, discussions about what to do about
off-topic posts really are not. And it will spawn a thread of its
own.


Funny, I made a comment about the irony of a post about being off-topic
itself being off-topic and others have said that it was not off-topic.
Perhaps there needs to be a standard about it...

Chris C
Nov 14 '05 #24

P: n/a
Chris Croughton <ch***@keristor.net> spoke thus:
One is that the plonker shows themselves as a person who wants to be
seen to be "doing something". By the time it gets to that stage anyone
with any sense will have killfiled the plonkee silently if they were
worth killfiling.


I disagree - I value the opinion of certain regulars concerning the
plonkability of certain posters :)

--
Christopher Benson-Manica | I *should* know what I'm talking about - if I
ataru(at)cyberspace.org | don't, I need to know. Flames welcome.
Nov 14 '05 #25

P: n/a
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:51:26 +0000, Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote:
I notice the real reason for not posting "off-topic" here is that the
result will be a long thread on whether the matter is off-topic or not
-- caused by the very people who claim that they don't want to see
off-topic discussions posting off-topic messages complaining about the
lack of topicality!
No, topicality is always topical.
Messages saying *PLONK* are also off-topic, but the
complainers sem to post those a lot as well.
Generally only once per plonkee ;-) I always tell someone when they
are being plonked, so that they know that further messages will not
get a reply from me even if specifically directed.
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.


No, the eventual result would be a huge *increase* in noise. Check out
other groups which do not enforce topicality.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************************@att.net
Nov 14 '05 #26

P: n/a
On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:00:12 +0000, Chris Croughton
<ch***@keristor.net> wrote:
I seriously doubt that. I strongly suspect that the result would be
an increase in off-topic posts, since comp.lang.c would become the
place to go for answers to any questions that are even vaguely related
to C.


No, it wouldn't because there would be no answers to the OT posts.


An assumption disproved by the example in hand.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************************@att.net
Nov 14 '05 #27

P: n/a
Chris Croughton <ch***@keristor.net> writes:
On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 22:09:26 GMT, Keith Thompson
<ks***@mib.org> wrote:

[...]
The ideal response to an off-topic post is a single brief followup
pointing out that it's off-topic. If possible, it's also nice to
suggest what a more appropriate newsgroup might be, but we can't
always know that. Since Usenet is asynchronous, we often get a number
of such followups, which can seem like we're ganging up on the
original poster, even though we're not.


Yes, there are synchronicity problems. However, three or four short
posts just saying "this is off-topic here, please see the FAQ at <>" and
possibly mentioning a couple of more useful newsgroups would not be a
problem.


Agreed.
Long topicality threads often result when the original poster
complains that the rest of us are being rude; such complaints are not
always entirely unjustified, but they're rarely constructive.


It's the responses to these which result in the noise. If someone won't
take "not wanted here" (expressed politely) as an answer, ignore them
(killfile them if you want) and don't rise to the bait.


I think we're actually approaching agreement.

Here's what I think tends to lead to the interminable topicalty
threads:

1. Some random user posts an off-topic question.

2. Multiple regulars post followups saying that it's off-topic,
possibly suggesting a better forum.

3. The random user whines that we're being rude (after all, his
question is about a C program, or maybe C#, and anybody who thinks
it's off-topic should just ignore it).

4. The regulars pile on and explain at length to the random user that
he's wrong, that his question really is off-topic, and so forth.

5. Hilarity ensues.

Step 1 is unavoidable in an unmoderated newsgroup; there's an endless
supply of random users, and some of them are genuine idiots.

Step 2 is entirely appropriate, in my opinion, though some such
responses can be too lengthy or unnecessarily rude. (If the question
in step 1 is sufficiently stupid, rudeness may seem justified, but I
suggest that it's not constructive.) Don't get creative, just post a
quick response and move on -- or stand back and let someone else do
so. (It would be nice if we could appoint one person to do this, but
I'm not volunteering and I don't expect anyone else to do so.)

Step 3, again, is unavoidable, given the endless supply of random
users.

Step 4 is the one we may be able to do something about. It's tempting
to engage these people in an argument, but it's seldom going to do any
good. There are several web pages that explain the topicality
conventions of this newsgroup; the URLs of those web pages are the
only explanation that's needed. If the random user comes back and
complains, the only required response is something like, "We've
already explained this; here are the URLs again.". If a couple of
iterations of this don't help, the random user should just be ignored.
(The problem is that this requires unanimous agreement, which can be
difficult to acheive.)

The more determined idiots and trolls are going to continue posting
until they get bored and go away. The faster we can bore them, the
less noise we'll have to put up with.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #28

P: n/a
Christopher Benson-Manica wrote:
Chris Croughton <ch***@keristor.net> spoke thus:
One is that the plonker shows themselves as a person who wants to
be seen to be "doing something". By the time it gets to that
stage anyone with any sense will have killfiled the plonkee
silently if they were worth killfiling.


I disagree - I value the opinion of certain regulars concerning
the plonkability of certain posters :)


I consider PLONK announcements worthwhile in that they a) tell the
plonkee he is off base and about to be ignored by a possibly large
segment of the readership and b) encourages others to plonk, thus
implementing a).

--
Chuck F (cb********@yahoo.com) (cb********@worldnet.att.net)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
<http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> USE worldnet address!
Nov 14 '05 #29

P: n/a
Alan Balmer wrote:
No, topicality is always topical.


Perhaps,
but there is seldom any discussion of topicality in comp.lang.c
Most subscribers have very similar opinions
about what is topical and what is not.
The only appropriate (and effective) action subscribers can take
against off-topic questions is to ignore them.
The comp.lang.c newsgroup has no need of self-appointed
off-topic cops who attempt to enforce their personal notions
about topicality by abusing and harassing people
who inadvertently post off-topic questions.

Topicality is *not* an excuse for trolling.
Nov 14 '05 #30

P: n/a

"E. Robert Tisdale" <E.**************@jpl.nasa.gov> wrote in message
news:cr**********@nntp1.jpl.nasa.gov...
Alan Balmer wrote:
No, topicality is always topical.


Perhaps,
but there is seldom any discussion of topicality in comp.lang.c
Most subscribers have very similar opinions
about what is topical and what is not.
The only appropriate (and effective) action subscribers can take
against off-topic questions is to ignore them.
The comp.lang.c newsgroup has no need of self-appointed
off-topic cops who attempt to enforce their personal notions
about topicality by abusing and harassing people
who inadvertently post off-topic questions.

Topicality is *not* an excuse for trolling.


I agree!

Ahmen!
Nov 14 '05 #31

P: n/a
Keith Thompson wrote:

"alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> writes:
Your thread is off topic

Please use another newsgroup


By convention, discussions of topicality are considered topical.


It's a self evident fact.
If topicality is untopical, then any complaints about
posts on topicality must also be off topic.

I think alex may have been joking.

--
pete
Nov 14 '05 #32

P: n/a
Chris Croughton wrote:
If all of the people who currently complain about lack of topicality
stopped posting, the result would be a marked decrease in 'noise'.


I'll refrain from noting that your thread is itself off-topic, or that
your objection was probably also made in alt.sex in 1984, and instead
point out that most people with decent newsreaders are presented threads
in a view that allows them to summarily ignore an entire thread once
they've lost interest in it.

With reasonable Internet connections, a small additional overhead of
messages in OT threads won't impact download time much.

Public off-topic alerts help readers who can't tell for themselves avoid
wasting time on an OT thread, while embarassing the OP enough that they
won't do it again (although on a first offense I think this is too harsh
a punishment).

Besides that, it's just grown to be part of the very old Usenet culture.
While I do believe newbies should receive a kinder treatment, and I do
understand your frustration, a stone that large can only be shifted, not
knocked over.
--
Derrick Coetzee
I grant this newsgroup posting into the public domain. I disclaim all
express or implied warranty and all liability. I am not a professional.
Nov 14 '05 #33

P: n/a
On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 04:45:18 GMT, in comp.lang.c , pete
<pf*****@mindspring.com> wrote:
Keith Thompson wrote:

"alex" <ye*@yep.yep.yep.com> writes:
> Your thread is off topic
>
> Please use another newsgroup


By convention, discussions of topicality are considered topical.


I think alex may have been joking.


Nope, he was trolling. See passim over the last week or so...
--
Mark McIntyre
CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
Nov 14 '05 #34

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