Thursday, August 14, 2008

Off-topic or not?

The off-topic group on our old (and now dead) NNTP server existed as a runoff for unwanted posts in the technical groups. The intent was to have a group for people who felt that they needed to communicate their off-topic thoughts outside of the technical groups, and also to have a group to re-direct off-topic (including thread drift) posts to.

We're now debating whether or not to kill off-topic completely.

You can have your say in the following poll that we put together:

The ideas behind the possible responses are as follows:

1. You either participate in off-topic so much that you would bail if it disappeared, or you believe that the existence of off-topic keeps the technical groups clean from unwanted stuff and it would make the technical groups rot so bad that you'd bail.
2. You would post all your off-topic posts in our technical forums if off-topic went away, or you believe that others would post all their off-topic posts (that are now in the off-topic group) and make the technical groups hard to navigate.
3. You'd be just as happy with off-topic going away, and you'd keep our technical groups clean by not posting anything off-topic grade...
4. You'd live with whatever the outcome is
5. You couldn't care less



  1. I'm not really happy with the choices in the poll
    How about this:
    Off-topic is needed as a place to divert unwanted conversations
    I'll tolerate off-topic, but don't see the need
    Who cares?
    I don't like off-topic, but don't mind if it is there
    I hate off-topic, get rid of it!

    I'm sure I missed some other good choices as well.

  2. I'm happy to see it go.
    It just gets cluttered with useless/pointless arguments that no-one can win.
    In other words, it's a waste of space.

  3. I tried to vote but the form to use was not there. I like the off topic group. Would hate to see it go.

  4. Off-Topic is fun; a bit of nonsense lightens up the day. Some topics are food for thought, some are just wacko non-sense. Left-wing/Right-wing smack talk is downright funny. I suspect that if it is taken down the other topics will be littered with the detritus of off topic ramblings. CodeGear deserves a lot of credit for hosting it all these years. While I can understand the temptation to dump it, I for one will be very disappointed to see it go.

  5. Just a suggestion - is there a possibility the thing (if it is to be kept) could just be made not quite so prominent? By which I mean, go to the new forums site and it's sitting there right near the top, things like the Delplhi VCL groups being burried unseen below. With the old newsgroup system, in contrast, its discoverabilty was rather less 'in your face'. Perhaps you could add a 'Miscellaneous' category at the bottom and put it in there, out of sight unless a person is actually looking for the thing?

  6. Frankly, the off-topic group has been an embarrassment for a long time. Borland, CodeGear, now Embarcadero are in theory professional organizations. But there is no sense of professionalism reflected in that discussion forum. It resembles what one might from a cross between television wrestling and the Jerry Springer show.

    Me, I stay out of it, so for myself I don't care. But I am very concerned with how it reflects upon CodeGear. A potential customer stumbling upon the off-topic group would not get the sense that they were seeing a mature professional business. Quite the opposite.

    I know that a lot of CodeGear newsgroup users 'play' there, but the group has nothing to do with the business or tools of CodeGear, and there are countless other forums on the net where people could go if they wanted to act like infantile idiots.

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