Nasa / Space

Poll: Which embarrassing discussion thread should TR erase?


It's time to do some housecleaning in the old TechRepublic forums, and I'd like to turn to some of you folks for advice on which hoary old tangent-thread(s) most deserve the axe. It's a poorly kept secret that some of TechRepublic's most-posted-to discussion threads have nothing to do with tech, and don't exactly help with our Google keyword indexing. We let these kind of discussions go (while supressing them from our newsletters and door promotions) because we understand a certain niche audience likes them, and they don't do any lasting harm. However, a number of these little chestnuts have long since stopped getting regular posts, but occasionally flare up and drag on the database a little bit whilst newcomers clog their browsers loading thousand-post threads. They had their day, the users got to roil about over politics and religion, but there's no viable business reason to keep them around anymore. So, to help prune the DB and stir up a little bloodsport, I'm going to let my readership descide which of these ancient and unflattering off-topic threads gets deleted, and then probably repeat the exercise every month or so (or whenever I'm short of blog ideas).

Thus, without further ado, our Top Ten Most Unnecessary Discussion Threads:

  1. The Evolution lie (2657 posts, last modified 2006-07-19)
  2. Why I am voting for George W Bush (1834 posts, last modified 2005-04-28)
  3. Does religion do more harm than good? (894 posts, last modified 2006-04-22)
  4. The authenticity of the Christian Scriptures (813 posts, last modified 2005-08-18)
  5. What the religious right won't accept : Moral Values Without Religion! (671 posts, 2006-03-02)
  6. Israel’s right to defend herself (592 posts, last modified 2006-08-11)
  7. Have I converted ANY of the TR "global warming" alarmists? (588 posts, last modified 2006-09-28)
  8. Ban abortion & impose death sentences for rape & incest (585 posts, last modified 2006-04-21)
  9. What gives you the "right"? (550 posts, last modified 2005-02-24)
  10. STOLEN HONOR - Unfit for Command - John Kerry's Betrayal (547 posts, last modified 2005-05-05)

Collectively, these threads account for about two percent of all posts ever made on TechRepublic, and getting this gunk cleaned out will help on a number of levels. WHich off these is teh first to get the axe is up to all of you, so vote in this poll!

 

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

41 comments
Absolutely
Absolutely

& all by 'riverfreight' oh, and don't forget, all by 'mrmiami'

The Truth
The Truth

while these topics may be of value (to someone) they don't belong in techrepublic. The posters should take the time and join some other forum where they do belong.

DMambo
DMambo

I screwed up. I missed the Clear the Decks option and voted for EL. I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry! Take EL and all it's evil spawn and wipe them all out

onbliss
onbliss

...to keep them all. You could archive them and make them read-only. Thinking in terms of a database: One recommendation is to never delete the records physically, just mark them as deleted (or not available). Another school of thought recommends to archive them to a different database (history database). The former requires special coding in almost every SQL statement (some thing like: Where IsDeleted 'T'). This can come to bite us. I think some kind of internal archival should be considered. Added: In my opinion flagging something as deleted while not really deleting should be done only if the record can be reactivated because of a business use case. If you ask me the WHERE clause that needs to be tagged can simply mess things up.

Jaqui
Jaqui

to keep them all. While they are not technical discussions, they are a part of our history, and forgetting them will only cause them to be brought up again. lets face it, if someone deletes EL, then a couple of years later another discussion is started on the subject, we can't just point to EL and say it's already been discussed to death. besides, if EL makes the list why doesn't jd's divorce thread make it? ]:) aaaack!!! scary thought... the Evolution of Divorce :D

DMambo
DMambo

That thread is full of good advice and good vibes. The political/religious rant threads, while sometimes fun to watch, turn into vitriolic diatribes several times over in their lives. They need to go!

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

As you note, there is some invaluable advice there and it's perhaps the best example of how off-topic conversations can be put to productive purpose. I have 4-5 other child-rearing/family advice threads tucked away that will be spared the axe as well. (Unless I get overruled, of course.)

Jaqui
Jaqui

but we can avoid another EL thread by not getting rid of it. being able to direct people to these monster threads is the best tool to kill a resurgence of the topic. [ you will note that I have rarely posted to the threads you have up for deletion, if any. :p I am perfectly willing to get into heated debates, but not about useless subjects like religion or politics, they all suck bobo and all should be killed ]:) ( both politicians and religious leaders / organized religions ) ]

jdclyde
jdclyde

thank you very much for it. My first thought when I went into this discussion to look at your list, I had expected to see it once I saw EL....... Guess you can try to security through obscurity, where if people that are swinging axes don't SEE them........ if you would peer me the links, I would like to look those discussions over (If I haven't already, that is) thanks.

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Lie - need tips! (ok, ok, it's Friday.....) GG

lowlands
lowlands

The title had me a little confused. Why exactly are these threads considered embarassing? Personally I voted to delete them all. I don't think they belong on TR. For discussions like these people can go to ReligionRepublic.com or PoliticalstuffRepublic.com :) Same goes for all the Yuk posts. I think it might be good to just give thema 3 month life and then axe them all. Technical discussions are different in that they might actually contain info that is helpfull a year from now for someone.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

wow, I'll check them out.. Seriously, it is interesting to guage the opinions of IT people. A cross section of society's smartest.

mjwx
mjwx

none of us are smart, regardless of which profession we choose. :)

jdclyde
jdclyde

it is always better to be a smarta$$ than a dumba$$! B-)

lowlands
lowlands

Never seen it put like that, but I couldn't agree more :)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

smarta$$e$ ]:) One should always respect others' opinions; one need not take them seriously. :D

stress junkie
stress junkie

Hey. People don't generally go back to old discussions regardless of topic. The old discussions are just taking up disk space. Heaven knows that TR only has a 32 MB disk anyway so clear it all off!!! :D

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

But there is some value to a lot of our older threads, if only for appearing on Google searches. That said, I think we could certainly go back and axe all the threads that never got a response. I doubt the unanswered questions and one-post spot-offs have any value. Plus, if we make this a regular cleaning job--any post older than 90 (60? 30? 7?) days that got no response will be erased--it might actually discourage people from feeding the trolls. After all, if you ignore the dumb post, it will go away!

deepsand
deepsand

it may take us a while before we ever find it!

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

which shouldn't take up as much space or slow down the servers nearly as much

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

and when does it start, the day it posts, from the last comment, or from when it was most active? Certainly, some threads get posted to several months after it was last posted to, and then it brings it back up for others to see. But I agree, a time for deletion could save TR much space for our new discussions and picture shows.

stress junkie
stress junkie

:D

Tig2
Tig2

xxx, for some threads, means mere minutes. Some of them aren't worth the 1s and 0s. Although sometimes those are the most fun... after the successful hijack, that is!

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The EL thread is slowing the whole site down ;-) Sure, they're interesting, but they haven't been posted to in ages, might as well drop 'em.

DanLM
DanLM

Thank you TR for fixing the voting feature. Dan

Tig2
Tig2

Of re-creating the site. I don't see a point in holding on to the ancient history of TR. I agree with Max, there is some really good writing in those threads. In fact, I will likely take a last look at a couple of them- and likely save some content. But I also agree with Mae. We have been clever before, we will be clever again- and likely from a new perspective. And besides, HAL's last chance at sanity might just be getting rid of the EL thread! Clear the decks. Those threads are best suited to wrapping fish. IMO anyway...

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

Ever see that WayBack Machine Web site? http://web.archive.org/collections/web/advanced.html It might take a little time and creative searching to find it, but it could certainly be found.

Tig2
Tig2

And truthfully strikes terror in my heart. This means that the EL monster will never die... just be preserved in formaldehyde! HAL will NOT be happy to hear this!

onbliss
onbliss

I have "studied" most of the posts, and glanced at the entire content. As you said you were not a participant :-)

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

That "last post from Max" was posted on a day when Colin (Hal9000) was pretty actively posting messages, and in one of them, he mentioned that he did not want to see that dreaded EL thread again. What was I to do? I had no choice, did I? I had to post something that would subsequently push that discussion to the top of the list for all to see! (Colin, by the way, soundly scolded me for my behavior.) But that was the ONLY time I posted anything in the EL thread.

onbliss
onbliss

I was absent during the EL discussion, so after hearing much about it one day I waited until the entire thing loaded, and saved the "print version" as HTML. I can mail you if want it. The last post is from Max on 6/15/06. File size: just under 3 MB :-)

Tig2
Tig2

Played with it a little- before my connection took a dive for the zillionth time today. I frequently run across articles that I save the URL for but didn't drag the content to a Word file. And of course, those things go away after a time. This will be a great resource! Many thanks again!

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

That thread is his worst nightmare. He hates it. (Actually I think he might love to hate it!) It's the biggest and longest thread in TR history (I think) -- and one I avoided participating in. I think I posted only once, very late in the discussion, but it doesn't count as being "involved" because it was only my lame attempt to be funny and to get a dig at Colin by bringing it to the top of the discussion list. By the way, a single post will no longer bring an off-topic discussion to the top of the list like it used to -- and like the other topics will. I suspect it's an intentional measure to keep them from becoming another Energizer Bunny thread that keeps going, and going, and going, and going, and.......

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

I voted to CLEAR THE DECK! Thanks, TR, for putting up with those of us who like to mix a little personal/political discussion with the technical issues with our tech peers. It's been a hoot, although I've been doing it a bit less of late. Clear the deck and wipe the slate clean, is what I say. Personally speaking, however, I have a lot of time and effort in some of those threads (and some good stuff!), but I cut and pasted two of them into a couple of word documents -- a 196 page and a 215 page -- in case I want to refer to them again.

AV .
AV .

I agree. Its time to clean house. I screwed up my voting though. I didn't see the delete them all selection.

maecuff
maecuff

I voted to clear them all. Sure, we may lose some clever writing, but if we were clever once, we can be clever again.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If the arguments were valid, we can make them again. If they weren't they are best forgotten. James

onbliss
onbliss

People will be able to exhibit and write far more brilliant words than they wrote earlier, but the old brilliance carries value and meaning too. Some words just don't come to the mind all the time, at least to me :-)

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

use the print function to put them into an Adobe .PDF first, and make these available. PDFs will be smaller and take up only one request or so to serve up. There's some classic stuff in there!

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

and one of those had my first discussion posts

Editor's Picks