Arborbridge wrote:Incidentally, I've never found out what all those different things in the circles on the left hand side mean. I can't find any key to the symbols, and why do they sometimes have scrolly things inside?
Also incidentally, I can give you most of the answers: a red circle means the thread has posts you haven't yet read (= loaded a page containing them in this context), a red star in the circle means that you've posted to the thread, a padlock means the thread is locked, the contents scrolling means that there are 50 or more posts in the thread (I personally could do without this one - the number of page symbols in the middle of the entry gives an idea of the number of posts it contains I find entirely adequate, and I find the movement quite distracting visually, causing me to overlook things I might otherwise see). Rarer ones are italic i
s and 'lampbulbs' containing exclamation marks, which seem to be for two types of announcement, and blue arrows, indicating that it's a link to somewhere other than where it appears to be. There might be others I haven't encountered or remembered.
On the actual subject of this thread, I will observe that there are at least three main reading styles people use for TLF, with each having some options within it and various hybrids between them also being possible: reading according to the "New posts" or "Unread posts" quick link, reading the board or few boards whose general subject one is interested in, and reading the set of threads one is subscribed to or has bookmarked. All of those methods have their various advantages and disadvantages, and people's views on which of them are important to them personally will vary enormously, so I don't think there is any hope of finding a reading style that everyone finds acceptable (*). A consequence is that whatever the site's rules are, at most a small minority of users are going to find them perfect... So basically, the site's rules do have to have some rough edges for all (or almost all) users, and users do have to take the rough with the smooth...
Also, sorry, but I don't agree with your comment in reply to dspp's post speaking as a moderator earlier in the thread that "It therefore becomes your job not to fall over to satisfy the trolls but to ignore them
", or at least, I don't think it's the moderators' primary job on TLF. That primary job is to keep the site running as smoothly as they can, within the resources they have available - and IMHO it's not just their job, it's also
the job of ordinary users. That does mean that the moderators will quite often have to deal with reports in a 'quick & dirty' fashion, I'm afraid - in particular, by deleting the post without leaving anything on the board to indicate what's happened or by disregarding the report without any indication that that's been done (other than the automatically-generated "it's been closed" notification that one requests by default), possibly making a fairly snap judgement about the merits of the report - and that applies especially
when the issue is a known 'flash point' on the board, so that leaving things as they are for any length of time is likely to generate a whole lot of responses that also provoke reports...
And it also means that users will have to accept that that happens and take care to avoid provoking reports, again especially about known 'flash points'. Tangential remarks are generally accepted, I think, provided
they remain tangential - and as far as I can tell that's judged by results (including past results of similar tangential points), not
by intentions. I.e. if you post a tangential remark and it turns out to provoke an extended diversion from the thread's subject (let alone the board's subject) and prompt reports, moderator action is likely no matter how little you intended that to be the outcome, and accepting that that happens and steering clear of similar tangential remarks in future is part of the contribution you can make to keeping the boards running smoothly. And note that if you consider it an important tangent, you can
do that in at least two ways: if it relates fairly directly to the thread's subject (so is not actually as tangential as it might at first sight appear), say
how it does so rather than relying on readers to see how it does so for themselves (**); otherwise, start a new thread to discuss the tangent, and restrict what you say in the original thread to something like "Incidentally, that has reminded me of <whatever the tangent is> - I've started a new thread about that at <link> (all replies there, please)."
All of those do cost you some extra work, I know. Think of it as your contribution to keeping TLF running smoothly... Though there are also some side-benefits to some of them - e.g. a new thread is more likely to come to the attention of those users who use a "subscribe to / bookmark threads they want to read" reading style, since they might never have been interested in the original thread's subject, or have been interested but lost interest in it and so have unsubscribed / unbookmarked it.
One final point: I'm pretty certain that you have no
firm basis for saying that the reports are due to trolls. They could be, agreed, but the system doesn't tell you who reported your post and I'm fairly certain the moderators don't either (among other reasons, I think it's pretty clear that if they were to do so, it would provoke at least some bitter recriminations, denunciations, etc, which would trigger yet more reports for them to deal with - so it would be making a rod for their own backs!). You might suspect
particular users of making reports for the purpose of trolling, or just that the site's users include some such users, but such suspicions can be mistaken. And I'm pretty certain that they sometimes are, because I've seen occasions when people have voiced such suspicions as though they were facts, and I've known that I reported the post concerned for reasons completely different from the reason they've confidently stated was why it was reported. I can't be entirely certain of that, of course - it's possible that the moderators closed my report without taking any action, then someone else reported it for a different reason and the moderators deleted the post for that reason before I checked up on what had been done. (I do normally try to check up on that, basically to glean what information I can about what the moderators consider needs action taken about it and very occasionally to let the moderator know they've left things in a state that's confusing for an ordinary user, e.g. with a clear case of meaning to tell people to use a particular board and inadvertently typing the wrong board name. And no, while I do sometimes report posts, it's nowhere near frequently enough for those checks to be a noticeable burden on my time!).
(*) In fact, I'm pretty certain that there's no hope of it: as a result of past discussions of reading styles I've had with various other users (none
of which this is an invitation to repeat!), I know for instance that Lootman's preferred reading style does not suit me and I'm pretty certain mine doesn't suit him.
(**) Remember that it only takes one
reader to generate a report, and a popular board probably has hundreds of readers. It only takes a pretty small percentage chance of any particular reader failing to see something to make it a near-certainty that some
reader won't see it. Basically, it's a fact of life that the bigger one's audience, the more care one needs to take about what one says - as many politicians and others who are in the public eye have discovered!