Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Close sesame!

I hate hate hate closed threads that appear open. This just in: some big important topic that you can no longer comment about because it ISNT JUST IN!  They don't tell you this until the end of the thread, AFTER the myriad of comments made beneath it, all interesting things that you want to reply to and can't.

This is a growing problem on the internet. People start forum sites, or companies do, and have interesting topics that you may want to post a comment or two about. Or maybe you see a comment you would like to reply to. But you cannot, because why? The thread is closed and comments are closed.  Why are these websites not marking the thread closed at the beginning of the message? Because they want the traffic, but they don't want to take in the data overhead that comes with that traffic. It is pure greed plain and simple. If it wasn't, they would mark the thread closed, archived or something. Even putting the date in bold would help a little. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong. You can't can you? (or you just wont).

The first part of this problem comes with the software developers. Even though not directly their fault, they program this forum software in a short sighted fashion. Not thinking about the future and what special needs a forum, topic, or thread would need had it been up for 10 or 20 years.  Programmers don't think that far ahead, they just want their stuff to run "today".   There needs to be some sort of training happening at the college or work-training levels that integrate future-sighted programming of websites.  We need to start realizing that some pages will be up for decades and with that comes responsibility of a good design.

The next person to blame is the person or group of people responsible for installation of the software. Are they setting things up properly? Are they thinking just weeks ahead? The answer may be yes, but I bet most people set
things up and tend to "forget" afterwards.  Most people, as I have found, think no more than 2 years ahead.  It is a very important step to make sure things are right from the start, it makes things impossible to fix when setup steps are skipped or just done badly.

Here's the big one, yes I am talking about you, Forum Administrators. They are all power and no effort. They gain these titles and spend more time kicking people off servers and trying to impress their girl/boyfriend with their "forum power" than actually doing anything useful.  Even if they do something useful, it usually isn't very beneficial to the long-term audience. Forum Administration and related titles have become nothing more than a status symbol for adolescent teens than an actual job title, which is what it should be.  Administration means Administration, which obviously, more than not, happens less and less.

Finally, there is you, the user (you knew this one was coming).  People anymore tend to write articles not thinking about the person reading it 20 years from now. They write in statements "will always be"  and "just a while ago" and "yesterday" like time stands still in their little world. Now let me be clear, it is no problem if you start off with "Today (the date)" and name a fixed location in time when you do, but to act like "Today" is really today, is a whole other can of beans.  Would you really want people to think that you put cream in your coffee that was 20 years and 2 months past the expiration date? Of course not, so make sure you write keeping in mind that people will be reading this for years to come, not just tomorrow, no matter how insignificant of a site you think you are on, no matter how trivial the topic seems to you. One person's garbage is another person's gold, so they say.

And lastly, there is THEM. Yes, i mean the ones who comment on the topic.  These are the ones you wish you could reply to or comment after when a topic is closed. You shouldn't comment unless it is going to be meaningful later on in life too.  If someone writes a topic about false police spam, and you make a comment like 'yeah they usually just come over and beat down your door'.  That isn't a very useful contribution to the topic. Sure it may be funny at the time, but someone reading an archived copy probably will think "wow, that guy is really stupid".  Is that how you want to be remembered when you are dead? As that "stupid guy name joe23 who obviously spent his life in his mom's flat in the basement". Probably not...

The Moral of the Story is....

  • Companies

    Think about the far future when setting up your forums, not just your pocketbook.
  • Programmers

    Think about the far future when developing your software, not just whether or not the software works now.
  • Administrators

    Think about something other than your status, really!!!
  • Authors

    Write about your topic in a way that make sense even in the far future
  • Commenters

    Write comments that are useful to archive readers in the future

Commenting On This Thread Is Closed!!

Haha just kidding, but wouldn't that make you mad, that is, if someone actually ever reads this... but since it makes sense, and was written somewhere obscure and unknown, it probably wont. I don't think even *I* visit my own pages, let alone someone else.