Splitting a new thread off from an existing one

Gori the Grey

The Poster
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
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I suspect this happens most frequently in Off Topic.

Sometimes discussion in a thread will go off on a tangent from the supposed topic of that thread and so a moderator will split it off as a new thread.

That makes sense to do, but, two things:

First, if all the moderator does is gather up all of the posts that are on that tangent, then there's not necessarily a good OP for the new thread; it's just the first post that was deemed to go off tangent, but it might have all kinds of backwards references that aren't comprehensible to people who start reading the new thread. It was never intended as an OP, so it might not clearly frame some topic for discussion. Etc.

and

The first post in the new thread might be by a poster who never thought his post would be the start of a new thread and doesn't want "ownership" for a thread under that name.

The example that is prompting this observation is a spin-off from the 2024 Presidential Election thread into a Christianity in America thread, where several posters have asked "what is this thread about"?

I hate to create extra work for the mods, but it seems that the new thread needs a little headnote, probably written by the mod, but up to the standards expected of an OP: that it explicitly lays out some question to be addressed.

So, e.g. for this case: "In the 2024 Presidential Election thread, discussion went off on a tangent about the extent to which Christians can be thought of as a persecuted group within American society." The mod would have to summarize the new question that had arisen that energized discussion in the tangent and put that before people who are coming cold to the topic.

That would let people track back to where in the original thread the tangential discussion had arisen, and it would let newcomers know the new topic.

Thank you for your consideration.
 
The first post in the new thread might be by a poster who never thought his post would be the start of a new thread and doesn't want "ownership" for a thread under that name.
Agreed. There are some people who love starting new threads, some who will do it occasionally if a particular topic interests them, and others who really don't want the attention. In the latter case, they may especially not want the attention in a controversial thread and have to deal with people grumbling and criticizing the OP which they never actually intended as an OP. It's not considerate to make them have to deal with this sort of thing if they weren't prepared for it.

Therefore, what I recommend is that when thread splits like this happen, staff should PM the potential new OP and ask if they mind if their post serves as the OP of the new thread. If they say it's okay, no problem. If they would prefer not to have that attention, the staff member should create a summary OP and move the rest of the posts accordingly.
 
Might also be useful for the OP of the new thread to include a specific hyperlink back to the thread it was split off, and a note from the Mod inserted in the old thread, noting that posts were moved...
 
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