I have an idea for features to deal with thread bombing in a humane way.
I have long had the problem of mistakened individuals dropping in first, and quickly, on many threads posted, and answering anything but the actual specific question asked, wrongly, but like the president of the United states fully convinced of their ability and how right they are. This pretty much instantly kills opportunities to get right answers from right minded individuals, as people see the thread is active and has some sort of answer and don't enter the discussion. It may even appear these people must be trawling, but they actually believe what they are saying in some sort of delusion. It is usually the same several people out of tens of thousands that do this, permanently sucking the air out. They see something, squint their minds eyes, and conclude it is somehow something else, and answer that. Nor can you explain it to them, they debate, and deliberately avoid seeing, like their notion is a matter of life. The further issue is, a lot of people are like that a little bit.
So what to do to seperate out all this noise in threads.
The solutions are really to give the original poster, and whoever they nominate (I am often involved in heavy very long threads that could do with this) abilities to present a sumarised version avoiding the noise. Allow the thread starter to be sort of like an mini moderator with no delete or block powers (to stop abuse by troubled individuals acting like megalomaniacs).
- First, give the head poster and those the head nominates to help the head, the power to select relevant posts to summarise the thread. This goes into a summary view, at the start of the thread, and also a skip forwards, and backwards, to the next summary post (a few arrows in the post control). The head poster and nominees select messages in the thread with ticks, or select individuals, or groups to go into the summary, and select a cross to take them out. Selecting an individual or group, takes one to a screen of their posts in the thread, where you select which of their posts to include in the summary (as many posts will likely not be that relevant).
The second view above may be optionally put into a link at the start of a thread, for sites that don't want it in the main time line of posts.
- Second, there should also be skip to next/previous "< >" arrows to follow a summary posts, particular posters, groups (including head poster group and summary posters group virtual groups), and any post that is in reply to yourself or mentions you by one of your names. The skip feature has been used before, in a skip to next fashion.
- A "report fake answer/trawling" abuse button could be optionally used, where the head poster and nominated assistants can alert moderators to such bad conduct.
- Along these lines, allow/encourage the original poster to summarise in writing the findings of the discussion in the top post, but to add further "head" posts to the beginning of the thread. Put a button to take people back to the original posts on every page, and insert a new head post message link message into the thread when there is one, and a new linked head post update message when the original poster "announces" (button) a complete update.
Now, individuals can quickly skip a lot to of noise. Those coming to a thread, maybe in future to research information, can just go through the head posts or thread summary before deciding to post, or to look elsewhere.
With these, you can put back the power into the hands of credible people in this disruptive age.
I've had a number of improvement suggestions over the years which I could start to offer here when I can remember them. -- Such as a user nominated and scored (votes before moderator looks at it) information and answers into a searchable database or wiki feature, as the standard look up the answer first suggestion, just doesn't work. Even if a search function is good, it can take many hours to find an answer to a simple question a number of people could answer within seconds. And other such suggestions. Such as crosslinked threads, to allow the same thread to turn up in multiple related sub-forums, as sometimes a message thread fits no single sub-forum, and the people that can, or few individuals that may, answer or contribute are in different sub-forums. -- As even the simplest suggestions to big problems on forums, forum admins often don't want to code in my experience.
Much thanks for your time.