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Author Topic: On new child boards  (Read 1310 times)
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« on: July 19, 2015, 07:15:44 pm »

Quick question, just for my personal clarification:

Why is this considered "Off Topic"? I would think it's very much on topic, as it discusses (personal) history of the era we generally agree is the jumping-off point for Steampunk (before I inadvertently start a heated debate, please note I said era, not country). It would seem Metaphysical would be more appropriate, given the descriptor "... All other Victorian...posts...". I would note also that this topic could just as easily have been located in "Trading", as it discusses an auction item.

Or, do we need a new board entirely, one devoted more specifically to historical topics that don't fit as neatly into any of the currently established boards? It could be specified that the board is for topics ranging from the start of the Industrial Age/Age of Steam (an ambiguous "start date", anywhere from about 1790 to 1820-40, but still) to Edward's death (1910) or years up to and including the Great War, by which time the combustion engine was dominant. Or whatever.

I'm not trying to be a troublemaker or anything, but I've been giving the matter considerable thought after a question arose on another board, regarding the proper place for a thread in question. The thread is unquestioningly on topic, but the debate is over where precisely the thread belongs within the on topic boards.

The subject of these unmentionables is of interest to me in my research (hey, hey, calm down, it's not that kind of research) into the lives of Victorian-era people. If I had not incidentally stumbled across this topic, I would never have seen it, since I don't come to "Off Topic" to do research. Having discovered this thread, however, I see that I now need to plumb the depths of this board to see what other gems might be hidden within the chaff.

Is it perhaps time to review and/or update the boards and their definitions so that it's a bit less ambiguous where a topic should go? Is this only an issue for people like me, who have an awful habit of overthinking things, and so reach conclusions not intended by the people who set up those boards? Should a dialog be opened regarding this matter in "The Engine Room"?
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 08:24:07 pm »

I'd also say that a good number of Mr. Skummins anecdotal posts on Off Topic are actually on topic, if perhaps more historical than Steampunk proper, I've noticed, especially those involving London. Baseball is also an example of an on topic subject treated in the past at Metaphysical... (I may have started one of those threads).

Alas. the line between history and alternate history is tenuous.  Perhaps we need a Historical section within Metaphysical?
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 08:28:46 pm »

Perhaps we need a Historical section within Metaphysical?

A Historical section would seem to be a rather good idea.
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 08:40:51 pm »

@ J. Wilhelm:

I have elsewhere broached the topic. And, as you yourself have pointed out, Siliconous Skumins' posts do not deserve to be exiled to "Off Topic", a place where someone doing any real research would not bother to look.

Should "History" be a sub-topic within "Metaphysical", or a new board of its own? If a "World Building" board were created to accommodate those queries and discussions that don't properly fit into "Tactile" or "Metaphysical" or "Textual" or one of the other boards, would it exist independently or as a sub-topic within another board, and if the latter, which?

I believe this is a topic worthy of discussion by the moderators.

Currently I am going through the "Off Topic" board and tagging threads I believe are on topic and would benefit from being moved to an on topic board. Should I hold off on that until the moderators have had a chance to confer, or should I continue with my tags and my rationale so that moderators will have a ready "list" with which to start?
 
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2015, 08:44:16 pm »

Quick question, just for my personal clarification:

Why is this considered "Off Topic"? I would think it's very much on topic, as it discusses (personal) history of the era we generally agree is the jumping-off point for Steampunk (before I inadvertently start a heated debate, please note I said era, not country). It would seem Metaphysical would be more appropriate, given the descriptor "... All other Victorian...posts...". I would note also that this topic could just as easily have been located in "Trading", as it discusses an auction item.

Or, do we need a new board entirely, one devoted more specifically to historical topics that don't fit as neatly into any of the currently established boards? It could be specified that the board is for topics ranging from the start of the Industrial Age/Age of Steam (an ambiguous "start date", anywhere from about 1790 to 1820-40, but still) to Edward's death (1910) or years up to and including the Great War, by which time the combustion engine was dominant. Or whatever.

I'm not trying to be a troublemaker or anything, but I've been giving the matter considerable thought after a question arose on another board, regarding the proper place for a thread in question. The thread is unquestioningly on topic, but the debate is over where precisely the thread belongs within the on topic boards.

The subject of these unmentionables is of interest to me in my research (hey, hey, calm down, it's not that kind of research) into the lives of Victorian-era people. If I had not incidentally stumbled across this topic, I would never have seen it, since I don't come to "Off Topic" to do research. Having discovered this thread, however, I see that I now need to plumb the depths of this board to see what other gems might be hidden within the chaff.

Is it perhaps time to review and/or update the boards and their definitions so that it's a bit less ambiguous where a topic should go? Is this only an issue for people like me, who have an awful habit of overthinking things, and so reach conclusions not intended by the people who set up those boards? Should a dialog be opened regarding this matter in "The Engine Room"?

 It could be time to consider this.  There are  some interesting threads  that discuss old timey  things  and their curiosity value . They could be worthy of a  board   for the purpose of sharing and discussing  such intriguing topics
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2015, 08:46:18 pm »

I wholeheartedly agree.
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2015, 10:13:03 pm »

Splitting the discussion on new sub boards into its own topic, and moving to the engine room. This is a meld of two separate discussions, so may be a little confusing.

I'd say we need to be wary of creating too many narrow sub boards however. Discussions by the moderators along these lines are happening, such as the armory board idea. Bear in mind we are currently working on cleaning up the pinned topics of each board. This is a slow process as we are trying to confer before taking action, as is the norm, and timezones tend to disrupt this. Smiley
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 10:22:00 pm by Major Vincent Smith » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2015, 11:28:36 pm »

Perhaps we need a Historical section within Metaphysical?

A Historical section would seem to be a rather good idea.


I would say we could accommodate a "Vic-Wardian History" board without too much trouble, indeed it may be a very usefull resource for those seeking historical details for their own stories etc.

And that leads us to the next question, in which board would this child board best fit - Metaphysical, Textual, Or does it stand to create a new main board 'Historical' section?...

We certainly have enough real historical information that could be moved over to a new main board section, and it would be a significant size. However there would be a LOT of work involved in tracking down and moving all those threads, plus the work that will be needed to decide if a given topic is better suited to it's original board or should be moved. It's doable, but would be on 'on-going' project to transfer older posts for quite some time.


If the BG community want it, then I don't see an issue to add a new section or child board. This may be one for another public vote...

SS
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 11:36:29 pm »

Sounds good to me. I think GCCC would probably be happy to track down the threads Tongue (Again, GCCC, its probably easier if you report with a 'move' reason - easier for us to find)
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 12:20:48 am »

Perhaps we need a Historical section within Metaphysical?

A Historical section would seem to be a rather good idea.


I would say we could accommodate a "Vic-Wardian History" board without too much trouble, indeed it may be a very usefull resource for those seeking historical details for their own stories etc.

And that leads us to the next question, in which board would this child board best fit - Metaphysical, Textual, Or does it stand to create a new main board 'Historical' section?...

We certainly have enough real historical information that could be moved over to a new main board section, and it would be a significant size. However there would be a LOT of work involved in tracking down and moving all those threads, plus the work that will be needed to decide if a given topic is better suited to it's original board or should be moved. It's doable, but would be on 'on-going' project to transfer older posts for quite some time.


If the BG community want it, then I don't see an issue to add a new section or child board. This may be one for another public vote...

SS

To be honest, I would only vote for either creating a Vic-Wardian / History mainboard OR just sending the historical threads to the Metaphysical mainboard. 

Why?  Because often child boards end up "hiding" the subjects.  It's a great organisational method for private clubs and How-To threads, but otherwise they hide something that is already very intertwined with alternate history (ie Steampunk proper). If we separate history proper, then it needs to be on an equal footing or hierarchy.

Also there really is a very fine line between history and alternate history, so I'd vote for just letting those Metaphysical threads be left where they are.  Trying to sort out all the historical threads since 2007 is more than just a daunting task!

Let the history section or the metaphysical section carry new threads.  I won't stop ranting any time soon!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 01:26:21 am »

Can someone please explain to me the term "child" boards? I've always glossed over them, thinking they were sub-topics intended for children. However, its use here makes me think I've been mistaken this whole time.

(Once this has been answered, I'll respond to the other comments.)
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2015, 01:44:35 am »

Can someone please explain to me the term "child" boards? I've always glossed over them, thinking they were sub-topics intended for children. However, its use here makes me think I've been mistaken this whole time.

(Once this has been answered, I'll respond to the other comments.)

Its just an organizational directory structure...

Example:

Metaphysical = Main Board
Steampunk in Japan = Thread in Metaphysical Mainboard
Meta Clubs = Child Board of Metaphysical
Dragon Tamers = Thread in Meta Clubs child board.

And you just made my point: child boards tend to be glossed over except for the vey few who have an interest.  That's why Meta Clubs is suitable as a child board.  The threads therein talk about very niche subjects.  Not everyone wants to know about my psychological issues, or my depression...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 01:52:45 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2015, 02:15:52 am »

Hmmm...I've obviously much to ponder.

Alrighty, then.

I am going to beg the discussion's pardon for a bit. There are matters elsewhere in the forum that I've been neglecting and need to attend, plus, my lady has reminded me that I haven't slept in approximately 36 hours (which, frankly, explains a lot). I would therefore ask your indulgence regarding my part in this discussion, as I want to explore a few items in greater detail and make notes so that when I return to this thread I will have (relatively) sane comments and observations to make.

By the way, thank you all for your support and understanding in helping me to better get a grasp on this whole affair.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2015, 12:41:35 am »

'child-boards' are also known as 'sub-boards' like 'pinned topics' are also known as 'stickied topics'. Yay terminology duality!
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2015, 12:53:32 am »



Alas. the line between history and alternate history is tenuous.  Perhaps we need a Historical section within Metaphysical?
[/quote]

Yes!
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2015, 08:45:33 am »

Alright, I'm (mostly) ready. Despite that this thread is about "Child Boards" I will endeavor to remain mature at all times. However, by Grabthar's Hammer, if I do not get my turn on the swingset before the teacher blows the whistle to end recess...! Wink

This is going to be a longish post, so I may decide to break it up into two, maybe three posts. If I do, I ask your indulgence regarding the following:  please don't respond to any of my comments until I've sounded the "all clear", as it were, so that you can see my entire train of thought to its end before responding. (By all means, respond to other peoples' comments in the interim!) I will also remind you that I type slow and re-read and edit multiple times before posting, but I will let you know when I'm done.

First up, my assessment of boards I believe to need the least revision:

The Engine Room
*What It Says on the Tin. No changes recommended.
Child Board:  Dispute Resolution
*What It Says on the Tin. No changes recommended.

Frequently Posed Questions
*What It Says on the Tin. However, all the topics are locked. I don't know if that is something that needs revision, or not. I will note that when I was unsuccessful in finding an answer to a question of mine on this board I posted it onto The Engine Room and got a response, so... I surmise that this is an acceptable way of going about it, and hopefully other new members will have the presence of mind to do likewise. Otherwise, no changes recommended.

Trading
*What It Says on the Tin. However, my questions are:  Should this board also include notices about auctions, or should those notices be placed within whichever board to which the auctioned item is relevant? Should threads promoting an author's work be posted here or in Textual, as there are currently examples appearing in both boards? Otherwise, no changes recommended.

Aural-Ocular
*What It Says on the Tin. My only note here is that there seems to be a rather loose interpretation of what is and isn't off topic, but I haven't seen anyone complaining about that (which is not to say there haven't been complaints, I just haven't seen any), so it doesn't really appear to be an issue.

Geographical
*Pretty Much What It Says on the Tin. I would add in the descriptor the word "Architecture" as this is the best place for posting about period and steamy buildings, and indeed there are a number of threads already on Geographical on this subject. Architectural threads currently in Off Topic need to be moved here if they're about period/steamy buildings.
Child Boards:
North America, United Kingdom, Europe, Oceania

*What It Says on the Tin. No changes recommended.

Anatomical
*What It Says on the Tin. However, I'd like somewhere in the descriptor for there to be something that indicates that there is real history included on this board alongside the cosplay elements. Perhaps changing the name of the board itself to "Anatomical and Daily Life" or something cleaner? Whether in the name of the board or in the descriptor, whatever it is needs to be clean and succinct. Or, do you think the real historical aspect is already self-evident in the current descriptor?

Textual
*Things were a little less clear to me here, because of the inclusion of role-playing. As a newer member, this didn't make sense to me unless they were talking about GM and Players' Manuals. When I saw the Child Board "Portrayal", I took that to be cosplay and LARPing. As that was of less interest to me, it was some time before I discovered that it is an exercise in team creative writing, at which point its inclusion in Textual was obvious. I do not know how many (if any) other newer members came to the same conclusion as I. If it is and/or has been a problem for anyone other than myself, is there a way this might be clarified? Perhaps renaming Portrayal as "Portrayal via (whatever term best describes this particular method of role-play)"? Thoughts?
Additionally, there are threads and posts wherein authors are promoting their works in either Trading or Textual. Shouldn't they be in one or the other? Or is there some determining factor I'm missing?
Child Board:  Portrayal
*See above.

Off Topic
*What It Says on the Tin...except when it isn't. There are what I consider to be an alarming number of on topic threads here, mostly of an historical nature. Moderators are currently considering some form of alternate board or child board to contain those threads, so they'll stay put for now (more on that discussion later). Once things have been revised, we'll need to go through Off Topic to help the Mods make note of what could then be safely relocated to their new home. Let's not break their servers (or their will to live), though...I'm confident they will provide us with guidelines for when that time comes.
Child Board:  The Off-Topic Historical Society
*Cute (but entirely appropriate!) title, which is okay because the board's purpose is very clearly defined in the descriptor, plus the name is catchy enough to draw the curious new member. No changes recommended.

BREAK.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2015, 09:16:47 am »

Internal moderator discussion is occurring on this topic. Watch this space.
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2015, 11:14:19 am »

CONTINUING.

Thank you for the indulgence. And now...

Trading
*This has been a bit stickier, and I'll chalk it up to one word and a phrase in the descriptor:  "Engineering" and "Specifically the act of making things."

The confusion possibly all lies with semantics, or at the very least interpretations vs. intents. It has been said by some that this board was always meant to be specifically for makers. This is not immediately obvious to newer members either by descriptor or the content of the board itself, as there are more than a few threads here that are not specifically makers or making, as those terms are apparently meant originally. The term "Specifically the act of making things" has not even precluded threads about making things which are neither period nor steamy, but that issue is not exclusive to this board by a long stretch.

"Specifically the act of making things" therefore seems too inclusive if this thread was only ever meant to be exclusively for and about makers.

"Engineering" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the work of designing and creating large structures (such as roads and bridges) or new products or systems by using scientific methods" or "the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engineering); by The Free Dictionary as "the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems" or " the practical application of science and mathematics, as in the design and construction of machines, vehicles, structures, roads, and systems" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/engineering). There are numerous subsets of engineering, such as chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, which will be defined even more narrowly. I've only provided two dictionary sources for this, but feel free to search out more. You will see, no doubt, a commonality.

This definition clearly has the makers covered, as it should. But to a newer member, that term implies that this is also the go-to board for anything pertaining to anything involving engineering (preferably on topic for period and/or steamy). One might reasonably conclude, based on this descriptor, that this is the board to discuss how machinery of the period works, how roads and bridges and buildings would have been built, how to design and construct conveyances (be they locomotives, dirigibles, sailing vessels, submersibles, horseless carriages, etc.), and so forth. If I wished to know, for example, what the part on a spinning mule that arrests the motion of the machine when a thread breaks is called, Tactile is the first place I'd go. (It's called a "faller", by the way.)

So, how to resolve this? If the definition of "Engineering" is accepted as what it actually means, then all such threads appropriately belong in Tactile. If, however, Tactile was always meant to be and still is meant to be solely a resource for makers, then my recommendation would be to create a new child board for "Engineering" as a subset of Tactile, and this would be the place for the sort of threads discussed above.

(Before I move on to the child board notes, it has been brought to my attention that a new child board for Tactile is being considered for weapons threads. The descriptions so far have been sound.)

Child Boards:
Chronautomata

*Cute (but entirely appropriate!) title, which is okay because the board's purpose is very clearly defined in the descriptor, plus the name is catchy enough to draw the curious new member. No changes recommended. 
How to...
*What It Says on the Tin. However, people ask and answer these sorts of question on the parent board, as well. Do newer members just not go to the child board first, or...? I haven't investigated this particular issue myself, but my personal experience has taught me that members of Brass Goggles are very good about gently directing newer members to threads that already answer a question, so I'm confident that is what is happening here. If it is not, should this child board be merged back into its parent?

Metaphysical:
*You know that drawer in your kitchen where you put that one shoelace, that pair of scissors with one broken blade but it still cuts, that part from IKEA left over from the assembly which you have no idea where it was supposed to go but you're praying your kids and the dog don't jump up on that piece of furniture so you can find out, and so on? This is that board. A catchy title, clearly explained by its descriptor.

However...

There has been some confusion regarding history, real world history that does not already fit into Anatomical (clothing and daily life), Geographical (architecture), Textual (authors, books), or Tactile (other man-made). A lot of that orphan history has found its way to Off Topic, a board no one coming here to do any sort of substantive research will think to visit. As a result, a discussion has arisen regarding either the addition of a new board for history, or at the very least a new child board in Metaphysical for same. So far, there has been a general consensus that:



I agree with other commenters that history is important enough to warrant its own board. We would want, however, to make certain it is understood the board is for real-world history only. (Discussions of alternate history, mythology, and so forth should still go to Metaphysical.) My suggestion is that the history covered should be from the (admittedly nebulous) start of the Industrial Revolution (depending on the historian, anywhere from c.1790-1840) through approximately either the start or end of World War I (when the combustion engine had gained supremacy over steam). Even then it would still need to be flexible enough to allow discussions of ancient Greek and Chinese experiments and inventions, as well as those of the Renaissance, pertaining to steam and powered machines. We would also want to steer historical discussions covered by other boards to their respective homes.

I also agree with other commenters that separating older threads out of Metaphysical would be a soul-numbing task, and so should be left in situ for the time being. I believe the appropriate focus to begin is to wade through Off Topic for those orphaned historical threads that should be moved to the new board (and yes, Major Vincent Smith, I'll be happy to do that). After that task is done, and the dust from the un-pinning and the new boarding and those frakin' raccoons are in my bird feeders again and whatever else the mods have to put up with to make all of this happen settles, then perhaps we could just notify them when we chance upon a real-world historical thread elsewhere, without actually looking for them on purpose.

Child Board:  Meta Clubs
*What It Says on the Tin. No changes recommended.

Okay, checking back over my notes...Nope, I covered everything, unless I'm punchier from being up this late than I realize, so...

Again, thank you all.

You may now resume your normal commenting schedule.

END.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2015, 06:53:33 pm »

I was saying the other day in the Officers' Mess that How To needs a thorough review. The main problem with making it do "what it says on the tin" is that it doesn't actually say anything on the tin. I think JingleJoe created it during his brief tenure as a Mod, and it was never given a formal charter like the other boards.

So, what should that charter be? Should How To be for the asking of questions, or should it be strictly a repository of answers?
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2015, 07:51:57 pm »

My two cents:

Regarding Historical and Metaphysical some flexibility MUST be included.  You are going to have a HORRIBLE time preventing people in a strictly historical subject, say, for example, the US Civil War, or the French Intervention and Second Mexican (Maximilian) Empire, from commenting in terms of Alternate History and viceversa.  I think you can see why. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2015, 08:02:40 pm »

I had thought of that, and yes, I agree there must be some flexibility. Bleeding over is inevitable, I fear. But still, simply having that board, and having it specifically state it is for real-world historical posts, would be of such immense value that it would be worth dealing with the occasional crossover.
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2015, 09:30:03 pm »

I had thought of that, and yes, I agree there must be some flexibility. Bleeding over is inevitable, I fear. But still, simply having that board, and having it specifically state it is for real-world historical posts, would be of such immense value that it would be worth dealing with the occasional crossover.

If I may be so bold, the onus of keeping the thread on topic is on the original poster who started the thread.  Otherwise any comments which get way out of hand can be regulated by a moderator.  I's say we simply instruct that any thread started be historical, but allow comments made to delve into anachronisms, uchronisms and Steampunk in general...
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2015, 10:36:27 pm »

I love the idea of a Historical board, either as a child of an existing board or as a new top-level.

{admin hat on}
However, I acknowledge that such a board poses unique moderation problems (how much do we care about accuracy/correctness? Who is the arbiter of that? etc.?)

My suggestion is that people who want the board come up with a simple "charter" of sorts that explains what is appropriate for the board, and recommends at least two board moderators who are willing to do the bulk of moderation within that board.
{/admin hat off}
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2015, 02:14:45 am »

Now, that's the second time I've seen the use of that word "charter"...

Is there a template somewhere explaining to the uninitiated how a charter should be constructed?

And my next question:  What degree of dehumanizing behavior would I have to perform in Tijuana to entice two moderators to take on more unpaid labor?
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2015, 02:16:50 am »

I had thought of that, and yes, I agree there must be some flexibility. Bleeding over is inevitable, I fear. But still, simply having that board, and having it specifically state it is for real-world historical posts, would be of such immense value that it would be worth dealing with the occasional crossover.

If I may be so bold, the onus of keeping the thread on topic is on the original poster who started the thread.  Otherwise any comments which get way out of hand can be regulated by a moderator.  I's say we simply instruct that any thread started be historical, but allow comments made to delve into anachronisms, uchronisms and Steampunk in general...

That would work.
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