Ghost fishing threads.

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DevonDamo
Posts: 388
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Ghost fishing threads.

Postby DevonDamo » 4 Sep 2020, 12:57pm

When commercial fishing nets get lost or abandoned at sea, they continue to catch/kill wildlife for many years and this has become known as 'ghost fishing.'

A similar thing happens on these forums when someone pops up with either a controversial or just plain stupid question and then disappears. To paint a picture of what I'm talking about: think of someone registering a new account and immediately starting a thread asking a question implying that helmet wearing should be mandatory, and then never being seen again, despite World War Three having erupted on their thread. And without the OP coming back and clarifying what they were asking or providing updates on their technical issue, these threads are far more prone to drifting off-topic into a full handbag-war.

Mick F has stepped in on a couple of these threads today and yesterday, but the discussions have rumbled on regardless, with some members making the reasonable observation that they find the discussion worthwhile regardless of whether the OP has disappeared. Personally, I'm of the view that it's undesirable for two reasons: (1) it's normalising bad manners, i.e. getting a bunch of people to spend their time providing advice without giving them any response or thanks and (2) it makes this forum particularly susceptible to trolling - some of which is known to be carried out on forums by 'bots.'

I think the solution here is obvious: do as most other forums do and don't allow users to start new threads until they've hit a certain number of posts. Of course, this means that trolls/spammers will start posting drivel in threads just to get to the required number of posts, but patterns of inane posts can be spotted and these new users can then be reported and their accounts deleted. I'd also vote for an additional, slightly more aggressive approach: introduce a protocol whereby any 'question/advice' thread where the OP hasn't responded to any discussion within 48 hours be deleted.

Finally, another problem along the same lines is the resurrection of dead threads. Example: a 4 year old technical thread was recently replied to, which set it 'ghost fishing' again. Despite a couple of users pointing out the age of the thread, the debate continued as if it were started yesterday. Again, you could argue that the debate is valuable, regardless of whether the OP has probably sorted their technical problem out many years ago. However, to me it's straightforward: if you haven't noticed that it's an ancient thread, you're almost certainly adding your 2p to a discussion without reading what's already been said, which is a bit pointless and leads to tedious 'groundhog day' scenarios. My vote would be for such threads to be locked or deleted if the mods can't find any justification for them having been revived.

mercalia
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Location: london South

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby mercalia » 4 Sep 2020, 1:05pm

Care to give us the examples so we can see for our selves rather than take your word?

PH
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Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby PH » 4 Sep 2020, 1:09pm

No - there's nothing compelling any of us to read and/or respond to any thread. I don't want the moderators to decide which threads are worthy of continuing, I doubt they'd want that either.
It would be nice if when an old thread is resuscitated there was an obvious way of seeing that was the case, though I don't know the technicality of making that possible.

DevonDamo
Posts: 388
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby DevonDamo » 4 Sep 2020, 1:19pm

mercalia wrote:Care to give us the examples so we can see for our selves rather than take your word?


I'm glad you asked. You actually posted in one of them, and were blissfully unaware that the OP had asked a specific question and then quietly disappeared from the thread which elicited a load of advice and legal research(!) Goes to show - we can spend a lot of time adding our 2p to debates on here, where it turns out nobody is actually listening to anyone else, least of all the OP...

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=140657

Here's the other one I mentioned where Mick F had intervened:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=140613

And here's a lovely 4-year old thread, resurrected a couple of weeks ago:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103374

PH
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Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby PH » 4 Sep 2020, 1:22pm

DevonDamo wrote: then quietly disappeared from the thread which elicited a load of advice and legal research(!) Goes to show - we can spend a lot of time adding our 2p to debates on here, where it turns out nobody is actually listening to anyone else, least of all the OP...

You don't know that. They may have read the replies, or enough of them to have the answer, and had nothing else to contribute. A thank you or acknowledgement is always nice to receive, but there's no obligation.

DevonDamo
Posts: 388
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby DevonDamo » 4 Sep 2020, 1:33pm

PH wrote:You don't know that. They may have read the replies, or enough of them to have the answer, and had nothing else to contribute. A thank you or acknowledgement is always nice to receive, but there's no obligation.


True, but in the two cases I've linked to above, I'm already suspicious of the bona fides of the OP, simply because of the dodgy content of their post. You do know that many of the contributors aren't reading each other's posts. In the 'groundhog day' 20+ pages threads, you'll regularly find the same points being raised by different people on different pages - demonstrating they clearly haven't read what's already been written. The end result of this is that long threads become a compost heap of opinions - fresh stuff at the top, mouldy stuff at the bottom, continuously being heaped up.

I do accept this as an inevitable part of forum life by the way and I'm not trying to tackle it. My suggestion is just to tackle those who are either absent-minded or are trolls/spammers and are adding/reviving to our inventory of 'compost heaps' when we've got more than enough already.

thirdcrank
Posts: 29431
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Sep 2020, 1:38pm

It's certainly not only first-time posters who start a thread on a controversial subject.

PS I'd be very cautious about expecting more from the mods on things like thread revival.

mercalia
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Location: london South

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby mercalia » 4 Sep 2020, 4:09pm

DevonDamo wrote:
mercalia wrote:Care to give us the examples so we can see for our selves rather than take your word?


I'm glad you asked. You actually posted in one of them, and were blissfully unaware that the OP had asked a specific question and then quietly disappeared from the thread which elicited a load of advice and legal research(!) Goes to show - we can spend a lot of time adding our 2p to debates on here, where it turns out nobody is actually listening to anyone else, least of all the OP...

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=140657

Here's the other one I mentioned where Mick F had intervened:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=140613

And here's a lovely 4-year old thread, resurrected a couple of weeks ago:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103374


I hardly think the first two count as they were only started end of August 2020.

Carlton green
Posts: 827
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby Carlton green » 4 Sep 2020, 5:27pm

I see the OP’s points but feel that his proposals aren’t a clear forward step. As adults we can all view a post and decide to respond to it or not as we see fit. The date of the original post is there to be seen and likewise the status of the original poster. The current situation might be imperfect but I’m happy to live with it.

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Navara
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Joined: 29 Jun 2020, 11:38pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby Navara » 4 Sep 2020, 6:08pm

DevonDamo wrote:And here's a lovely 4-year old thread, resurrected a couple of weeks ago:
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103374

You will find the very same thread-resurrecter has resurrected many threads lately..including a few of their own :roll:
Maybe they are trying to break some sort of posting count :wink: :?:

Tangled Metal
Posts: 7006
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Sep 2020, 7:07pm

DevonDamo wrote:
mercalia wrote:Care to give us the examples so we can see for our selves rather than take your word?


I'm glad you asked. You actually posted in one of them, and were blissfully unaware that the OP had asked a specific question and then quietly disappeared from the thread which elicited a load of advice and legal research(!) Goes to show - we can spend a lot of time adding our 2p to debates on here, where it turns out nobody is actually listening to anyone else, least of all the OP...

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=140657

Here's the other one I mentioned where Mick F had intervened:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=140613

And here's a lovely 4-year old thread, resurrected a couple of weeks ago:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103374

Not seen these threads, off to do a bit of reading and possibly a post or two. Thanks for the links.

Cyril Haearn
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Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 4 Sep 2020, 7:10pm

PH wrote:No - there's nothing compelling any of us to read and/or respond to any thread. I don't want the moderators to decide which threads are worthy of continuing, I doubt they'd want that either.
It would be nice if when an old thread is resuscitated there was an obvious way of seeing that was the case, though I don't know the technicality of making that possible.

This was mentioned a while ago
I use the text 'Thread resurrection alert' where appropriate

I and many others found the statue thread started by Gladstone interesting
S/he spent a moment posting, we were entertained and informed
+1

The mods do indeed delete threads, I think, I have searched for some I remembered well, but not found them
Last edited by Cyril Haearn on 4 Sep 2020, 7:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DevonDamo
Posts: 388
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby DevonDamo » 4 Sep 2020, 7:22pm

Carlton green wrote:I see the OP’s points but feel that his proposals aren’t a clear forward step. As adults we can all view a post and decide to respond to it or not as we see fit. The date of the original post is there to be seen and likewise the status of the original poster. The current situation might be imperfect but I’m happy to live with it.


I've probably confused the issue with my overly-lengthy brain-dump of an opening post.

The main suggestion I'm making is not about deleting threads or restricting our ability to respond to them - it's about introducing a minimum eligibility requirement (e.g. in terms of numbers of posts made) for members to start new threads, like most other forums have.

mumbojumbo
Posts: 365
Joined: 1 Aug 2018, 8:18pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby mumbojumbo » 4 Sep 2020, 7:28pm

If a new member posts a question whish is stimulating its a good thing,irrespective of whether they wait to receive a definitive solution.And if say 5 posts are needed it means they will make a set of mediocre comments to quailfy.Do leave the status quo intact

Carlton green
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Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: Ghost fishing threads.

Postby Carlton green » 5 Sep 2020, 9:15am

DevonDamo wrote:
Carlton green wrote:I see the OP’s points but feel that his proposals aren’t a clear forward step. As adults we can all view a post and decide to respond to it or not as we see fit. The date of the original post is there to be seen and likewise the status of the original poster. The current situation might be imperfect but I’m happy to live with it.


I've probably confused the issue with my overly-lengthy brain-dump of an opening post.

The main suggestion I'm making is not about deleting threads or restricting our ability to respond to them - it's about introducing a minimum eligibility requirement (e.g. in terms of numbers of posts made) for members to start new threads, like most other forums have.


To an extent I see the forum as a place of various forms of mutual support. As such it would seem fair that a new member offered support before seeking it. However, life doesn’t work that way and there will always be some people who for whatever reason either seek to game the system or have need but little to offer others.

The Mod’s already have enough to do and I’m grateful for what they do do. If it were practical and possible then perhaps some probation system for new posters would work. A system where say the first six posts of a new member had to be viewed and approved by a moderator before they appeared to members would avoid spam.

As I said in an earlier post, members are adults who have the choice - and I hope the reasoning capability - to either respond to a post or ignore it as they see appropriate.