Advice for moderators - if a thread (especially a big thread) deviates into different subjects from the thread's original subject, then interject and ask for the conversation to be moved to a new thread and for that thread to go back on-topic.
Example, if the thread is talking about the effects of a spell that is worth banning, and 2 or 3 or 5 people start talking about immediate actions are at fault, that's a textbook candidate that the idea of clarifying how immediate actions work should be a separate thread.
Paizo's messageboards don't have an upvote/downvote system to indicate relevance of posts, so this kind of thing is really important.
I've been less active on the messageboards recently, but it's dawned on me that this has been a problem since forever, and I'm certainly noticing it now. I've heard from other people in the past that they stay away from the messageboards, and I'm pretty sure the tangents are one of the reasons why - and it's something that can be dealt with (without large changes to swaths of code).
Topic deviations are a natural part of conversation, whether in person or through text.
Creating a new thread any time a tangent occurs to a topic just breajs up the conversation and adds to forum clutter. Instead of one thread with 5 different conversations naturally interwoven, you gave 5 threads, 4 of them with topics directly referring to another one as the "topic starter".
Your comment about up/downvotes indicating relevance is pretty weird too, because it rarely (if ever) works out that way on forums that have it.
Instead, it sorts posts by popularity. Posts a lot of people agree with vs posts a lot of people disagree with. At best, it reduces discussion of conflicting ideas, hiding those that disagree with the norm and troll posts. At worst, everything turns into a tedious echo chamber chorus of "This! So much this! ^^^^^^^^".
The only upside is it gives you less to read on enormous forums like Reddit, which this one is not. Reading 50-100 posts, most of them only one or two sentences, isn't going to hurt you.
|Toxic Yesterday, Earth Avenger|