Going Off-Topic, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Split


Hey everyone! Lately I’ve been doing a fair bit of post migration to split topics when the conversation has diverged. Actually in most of these scenarios it’s been I myself that went quite off-topic, and then after a few replies to me I migrated the new conversation to the separate topic it deserved.

I did this intentionally thinking my divergent conversation might not get any attention, and I didn’t want to split the topic unless there were at least a few posts in the vein of this new conversation, i.e. once it became a real distraction from the original topic.

I realize now though that waiting was an error, I should have immediately used the “Reply as linked Topic” feature instead! There’s a reason it’s available for every forum member, I was letting my post migration abilities distract me. From now on I’ll set a better example.

Reply as linked Topic

To the right of any post is the option to “Reply as linked Topic”. Because the new topic is linked to the old, your new topic will be noticed by the current topic’s participants (including email notifications I believe) and receive the attention it deserves.

Fearlessly off-topic!

While it’s to everyone’s benefit to keep the conversation in the same vein, divergences can and will happen and this is perfectly fine. If you know your reply will be off-topic and likely generate discussion, of course go ahead and use the “Reply as linked Topic” feature.

If you aren’t sure, don’t worry about it, someone a few posts later in the conversation can always take the opportunity to reply as a linked topic. Likewise I can always come along and pull out the related posts into their own dedicated topic after the fact. The nature of a forum is to be a little messy. :wink:

Post migration

I will only ever migrate posts when there are several on a divergent topic. If I do end up pulling your’s and other people’s posts into a new topic, please understand that this is a sign of respect, it’s as if to say, “your words have merit and we’d like to hear more, let’s create a dedicated area to delve into them more deeply”. This means greater health for the original topic and the new topic. This migration process is part of the normal operation of a Discourse forum.

There may be some rare occasions when I migrate a post that is a mixture of off and on-topic content. Ideally this won’t happen because you’ve either made them separate posts (not a bad idea, even if it means two in a row) or I simply choose to be conservative in my approach and leave it put. But if I do move it, please don’t take it as a sign that the on-topic text was unwelcome in the original topic, rather it means I thought it was outweighed by the value the divergent text gave to the new topic, and I certainly encourage re-posting the on-topic portion of the text back to the original topic. (Hopefully it will be clear what portion that is!)

Still learning

Thanks everyone, just a quick reminder that as our forum here is so new, I’m getting used to the system myself and determining just what approaches are best. I might make mistakes along the way that you can bring to my attention, and as always you can begin a discussion about the forum itself by creating a new topic with the meta category.


Great to know. Love the Reply as Linked Topic feature. :smiley:

Thanks for the explanation–it’s very useful–and for your efforts, Chris. :slight_smile:


Christopher, We will find it in our hearts to forgive you this one time; we feel everyone’s entitled to one clusterfu*k in their life, but watch it in the future…The Warden…

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As a person who never felt the love when topics were taken off into the bushes on FB, I like this simple solution,truth be told I found 'off topicing’excruciatingly frustrating- 4 replies in and the inception of the thread was nowhere to be found. I never knew if it was deliberate, but it was persistent. Sometimes it yielded the unexpected gem , but more often it was a rambling thread to wade through.

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Thanks for the info on reply off topic. I’ve been learning your forum in order to find the appropriate place to ask technical questions. I suppose the “meta” category is the best place to ask you questions …