TW: What is "On Topic" - or not?


Okay, I'd just like to throw this one to the wolves as I'm very much in doubt. So, mods and fellow members, what's your take?

I read the thread 9/11 Conspiracy theories and mainstream TV and not being from the US I thought it was interesting, but a rather "harmless" subject to discuss, as it happens all over the place. Like, say if the lunar landing was a fake or not, or if they really got those aliens in Area 51 - that type of discussion: Classic tinfoil; good clean controversial entertainment.

However, some people responding to that thread seem to think otherwise. So, I'd just like to ask: Is this kind of subject "on topic" for Threadwatch or not? If not, what is?

Personally I always had the idea that whatever a poster posted was on topic, as his/her opening post defined the topic. Or is this to be yet another SEO forum (abbreviated y-a-w-n), discussing the exact same stuff as everyone else ?


What's "on topic" is..

..what an editor chooses to publish!

We do not have any "hard and fast" guidelines, but had a discussion about it last week. Basically most editors publish stories that (in their judgement) are "suitable", zap any that are obvious no no's, and leave for another editor to do the same arbitrage on any story if they are in doubt.

Dubious stories tend to drop down the "not published list" as other editors decide to leave too.

Sometimes we publish stories just for the hell of it. Other times it may be a slow news day that gets something published that would not have made the cut otherwise.

More of an art than a science.

But please keep the stories coming in.


I'd have posted that in bullocks but heck as long as that kind of stuff doesn't make up the majority of threads it doesn't bother me. If you don't piss someone off now and again you're just not pushing the boundaries and growing. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Other political posts...

Theres plenty of political topics concerning search companies, the internet, DMCA, copyrights, file sharing, for example that I would appreciate more than 9-11 conspiracies. I just submited an article about so go approve that.

never mind :)

never mind :)

I didn't appreciate that

I didn't appreciate that topic. I don't come hear to debate issues like that and for some of us that is an emotionally charged issue. I expect that the topics here to be somewhat related to the internet and business, even the funny ones, and if you really go off in left field I'd at least prefer a topic not as emotionally charged and political as that one.


You people gotta ligthen up.

You just can't be a robot. Humour and some off-topic discussions are the life in any community.

I'll bet you 1k that if Matt Cutts posted something about his cat, 20 jerkoffs would discuss that thread in notime (no names given though), without complaining about some off-topic issue.

So spare me.

Does it Matter?

If the topic isn't of interest or offends then don't read the damn thing.

I'd hate to see censorship come knocking, but then again, don't be surprised when such an emotionally charged topic causes readers to leave and hate mail overload your mailbox.

Since every topic hits the internet it technically ends up in a search engine therefore almost anything is fair game regarding SEO.

However, the question in my mind is who would prostitute themselves to help such sites with such charged topics get to the top of the search engines?

Then the flip side is would some of you turn to the dark side and attempt to Google bowl sites like that to get rid of 'em?


My cat was behind 9-11

The 9/11 post was off-topic,

The 9/11 post was off-topic, and it wasn't even news.

I'd stick to "cutting the signal from the noise of search engine marketing and blogs", because that's what I subscribed for. If I want to discuss 9/11 theories (which I don't) then there's plenty of other places for me to go.

for once I have to agree with you

>>If the topic isn't of interest or offends then don't read the damn thing

absolutely correct IncrediBILL, if you don't like the thread or post then just walk on bye and leave through the back door but dont start harping on about a thread that has offended you.

Not here anyway...

...since TW is not the place for whining - historically :-]

Have to agree with Bill...

If the topic isn't of interest or offends then don't read the damn thing.

Post whatever you want. I'll choose which I want to read and which I don't.

Are people seriously complaining?

I think we all owe the editors a "thanks" -- this thing could've easily died when NickW went performancing ... and it hasn't.

Btw, how much do you editors get paid to run TW? I heard it was in the neighborhood of XXX,000 a year ;-)

new editors

That's, what 10 new editors inside a year? Out of 10 spots? And we don't expect any change?

Like Bill (did I reallly admit that?) I wonder more about the use of TW to raise awareness for such "viewpoints"...that's the second pointer in as many months (remember the Cahrlie Sheen one?)

OT is ok, spam is not.


It takes you more time to type up your complaint than it does to skip over the topics you don't like.

Politics, Religion and ... ?

I watched things get nasty right after 911 at SEF, when emotions were running high. They would have been better off just sticking to search engines. I think there are some topics that it is best to steer clear of like politics, sex and religion. There are always exceptions but I think the editors have gotten it right here at TW more often than not.

One of the strengths of TW is that it is NOT a general forog, but owns it's own little unique subject niche.

The difference

between Area 51 aliens/who shot JFK conspiracy theories and 9/11 is the deaths of thousands of innocent victims, not to mention the fact that it is a recent event, so I wouldn't characterize it as entertainment.

but a rather "harmless" subject to discuss, as it happens all over the place. Like, say if the lunar landing was a fake or not, or if they really got those aliens in Area 51 - that type of discussion: Classic tinfoil; good clean controversial entertainment.

I wasnt offended, but was not surprised that others would be. In an historical context, it is similar to the conspiracy theories regarding FDR and the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor (did you know FDR signed off on the A-bomb funding on December 6, 1941?). Many Vets who were there get very upset with that subject matter.

I also tend to think most people who engage in political/government conspiracy debates in forums like this know little about what they are talking about and usually just parrot what they read somewhere (I read it, it must be true) without the benefit of having a clue about the facts and/or historical context, so its easy for me to dismiss these threads with a roll of the eyes.


I actually host the website for His video is popping up EVERY WHERE! Even Mark Morford of the SFChronicle did an editorial about it approx 2 weeks ago.

For those that don't know, Loose Change 911 was made by three high school students, principally Dylan Avery, who was 17 at the time of the filming.

You *really* should see this film because, unlike a lot of others, there is no profit motive nor 3rd party interests.

>nor 3rd party

>nor 3rd party interests

there are always 3rd party interests

apologies re. entertainment

I'm sorry to have used the word "entertainment" in this context. English is not my primary language, and I expressed myself extremely bad. It was a wrong use of words and I apologize to everyone that read it.

What I thought about was the "conspiracy discussion" itself, not the events, and even then the word "entertainment" is just not appropriate. I did not mean to imply that any events related to 9/11 were entertaining at all in any way, and if you got that impression I apologize.

The opening post may be acceptable if you are able to separate the conspiray discussion from the factual events, but I realize that not everyone is able to do that, and I'm terribly sorry if what I wrote came out as offensive. I only thought about the conspiracy discussion, not the factual events.

Understood, claus. Text is

Understood, claus. Text is a difficult enough medium, let alone when it's not your primary language.

Claus, I have followed your

Claus, I have followed your posts for long enough to understood what you meant and in what context. I was actually playing devil's advocate to some extent in pointing out that the recency of the event makes it a touchy topic for some.

A great point was raised that if this had happened elsewhere, many of those who dont care for this thread probably wouldnt have raised the same objection, and it would have fallen under the "tin foil hat" debates that take place in a bar or cocktail party and would be considered entertainment.

We Americans do tend to take ourselves a little to seriously and quite often forget that large scale human tragedy is an everyday, worldwide event.

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