The IRC and the Forum are separate and both have their intended use and expected behavior. As a admin we monitor the site everyday, and as we get into organizing the site for '09 I keep seeing this problem damage some great threads. Going off topic, or behavior more meant for IRC/IM.
I see the Forum as a section of the site that has the most rules, because it is going to be archived, not just as a technical db, but as history. Anything not worth archiving will not be preserved for history. People should act formal because it shows respect to the archive. Imagine people will read the forums several years from now, do you want it to be an accurate record of suck-o, or do you want it filled with lame one-liners and easily googled request?
IRC, like IM is an area that I grew up within - I learned to interact with people over the internet. It was intended to be a less formal, easy-going means of human interaction. You want to say Hi! do some small talk? Do it on IRC, IM, or PM - it keeps the forums clean, and the misunderstood off-the-cuff comment won't be preserved for history. Inside jokes can be easily explained to a newcomer because it happens live, in a forum - it just comes off stupid.
The forum to me represents what RFC and BBS meant back in the olden days. It should be a learning environment, the archive is to preserve our knowledge, not our personalities (we have a thread for that). People should expect to find knowledge here, and it should be presented as unbiased as possible.
If the only rule we follow, is the first basic rule:
Stay on Topic.
IRC/PM/IM behavior does not belong in a forum.
Does anyone else agree/disagree on the problem of off-topic in the threads? Can we try to change this for '09?
...let us know what you think, free speech!
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