Follows ups - useful side conversations or a total distraction?

Submitted: Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 07:16
ThreadID: 134290 Views:3187 Replies:16 FollowUps:33
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It seems to me that lots of threads have follow ups that distract from the OP's original post and steer the whole conversation into some off topic direction. Sometimes these OT followups get a life of their own and the OP is left without any decent answers to the original subject.

Often I read threads, only to find they are of no value unless you are interested in the hijacking follow up parts.

Frequently the follow ups lead to petty point making discussions. A recent follow up thread even had the topic of a few people complaining that they were missing out because private messages were sent. Nothing to do with the original post.
IMHO the whole follow up concept ruins the original threads most of the time.
If someone really wants to discuss something off topic why not start their own thread. I don't think this is any individual, it is just too easy for the original subject to get forgotten.

Have they outlived their usefulness? Am I alone in thinking this?

One or two other forums that are tightly mod'd like LCOOL keep on the topic and force users to start a new topic if the conversation strays. The threads are useful for years and stay alive and relevant.

Just a suggestion, but IMHO, if someone posts a follow up, then only the person being "followed up" can reply, and only once. Either that or just drop them altogether.

It would be much more user friendly to look at topics and hove some confidence that the subject represents the discussion. That is not really the case now. If someone really wants others to invest input into a subject then surely it is worth a separate thread.


What do others think?
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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 07:43

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 07:43
Gday
As long as the "Poster" gets their answer, i dont see a problem with a little humour coming into the system. What a sad day it will be when the anti humour police get their way
Muzbry
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AnswerID: 608501

Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:00

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:00
I think that worrying about whether forum threads stay on topic or not means that we don't have enough to worry about. What a first world problem....is reading off onto a tangent that upsetting? Having to carefully consider your replies so as not to upset the "stay on topic" police is enough to make you not reply at all in a lot of cases. That's just what a forum needs, fewer posts.
AnswerID: 608502

Reply By: RMD - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:08

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:08
Boobook
Possibly I have been guilty of some divergence from the OP's original request but only to provide some info which contradicts some replies which seem too far fetched to happen or technically don't, can't, doesn't happen. Some technical advice given, if acted on would not be at all successful for the OP.

Often, replies if taken notice of, will lead the OP trying to make a decision, to be very confused and unsure and rendered unable to decide what to do to remedy their situation.
I see others also trying to save the OP from a wrong direction.

Not sure how to control or limit the issue though, without causing some folk to be feel hurt or the ego battered.
AnswerID: 608503

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:23

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:23
Hmm, seems I am in a minority of 1 here.

AnswerID: 608504

Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:38

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:38
I don't think you are, a lot of threads go so far off topic it makes research time consuming & tedious.
Even this weeks Friday Funnies got hijacked.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:03

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:03
Yep. we can never have enough rules.
OBJ
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:54

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:54
...."Even this weeks Friday Funnies got hijacked."

C'mon, it's the joke thread and the hijack was a joke itself.
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Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 23:40

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 23:40
Let's unpack this some more.
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Reply By: Notso - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:42

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:42
Yeah, by the way what do you think of the recent weather!!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:53

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 08:53
Thanks Notso, my point exactly.

With no follow ups and tighter modding, this post would be removed, moved to another new thread or locked.

With followups, this irrevelent post will get a life of it's own and may take over the entire thread.The subject moves from 'follow ups' to 'weather' with no regard to the original topic. The subject it's self may be of interest and may deserve their own topic. But how many times has a topic changed completely like this? All the time.

The threads quickly go senile and are of little use to anyone interested in the original topic, now or later.

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:39

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:39
It also causes questions to asked & asked again, because threads are so hard to follow.

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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:26

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:26
I'm finding the weather in SA a little bit to hot for me at this time Notso. I've checked on BOM and it looks like it might cool down over the next couple of days. I hope so as I have to replace my tyres ready for the Big Lap this year. Still not sure whether to stick with BFG (140Km) or try BS 697.
Dave.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:35

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:35
Dave. Your choice of tyres will depend on whether you are using an Engle or Waeco fridge. Which do you think it best?
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FollowupID: 878266

Follow Up By: Notso - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:03

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:03
As long as you buy a Jeep, everything will be OK!
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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:13

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:13
Done.
Dave.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:36

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 09:36
One can easily get back to the original topic or discussion by not expanding the posts.

Doesn't bother me.

Phil
AnswerID: 608509

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:41

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:41
Perhaps questions like this are symptomatic of a broader problem with internet forums – they are in decline due to having outlived usefulness as a way for people with common interests to communicate.

And all too often internet forums have become a place of angst, where different points of view trigger unsociable behaviours that are fostered by the anonymity the internet and a keyboard provide.

I don’t see any problem with a bit of banter here and there, it is certainly preferable to some of the inappropriate and, at times, rude responses that filter into some threads.

But we live in a "reality television" age where there appears to be an insatiable appetite for witnessing a spoil, a good old fashioned punch-up of sorts and this weighs on the forum, and perhaps the willingness of some to contribute or even visit the site over time.

Mind you, I have always considered EO as far more than an internet forum and for this reason I am pleased to see it morphing into something more relevant for our times and congratulate the EO team for taking steps in that direction…

The development of the Travel App is perhaps a pointer of the direction EO is heading and, consequently, that might mean the forum becomes less relevant over time, both for the owners of EO, and for those visiting.

But that is my observation and it might be entirely off-mark…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 608510

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 17:15

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 17:15
So, what you are saying is that the whole forum is becoming off topic? :-)
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Reply By: ian.g - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 11:46

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 11:46
I'll say only two words "Chinese Whispers"
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Reply By: steved58 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:54

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:54
Have you people no real camping 4wd fishing etc conversation left in you to worry about these little problems let it carry on as it is
AnswerID: 608512

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 13:13

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 13:13
I guess that is my point Steve, I think these conversations are going on. Just not here, and on other forums that can provide more focus on the actual topic at hand.

An example is LCOOL. A well run, forum that specialises in Land Cruisers. The 200 section alone has more posts per day than EO these days. Why? If you ask a question, you get replies to THAT question. if you divert then you are asked to use a different thread. As a result the threads are a wealth of information that build up over years. Searching finds a limited number of dedicated on topic discussions. It seems to work, it's growing in volume of threads and users.

Look at some threads here and they have lost their meaning and value but the end of the first day because of "Follow up" hijacking.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 13:46

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 13:46
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Hello Boobook,

I don't think you are "alone in thinking this" but I doubt that the matter could be changed. Our whole society seems headed into a 'combatant' rather than 'co-operative' ethos. Just view the popularity of the 'reality' TV productions! ("Reality"? Haha)

I guessed why you used MM rather than an open response and any advice that I might have offered the OP would likely be best kept private also.
I have even had some EO individuals contact me directly via email to seek electrical advice rather than become embroiled in the Forum morass.

Of course, the EO Forum is somewhat different to the more disciplined sites such as LCOOL. It is more of a social community and as such is open to frivolous comments, some being light-hearted but others, alas, being condemnatory.

Some well respected Members have permanently departed the EO Forum because of the criticism and lack of respect that they have suffered and we are the poorer because of that.
Boo, I really appreciate your experience and contributions along with the other 'elders' on this forum. Don't let whingers get to you.

I could make a number of other points but Baz has done that for me.

p.s. Feel free to contact me by MM or email at any time. LOL
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 608515

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 14:16

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 14:16
That is true Allan. As you say LCOOL and EO are both very different, and along with one or two other forums, are my go to sites.

As a whole I think the EO community are well wishing and the old Electrical / solar flare ups are rarer now days. A bit of banter is great and I am definitely guilty of that at times. The PM thing was the straw for me.

The reason I raised the issue is that as someone that has been using EO for quite a few years, I see the same old newbie questions over and over, they often don't get answered properly and seem to go down the old OT ratholes. As a result I don't even reply to them or even look at them now days. It is a waste of time. Searching for a topic isn't as useful as it is on some other forums because of the amount of non relevant dialog that you have to go through at times. Soooo people start a new thread and it all starts over again. Ok for newbies, not very interesting for oldies. IMHO the Follow ups are a large factor in that effect.

I still learn a lot from this forum and its members but over the last year I have started a few threads that got totally hijacked and never got a full answer. A complete waste of my time and others who contributed.

Threads on any forum can and do go OT but the followups are fuel on the OT fire IMHO.

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FollowupID: 878271

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 14:19

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 14:19
Maybe a good solution would be to have a button that says "allow followups Y/N"

That way the users get the choice of how their thread behaves??
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FollowupID: 878272

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 15:03

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 15:03
How about posting queries if so inclined, answering another's query to the best of ability if so inclined, or just reading to fill in time or whatever, and let David and Michelle decide how they would like EO to proceed and evolve.

Personally I find the content, well most of it, informative or at very least entertaining.
If I find otherwise, there are many other forums from which to seek information, or just read for the entertainment value.
I would like to think that over the years I have not only gained knowledge, but contributed wherever possible.

Every forum IMHO will have new members join and older members leave for whatever reasons. The Earth, hopefully, will keep turning and the sun rise and set for many a long year to come.

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 608517

Reply By: Steve D1 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 16:14

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 16:14
And now we have an entire thread, with nothing to do with camping, caravanning, or Exploring Aus. It seems to me you have just added another useless thread, with no real information people may be looking for.
Forums are meant to be a fun, community based discussion. For me, EO achieves that.
If all you want is tech info, on whatever the subject is, there are plenty of other resources for that.
I say leave it how it is. We have seen here in the past, and other forums, where the Mods take over, and not let the free talk flow. Many of them no longer exist. EO has had its share of un-rest over these type of actions over the years.

Steve
AnswerID: 608519

Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 18:26

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 18:26
Steve

Spot on.


Cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 19:00

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 19:00
Not only that - a few months ago someone posted a thredd abowt pour speling !

Funny world we live in today !!


Happy and safe travelling

Gazz
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Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 19:07

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 19:07
Gazz

You are off topic

I week ban for you from this forum .



Cheers
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FollowupID: 878278

Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 21:15

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 21:15
About time pour spaling and punktewashun was made more better i reckun.
Use a dickshonary, Skewl shood hav tort peeple more better. sum of it is pour.

wif priyde u can b mor better.
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FollowupID: 878283

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 21:11

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 21:11
Gday Tony,

I look at LCOOL as a technical forum and Exploroz as a social forum.
Both do a good job for me, but going off topic goes down poorly on a technical forum, while it is tolerated on a social forum.
LCOOL is well moderated and has been for the 18 years I've followed it.
Exploroz is also well moderated, but just a different set of values.
They are still #1 and #2 on my bookmarks.
AnswerID: 608521

Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 23:38

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 23:38
I like bananas. How about you guys?
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 06:42

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 06:42
Perhaps this thread and some of the responses will serve as a reminder as to why internet forums are in decline...

Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 608526

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 06:50

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 06:50
Even more interesting.
Take a look at each reply and then see if that poster is a member or not.

Sadly that trend seems to give an interesting insight into why there might be a decline too.

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 07:01

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 07:01
Really?? I didn't pick up on the class distinction myself. Perhaps you should elaborate?
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Follow Up By: Steve D1 - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 07:29

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 07:29
Boobook

That is true. I was a member for many years, and stopped after one of the spells of over moderation. Every other response or thread was being deleted for sometimes rediculous reasons. Mine included. This is the only forum I've ever been associated with, which had a paid membership requirement. I, and many others simply cancelled at these times, and never renewed. Paying to be treated like a child seemed rediculous.
Thankfully, the forum is back to being sensible these days, but they still won't get my money.

Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 08:38

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 08:38
I don't think there is a class distinction either Michael. I'm not sure what that means actually.
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FollowupID: 878293

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:04

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:04
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Steve, this EO forum does not have a paid membership requirement.
Paid membership is required to access some of the site's resources but the forum is open to all without fees, merely registration which is normal for all forums.


Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 878294

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:12

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:12
Boobook,

My apologies, it seems I took your message the wrong way. A symptom of the digital world where there are no physical clues to the intent.
Speaking about membership, I'm a former member as well. My membership lapsed while I was on a trip with no communication possible. I came back to find it terminated and my user name changed. I was a little put out by the username change I must admit, and that they didn't communicate to me in any way after the fact. I'm not complaining, the membership was due and not paid, but there were circumstances that could have been attended to in a cordial manner and I would still be a member. Instead, it was an abrupt termination akin to "so long, and thanks for all the fish". If memberships are important then perhaps some research is needed into the reasons why people do not renew?
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FollowupID: 878295

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:30

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:30
Makes me think about my high cost of membership,($29.95). :)
Dave.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:56

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 09:56
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Michael, I am rather astonished at your expression re Membership "termination".
As you say, it actually lapsed due to non-renewal and that would also mean that your "user name" would become invalid. Clearly you have re-registered with a new username.

Did you actually communicate directly to the ExplorOz Team by email? Michelle and Adele are prompt and effective at dealing with any problems.
Perhaps you expected a personal communication when you failed to renew membership? I would doubt that the EO Team would have time available to 'chase-up' each and every person who did not renew membership.

Cheers
Allan

Member
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FollowupID: 878300

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:09

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:09
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Baz, Perhaps forums are in decline due to the rise of 'social media' sites.
(I actually typed "madia" which was perhaps Freudian)
Wikipedia lists 15 such sites with 100 million registered users.

For my own part, I avoid them like the plague, but maybe that just reveals my age?
Cheers
Allan

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1
FollowupID: 878302

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:15

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:15
They do send enough reminders of lapsing membership, I imagine the change to the user name was the removal of the word Member.
Personally, I don't like it as part of the user name & removed it from mine, as it appears Baz has. I think it creates a bit of a "them & us" scenario, I also don't like the term Life Member as it is usually an honour given to a member of a club or organisation that has contributed above & beyond, as has Doug T.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:36

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:36
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Yes Shaker, I tend to agree about displaying "Member" as part of the username. I cannot remember why I did so when composing it years ago but have just now removed it.
The title "Member" does appear by default in the signature at the bottom and this should be enough to alert other members to the fact that I am accessible by MM etc.
Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 878306

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:45

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:45
Allan, I didn't do anything, I just returned to find the membership was something like 3 days out of date and my user name was changed, it used to be completely different. I said I wasn't complaining about it. I thought, ok no worries, I'm not a member anymore because I missed the renewal emails until after I got back. For some reason the name change irked me enough to not communicate anymore or renew my membership. Maybe I'm just a sensitive little petal?

What I do know, being a business owner myself, is that the site owners are probably reading all this and saying between themselves, "why the hell am I bothering with this crap, I should be out travelling and camping instead of listening to these people's constant flow of drivel.....I can't take it anymore!!!" Am I right David and Michelle? :-)
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FollowupID: 878307

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:52

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:52
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LOL Michael. No worries mate!

I absolutely appreciate your last paragraph. Also as a past business owner I understand fully where you are coming from. Damn, it's hard to make a buck without coming to hate the public! lol
Cheers
Allan

Member
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FollowupID: 878309

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:08

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 at 20:08
I see what you did there Boobook. Cheeky devil, or should that be owl?

Personally I like the twists, tangents and extrapolations - they can be very handy at times - but I can see how someone asking a specific question might get a little annoyed. Discussions which take on a life of their own are often FAR more interesting and informative for both the OP and readers.
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Reply By: MarkHugh - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 10:16

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 at 10:16
Well Boobook, I have laboured through all the responses and comments. I am right with you.

Cheers, Mark
AnswerID: 608568

Reply By: Crackles - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 at 18:04

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 at 18:04
Tony I think the key people responsible for keeping any thread on topic are the OP's them-selves. If they sit back & dont reply, dont ask for clarification or more detail then the thread will wander where ever.
If the OP on the other hand asks follow up questions they can steer the conversation to get their answers they need.
A thankyou from the OP after a good answer can also stem idle chatter.
AnswerID: 608807

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