Experiment: Discourage Quote-and-Reply

How would folks feel about me changing some of the Discourse forum settings to send a general message that folks should try to write replies in their own words, rather than quoting prior posts and responding inline?

I’ve been trying to do this more myself, with lesser or greater success, depending on how tired I am. But frankly, I’m forming an ever stronger belief that inline replies contribute an absurd amount to the flaminess of mailing lists and forums. Especially among folks who don’t know each other well.

Basically, I suspect folks getting quoted a lot feel a bit like they’re being cross-examined, intended or not. I’m reminded of the social studies textbooks friends in Russia showed me from grade school, covering all manner of social problems in the USA, quoting exclusively US news media as sources.

I feel the exact opposite. I am writing replies in my own words.

I take it from old school mailing lists, inline replies that respond directly to the part that I’m meaning to respond to.

I’ve found it very useful and also feeling educated and informed by the back and forth here.

Are you feeling cross examined?

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I have in the past.

This is coming from a more objective place. When I look at the convos that careen down toward the flames, it’s a bunch of pointy micro posts, which Discourse doesn’t allow, or a situations where every new post is an annotated copy of the last one. Usually profoundly afar from topic, veering off toward some flammable tangent picked out, quoted, and drilled down on.

Sounds like a worthwhile experiment. Discourse allows users to reply to a specific thread comment. That’s probably enough in most use cases.

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When has this been a problem here?

I don’t think it’s been a problem here yet. But discussions are picking up, and we definitely don’t always agree.

I was thinking preventive medicine.

A distinguishing factor of this forum, as opposed to others I know, is that I get more critical thinking here. Putting up breaks might keep the conversations more cordial but that is likely to be at the expense of what makes these discussions actually interesting.

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Thanks all for weighing in.

I’ll keep a note on this idea, but what I’m seeing is that folks are mostly happy now. I am, too.

I’ll hold off making any changes until problems I’ve felt elsewhere actually show themselves. If indeed they ever do!