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May 17, 2013 01:17 PM

Topics about a list of things

We get a lot of these "The Single Most Underrated Dish" or "The Single Most Overrated Dish" topics that generate a list of dishes, and a thread of discussion for each listed item. These are entertaining if the participants stick to the topic of the threaded post [e.g., kebabs]. The indentations in the topic responses are the website's signal that threaded discussions are the way to go.

Then there are those who just post a list of everything they can think of, in a single post, which stymies discussion. I don't enjoy those posts.

I've participated in forums on other websites that ban topics that result in just a list, for the reason that the forums should generate discussion.

DON'T list everything you can think of in response to the topic.
[Lobser, Crabcakes, Fried Fish, Shrimp, Scallops, Clams, Oysters]

DO reply with one response you feel most passionate about.
[I love a well-seasoned Crabcake; Old Bay is my favorite.]

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  1. GC, that's a tough call. Both threads are open ended and the example of kebab was the OP's example not the sole focus of the thread. Sometimes lists are fun and sometimes they ramble but I don't believe telling folks how to post will result in change. Unless you've created the OP and asked for specific single topic discussion, every thread is a goldmine of subtopics.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Yes, and I admit this site is often geared toward generating a giant list (for example, "Best pizza in New Jersey") but you'd have to admit the best posts are those that go into some amount of detail about the recommendation. Not rambling, but explanatory, with adjectives and everything.

      1. re: GraydonCarter

        Sure the topics that include detail are interesting but sometimes the lists are funny and spur unexpected discussion after all.

        GC, it's a big fat crapshoot!

    2. The threads you bring up as examples are, in the grand scheme of things, pretty much just bandwidth dead space.

      No matter how they are moderated they're just sort of Internet brain fodder. Like eating sunflower seeds -- something to occupy the hands and mouth while you're doing something else.