I’d like to share my finding that splitting topics too early works worse than letting people digress for a while.
Splitting a topic works like a “red signal” - you make an obstacle when splitting a topic. Some people might feel that mods are not happy and their splitting is an act of aggression. Others may just get confused while responding to the original topic and see their posted reply not fitting anymore - this not only confuses, but also discourages, especially emotional people. They might think - oh no, now what do I make? Will I have to ask a mod to move my message to the new topic as well? After all, some people might just disagree with your splitting the subject into two subjects! Etc - there are many hidden reasons that we might not know, but I learned that splitting too early is rarely good.
When you split a bit later, people do not pay that much attention to it.
My criteria for splitting is:
- has at least 5…10 messages, depending on how long they are (I never split a short digression which is less than 5 regular or 7 short messages)
- is not getting new replies for at least 24 hours
- always keep in mind: splitting often irritates people
Do you split topics? Do you have any rules of thumb on when and how to do it to get maximum benefit out of it?
Also, don’t forget to think twice (or even 5 times) when you decide on the new topic title.