Talk fast

To keep the conversation moving forward here, all posts will now expire after a certain number of days. I propose 90 days, but I'm open to suggestions.

This change will take effect on Monday so you can get any last words in over the weekend.


do you mean all threads vanish 90 days after the thread starts, or that threads are locked after 90 days? I'm not sure I understand exactly what is proposed. I'd hate to see eveything vanish, unless you have storage issues.

Nothing will go away, you just won't be able to add new comments on old threads.

I think that is an unfortunate decision. Little in real-life Orange politics runs its course in 90 days. Plus continuity is important. I could have started a new thread on Ed Harrison's claims about Erwin Trace last week but it seemed sensible to continue the old one so that the relevant background would be available. I hope you'll reconsider this decision.

Many conversations, such as the Lottery, Briar Chapel, school merger, Carrboro downtown transporation study, etc. are ongoing issues. Why block those threads? If someone new comes to OP or to the community, having the thread as ongoing will provide a historical perspective of the issues. I've always been upset when someone starts a new thread on an existing topic--distinguished from starting a new thread on a topic emerging out of a different thread. Conversations stop and start on a regular basis. That's one of the charms of this forum IMHO. I'm sorry to hear you are going to block that 'continuing conversation' option.

Could you explain what you see as the advantages to the new policy or the factors which caused you to propose this?

I disagree with the proposal. With the upcoming election I think there will be a need to get historical information on past topic threads. I agree with Dan, if a new thread is started on a former topic, the readers are only exposed to new posts and cannot make a fair assessment of what has transpired on the issue.

As was stated above, none of the old posts will go away. The proposal is simply to put a limit on how long comments will remain open on each post. I am willing to extend it pretty far, how about a year?

The reasoning behind this is that leaving threads open allows people to drag up old subjects instead of focusing on current events. (It also invites comment spam, but that isn't too much of a problem because of the authorization system we use.) Maybe it's my short attention span, but I get tired of old topics and especially of old arguments. I tend to want to move on.

Keep in mind that you can always start threads with links to old posts or refer back to them in your comments. Still, I'm open to hearing everyone's opinions on this.

I agree with what others have said about issues lasting longer than 90 days. I use the school funding, school capital, and merger threads to let people know when new events occur on these topics. If you close these threads, and because I lack the ability to create a post (or even get a guest post approved), then this info will be stifled. Maybe that is the desired effect, but it is not clear from the description.

This gets to a larger topic of what the mission of this site is, and I have seen much dialog on this recently in several of the threads.

The media portrays this site as *the* place to discuss politics in Orange county. And I think there is value in having a central place to discuss politics and I would like to see this site serve in that role (and it has, to a large extent).

Other related questions are: Is OP for progressives only? (I consider myself to be progressive). Are non-progressives allowed or encouraged to join in the conversation? It seems to me that this site would be lacking without a variety of viewpoints. I am disappointed that people continue to berate posters rather than focus on the discussion itself.

Anyway, my $0.02.


"The media portrays this site as *the* place to discuss politics in Orange county." The media also seems to think that OP owes them something for every scoop they detect. Printing it doesn't make it true. Newspapers aren't doing very well at understanding blogs these days, but I'm sure they'll catch up eventually. Some of them sooner than others.

I'm sorry that there's no conservative alternative to this site, but that's hardly my fault. I appreciate those of you who have set up your own blogs, ultimately that is the only way to give (online) voice to the myriad opinions of Orange County. We have never claimed that OP represented anyone other than the people participating, and so I continue to not understand why anyone thinks we owe them anything.

That said, I'm still interested in hearing what other readers think. I am not surprised that frequent commenters would like the threads to say open longer, let's hear from you lurkers who make up 90% of the site's traffic. I know you're out there.

Hi Ruby,

Keep in mind that you can always start threads with links to old posts or refer back to them in your comments.

Q: Who is "you" in this? Most of the commenters and the "90% who are lurkers" are excluded from starting new threads.

Do you really want to create a new post (and thus a new "headline") for a minor update on an old topic?

Please comment on my other comment. Is it an intended consequence that most participants cannot update info on continuing events? Will guest posts be approved more frequently as a result of this new policy?

Also, can you please cite some instances where this has been a problem? I saw that wordpress had these plugins, but I thought their primary goal was to minimize content spam.

Thanks for your patience. As a participant in this site, I just want to understand the rationale behind these changes.


I like the 90 day stop. Resurrected threads usually aren't very interesting to me. Maybe if something is important enough to be attached to a retired thread (but not important enough to warrant a new thread) the editor can make the decision to re-open.

I completely sympathize with Ruby and anyone else who feels bored with redundant commentary.

Also, I'm weary of the 'I'm not welcome here because I don't agree' complaint. Ruby has explained ad nauseum what OP is and what it isn't. If not feeling welcome here hurts, I would recommend that people use their personal boundaries and stay away.

This may help some. My experience on OP has been that I express my point of view and I receive no validation in return. No one invited me here. No one asks me to stay. No one asks me to leave. There is no ‘club'.

Considering what Ruby does for me (providing this multiblog) versus what I do for her (probably nothing) I find her worthy of more appreciation and fewer complaints.

I'm newish here and still discovering threads of current interest from a year ago or longer. Presumably items of contemporary interest would resurface in current time?
How do people start threads and who does it?
But mainly, a direct quote from Mary R. "Considering what Ruby does for me (providing this multiblog)" and then from me/Diana: "here's massive appreciation and let it be what you make it, which is pretty fine."

I didn't expect so many strong feelings about this issue! Let's continue to discuss and I won't close old threads on Monday as originally proposed. (By the way, this change will be simple to undo at any point in the future.)

As for Diana and Mark's question, anyone can propose a new thread. You simply have to register here, draft the post, and then e-mail us for approval and/or editing. This was announced last month. Some authors such as myself, Dan Coleman and a few others can post directly. As usual, we make no promises about publishing guest entries, so if it's long I recommend you contact us first so as not to waste your time.

I still feel that hundreds of threads of conversation (there are currently 521 here) is unwieldy and threatens to let things spin out of control. I prefer to keep people focused on the issues before us. Would a year be enough? I also would be glad to post more "open threads" where folks can write pretty much anything they want.

Hmm... I have mixed feelings about this. Just because an issue stops getting discussed for a while doesn't mean it goes away, and it seems that someone who managed to come up with something pithy about an older topic should be able to put their comment on display. A single comment probably wouldn't justify a whole new post if conversation has gone stagnant.

I think the more relevant soluion, and I'm not sure what sorts of plugins exist for WordPress to do this, would be to keep posts categorized ("tagged") and keep discussion open on the newest iterations of a particular discussion. The reason this would probably require a plugin for help, is that it otherwise places a lot of extra work on the friendly editors. It would be great if post categories corresponded to particular discussion categories, and the "newsy" entries were pulled out to make the frontpage. But that's a whole different beast.

While we're discussing meta-OP, what are the odds I might be able to talk you into switching to threaded comments?

I have no problem with whatever rules the editor makes, it is her blog, but I think 90 days is too short.

I would note that in her reply of 8:36 this morning, the Editor states:
"As for Diana and Mark's question, anyone can propose a new thread. You simply have to register here, draft the post, and then e-mail us for approval and/or editing. This was announced last month. Some authors such as myself, Dan Coleman and a few others can post directly. As usual, we make no promises about publishing guest entries, so if it's long I recommend you contact us first so as not to waste your time."
and the words "This was announced last month" are a hyperlink that goes to THIS thread, not to whatever thread told users how to submit a guest post. Can we please have a link to the post on how to submit a guest post, as I missed that when it was originally posted?

Sorry Gerry, that link should have been

I'll correct it above.

Lurker (mostly) here. The proposed change would make more sense to me if there had been a spate of ancient threads resurfacing to drown out more current discussions. But this hasn't been happening, as far as I can tell. On the rare occasion that old threads do come back up, I've often found the updates quite useful. So, I guess my position is, "If it ain't broke," etc.

I'm against the idea as well, unless old threads are bogging down the system.

perhaps there's some third path. After 90 days the editor might deem a thread worthy of life or let it die. I wouldn't miss the passing of the coffee thread. I thought that Terri and Andrea had some good points about ongoing issues eg. school merger. One way to work around that would be to link to older threads. That way newer readers, or in my case senile readers, could see what has been said before. That might be hard though. I see at the top of the page that OP is up to 524 posts and 9964 comments. That's a lot of history to sort through. So basicly I think it's a good idea and after 86 more days we should stop debate on this subject. :-)

Ruby--is there anyway that comments from one thread can be moved to another if the discussion is ongoing? For example, we started the Walmart discussion under the Briar Chapel thread. If you search on Walmart, 13 threads show up, but only 2 are directly related to the Starpoint Walmart. If the comments from the Briar Chapel discussion had been moved to the Walmart is Coming thread, then all of the pertinent information is contained within one thread and won't be lost by all the other non-specific Walmart references. Plus, when a new thread was created after the old one expires, only one hyperlink would need to be remembered as reference.

Jason's request for threaded comments is one we may be able to do if we find an appropriate WordPress plugin.

Unfortunately, Terri, I think yours is technically out of reach. At least with WordPress, comments can't be moved from one post to another without manually modifying the MySQL database one comment at a time. Plus I'm not sure it would be a good idea. It could have the effect of taking comments out of their original context.

So I see the new policy has been implemented. Ijust went to post an update on the lottery (Would Orange Play the Lottery?) and there was no Add Your Comment.
FYI: Then there is the lottery. Reportedly, it is now a major topic of discussion in the private meetings between legislative leaders. The latest word is that the final budget agreement will not include the lottery itself, but will contain provisions that amend the lottery bill already passed by the House.

That would mean that the Senate would still have to vote on the lottery on its own and at last check there were still five Senate Democrats against the lottery. All 21 Senate Republicans will vote against it, meaning the bill would fail by a single vote unless someone was persuaded to change his or her mind. Easley said Thursday that every day the state doesn't have the lottery, the state loses a million dollars.

It is also true that every day the state doesn't have the lottery is another day that poor people are not targeted by their own government that's trying to convince them to waste their money on a one in tem million chance of striking it rich. Every day that the state doesn't have the lottery is another day to celebrate.

It shouldn't already be hapenning, Terri. The plugin that does this isn't activated on the site.

This is a glitch, I will try to look into it later (yoga class awaits...)

OK, I think it's fixed. All threads should be open now. Please report back if not.


By the way this thread is a perfect example of the unproductive conversations that come from re-hashing stale topics.

Let me add my two cents worth a full 12 days after the last comment. :)

Maybe we should do it like popcorn. When I microwave popcorn I know it's ready when more than two seconds elapse without a pop. Maybe we can keep a thread until two weeks elapse without a comment.

Speaking of new topics, whaddya have to do to enter the elite class of those who can post them?

You can email guest posts directly to Ruby.

Dan is correct, simply use the contact us link in the sidebar to send a summary of your post and I'll let you know whether and when we can publish it. If you have an account here, you can write it yourself by logging in, but you still need to email to let us know it's in the queue. Everything does not get published, so please don't take it personally if we decline.

By the way, I haven't done it yet (hopefully an intern will help out) but I intend to send invitations to every candidate with instructions about how to submit posts here. If you have something good to say, we want to hear from you!


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