Alright, I’ve been quiet on this issue, but it just keeps coming up. Cartalk.com is not going to fade away if it remains focused on cars. It’s going to fade away if it doesn’t remain focused on cars.
There are eleventy billion sites on the internet where people can talk about whatever they want. If Cartalk becomes a site where people can talk about whatever they want, then there will be no particular reason to visit it over all those other sites.
If I point my browser to the Cartalk forums, I know I’m going to find car people talking about cars. If I want to find a whole bunch of random people talking about a whole bunch of random topics, I’ll go to Reddit or Digg or some other swillsite that has mostly low-quality discussion, flamers, trolls, and inanity masquerading as worthwhile conversation. When I want to talk about cars, I know where to go.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a forum focused on the topic it’s supposed to be focused on. I think @cdaquila has, frankly, taken a lot of crap for this over the last couple of weeks, and it’s been undeserved.
Yes, she’s censoring you. To be blunt, get over it. Censorship is not always bad. It’s censorship when the city scrubs graffiti off of the sidewalk, but no one complains because the sidewalk is not an appropriate place to scrawl your missives.
She’s doing the same thing here - removing stuff that does not belong here. That’s OK, and it’s good for the site.
I’ll admit that I wouldn’t mind shooting the breeze with a lot of the people here about anything and everything, but off-topic subfora have their own pitfalls. You run the risk of everyone flocking to the off-topic board and ignoring everything else. You run the risk of flame wars between people of different opinions on politics, religion, etc, and you run the risk of having those flame wars spill over onto the rest of the site.
You also significantly increase moderator time and effort, as now they’re policing fights and having to make judgment calls about when to do what regarding those fights, and then having to defend themselves ad-nauseum in PM’s and in public posts for what they decided to do about those fights, instead of just removing non-compliance posts. All said, it’s something that wouldn’t be worth it based on the mission of this site.