#ubuntu-offtopic channel topic

Tony Yarusso tonyyarusso at gmail.com
Thu Oct 14 03:26:20 UTC 2010

I would definitely be opposed to enforcing ontopicness for offtopic -
that just makes no sense.  If you want to create an #ubuntu-other or
#ubuntu-nonsupport or something that'd be fine, but taking away what
has always been our social channel is not.  Let's face it, even in its
worst moments #ubuntu-offtopic is nowhere near as bad as #defocus, so
I'm not willing to migrate myself to the latter.  Offtopic does not
mean "you have a support question but don't know where to go yet" - it
means off topic!  Offtopic used to be primarily where ops and regular
users would hang out to get to know each other and have some fun.
Deciding to not hold your appropriate offtopic conversations in the
offtopic channel is part of what allows someone else to fill the void
with something dumb.  If you think it's become bad, then you should be
encouraging other regular users to help drive it back in that
direction, and do so yourself.  See Freenode documentation about

That said, there are some likely equally unpopular ideas that I would
personally be willing to consider, but have no idea if they'd really
be appropriate:
1)  Require that users of the channel have some sort of connection to
Ubuntu even if the conversations don't, as it is still in the Ubuntu
namespace.  I know we have attracted a number of people who have never
used Ubuntu but chat in the channel anyway, and I think that has
decreased the quality.  That doesn't mean requiring an Ubuntu version
string or anything though - for instance a former Ubuntu user who has
since moved to gNewSense and still has ties to the Ubuntu community
would be fine (I'm not suggesting banning ompaul!).  I don't have any
idea how we'd enforce such a thing reasonably, but I thought I'd
mention it.
2)  I'd be okay with having it be one of those channels where you get
granted +v after a certain period of time there, so people have a
moment to get a taste of the channel atmosphere before inserting
themselves without any context.  That'd be different from our policy
in any other Ubuntu channel, but perhaps someone will think that's a
reasonable idea.  Coming up with an appropriate time period (1 minute?
 10 minutes?  1 hour?  1 week?  Beats me.) would be another matter.

 - Tony

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