Staying on topic

In a lot of situations, it’s useful to stick to a narrow topic.

Sometimes, this is true even where there is a broad range of somewhat related important topics that the narrow topic reminds you of.

It can be tempting to deviate. For instance, a blog about explaining why particular patterns are sexist might be inclined to make a lot of signal boost posts aimed at helping to pass a ballot measure aimed at preventing state university tuition rates from rising. This might seem like a good idea because, for instance, high tuition rates make it harder for single mothers to go back to school and still afford daycare.

And signal boosting is a good thing. A vital thing. But sometimes doing it too much can harm discussions.

Because signal boosting can also drown things out. Things that need to be said. And a topic blog isn’t a personal blog. Staying on topic is important to saying things that need saying, especially when the things are hard to say. 

Forums can be like that too. For instance, if you’re running a forum that’s about how to communicate with autistic people, it’s important not to let it devolve into a debate about whether Obamacare is good for autistic folks. That is an important discussion to have, but it’s also important that it not be the only discussion that happens.

Many things that should and must be discussed can’t all be discussed at once, and separating where and when they are discussed can make it possible for them all to be heard and discussed seriously.