Off Topic

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A contribution is on-topic if it is within the bounds of the current discussion and off-topic if not. The terms are normally used in the context of mailing lists, discussion groups, discussion forums, bulletin boards, newsgroups, and wikis.

It is a common courtesy to mark a new off-topic posting or email by beginning it with "OT"[citation needed] - for example in a forum discussing the Linux operating system someone might post: "OT: Wow, did you feel that earthquake?".

The term "off topic" is also used to indicate a discussion venue where anything other than matters specifically addressed by the website/mailing list/discussion group in question is addressed. For example, an off topic category on an automobile related discussion forum may include talk about video games (which presumably have nothing to do with automobiles). There are a variety of sites dedicated entirely to random discussion that have nothing to do with anything and off-topic posting is the norm. On the other hand are specific subject groups and lists where it is generally considered bad form and a breach of netiquette to discuss any topic that is not germane to the group.

Off topic posters include individual members of topic-specific groups who use the mailing list as a forum to espouse their support or dissent of issues or causes that have nothing to do with the reason the group has assembled.

Posting off-topic messages to deliberately aggravate other members is referred to as "trolling", and is common in some forums.

References

http://www.newsreaders.com/guide/netiquette.html

http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ia_nq_send.htm

See also

cs:Off Topic

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