Forums exist to foster discussion about a given overall topic or theme—a sports forum, a technology forum, a BMW forum, whatever. But people love talking to other people, and even in tightly-controlled web forums which attempt to categorize discussion, there always seems to end up being a big “General Discussion” catch-all forum—and, more often than not, it’s got the lion’s share of posts.
How should a Discourse-based forum approach the “General Discussion” catch-all? Is it wise to simply have a “general” category for people to use when they’re just shooting the shit? Or is it viable for general posts to remain uncategorized? Or is the “frequent flyer’s lounge” that @codinghorror and others have mentioned for more-trusted users intended to be used for that? (Doing so would at least cut down on idle chatter by normal users…)
Idle silliness can play a huge role in the development of a community’s particular “flavor,” since it’s how the regular members come up with the in-jokes and other quirkiness that makes a forum fun. Can that kind of randomness be guided with newer tools? Or is a “general discussion” category a good idea?
It seems kind of like giving up, to a certain extent, but maybe it’s just the labeling. “General discussion” feels like “stuff that defies categorization.” Maybe “Idle talk” or “chatter” or something else would be a better label.