First, let me say that I appreciate the effort of moderators to make the experience of participating on BikeFourms a more agreeable one for folks. It’s nice to know that moderator’s are taking their work seriously.
I respectfully suggest, however, that this thread is a misguided effort. While there are those who have been annoyed and/or made their voices heard concerning the appropriateness of non-cycling related threads in the 50+ forum, they always have the option of not opening a particular thread. Hence, to some extent I see those complaints as something the individual can handle with relative ease on their own. Simply don’t open or read threads that don’t appeal to you. However, there is another issue here worth considering.
With a single thread delegated for all non-cycling related items it necessitates that the reader work through numerous posts to get to something that might be of interest. Let me give just one example. We’ve had members post in the 50+ about health issues with which they or their loved ones were facing, some of them quite serious. It was not uncommon for them to be asked to give updates. When such events took place, the reader could easily come into the 50+ and scan thread titles to see if there was recent activity in the thread that was first posted, or if there were a new thread labeled as an update. This then allowed quick, easy and reasonable access to the information the reader was seeking. If however, all such posts are in a single thread, it makes it less than reasonable to ask that the reader sort through what is sure to be a wide range of topics (some of which the reader may have no interest in at all) to find what he or she is seeking. Yet, if there was no interest in the updates, the reader does not have to return to the forum or open the new one.
I believe the current system of thread titles works quite well. I don’t think the approach suggested here will do much except herd readers into a thread that may have many things within it they would not have opened if they were in their own thread. Hence, the possibility for more acrimony, not less, increases.
The role of discernment concerning the tone of a given thread must be quite challenging for moderators. It requires a level of judgment that must include the ability to detect true animosity, personal attacks, and/or flaming versus good natured and acceptable banter. When a person feels that posting is getting out of hand and is directed toward them, they can PM the individual and let them know. If that should not resolve the issue, alerting the moderators seems quite appropriate. I would encourage moderators, if they are not already doing so, to respond to issues of appropriateness of a thread by advising that readers do not open them or return to them if they are not what the reader is looking for.