What's the point of Time Out? | AccountingWEB

What's the point of Time Out?

As several other people joked on Becky's introductory thread in Any Answers, shouldn't that conversation now be taking place here?

Having already made my main points there, I'm ready to fight my corner over here.

One thing we need to stress is that this isn't going to be the source of lots of heavy-handed moderating - we have our hands full with all the other things you throw at us to be really strict about it. But these dicussion forums are designed exactly for situations where a small number of people want to really get into a shared interest, so it made sense to try and use that side of the site.

We won't be stopping conversations that go a bit off piste on normal posts - that's all part of the experience - but when Becky, Jenny or I ask you to take you to take a Time Out, it's all about trying to encourage you to make use of the full range of AccountingWEB's capabilities to collect similar content in specific places, rather than just throwing it at all comers on a single page (Any Answers) which is intended to help them find solutions to their immediate problems.

A couple of people (thanks Sarah!) have spoken up about how useful specialist discussion groups can be, and we'll be building some of their suggestions into the new edition of AccountingWEB.

ShirleyM's picture

We'll have to see how it goes

ShirleyM | | Permalink

I would have preferred these posts to stay in Any Answers for the following reasons:

  1. If you like the 'off-piste' threads it is easier to spot them in Any Answers and join in
  2. More people would see them, and may be tempted to join in
  3. For the lazy among us it is quicker and easier to post/reply in Any Answers than going into a discussion group
  4. Non-members of the discussion group will only see the latest thread to be commented on and therefore have less encouragement to join the group
  5. It takes a bit of the surprise away - the unexpected always gets more attention than the expected

However, I can understand some members wanting to keep Any Answers entirely for accountancy/tax questions, and I can also understand certain threads may be undesirable for reason 2 above. In summary, I think this solution will cause a lot of the spontaneity to be lost, and the group will be used by very few members (for the reason above) so boredom will quickly set in and the group will wither and die.


OldAccountant's picture


OldAccountant | | Permalink

End of day 1 and only 4 people have posted here, hardly anyone has joined the "group", and total apathy has set in.

As for "Any Answers" - if that is to be restricted to simply people too mean to pay for expertise trying to pick other's brains for technical answers, then I think it will die too.  Most members log on for a little light relierf, and answer a couple of questions while they are here.  To be succesful a forum needs to be entertaining and enjoyable, not just somewhere to give away your knowledge for free.

This could prove to be the worse move AWeb ever made.


Constantly Confused's picture

Have we replaced the entire population of AW recently?

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

A few months back everyone was moaning that there was too much off-topic discussion going on on AA and it should be a place for serious discussion only; now everyone is complaining AA should be a place to post topics about anything up to and including potential names for fish (I made that bit up, but while we're on the subject what do you think of Horatio?).

Did the AW members of old all die out? 

ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

Yes, I think a lot of 'old members' have left, for various reasons.

I was one of the people who originally objected as I thought that some posts were being made for the sole purpose of causing conflict by the selection of topics that are famous for causing wars the world over, eg. politics & religion, but my concern was posted on Any Answers, and was not a formal complaint to AWeb.

My concern was the slanging matches, name calling, and threats that became standard behaviour in the threads, and not the threads themselves.

I thought the atmosphere was beginning to 'settle down' lately, after many of us made the decision not to engage in these slanging matches, but maybe AWeb see it differently.

Personally, I would be much happier if AWeb would tell us what the problem is, and what they are trying to achieve, and then we can all see if we are contributing to the problem, and if so, modify our behaviour rather than change AWeb and have many people dissatisfied for the sake of the few.


petersaxton's picture


petersaxton | | Permalink

Is it easy to manage the messages you get in the discussion group? With AA you can get messages for the topics you are interested in but with Groups isn't it all or nothing?

Constantly Confused's picture

@ Peter

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

You can set it to update less often, but I don't think you can subscribe to parts of the area.

John Stokdyk's picture

Give it a chance!

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

"End of day 1 and only 4 people have posted here, hardly anyone has joined the "group", and total apathy has set in."

I've heard of instant gratification, but this is ridiculous... The site has been running for nearly 14 years, so I don't think we'll pack in this experience just yet.

I think the friction experienced in Any Answers is because there are members who are using it as a substitute for social interaction. We're not against variety, but from the complaints we've received (Shirley's is just one example), the agressive, off-topic arguments were what frustrated members most - specifically because they became boring and so many potentially interesting topics veered off course. Because it's a more private area, there will be a bit more room here - although the terms and conditions for abuse, libel and self promotion still hold.

Since the comment above was posted, more people have come here to give the section a try. We'll continue the Time Out experiment for a week or two at least to see if it's worth continuing on new site when it goes live.

petersaxton's picture

Different section

petersaxton | | Permalink

This is the main problem with the discussion group idea. If you could have Time Out in a different section and you could choose which topics to follow like AA then it would be ideal.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

I like the Time Out section

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

I hope people use it, and keep AA for its primary purpose, and that the moderators transfer any off topic comments in AA to TO, as John says, there have been some interesting debates derailed by irrelevant comments taking them off on a tangent.

ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

Thank you. Your post above does explain the 'why'. Althought the block button (when it goes live) should allow existing members to filter their choice of whose posts they see, it won't work for non-members viewing the forum, so I can understand your decision.

I'll give it a go!

 ..... and I'll stop whinging ;)

A Success and really useful info for seeing threads quickly with

sarah douglas | | Permalink

Hi John

John I hope this is a success and it brings back readers , so they feel happy to comment.   More then happy to give it a go.

I have added the time out to my favorites so I just click on it.  If any one uses Safari which I do if you save to your top sites its even easier .  I think Google Chrome has the same but stop using it  changed to safari.  

Also for anyone using Any anwers our Discussion Groups.  Sometimes you don,t have the time to answer , but the update of Safari has now got a pair of glasses on the left had side , really useful just add your page and click the glasses and all the pages and exact  threads you want to read are there without having to search all the time. 

Also if you like reading articles without all the advertising on the web the safari reader removes them all if you click it, to make it easier to read the article.

I have Safari , Micsoft Explorer , Mozrilla, and Google as they all do some things better  

-- Kind Regards Sarah@ Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

petew's picture

Better as we were...

petew | | Permalink

Previously I could look though any answers and find the odd humerous/odd ball posting and read through/join in as I wanted.

Now in order to do that I have to sign up to the group. I did so yesterday around 11ish, between then and now I have had over 50 emails telling me someone has posted something.

Nothing but a nuisence, so I'm unsubscribing from this group, shame as it had promise but I don't need to know everytime someone posts.

Constantly Confused's picture


Constantly Confused | | Permalink

... change your subscription updates?  I get an email a day if someone posts, but for my other groups I have it set so I don't get any.

petew's picture

Didn't know you could!

petew | | Permalink

Thanks for that and to Sarah Douglas on a new thread advising how to do it.

Now on a weekly update much less of a distraction!

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