It’s a double-edged sword; to do something like that, you really need to recon all community members as trustworthy. On FreeBSD this was possible because users hanging on there were more or less always the same, most of them were well-known already for having been publishing for years on DaemonForums. Those users were expected to be avle to discern what could be regarded as Off-Topic and what not, they were supposed to understand what was meant to go “too Off-Topic”. Off-Topic threads still need to be productive and have some sort of connection to forum’s main subject, as well as a practical result on forum’s users. The user who submits an Off-Topic thread should expect the thread to be of any interest for most forum’s users, considering as “meter of potential interest” only the mere fact that those people are member of that specific forum.
However, the temtaption to publish something really unrelated is always lurking around. Recently I published in Off-Topic the fact Andy Tanenbaum and his team are developing a OS consisting of the MINIX 3.4 Kernel and the NetBSD-Current userland. This IMHO could be an acceptable Off-Topic.
Soon after I published the fact PC-MOS/386 had been released under MIT on github. Given more than half of habitual FreeBSD forums users, had never used anything outside Unix, all the more PC-MOS, who would have cared about hearing this? I did, but was the only one, so that’s been a bad Off-Topic, and a mistake of mine. But what about when a thread evolves in a nowhere-going chat, or even worse, when flame wars arise out of it? Aren’t the quality of the forum and the image it gives very badly affected in those cases?
You saw that section has been abused in some cases, and you saw what happened lately; I don’t remember if you were there already when drhowarddfine got banned, but that was something unseen on the FreeBSD forums until that moment and common shared opinion among users was “not to be happening ever again”. Still it hapoened because of an Off-Topic thread gone wild.
That’s why I decided I wouldn’t have posted anything on Off-Topic from that moment on.
Getting back to Void Linux: as long as threads like “about meltdown kernel patch affecting performance” are put under Off-Topic everything’s fine…but what about when someone opens a thread like “What gifts did you receive for Christmas?” things may take then a turn for the worst. That was kind of a joke, but you have to think over the reality that Off-Topic thread are made up of opinions and opinions are always liable to critics. Someone may feel offended and that’s when thibgs complicate