I'm a little surprised (only a little) by the reaction here and am inclined to think it's more against the very fact of me closing a thread (for the first time) than it is to my reasoning behind the decision.
Conversation tends to meander and go in different directions as it goes along, and that's not a bad thing.
Several of you guys are equating internet discussion forums to spoken conversation and that's not accurate. You don't have people participating in multiple conversations at once as you do on a forum, nor do you have ample time to think about where and what you say before you say it, nor or the things you said recorded ad verbatim for people to look back on and even use as reference for years to come.
Of course it's natural for threads to drift off to various topics. All I'm asking is to consider whether it's best to post something in the current thread or to give it individual attention in its own thread, and to lean towards the latter when a post seems likely to draw focus away from the current topic.
Personally speaking, I'd rather have a smaller number of more active threads with a larger number of people participating in them than a message board chock full of empty threads that are specific to one clearly defined topic and one clearly defined topic only.
I'd rather have a large number of threads with a large number of posts that are mostly focused on their respective topics, which is what I'm shooting for here.
If anything, closing threads like this and trying to police people from going off-topic is only going to dissuade forum members from sharing their thoughts in apprehension of making the thread into a hot topic that will only be closed because it may meander from the original topic that was the initial reason for creating the thread in the first place.
If I was closing threads on a regular basis that might be the case but this is the first time in years of operation of the forums that I've even mentioned closing a thread, so I hardly think it's going to scare people away from posting. It's not like I'm deleting the thread or anything - everyone's posts are still there for everyone to see and I'm leaving the thread open for a while for current topics to run their course.
The movie aficionados here on STC appear to make up a very small percentage of the overall users - at least, those willing to participate in discussion. I just didn't think it would be feasible to have 20+ different threads floating about for every movie that's been brought up in this thread already.
Angela where on earth is this coming from? All you have to do is go back a couple pages to see any number of movie threads that have post counts ranging from a half-dozen to a hundred. I didn't notice a single movie thread that had only a single post. I think the movie discussion was going just fine when we had separate threads for each movie. I'd say next to game soundtracks and gaming, it's the most frequently discussed topic here.
Would you guys really say in hindsight that you would prefer to see the threads for Iron Man, Benjamin Button, and other movies from last year all mixed together with that gigantic Dark Knight thread? Say I just caught Benjamin Button on DVD last night and I want to contribute to a topic or reply to a comment I remember from the forums - it's a lot easier to scan through the topic page for "Benjamin Button" than, for example, it is to search for all the mentions of Star Trek (which I finally saw last weekend) in this long and still expanding thread.
And, as Zane states, this could potentially result in a whole lot of empty threads; the more obscure films would likely never top off with more than one or two replies at the most.
First of all, that's doubtful. Second of all, what is this phobia several people here have of empty threads? Is the thought of somebody not posting in one's thread really all that frightening?
Worst-case scenario: Nobody replies to the topic, it gradually falls down the topic list and off the first couple pages, everybody forgets about it.
Best-case scenario: The topic catches fire and gets the individual attention it deserves, in its own, focused thread.
Alternate scenario: The topic doesn't get much attention at first but somebody comes back to it later and it picks up again, either by remembering it from before or by coming across it in a search. This is a lot more likely to happen if it's in its own thread than if it's buried as a post in some long topic that's overly expansive or barely if at all related.
Again this is not signaling that I'm going to go on a thread-closing rampage. I'm just saying that this thread and the 2009 gaming one are by nature overly inclusive and make the topics they include harder to navigate and less conducive to conversation than if they had their own individual threads. So I've decided to take the exceedingly infrequent action of closing them.