The use of emoticons without text in posting to a thread can appear to be freeposting when it makes no apparent contribution in advancing the topic of the thread. Freeposting is a violation of Forum rules. Moderators will use their best judgment in enforcing the rule against freeposting. Freeposting can also be posts that have no pertinent discussion, or are directly aimed at achieving some level or number of posts.
Freeposting is considered bad etiquette because the purpose of a forum is discussion and advancement of interesting topics. However, forums use bandwith, and excessive freeposting can increase bandwidth demands because of the extra baggage that goes with each post, including but not limited to:
-loading bandwith for limited bandwith forum participants (ever get that pic that takes forever to load, or the eight posts with complicated avatars?)
-post storage server memory, including backups and file information
-numerous search engine caches across the globe
While it seems a bit like "global warming" there is direct and real cost of this bandwidth and server space to the owner of the Forum.
Hijacking a thread is not considered good forum etiquette.
There are several definitions/methods of hijacking a thread, any and all are considered poor forum etiquette.
Asking a new question that is completely off topic to the original thread post.
Two (2) or more members begin “chatting” in a separate “personal” conversation.
Why the concern about “Hijacking threads”?
Users join threads because they find a thread compelling and feel they must get involved. A number of users sign on, hit "Today’s Active Topics" and read the few of interest to them. But, if the thread is titled for one topic and changes a few posts in, chances are only a very few people are ever going to see it, however marvelous and useful it ends up being.
Also, it isn't fair to the originator of the thread, since many are reluctant to interrupt an ongoing conversation, even if it's just to return to the title topic.
Yes, you can even hijack your own thread. I guess the thought process is something like "I started this thread, I'll discuss what I please". This is self-defeating, since once a thread is off-topic most will lose interest and never return, even if it drifts back.
Give a little consideration to other posters and readers. You can always start a new thread based on an off-shoot of an ongoing thread.
P. S. If a thread is "hijacked" the hijacking post(s) may be edited and labeled with a friendly reminder or it may be removed/deleted.
[mod note: I've been guilty of this myself, but we do have a tendency to get back on track after a while. Looking back, this only seems to happen on a limited number of threads - so hopefully it remains at a low level through the intro of our fav. lil roadster :cheers]