Staying on topic is a basic tenet of this forum. From the Discourse Guidelines:
Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:
- Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
- Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
- Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.
If you want to discuss a related topic, you can easily start a new topic and link to the old one. This will allow others to find the new topic in the list of affiliated/related topics. The only category here on Discourse that requires moderator approval before going live is the Feature Requests category. Feel free to start new topics in General or whichever category is most appropriate.
Also from the guidelines,
When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.
For transparency, this is the automated message that the user receives when their post has been flagged as off topic:
Post hidden by community flags
Hello, This is an automated message from iNaturalist Community Forum to let you know that your post was hidden.
Your post was flagged as off-topic: the community feels it is not a good fit for the topic, as currently defined by the title and the first post. Multiple community members flagged this post before it was hidden, so please consider how you might revise your post to reflect their feedback. You can edit your post after 10 minutes, and it will be automatically unhidden.
However, if the post is hidden by the community a second time, it will remain hidden until handled by staff. For additional guidance, please refer to our community guidelines.
As you can see, the automated message provides an opportunity to edit your post to bring it on topic or remove inappropriate language. As far as this specific case, while I don’t think this is a great place to discuss the particulars, I can confirm from the moderator’s side that multiple different people have flagged several of Stephen’s posts as off-topic and/or inappropriate in a short time period. And, that editing the post only to say that you don’t know why it was flagged as off topic is not productive.
If anyone has any questions about why their content was flagged, or moderation in general, please feel free to reach out directly to the moderators and staff by privately messaging @moderators.