Unrelated Posts


Lately, the amount of support requests on this forum, that are entirely unrelated to Atom or Electron, has increased noticeably. I wonder if this is in the interest of the Atom developers or if simply nobody cares. I’d suggest that either new moderators are appointed that close such posts as unrelated or that new categories are created for these matters.

I’ve joined this forum in late 2015 and was willing to join the discussion on all things Atom, or give newbies some assistance. With so many posts unrelated to Atom, my motivation to visit these forums is fading away. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to visit, unless the situation changes.

TL;DR Please delete posts unrelated to Atom/Electron or move them to a category that people like me can easily ignore!


I think a separate category would be a good call. I don’t believe that it would be a net benefit to the community to excise them completely, because the community includes these people who are asking questions. The questions are a symptom of a larger problem that’s beyond our ability to fix, and while we could censor off-topic threads, that would only punish people who don’t know where on the Internet to ask their question. Rather than scolding them for being ignorant of Stack Overflow, it makes economic sense to answer simple questions on the spot and provide links out when the question is too domain-specific.


Surely the issue is that there are insufficient categories for posts. Other forum such as Ubuntu have quite a number of sub-forums.


I was considering posting for discussion an experiment on the use of concordance tools with Atom repos. Should this be regarded as off topic?



This is how I understand @idleberg:
He is insisting that this forum be actively and regularly moderated. He can easily focus his energy on Atom/Electron matters if the forum is kept orderly.

The discussion @idleberg started is not about debating if off-topic matters are welcome in this forum. The topic is about moderators keeping order by reclassifying off-topic postings. It does not matter if those topics are reclassified to a newly named category.

@idleberg cannot be part of a community where chaos reigns.

Playing devil’s advocate ->
Even if the goal was to remove off-topic posts from this forum, two problem remain.

  1. People are deeply and incorrectly under the impression that their topics are Atom related. The topics will still be posted.

  2. Nothing changes to the situation if the level of moderation remain as it is now, as per @idleberg’s post .

The above is my observation.
My opinion on this case is held in reserve.



It’s not about categories, it’s about the completely off topic questions that are inevitable when beginners can’t differentiate their editor from the code they create in it.

We consistently get a large number of questions about setting up Python, linking HTML and CSS, and similar. The only link to Atom in these questions is that it happens to be the editor they are using.

The difficulty is that we can’t exactly stop people asking these questions. It’s not their fault they don’t know; no one knows until they learn it. Simply closing and locking off topic questions seems a bit harsh though.

I personally like the idea of adding an off topic label that can be used to filter them out, after responding with a link to the relevant forums they want (e.g. 80% of the time it will be Python forums).

As for what you were going to post, that sounds fine. You want to know about how something interacts with Atom (repos? Still fine). The difference between this and someone wondering why they can’t import numpy (hint: it’s because they called their own file numpy.py) is that your question has something to do with Atom.


Sounds like a good idea


Ugh really sorry the increasing number of off-topic questions are a drain @idleberg - I really do appreciate your contributions (and the contributions of everyone on this thread).

Keeping on top of off-topic posts is definitely something I could be doing a better job of - if I come across one, I’ve either closed them (less frequent because I feel the same as @Aerijo when he mentioned “It’s not their fault they don’t know; no one knows until they learn it. Simply closing and locking off topic questions seems a bit harsh though.”) or removed the category (my understanding was uncategorized === off-topic). I haven’t been super consistent removing categories though, especially when a topic already has some back and forth and also sometimes when I feel like a post is on the fence between off-topic or not.

I do like the idea of the off topic category, basically the same idea as the #watercooler channel in the Atom Slack. I like that it’s explicit. I am curious though @idleberg - if we did a better job uncategorizing off-topic posts, would that be fine or is the explicit off-topic category more helpful for you?

Let me check-in with some of the other maintainers about dealing with off-topic posts in general and then about adding an off-topic category and I’ll let y’all know what I hear.

And thanks again for bringing this up @idleberg :bow: If folks have other ideas to make your lives better, let me know (as a side note, one thing I was looking at was post templates, basically like the issue template in Atom repos - might be something we could add to point people in the right direction, encourage them to search for past posts, etc.).


An explict label can be muted in settings, so the post no longer appears in the feed. I don’t think it’s possible to mute “unlabeled” posts.

They might help, but the kinds of issues and questions here are probably a lot more varied. Maybe we can make a FAQ post to index the FAQ posts… something to add a bit of

It could also explain (briefly) about the separation of the editor and the code. E.g., an entry under My code won’t run might be

If you are having trouble running your program, please first run it in the command line or open it in a browser if HTML. If the problem persists, you may want to try a forum dedicated to your language.

If the problem only happens in Atom, please identify the relevant packages you are using to run this code. Core Atom does not support this functionality, so we need to know this to help identify the cause.

If you are not sure what packages are relevant, you can get a list of all community packages by running apm list --installed --enabled

We could also do with a louder “CHECK THE MARKDOWN PREVIEW / THIS FORUM USES Markdown” message (linked to there or a post made here focusing more on escaping code).


Ahhh :+1: I figured there might be an issue like that.

And thanks for your thoughts on a potential post template, I might open a separate post for that for discussion (I’ll copy over our comments if I do).


Just following back up here, a couple of things:

I should have double checked myself but it looks like the uncategorized category can be muted. With this in mind, I’m curious again if folks are ok with using this category for off-topic posts (it’s kinda how the category is described, posts that “don’t fit into any other category”) and just doing it more consistently (that’s mostly a note for myself)?

Related to what category to use for an off-topic post, that ties into the other bit of feedback - though an off-topic category is explicit and can be muted as well, the explicitness is also an issue. With a specific off-topic category, people would think it’s fine to post things that are completely off-topic whereas uncategorized isn’t that explicit.

What do y’all think?


The problem then might be users who don’t label their post; unless someone leaves it unmuted, we could miss them. I can’t enable both Watching First Post and Muted for the same category.

I still like the explicit label. To reduce confusion, it’s description could be like Questions that don't belong on the Atom / Electron forums. IMO, the uncategorized label suffers from that issue more, because it sounds like we just don’t have a category to accommodate it (not that it doesn’t really belong here).

Having said that, aside from the above point muting uncategorized seems to do the same thing, so I’m fine with either for now.


I also like having an explicit label, for clarity.


Sorry took a bit of time off at the end of last week:

Ahh ok, let me know if I have this right - so someone doesn’t pick a category so gets the default uncategorized but then it’s really a support or packages or whatever category and one of us changes it. If you mute uncategorized and so can’t have uncategorized in Watching First Post, you wouldn’t get a notification for it. An explicit off-topic category would be less likely to suffer from this because someone would have to click the drop-down to choose it.

Just to clarify here too, it seems like the part of the initial feedback was that the number of off-topic posts was increasing and kinda swamping the board - do folks think that an explicit category off-topic category could potentially encourage off-topic posts?

So it seems like the 2 proposals are:

  1. Keep using uncategorized and use it more consistently. People can mute this category if they don’t want to see off-topic posts and those that are ok helping Atom users with semi-off-topic posts can leave it unmuted. The interaction between Watching First Post and Muted isn’t great with incorrectly uncategorized by default posts.
  2. Create and use an off-topic category. People can mute this category if they don’t want to see off-topic posts and those that are ok helping Atom users with semi-off-topic posts can leave it unmuted. An explicit off-topic category could encourage people to post off-topic questions.

I don’t feel super strongly about either and I don’t think either is perfect, but if we want to (a) make it possible for people to mute off-topic posts and (b) reduce the number of off-topic posts, then I would probably lean towards trying proposal (1) because though I think uncategorized doesn’t discourage off-topic posts, it doesn’t encourage them either.

Would love to hear any more thoughts so we can give one of these a try.