Offtopic moderation has gotten out of hand. Almost all threads 'drift' from the original topic. No big deal--'Offtopic' should be given to posts that have nothing to do with their parent--be that an article or a post.
I'm sick of getting modded down for interesting, intelligent conversations with people--that's what the moderation system is supposed to promote.
Here's how I think it should work. If a post has little or nothing to do with the parent, it should be offtopic. All subsequent responses to that post can be considered offtopic as well. However, any offtopic threads must begin with a legitimate crap-post. If the post has something to do with a parent post that can't be quickly traced back to a such a blatantly offtopic crap-post, then the post is not offtopic.
Meta-moderation doesn't cure this--no one reads the context. Today I replied to a thread about kernel source sizes being too big, when the subject was something about two new features being added to the kernel. I got modded down as offtopic, even though the thread started by someone commenting along the lines of "why add new features when the kernel source is already so big?" A decidedly on topic question (despite however you feel about the quality of it). It ended up that I suggested that perhaps someone should distribute a source tree without the non-x86 architectures in it. Someone responded to me, saying that such a file would not be significantly smaller (4 megs). The comment that got modded down as offtopic was my response, that 4 megs for a dialup user is between 10-20 minutes on a good day.
This is one example--of many. Any one else pissed off about this? And before saying "calm down, it's just Slashdot," once I leave Slashdot and go do something else it probably won't urk me anymore. But for now, I really want to know if other people get similar treatment for their contributions to the articles.