So, we all know that Off-Topic Posting isn't allowed on, and I quote the ToS, "all forums" here on TWC. Yet this being discussed in the thread on a ToS change made me think. Off-topic posting isn't allowed on any of the forums, which essentially means we have to stick to the topic in every single thread (except, presumably, the Chat Thread). Isn't off-topic posting the sign of a community? In any thread, isn't it fair to expect that people who like eachother will vary off the topic slightly, usually in positive ways? When you have a real-life conversation, you don't talk about the same exact topic of conversation for the entire time you're talking; it changes.
I'm not proposing we do away with the Off-Topic rule, but I do think that moderators should treat it much less aggressively. There is a huge difference between posting something completely ridiculous and unrelated to the topic, which is negative, and telling a joke or continuing a tangential line of conversation, which is positive. Why stifle the community spirit?
The most that should ever happen is a moderator steps in and says hey guys, get back on topic, and maybe deletes a few posts -- I've done this myself countless times -- and then maybe hands out a warning if he absolutely has to. The idea of people getting warned for having friendly conversations is, well, ridiculous.