topic drift


Term used on GEnie, Usenet and other electronic fora to describe the tendency of a thread to drift away from the original subject of discussion (and thus, from the Subject header of the originating message).

Often used in gentle reminders that the discussion has strayed off any useful track. "I think we started with a question about Niven's last book, but we've ended up discussing the sexual habits of the common marmoset. Now *that's* topic drift!"

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1996-05-29

topic group


topic map

<information science>

A collection of "topics", their relationships, and information sources. A topic map captures the subjects of which information sources speak, and the relationships between them, in a way that is implementation independent.

A topic is a symbol within the computer that represents something in the world such as the play Hamlet, the playwright William Shakespeare, or the "authorship" relationship.

Topics can have names. They can also have occurrences, that is, information resources that are considered to be relevant in some way to their subject. Topics can play roles in relationships.

Thus, topics have three kinds of characteristics: names, sources, and roles played in relationships. The assignment of such characteristics is considered to be valid within a certain scope, or context.

Topic maps can be merged. Merging can take place at the discretion of the user or application (at runtime), or may be indicated by the topic map's author at the time of its creation.

Last updated: 2003-07-19

topic thread


(From Usenet, GEnie, CompuServe) A more or less continuous chain of postings on a single subject, sent to a forum such as a Usenet newsgroup. To "follow a thread" is to read a series of postings sharing a common subject.

On Usenet these are connected by "Reference" headers. The better newsreaders can present news in thread order automatically.

Last updated: 2008-02-06

Nearby terms:

top-down designTop-Down Modeltopic drifttopic grouptopic map

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