What is offtopic?

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Youth slang does not cease to be replenished with new words and terms. 💭 Basically, they are created to simplify communication on the Internet. 💻 The word “offtopic” appeared relatively long ago, but many still do not know its meaning. ❓ So, what is offtopic?

What is offtopic?


Offtopic (otherwise offtopic, offtopic from English off topic) – any network message that goes beyond the pre-set topic of communication. Offtopic can be considered:

  • a post on a web forum that does not correspond to either the general direction of the forum or the topic under which the post was posted;
  • a letter in the mailing list that does not correspond to the mailing topic;
  • a letter in the newsgroup;
  • a letter in the Fidonet echo conference that deviates from the topic announced in the rules of the echo conference and (or) does not correspond at all to the name (echo tag) of the echo conference (non-echo message);
  • an entry in any of the LiveJournal communities that does not match the profile of that community;
  • an entry in the guest book that does not correspond to the theme of the website on which the guest book is located;
  • a remark in the chat that does not correspond to the declared topic (topic) of the chat dialogs.

Offtopic is seen as a violation of netiquette, as it blurs the pre-announced restriction on the topic of communication, which leads to the immensity of the range of issues discussed and scares those readers who do not have time to read messages that deviate from their own circle of interests.

Creating messages that are offtopic is usually not approved by moderators, therefore, it can lead to a ban on posting further messages and remarks imposed on the participant in the conversation guilty of offtopic (or, more simply, to a ban).

Certain message topics can be specifically declared offtopic by moderators in order to unambiguously outline the scope of further discussion in advance, emphasizing the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable deviation from the main topic of the dialogues.

Offtopic – meaning, translation, abbreviation of the word

The term “offtopic”, which is actively used by users when communicating on the Internet, comes from the English expression “off topic”, which literally translates as “off topic”. If separately, then “off” in translation into Russian is “close”, and “topic” is “topic”. The term is abbreviated as OT. He also has a different spelling – offtopic, or just off.

When a person quotes the words of another, describing it as offtopic, he means that his expression does not make sense, does not apply to the current discussion.

What is offtopic?

Despite the fact that offtopic seems harmless, such a message on the forums is punishable. Most often, the punishment for a single or regular offtopic is a ban from the forum moderator.

Types of offtopic

Considering the “genre” features of offtopic, we can distinguish the following types:

1. Statements in the comments of the group, community, not related to the topic of the community profile.

2. Messages in chat forums, discussions that are not part of the topic considered in the dialogue.

3. Posts in open communities that are not related to the topic of the social network profile.

4. Published advertising that does not correspond to the topic.

5. email messages to the user’s address that do not match the subject of the email newsletter.

Purposeful offtopic

Based on the purposefulness of the offtopic, it can also be divided into:

  • offtopic aimed at malicious intent, i.e. in order to prevent the discussion participants from talking, to spam and flood the chat.
  • offtopic is not malicious if the sender of the message confirms that he sent it by accident, without understanding his topic, or failed to correctly express his thought.
  • an advertisement sent to a chat with the intent to promote a product, draw attention to a service, which is prohibited in most discussions, or is allowed for a fee.

Offtopic is in simple words

Here is an example of using offtopic. At some gardening forum there is a discussion, I don’t know…,

For example, let there be potatoes (potatoes mean a vegetable, not a well-known online game about tanks). And then some forum user breaks into the dialogue and starts telling everyone.

Like last night he stole from the zoo, well, let it be a Panda (in the sense of an animal Panda). It is clear that the stolen Panda in the garden-potato topic is not the topic) and, accordingly, is offtopic.

What is offtopic?

On the forums, moderators keep a close eye on the fact that the forum thread (topic) is not clogged with offtopic and the meaning of the discussion is not lost.

Thereby allowing the user to read only information related to the topic of discussion without garbage. Every internet forum has its own rules. Moderators can both warn users who write offtopic. So block their accounts, as they say, give a ban from the word ban, that is, block. Or, as an option, they also say to send to the bath.

Sometimes there are situations. When the user himself warns other people participating in the discussion for offtopic. Thus, making it clear that further information will be off topic, but he must voice it. In application to our example, it would look like this:

“Sorry for the offtopic, but I can’t help but tell you what a cool panda I stole yesterday!” As a rule, Moderation turns a blind eye to such single statements, because Everyone understands that this is not written out of evil intentions, but rather as a joke.

Usage Examples

Thanks to the moderators, who manage to ban violators and edit messages, the forums are kept thematically clean. By accessing them, users get the opportunity to discuss a topic of interest and not get annoyed if someone suddenly wants to fly off the question and start writing something extraneous.

You can find many examples of the use of jargon on the net:

“Don’t get out, offtopic won’t save you”

“BANs are issued to users for flood, spam, flame, offtopic and multipost.”

“I think it’s offtopic.”

The term “offtopic” rarely goes beyond the Internet, since its element is a virtual network.


There are many types of deviations from the topic of the main message or post, typing their “genre” features, we can distinguish the following:

  • messages in communities that do not match the community profile;
  • messages in chats that are not part of the dialogue;
  • posts on Internet forums that do not correspond to the topic of the forum;
  • non-thematic advertising;
  • e-mails, the content of which does not correspond to the mailing subject.

In addition, offtopic can be divided into types based on its goals:

  • non-malicious offtopic, when its author made a message inappropriate to the topic by accident, out of inattention, misinterpreted the post, could not accurately express his thoughts;
  • a malicious offtopic undertaken to make it difficult for chat participants or the community to communicate, to chat (flood) an actual, discussed topic;
  • advertisement – a message designed to draw attention to a product or service that is in no way related to the topic under discussion.


In addition to the fact that offtopic significantly complicates communication in communities and chats, it also makes it difficult to find the necessary information and, as a result, reduces the interest of participants in the forum. That is why it is necessary to deal with offtopic. To do this, first of all, you will have to determine what exactly in your community or forum will be offtopic. So, on some Internet forums they are loyal to jokes, even if they do not correspond to the topic, or to thematic advertising. On others, it is prohibited. Having prescribed the rules, as well as “penalties” in the form of a ban, you need to follow them steadily. This is monitored by moderators.

As a rule, if a forum or community is moderated competently and promptly, offtopic on them is reduced to almost zero.

What is offtopic?

Where did it come from?

All the terms that will be discussed have appeared since the beginning of the Internet as a worldwide phenomenon. People needed to somehow simplify communication in order to better structure chats and not lose the thread of the conversation.

In addition, it was necessary to suppress unnecessary disputes. This was especially true for chats, where, unlike the old forums, there was no division into topics and subtopics, due to which it became much more difficult to follow the discussion.

That is why people quickly formed other words from the usual forms of words, which they used to refer to Internet phenomena.

Of course, initially everything was in English. All such words came to Russian much later, of course, with the advent of Russian-language chats.

They were transliterated – that is, they continue to be pronounced in English, but are written in Russian letters.

What is offtopic used for?

There are many reasons for using offtopic. The main one is the need for additional communication. When several people talk for a long time on one topic, over time they have a desire to talk about something else. Sometimes newcomers who have just registered on the forum and are eager to talk about anything get carried away with offtopic.

In some cases, off-topic messages become the subject of exciting discussions, allow users to recall some events from their lives, defuse the situation with an anecdote or an interesting story.

Why is offtopic forbidden?

Offtopic is considered a violation of the rules of communication on the Internet and is not welcome on most forums, and on some resources it is completely banned. The reason for such a negative attitude lies in the fact that off-topic messages blur the issue under discussion and often scare away visitors. Users do not always have time to read comments that are far from their personal circle of interests, therefore, when they see offtopic, they simply ignore the topic.

What is offtopic?

In addition, non-thematic comments greatly complicate a meaningful conversation, and sometimes make it difficult to find the necessary information on the World Wide Web.

At the same time, some sociologists also see the positive aspects of offtopic. It is believed that it gives users a kind of relaxation, because it allows them to express the opinion that is of paramount importance to them at the moment.

How is offtopic suppressed?

To avoid offtopic in thematic sections, forums and other resources employ moderators who monitor the conversations of visitors and acquaint them with the basic rules of network communication. When messages “off topic” appear, the writer is warned, and with repeated offtopic, the user is sent to a ban (temporary or permanent closure of access to the forum).

To combat non-thematic messages, special sections are created on the resources, where visitors can freely communicate on any questions. If the user still wants to leave an off-topic post in the thematic section, in order to avoid punishment from the moderators and as a sign of courtesy, he can write the word “offtopic” before his message.


Today we have analyzed the simple and well-known word “offtopic” on the Internet. In simple terms, offtopic means a message that goes beyond the established topic, topic.

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