The one size fits all threads work, eBay thread is the most popular on the site.
Does it really
work though and with every case?
eBay thread and News 24 works because it's a fast, fresh and transient thread. Latest information gets pasted onto the end and once it's more than a couple of pages later that information is out of date and no longer revelant. The fact that the thread gets long very quickly is no problem as most tune into the last couple of pages anyway. Going back more than that doesn't make sense with dead links or now irrelevant stuff. Hence why those threads work as big, huge threads. No one is really expecting someone to wade through the whole thread.
Stupid question amnesty mostly works because, as the title suggests, it's all about small and quick questions. It certainly used to be the case where if a question did require a wider scope of answers it would be split out into a separate thread and go from there.
However where queries on stuff or information given that has no real shelf life end date, it can get a lot of vast ranges of knowledge applied and often updated months or years in advance. As a separate thread this can easily happen and the topic of the thread is easy to understand. Where as updating information in a massive monolithic thread will loose any other past information that others have given because it's hundreds of pages back. It's also incredibly harder to find that information using a search engine when it's a massive thread vs a separate thread. Wading through hundreds, and literally in some threads, thousands of pages to find nuggets of info is really hard.
Using a forum like this breaks the very way forums are designed and written to be used. It's also completely unscalable. As the forum user base grows (which it is), then these threads get even fuller, quicker leading to stuff being missed.
Also it's very sad to see a wealth of information getting lost from search engines by merging. It is often the case where obscure questions or obscure car information searched for on Googling brings you to AS. In fact it's how many people (including me) find this corner of the internet.
Separate threads have a title with a reasonably detailed and concise topic as a title. This is what comes up on the top of a search and going into that will bring the first post up with detailed info on that. It's possible to quickly read that and determine if it's revelant or not. If it is, you scroll down and see exactly info on that specific topic. The mixed big threads however will come up with the thread title (i.e. tools to buy). Going into these you have to dig through the page to find the original search query. Once found you have to then scroll through any other useless chat (to you) on stuff completely unrelated to find the actual nuggets of info you were looking for originally.
It's this misuse and mangaling of how forums are supposed to work that is causing the friction. Not only do the search engine find it hard to find stuff and but the users manually finding it here even more so. As the forum continues to grow it's only going to get worse as monolithic threads bulge at an ever increasing speed.
I've often moaned about this new, intensive thread merging that's started to happen in the last 3 to 6 months or so. However it's not only me that gets frustrated by it. This forum isn't only great for general chatting but also as a massive information resource. If the latter is lost because of an emphasis of the former, it will be a great loss to anyone visiting here wanting help or knowledge on their old, quirky and worn out cars.