Every rule has an exception, and as with life itself, revisions are both frequent, and necessary. — Grand Moth Tarkin
As Tarkin notes in general above, nothing is ironclad, including this article, but to encourage some level of consistency each thread, and to make each OP inviting, easy to find, etc., this page is meant to stand as a rough guide or checklist for any anon about to make a new thread.

What to (not) include in an OP Edit

This section covers how to make a new thread (or "OP") for the moth general. Please see the other main section to learn when it makes sense to do so, versus when it does not.

When making a new thread, please keep in mind the following:

  • Do not make a separate thread just because one of the below recommendations is ignored or forgotten; this makes /moth/ look like spam to outsiders, rather than a fun place to hang out while it's active. (Feel free to explain to OP not to do this, however.)
  • Try to avoid spamming links or quotes from this article more than once-per-thread unless anons have legitimate questions about how to behave, or revisions of this article to discuss; this page is meant as a guide expressing some things that generally benefit mothposters; it is not meant to fuel a long-burning bonfire of shitposts against an OP.

Title Edit

Although it's possible to start a thread without one, your post should have a title so the thread can be searched for in board archives. Most posters just write "moth pony thread", "moth thread" or "moth ponies" and move on with life. Sometimes 'boring' is not a bad thing. Try to use normal spelling for OP titles even if you otherwise don't; this allows searching.

Lack of "Moth thread: something edition" Edit

As a conscious decision to be less like /bat/ thread, anons have long refrained from titling threads using "edition" subtitles, as in "Moth pony thread: double flufftacular edition". Although occasionally clever, such subtitles are more often annoying than funny or helpful, especially if seen every single thread. They may also ward off visitors.

Lack of thread-number Edit

As of the writing of this article, it's become traditional over the past year or so to omit the general's thread-number when making a new OP. The reasoning for this is that potential newfriends may be scared by seeing large numbers, as they may conclude there is too much lore or story to catch up with.

Image Edit

Usually, a new image from a (recent) previous thread is employed for the OP post. If the image's original thread has been deleted or archived, the image can often be used as-is without triggering the image-duplication filter. This should be done where possible. In case an OP cannot be created due to the dupe filter, select another image (preferably the next runner-up if voting took place last thread) or make a small modification to the file in a program like Paint or Photoshop. Once again, do not include the thread-number, as this has climbed high enough to become daunting.

Voting Edit

As bump-limit approaches, it is a good idea to gather opinions on which piece of art from the current or previous thread should be used for the new OP. This is usually done by replying to the post which calls for a vote and indicating the desired drawing using the '>>' syntax to create a jump-link within the thread. This is the simplest approach since external mechanisms such as strawpoll can be gamed, and also do not make it visually obvious what's being voted for.

Links Edit

You may or may not wish to link the previous thread in the body of the OP. You can also link the wiki, but only do so if you wish. Typically, anons will reply with a wiki-link and cross-thread link if you don't, so it's not a big deal if they're left out.

Note: How or whether to be consistent in this matter hasn't been discussed as of the writing of this article. As such, standard approaches with regard to links in OP may change.

When to make a new thread Edit

Unlike certain other generals, anons from /moth/ do not actively maintain a thread on /mlp/ all the time; they take occasional breaks from continuously posting and bumping a given thread (or series of threads). These pauses are meant to avoid gaining a reputation for being a dead or "zombie" general. Persistently zombified threads have trouble recovering because both regulars and new visitors are unlikely to be rewarded when checking for new and interesting posts. Eventually, they just learn to stay away.

Creating content takes time and effort, which can be hard to sustain indefinitely, and sometimes a rest is the only thing for it. Similarly, worldbuilding and other discussion is hard to keep up without new experiences to bring into it. For this reason, sometimes the thread is allowed to "hibernate" for a while, until a later date when there might be more enthusiasm, spare time, or interested anons lurking about.

The below sections describe different cases in which making a new thread ought to be appropriate. If none of these fits the current situation, consider that it might not be time to remake, at least yet, though – of course – use your best judgement.

If the maximum reply count is reached (usually) Edit

Also referred to as the "bump limit", a thread will be automatically locked within a day or so of accumulating 500 posts or more. Unless someone is heavily spamming replies, or the thread has been painfully crawling toward 500 for some time, reaching the limit is usually a good thing, and provides some indication that there is continued interest. If this appears to be the case, creating a fresh thread is perfectly fine and you should see the these tips on how to make a decent OP.

If activity dwindles sometime before 500, remaining anons may decide that a new thread would be too inactive to be worth maintaining, even if 500 replies will (or can) be reached this time. In this case, it's time for a break.

If the thread is healthy but dies by accident Edit

Even extremely-popular threads can die unexpectedly by falling off of page 10 before the bump limit has been reached. There is no single magic number which can be used to determine whether a new thread should be made despite a premature death (sometimes called 404), but the below subsection describes what to consider.

What constitutes 'healthy?' Edit

A combination of factors adds up to whether a thread should be revived or not in the case of a mishap resulting in thread locking, usually a burst of activity on the board when no anons are watching the thread.

Note that an unhealthy thread will score poorly in all or most of the below categories. Such a thread should be allowed to die without resurrection.

Number of posts in thread at time of death Edit

If a bump is missed by accident but the "bump limit" was close anyway, it's probably fine to remake.

Recent post-rate Edit

If an unlucky lapse in bump-duty spells the death of the thread despite fair activity in the previous week or so, this is probably more of a mishap than a divine message to let things sleep for a while.

Number of anons participating Edit

If a variety of anons are making regular appearances and each occasionally contributes to the thread (even if it's not at a particularly high speed individually), making a new thread is probably justified. Obviously, anons are hard to count, but visual artists (drawfags), authors (writefags and lorefags) and even shitposters all have their own unique styles which can be identified over time to at least make a guess.

Projects under way Edit

Sometimes a number of moth-related projects are in the process of creation, but the thread is a bit dry of content in the status quo, and then a vital bump is missed. When there are statements shortly preceding 404 that several anons are still working on content, it should be fine to remake.

If there has been no thread for a while Edit

Please check the list of archived threads to see when the last thread was made. There is not a concrete rule as to how long to wait before a new thread can or should pop up, but a span of around three to six months or so of downtime has seemed to work the best. This is a balance; a year+ of inactivity might lead anons never to check for a thread again, whereas the break of a mere week or two probably does not give enough time for contentfags to recuperate or get out from under whatever real-life thing has them distracted.