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Re: Code tags warning

by ambrus (Abbot)
on Mar 14, 2005 at 17:00 UTC ( #439356=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Code tags warning

The preview page always prints a hint to use code tags around code. Do you think that people who don't read that would read the additional warning?

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Re^2: Code tags warning
by Tanktalus (Canon) on Mar 14, 2005 at 17:08 UTC

    That's a good point. However, if we1 can put in heuristics to the PM code to decide when code tags are required (and are not actually present), and we decide these heuristics are accurate (i.e., zero false-positives, few false-negatives), and we decide that this would be beneficial to the community at large, then we could make it mandatory: no "submit" button until all warnings are dealt with.

    I would propose that there also be a way around these heuristics. That is, I like the computer being smart. But not too smart. For example, perhaps if you submit a preview without having changed anything, then you get the submit button on the next preview. Or, perhaps, there is a checkbox saying, "ignore warnings" which, if unset (default) would make the submit button act as the preview button.

    And then, any time warnings are bypassed, perhaps we could automatically consider the node for those warnings? :-)

    1 I'm using a very, very loose definition of "we" here. As in, "we" == "gods".

      I'm very much against making it mandatory. Both with code and readmore tags.

      I can accept a warning, as long as I can turn it off (such as in User Settings), but I don't think there's much point in it.

        ... as with turning off the "preview" option -- which is restricted to those with a certain experience level? I think that's Friar, but too lazy too look it up, since the point is that one who has some significant experience may well have a vested interest in keeping PM useful... and the Monastery neat and tidy.

        So, I like Ambrus modification of the OP and first reply... as I like Joost's suggestion that we use css to make the warnings more prominent.

        However, I think Ambrus' concern that some folks (/me included) ignore stock warnings is best dealt with by (1) making the warnings specific and content-driven (the generic warning appears in EVERY preview, regardless of whether a warning is relevant) and (2) the Roy Johnson suggestion (at Re^2, well down in the thread) as augmented by Whitehawke's (tongue in cheek?) suggestions for adaptations of 'fortune' (AKA 'cookie').

      If you can get zero false-positives by using automation, then instead of not having no submit button, add the code tags automatically.

      I would propose that there also be a way around these heuristics. That is, I like the computer being smart. But not too smart.

      Ah, so that's in the case that the "zero false positives" is actually for values greater than 0? ;-)

        Figuring out that there are missing code tags is much easier than figuring out where they should go. For example, if I have: $blah[0] = $blah[1], is that: $blah[0] = $blah[1], or is it $blah[0] = $blah[1], or is it $blah[0] = $blah[1], or is it $blah[0] = $blah[1], or is it ... you get the idea. Figuring out that the ['s and ]'s are supposed to be in code tags is solvable. Figuring out where those codes should have been ... probably is not solvable.

        Given the ++/-- score of my post and ambrus' post, it seems that there is no clear majority on this, which, IMO, means the status quo wins. (Without a clear majority, the gods would be ill-advised to spend time on a feature that would likely take much effort for little return.) That's fine by me - I was just expanding on the OP, in the way I understood it anyway.

Re^2: Code tags warning
by Roy Johnson (Monsignor) on Mar 14, 2005 at 18:18 UTC
    Frankly, yes. People quickly learn to ignore things that are always there. But when something different pops up, they tend to take notice. It's a little like the difference between what perl does under use warnings, versus how helpful it would be if perl simply told you not to use uninitialized variables every time it ran.

    Caution: Contents may have been coded under pressure.

      People quickly learn to ignore things that are always there.

      One way to deal with this would be to select the wording of the message at random (a la 'fortune'). So, you might forget the code tags on four separate occasions and get a different one of the following each time:

          Code tags in your posts, 
          These are a great goodness, true
          Alas, all unfound
              (or the alternate version of the above:)
              Code tags in your posts, 
              These are a great goodness, true
              Unlike this haiku
          Code tags, code tags, wherefore art thou code tags?
          You know...that looks a lot like a code snippet, 
          but nary a code tag in sight.  You sure you want 
          to post?
          I'm sorry <username>, I'm afraid I can't do that.
          At least, not until you add some code tags.
        I like it just for the amusement factor. But I think the fact that no message appears except when the system determines they've got untagged code, the warnings won't suffer from "always there" syndrome.

        Sadly, even if we were to randomize the hint text, it would quickly take on a background noise quality. Because it's still always there in some form, whereas the warnings would only come up when there's a reason to grab the user's attention.

        Caution: Contents may have been coded under pressure.
        I'm all for encouraging proper posting, but let's remember that newbies are the most likely to commit a posting faux pas are exactly the ones who need help the most.

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