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Re: Consider this: What makes a good node title?

by jdporter (Canon)
on Nov 03, 2005 at 23:11 UTC ( #505545=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Consider this: What makes a good node title?

But what if someone comes in and types "error line" in the search box? Or "line number"? Don't they deserve to find this node as well?

IMHO, the only way OGB's suggested title could be improved would be to insert "Program" in front of "Line". Generally, longer titles are better, at least if the words are high in information content.

someone else will probably misspell or typo it tomorrow

That's an extremely bad reason for retaining a misspelling. It would foster the growth of subcommunities that share misconceptions about certain words. E.g. we'd have the "occurance" people sharing information, apart from the mainstream "occurrence" crowd, because they wouldn't find each other's nodes. (I'm serious about this.) I don't think it's a problem to fix misspellings in titles, because generally the same misspelling occurs in the body of the node — and since janitors don't fix such things in node contents, a Super Search on the misspelling will find the node.

IMHO, one of the main reasons for retitling nodes is as a pedagogical instrument: the janitors are showing the OP, and others, what constitutes a good title for a given question.

We're building the house of the future together.


Comment on Re: Consider this: What makes a good node title?
Re^2: Consider this: What makes a good node title?
by sauoq (Abbot) on Nov 03, 2005 at 23:43 UTC
    Don't they deserve to find this node as well?

    Are you asking me if they deserve to be inundated with duplicate information? Or if they deserve to be treated to this particular cookie of a node?

    What they deserve is to find their answer (no matter which words come to mind) and more people will if we tamper with titles less.

    E.g. we'd have the "occurance" people sharing information, apart from the mainstream "occurrence" crowd, because they wouldn't find each other's nodes.

    Sorry, but that's a ridiculously bizarre notion. I know how to spell "occurrence" correctly but I wouldn't hesitate for one second to reply to a node with "occurrance" in the title. I don't think anyone else here would either. (At least, not most.) But, if someone believes it's a good search term for their problem, they should have a reasonable chance of finding a relevant node by searching on it regardless of whether they misspell it.

    the janitors are showing the OP, and others, what constitutes a good title for a given question.

    Nobody's taking notes. In any case, all the janitors can show is what they believe to be a good node title. And that's not some special skill you go to school for... we all have concepts about what makes a node title good.

    I know I am suggesting a way of thinking about titling that is a bit different. To sum it up, the pool of titles chosen by throngs of people in the spur of the moment will actually be higher quality than the pool of titles chosen by a small group of people removed from the issues and acting on preconceived notions about what a good title is.

    -sauoq
    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
    

      I know how to spell "occurrence" correctly but I wouldn't hesitate for one second to reply to a node with "occurrance" in the title.

      I don't really think that's the point. I think the point is that, if I'm looking for information about 'occurances of numbers', I will find nodes with the misspelling and participate in them. Whereas, if I look for 'occurrances of numbers' I will find nodes with the correct spelling and participate in them instead. It's all about people who are interested in the same information being able to find each other.

      By ensuring the correct spelling in the node title, you can bring the two groups together. A simple Search for 'occurrance' would find all the nodes about occurrances of numbers, and a Super Search for 'occurance' would still find those with the misspelling preserved in the body. Everyone wins.

      <-radiant.matrix->
      A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
      The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
      "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law
        Whereas, if I look for 'occurrances of numbers' I will find nodes with the correct spelling

        No you won't, because the correct spelling is "occurrences". :-)

        But yes, you got my point.

        We're building the house of the future together.
        I think the point is that, if I'm looking for information about 'occurances of numbers', I will find nodes with the misspelling and participate in them. Whereas, if I look for 'occurrances of numbers' I will find nodes with the correct spelling and participate in them instead.

        Nice theory, but it has nothing to do with reality. You are completely ignoring the way participation happens around here. And the way search is used. People don't use search to find threads to participate in. They use newest nodes and the front page for that. Sometimes people post a node under an old thread but that doesn't usually rekindle the thread. And if it did, it would probably be because someone saw the reply in the newest nodes list. Sometimes old threads get a little life when they are linked to in a favorably accepted meditation but that participation wouldn't be affected by your theory either.

        A simple Search for 'occurrance' would find all the nodes about occurrances of numbers, and a Super Search for 'occurance' would still find those with the misspelling preserved in the body.

        First, that's predicated on the assumption that the word appears (and appears misspelled) in the body. It doesn't always. It also assumes that people looking are going to use Super Search. Monks familiar with the site will, but new visitors very well may not. Thirdly, this ignores the converse anyway. If the word doesn't occur in the title, but only in the body, then search isn't "bring[ing] those two groups together" at all.

        By the way, if the janitors corrected all the mispellings and you were looking for nodes about "occurrances of numbers", you would be the one having a harder time of it. You got the doubled 'r' right, but the word is spelled "occurrences" with an 'e'.

        -sauoq
        "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
        

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