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Re^2: Consider this: What makes a good node title?

by sauoq (Abbot)
on Nov 04, 2005 at 17:09 UTC ( #505788=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


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

I think "program line" is a downright unarguably terrible title. It doesn't say clearly what the node is about.

As you say, that's what you think. You're wrong on at least one point though... I'll argue it. As I said in my reply to swampyankee below, I knew what the node was about when I read the title. So, there's a little empirical evidence to counter your opinion that the title doesn't (didn't) say clearly what the node is about.

As I also said to swampyankee, the fact that you think it is a poor node title doesn't automatically indicate an absolute quality about the title. It isn't a title that works for you, but there may be many people that it does work for. In the long run, almost every question will be asked with a wide variety of titles and complete coverage will be the natural result. That is, if we don't go unnecessarily mucking with those titles.

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


Comment on Re^2: Consider this: What makes a good node title?
Re^3: Consider this: What makes a good node title?
by itub (Priest) on Nov 04, 2005 at 18:36 UTC
    Let me qualify a bit what I said. I didn't really think it was unarguable, but I fell into the temptation of borrowing the wording from your original post. :-) Sorry about that.

    I also guessed what the node might be about, so I'll agree that it wasn't impossibly obscure. But I found it a bit ambiguous, and subject to improvement.

    The fact that I think it is a poor node title doesn't indicate an absolute quality about the title? Of course, I agree with that. That's exactly why we can vote on considerations: if enough people vote to "keep" the original title, it doesn't need to be changed. That way several viewpoints are taken into account.

      That's exactly why we can vote on considerations: if enough people vote to "keep" the original title, it doesn't need to be changed.

      True. And really, those are exactly the people whom I am addressing with this post. Many considerations are voted on without... well... without a whole lot of consideration. In the end, I'm just trying to raise consciousness about it. I think that, the more thought people put into it, the less enthusiastic they will be about retitling. And, I believe that's a good thing (after having put in quite a bit of thought on the subject myself.)

      -sauoq
      "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      
Re: Consider this: What makes a good node title?
by jonadab (Parson) on Nov 04, 2005 at 18:49 UTC
    As I said in my reply to swampyankee below, I knew what the node was about when I read the title. So, there's a little empirical evidence to counter your opinion that the title doesn't (didn't) say clearly what the node is about.

    This kind of "empirical evidence" is 100% meaningless. The node could be titled "Weird Problem", and *somebody* would step forward to say he understood what it was about, from the title. ("I mean, just last week I had this thing happen to me, and I thought, Wow, what a weird problem!")

    Objectively, the title "program line" is ambiguous in the extreme. Sure, *somebody* might immediately understand it, either by being on the same perversely obscure wavelength as the poster, or by pure chance, but that does not make the title clear or good.

    the fact that you think it is a poor node title doesn't automatically indicate an absolute quality about the title

    He didn't reach the conclusion that the title is "unarguably horrible" by subjectively thinking to himself, "Hmmm... what images does this title bring to me, personally, in a free association framework?" Your suggestion that anyone who claims a title is unclear is obviously making this claim based solely on some touchy-feely subjective personal experience is either deliberately obtuse or just plain poorly thought through; in either case, from a linguistics standpoint, it's plain wrong. Objectively speaking, the phrase "program line" has a large number of possible meanings in the context of SOPW, and for every person who reads it and immediately gets the right idea, somebody else will read it and immediately get the wrong idea. No amount of irrelevant "I think, you think, works for me, works for you" subjectivist drivel will change that.

      Objectively, the title "program line" is ambiguous in the extreme.

      No, it isn't. "Weird Problem" certainly would be as both of those two words are totally abstract. "Program line", on the other hand, contains two concrete words. It isn't a complete description of the problem... but then, it doesn't really need to be in order to be useful.

      Your suggestion that anyone who claims a title is unclear is obviously making this claim based solely on some touchy-feely subjective personal experience is either deliberately obtuse or just plain poorly thought through; in either case, from a linguistics standpoint, it's plain wrong.

      You just aren't wrapping your head around the problem domain. I'd agree that the new title is better when held up against an ideal as might be defined linguistically. That's just not the point. Like I asked jeffa, should we name every node that deals with the same question the same thing? We could pick a really good node title for, say, "How do I initialize an hash?" Then, whenever someone asks, we can just retitle his node with that. Would that work well? Why not?

      Your comments would be relevant to questions in the Questions and Answers section, certainly. That's one place where good titles (using that sort of ideal) are a requirement. But it's not a requirement for Seekers of Perl Wisdom and, in fact, it would be counterproductive.

      No amount of irrelevant "I think, you think, works for me, works for you" subjectivist drivel will change that.

      It's "works for somebody, works for everybody" that matters. And that's not irrelevant. Maximizing (simple) search coverage is the issue and that'll be done best if we leave node titles alone.

      Now, before you go calling me "obtuse" again... why don't you give me the benefit of the doubt and actually think about the issues I'm raising rather than go off on another half-baked tangent?

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

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