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End ban on root node edits?

by tye (Sage)
on Oct 03, 2003 at 21:33 UTC ( #296401=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

The ban on logged-in users making changes to their own root nodes (in some sections but not others) mostly just leads to duplicate nodes (and is probably the primary reason for non-anonymous duplicates, IMHO).

This "ban" has been at PM longer than I have been here and I've heard justifications for it of "a node could get approved and then the author could change it to be highly offensive". But the risk of that is less of a concern to me than the current "busy work" of dealing with the many duplicate nodes, especially since the current moderation system is better at dealing with hiding, removal, or modification of offensive material than at dealing with duplicates.

I have plans for greatly improving PM's duplicate node prevention. I also have plans for a mechanism to prevent people from wiping their old nodes1 and this could be applied to approved root nodes in all sections. So, down the road, both problems should become less serious.

But in the mean time, I'd like to allow users to edit their own root nodes in all sections and deal with abuses when they come up (which I hope will be a net win over the current work of dealing with duplicates when they come up).

Discuss. (:

1 By requiring approval and/or keeping backups for changes to nodes that are more than H hours old if more than P% of the original characters of the node are not preserved (and perhaps check for hiding via HTML comments and measure P in terms of the backed-up original from the first "late edit").

(Updated to finish one sentence, expand another.)

                - tye

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
•Re: End ban on root node edits?
by merlyn (Sage) on Oct 03, 2003 at 21:55 UTC
Re: End ban on root node edits?
by grinder (Bishop) on Oct 03, 2003 at 22:13 UTC

    Hear! Hear! I think this is an excellent idea. I've chosen to post more than once in Mediations rather than SoPW or PMD because I knew I could amend the root node. The YAPC::Europe monk list was one such example.

    I think there are sufficient eyeballs to catch any jiggery-pokery and there's also thepen's archive (sort of like why one should always have a syslog server to capture the logs from the rest of your servers -- it makes it much harder to cover your tracks).

      Hear! Hear! I think this is an excellent idea. I've chosen to post more than once in Mediations rather than SoPW or PMD because I knew I could amend the root node.

      Well said. I agree totally.


        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
        -- Gandhi

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by Corion (Pope) on Oct 03, 2003 at 22:13 UTC

    People have been emptying their replies already, and we will see that with root nodes as well, but I guess that's less annoyance than having people post duplicates.

    I guess that we would have seen the downside of root-node editing already with replies, so I guess the perceived risk wasn't as high yet.

    In short, let's see whether this changes what janitors are called upon :-)

    perl -MHTTP::Daemon -MHTTP::Response -MLWP::Simple -e ' ; # The $d = new HTTP::Daemon and fork and getprint $d->url and exit;#spider ($c = $d->accept())->get_request(); $c->send_response( new #in the HTTP::Response(200,$_,$_,qq(Just another Perl hacker\n))); ' # web
Re: End ban on root node edits?
by dws (Chancellor) on Oct 03, 2003 at 22:05 UTC
    Let's treat this as a social experiment, and give it a go.
Re: End ban on root node edits?
by tcf22 (Priest) on Oct 04, 2003 at 00:00 UTC
    I'm all for it. If it becomes a problem, you could always take it away. Or maybe just give it to higher level monks. Make it an earned privilage. If we can trust level 6 monks to moderate, why not allow them to edit their own root nodes.

    - Tom

(wil) Re: End ban on root node edits?
by wil (Priest) on Oct 04, 2003 at 07:21 UTC
    How about making it more alarmingly obvious that you can edit your node? Simple stuff like changing the 'submit/stumbit' button to 'edit' or 'update' when you're viewing one of your own nodes? From what I can see there is nothing to suggest to the really clueless first time user what's actually going to happen if you edit your text beneath your post -- does it get resubmitted twice?

    - wil

      Excellent idea! I've started making the changes to allowing editting of root nodes and I'm also changing 'submit' to 'create' on preview pages and 'submit' to 'update' on edit pages.

                      - tye
        ++ for usability. god job.

        - wil
Re: End ban on root node edits?
by bart (Canon) on Oct 04, 2003 at 10:03 UTC
    I'm for allowing to edit your own root nodes, however, your justification isn't the best of reason.

    The main reason why there are so many duplicates is because it is so damn easy to submit the same preview twice, and have it appear as a new node, twice. It happened to me, once, and I swear, it was by accident.

    We've been over this a few times in the Chatterbox, and having a unique preview ID, and only accept final submission for it once, sounded like the most sensible option. I recall you agreed to that. Only, someone still has to do the job, and implement it. :)

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Oct 05, 2003 at 21:24 UTC
    There's nothing that prevents people from wiping or editing non-root posts. And even a non-root post could root a sub-tree of tens of postings. I don't see that the possible wiping or editing or a rooted post is that much worse that one should be banned, while the other doesn't have much of a barrier at all.

    I'd also have the feeling that mosts posts that will be edited are edited relatively short after it was posted. So, if the problem is that one doesn't want front-paged notes to be edited, a solution (instead of banning the editing all together), is to not front page nodes in the first N hours after they get posted. This has the added benefit that one could look at the first responses to see whether the original question is worth front paging it.


Re: End ban on root node edits?
by PodMaster (Abbot) on Oct 03, 2003 at 23:00 UTC
    This is the way I see it:
    You can preview forever, there is no rush. So when composing a root node, do just that. Preview preview preview preview until it's perfect, that way you don't have to "post duplicates", just do it right the first time (that's what preview is for).

    Busy-work non-withstanding, I don't see any point in wasting time on what I see as a non-issue. Some monks just need to learn to take the time (time they have) to compose their root nodes right.

    Sooo, whatever you decide to do tye, i'm sure the monks will appreciate it.

    MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
    I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
    ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

      No offense, but you sound like my dad when I was first learning to write; he used to tell me that I should never need to erase becaues I should take my time and form my letters perfectly the first time. Unfortunately, I wasn't a robot then, and I'm still not now. I still make tons of mistakes when typing up posts that I don't catch in the preview screen (And yes, I still have mistakes that slip through on me, even though I average 3-4 previews per node.)

      I think it is arrogant to force root-node authors to "be perfect the first time." Nodes aren't doctoral disertations, and node readers are not English proffessors. While you may type up "The Perfect Node" each and every time, I usually appreciate the fact that PM is not usenet, and I can fix my typos when I notice them after submission. I would especially appreciate the ability to do this anywhere on the site.

      Update: For instance, I accididentally hit submit before I realized that I forgot to add the HTML to split this node into 2 paragraphs. It happens.

        I see what you're saying (even though your metaphor is a bit off -- previewing is like erasing), but then why be concerned about typos at all? Nodes may not be doctoral disertations, but if you care, well, take care.

        Anyways, I won't mind if tye gets busy :)

        MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
        I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
        ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

      I do not agree. I think that any monk should be able to edit his or her node for style, faux pas and grammatical errors. This is especially true for monks that don't speak English natively. Nobody wants to look like a retard, or to make a serious semantic gaffe. Things get lost (or added :-) ) in the mental working of cultural adaptation.

      All natively English-speaking monks, try the following experiment: try to write a thoughtful node in French or Spanish (or in your other second language). How long does it take? After many previews, are you finally cerain about the wording? Do you have any acute feeling that your struggle has nothing to do with Perl at all?

      Therefore, tye++, PodMaster-- (Take my downvote as a statement)

      Update: Some clarification, some addition. See below.

      To allolex: I meant "preview" metaphorically, not literally. Like most people here (I believe), I do type my post in my favourite text editor, then paste it at use the "preview" button only to check if the PerlMonks engine renders my markup as I intended. I agree with the other points of your reply.

      My main social reason for concern is that I believe that trying to put purely technical barriers against social problems does more harm than good. Instead of an "entrenched", static, indiscriminate defense against abuse, I would choose a dynamic, feedback based one.

      My main personal reason for concern is that I have a tendency to dramatize, to overdo my prose, to use lofty constructs beyond my command of the English language, instead of just Keeping It Simple, Stupid. I know it'll bite back hard some day, but I just can't help myself! Oh, vanity! :-)

        Although I agree with your basic statement that no one wants to make mistakes in their posts, I also think the monks are very understanding where grammatical errors are concerned.

        People who speak English as a second or foreign language would have less trouble with their spelling and grammar if they do what I do for all my major posts. Actually, even native speakers can benefit from it. It occurred to me some time ago that the little text window in a browser is a horrible way to edit something that is longer than a few lines, so I don't. I use my favorite editor or word processor to edit my ``major'' nodes and then copy and paste. If I am having a bad day, it will catch my spelling mistakes. Some people even have ``grammar checking'' in their word processors.

        Another advantage to this method is that it reduces the server load from constant previewing (and maybe editing in the future). It would also allow the poster's struggle to focus (almost) completely on Perl ;)


      You can preview a node a thousand times, it will only catch spelling and grammar mistakes. But sometimes you want to
      • add some info, you forgot
      • correct some code you posted
      • state that you didn't do something the repliers assume
      and a reply at the bottom is not the best way...
      PS: I speak for Seekers of Perl Wisdom
      Search, Ask, Know

        I was going to repeat the Beechbone's response; good thing i read upto here. So, my reason for root node being editable is not to minimize the possiblity of a duplicate but to sanely update/correct the post.

        You go Beechbone!!

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Oct 04, 2003 at 18:57 UTC

    I'm also concerned about people emptying root posts; if there's a way to allow minor edits without wholescale editing violence, I don't mind this idea.

    I doubt it'll have much effect on duplicate posts, though. If someone is unable to comprehend the purpose of the "preview" button as well as the "If something looked unlike you expected it to you might need to check out Writeup Formatting Tips." message, I doubt an "edit post" link will fare any better.

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by castaway (Parson) on Oct 06, 2003 at 09:20 UTC
    Hi tye et al,

    This gets my ++ too. I'm not sure that I agree that most of the duplicates are due to this though. I'd say most of them (even non-anonymous), are from people thinking their node didnt get posted, because it hasn't been approved yet. (ie I see a lot more real duplicates, than updates that are supposed to expand/clarify, most of those go as replies to nodes.)

    My idea would be to make them editable, unless they have been frontpaged, which is the only place I see it being a problem (ie someone posts a question, gets approved, frontpaged, and then changes the entire thing to something irrelevant/offensive.)

    Plenty get approved now, and then considered for edit/delete, so thats not really a good reason, but such that need editing or arent really appropriate dont/hardly ever end up on the frontpage.


    PS: I'd also vote for removing the setting to turn off forced previews :)

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by perrin (Chancellor) on Oct 03, 2003 at 22:42 UTC
Re: End ban on root node edits?
by adrianh (Chancellor) on Oct 04, 2003 at 09:10 UTC

    Sounds sensible. ++

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by epoptai (Curate) on Oct 08, 2003 at 05:09 UTC
    Will the sneaky way of doing it still work? :-)

    perl -MO=Deparse -e"u j t S n a t o e h r , e p l r a h k c r e"

Re: End ban on root node edits?
by michellem (Friar) on Oct 11, 2003 at 03:14 UTC
    I'm going to agree. There have been a number of times when I've carefully written a post, posted it, then about 10 minutes later, a new twist, or new idea, or what have you, arises, and I'd love to be able to add that to the node, or change the node. If things get out of hand, put the ban back.

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