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Appealing a consideration?

by sleepingsquirrel (Hermit)
on Feb 22, 2005 at 18:34 UTC ( #433448=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

One of my nodes was recently the victim of a consideration to retitle. Of course, once I noticed, I simply changed it back. Going down that road seems likely to result in nothing but a revision war. So I'm wondering, is there an official process or forum to hear my appeal?

-- All code is 100% tested and functional unless otherwise noted.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Appealing a consideration?
by davido (Cardinal) on Feb 22, 2005 at 19:19 UTC

    The process usually goes like this:

    1. Someone writes a node with a poor title (non-specific, misspelled, misleading, or single-word, etc.)
    2. A senior monk considers it for retitling.
    3. Time passes and other senior monks vote.
    4. If the vote is significantly to the affirmitive, and if the consideration suggests an appropriate alternative, eventually a Janitor feels a mandate to change the title.
    5. The janitor retitles the thread either manually or using one of the thread retitling tools. Convention dictates that the janitor makes an annotation at the end of the node indicating the node has been retitled.
    6. The janitor sends a /msg to the author letting him/her know there has been a title change.

    Generally one or more days pass before retitling occurs. For the most part the author has plenty of time to react.

    But what is the appropriate reaction? That depends on if the node has replies or not. First, I would suggest that an author who notices his node has been considered for retitling /msg an active Janitor in the CB, or send a /msg to Janitors (the group) expressing recognition of the issue, and voicing any objections, affirmations, or suggestions. This is a good time to work out the outcome. Janitors will be receptive to reasonable and responsible node author requests.

    The author may also edit his title himself, but I recommend that if an author considers doing this, he/she should first look to see if the node has replies. Only Janitors can modify the titles of the entire thread (including replies), and IMHO, it's ackward to have a parent node's title changed without the titles of the children being changed too. So if the node has replies, it is best for the author to contact the Janitors with his request that the thread be retitled, possibly in accordance with a consideration.

    Even after a thread has been retitled by the Janitors, the author can still contact the janitors to offer additional suggestions for fine-tuning the title. I've had this happen a few times, where I've been contacted post-edit by an author requesting a slight modification of the thread's title. When an author presents a reasonable suggestion we'll definately accommodate it. It's never too late.

    Now I'll preach to the choir: Everyone should read three important documents:

    If everyone read and understood those three documents, 97% of all the work Janitors do could be completely avoided.

    Updated: Added a third important document.


Re: Appealing a consideration?
by Mr. Lee (Scribe) on Feb 22, 2005 at 21:14 UTC
    I must say that
    • as a Perl newbie
    • who had to learn English in school
    • and is new to the monastery
    • and who is troubled by a problem
    it can be very hard to think of a appropriate title for the question.

    I appreciate that the more experienced people can help me, when I am being a little stupid or something, because I am not a very good title finder.

    But if someone is very convinced about the own titles they find, then they must think hard about it, and already find a good one, then nobody has a need to change it again. You can look what titles there have already been, and think why they are good or bad.

    Me personally, I think it's very important how a title is in a list of search results, there you have nothing but the title to decide on which node you click.

Re: Appealing a consideration?
by holli (Abbot) on Feb 22, 2005 at 18:47 UTC
    Of course, once I noticed, I simply changed it back.
    Retitling is a community process, people vote on the consideration. so normally there is a good reason to do it, and if not, itīs not likely to happen. Before retitling you normally get a message from a janitor that tells you what is going to happen. You then have to chance to argue against it.

    Do we really need an "official process"?

    May I ask what the original and the new title of the node was?

    holli, /regexed monk/
      Retitling is a community process, people vote on the consideration.

      Yes, but sometimes the community's decisions suck. There have been a few retitling considerations over the last few months that I consider pretty frivolous, despite there having been two calls for a more reasoned approach.

      I would like especially to draw attention to borisz's observation: I noticed that the new title is in better english, but did not reflect my question anymore. That's just wrong.

      And a janitor may well message you, but what if you are in a different time zone (and thus, asleep), or offline for a day or two?

      I think sleepingsquirrel has every right to change the title back. And I suspect that the janitors simply won't bother the second time around. Besides, once the node is off the radar in a few days, the probability of it being further considered rapidly approaches zero.

      update: s/dopey/frivolous/ The latter word expresses my opinion on the matter more accurately.

      - another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

        Many many nodes get considered for retitling. About half of them get an affirmitive vote by the community's senior monks, and about half of those are acted upon by Janitors. There are several levels of checks and balances, the last of which is the fact that an author never loses his ability to alter the node again. But remember, just because a node got considered doesn't mean it's going to be retitled. A lot of votes don't give sufficient mandate to retitle, and a lot of those that do give sufficient mandate still don't meet the Janitors standards for action. You may see many that got retitled, but for every node that gets retitled there are several that don't.

        But this is all something that can be worked out through better communication. Even after a node has been retitled, it's never too late to talk to the Janitors about it, asking why, or providing recommendations for improvement. Janitors never mean to alter a node's intent by retitling it. But sometimes they don't have a lot to go on (unclear titles, unclear nodes, etc.). And other times they get it wrong (myself included). That's where the idea of communication comes in. We might find ourselves working through a list of fifteen or twenty considerations at a time, and while we always attempt to understand the situation before acting, ultimately the consideration vote is the mandate to act, and prior notification of the author is neither required nor efficient. One could wait days, weeks, or an eternity before getting a response from an author.

        So we act conscienciously, usually conservatively, and with honest intent. If we get it wrong, all it takes is a /msg to one of us, or to the group, and we'll work with you on rectifying the situation. And ultimately if you feel that we have been unresponsive to your requests, you can always petition the gods. But at least try to work it out through friendly communication first. Misunderstanding is usually caused by a lack of communication, not by mal-intent.


      Retitling is a community process, people vote on the consideration. so normally there is a good reason to do it, and if not, itīs not likely to happen.
      I've been watching the consideration process lately, and I don't think I'm alone (Don't Retitle This Node) in thinking that retitling happens too often. Search is often given as the answer for why retitling is done, but I find those arguments weak. If a monk thinks a title could be worded better, he has the option of replying to the OP with the better title for his own sub-node (instead of the default "Re^11: blah blah"). In fact everyone who so desires can do this, resulting in a cornucopia of titles for Seekers of Wisdom to search for. Another reason given for node retitling, is that one word titles screw up searching. But this leads me to believe that search in the Monastery is broken, not one word node titles. Of course, this is all premised on the belief that newbs spend their time searching the archives before posting (something which also seems disputable).
      Before retitling you normally get a message from a janitor that tells you what is going to happen. You then have to chance to argue against it.
      Hmm. I didn't seem to get a msg from a janitor. Do I then merely have to convice this person, or every janitor?
      May I ask what the original and the new title of the node was?
      Buried 11 levels deep, You can use HaXml for munging XML in Haskell is the node in question.

      -- All code is 100% tested and functional unless otherwise noted.

        From what I can tell, castaway followed protocol with regards to You can use HaXml for munging XML in Haskell. The node fell short of meeting the common sense and practical requirements of an effective node title: Single-word node titles wrek havoc with the 'Search' box at the top of your Monastery screen. So people frequently consider such titles for improvement.

        The vote probably went to the affirmitive (though I didn't witness that part). castaway then edited the title to the more sensible "You can use HaXml for munging XML in Haskell", and added proper attribution: "20050219 Edit by castaway: Changed title from 'HaXml'".

        You then removed the Janitor's attribution, put the title back to how it was originally, and posted this complaint.

        Did you ask castaway or any of the Janitors why your single-word title might have been considered for alteration? What was the outcome of that conversation?


Re: Appealing a consideration?
by castaway (Parson) on Feb 23, 2005 at 09:46 UTC
    As has already been mentioned several times, the proper course of action, to appeal against a retitling/editing of your node, is to either contact the janitor in question, personally, or to message the entire group. Please try not to whine in these messages, since reasoned arguments will get you a lot further.

    I'll admit, personally, to not messaging anybody about having retitled their nodes, usually because my usual method is to apply the node retitler to a bunch of nodes needing retitling one after the other, and the retitler currently doesnt send those messages, maybe it should. Maybe thats not a good excuse.

    As davido mentioned, only nodes that have an overbearing edit vote AND the janitor thinks need retitling, get retitled, according to the current "rules", which include exchanging one-word titles for longer ones. The search system is not broken, it's just set up so that an exact match will be shown immediately, allowing you to search for exact titles, like "Newest Nodes", and get the node directly, and not a list of nodes with those words somewhere in their titles.

    A last thought. That node had been up for consideration for at least a week, maybe 2. Since apparently you'd noticed it, why did you wait until now, to complain? If you notice such, and have good reason against the consideration, speak up before it happens! (via /msg janitors, that is ). This is only the second node, from the many I have retitle/edited in my time as janitor, that I've had complaints about, so clearly the majority either doesn't care, or is in agreement with the system.

    Update: As to your point about not being alone in having problems with retitling (or whomevers point it was :), all it takes for me to not retitle a node, is about 6 keep votes, maybe 8-10 if the edit vote is at 35-40 or so. Thats not a lot, a small fraction of the number of PM users who are able to vote. I can't remember now what the exact count was on your particular node, but it must have been over that ratio. So, if many don't like retitle suggestions, they should show their preferences, and vote.. That's why we have voting.


      and the retitler currently doesnt send those messages

      FWIW, Janitors Thread Retitler v3.1 does send a /msg to the base-node author by default. The message is something to the effect of Help please!? has been retitled to Querying CGI parameters with The message may be suppressed with the -nomessage (or -nomess for short) commandline option, but I've only ever used that option in testing on my own nodes. :)

      It also adds Janitors edit attribution to the bottom of the base node being retitled, by default. That can be suppressed with -noattribute or -noattr. By default attribution looks something like Retitled by davido from "Help please!?"


      A last thought. That node had been up for consideration for at least a week, maybe 2. Since apparently you'd noticed it, why did you wait until now, to complain?
      Why would I complain earlier, when nothing had actually been done? I don't follow perlmonks politics closely, and quite frankly, I didn't think that there was a compelling reason to retitle, so I assumed that level headed janitors wouldn't change it. But now that its been put up again for consideration, you may take this node as an official complaint and plea not to change it. BTW, it was up for consideration for about 3 weeks and the last time I looked at it it had 8 keep/29 edit votes.

      -- All code is 100% tested and functional unless otherwise noted.

        Did I just miss it? Where is the reasoned argument?

        Is your argument just "It's my node, I'll name it any dang thing I want to and you can't stop me!" ?

        Do you have some reason why that is a good title for that node? I agree with jdporter that the title should at least mention "Haskel" and start with "Re:". The node doesn't embody "HaXml" and so should not be titled simply "HaXml". I think the title should make sense even when viewed out of context of the thread that it is in, which usually means that some fragment of the parent's title should appear in the title.

        Node titles are integral to navigation, searching, and other tasks at the site. I'm all for respecting creativity even in titles but not without restrictions (for example, Re^2: Considering nodes for re-titling (haznav)). The node title is not just used as a place for the author to select what title to put on the node. It has too many other uses that are too important to not have some restrictions.

        So if you have an argument as to why that node title is appropriate, then please make it. Please also listen to what others are saying about node titles.

        If you just want to get into a shoving contest without reasoned argument, then we can certainly go down that road. I'm sure we could modify the site code to enforce that "Re:" must appear on all replies, for example. I don't encourage such changes lightly, but I'd be for this particular one in part just to nix the quibbling over the point.

        Q re nodes' subjects also contains some good points.

        But I'd really like to hear what you have to say. Why do you think that node title is so good?

        - tye        

        Because you'd been following recent considerations, and noticed that 'bad' ones were being made? Or so you claimed up there somewhere.

        Sorry, but you seem to be contradicting yourself some in this thread. Anyway, the reason is, because afterwards its kind of daft, in my opinion. Say something about the consideration already, not about the retitling after the fact.

        I did say 'reasoned argument', so where is it?


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