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Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")

by Tanktalus (Canon)
on Jun 28, 2005 at 02:00 UTC ( #470449=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Yes, I know this has been discussed before. To no end, I'm sure. But I don't think this is quite a rehash of those conversations.

I recently installed Gentoo on a box. (No, this isn't an invitation to flame my choice of OS or distro ;->) One thing that I noticed from their forums is a neat idea: marking one's own threads with [SOLVED] in the title. It's not used consistantly, but it is an accepted, and suggested, practice. And I'm wondering if that is a reasonable convention to steal, whether you like their product or not ;-> (We could use other delimiters since brackets have a special meaning here.)

I still kinda like the idea of having some sort of button to press to say "thanks, this is solved, now" so that people can come back and see threads that are solved vs threads that aren't (imagine if Super Search told you which responses were from threads marked as solved). But first we'd have to get a design that enough people (or at least the right people) agreed to, then find a sucker to write the patches, and then find someone else to apply the patches ... so I'm not proposing a code change, I'm proposing a small culture change. Or, at least, throwing it out there to see if people like it.

This is not intended to be the ultimate solution. It isn't on the gentoo forums, either. It will necessarily not show up in the super search (unless the search shows up the root node directly). It will necessarily not affect anonymonks' postings. And even those who like it may not always remember.

I can just hear some people complaining already, "so, then, what will it solve?" I think it will solve some of the Thank-you question. I think it would be a positive to the signal-to-noise ratio. I think it would be a useful summary to the thread. And it gives people a keyword to search on.

If new users saw others doing it, they may do it as well. It will never be 100% perfect, but as long as we're willing to accept that up front, I don't see a problem with it.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by etcshadow (Priest) on Jun 28, 2005 at 02:52 UTC
    In my opinion, the biggest reason to promote something along these lines is: it can allow someone to pop in and *quickly and easily* see who needs help on what. That is, I'm (often) more interested in the unresolved questions than the ones that have been beaten to death. When I've got a lot of time, I'll sift through more stuff... but sometimes you just want to pop in (or push), see if there's anything that's not being answered, and pop out.
    ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by graff (Chancellor) on Jun 28, 2005 at 04:00 UTC
    It is an interesting idea, but given the proportion of SoPW nodes where it can never be applied (i.e. all those from years past, along with all the new ones posted by AnonyMonk), it might end up causing enough confusion to offset the "advantage" of reducing the number of "thank you" replies; e.g. newcomers basing their first impressions on a superficial review will wonder why so many nodes don't seem to get "solved".

    (I'm not sure I understand the objection that some monks have against people posting a sub-reply saying "thanks, this has fixed my problem". Sure it may be unnecessary, but where's the harm to the Monastery? If such replies are "wasting valuable node space", why does PM retain useless replies to the "opinion poll" nodes? What makes those more valuable than "thank you" replies?)

    I suppose there could be some risk that monks who are just trying to be helpful might see "SOLVED" in the SoPW title and decide to skip over the node -- and thereby kill any chance that they might be able to post a better solution, or learn something from the solution(s) already posted.

    OTOH, the most effective users of the site will simply learn to ignore this sort of label, because they know there's a chance they might be able to post a better solution, or at least learn something from the solution(s) already posted.

    Either way, I'd tend to conclude that putting "SOLVED" labels on nodes is unlikely to yield enough of a positive payoff to justify the effort of encouraging and supporting it.

    Now, if the (non-AM) OP-owner of a given SoPW thread had the ability to add some flag to the titles of replies that were especially helpful, this might be a nice touch that could reduce or even eliminate those nasty little "thank you" replies...

    (I'm not sure what sort of flag would be suitable, and I assume this sort of facility would require a relatively complicated patch, and would simply pose another challenge to newcomers who already need to ramp up on a lot of PM-specific administrivia. So forget I even mentioned this.)

      I agree with most of the suggestions above. I personally would rather there not be a culture of editing titles by putting [SOLVED] in them (we all know how weird things get when the OP changes a node and later replies look out of context).

      If there is some sort of flag implemented, which I think is a good idea, then one of the states of the flag should be "this node is too old to have been flagged" and this clearly noted in the Search results and such.

      Well, what retitling would accomplish that "thank-you" replies would not is: visiting monks would be able to quickly see which questions were outstanding from, say, the recently active threads/newest nodes screens.

      As for the fact that this wouldn't be retroactive... who cares? The benefit of doing it would be achieved even if it weren't retroactive (since the benefit applies to active threads).

      Furthermore, there's no need to do any development... It could simply begin as convention. It might take some time to get the "critical mass" behind the convention, but if a good number of monks really started doing this, it might just catch.

      If at some point in the (distant?) future, we all decided that there should be some sort of deliberate functionality around it, and someone has the time and energy and ability to code it... great! But if that never happens, or doesn't happen for a long time, it doesn't really change anything. The analog that comes to my mind is how we gradually mutated from the (default) title of replies to replies changing from: "Re: Re: title" to "Re^2: title", or "Re:*2 title", or various similar things by convention (certainly not uniformly applied, but still widely applied), until eventually someone said: screw it, we should just code it (and did). It wasn't retroactive, it was no big deal, but it was still cool.

      Anyway, I guess I see it as:

      • does no harm
      • does some good
      • is easy to start doing
      • it's an extensible path toward future (maybe better) stuff
      So why not?
      ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by Corion (Pope) on Jun 28, 2005 at 06:52 UTC

      Corion, please reread the original post. I said,

      It will necessarily not affect anonymonks' postings.
      which means that I already recognise that anonymous monks can't mark this. That whole paragraph pointed out the limitations. Then, later, I pointed out that if we were willing to accept that there are limitations, and that it's not perfect, it may still be acceptable.

      Do I take this response to mean that you're against this type of convention just because not everyone can or will use it?

        I don't see much point in the convention, but I didn't see much point in prefixing node titles with ones nickname either, even back when Newest Nodes did not display the name of the posting monk. I think my main point is, that since Anonymous Monk initiates a lot of threads, there won't be much effect of the convention. But then again, I read most of Perlmonks and I'm not necessarily on the hunt for "unsolved problems".

Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by GrandFather (Sage) on Jun 28, 2005 at 03:55 UTC

    Agree, and for etcshadow's reasons.

    OP can change the title so this is really just a cultural thing rather than requiring support.

    Perl is Huffman encoded by design.
Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by cbrandtbuffalo (Deacon) on Jun 28, 2005 at 14:28 UTC
    I think this is a great idea (having the "solved" button to flag the node) for all the reasons mentioned. It would be nice to be able to sort them. I tend to read "solved" to learn something. I would go to "un-solved" to offer help.

    Couldn't the janitors mark solved on anonymous posts, if they so desired?

      But having a topic "solved" is a really personal matter. I would mark about 95% of all SoPW posts as "solved" without any reply, because to me, they are. And I would not like getting the burden of such a task, as the main aim of janitors is to clean up ill-formatted or ill-titled nodes and not "administration general".

      I will agree with Corion - janitors should not be doing this. The point of proposing this convention is that it would not be a burden on anyone - whether pmdevs, janitors, or anyone else.

      Adding the button means we have to wait for a pmdevil to make the patch, which, based on the results of previous threads on this topic, isn't happening. So I was just proposing something that wasn't supposed to actually strain anyone ;-)

Re: Solved? (aka "More On Thankfulness")
by tphyahoo (Vicar) on Jun 28, 2005 at 09:02 UTC

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