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temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info

by ww (Archbishop)
on Mar 23, 2006 at 17:06 UTC ( #538802=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

For discussion because I may not have thought this notion through well yet but it occured when I spotted Perl = reg Exp - Cut info in middle soon after it was posted and before it was approved or answered. It's not the worst question ever, but can stand as an example for this muttering....

Might there be merit in encouraging a norm that we temporarily withhold approval of questions from registered Monken *1 that:
  • show no effort (code)
  • and provide insufficient info upon which to craft a relevant answer

For this to be effective, it seems to me that we would also need to adopt these practices as norms.

  1. immediately consider such nodes with an explanation that the consideration is intended to warn others off premature approval and to prod the OP for a better question
  2. ...and message the OP with the usual suggestions... including links to How do I post a question effectively? and other relevant subjects?

*1: Clearly, this won't work for bad postings by anomymonks, but it might inspire some newly ordained brethern and sistern and thus make their entry into the community easier and more effective.

  • Comment on temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info

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Re: temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info
by GrandFather (Saint) on Mar 23, 2006 at 19:35 UTC

    The idea has some merit. However examples of both good and bad questions should be readily available to the novices as examples of both how, and how not, to post questions.

    The poorly posted questions quickly get replies indicating what their deficiencies are and frequently pointing the OP at site material that can aid in generating a cogent question.

    On balance I think current policy should stand. A public reprimand is likely a better behaviour modifier than a quiet word in the ear, and is surely a better lesson to others.

    DWIM is Perl's answer to Gödel
Re: temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info
by spiritway (Vicar) on Mar 23, 2006 at 19:32 UTC

    I think this would probably be more trouble than it's worth, though the idea has some merit. It would require timely intervention by someone who could consider the node, and who also wouldn't just approve it. I suspect that any attempted change would be mostly ignored, with questions being OK'ed much as before.

    But I wonder whether there might be some sort of required "test" that one needs to pass, in order to start posting questions. Read one (or more) of the many articles on how to post, and then answer a few questions to check that they understood. If so, then they can post; otherwise, go back and try again. Not that I'm into tests or elitism, but so many first-time posts are a mess, and this could be avoided by just a little learning.

      On the one hand, I buy the concern for "more trouble than its worth" -- not because it takes new code, but because it would require all of us (yep, /me included) to amend the (quite reasonable) attitude/behavior that 'all posts should be approved, and promptly, unless they're trolls, obscene... etc.' And changing that attitude/behavior would probably take time.

      But, OTH, if (and it's a big "IF"!) the notion in the OP has major merit (and the --votes indicate that some disagree, though one could wish they'd spell out their critiques), perhaps that would be worth it.

      As to your thoughts on a "test," that seems to /me to have great merit... but merit which I fear would be offset by the extent to which it would discourage newcomers. We see many of them post on their first visit... because they can. So while "mess" is an indeed genteel characterization of some of those first-posts, many others reflect great care in their preparation.

      Admittedly, that may be tantamount to saying their authors practiced at least the "little learning" you speak of, which, in turn, suggests to me (anyway) that they'd promptly pass the test which argues against the concern we share.

      But, my bottom line still comes out against testing, not because of any problem with viewing testing as elitism, but because it might obstruct participation by new folks and drive them, instead, to some of the truly dreadful advice rendered elsewhere.

        The problem is, the required changes in our attitudes is precisely what's missing in how we do things now. We already have the process in place, but we (meaning /me) are sometimes too lenient about what we'll approve. We could withhold approval, or we could consider the node without it.

        You could be right about the testing - it may drive people away, who simply don't want to be bothered with an annoying hurdle. I don't have any great fondness for the idea. It was just a thought, and from what you say, it doesn't look like a particularly good one.

Re: temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info
by rinceWind (Monsignor) on Mar 24, 2006 at 11:24 UTC

    My own personal policy on approvals, is that I will generally approve a node (exceptions below) if:

    • The node is in the right section

    • The title meets Monastery guidelines

    • The formatting is OK (code and readmore tags)

    If the node does not meet the criteria, I /msg the OP suggesting what needs to be changed. In the case of moving the node into a different section, I tend to move it and /msg the OP to let them know what I have done. For the other two criteria, if the posting was from AnonyMonk, I put the node up for consideration. I also do this if I don't get a timely response from the OP.

    There might be other reasons why I would not want to approve a node, such as trolling, homework, advertising. These are still fairly rare. Generally I'd still approve the node even if it didn't make any sense to me.

    I may find that another monk has approved the post in the mean time. In that case, I would consider the node if it needed janitoring (and usually /msg the OP as well).

    That's my $0.02 for what it's worth.


    Oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
    My friends all rate Windows, I must disagree.
    Your powers of persuasion will set them all free,
    So oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
    (Missquoting Janis Joplin)

Re: temporarily withholding approval of SOPW with insufficient info
by castaway (Parson) on Mar 23, 2006 at 20:52 UTC
    I was under the impression we already did this.. (Or similar at least)


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