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Proper bangin', title formattin'

by educated_foo (Vicar)
on Jul 13, 2007 at 05:18 UTC ( #626370=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Perhaps I'm just old-fashioned, but... does anyone else immediately ignore a topic whose title ends in one or more exclamation points, or more than one of any punctuation mark? I have seen an awful lot of these recently, and I completely ignore them. It's as if someone walked into a room and shouted "HELP ME WITH PROBLEM NOW PLEASE THANKS!" Would you listen to this person, or just immediately start ignoring them?

Question-askers: in designing a title, you should try to: (1) concisely describe your problem, so that people skimming titles will know whether or not to click the link; and (2) be polite, given that you're asking others to donate their expertise.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Jul 13, 2007 at 05:21 UTC

    I tend to be tolerant of such green users. Habitual offenders get no mercy.

    After Compline,

      Why? It's not just people failing to run a search or read the FAQ, both of which are non-standard online conventions, but people shouting illiterately for help. There's much less reason to tolerate them, as they're "green" social animals, not just green Perlmonks users.

        Green is green. We hope to raise up the kids proper, not cook them for dinner.

        After Compline,

Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by roboticus (Chancellor) on Jul 13, 2007 at 12:11 UTC

    educated foo:

    I don't dismiss them out of hand. But I have a limited amount of time to peruse PM each morning, so I basically go to "Newest Nodes" and look things over. I then look over nodes in order of most interesting to least interesting. Then when I'm out of time, I hit the "I've checked all these" button and wait for my next visit.

    So the ones with the most interesting title get my attention first. Ones that have a terrible title "H37P P733Ze!!1!!" often never get visited at all, and a title like "URGENT! Help needed!" I do dismiss immediately, because the petitioner clearly doesn't understand the rules of engagement.

    There are many nodes that I dismiss immediately, not because of a poor title, but because the subject is (a) uninteresting to me, or (b) I know nothing about it. For example, I don't do Web development with Perl, it's both uninteresting and I know nothing about it.

    I think that the most important thing a petitioner can do when creating a node is to realize that everyone here is a volunteer, and we're doing so for our own amusement. So the better job they do to clearly state their case, and title the node, the better feedback they're going to get.


      I agree about "URGENT" -- sometimes I wish there were a way to downvote these nodes directly from "recent threads" without having to read them ;). And I too have to skip most of the because it deals with either Windows or Web, two things I avoid like the plague.

      You also make a good point about amusement, which points to the flip-side of this issue: While questioners should write clearly and be polite, they need not grovel, beg, or offer effusive thanks, and they should expect polite responses. Those answering questions are getting something out of it too.

Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by citromatik (Curate) on Jul 13, 2007 at 12:41 UTC

    Perhaps I'm just old-fashioned, but... I'm here basically to learn (like most of us, I guess), and thinking a bit about other's people problems and dubts is a fantastic way of learning. So, I don't tend to ignore posts based on the education of the people posting, because there could be a nice (for me) question to think about behind.


Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by swampyankee (Parson) on Jul 13, 2007 at 18:05 UTC

    I admit to occasionally down-voting nodes because of poor grammar, spelling, or punctuation, especially when it seems that the poster's first language is English1. Usually, I don't down vote regardless of how egregious the usage problems are, but when the usage errors are severe enough to make the question incomprehensible, I do.

    I do reserve the right to completely ignore, down vote, and make snarky comments about nodes where the author has deliberately flouted the rules of literate English as an affectation. Can I determine this reliably? No. Do I try? Yes. Do I care? Well, yes. I'm not going to get all cranky about split infinitives or double negatives or obvious typos, like "teh" for "the," nor do I much care about the confusion of words like affect|effect2, who|whom3, or it's|its4.

    I also have found that trying to explain a problem in clear, grammatical English helps me to its solution5. After all, if I can't explain the problem to myself, how can I explain it to somebody else?


    1. People for whom English is not their first language tend to make different mistakes than do those for whom English is their first tongue.
    2. See Affect vs Effect
    3. See who or whom
    4. See Some Common Mistakes And How to Avoid Them
    5. It also helps me when I'm trying to modify the code because somebody decides to change the requirements.


    Any New York City or Connecticut area jobs? I'm currently unemployed.

    There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.

    —Herman Melville
Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by halley (Prior) on Jul 13, 2007 at 14:49 UTC

    This goes back to the common bumper-sticker wisdom, which says, "Your Emergency does not translate to my Urgency."

    [ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Jul 13, 2007 at 17:40 UTC
    Yeah, I'm "old-fashioned" too, and it is mildly annoying to see exclamation points in titles. This is a web-forum, folks, and the only benefit you get from typing a Bang is the exercise of your left pinkie finger.

    I typically relegate bang-titles to the second tier of nodes; questions that I'll look at later in the day, if I have a couple of minutes free. I only have a limited time in the morning before things start to heat up. After the initial fun and games of the World Coming Online, I can usually grab a couple of minutes between Crises to spend in the Monastery. (It's not just SoPWers who think that Being Excited! and Talking In Caps!! and Punctuation!!!! makes their problem d'heur get sorted faster.)

    I have noticed that a while a 'bang-title' is often about a relatively trivial problem (the kind of question that RTFM is often a proper if not quite polite response), the thread of replies often has nuggets of pure platinum. Maybe folks get annoyed enough (even if only subconsciously), and decide to explain chapter and verse with 8x10 glossy photographs, and tell the Querant more than they ever wanted to know about things. I often discover another of one Perl's "Magic Tricks of the Trade" in the ensuing discussion.

    I have found over the aeons that listening in on the conversations of the Wizards here is always instructive.

    "When you find there is nothing new to learn, you will find that you are Dead." (Unknown, perhaps Mayland Long.)

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by dsheroh (Prior) on Jul 14, 2007 at 03:34 UTC
    Personally, I tend to just start reading the bodies of the posts directly off the SoPW page and go to the node if the question looks like it's either interesting, something I can answer, or something that needs to be considered for readmore/code/etc. tags. I don't really notice the titles there one way or the other.

    When I have time, but I'm out of SoPWs to look at, then I'll check the Daily/Weekly Best and bring up anything with an interesting title, but the "HELP ME WITH PROBLEM NOW PLEASE THANKS!"-type posts rarely make it into Daily/Weekly Best anyhow.

Re: Proper bangin', title formattin'
by parv (Priest) on Jul 13, 2007 at 21:49 UTC
    I have not started ignoring the posts with (missing) (un)necessary punctuations, but do ignore if the titles are completely useles or those with mismatches in title & post.

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