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On node obliteration

by davido (Cardinal)
on Oct 14, 2012 at 01:52 UTC ( #998899=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is a reminder to those who post a question, or an answer, and then decide that the question (or answer) no longer merits public display:

Please do not obliterate your question, wiping it clean, or changing the entire question to something akin to "I figured it out.", or "Thanks, it's resolved now." That's unhelpful to future readers, and goes against the social norm here in the Monastery.

If you post a node and then decide its content isn't relevant, or is ill-conceived, or even just plain wrong, add an update to the top or the bottom of the node explaining what changed, why the question is no longer relevant, or why the answer is being withdrawn. But leave as much of the original post in tact as practical.

When you participate at PerlMonks you're doing so not only for your own good, but for the good of other readers, and even for the good of fellow contributors. When you wipe out a node, you are essentially squandering all benefit for yourself alone, rather than leaving a trail others could follow in the future when they encounter similar difficulties. No matter how misguided the original thought-process that led to a question or an answer, it's possibly useful to someone else, if for no other reason than to be a learning experience in problem-solving.

This isn't to say there aren't times when it's useful to edit a node's content; fixing formatting, fixing a typo, adding that semicolon that was forgotten, and even within the first few moments after making a post, clarifying some verbiage so that others may better understand the concept you're trying to convey. If an answer is later determined to be completely wrong, post an update that adds to the post (rather than replacing it), explaining why this solution is not valid. If the question is being withdrawn, post an update that adds (rather than replacing) an explanation of how the question was based on incorrect assertions (or whatever was wrong with it to merit withdrawal). However, over the years here I've come to feel that wiping a node's content is thoughtless and selfish; it invalidates all responses, and robs others of the opportunity of learning from your challenges.

(Moderators should also not consider such nodes for reaping, nor vote to reap them, for all of the same reasons.)

People here are generally good natured when they see others making honest, well-intentioned mistakes. (This is in contrast to the impatience we often see with those exhibiting false laziness.) There's a degree of latitude extended to those who demonstrate willingness to own up to an error. Mistakes happen all the time in coding. It's a natural part of any relatively complex process that involves human input. Shrug it off, document it for future posterity, and move on. But please, leave it there for all of our benefit.


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Re: On node obliteration
by thomas895 (Deacon) on Oct 14, 2012 at 09:08 UTC


    Even if you don't need your question anymore, it helps anyone and everyone who happens to have your same question. PerlMonks tends to rank quite highly in most search engines, and it helps even your random stranger who looked here.

    And even if somebody else did not have your same issue at the moment, it is helpful because then others(and yourself) can learn about how to do something in a particular way.

    confess( "I offer no guarantees on my code." );
Re: On node obliteration
by bulk88 (Priest) on Oct 15, 2012 at 00:10 UTC
    An edit history with times of the last edits would be nice on PM. Sometimes you just starting thinking the OP or the replier is crazy if you can't tell there was an edit.
        An edit history with times of the last edits would be nice ..

      Ideally the edit is labeleld with the time, complete with time zone, since not all of us are in the Eastern Time Zone. :)

      Alex / talexb / Toronto

      "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

        You can achieve that by typing something like [localtime://2012-10-16T11:52:14UTC] to the node, which will get formatted in the timezone of the reader, eg: Oct 16, 2012 at 11:52 UTC. Don't forget the UTC part or else the time is parsed as server time.

        Here's a script to generate such a string.

        perl -we 'use Date::Manip::Date; $d = Date::Manip::Date->new("now"); $ +d->convert("UTC"); print $d->printf("[localtime://%OUTC]\n");'

        Btw, I don't usually give times like that in update notices, because I mark the update only up to a day of precision, or with no timestamp at all if I update soon after posting.

        Ideally ...

        Ideally the monk doesn't have to do anything to get a timestamp inserted

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