Recently in a thread I changed the default 'Re: ...' subject of my followup (to one of my own posts) to 'Details' (because in fact I was giving additional details to the OP which I wanted to stay concise and self-contained).

Then I've been warned by another poster not to do so and pointed to some documentation about how to choose effective subjects.

Now, having spent some time in technical NGs, where this is even more of a necessity, I am well aware of how important it is, generally. But here threads are kept together regardless of any subject modification. So the question is: provided that you choose an effective subject for the first node (i.e., loosely speaking, for the thread as a whole), is it such a Bad Thing(TM) to change the subject of individual nodes within that thread to something less informative?

More clearly: I would never ever even think of creating a new discussion in whichever section with a node called 'details'. But if in the discussion 'Interesting technique to do xyz' I put a node called 'details', it's obvious that I'm talking about details regarding 'Interesting technique to do xyz'!

Just curious...

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Q re nodes' subjects
by castaway (Parson) on Feb 07, 2005 at 10:48 UTC
    I don't have a problem with changing node titles in followups, but I'd prefer that the change include the previous title (eg "Details of.. " or "Details (was: Re: .. )"..

    The reason for this lies in how the simple search works (the box at the top of the page), it searches in node/reply titles only.. Thus if you remove all the key words, that node won't show up in a search result. Yes, the root node will, but people may not click on search results that appear to have no answers/followups..

    So yes, while nodes/replies are kept together via the thread mechanism, the search methods (both of them), treat each node and reply individually.. So please keep meaningful titles, and not one-word ones..


      Thank you for the clarification!
Re: Q re nodes' subjects
by Corion (Patriarch) on Feb 07, 2005 at 08:07 UTC

    Single word node titles are seldom a good solution here due to the way the site navigation (deceptively called "Search") works here. That's why I prefer adding the new subject in parentheses, or at least chosing a multi-word node title. Fro coherence, yes - it is OK to deviate from the main title, but you should also consider whether the discussion is still on-topic for the site ...

Re: Q re nodes' subjects
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Feb 07, 2005 at 11:46 UTC

    I think that part of the reason for some of the recommendations concerning retitling are due to the way Newest Nodes works. The basic issue is that as NN doesnt track thread information a note posted with a totally new title gets "lost" in the clutter of the other notes posted. Oddly I think the opposite occurs in Recently Active Threads where a retitled note tends to stand out as it doesnt look like the other nodes in the thread. But Recently Active Threads is fairly new so the sitedocs probably predate it.

    Providing your title has good keywords and possibly some reference to the old title (even implicit) then I personally see no reason against it. Avoiding one word titles, and meaningless titles is a good idea however, and I personally think its annoying when people remove or mess with the RE: count on the node.


Re: Q re nodes' subjects
by dimar (Curate) on Feb 08, 2005 at 07:59 UTC
    More clearly: I would never ever even think of creating a new discussion ... with a node called 'details'. But ... it's obvious that I'm talking about details regarding 'Interesting technique to do xyz'!
    Note: Please forgive the following rant:

    With all due respect, your premise is faulty because it presumes that the reader is always going to view a node in the exact same context that you expect them to. This is just plain wrong, and it's a pervasive misconception that is all the more *annoying*, when it comes from experienced and intelligent people who should know better.

    For example, suppose your details are so insightful and noteworthy that I decide to save or print your node separately on my own computer? Sure it's easy enough for me to save the entire thread so I don't lose the context, but why should I have to?

    Saving the entire thread is not always a good option anyway, since "readmore" tags may obscure the content that I specifically found useful in your node. The result is I have to save both the inidvidual page of your content, along with enough of the thread so I have a complete picture, when it would have been simpler for you to just leave the subject line intact with the word "details" added on.

    It's bad enough when people *intentionally* add barriers to information to make it harder to repurpose (e.g., copy protection, byzantine file formats, spurious and trifling intellectual property claims, exhorbitant access fees, etc etc etc ... ) ... why *add* to the complexity and burden for others just because of what you or I may think should be *obvious*?

    If you're speaking to a global audience that ranges the complete spectrum of experience, education, culture, and technical proficiency; with devices and platforms that some of us do not even realize exist, then *nothing* should be assumed as "obvious".

    No, it's not the most urgent issue in the world, but this kind of tunnel-vision-thinking adds up to make *so many* things a lot harder then they have to be.

      Thank you for having taken care of clarifying the issue even some more. I already took the point after reading the other explanations appeared here. I was making an erroneous and naive assumption. This is, of course, because I'm still very new to PM...