A polite request regarding Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports

Often when I read a thread commenting on an article or column, the OP doesn’t have a link going back to the article. I realize that threads are sometimes started by new members who aren’t aware that the “Comment on this article” link doesn’t automatically generate a link in the thread. I’m not complaining about those people. But quite often threads are started by members who have been here for awhile, say two or three years or longer, and should be aware that not only is it courteous to provide a link, it’s recommended in the rules sticky.

Sometimes another poster will put a link in the first or second reply, but not always. Sometimes a thread can go for six or seven posts without anyone putting in a link to the column. If I come across such a thread, I’ll make a post with a link so everyone can follow along. But is it too much trouble to ask people who have been here for awhile to post links if they see one is missing?

And for those of you who might say, “It’s today’s column. It’s right there on the front page,” please keep in mind it won’t anyways be there and could be buried quite far back in six months. Posting a link will mean that people won’t have to dig for it later.

Again, this thread isn’t directed at first-timers who aren’t aware that a link isn’t automatically generated. Thanking everybody in advance.

Is there any way to set the software to where if you start a new thread in that particular forum, it won’t let you post it until a link is included in the text? Like a message box popping up and saying this needs to be done.

I suspect no, but it sure would be handy.

I agree, this is annoying. I always post a link if it’s missing (and if I can find it) but as the OP says this can be six or seven posts or more into the thread. If there is no way to implement Siam Sam’s proposal could not a moderator insert the relevant link into the OP?

Sometimes I report it, but a link doesn’t always get inserted. I’ll just take the trouble to find the link myself, or else just forget it altogether.

And if it were possible to generate a link, I think it would require a mod to the software, which Ed Zotti and the IT guy have said they’re unwilling to do.

And then someone starts a thread saying “I thought for sure Cecil had an article on this topic, but I can’t find it now. Does anyone else remember it?”.

In that case, insert a link to a fluffy bunny.

Bumping this. I noticed a couple of threads today with missing links and I wasn’t able to find the columns. Can people please put links in their OP or the first or second poster to reply put a link in one of their replies? Is it that much trouble to make it possible for everyone to contribute? I know I’m not the only one pissed off by this.

with a pancake on its head!

Honestly, if they’re going to actually change anything, the best fix would be to add a script to the New Thread page that adds the URL of the referrer if the referrer was from an article on the main site. This would require a direct link to the “New Thread” page.

Or, alternatively, you could have it link to the forum but with an additional fake parameter that holds the URL. Then, if the user clicks on the New Thread button, it could check the URL from the fake parameter.

So, if I clicked on the “Comment on this answer” link from the current main story, it would go to http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=1&referrer=http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3323/is-scopolamine-as-scary-as-its-reputation. This would modify the new thread button so that, when I clicked on it, it would go to http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=1&referrer=http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3323/is-scopolamine-as-scary-as-its-reputation, which would then add http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3323/is-scopolamine-as-scary-as-its-reputation to the body of the post.

Of course, that’s getting complicated, adding two or possibly three different scripts.

That’s the ticket!