Feature Request

If & when a thread is started referencing a Cecil or Staff column, could the link titled ‘Comment on this answer’ be redirected to that thread, instead of just the hosting forum?

This will prevent redundant threads. Make it easier to find the thread that discussed the answer. Since the column is published once or twice a week, shouldn’t be too much work to update one link when a thread is started.

What if they have a different question about the same column?

It’s not like either of the Comments forums are flooded with threads.

Well, if you are soliciting features, I would love to be able to strikethrough words. (a line going though a word, originally made by going back a few spaces on a typewriter, and typing dashes over a word you did not mean to type. Today often used for commedic purposes.)

I mean, if you are trying to say thatsay that one thing is just like another, simply make a statement about one thing, then strike through the first, and put in a second. In html, it would be as follows: <S>somewordoranother</S> or <strike>somethingelse</strike>

Colibri, if a visitor searches through the column archives and decides to follow up on possible ensuing discussion, they can’t search for that thread, IIRC.

Two problems, that I can see. First, as Lakai mentions, a single column can spawn multiple unrelated threads. Suppose the first comment on a thread is “the link is mistyped on the front page”, and that gets officially linked as the comment on that thread, but that a couple of days later, someone starts a new thread debating some of the figures Cecil uses in the column. Does it make sense that a newbie reading the thread would be directed to the “comment” about the link typo, which is probably fixed by then anyway? What if there are two substantive threads both started about the column, but on different aspects of it? Which one gets the official stamp, then?

The second problem is that there’s no clear way to automate this, so it’d have to be implemented by some staff member watching the Comments fora and editing the columns as soon as a thread appears on them. And I’m not going to be the one to suggest an addition to the moderators’ workload.

Chronos, let’s make it easier. As soon as a column is posted, a thread is autospawned in the appropriate forum. Solves the linking and automation problem. Solves the redundant threads (a thread already exists, with a sticky for clueless newbies). A standardized title scheme by the script will also make any eventual searching easier. Moderator workload is reduced to those occasional columns with multiple topics.

Two different functions here. The columns are put on the site apart from the board.

It’s up to our members to put such comments and questions to the board. We ask that they reference what they’re asking about/commenting on as a courtesy to others.

Since the questions asked and comments made come from so many different directions, just lumping them all into one thread per column would not be useful and would in fact stifle comment and discussion, and that’s the last thing we want to do.

your humble TubaDiva

I actually agree with TubaDiva. We don’t have column-specific fora here like Slashdot effectively has because we don’t have real threading. We only have sequential posts and it’s very difficult to keep multiple flows of conversation all current at the same time with that arrangement.

We could have a more complex threading arrangement if we wanted to simultaneously confuse most of our regular, paying members and cause massive upheaval in our entire board culture. It would probably increase the load on the servers, to boot.

I don’t see Gyan’s suggestion ever integrating itself into the SDMB either technically or culturally. It’s simply too alien to most users.

I do, however, like Scott Plaid’s suggestion that we get strikeout tags. I would like to add to it my suggestion that we get HTML character entities back.

Wow, no offense, but I haven’t suggested anything radical about column-specific foras or the like.

This is my modified suggestion in a nutshell:

Every Friday, a column is posted. At the same time, the posting moderator can start a thread in CoCC or CoSR entitled “12/25/0x: Does Santa exist?” and the column can include a link to that thread, instead of just linking the forum display of CoCC or CoSR. If someone’s ready to volunteer to modify all old columns to existing thread, that’s helpful but not too important.


[li]Standardized title makes it a snap to search for the corresponding thread.[/li][li]Visitors who are browsing archives can access thread for old columns (they can’t search). This would depend on a volunteer effort, but it would remain true for threads from the implementation date onwards.[/li][li]There can be a boilerplate OP text that references the column, eliminating all those mod admonitions. In fact, the OP could contain the column itself, so it’s right there for easy reference.[/li][li]Prevent redundant threads.[/li][/ul]


[li]A mod has to start a thread. Well, since we’re talking about something that happens once or twice a week, is this really a problem? A thread takes a minute to start. ‘Post new thread’. Paste boilerplate. Insert name & link of column. Maybe, paste the column. Press ‘Submit’. Done.[/li][li]Multiple threads needed for multiple columns posted together. How’s this different from now?[/li][li]Comments on different aspects of same column lumped together in a single thread. Probably the biggest counterpoint. Once the culture sets in, people will just check the thread. Furthermore, one way to manage this, is for those asking something novel about a column, to click on the OP ‘Quick Reply’ so the threaded mode, makes it clear, a new thread of discussion is underway. But it shouldn’t be a major problem otherwise, as very few columns spawn multiple threads, as it is.[/li][/ul]

What? Posters aren’t responsible enough to do this for themselves?

We like to think they can – or they should be.

This board is what our members make of it and it’s true for starting threads as it is for anything else. We prefer to let our members make these choices, rather than force them into our choices, which may not be the same.

While we do clean up messes from time to time, we’d rather not wipe asses, if you know what I mean. Independent, intelligent thought is encouraged and appreciated.

your humble TubaDiva

Much as I enjoyed seeing my post mentioned not once, but twice, II Gyan II, it would be better all around if you would put <snip>, and </snip> around the relevant parts of the quote, and leave out the rest. True, the “/” in the last “snip” doesn’t actually do anything, but it keeps you in shape.

Also, TubaDiva, do you care to tell me if my suggestion is feasable, or not?

Gyan, I knew I wasn’t being clear enough. I’ll try to break it down for everyone:

There is frequently more than one thread started for a given column, each thread about a seperate issue raised by that column. As it stands, with a very loose association between columns and threads, it’s easy to keep track of any number of different threads of discussion because each will be in its own thread on the board.

If we implement your plan, there will be, as you say, one board thread per column. This is not acceptable. It is acceptable on Slashdot, where threads can branch and split. Here, threads are completely linear. That makes it effectively impossible to carry on multiple threads of discussion in one board thread.

In Slashdot, you have effectivley one forum per article. That’s effectively what we’d need to make it work. And it simply isn’t going to happen.


(Second try. I posted this in the wrong thread earlier.)**

[del]You mean like this?[/del]

[del]your humble TubaDiva[/del]

Not neccesarily, most long GD threads ultimately devolve into a few, relatively distinct conversations happening all in one thread and nobody has really complained about it so far. As long as appropriate use of the quote feature is used, it shouldn’t be too hard to follow different chains of conversation. But I agree that it’s largely not a very useful feature. These forums move so slowly that likely any column your interested in will be on the front page.


So, it’s “del”, between “[” and “]” is it? Nice. Squink likes it too. Is this new, or have I simply not done a good enought job of searching?

You are correct: it’s {del} on {/del} off [Straight brackets, not curly ones]

[del]And the text for strikeover goes between[/del]

And yes, it’s new.

your humble TubaDiva

I am well aware of the technical and administration problems of the basic proposal here. But, a long time ago, when message boards were new to me (and many others), I would see, at the bottom of an article, “Comment on this answer.” Great, thought I, click on that and I will be instantly transported to the relevant discussion thread where I can read and participate in.

Not so. I was transported instead to a confusing array of forums, threads and posts, none of which related to the topic that got me there, and although I was registered, I didn’t have a clue of how to “comment on this answer.” As a result, I didn’t use these forums for many months.

Think of this feature from the newest newbie point of view. Experts don’t need it, but newbies might be helped considerably over the hump of first use.

It’s similar to the common statement you find on web sites, “go to {whatever} and sign up for our service!” But when you go to {whatever}, there appears to be no easy way to sign up, but a confusing, multi-level site map that you have to navigate four levels deep to get to where you expected to be with one click. Not confusing to the site designer, but often baffling to the typical user.

[del]This fucking rocks![/del] What a very pleasant thing to have. Thank you, TubaDiva.

P.S. No details on the decision to add this feature? Wow, you are humble.

Damn, there goes my theory explaining what Cecil was doing at the Dallas book repository.