Comment button for initial poster's initial post (in forums)
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Oct 19, 2010

G'day everyone

I propose that the initial poster of a thread be given an extra button on the first post of the thread called "Comment" or "Clarify", that will allow him to edit that post indefinitely by adding more paragraphs to the bottom of the post.

With this feature, the initial poster won't be able to change what he's written (after 24 hours) but he will be able to add added comments to the bottom of his initial post, to serve as clarification for other users who join the thread late and who do not read the entire thread before posting a comment.

It sometimes happens that a poster asks a question or complains about something, but later the issue is resolve or new information comes to light which alters the type of response that one might usually have to the initial post. Currently, the initial poster can post a new message (which will appear at the bottom of the discussion, until someone replies to it, at which time it gets lost in the pool of messages), if he wants to clarify something. But some forum users who join a discussion after a few days don't read all the messages before responding to the initial post, and so they end up saying what has been said, in response to an older version of the issue, or an unclarified version of the issue, reopening the original (obsolete) points unnecessarily.

At present, any forum user can edit his own post within 24 hours. Discussions often last longer than that, though, and I think initial posters should have some way to add clarifying comments to his initial post, so that late joiners to the discussion can contribute more relevant comments.

A case in point is this thread:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/183221.html
in which the initial poster initially created the impression that her complaint might be partially about non-payment, but later clarified it saying that it related to a free test. Now that existing participants know that the issue is about a free test, they can discuss the issue further, but any forum user who joins the discussion late ends up responding to the original message, thinking that it is a non-payment issue. If the initial poster could add a comment to her initial post to clarify the point, late joiners would be able to give more useful comments.

I do not advocate a system in which the initial poster can edit his own post indefinitely by *changing* it, but only that he be able to add addendums to it (clarifications).

Samuel (hoping for more useful discussions in future)


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:51
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
good idea Oct 19, 2010

I think this would be a useful feature to have, Samuel.
It would enhance forum discussions.
In the link you provided, this would have avoided misunderstandings


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
French to English
Not to be encouraged, IMHO Oct 19, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

.... users who join the thread late and who do not read the entire thread before posting a comment.

But some forum users who join a discussion after a few days don't read all the messages before responding to the initial post, and so they end up saying what has been said, in response to an older version of the issue, or an unclarified version of the issue, reopening the original (obsolete) points unnecessarily.


Bluntly, I don't think people should comment without reading the whole thread. It is meant to be akin to a discussion, even if the degree to which the topic can shift and change is regulated. I equate the "I haven't read the thread but...." posters to people barging into a debate/discussion/conversation and announcing "what I think is...." regardless of what might be going on at the time. Bloody rude, basically. (This could be a cultural issue.)

Your suggestion also does nothing to prevent such gatecrashers repeating what someone else (other than the OP) has already said, and re-raising any other issues that also may have been resolved.

I can see your point re: the thread in question, for instance, but the way it works now makes for a useful experiment in:
a) how OPs are formulated - what info posters consider pertinent, how comprensively and concisely they can explain an issue, and
b) the assumptions those responding make, if any, or whether they are the kind of people who ask for clarification before offering an opinion.
(You may consider this of no importance, and that's fair enough; it fascinates me.)

However...

I do not advocate a system in which the initial poster can edit his own post indefinitely by *changing* it, but only that he be able to add addendums to it (clarifications).


I can see some value in the OP being able to add a line to the effect "I consider this matter closed", if the discussion has run its course, an answer has been obtained, etc.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Charlie Oct 19, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
But some forum users who join a discussion after a few days don't read all the messages before responding to the initial post, and so they end up saying what has been said, in response to an older version of the issue, or an unclarified version of the issue, reopening the original (obsolete) points unnecessarily.

I don't think people should comment without reading the whole thread. It is meant to be akin to a discussion, even if the degree to which the topic can shift and change is regulated.


Whether or not users should read the whole thread before responding, the fact is that many of them don't. I certainly don't (although I try to apply a strategy that wastes as little of my own time as that of other readers).

ProZ.com's forums serve multiple purposes within a single framework. Some threads are meant to be discussions right from the start, and may evolve into a discussion of related issues, and some are information gathering, in which most responses are in reply to the original post, and some are user-support types of threads in which the focus remains tightly focused on a single issue, even after several pages of posts. And, because ProZ.com's forum system is not threaded, it means that sub-discussions all have to take place in one great confusion in a single thread.

I equate the "I haven't read the thread but...." posters to people barging into a debate/discussion/conversation and announcing "what I think is...." regardless of what might be going on at the time. Bloody rude, basically. (This could be a cultural issue.)


Could also be a time issue. A user may think that he can contribute meaningfully but has no time to determine how his contribute may interact with the contributions of others, and so he warns his readers that his response should be read in isolation and not as a respons to what other people have discussed in that thread. It is actually the opposite of rude, because it tells readers upfront how they should interpret the barging-in poster's post... thereby not wasting their time.

Your suggestion also does nothing to prevent such gatecrashers repeating what someone else (other than the OP) has already said, and re-raising any other issues that also may have been resolved.


True. So perhaps the reply page should have a message at the top saying "The original poster has added clarification to this thread. Have you read the clarification?" (in the same way as we are currently warned if we have posted 5 or more times in the thread).

a) how OPs are formulated - what info posters consider pertinent, how comprensively and concisely they can explain an issue, and
b) the assumptions those responding make, if any, or whether they are the kind of people who ask for clarification before offering an opinion.


This may be fascinating to watch but it is not useful in the end. Even if the OP tries to make his point very clear initially, he may have missed something thta he thought needed no explanation, which he later discovers needed to be said up front for better understanding. I myself have experienced this, when I thought something was clear or obvious... that wasn't to everyone.

I can see some value in the OP being able to add a line to the effect "I consider this matter closed", if the discussion has run its course, an answer has been obtained, etc.


I don't think the OP has the right to consider a matter closed or to decide whether the matter is or isn't closed. Discussions are always open-ended, and anyone asking a question on the forums should respect the fact that they are not in control of the discussion and cannot "close" it. At best they have the right to say "Thanks, my question was answered by X, Y and Z" but not to say "Thanks, my question was answered, so please don't discuss it further".


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
French to English
True (+ a clarification!) Oct 19, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Whether or not users should read the whole thread before responding, the fact is that many of them don't. I certainly don't (although I try to apply a strategy that wastes as little of my own time as that of other readers).


Aye, they don't, and there is nothing that can be done. Indeed, even if it were possible to force people to read it all before responding (by some means yet to be invented!) I wouldn't enforce it.
I would just prefer not to facilitate or in some way encourage the habit of reading the OP and then jumping in with yer size 12s.
I frequent another forum (football-related) where OPs can be updated, and the initial impression is "oh, that's handy, all the info is in one place". But it's just chaotic, and the longer the thread gets, the more posts are of the type "xxxx said that on page 4" or "that was cleared up on page 9" (being a soccer forum, they are less polite )
For a thread (there's probably a good reason why this is the word for it) to make sense, the OP ultimately has to contain not only new info from the OP themselves, but also all significant contributions from other people.


I equate the "I haven't read the thread but...." posters ......it is actually the opposite of rude, because it tells readers upfront how they should interpret the barging-in poster's post... thereby not wasting their time.

Yup. My remarks were not so much about those who do in fact announce they haven't read it (as you say, it has its positive side) but more those who clearly haven't and steam in regardless. My use of quotes was misleading there, sorry.


At best they have the right to say "Thanks, my question was answered by X, Y and Z" but not to say "Thanks, my question was answered, so please don't discuss it further".

Quite. Your suggestion is an improvement - that was the idea I wished to get across, that the OP has, for now, probably withdrawn from the discussion, not the idea that it shouldn't be discussed further. TBH, though, I do have doubts about the effect of any of these suggestions on threads that are revived some time later by different individuals experiencing the same problem.... I'm not sure any of it is a good idea, ultimately.

Edit: executive summary: your idea would help solve the issue you raise but would, in my view, raise other, different issues & the overall forum experience would not therefore be improved.

[Edited at 2010-10-19 10:53 GMT]


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:51
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Maybe just don't limit time for editing of the initial post? Oct 19, 2010

I think that without adding any new functions Samuel's goal could be achieved by removing the time limit for editing the first post in a thread.

Actually it would allow to do what Charlie suggested - inserting information that the problem has been saved.

Cheers
Stanislaw


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disagree Oct 19, 2010

If the poster changes the content or adds new information to the initial thread, that can make following replies meaningless or nonsense.

Besides, the extra info in many cases is provided due to the debate, to new or different points of view or data provided by other posters. Or even asked by them in order to get a better idea of the issue. That enriches the debate.

If somebody doesn`t take the time to read the whole thread before posting, he/she may be losing time. What he/she is posting might have been already said in the same thread.

Furthermore, I think nobody should post without reading the whole thread.

This suggestion is opposite but the similar in results (wierd as it may sound), as to those posters that used to delete the firts post (that delete button doesn exist any more, fortunately). The debate may not make sense afterwards.

To summarize, I strongly disagree with this suggestion.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Walter Oct 19, 2010

Walter Landesman wrote:
If the poster changes the content or adds new information to the initial thread, that can make following replies meaningless or nonsense.


I agree, and that is why I don't think that allowing initial posters to edit their posts indefinitely is a good solution. This is why I proposed that any clarifications should appear below the initial content of the post, so that it is clear to anyone that those clarifications were added much later.


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