Present the "Title:" case EMPTY

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by Michel Merlin, May 29, 2006.

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  1. Michel Merlin

    Michel Merlin Registered Member

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    Let's look at the Acronis True Image WISH-LIST thread; its posts are titled as follows:
    • Acronis True Image WISH-LIST thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • Re: Wish-list thread
    • ..............
    I apologize for not repeating the list entirely :)

    What is the use of a message title, if all messages have the same title (here "Re: Wish-list thread")? For instance, how do you see at a glance which one of these "Re: Wish-list thread" posts in that list requested "Always backup MBR and partition table regardless of whether the entire disk or selected partitions are imaged", "Ability to restore MBR or partition table above without having to restore a partition"? Hint: williamgjames on Thu 11 Nov 2004 02:47 GMT. Wouldn't it be clearer if that post had been titled (and linked) "Always backup MBR and partition table"?

    To prevent users from that very counter-productive habit, in a way that would the less possible hurt their habits, I suggest that the « Title: » box were presented empty to the user preparing to post a reply. If he forgets to include a title, thus submits his post with that « Title: » box still empty, the software would gently return him his message, politely asking « Please build a short title precisely reflecting the contents of your message ». No other warning, no other wording; saying the right words at the right moment in the right place, saves volume as well as misunderstanding risks.

    Paris, Mon 29 May 2006 18:53:10 +0200
     
  2. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    That's a nice idea, but, the vBulletin software is not setup to do that. Such a change would require a hack to the forum software. Not that I'm unwilling to explore such an idea, but, experience has shown us that people rarely enter good and accurate titles even when they start threads, which is when the forum software does require exactly what you mentioned, (i.e. forcing them to enter something). It's actually unlikely that more than a few people would properly title their replies.

    Michel Merlin - Also note that we are using standard vBulletin software here. We did not write this software. If you wish to suggest improvements then take it up with the vendor at their site:

    http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/index.php
     
  3. Michel Merlin

    Michel Merlin Registered Member

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    People do build accurate titles when possible and useful

    I have a different experience: on the famous InfoWorld Electronic forums (before a crowd of fanatics brought them down to closure around 1999), this was as I propose: you couldn't post a message, even one word long, without giving it a title, in a case that was presented empty. And, even in that crude audience, the whole thread (often very long) was very clear because the mass of message titles were quite informative about the contents of those messages. So I do think that, if you present the case empty, you will actually get most of the messages with accurate and relevant titles.

    In addition I second what you recalled me in private email (and that as a former developer I shouldn't have let go out of my mind): "we try not to modify the forum software too much as that makes any future upgrades more difficult to apply" (because even in 2006 with the dev tools available, there remains too much customization that gets lost in updates).

    As for submitting directly to vBulletin, I think suggestions would get more chances to be seriously considered by vBulletin if you forwarded to them the ones you approve, with your comments added. However the most important factor on your side as on mine being time, none of us should wait for the other to get the time to do it, so I will try to do it on my side ASAP. Thanks for the URL for this.

    (Sorry to repeat this additional reply but the original one, « Suggestions to vBulletin by users *and by forum handlers* », was the 2nd post in the Linking a Singled Post while not losing the ThreadID topic, which has disappeared)

    Paris, Fri 2 Jun 2006 19:02:55 +0200
     
  4. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Re: People do build accurate titles when possible and useful

    In Internet time, 1999 was an incredibly long time ago. That was a lot closer to the days when newsgroups dominated, and more often then not, participants in online discussions knew the proper etiquette, and if they didn't, they were flamed out of the discussion until they learned how to title and quote properly, as well as knowing what should and should not be posted at all.

    In any case, as I've said, our experience is different. Just reading this forum shows that, as often as not, a chosen thread title is not generally accurate to the actual purpose of its discussion. So, making people type in a title for every single reply they post is more likely to result in titles like: "...", "my reply", "anything", or something similar which adds no value.

    Ah, that's one of those times when a thread was merged with another and the threadid was discarded, but the postid would have found the post in question:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=764481

    That merge was done not because the two threads were about the same thing, clearly they aren't, (i.e. suggestions regarding forum timestamps versus cross-linking posts and threads), but was done because both yield a common response, that being - whether your suggestions make sense and are useful or not, neither is anything we here at Wilders can do anything about. They are vBulletin forum software design issues. Frankly, I have no problem with how vBulletin currently works in regards to the two issues you've raised there, and so I have no motivation to ask Jelsoft to change that functionality.
     
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