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3:51 AM
Hey @Shog, mind talking in here so George doesn't get yet more messages in his inbox?
@TinyGiant oh, fine.
So, do you agree that there is a problem?
@TinyGiant sorry, what?
With the H&I. We followed your advice on a question that could not be edited by anyone from the community without replacing the entire question. It was sent to triage where it was marked as Looks OK.
@TinyGiant link?
4:02 AM
I'm actually not sure if it was Looks OK or not, but the flag ended up being disputed instead of declined.
Anyway, sending it back to triage is useless, because the chances of it being handled correctly there are slim to none
so... That was in the First Posts queue.
wait, what? wrong link?
Then someone flagged it as VLQ, putting it in Triage
No, it says H&I for me
which said it required editing
which put it in H&I
4:04 AM
where it stayed until someone downvoted it yeah, maybe wrong link?
anyway, i'm deleting it
OK, but when I find something in the H&I that should just be closed, I don't want to bypass the system.
I want to close it through the normal channels.
And sending it back to triage is a gamble at best
I don't care about fixing triage, that would require a whole lot of user education that just isn't feasible for us lowly humans.
I just want to be able to clean up the mess created by triage that spills over into the H&I
I want the question closed, and surely I can vote to close it, but that doesn't get it out of the H&I, and skipping it just leaves it open for someone else to engage in futility.
I mean, you could just give me unilateral close votes, but I don't think that would go over well, and there isn't another election until next year (not that I would qualify by then anyways, or be voted for).
It seems like the best solution would be to just add an option to send questions to the close queue where they belong. But that has been requested before to no avail, and you don't seem very keen on the idea.
So is this just a problem that isn't going to get fixed? Roll the dice every time and see where they fall, or just let someone else roll the dice?
4:33 AM
@TinyGiant ok, so look: all of these systems - H&I, Triage, even close review - they're auxiliary.
They're built on top of the base system, which is intended to work without them
and which mostly does work without them, but doesn't really scale to SO's size
(with me? Sorry, I had to step away to help someone get their car started)
Yeah, I'm here, was dealing with kids and bed time
Anyway... So we built all these review systems *on top of* the basic functionality that exists in the system:
- Editing
- Close voting
- Delete voting
Those three are the handles bolted right onto every post that directly control questions' passage through the system
They're gated by rep-based privileges and can operate independently of review
review just adds another layer of abstraction
When it works, it guides folks who otherwise wouldn't really know what to do
But you can always bypass review and just interact with the system on its most basic level.
I'm gonna repeat this, since it's critical that you understand it: review is an abstraction. A useful one, but like all abstractions, it has its limits.
No matter how much you like Ruby or PHP or whatever the kids are all gaga about these days, sometimes you gotta write a routine in asm or C or whatever.
Same with review.
Still with me?
Ok. So you decide you like an abstraction. H&I. You wanna help people, and you're hoping H&I can point you in the direction of folks who can be helped.
So far so good. But then you find a question in H&I that you can't help.
You have a basic decision to make: are you gonna stay within the bounds of this abstraction, or are you gonna abandon it?
If you stay with it, you have those three choices I mentioned earlier:
- Edit
- Skip
- Flag
Edit is taking responsibility for the post.
The abstraction is thinnest here; there's really not much difference between editing in H&I and just... editing.
Which is sorta the whole point: funnel people into editing.
Skip is the opposite - taking NO responsibility for the post.
It keeps you fully within the abstraction, the funnel, and gives you another post to edit.
The post you skipped will be shown to someone else... Or maybe not. Doesn't matter; you've abdicated responsibility, and it's no longer your concern.
Flag is the wildcard. This is where the abstraction gets really thick, because you're not directly controlling anything, but you're saying "I strongly suspect this question is a waste of time here"
again, once you choose that option the matter is out of your hands - the responsibility for dealing with it is on someone else.
But you're giving it a little bit of a nudge, saying "hey, maybe this shouldn't go in front of another editor without some sanity checking first"
The system might run it through Triage to get a better feel for where it should go, or it might toss it in front of a moderator.
You don't know, you can't control that. Where it goes, who deals with it, that'll depend on a bunch of factors that are out of your control.
Thus concludes the scope of the H&I abstraction.
...which you don't actually have to use, and can abandon at any time.
If, for the sake of example, you come across a post that you feel... Invested in.
You have Strong Opinions on what is wrong with it, and what should happen with it
You can step out of H&I
Go directly to the post
and have full access to all the normal tools
Vote to close it.
Camp on it, waiting to vote to delete it.
Flag it as spam or offensive.
Heck, you can leave a comment offering guidance to the author if you want.
(you can do that last one in H&I too though, with or without an edit, although editing is strongly encouraged - still, presumably if you wanted to do that you'd already have done it.)
Anyway, this is a lot more work. You're actually taking real responsibility here for getting rid of a question.
Getting folks to do that is... really hard.
No one wants to do that.
4:49 AM
raises hand sheepishly
Not no one, but... a rather small minority
Folks don't like responsibility
And... I guess I can't blame 'em.
I mean, if I was hanging around SO to get away from the responsibility of daily life I might not want to sign up for a whole lot more responsibility either
At least, not every day, all the time.
This was where the original review system fell apart.
It gave folks tons of power and tons of responsibility
and no one used it (and again, by no one I mean a tiny, tiny handful of people used it)
But if you want it, it's always there - assuming you've earned the privileges fair & square, you can use 'em.
You just gotta be willing to shoulder the responsibility that comes with them.
Thus concludes my rant.
I mean, explanation.
Any questions?
So, I basically shouldn't be worrying about anyone else. If I think a question should be closed, I should step out of the abstraction, and vote to close, then skip and go on to something else.
Assuming you honestly believe the question should be closed, and you've earned the privilege to vote to close, then vote to close it. That's your prerogative
Because my only hope for flagging it, is getting you at the other end of the flag.
I think that's hyperbolic
4:53 AM
Of course it is
But really, I can't count on a moderator to want to bypass the system and delete a post that rightfully shouldn't be in front of them in the first place, and I cant count on triage to do anything.
Knowing this, the most logical option is to vote to close it and skip
If you have that privilege, I think it makes perfect sense
Stop worrying about everyone else, they can exercise their right to engage in futility, or edit garbage.
But see, I'm biased, because back when I was in your position I didn't have all these fancy flags, so I just voted to close, voted to delete, and edited.
Yeah, I see your point.
A system is better than no system at all.
We added all these flags as sort of training wheels, and then folks got all enamored with the training wheels and now they're riding gigantic gas-powered three-wheeled motorcycles and complaining when they tip over.
so whatever, we make it work
Folks complain about declined or disputed VLQ flags, but VLQ flag handling was SO BROKEN for so long
for questions anyway
Right now, they're about 60% successful, which is probably about right
But for literally years, folks were trained to just use it as a super-downvote
which is kinda sick & wrong
4:58 AM
Well, in my opinion, there shouldn't be a VLQ flag on a question anyway.
there ARE just god-awful questions though
if we can kinda train folks to use some judgement, it's really useful to be rid of them promptly
Yeah, I see lots of them every single day, I don't flag them though.
I've got a graveyard full of them
this is in the queue right now:
Q: Javascript performance, conditional statement vs assignment operator

ChewOnThis_TridentIs there a difference in performance between the conditional operator === and the assignment operator =? I am writing some pre-save hook middleware in mongoose and I am wondering if there is much of a speed difference between : UserSchema.pre('save', function (next) { if (!this.isModified()...

It's kind of a stupid question
but I wouldn't call it VLQ
it's just kind of a stupid question
Yeah, I would never flag that.
Should be closed, should be automatically deleted when applicable
there's a LOT of stuff like that
...and then there's stuff like this:
Q: Many2many field in wizard is showing empty

Shivam MahajanMany2many field in wizard is showing empty eventhough the data is aleady selected..each time it is overwriting..i just want to update it liket he tag field in emploee info

I mean, maybe that even makes sense if you know openerp
but I wouldn't put a lot of money on that
that's the ENTIRE question in the onebox, btw
which is just as well, since i just deleted it
your eyeballs thank me
or this one:
Q: Change banner width and background colour

Ahmed When user login to app,and operation succes banner appear like photo, I want to change Banner width and Background Colour. I used in my project.

5:03 AM
Sorry, kids and bed again, back
you can't see the huge garish image, but that only makes it a little better
point is, there's stuff out there that just makes you wanna cry, even if you've been staring at crap on programming forums for decades
It's not just bad, it makes you wanna leave & never come back.
That's why there's a VLQ flag
Ok, so we get a lot of that kind of stuff through our room (not nearly all of it, but a hell of a lot) should we then be flagging this stuff instead? I kind of like giving the user a chance to redeem themselves, but they rarely ever do.
These guys can replace their entire question with another question, and still fall short of legible.
you've been around for a bit. If you think someone's gonna take a crack at making it work - making anything work - then give 'em the benefit of the doubt. Why not? Plenty of other questions to worry about.
That's what I've been doing. And I'm fine with that.
Brb, kids and bed again.
But if you see something where... Look, that first example I posted, two lines of text with no effort spent trying to make even that scant bit look like English... Just lets be rid of it.
Vote to close, flag, make a voodoo doll in the shape of a bad question and poke at it with pins, whatever.
5:13 AM
Ok, sounds good. That gives me a better idea of how to use it, hopefully the rest of the mods are on the same page with that.
I'm glad we had this chat, I'll be able to give much better advice in the future.
@Shog by the way, you've used the helping someone start their car with me before. Do you have a neighbor with a crappy car or something?
kids with crappy cars, kids' friends with crappy cars, my very own crappy cars...
I am rich, you see. Rich in crap.
Well, have a nice time. You can delete our discussion on george's answer if you feel like it. It's just noise now.
yeah, I'll leave it for now. George can clean it up if he wishes.

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