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Mandatory reason for editing? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Why the mandatory reason for editing a post?  I'm sure not all of you agree, but I should not have to reveal my reasons for editing a post after the fact.   And why does it say "Note:" instead of "Reason for editing".  I'm not making notes. 

    By the way, 4 non-breaking space characters (A0) work quite well as a reason :)
    • Edited by Ted_ Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:47 PM     
    • Changed type Mike Walsh FIN Saturday, September 6, 2008 3:07 PM Question
    Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:43 PM

All replies

  • Thanks for the nbsp idea. I was putting spaces then a period.

    Agreed.

    Brandon Legault
    Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:58 PM
  • Ted.

    As a refugee from the newsgroups, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the ability to edit posts. It's like rewriting history. Not that I haven't used it; I have. But I would prefer it if you could only edit a post while it was the last post in the thread.

    [I would have said "until someone has replied to your post", but the concept of threading is sadly lacking in the forum interface...]


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 3:20 PM
  • I like your idea Dave, that's what I was thinking as well. Most of the time you want to edit your post it's a few seconds after you hit submit and you think of something to add (or catch a spelling mistake). We should make this easy, without having to give a reason or even noting the edit, but once someone has replied all edits should be noted and reason should be required.

    Thanks,
    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 3:48 PM
  • Andrew:

    Well, I was actually suggesting getting rid of Edit altogether after their have been (further) replies in the thread. Otherwise, with suitable editing, you can make the responder look like a complete nitwit (for example by clarifying some poorly written part that sent the responder off in the wrong direction).

    But just getting rid of the reason for an "immediate" edit would be an improvement.



    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 5:29 PM
  • davewilk said:


    Well, I was actually suggesting getting rid of Edit altogether after their have been (further) replies in the thread. Otherwise, with suitable editing, you can make the responder look like a complete nitwit (for example by clarifying some poorly written part that sent the responder off in the wrong direction).



    I acutally like this idea, Dave. I belong to another forum where this is exactly the rule. They think of posting more as a conversation, and you can't go back and change what you said afterwards...

    Unfortunately, this is an expected feature in most forum software (and most new users to the other forum that I reference have to be told to go back and read the Terms of Service again when they start complaining.) :)

    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Thursday, June 19, 2008 1:32 AM
  • mattfras said:

    Unfortunately, this is an expected feature in most forum software (and most new users to the other forum that I reference have to be told to go back and read the Terms of Service again when they start complaining.) :)

    Matt:

    Even if this is true, I would urge its removal. Certainly for me, Edit was a very unexpected feature.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Thursday, June 19, 2008 10:15 AM
  • thanks for the discussion - I do like the idea of no mandatory reason until someone else replies, and force reason after someone else replies.
    Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:49 AM
  • Andrew Brenner said:

    I like your idea Dave, that's what I was thinking as well. Most of the time you want to edit your post it's a few seconds after you hit submit and you think of something to add (or catch a spelling mistake). We should make this easy, without having to give a reason or even noting the edit, but once someone has replied all edits should be noted and reason should be required.


    Bumping this thread because I just found it, and to express my support for Andrew's compromise.  As I said in a similar thread I'm doing quick edits for trivial reasons (such as spelling) all the time, and having to put in a "reason" is rather annoying.
    Thursday, September 4, 2008 1:47 PM
  • The edit box will remain, but under most circumstances it will no longer be a required field in our next release. Off the top of my head, I think reason is only required if a moderator edits or deletes someone elses posts now. (Don't quote me on the specifics, but it's along those lines)


    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:11 PM
  • Excellent news, thank you!

    Friday, September 5, 2008 7:42 AM
  • I re-read my replies after posting them.

    By editing I can often make those responses clearer.

    Yes, usually my reply is the latest one in the thread but what if someone posted at the same time and came in just after me. What too if I only see the unclearness later.

    I find it annoying that reason for Edit is compulsory but I'm glad it is there so I can explain what I have edited if it seems necessary to do so.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 11:58 AM
  • Mike:

    Except for immediate edits before anybody else responds, I am still opposed to editing. How can the forums become a useful repository of a discussion on a topic if each participant can go in and rewrite history at any point?

    The newsgroups have survived with a "once it's out there, it's out there" model without problems. Forums have some advantages over newsgroups (not many, IMHO), but the ability to edit is not one of them. Like many other forum features, for me it is a negative relative to the minimal interface of usenet.



    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Friday, September 5, 2008 1:19 PM
  • I'm not Mike, but I find your post fairly bizarre...

    davewilk said:
    Except for immediate edits before anybody else responds, I am still opposed to editing. How can the forums become a useful repository of a discussion on a topic if each participant can go in and rewrite history at any point?

    What a weird question. Are these forums not a useful repository of discussions right now, despite the edit feature? Any other web document, whether blogs or the MSDN Library, can be edited at any time by its author -- does that make all documents on the entire Internet outside of Usenet worthless, too?

    The newsgroups have survived with a "once it's out there, it's out there" model without problems. Forums have some advantages over newsgroups (not many, IMHO), but the ability to edit is not one of them. Like many other forum features, for me it is a negative relative to the minimal interface of usenet.

    What part of Usenet has survived without problems? I'm here and not on Usenet because Usenet groups are either hellholes or wastelands, lately including the MS groups I've been reading.

    Also, no offense, but you are setting yourself up for this question... if Usenet is so fantastic and forums are so horrible, why are you here and not on Usenet?

    One advantage that Usenet does have is easy quoting, by the way. Typing this reply in HTML was painful!

    Friday, September 5, 2008 3:09 PM
  • Chris:

    Frankly, I find your response *totally* bizarre :-).

    Firstly, I was replying to Mike Walsh, not to you. The lack of good threading information in these forums is a major problem, IMHO. This is precisely why I always address the person by name in the forums.

    Yes, the forums are a useful repository of information, but only because, for the most part, folks do not go around modifying their posts after someone has replied. But I certainly have had the experience of answering a post and having the OP modify the original question in such a way as to make it appear that I had not bothered to read the question properly. I just do not see the point in allowing this.

    I agree that forums have a better ability to fight spam and abusive posts than newsgroups, but if Microsoft had invested a small fraction of the forum effort into detecting and removing inappropriate posts from the newsgroups, it would be no problem at all.

    The list of ways in which NNTP newsgroups are superior to forums is so long that there is really no point in going there.

    Since you ask, I still mostly use the newsgroups, but I also use the forums because Microsoft has decided, for whatever reason, that forums are the future. No new public newsgroups are being created, and the old ones are not being promoted.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Friday, September 5, 2008 8:05 PM
  • >Firstly, I was replying to Mike Walsh, not to you. The lack of good threading information in these forums is a major problem, IMHO. This is precisely why I always address >the person by name in the forums. 

    Even if your reply was to me there is no "rule" either in the forums or the newsgroups which forbids anyone else from commenting on it.

    As for me I find that a major advantage of the forums is that I can correct wrong information I gave in a reply. Typically this is me writing in a hurry and thus using the wrong abbreviation or similar. A correction to that sort of thing just improves the quality of information in a thread.

    I also like the fact that as a moderator in a forum I can move a thread to the correct forum for it, instead of being forced (in the newsgroups) to ask people to post their questions on X to a forum that covers X - and often being abused for doing so. Because of this ability to move threads we now have in SharePoint land all Search questions concentrated nicely in their own forum rather than being spread about among whichever forums people saw first (which is often the newsgroup situation).
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:55 AM
  • >Firstly, I was replying to Mike Walsh, not to you. The lack of good threading information in these forums is a major problem, IMHO. This is precisely why I always address the person by name in the forums.

    Even on Usenet, people would reply to posts directed at other people all the time.  If you wish a private conversion you'll want to use e-mail, not a public forum.  As for subthreading, it can be occasionally useful but it also leads to those annoying off-topic debates within entirely unrelated discussions.  Arguably, it's more helpful to readers if people who want to discuss a separate (important) subject start a different thread altogether.

    >Yes, the forums are a useful repository of information, but only because, for the most part, folks do not go around modifying their posts after someone has replied.
     
    That's the point, isn't it?  There is no reason to fear that people will go around editing their posts willy-nilly.  On the other hand, if some new insight does come up that makes an existing post obsolete I certainly appreciate the possibility to update that post directly.

    >But I certainly have had the experience of answering a post and having the OP modify the original question in such a way as to make it appear that I had not bothered to read the question properly. I just do not see the point in allowing this.

    Is that such a catastrophe?  When you notice you can always go back and edit your own reply to match, but personally I've rarely see it happen and really... it's not a big deal.  Readers will either not care or figure out easily enough that the original post had been edited.

    >I agree that forums have a better ability to fight spam and abusive posts than newsgroups, but if Microsoft had invested a small fraction of the forum effort into detecting and removing inappropriate posts from the newsgroups, it would be no problem at all.

    As I'm sure you know, completely removing posts from a newsgroup is impossible because the posts of any popular server quickly get mirrored all over the place.  The MS newsgroups certainly did.  Newsreaders like Agent also cache downloaded posts so even assuming you have only one server, changes may not be reflected in the users' local message database.

    The only way to have similar moderating powers on Usenet as on web forums is to make a newsgroup fully moderated which introduces a very annoying posting delay while the moderators look at every single new post.  Even so, once a post is approved you have the same trouble as before.

    >Since you ask, I still mostly use the newsgroups, but I also use the forums because Microsoft has decided, for whatever reason, that forums are the future. No new public newsgroups are being created, and the old ones are not being promoted.

    Whatever Microsoft's reasons were, I think most people would rather have an Edit button than branching threads.  I know I do!
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 7:55 AM
  • Mike:

    I only mentioned who I was replying to because Chris castigated me for addressing him as Mike. The mistake on his part was directly related to the lack of good threading information in these forums.

    I do like the ability to correct my post immediately after posting, and I use it often. It is "after the fact" editing that I am opposed to.

    I was not talking about moderator behavior, but rather behavior of original posters (and sometimes responders). I do have some problems with certain moderator actions, but overall the ability of moderators to "fix up" the forums is beneficial.

    Selecting the wrong group is certainly a problem on usenet, but it is easily addressed by user education (and refusing to answer off-topic posts). But actually, the vast majority of these cases on the Microsoft public newsgroups are caused by people using the web interface to the newsgroups.

    Forums do have some advantages over newsgroups, but IMHO they do not even come close to outweighing the ease of use of a good (or even mediocre) newsreader.





    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 9:16 AM
  • Chris:

    Dueling editing. Could be the basis of an interesting computer game. Or even a TV game show ...

    Yes, mirroring is a problem on usenet, but I always read the Microsoft newsgroups on the Microsoft server, and my newsreader (Mozilla) has the ability to remove local copies if they have been removed from the server.

    We're just going to have to agree to disagree here.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 9:33 AM
  • davewilk said:


    The list of ways in which NNTP newsgroups are superior to forums is so long that there is really no point in going there.

    Many people will agree with this, However, it apears MS disagrees with you - despite years of asking, there's still no gateway to NNTP for these and most of the other web forums on the MS site.  There are some notable and near-notable exceptions. The OCS group uses Community Server which has the NNTP option, but it looks like the OCS team appear not implement it). And the MCT newsgroups have a web/nntp gateway feature for most groups (although it appears to be very difficult for new newsgroups to get into the Web Forums).  So while most heavy answerers will always prefer the quality that comes with a good NNTP news client - we're unlikely to get one.  :-(

    But to bring this comment back to the topic in hand - I like the ability to post-edit an article - if only to corect silly typos. The Community Content has this feature, BUT it has a history feature, so you can see the historyof an article (which removes, imo, the problem other posters mention of changing history).

    Perhaps a better option would be to have one set of editing and viewing tools (forums and community content) as opposed to the two very separate systems we have today. And in doing so, add the "view history" to these forums.

    Thomas Lee
    • Edited by Thomas Lee Saturday, September 6, 2008 10:01 AM .
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 9:50 AM
  • davewilk said:

    Mike:

    I only mentioned who I was replying to because Chris castigated me for addressing him as Mike. The mistake on his part was directly related to the lack of good threading information in these forums.



    There was no mistake on my part.  I did not castigate you; I merely said "I'm not Mike" for the obvious reason that I am in fact not Mike but still replied to your post which was addressed to Mike.  I quite understood what you intended to do, despite the lack of Usenet-style subthreading, I just butted into the conversation anyway. :)
    Monday, September 8, 2008 7:48 AM
  • Chris:

    Ah, yes, I misinterpreted your meaning. Sorry.

    I still think the lack of threading is a source of confusion, that just could not arise in the newsgroups. Another is the lack of Quote in the Preview. Quote and Reply are really just two aspects of the same thing, so why one is in the Preview and the other not is beyond me. I often find myself not quoting because I just do not want to spend the time switching to the single thread view.

    Actually, I think all the features (Quote, Edit, Mark, Vote..) in the single thread view should be present in the Preview. Otherwise, the ones that are not become second class citizens.

    I also think that the threading information (both in Preview and single thread view) could be simply displayed by using a two-line header that listed both the responder's name/post time (as now) and the name/post time of the person being replied to. This would be far more convenient than the threaded view currently provided in the Preview, which frankly is so inconvenient that I never use it.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Monday, September 8, 2008 1:17 PM
  • > This would be far more convenient than the threaded view currently provided in the Preview, which frankly is so inconvenient that I never use it.

    So there's a threaded view ?   :)

    Never seen it - which I guess just proves your point.


    Monday, September 8, 2008 2:48 PM
  • Mike Walsh MVP said:

    > This would be far more convenient than the threaded view currently provided in the Preview, which frankly is so inconvenient that I never use it.

    So there's a threaded view ?   :)

    Never seen it - which I guess just proves your point.




    Yes, you can choose how you want your preview to show...
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Monday, September 8, 2008 5:59 PM
  • davewilk said:

    [...]

    Firstly, I was replying to Mike Walsh, not to you. The lack of good threading information in these forums is a major problem, IMHO. This is precisely why I always address the person by name in the forums.

    [...]

    Ah.. when I first read your comment on the lack of threading, I didn't understand what you meant... it seemed to me that each topic was a different thread, so... but of course I understand what you meant now.

    You both mention some good points, and I've no doubt that these forums have their advantages (and disadvantages) - just as the newsgroups with their customized and powerful news reader software, etc. have theirs. Good to see you both being civil, but I imagine that's probably (hopefully) more prevalant in these MSDN forums than in general.

    davewilk said:

    [...]

    I still think the lack of threading is a source of confusion, that just could not arise in the newsgroups. Another is the lack of Quote in the Preview. Quote and Reply are really just two aspects of the same thing, so why one is in the Preview and the other not is beyond me. I often find myself not quoting because I just do not want to spend the time switching to the single thread view.

    [...]

    I haven't been to these forums for some time... and I'm guessing that the quote feature (very slick, IMHO! - though after having been editing *this* post for over an hour, I do notice some issues...) for this forum was not available at the time you wrote the above (2nd quote'd) message... Or am I just mis-understanding you?  However! After hitting the "Preview" link/button below, I'm somewhat disapointed with the results! I wonder if that's what you were referring to... but then it looks ok in "design" mode! Confusing...

    I also found the above mentioned confusion amplified by the fact that there are now 2 different MSDN "forums"
     - the (newer) ones at forums.msdn.microsof.com/en-US/forums, and the (old) ones at forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ and one has the it's Feedback -> Suggestions and Feedback for the Forums, and the other has *it's* Feedback -> Suggestions for Forums website!

    Then I also noticed mattfras's last post:

    mattfras said:

    [...]
    Yes, you can choose how you want your preview to show...
    [...]

    Are you referring to the preview button/link at the bottom of any post you're editing...?  If so... how do you change how it looks when you hit that...?  Am I totally blind? I tried to find some sort of preferences, etc...

    It does seem to have relatively slick editing and quoting, here, in the "newer" forums... but I guess the level of control has also negated my habit of opening some links in new windows by either right-clicking -> Open in New Window, or by shift-clicking the link. (trying to open page 2 of this thread in a new window from this forum's list of threads by shift-clicking (or right-clicking) on the link "2" etc.) The new ones here seem a bit nicer to me, but I dislike how the main/root list of forums is all so spaced-out compared to the old one... seems like someone got all whitespace-happy, and I'm personally always trying to get the biggest monitor I can afford, so I can cram as much (of a mess?) as I can on to it!   ;)

    Also, after having to go in and hand edit the html numerous times after adding quotes and editing... I still like the idea of how they have it set up here... but the implementation is clearly lacking a bit of "fine tuning"!

    All good points, though, and I can certainly see what you both mean - I guess at least *some* of it comes down to personal preference (as Mr./Mrs. Whitespace-designer and I seem to have our own) - but hopefully we can find as much common ground as possible.

    I think I'll leave it at that, so I don't end up with a post that took me closer to 2 hours than 1!  ;)
    Monday, September 8, 2008 11:56 PM
  • unRheal:

    In the new forums there are two Previews:

    The Preview we are talking about is what you get if you click the small button to the left of the thread title in the main view of each forum. This displays all the posts in the thread without loading a new page. If you are logged in, at the top right of each post there is a Reply "button". But there is no Quote button (or Edit, or Vote, or Mark...). You can make this preview display in threaded mode by toggling the List View/Threaded View button at the top of the forum. Although I think threading is important, I find this particular display very inconvenient, and I never use it. My suggestion is to have a two-line header that displays information about the responder and the person being responded to. Like so:also

    By X on some_date at some_time
    In Reply To Y on some_other_date at some_other_time


    This two line header would also allow space for additional buttons on the right side (as in the single thread view).

    The Preview you are talking about is the one at the bottom of the composition window. I agree with you that this seems totally worthless. All it seems to do is disable the ability to change anything; it does not display your post as it will actually appear as the one in the old forums did. IMHO there are many aspects of the composition window that are very poorly implemented; the old forums were much better here I think.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, September 9, 2008 9:34 AM
  • mattfras said:

    The edit box will remain, but under most circumstances it will no longer be a required field in our next release. Off the top of my head, I think reason is only required if a moderator edits or deletes someone elses posts now. (Don't quote me on the specifics, but it's along those lines)


    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer



    And this should be live now...
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 5:02 AM