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Post-Posting Etiquette

by tadman (Prior)
on Sep 04, 2002 at 08:12 UTC ( #194999=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Just out of curiosity, what is the generally accepted procedure for correcting mistakes after you have pressed the "Submit" button, and then wanted to change something?

I'd hate to think what you post is some-how carved in stone and every single edit must be prefixed with the bold words "Update"...

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Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by rinceWind (Monsignor) on Sep 04, 2002 at 08:34 UTC
    Firstly, the author of a reply (note) can edit the reply, as can the poster of certain root node types (meditations I believe, and code, maybe others). If you want to get something changed in a root node, you can use an editor request, or use NTC if you are level >=6.

    An alternative is to reply to your own root node, and post the update/retraction/apology into the reply.

    When it comes to editing your own posts, it is a matter of etiquette. If you are changing the content of what you have said, it is customary to do one of the following:

    Append a section headed Update:

    Use a combination of strong and strikethru to show what you have changed.

    I do not believe it is worthwhile showing trivial corrections such as typos and spelling mistakes. Corrections to code however should be highlighted in case someone has already downloaded it.

    Hope this helps,


Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by Dog and Pony (Priest) on Sep 04, 2002 at 08:59 UTC
    Dunno about generally accepted, but I do something like this:
    • If I just correct a simple spalling misstake in normal text, I don't bother pointing that out (unless it was pointed out to me, and an official thank you is appropriate).
    • If I clarify my point, adds whole sentences or change the "spirit" of the post etc, I generally do that in an Update: block, or point it out from a such.
    • Changes to code I almost always point out, the exception being if I catch it immideately after hitting submit, I may just correct it fast, trusting the odds that noone had the time to copy or download it yet.

    Some people tend to write whole changelogs, some even timestamped for every change they make, including typo edits and other stuff. While I am too lazy to do that myself, I kinda like reading those. It shows that the post is alive and maintained by the owner. Oftenly I guess it is overkill, but if one has the stamina to do such, keep it up. :)

    I think pointing out edits is mostly only necessary if it would mean something to anyone reading it both before and after the edit in question. But it is also a nice tool to show how you were thinking from the start, and how that thinking might have changed - it is a part of how you write, in a way.

    You have moved into a dark place.
    It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Sep 04, 2002 at 10:04 UTC
    This is what I do: typos and small mistakes, I correct, without annotation. Same for additional text, but only very shortly after submission.

    Any larger changes I post as a reply to my own post - and never with a bold update. Why? Because a reply will go into the newest nodes list, while an update doesn't. If you update a post I already read, I probably never will see your update. But if you reply, I will at least be made aware of it, and if the thread interests me, I'll read it.


Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Sep 04, 2002 at 14:57 UTC

    Writing nodes is actually a longwinded process for me, most of the time, so I may sometimes significantly modify a node within a short timeframe after submitting it - that's even though I often preview more than once. I don't point out these updates, however they never change the actual point of the node; I usually shuffle parts of the node for clarity or expand on some points.

    I make an effort to pay attention to votes and try to avoid substantial modifications once someone has voted on my node. When I do make any I point them out. Simple typos that noone commented on get fixed without notice though, which I think is pretty much standard and the main purpose of being able to edit one's nodes.

    I'd definitely vote in favour having a full revision history of nodes available. I know the concerns very well, but I believe editing is a vital convenience. A revision history would allow us to have our cake and eat it.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      From the Noob perspective, in my first few posts (and probably many in the future) I spent a long time going between the FAQ docs and the preview pane. I think there would be value in a 'sandbox' area where Noobs like me can play around with the formatting. The top page should be an example of a 'good post' to which anyone can post replies (trying to emulate the formatting). The reply part is key, IMHO, since just creating a post is easy. Making a post that fits within the accepted style parameters and flows with the replied-to msg is the hard part. If sandbox clutter is a problem, maybe the replies could be autopruned in 12 or 24 hours.

      <sigh> I'll be really embarrassed if I missed the existing sandbox.

      Oh, and since I haven't said it yet... Very cool site, content and community! (Yea, that's right... I'm gunnin' fer paco and I'm not above suckin' up ta get 'im!)

Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by dws (Chancellor) on Sep 04, 2002 at 21:17 UTC
    What is the generally accepted procedure for correcting mistakes after you have pressed the "Submit" button, and then wanted to change something?

    Other than Editor Requests, we don't have generally accepted procedures for changing root nodes. (The ability to change posts depends, in the case of most root nodes, to being an editor. I assume you're talking about root nodes.)

    I rather suspect that most editors ignore Editor Requests (by forgetting to look there periocally). If you post an SoPW question, then discover a goof, ask in the CB whether there's an editor around. I've fixed up several posts for people who've discovered a post-submit goof.

    A conscientious editor will leave a note at the bottom of the post if the change is significant enough to affect the reading of any existing replies.

Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by Spenser (Friar) on Sep 05, 2002 at 04:03 UTC

    I particularly agree with and have practiced the personal procedures suggested by rinceWind, Dog and Pony, and Aristotle above.  However, I would like to add one exception I made to the notion of limiting editing to quick, minimal fixes and notating significant changes.  Basically, I'd like to make a confession on this point.

    I posted a message once asking for help regarding a problem I was having at work.  I was looking for material for discussions at my office on using Perl versus Microsoft languages.  The responses I received were extensive and helpful.  At the end of the thread I posted another message thanking everyone and letting them know how my meetings with management went: not well.  I then made the mistake of saying that it looked like I was going to be losing my job for not supporting the Microsoft opposition.  Maybe it was an inappropriate thing to post, but I have the odd habit of looking for community in this community.  Anyway, I received several negative votes (and no messages of explanation).  Needless to say, it hurt my feelings.  After about a week people stopped reading the message;  they stopped commenting and they stopped voting.  So, I went back and deleted everything personal from the closing post except the thanks for the help comment.  I didn't do it to protect my XP Experience, but to protect my feelings.  Of course, I'll probably get clobbered with negative votes on this post, but that's fine since it's an attack on my behavior, not necessarily a rejection.

    Alright.  Enough confessing.  Needless to say, I'm glad we have the discretion to edit our posts and glad people like tadman are concientious about how they use this privilege.


    That's Spenser, with an "s" like the detective.

Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by rir (Vicar) on Sep 06, 2002 at 04:05 UTC
    Each man must measure his own greed. -- The Godfather

    If your greed or need requires 'fixing' your post, I
    won't object. However ...

    All the motives that would have you hide the act of
    revision are beneath you.

    If it is important enough to change, it is important
    enough to note the change. Do not short-change those
    that paid attention to you in a timely manner.

    The humbling experience of seeing your own words as
    less than they should be, will increase the quality
    of your posts. Or may inspire you toward silence.

    The humiliation that others might heap upon you
    will not be so good for your soul unless you let it.
    This is not always easy nor always appropriate.

    The coldness, the coolness, the warmth, the heat,
    and the fire found in responses will show you the
    people behind the screens.

    Every post could be better.

    This post could be better shorter.

Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by blakem (Monsignor) on Sep 05, 2002 at 01:18 UTC
Re: Post-Posting Etiquette
by talexb (Chancellor) on Sep 04, 2002 at 13:11 UTC
    • Don't approve your own posts.
    • Don't front page your own posts.
    Let the post succeed or fail on its own merits.

    --t. alex
    but my friends call me T.

      Neither of these has been possible for quite a while now, though. The checkboxes are disabled if it's your own node.

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: (nrd) Post-Posting Etiquette
by newrisedesigns (Curate) on Dec 05, 2002 at 03:34 UTC

    Sitting in the shade of a small fruit tree, there sits an elderly woman knitting. She has spent all her life learning how to weave blankets, clothing and ornamental cloth. She is revered among her tribe as the finest and most experienced weaver of the group.

    Her grandson, a boy for six, watches what she does with great interest. She is nearing the end of a large blanket, in which is woven an image of the earth, the sun, and the moon. As she continues weaving, the boy notices something; there are a few dropped threads and loose spots in the cloth. One is right in the middle of the image of the earth!

    He looks at his grandmother with great concern and says "Abuelita, I know that you are very good at weaving, but did you not see the mistakes you made in the cloth? You have spent so much time on this blanket, why did you not fix your mistakes?"

    The grandmother looked at her grandson and smiled. "Just like this blanket, life does not give you the opportunity to correct past mistakes. Each dropped thread is a reminder of my humanity. This blanket is important not because I could sell it or give it as a gift; it is important because it is a sign of my progress and my ignorance."

    John J Reiser

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