There have been a couple flare ups today concerning nodes being silently and significantly updated after the fact. I thought this might be a good time to introduce a new "feature" of my static mirror of perlmonks that I discovered a few weeks ago.

I designed the mirror to fetch new nodes every 15 minutes, then refetch them 3 hours later to account for any updates. Interestingly I happen to be saving both copies of the node. Until now only the second copy was accessible.

I have decided to make the original node publically available in hopes that it can douse some of the brushfires that crop up from time to time. I'm unsure whether this will have the desired effect, and if it happens to cause more bickering I'll simply take it down. Also, it wasn't a designed feature, so I make no guarantee that it will always work.

And now for an example.... Here is a recent node of mine. It looks rather similar to the cached version. However, If you modify the URL a bit, you can now view my slightly different original submission.

pm node

The pmdevils discussed this and most seemed to approve, but I'm interested in what others think as well. Is this a valuable tool for the community, or is it an affront to your modification rights? If its both, which way should the scales be tipped?


  • Comment on New "feature" -- view nodes as they were originally posted

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•Re: New "feature" -- view nodes as they were originally posted
by merlyn (Sage) on Sep 04, 2002 at 16:31 UTC
    I actually often edit a node four or five times after I press submit, for the first five to ten minutes. Sometimes it's in response to a CB that says I hosed a link or something. Other times it's just because I came up with a slightly different second take on something.

    After I stop twiddling the node, I follow the normal guidelines: no editing of the node, just adding "<hr><b>update:</b> extra text" below if it's minor, or an entire new node if it's in reaction to a reaction.

    If you're going to cache the "original" version of a node, I suggest a nominal cooling-off period of at least 15 minutes.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      If you're going to cache the "original" version of a node, I suggest a nominal cooling-off period of at least 15 minutes.

      This sounds reasonable. I, too, often edit out typos that I missed when previewing, but which jump off the page right after I submit the post.

      I know that feeling .. it's the eager rush for "first post", followed by the need to make the post accurate and have meaningful content.


Re: New "feature" -- view nodes as they were originally posted
by hsmyers (Canon) on Sep 04, 2002 at 13:37 UTC
    Hmmm--how about NodeDiff? I'm only being partially facetious here, but if the point is in the differences we might as well have the right tool for the job. Personally I subscribe to Ted Nelson's vision of hyper-documents, all versions, live, on-line, all of the time. For more on that subject see


    "Never try to teach a pig to wastes your time and it annoys the pig."
Re: New "feature" -- view nodes as they were originally posted
by Revelation (Deacon) on Sep 05, 2002 at 01:52 UTC
    Maybe it's the idealistic side of me, but I personally believe we are 'Perl Monks', and not 'Perl Demons'. Maybe a discussion or two would be effected by a resolution to save original versions of a post, but for the most part I consider it futile. We should have the trust in our fellow monks. I percieve this as an attempt to form a contingency plan, and take up valuable hard drive space, for every squabble that arises. I think it would be best to leave perl monks the way it is, and not worry about these few cases. (unless the problem has become eminent in one too many cases, and contrary to my beliefs its not being blown out of proportion.)

    Although if we are going to have this, I would definately concur with merlyn's sugestion.
    Gyan Kapur
Re: New "feature" -- view nodes as they were originally posted
by talexb (Chancellor) on Sep 04, 2002 at 13:17 UTC
    Great idea -- I foresee that this feature will be used sparingly, but will also help in stamping out the brushfires that flare up when someone claims a post was changed from the original.

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