New templates for posts

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Circunflejo

Senior Member
Castellano de Castilla
Hello

I saw today on the Vocabulary English-Spanish forum that some original posts included a template in which they had to answer 4 questions (short sentence, full sentence…). I find it terribly annoying to read it and I don't think that it helps too much to provide better answers. I already saw a user that posted the template without any answer and replied to the template asking the question as s/he wanted so it doesn't seem either to avoid OPs without the minimum context and info. The template makes users to be more rigid. They answer the template and they are done while without the template sometimes they provide relevant info that doesn't always match that requested on the template. Sometimes the template means the info is given in a more schematic way and with a less proper language. Last but not least, the template is really annoying to read for those willing to answer the question and makes more difficult to get a global picture. If templates are going to be kept in use, please, hide them from public view once the post is posted. That would be a bare minimum.
 
  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    I've just read a post by another user (a Native English Speaker) asking the OP to not copy and past the rules because it make it somewhat hard to read the OP so it seems that I'm not the only one who is not happy with it.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Oh, wow! Templates have been implemented at long last! That’s great news, Circunflejo!

    We worked on a small project some years ago to implement this, but somehow it became a bit tricky. Glad you figured it out, @mkellogg! Will this be available for new members with a given number of posts only?
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    That’s great news, Circunflejo!
    I don't think so. I don't like them at all and I've found two other users requesting the OP to not copy and paste the templates because they thought it was the OP's fault so it seems that they aren't getting a great welcome.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    This really is fantastic news. :) The benefits are that new forum members will follow clear guidelines (it serves an educational purpose ;)), and moderators and senior members will have to spend less time posting moderation notes asking for context.

    What ideas do you suggest to make it better?
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    The benefits are that new forum members will follow clear guidelines (it serves an educational purpose ;))
    That's theory. However, in practice:
    I already saw a user that posted the template without any answer and replied to the template asking the question as s/he wanted so it doesn't seem either to avoid OPs without the minimum context and info.
    and moderators and senior members will have to spend less time posting moderation notes asking for context.
    But they will have a harder time reading the OP and trying to make sense of it. Even a native speaker complaint about it. Imagine what's that for not natives.
    What ideas do you suggest to make it better?
    Delete them as soon as possible. If you don't want to make it,
    please, hide them from public view once the post is posted.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    But they will have a harder time reading the OP and trying to make sense of it.
    That’s an easy challenge to overcome programmatically. I’m sure Mike can just add more line breaks!

    Templates have been around for years in the Dictionary Additions forum and they work well there. It includes spaces between paragraphs and clear guidelines. I’d suggest replicating the format in the other forums.

    What other recommendations to improve the current situation do you have?
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    That’s an easy challenge to overcome programmatically. I’m sure Mike can just add more line breaks!
    That's not the problem. The problem is that you have lines that it would be better if you didn't read them (Word or short phrase, long phrase…). Users may give short answers to the template (sort of robotic ones) and that doesn't help either to get the overall picture.
    Templates have been around for years in the Dictionary Additions forum and they work well there
    But the aim of such forum is totally different to that of the translation ones.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I am in complete agreement with Circunflejo on this. It makes it much more difficult to read the question with all those extra words. A better approach would be to have a poster fill in a template, but then have only the inputted information appear in the post.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    A better approach would be to have a poster fill in a template, but then have only the inputted information appear in the post.
    Great point! We explored this option a few years ago. We were trying to create something like a “forum wizard” that would work as you described.
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Put me down as a definite no vote on these templates, at least as currently implemented.

    How about this? For newer users, after they have written a post, make them answer some "Have you included...?" questions. They could lie, of course, but it might help.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    How about this? For newer users, after they have written a post, make them answer some "Have you included...?" questions. They could lie, of course, but it might help.
    Something we were trying to achieve a few years ago was a “wizard” that would guide new users through the process of posting a new thread. It would consist in a series of questions or actions with a step-by-step approach. For mandatory information, for example, you wouldn’t be able to skip to the “next” action.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Personally I find the template a useful reminder, not just for Newbies. Source: Nonetheless
    discussion mentioned in OP said:
    1. Word / short phrase to translate:
    ...
    2. Full sentence where it appears:
    ...
    3. Context and background information:
    (Describe the situation where you saw/heard it)
    ..
    4. Source text country/region AND any other relevant details
    ...
    Perhaps each of the headings could appear in its own quotation box, to distinguish them from the member’s words? It would be helpful, for newbies, in that seasoned members could avoid answering the OP until sufficient context was provided. Which is more or less what should be done anyway, with or without the template.. ~My 2 cents~
     
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    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    I think it's pretty obvious that we get all sort of questions in the forum (translation, grammar, pronounciation, frequency of use, areas of use…) and I think that it's pretty obvious too that the same template can't be the best way to post absolutely all the questions we get, can it?

    Let's see an average translation question with template:

    1. Word/short phrase translate.
    Forrest.

    2. Full sentence where it appears.
    He's a Forrest.

    3. Context and background information.
    (Describe the situation where you heard it)

    A dialogue between two Friends.

    4. Source text country/region AND any other relevant details.
    The USA.

    I don't think that's any better than what we have now. In fact, I think that it's worse because I feel like being dealing with a bot and, in addition, I have to read info that isn't useful for me at all (the lines of the templates) and that makes harder to get the overall picture of the post (harder= more time. More time=less time to answer other questions) and I'm missing info that could be useful for me like the writing style of the user. And the templates encourage an overlooking of the basics of manners like saying hello, thank you… You fulfill the template and you are done so no greetings, no thank you, no attempt to give an answer (mandatory on some sort of posts)… In short, no improvement at all. Now, if you really want bot-like questions, all them uniform, maybe you should look for bot-like answers too.
    It would be helpful, for newbies, in that seasoned members could avoid answering the OP until sufficient context was provided. Which is more or less what should be done anyway, with or without the template.
    Where's the impovement, then? You can avoid answering questions without enough context without the template. I've done it tones of times. I don't need a template to see if enough context is provided. However, I see that the template may mean that less quality context is provided and that's a problem. People is less likely to accept that more context is needed when they fulfilled all the info required by the web. And a template means more time for reading so less answers per user overall.
     
    Last edited:

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Fair point, those that don’t see the point of context will continue not to provide sufficient context.
    I find the checklist helpful in creating my own posts, so surely any newbie would also find it useful?
    By the way, I feel the answer to your average translation is Gump.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Fair point, those that don’t see the point of context will continue not to provide sufficient context.
    In fact, I already found yesterday a newbie who posted the template all of it blank and replied to his blank-template OP making his real OP as he wanted to make it. Surely some other newbies may give up if they have to fulfill a template that doesn't match whatever they had in mind. I don't think that to put hurdles to newbies is the best way to increase the amount of newbies but it might make some sense if it helped regulars to answer the questions and increased the quality of the OPs. However, in this case, those hurdless aren't any useful for the regulars that answer so they become an absolute no-sense.

    I understand it took time to think and design them and I acknowledge the time and effort that it took but it's pretty clear that it's a bad idea and the soon you accept it, the better. However, it seems that resistence to discard it will he high because I've already seen deleted posts complaining about them on threads and the only staff answer that I got here was about how to improve it what means they are far away of being ready to make some serious critic and evaluation of the feature. But be sure that silencing critics and imposing the feature because I worked on the idea so it must work wouldn't make the feature any better.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    the only staff answer that I got here was about how to improve it what means they are far away of being ready to make some serious critic and evaluation of the feature.
    There has been no staff answer in this thread so far, apart from @Bevj! ;)
    But be sure that silencing critics and imposing the feature because I worked on the idea so it must work wouldn't make the feature any better.
    That’s also a misunderstanding. :D No one is trying to silence you. This is a discussion, and some of us look for ways to improve the new feature. I don’t think the template is the best mechanism. The wizard was a much better approach, but it had the disadvantage of being a potential deterrent for people who wanted immediate answers.

    I also see some comments regarding the number of newbies. I don’t think that’s the goal of this forum.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Another thought, that came to me when I read Circumflejo's reference to "bots", The OP's own phrasing often helps us to get rather a good idea of their level of expertise in the language, and their way of thinking, and we can answer accordingly.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Another thought, that came to me when I read Circumflejo's reference to "bots", The OP's own phrasing often helps us to get rather a good idea of their level of expertise in the language, and their way of thinking, and we can answer accordingly.
    I think that can be solved if the template is somehow improved to be the second half of the message, for example. So you could have one first window where you are asked to pose your question and then a second window where you’re asked to fill a form to help others find the best answer.

    Part 1 — Tell us about your overall context
    Part 2 — Give us the specifics
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    There has been no staff answer in this thread so far!
    You appear as staff on the Dictionary errors forum so I thought you were staff... Oh, well!
    No one is trying to silence you.
    I didn't say that. I said
    I've already seen deleted posts complaining about them on threads
    I wasn't talking about this thread but about another one in which users didn't realize the OP was the result of a template and asked the poster to not copy and paste the rules when writing the OP (each one giving his/her reasons for that request). All those posts asking the poster to not make public the template were deleted by mods.
    The OP's own phrasing often helps us to get rather a good idea of their level of expertise in the language, and their way of thinking, and we can answer accordingly.
    :thumbsup:Yes, that's why I said above:
    I'm missing info that could be useful for me like the writing style of the user.
    you’re asked to fill a form to help others find the best answer.
    The form doesn't help me at all to find the best answer. In fact, it makes harder for me to find it.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    I would consider “staff” Mike or anyone who worked on this particular implementation. I didn’t, so I’m not giving an answer from the staff. :)
    All those posts asking the poster to not make public the template were deleted by mods.
    As they should, because they’re off-topic. :) If people have suggestions, they should post them here.
    The form doesn't help me at all to find the best answer. In fact, it makes harder for me to find it.
    The current form doesn’t help you yet. We understood that from the very beginning. Now, what alternatives could be implemented? A wizard is one. Splitting the template in two steps is another.
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Could anyone post a link so I can see what this is all about? Where are those templates that are under discussion? Thanks.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Could anyone post a link so I can see what this is all about? Where are those templates that are under discussion?
    Rain (weapons) The template would be the numbered questions of the Original Post? The poster had to answer them in order to open his/her thread, s/he didn't post the questions voluntarily. Is that OP -due to the template- any better than the average OP that we get on WR? Is it worse? Does the template help you to provide an answer? Does it make easier the reading of the OP?
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    As far as I can see, that person proved you wrong as far as politeness and manners are involved. :)

    The OP is easy to read. One idea to make the template better would be to incorporate their attempt at a translation.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    As far as I can see, that person proved you wrong as far as politeness and manners are involved. :)
    That's funny. I read yesterday several post that included a template and none of them had hello, thanks, please… Today, I look for an example for @Peterdg and it has it. I'm sad to say that that's the odd exception.
    The OP is easy to read.
    Once you are biased, surely. Otherwise, no way. The template has more text that the real post!
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Once you are biased, surely.
    That’s true. You are definitely biased as it transpires from this entire thread. :)

    The OP is a newer member than the rest of the participants. They provided more details upon everyone’s request. As far as I can see, the thread developed normally and in a civil way. Senior members can help educate newer members and the quality of the questions will become better. That’s how the forum works.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    You are definitely biased as it transpires from this entire thread.
    No, I'm not. I don't have any reason to be biased. I didn't have either any prejudice about templates. I just stumbled with them, suffered them and got two conclusions: 1: they are an awful idea. 2: I'm not sure I could get used to them if they became a permanent feature. Therefore, I came here to open this thead to complain about them. On the other hand, you do have reasons to be biased because, as you said;
    We worked on a small project some years ago to implement this, but somehow it became a bit tricky.
    As far as I can see, the thread developed normally and in a civil way.
    ¡Solo faltaba!
    In fairness to moderators, the posts in that thread were not deleted to silence critics. They were deleted because they didn’t address / answer the OP’s question.
    Yes, that's the official reason and I can understand it but I think there's more to it. Let's see,
    • You introduce a new featube without announcing it.
    • As you didn't announce it, usual users are unaware of it.
    • As they are unaware of it, they think that it was a decision of the poster to post the template.
    • As a result, they try to educate the newbie requesting him/her to avoid making it in the future because it makes more difficult to read the post and get the overall picture of it.
    • As @swift said above, education of newbies is the way the forum works. And I add that I've rarely seen an educating post deleted. However, on this case, they were deleted. The official reason: they didn't address the OP's question but I think that all of us has seen that sort of educating posts without being deleted by mods. In fact, even mods themselves edit posts to write them with proper language and request users to make it that way in the future and that sort of editions and posts don't address either the OP's question so I wonder Shouldn't mods being the first ones to comply with the rules in order to give example? Why educating posts that rarely (if ever) get deleted even if they don't address the OP's question became a problem this time? Why the way in which the forum usually works wasn't fine this time? Because, educating newbies is the way the forum works... or at least, it was the way in which the forum worked.
    • And that's not all. No one told those users that the template was generated by the system so the users that complained will keep thinking that was the poster's decission. And they won't educate any other newbie about it because they already learnt that means the deletion of the post. And they won't come here to complain because they don't know it's something made by the forum itself… The result is a pretty nice silence very useful for those that support the templates, those that got the idea of implementing them and those that got involved with them.
    • But maybe that's all a big and unfortunate chain of coincidences and not a disguised aim to avoid complains. Who knows! But what it's clear is that to my eyes, it doesn't seem so (a big and unfortunate chain of coincidences).
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    so I’m not giving an answer from the staff.
    You're being a little disingenuous. You say you are not part of the "staff," and yet by speaking of "we" and defending the templates so aggressively, you lead people to suspect that in practical terms, you are.

    Senior members can help educate newer members
    Please be careful about this expectation. I try to follow all 9,000,000 site rules, and I occasionally report posts that are wildly inappropriate. But I am not your enforcer.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Those are some big assumptions.
    Maybe. And, maybe, they are wrong but that's what it seems to me so if that's not the reality but it seems to be the reality, then, the people affected by my assumptions should make something to make both things (reality and what the reality seems to be) match... or they just could think that I'm mad and disregard my words. Whatever!
    Anyway, is staff ready to make a serious critic and evaluation of the feature? Well, as you claim that you aren't staff, they didn't say anything about it here (neither critic nor evaluation) so I guess the answer is either no or they don't care. Does to say it make me a biased guy? I don't think so but who cares!
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I used to moderate on a software users forum. It was more a loose affiliation of folk who randomly helped out. Even if I was banned from the forum, I wouldn’t think it was some conspiracy against me.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Disclaimer: I am a moderator but wasn't involved in the creation of the templates nor do I know anything about what went on behind the scenes in this case.

    + Circunflejo, you are taking this way too far. If you don't like the feature, complain about it, but there is no need to speculate as to moderators' motives.
    + I'm fairly certain that the purpose of the template was to make sure certain information was provided when it otherwise may not have been. You say that the template yields the same information but in a different (less reader-friendly) format: this is assuming that information would have been provided either way. But that's not necessarily the case!
    + Those who don't realize that it's a template must have missed this part: (Describe the situation where you saw/heard it), which clearly the OP didn't write!
    + In my assessment, swift has not been aggressive in "defending" the templates, at least no more aggressive than Circunflejo has been in attacking them!
    + UWNM, no one is asking you to be anyone's "enforcer." swift simply said that "senior members can help educate newer members." If you don't want to, that's fine.
    + Please rest assured -- and I can say this confidently as a moderator even though I'm not familiar with the specifics of this case -- that any change we implement is driven solely by the purpose of improving the forum and the forum experience, and these decisions are not taken lightly. For example, dozens if not hundreds of posts went into the discussion of "Reactions" before they were released (and the discussion is still ongoing).
    + Moderators are open to reversing decisions if it turns out they weren't the best. However, templates have been around for way too short of a time, and far too few voices have expressed criticism, to already be speaking of "resistance to criticism"! Everyone's input is welcome, but if a decision is to be reversed, there needs to be a preponderance of arguments for the reversal.
    + Circunflejo, I don't see how you can be so absolutely certain that you'll never get used to this. There have been many changes that I was initially uncomfortable with that I eventually adapted to and now I don't even notice them.
    + I'm not arguing for or against the templates in their current format. I think it's great that this discussion is happening, and it would be great if it focused on the pros and cons of the feature.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Circunflejo, I don't see how you can be so absolutely certain that you'll never get used to this.
    I'm not. As I said, I'm not sure I could get used to them. That doesn't mean that I'm sure I won't get used to them. But it seems that I'm having a hard time being understood on this thread.
    + Circunflejo, you are taking this way too far. If you don't like the feature, complain about it, but there is no need to speculate as to moderators' motives.
    As far as someone who got involved on it, or on a previous version of it that didn't succeed, challenged my views.
    I'm fairly certain that the purpose of the template was to make sure certain information was provided when it otherwise may not have been.
    Me too. The intention was good, for sure, but the result is awful. Doesn't avoid the problem of lack of info and it makes harder to get the full picture of the post.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm not. As I said, I'm not sure I could get used to them.
    Sorry, I misremembered what you had written.
    As far as someone who got involved on it, or on a previous version of it that didn't succeed, challenged my views.
    swift is not a moderator, and either way, just because he's challenging you or has a different perspective doesn't mean anyone's motives are questionable, does it?

    Again, I think it would be best to focus on the pros and cons of the feature, rather than people's motives or anything of that nature.

    Arguments like
    lack of info and it makes harder to get the full picture of the post
    are productive and helpful. Speculations about motives are not.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    I think it would be best to focus on the pros and cons of the feature
    Cons:
    I find it terribly annoying to read it
    a template means more time for reading so less answers per user overall.
    I feel like being dealing with a bot
    The form doesn't help me at all to find the best answer. In fact, it makes harder for me to find it.
    The template makes users to be more rigid. They answer the template and they are done while without the template sometimes they provide relevant info that doesn't always match that requested on the template.
    I'm missing info that could be useful for me like the writing style of the user.
    Sometimes the template means the info is given in a more schematic way and with a less proper language.
    I think that it's pretty obvious too that the same template can't be the best way to post absolutely all the questions we get, can it?
    I have to read info that isn't useful for me at all (the lines of the templates)
    the templates encourage an overlooking of the basics of manners like saying hello, thank you…
    the template may mean that less quality context is provided and that's a problem. People is less likely to accept that more context is needed when they fulfilled all the info required by the web.
    some other newbies may give up if they have to fulfill a template that doesn't match whatever they had in mind.
    I don't think that to put hurdles to newbies is the best way to increase the amount of newbies but it might make some sense if it helped regulars to answer the questions and increased the quality of the OPs. However, in this case, those hurdless aren't any useful for the regulars that answer so they become an absolute no-sense.
    Pros:
    I'm yet to find one.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Oh, Circunflejo, one could make it so after user clicks [post] the sentences are replaced with a shorter text in gray. Like this:

    Hello,
    Please could you help me translate this into Spanish? Thanks!

    1. Phrase: rain weapons into (a country)

    2. Full sentence: "They can rain these weapons into (a country)."​

    3. Context: TV News
    4. Origin: USA

    Maybe it is easier on the eyes. :p What do you think.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    Oh, Circunflejo, one could make it so after user clicks [post] the sentences are replaced with a shorter text in gray. Like this:

    Hello,
    Please could you help me translate this into Spanish? Thanks!

    1. Phrase: rain weapons into (a country)

    2. Full sentence: "They can rain these weapons into (a country)."​

    3. Context: TV News
    4. Origin: USA

    Maybe it is easier on the eyes. :p What do you think.
    Wearing my Moderator's hat I would say that there isn't nearly enough information provided.
    I think the idea is good. But the result was not what we mods imagined it would look like and personally I think it turned out awful. It was quickly withdrawn and Mark 2 will undoubtedly be a great improvement.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Maybe it is easier on the eyes. :p What do you think.
    Yes, it's easier to the eyes but it keeps the rest of problems and they are a bunch of them. The idea of trying to find a way to make sure the posters provide all the relevant info is a one. On the other hand, the idea of thinking that all the posts must have exactly the same structure is a (really) bad one. To develop the former idea without resulting in the later idea is a great challenge to start with and, once solved (if you find a way to solve it), you would need to fix the rest of problems… Tricky at best. We'll see if the second versión that @Bevj anounced is any better but it doesn't look promising at all.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Haha, I agree forms can be dehumanizing. :p

    Creo que la intención sí puede ser ayudar a los nuevos usuarios y solo es cuestión de hallar la mejor forma. Como sabes, con los años todos vemos los mil mensajes sin contexto o sin intentos. Y los moderadores tienen que lidiar con eso y borrarnos a veces. :oops:

    Maybe it could be a bit more friendly like Clippy from the old office. :D

    Hello! Welcome to WR!​
    Please remember context is key! We can help you better! And answers will be faster!​
    Please give us your own try as well!​
    (this message is auto-deleted)

    The colors may also work better for students. :p
     
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