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New Policy re: changing thread titles?

Old 09-19-02, 10:57 AM
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New Policy re: changing thread titles?

I wanted to name this "The Idiot Moderators Keep Changing My Thread Titles" but thought better of it.

I have noticed what seems to be a rise in mods changing someone's thread title to be more descriptive, like this one: http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=237838 (see the subject line of T-Ball's 1st post to see what the thread title was initially). In another thread title change, the new title actually caused one poster to think that the thread starter was making arguments that perhaps he wasn't: http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...4&pagenumber=2

Is there some new policy or new effort to crack down on a perceived "bad" re: thread titles? It seems like this has happened a lot more frequently as of late. Although sometimes thread titles are just wrong (either because they are mispelled or intentionally inflammatory), it seems as if part of the fun can be coming up with a playful thread topic, one that intrigues people into coming into the thread you start because they're not sure what it's all about. I think T-Ball's thread is a perfect example of this. He made you want to look, to see why the riot broke out. What's wrong with that? Does it upset the "anti-Krispy Kreme lobby" because gosh darn it they had to look at another Krispy Kreme thread?

Just wondering...
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Old 09-19-02, 11:03 AM
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http://dvdtalk.com/forum/showthread....5&pagenumber=1

It's something that is being enforced more lately.
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Old 09-19-02, 11:05 AM
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I'm all for it. I was getting really tired of going to threads on topics I had no interest in just because of a misleading subject header. A good subject header, like a good headline, should explain what the topic is about in a short succinct manner. It should not be used as an "advertisement" that tricks people into increasing the number of views for your thread.
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Old 09-19-02, 11:44 AM
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Like I said in the linked thread above, I usually clear up vague thread titles because I know how much it annoys me to go into a vaguely-titled thread and have the thread be something that I was not at all interested in reading.

Thread titles aren't supposed to be playful or suspenseful. They're supposed to tell you what's inside, so you don't waste time clicking on a thread you would otherwise not have clicked if the thread title had been informative.
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Old 09-19-02, 01:15 PM
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How about also adding a "(r)" to the end of the title as shorthand for "renamed"?
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Old 09-19-02, 02:07 PM
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The original title is left intact in the first post. Not sure what good adding an "(r)" would do.
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Old 09-19-02, 02:17 PM
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Guilty, m'lud!

<small>
Originally posted by AndyCapps
The original title is left intact in the first post.
</small>

I <i>always</i> look at this and was kind of surprised to discover that other people didn't also. On the other hand, I also often see how people haven't read much of the thread before responding for the n-th time with a point that has either alreeady been made or which has been superseded by a clarification from the original poster so I guess I should not be surprised at anyoine missing such a small detail.

All this said, I <i>still</i> tend to pay more attention to the body of a post than to its subject-title.
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Old 09-19-02, 02:17 PM
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Check the second thread that LurkerDan linked. I notice when the thread title has been changed, you notice it...but others don't.
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Old 09-19-02, 02:24 PM
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<b>Aghama</b>, he linked to page two. If you read the first post on page one you should see that the original (IMO meaningless) title is in fairly plain view.

I think this all comes down to how closely people are prepared to read things: we all make interpretive mistakes from time to time but I wonder how far the poster (or the moderator) must go in order to ensure that someone does not simply miss the point....
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Old 09-19-02, 02:44 PM
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Re: Guilty, m'lud!

Originally posted by benedict
I <i>always</i> look at this and was kind of surprised to discover that other people didn't also.

All this said, I <i>still</i> tend to pay more attention to the body of a post than to its subject-title.
Why on earth would I think to look at the subject line when 99%+ of the time it is identical to the thread title, and I have been given no indication that in this instance the title has been changed? Yes, I agree, I don't pay much attention to the thread title overall in comparison to the body of the post, but I think it is kinda silly to expect people to know that a title has been changed. In re: that particular thread, I am really not sure why you felt the need to change the title in the first place. It more or less gives enough info to know what the thread is about.

I'm not trying to bitch here, or question a particular decision, I was mostly just curious. But, to continue to use that one as an example: what is the goal here? If as Static suggests, titles are supposed to tell you what's inside, how did "Chastised for defacing South Park Molester at CD store" not give somebody a good enough idea of what was inside? Ok, maybe it wasn't the best title he could have chosen, but is that what you are now trying to do, pick the best possible thread titles? Or is it just make sure that thread titles give a reader a fair indication of the subject matter therein?

Perhaps Aghama's idea of an "(r)" for renamed should be considered?
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Old 09-19-02, 03:02 PM
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Maybe we wouldn't have to even consider the "(r)"...
Spoiler:
if people stopped posting like this, and were more considerate by better titling threads.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:07 PM
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Re: Re: Guilty, m'lud!

<small>
Originally posted by LurkerDan
[....] I am really not sure why you felt the need to change the title in the first place. It more or less gives enough info to know what the thread is about. [....] to continue to use that one as an example: what is the goal here? If as Static suggests, titles are supposed to tell you what's inside, how did "Chastised for defacing South Park Molester at CD store" not give somebody a good enough idea of what was inside?
</small>1) Who is "South Park Molester"?

2) How was he/she/it defaced?

The post first appeared in Music Talk and I considered that it was more appropriate to Other and decided to move it. Before doing so I thought that it would be better to rectify both the artist's name and to clarify the action that had been carried out.

In addition to this I slotted in the reference to "free speech" - deliberately followed by a "?" - at the front. The idea was to encourage debate, although I had no idea that there would be undue focus on the title.

Guess what? If you read all of the posts in the thread, for a full two days the (revised) title was not an issue....

.... I stand by my earlier comments. However, I <i>always</i> take note of implicit or explicit feedback: it often informs future actions.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:07 PM
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X: Except that it's not just the ellipsis violators that are being targeted.

Also, maybe it's just me, but if my thread title was changed I would like some sort of indication made rather than just a phantom edit. To me it's a curtesy thing. Actually, it's very likely just me.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:11 PM
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Originally posted by Aghama
X: Except that it's not just the ellipsis violators that are being targeted.
That's why I said "and were more considerate by better titling threads"
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Old 09-19-02, 03:11 PM
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If someone cares enough to see if the current title of a thread is the same as the original title the author used, they can compare the subject line of the first post with it. The only time anyone other than maybe the author(who should be able to spot that their thread title was changed) would care about the title is if they were tricked into entering a thread because of a vague title. When I change a thread title my intention is generally to "give a reader a fair indication of the subject matter". There are times that I edit a title to change the tone of a thread. For example, someone might start a thread called:

"This is why Florida should be destroyed and everyone living there should be shot"

and all the thread contains is an article titled

"Florida problems with voting not quite fixed"

The first title might cause someone living in Florida to come into the thread with both guns blazing, while the second title sets a better tone for the discussion and is true to the content of the post.

Last edited by AndyCapps; 09-19-02 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:17 PM
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And they should know to check if the title says something like...

"I just steamed and ate a crap"

because it probably used to say

"I just steamed and ate a carp"
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Old 09-19-02, 03:25 PM
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benedict: But the fact is, your edit caused a great deal of confusion. You can blame the people who post all you want, but if you hadn't changed the title then it wouldn't have happened.

These are how I see the options, in my heavily skewed view:

1) The mods can go about as they have been doing, changing the titles as they see fit, which takes time and can cause confusion (though admittedly not often).

2) The mods can act as they had been before a few weeks ago, and only change titles that are offensive or overly inflammatory.

3) The mods can persue option 1), while also using a couple extra keystrokes to mention that the title has been changed.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:27 PM
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And if changing a thread like...

"How do I remove a brown stain from my poster?"

has to look like this...

"How do I remove a brown stain from my underwear? (r)"

then we might see a post titled this...

"Idiot Posters Ruined My Fun"

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Old 09-19-02, 03:27 PM
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I vote for convenience.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by Aghama
benedict: But the fact is, your edit caused a great deal of confusion.
Please re-read the thead: the <i>original</i> title caused confusion.

No-one focused on the question asked in the first two words in the new new title for a day or so. Then one very cogent poster did and people followed his lead.

I have seen the exact same thing happen time and time again <i>without there having been any title change whatsoever</i>. People look at and respond to a follow-up and drift quite some way from what was actually said in the original post(s). Say it ain't so.

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Old 09-19-02, 03:53 PM
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I don't think a bunch of people jumping in making flippant comments about South Park are confused.

Yes, people get confused regardless or just fail to read the first post. But that doesn't mean ya should try to make them more confused.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by benedict
Please re-read the thead: the <i>original</i> title caused confusion.

No-one focused on the question asked in the first two words in the new new title for a day or so. Then one very cogent poster did and people followed his lead.
I agree that the new title didn't cause an issue for a while, but I disagree that the original title cause confusion. I really think that there's a fuzzy line between changing misleading thread titles, or vague titles, and changing ones that aren't quite as good as you would like them to be. The original in this case wasn't perfect, by any means, but it gave me a good enough indication of what might be inside.

Furthermore, other titles aren't chnaged that are equally as vague or misdescriptive (see my example of "Car Surfing" in the other vagueness thread). I realize you aren't an Other mod, and I'm not singling you out, but I think that y'all need to recognize that in the more "free form" forums, a little playfulness (and messing with a person's name is playfulness, IMO) is ok...
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Old 09-19-02, 03:59 PM
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If I were you guys, I'd probably choose option 2) if only to shut us up.
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Old 09-19-02, 04:21 PM
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[I can say no more]

If 1% of the thread title changes I make blow back in my face I just think I will have to live with it. Of course, as soon as I realised what had transpired I made an announcement in that thread and apologised separately to <b>eintier</b> for the resultant "confusion".

The fact is that I publicly telepgraph a considerable proportion of administrative changes I make by way of [merger], [duplicate] notices in thread titles or through italicised blue comments within posts themselves.<small>
Originally posted by LurkerDan
[....] The original [title] in this case wasn't perfect, by any means, but it gave me a good enough indication of what might be inside. Furthermore, other titles aren't changed that are equally as vague or misdescriptive [....]
</small>As well as pointing out precisely where the "drift" started and observing that this happens many, many times where there has been no title change, I have answered the direct question in full as to why I made that specific change.

I can't speak as to why all other titles aren't tidied up. Or why all duplicates aren't immediately closed or merged. Or why all threadcrappers aren't straightaway warned or suspended or....

.... but I can speculate that, as indicated time and again in this very forum, it is down to the human factor.

As already stated, I do tend to act on feedback.

And should I ever feel moved to change any of <b>Aghama</b>'s thread titles most likely there will be an (r) left on public display. Of course 50% of the follow-ups will be asking what the (r) means and/or saying that only an idiot would misinterpret what he meant by the original title but them, as they say, is the breaks.
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Old 09-19-02, 04:28 PM
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benedict, I don't even know if it would be accurate to say "we can agree to disagree" since I'm not entirely sure if we disagree. And I am sorry, I didn't mean to single you out, other than the fact that thread was fresh in my mind (i.e. I didn't intend to have it "blow back" in your face). Truth be told, since you don't mod the Other, it really isn't much of an issue.

And, I appreciate your thoughtful discussion on this matter.

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