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Author Topic: Method of aiding topic title writing to improve utility of category indices. Back to Topics
CampKohler

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Sacramento

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 4:38:24 PM

Many topic authors do not have an intuitive feel for writing good topic titles. As a result, titles do not adequately express the nature of the topic. This means readers do not get the full value of the category index.

We have all seen topic titles like "My two cents worth" or similar, which gives the reader no insight into the topic's content. While this may be only a short term inconvenience at the beginning of a topic's life, topics exist for years and readers searching the category index for specific topics are shortchanged by poorly written titles.

Short of providing some method for "title monitors" to review and rewrite titles in an effective manner after the fact, I suggest that the title field be equipped with a guide that is visible before the title is posted. This could be a mouse-over activated balloon, a "What's this?" button to the right of the title, or some other mechanism. Whatever the case, a paragraph would explain the purpose of the title in the long term and how the author should couch his language to make the title useful. In other words, do not simply assume that all authors will understand the importance and impact of the title, because long experience has made it abundantly clear that many do not.

Perhaps readers of this topic would now be willing to reply with their ideas of exactly what the paragraph should say. I'll add "My two cents worth" (ugh!) later.

[Edited by: CampKohler at 3/12/2013 4:39:05 PM EST]
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Mar 17, 2013 11:14:02 PM

Let's wait and see whether CampKohler has more to say.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Mar 17, 2013 8:16:10 PM

This topic has no use and should be closed. Moderators, please close this topic.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Mar 17, 2013 4:56:50 PM

It WAS in alphabetical order. But as soon as replies start coming in, it gets all mixed up. It's true I tell you.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Mar 16, 2013 8:09:20 AM

I see! The category list is what you are calling an index. An index is normally alphabetical. Your link is alphabetical, CK.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Mar 16, 2013 2:33:38 AM

Well, let's see if we can't rustle up a fresh, new, never-before-seen category index for you. How about this one?
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Mar 13, 2013 7:14:48 AM

Since there are no category indices on Gas Buddy, this suggestion seems a bit self-serving for CampKohler so he can index his wiki better.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Mar 13, 2013 12:20:48 AM

I'd probably start out with (case- and spacing-insensitive) exact match for the usual candidates, like "GasBuddy Improvement" in the GasBuddy Improvement category. But how to ask the user to fix it, I don't know...
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 9:27:06 PM

The title of the topic don't mean diddly if the substance is useless. Sorta like this one.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 9:16:04 PM

kwzh:

"How about a title-checker that looks for badly-worded titles and prompts the user to fix them?"

The problem is (in the same ineffective vein as "we should have a 7-word minimum in posts") is that "Gas price" and "Wrong prices" aren't, in their own right, badly-worded titles. Granted, they're not informative titles, but using unless the artificial intelligence was used to read and extract key components of the original post (many of which aren't particularly literate and/or coherent to begin with), the artificial intelligence would likely capture virtually every title for correction, and would likely serve more as an irritant to those starting topics than it would encourage literacy and comprehension on the part of the topic-starters.

Also, having AI pop-up telling you (i.e., the writer of the original post), "Hey, you need a better topic name..." seems like overkill, especially for a website that would be better served by other improvements (such as price posting and/or accuracy of price posting). I understand the intent of the suggestion to use AI, but having AI pop-up to tell you that you need a better topic name seems like overkill even if there were there weren't other improvements.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 8:34:12 PM

How about a title-checker that looks for badly-worded titles and prompts the user to fix them? Of course it can't be perfect (that would require true AI), but I bet some heuristics based on bad topic titles of the past could do a reasonable job.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 8:24:53 PM

Optimism abounds! Good to know.

Well, we all know how well it (meaningful title writing) has gone by doing nothing but complaining, don't we?
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 5:42:46 PM

Scrapheap is correct; if a member doesn't realize that a topic title should be easily understood or descriptive - and that doesn't take much common sense to realize - pop-ups with instructions on how to write aren't going to help. If anything, all that will happen will be a barrage of complaints about pop-ups.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 5:29:35 PM

I am rather skeptical. I think writing a descriptive title would be common sense. I'm not sure this suggestion would really be used or change people who lack common sense.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 5:26:15 PM

"Method of aiding topic title writing to improve utility of category indices."

Did you mean: "Helping members write understandable and informative topic titles"?

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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Mar 12, 2013 5:04:00 PM

"Method of aiding topic title writing to improve utility of category indices."

Did you mean: Over Complicating New Topic Posts?
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