CHOICE membership

Length and Content Limits May be Necessary

There is an increasing tendency for posts to get longer, include links and more links, and in cases posters are cutting and pasting fairly long commentary from their sources when a link should be sufficient.

Re the latter it is apparent not all members read links yet feel incumbent to comment on the headline displayed, so I understand why it is done.

However an increasing number are getting long enough to affect readability and in cases the points (at least for me) get lost or muddled.

Is it time to put a ‘size’ limit on posts, however defined, to encourage more readable posts?

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Reminds me of writing assignments at school, where you have to think it through beforehand, perhaps produce drafts, have a synopsis, etc

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I have noticed this as well.

I do use the quote (") function from time to time but only cut and paste the relevant point being made.

I have noticed that some of the quotes are a considerable portion of the linked website/article and wonder how this also impinges on copyright.

Choice in the Terms of Service do cover the copyright issue by the stating that the “downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party”.

Maybe one for Choice to consider as we don’t won’t the Community to be challenged should copyright be breached.

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Posting large amounts copied text is not good communication given the power of the medium. Instead give a short summary of the key substance and a few words on why you think it is important and the link. This gives people the choice to go to the details if they wish or skip it without necessarily having to invest a lot of time.

Some copy/paste jobs and links without any commentary are quite mystifying as they give no clue why the member did it. In some cases I suspect the poster’s understanding of the linked material is not the same as mine but we will never know as we can’t exchange views not expressed.

I also see many new threads created that are not really required. New starters who may not be aware that the topic already exists should be forgiven for starting a new thread on an old subject but there are some regulars who do so often who should know better.

I would not want to see a limit placed on original material, if somebody has gone to the trouble of producing it it is likely to be more valuable than a large copy/paste of text or massed collection of links created with insufficient focus.

Regarding all the above; if the material is important then you can find time do the precis, explain your reason for it, or find the right home for it.

Elsewhere the question was raised about mega-threads becoming unwieldy. If a topic is of enduring interest and attracts many contributions I don’t see the value in arbitrarily dividing it, you are left with the same material in two places and, given the fuzzy edges some topics have, a reader may not know which child thread to look in for what they want.

On the positive side I see a greater number of new posters, or old posters returning after an absence. And we don’t have any cases of 50 cute cat pictures - yet.

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I do note that some perhaps many do not like to follow links. It has previously been stated by some users of this site that they do not follow links as they believe them to be some risk, or that they want to read it here not elsewhere. Then we have those terrible paywalled sites that only allow partial viewing or no viewing unless the user has paid some fee (and these paywalls seem to be increasing).

Wanted to point out reasons why some quoted text becomes cumbersome.

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Please, don’t give people ideas :joy:

I very rarely read long letters received or sent, and almost never open links.

Information from the net can be got by anyone by googling a subject, don’t need others to do it for me.

A short summary of the topic, reason for posting, would make a post more attractive to me. Also, please, more keeping to the subject by the replies :wink:

And I apologise for my failure
to write interesting posts and to keep to the topic :slightly_frowning_face:

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True re following links. For me it’s more just having an aversion to anything that tracks off to a video. I just have a thing where I won’t sit and watch a video on a topic, if I could just read about it.

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Seems it is difficult to make a rigid rule that might satisfy all needs - there are good reasons to duplicate salient points, sometimes due to paywall or other restricted access and to preserve the information that might otherwise succumb to dead links or censorship or ‘updates’.

I only follow links that really get my attention - my focus is here. I try to never follow links to trash sites like the television news, many newspapers and click-fest sites. That said, some posts on this forum have an abundance of links strewn through the post - helpful a small amount of the time, but usually sends a different message to me.

Ultimately, for me at least, it comes down to the quality of the information - quite simply SNR - and whether it is linked or quoted, it needs to be S, and not N … as long as it is S, either reference method might suit depending on circumstance.

I definitely agree with the TL;DR happening, even when the post is incredibly salient (ie not grandstanding or pontificating, but actually useful) it can be a challenge to get to the end :wink:

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It will come down to how much we want to discourage lengthy posts and how much we want to avoid repeated posts. Is the issue such that we want to risk something worse? Objection to repeated posts has been exploited in attempts to bully into silence.

Why should a post, especially a long one, need to be repeated/reposted when the original can be referenced or linked?

The issue I see is keeping a tidy forum with posts meaningful and readable to the general readership, not just the author.

Thanks for the reminders but because it adds convenience does that make for a sustainable readable forum where there is clearly substance, not just noise, or noise that hides the substance?

Well presented. How to have such well written posts dominate is another topic.

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I’m not referring to multiple short posts, not a single post being reposted. To me, a short post communicates best.

Won’t follow links? That has repercussions.

Object to multiple posts? That has repercussions.

During composition Discourse flags links that have already been posted in its attempt to ‘help minimise reposts of links’.

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Is there a point to that comment?

I may have wrongly assumed you were referring to inclusion of the same link in multiple posts. Since you did not get any point from that, I presume there was no point made.

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So the point of this topic is:

  • long posts?
  • short posts?
  • links?
  • not following links?
  • not reading longer posts?
  • whingeing?

Here is an example of objection to multiple short posts*-:

Which I didn’t combine into one post because they’re several hours apart. I’ve since taken to editing instead, leading to longer posts, which would draw your ire. Responding to one whinge leads to another.

I’ve also seen complaints about links posted with too little explanation.

*- NB Clicking on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the quote should yield full context. I’ve had people complain about that too.

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Tell me if I got it wrong, but I think the above quote is the topic in discussion?

After a few hours it has got so complicated that I’ve lost all interest in it now, sorry :neutral_face:

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Multiple upticks for this statement!! Thank you.

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Thanks for the thoughts on this everyone. For the purpose of improving readability, I’m not convinced that introducing post limits is the right solution for the Community. We can consider a platform like Twitter, probably the most popular platform with a short post limit, and question whether this method has improved readability or use-ability of the network. For the Community, we also need to factor in that we often deal with complex consumer problems, so we may need more words to add in context and to properly infer meaning. We’ve also had some longer thought pieces that have proved popular discussion items.

I appreciate you raising this a concern in the interest of keeping the forum as user-friendly as possible @PhilT. I’d encourage all forum users to take care when quoting long blocks of text from other sources, please do your best to ensure your posts are relevent and if you notice things that are off topic, please use the flag function to alert CHOICE staff and moderators.

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While I don’t think one should click on just any link you stumble on I don’t understand the reluctance of some to use links in this forum. Hyperlinks are what make the medium work, hyperlinks stop having to physically copy stuff from one place to another all the time. Two questions for both users and administrators:

  1. Does the platform do any kind of vetting of the safety of links like a virus checker? If so how often are risky links identified? What is done about this?

  2. Is there any bona fide evidence from anywhere of members suffering harm from malware or other attacks from clicking links on this forum?

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Like others I detest links going off to a video.
Videos are very slow at conveying information. Much too slow.
Give me written/typed words and numbers any day. I can read at my own pace, scan ahead, look back, compare part C with part A, save part of text or even quote part of text, etc - all of which are impossible with a video
If there is data to be conveyed in a graphical format then upload an image file of the graph (or even include a link to the graph image).

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