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Annotation help file

Typed words that provide guidance for making an anno
  [vote for,

The halfbakery is a great place. Part of what makes the halfbakery great is that it elicits strong opinions, and lively debate. Since the halfbakery allows for annotation of ideas, an established idea often garners a long string of annos, which discuss the merits and pitfalls of the idea, and often stray rather far afield into additional, often completely unconnected topics. This is fine in my opinion, because surely if someone has anything important to say about the idea, they can just anno again, with disregard for such things.

Often the annos are more entertaining than the ideas, and this is as it should be. As I understand it, ideas are supposed to meet certain criteria, and be semi-serious concepts which could serve some purpose, or if purposelss, function as described in the post, or if non-functional, the lack of function provides humor to engineering types. Also, the annos are usually made by dedicated halfbakers, who have spent years perfecting their trade, so that these annos generally contain the true wit, temper, and sensibility... or lack thereof... that makes the halfbakery great.

Unfortunately, some annos are not like this. Some annos just bring me down, and I suspect that they bring everyone down. For ideas, there are MFD categories, and a help file to assist people in predetermining whether their idea is worthy of putting up at all. For annos, it is possible for the idea poster to delete objectionable material, but there is little guidance on what would, or would not be objectionable.

I feel that a help file for annotation, so that newcomers and oldies alike can agree on certain etiquette is desirable. As anyone reading this has been grabbed by the title, you too may feel the same. Thus, I suggest a few guidelines, all of which I have broken in the past... Well, maybe not all.

1: Don't bemoan the degeneration of the halfbakery: It was great for you. It is great for me. If you feel that the halfbakery has strayed from it's previous greatness, whose fault is it? Either post a great idea yourself, tell me how I can make my ideas greater, or give up. I come here because the halfbakery is articulate, fun, and informative. If you can be none of these, I have no patience with repetition of how things were "better back in the day." If you can explain how they were better by being articulate, and informative, I'll listen and learn. Hopefully I'll even post a great idea some day.

2: Do not personally attack others: Yes, we all get a little impatient with the bozo that posts what whe don't think of as "ideas." but that is not because the person is bad. Maybe they're just inexperienced and need a little coaching, or maybe the halfbakery isn't quite the place for them. Help them out. If you can help them into posting a real "idea" as you understand it, so much the better. If not, then maybe you can help them out of the halfbakery by showing them some related site where they might fit in better. Shooing away annoyingly misguided individuals only cures the symptoms of the problem. But unless someone cures them of their lack of guidance, they will be pestering someone else.

3: Use good science: Just because whoever posted the idea can't be bothered to get the facts straight doesn't mean you have to use their bad science to explain things to them. You don't need to ask the flat earther why people don't walk sideways near the edge, because good science has a number of ways to prove that the earth is in fact round. Alternately, if you feel the need to use bad science, please attempt to display your sarcastic wit in such a way that good science users will know you do not need us to vote on the laws of physics again. Voting on the laws of physics tend to hurt, because we can't actually enforce them, and you might be the only science someone sees today.

4: Give a reason if you type "Baked!" I don't care if I'm talking about inventing a single pane glass window to look through. If I post the idea, I must live in some cave where I've never seen it. Help your economy by showing me a link that proves they exist. Maybe I'll buy one, be happy, and leave you alone after that. Do it enough, and I'll try to get out more before my next "idea." Link to google search results if you have to, and if I insist it is not widely known to exist, find some more links.

5: Give a category if you MFD: Most of us newbies, such as myself (OK, so I'm not really a newbie anymore) really have read the help file for ideas, so either we're morons that don't understand the categories, and need education, or we didn't notice that it fit one, and we'll need the category, and some explanation. The rest of us either ignored it, and need a link, or have forgotten, and need a reminder... except for the rare few who just don't care. Use troll-feeding/flame war rules on them.

6: Explain why you bone. Most of us really do want the halfbakery to still be great. Sadly, us newcomers are a little denser than the oldies. Blame it on the chemicals, blame it on public education, whatever. If we don't get it right, please tell us why. You oldies are better at guessing who's trolling, but throw me a fricken bone here, and lemme know i'm not posting to the bakery celeste every once in a while. Will doing this ruin anonymity? Maybe so, but people are often proud enough to explain why they bun. Are you afraid one semi-anonymous username will take it upon themselves to show another semi-anonymous user some manners because of one or two bad reviews? Do you think they will sink to the needed level of hacking and stalking to find you in real life, and throttle you? (If so, we'll be there to stop them!)

7: Give advice, damnit! Even if it's bad advice, that's what we want!

8: Think twice before posting "Why not...Instead." This is the halfbakery, where we prefer to attach a jacob's ladder spark system to the bottom of our gas grilles, because piezo sparkers are boring and magic. Most of us are intelligent enough to know that a good alarm system will solve our problem more easily than training an army of robotic barbies to fight using all twelve styles of kung-fu... but the barbies would be way cooler. If your "Why not" includes something that already exists, think three or four times before posting, and at least ask "What does this do that...doesn't already do just as well?

9: Come back on topic every now and then. No, really, it helps. I like poems, and discussions, and even some rants, but a little returning to topic adds that patina of legitimacy to what we do here.

10: Try not to rant. Yes, I know, it's really tempting to go off when you see an idea about giving every substitute teacher a gun, and maybe there's some merit in getting into a deep discussion there, but do remember what the idea was about... Second amendments, wasn't it? Oh heck, Rant away! At least it's an anno.

11: Thou shalt not have an eleventh guideline, for eleven is sacred to the Agape Republic.

12: Edit and delete wisely. Try not to make the people who respond to you look like crazy morons because what they're commenting on is gone now. Also, feel free to use quotes when annotating. You can edit your annos as needed later... if you remember them.

13: Use the silly // for quotes, and put names in [brackets] I don't know why we do it, but we've always done it that way, and some traditions are worth keeping. Then again, maybe this isn't one of them... Although I see no value in changing this tradition, and I suspect there may be a legitimate reason behind this peculiarity. On a similar vein, we correct spelling, and suggest better categories to put ideas in around here too. Patina of legitimacy and all... feel free to try it yourself now and then.

14: Read the other annos. Now that they've been helped they should be more entertaining than ever, and if they say what you wanted to, you can save yourself the effort of typing... and check out the ideas of someone who thinks a lot like you. (just click on their name!)

15: keep in mind that you may not be able to respond to every post. When you have to refer to a post four, five, or ten posts back, what you write often ends up just sounding stale and desperate... sort of like most of my ideas and annos... Or maybe they're still funny, but nobody really jokes much about them after that, which kills half the fun.

16: Wait. If you're doing every other post, it may be worthwhile to let a third or fourth party get a word in edgewise... or it may have developed into a rant, flamewar, or completely unrelated topic worthy of private discussion rather than forever taking up [jutta's] somewhat precious badwidth.

Now, lemme hop off this little box of irish spring, so I can stick my head in the sand for a few days.

ye_river_xiv, Feb 08 2007


       I see that the three voters before me were all afraid to annotate... I think I will follow their example.
Hunter79764, Feb 08 2007

       I was really trying to break all 13 rules in a single anno. I have to settle for simple pedantism, as despite my years of perfaction all I can do is moan about how good things were in 2004.
bungston, Feb 08 2007

       2004 <sigh>   

       no 2002 was a good year.
po, Feb 08 2007

       You're certainly not wrong [ye-river], however, as far as I am concerned, you only need one rule for annotations:
Don't be a jerk!

       Pretty much everything else can be forgiven, or picked up along the way. Basic spelling and grammar are a good start, coupled with politeness. As long as a poerson isn't a jerk then they'll do just fine.   

       (Ye gods! I've been here since 2002 - I'm away for a lie down)
Jinbish, Feb 08 2007

       //poerson// love it.   

       someone asked me - is a jerk worse than a wanker (I said no)
po, Feb 08 2007

       //someone asked me - is a jerk worse than a wanker (I said no)// woudn't it depend on context? For instance "some jerk turned up at the sperm bank" - that would be worse than "some wank*r turned up at the sperm bank".
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2007

       Strangely, I was going to say 'dick', but thought I'd sanitize it for general viewing...   

       (poerson was a typo - but I decided to keep it for posterity)
Jinbish, Feb 08 2007

       Hey, this is not a bad list. Nice work.   

       Edits I'd make: In 3, actually, someone who'd tell the flat-earther that gravity would make them walk sideways at the edge would be correct, no? I'd think that would be a good response.   

       In 13, you're telling your reader not to question something. That's kind of silly, and you're normally not like that. Ways of writing something change as people try out different things - erosion is fine.
jutta, Feb 08 2007

       Did you spell "etiquitte" like that just to test me? *uuurgghh* must ... not ... correct... spelling ....
phundug, Feb 08 2007

       You've got a one-man standing ovation from me for this post. I'd like to see it appended to the Help file, if possible.   

       Strikes a chord with me because I see myself falling into some of the bad habits you mentioned - I've been here for a while, but I don't post or anno as much as I used to. I was quick to blame the HB for that, but the truth is I was probably getting a bit stale and unimaginative myself. Love the fact that your post informs us old-timers (if I can call myself that) as much as newbies, [ye].   

       Great post, which reminded me of why I fell in love with the HB in the first place. It's kind of easy to take it for granted sometimes, and forget that it's the time and effort we spend on it that actually makes it what it is.   

       Garbage in, garbage out. It's up to us to make this phase of the HB one to look back on in the future and smile
lostdog, Feb 08 2007

       Mmmm. [+]
MercuryNotMars, Feb 08 2007

       I myself find that the 2003 Fall vintage has a certain piquant character to it, probably because I joined then. With any luck [ye_river_xiv] will be sung in the halls along with [krelnik].
normzone, Feb 08 2007

       //as far as I am concerned, you only need one rule for annotations: Don't be a jerk!// Let's have a big hear hear for {jinbish] on that one. Sadly, those who are being jerks generally don't recognize it until it's too late, and some never realize what it is they are doing to earn the title.   

       Let's not get too carried away here [normzone] While having my own place in the spotlight is of course nice, I'll be plenty happy enough if I can just get my coveted two and a half buns... or fisbones... that I haven't been able to snag with door ideas alone.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 09 2007

       On that note, perhaps an addition to the list could be:
"Don't chase the buns; don't run from the fishbones."
Jinbish, Feb 09 2007

       //as far as I am concerned, you only need one rule for annotations: Don't be a jerk!// - a good example of an unhelpful anno, [jibnish]. Your definition of a jerk (I believe the roots for //jerk// and //wanker// are the same so that a sperm bank would welcome both with open rooms) is probably different than someone elses, particularly a jerk's (or wanker's, come to that). [yrx] has given a great idea for the definition of a non-jerk, which by extension allows us to quantify the jerk level of a particular anno. bun.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Feb 09 2007

       I simultaneously agree with, and am probably guilty of falling foul of all of these (including [Jinbish]'s addendum) [+]
zen_tom, Feb 09 2007

       [+] for the list, but mostly for the phrase "patina of legitimacy", which I shall endeavor to work into a conversation today.
hippo, Feb 09 2007

       Very nice list, though I disagree with the statement that //us newcomers are a little denser than the oldies//. This posting proves otherwise.
calum, Feb 09 2007

       [ye_river], on your account info, sp: loser   

       I don't agree, but you may as well spell it right.
I'll delete this in a tick...

theleopard, Feb 09 2007

       [theleopard] Don't worry, there's no rule against irritating pedantry in annotations - in fact, quite the opposite.
hippo, Feb 09 2007

       + I especially like #1 and #7.
xandram, Feb 09 2007


       You ain't no newbie, faker, you. You've even gained the respect of the autoboner.   

       See, you are a "dedicated baker", if ya wanna be or not!
blissmiss, Feb 09 2007

       I'm happy that you have explained your bone [brau] Indeed, I am leery of legalistic actions, but I am a little confused as to why you are worried about rules. I have listed no rules. Indeed, just before #1, and in #11, I define this list as "guidelines." and ones which I myself often break at that.   

       They are written with authoritarian wording, but that is only because people tend to think twice before disobeying a statement written with that tone. After all, everyone comes here for a reason, and once I figure out what I'm looking for, it's only a matter of time before I try to tweak the system a little to get more of what I want.   

       Like most people, at heart, I want thoughtfullness, guidance, and respect where appropriate. This ilst of guideline, in my mind, is a pretty transparent attempt at getting those desires met, not just for me, but for all of us.   

       Looking back on the list, the more powerfully worded ones, such as #6, and #8 tend to warn against things which annoy me the most. I'm still a little sore about that time several people asked me "why not use a double cylinder lock" instead of my key sensing door.   

       Legitimately asking "why not just butter the cat's back instead of implanting these gyros into it's brain" is a little different, and much better...
ye_river_xiv, Feb 12 2007

       True, without the will to get along, rules, guidelines, etc. are mostly. There were all kinds of rules when I was in the Navy, and to get along at all, most of them had to be broken. All the same, where there is a will to get along, guidelines or rules can be suggested, accepted, rejected, or modified in a civil manner.   

       Have I heard someone request an explanation for a bun? Yes, I have. In fact, I did so myself, and requested that it be converted to a bone on my "smell of death door" idea. Determining whether ideas in the "Evil" category deserve a bun, or a bone is a difficult thing sometimes.   

       And yes, I do want people to explain why they bone. Partly because then I can haggle over why like a foolish child, and "defend" my idea from these marauding halfbakers that for some reason won't think just like me. But more importantly, I want to know why people think my idea is bad, so I can take the desires of my audience into consideration before I post an idea.   

       My "Custard Gun" seems to have bombed slightly, partially because it was a gun, but, as you can see in the annos, also because I used a piezo sparker. Next time I need a sparking device I'll use a battery powered electric arc, or something.   

       Similarly, my "inquisition mail sorter" got two negative votes (and no positives!) the first week it was up. Then I deleted a paragraph that mentioned RFID from the body of the text, and tucked that away in the annos. After that, the idea recieved eight positive votes (and no more negative ones!)   

       Sure, I don't have to take the desires of my fellow halfbakers into account. I can post an idea for a perpetual motion butt-plug in the sport section simply because I think it will get stuck on the main page longer there... and they can anonymously bone my idea, but if they don't anno, how can I tell for certain what it was that made them dislike the idea.   

       Without that feedback, I could have the best will to please in the world, but I might lack the savvy to realize that my idea is in the wrong section, it includes undesirable magical perpetual motion, and one or two people are slightly offended by the idea of anal sex sports.   

       Without your feedback, I wouldn't know that some people think "never is too strong a word, and without that knowledge, my eight guideline (or rule, if you will) could use some revision.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 13 2007

       Whatever [Ye], you're still a looser.
theleopard, Feb 13 2007

       what is made loose by [ye]? (S)He didn't propose the didgeridoodoo...
TheLightsAreOnBut, Feb 13 2007

       I don't know, maybe it's a declaration of unbridled promiscuity on [ye]'s behalf? Either that or it's just a typo on their user site...
theleopard, Feb 13 2007

       Unbridled promiscuity... Now there's something I don't get to practice every day. I'll argue for the double O making a "Long O" sound. I'll pretend my unbridled promiscuity helps to make young ladies loose...([ye] is a "he.") I'll staunchly ignore all dictionaries thrown at me... Then I'll fold like a lawnchair, waffle like an eggo, and pretend I was right all along without even replacing the offending spelling.   

       Is now a good time to invoke guideline #9, or shall I wait a bit longer...
ye_river_xiv, Feb 14 2007

       I like all of this in particular I like #1. That is something that frys my butt more than anything else. Bun From Me!
jhomrighaus, Feb 14 2007


       Sorry I saw this only now.
pashute, Sep 07 2023

       "Don't be a jerk" sounds good, but different people define the work in different ways, and half of them include "disagreeing with my favored opinion or team" as an example of jerkishness.
Voice, Sep 08 2023


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