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Convert annotations to links automatically

Pity the poor moderators
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
  [vote for,

I've only been on the bakery about three weeks, but it seems like the most common moderator intervention I've seen is reminding folks to use the "link" button instead of just putting a URL in an annotation.

This is such a common and simple thing it could be automated. This would save the moderators some time, and it would help folks learn how to use the bakery.

URL's follow a well specified form that is somewhat easy to recognize. The string "://" is useful to scan for in fully qualified URLs, but a more flexible algorithm might look for non-fully qualified ones. (Knowing the folks here, a soft match should probably do a DNS lookup of the resulting name just to make sure the person isn't being funny).

No matter how fancy you make the match, the processor for annotations could do this check as the annotation is posted. If it gets a hit, instead of posting it would do one of the following:

(1) Return to the annotation form again, but with an error in red nearby reminding the user to use the link function. Similar to what happens if you try to annotate or link without logging in first.

(2) Don't post the annotation, but put up the add link form with the URL automatically copied into the right spot, and the rest of the annotation text (if any) in "Description". All the user would have to do is type a short name and click OK, and their annotation is now a link and hopefully they have learned something.

(3) Post the annotation anyway, but replace the URL with the text "See link." and then do (2) so the user can add the link.

This could also be done on the client side via JavaScript before the annotation was posted. But the bakery doesn't use any client-side scripting (that I've noticed) now, so I doubt anyone would want to change that.

krelnik, Oct 24 2002

Example 1 http://www.halfbake...unted_20Lava_20Lamp
sheepman annotation on Oct 16 [krelnik, Oct 24 2002]

Example 2 http://www.halfbake...staff_20Flare_20Gun
robo45h annotation on Oct 16 [krelnik, Oct 24 2002]

Example 3 http://www.halfbake...e_20computer_20game
Caldasar annotation on Oct 17 (actually posted link too, but this could have helped) [krelnik, Oct 24 2002]

Example 4 http://www.halfbake...ds_3b_20Free_20Cars
whlanteigne annotation on Oct 20 [krelnik, Oct 24 2002]

Example 5 http://www.halfbake...oling_20the_20Earth
ldischler annotation on Oct 23 [krelnik, Oct 24 2002]

Example 6 http://www.halfbake...20Computer_20Screen
Eugene (in the main idea) on Oct 24 [krelnik, Oct 25 2002]

Voting on HB ideas http://www.halfbake...or_201_2f2_20bakery
I think this was then implemented (in the system of today) [Jinbish, Oct 25 2002]


       I think the moderators rather enjoy reminding the occasional newbie to read the help file. Seems like, anyway.
Mr Burns, Oct 24 2002

       Welcome [Krelnik].   

       Sounds like a perfect "little HB notions" concept... and a thoughtful idea also.
hollajam, Oct 24 2002

       Point taken on the overuse of links. I'm not sure how that is really relevant to the idea at hand.   

       I'm only talking about redirecting folks who click [annotate] when they really should click [link], based on the text that they type in the box. That's all.   

       I'm not saying folks should link more, nor that links should be displayed inline, potentially distracting from the annotation.
krelnik, Oct 24 2002

       Rods Tiger, forgive me if I've misinterpreted your point, I admit I'm a little addled by the unexpected detour, but I took the gist of krelniks idea to mean an automating code reducing steps in idea and annotation submission. I imagined it as a mail program recognizing a URL and highlighting it except this idea would move it. Is that close Krelnik?
hollajam, Oct 24 2002

       This problem is rare enough that it doesn't seem worthy of the effort it would take to fix it. More importantly, we wouldn't want to take away any power from the despicable, ego-maniacal moderator.
half, Oct 24 2002

       Right, hollajam, that's all I mean. Just a UI convenience to help newbies learn the "right" way to do things.   

       //rare enough//   

       I disagree, half. If you want I can dig you up a half dozen times its happened just in the last week.
krelnik, Oct 24 2002

       A half dozen times in how many annotations?   

       My guess is that it would be quite difficult to justify the amount of time and expense that it would take to add the functionality that you advocate. But, then again, I am just taking a half-wild guess.   

       Besides, I wouldn't want to be responsible for causing someone to lose their cushy, highly lucrative halfbakery moderator job due to lack of work.
half, Oct 24 2002

       [Krelnik], I can relate to feeling this need. Especially when HB traffic is a bit busy and your annotation is ready to enter. You submit the anno then update the browser to give it all a check only to go back and pick up the link and enter the fields for that...   

       I have always wondered about sticking the link in the anno so it's on the same page for reference as I enter the link fields. Doing that alerts moderators who may suddenly fell put out with the non compliance. Still after the link is entered another action is required to remove it from your anno...
Honestly, krelnik, I can relate. But let me say for sparing jutta the trouble to intervene; we're just speculating on the concept are we?
hollajam, Oct 24 2002

       [half], your points are good ones. I see program tweaks such as this as expected continuum of fine tuning, updating and the like. In perspective the work task isn't greater than the initial birth of the halfbakery. Moderators will always need to baby-sit. Perhaps the smoother flow coming from the newbies will lighten moderators work enough that they can play more in the ideas. Well, that's just speculation anyway.
hollajam, Oct 24 2002

       Not sure I see the "time and expense" comment half. I write software for a living, and it doesn't seem hard to me.
krelnik, Oct 24 2002

       So do I. And we are both being paid to do so.   

       But, that's enough from me on this subject because it's all just idle, uneducated, unsupportable speculation on my part as to whether the owner of the site would see this as a valuable enhancement or not.
half, Oct 24 2002

       Yeah, it's been on my todo list for about two years now (right next to activating the electric shock unit in thumbwax's keyboard whenever he adds an annotation with an onomotopoeia longer than 40 characters).   

       Five moderators, one unpaid programmer, and doing little user interface things right isn't as simple you think; I mostly have time to fix catastrophes and wax poetically about how I have no time.   

       Unrelatedly, if you see me using client-side JavaScript on the halfbakery to do anything more complex than set a font, please shoot me, because my body will have been taken over by aliens.
jutta, Oct 24 2002

bristolz, Oct 24 2002

       [half] Just for you I dug up 5 times in 5 different ideas, all in the last week. See links.   

       (Oh how I considered posting them right there in this annotation...it was SO tempting...)
krelnik, Oct 24 2002

       Wow, that was a nice visit jutta. Even though I was trying to prevent that very distraction for you.   

       [krelnik], her annotation just validates your idea. That's pretty evolved thinking to be in step with the

       ... c_r_e_a_t_o_r!
hollajam, Oct 24 2002

       Somebody's sarcasm detector isn't working correctly. It's either mine or [hollajam]'s.
half, Oct 25 2002

       DrCurry, your feedback is appreciated. There is no escaping the halfbakery bonds once someone becomes a regular. That said it is simply nature's course to speculate from time to time back onto the thing that brings such reward/ pleasure etc..
hollajam, Oct 25 2002

       Sp: onomatopoeia
thumbwax, Oct 25 2002

       I think you should put some wax on that thumb.
FarmerJohn, Oct 25 2002

       Hmmmm, I think I learned a new rule of thumb. Don't post suggestions in the halfbakery category.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       Don't worry, its a phase that newer HB's go through, apparently. The 'trying to change the HB' phase.   

       From what I can gather, it often involves what would appear to be a relatively sensible suggestion by a 'newbie' to improve the HB. The resident regular halfbakers then state that things currently work well and any effort involved in change would not be efficient in any case.   

       The newbie then realises that this is indeed the case and may proceeed to the next step, slipping further into a HB addiction.
Jinbish, Oct 25 2002

       //things currently work well//   

       That they do, that they do. A suggestion for a simple little UI tweak, especially one that targets newbies as this one, does not imply that there is anything wrong. I think maybe that is lost on some.   

       I think folks tend to get defensive, because subconsciously they connect "suggestion for change" with "there's something wrong with the bakery". This causes cognitive dissonance because clearly there is nothing wrong with the bakery. The only resolution to this is a fishbone, regardless of the sensibility of the idea itself.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       //phase that newer HB's...//   

       BTW, the more I think about it, the more I find that condescending. It implies that simply because a person is new, their opinions are not worthwhile.   

       In my experience working on various software products, I've found the opposite is often true.   

       Some of the best suggestions for improvement come from new employees. The reason: when you work with something for a long period of time, you get used to the quirks and the problems, and you just start to accept them as "the way it is". You fall into patterns of use that naturally avoid the trouble spots that newbies are running smack into.   

       A new person has none of this baggage, and will never say "well its always worked that way". They'll see right through to an easier way to do things that is eluding the experienced people.   

       One excellent manager I worked for at two different companies, would try to cultivate this. He would sit new employees down with the manual for the product they were going to work on, and work through the whole thing step by step. The result was often some excellent commentary that would have the experienced folks saying, "You know, he's right!"
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       Never have so many, said so much, to so few, about so little.   

       God, I love this place.   

       [krel], if I may be so bold as to lob off some of your name, in order to save time and space.   

       I think the whole apsect of change and the ability or inabiltiy for some to accept it, is covered extensively in Human Behavior courses. It is pretty well expected, normal and universal, no matter who is doing the suggesting. (We have had this discussion many times, as [XsX] can attest to, if she were currently not so busy at her job, damm it.)
blissmiss, Oct 25 2002

       //...a phase that newer HB's go through...//   

       The phase comment is true up to a point. Not all newcomers go through this phase and not all "change the bakery" ideas are posted by newcomers. However, the majority of suggestions for change do come from newcomers. As blissmiss says, this is a natural human phenomenon with direct, practical parallels in real life. For example, when I got my new mobile phone, I spent the first couple of weeks bemoaning the size of the buttons and the new, confusing layout of the menus. After a while, though, I adapted to and accepted this new system.   

       The same can be said for the 'bakery - newcomers will wish that the 'bakery interface is more like or less like another interface with which they have experience. Sometimes the suggestions are accepted (like voting, frinstance) but most of the time they are not. Whether a modification is taken up is entirely up to jutta. I would be surprised if the croissant to fishbone ratio is a major factor in her deciding.   

       // ...I find that condescending. It implies that simply because a person is new, their opinions are not worthwhile.//   

       I don't buy that. Ideas for change (I hesitate to use "improvement" because it is such a subjective term) to the halfbakery are usually fishboned through an "I'm alright Jack" adherence to 'bakery dogma than any real consideration of the idea. The implication, therefore, is not that "simply because the poster is new, the idea is not worthwhile" but "simply because a person has tried to change what we so jealously guard, I think it stinks."
calum, Oct 25 2002

       [krelnik] : whoops! I didn't intend anything condescending.   

       I'm just passing on my observations - it is a phenomenon of the HB that suggestions are made be relative newcomers and the 'established' go 'nah...' on the grounds of 'unnecessary' or 'too much work for jutta'.   

       I agree that the perspectives of new people can bring a freshness to a situation and there are examples of the HB being changed (shock!) - I'll find the links shortly.   

       (later) Ah forget it. - I'm too crap at searching.
Jinbish, Oct 25 2002

       //It probably should be applicable here too, but it's not.//   

       Wow. I'm speechless.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       calum: good comments, I agree.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       Disagreement, but realization that some of you long-timers are so dogmatic about certain things (such as changing the bakery) that there is no point arguing with you at all.   

       I have a problem with dogmatism in all its forms.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002

       [krelnik], Please know that I went though this very thing only a couple of weeks ago. It's obvious your idea has been validated. Whether or not it ever becomes part of the bakery's "code" is almost a separate issue here. Your idea has been acknowledged and mirrored so to speak by the very person who brought the bakery to life. And as you can see, this point is lost among the misinterpretations that you are *urging* change when in fact your idea, as mine was also, is simply *displaying* your inspired working solutions in writing. Nothing more undermining than thinking aloud.   

       For you to note [krelnik] My croissant to you was not because I thought the bakery needed changed in this way, although the tweak would be an ideal outcome, but rather it was for acknowledging that you were on to the same *hypothetical* solution of efficiency that I already come to desire myself.   

       *Speculation* to me does not mean the same as *requesting, begging, or declaring the need for*   

       I don't get it how that becomes so muddled sometimes.
hollajam, Oct 25 2002

       Thanks, hj. I looked back at the idea I think you are referring to and I see what you mean.
krelnik, Oct 25 2002


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