Threads Considered Drivel

ThreadMode isn't always low signal, and in fact with the right disputants it's often very high signal indeed. Should it be discouraged? Heck no! But what we see on literally thousands of pages here is that disputants feel no motivation to refactor their threads into content accessible to new readers. This lack of refactoring makes wiki ponderous and awkward. Various devices - ThesisAntithesisSynthesis, ThereforeBut and TentativeSummary - have been suggested to fix this. But they haven't.


By sticking the drivel appellation above threadmode we motivate people to do what they'd like others to do - to make wiki accessible and elegant again. "Drivel" is indeed derogatory. Intentionally so. Leaving ThreadMode unfactored is impolite and lazy. If you don't like the label, fix the content.


At least one person strongly objects to the derogatory label. The compromise between ThreadMode and DocumentMode brought Wiki the "golden ages" of patterns and XP. Strong disparagment has given Wiki "pissing matches" and the departure of people whose input was widely (but not universally) valued.

Furthermore, sometimes ThreadMode really is valuable in its own right. Not at length, but valuably as a longstanding part of the lifecycle of a page. We should never refactor threads just because they're threads - only because they're low signal.

Okay, So How About,

We insert a hint such as FixYourWiki to encourage thread authors/readers to refactor into greater elegance...


The XP crews do seem scarce these days. Are they really gone? That would be very sad.

I think that they mostly have. I don't understand how the opportunity to see their remarks deleted or denigraded as "drivel" will woo them back. But they're probably done doing what they were doing with Wiki anyway.

Wiki doesn't handle disagreements. People handle disagreements using the usual tools of persuasion, politics, and compromise. If a few people can give convincing arguments why "drivel" is better than "threads", or "comments", or any other non-prejudicial word, then I'll withdraw this objection.


I've been thinking that we ought to keep the ThreadMode discussions better organized. We should move them to the most appropriate page that we can find and arrange them into sections. Sections can be delimited with a horizontal line and a title in bold. This has been used to good effect on several pages. People should sign their thread mode so that we can ask them to make the more drastic edits or deletions as it becomes apparent that they are needed.

For example: there's a thread on HomogenizeExceptions that belongs on DontThrowGenericExceptions so you move it there. While you are doing so you find that there is already an appropriate section for that discussion so that's where you paste it in. Then you discover that the same basic discussion has already taken place there. So you go to the homepages of those involved and you stick in a message (or send an email) that fills them in on what's happened and ask each one in turn to FixYourWiki. That way we don't have to live in a mess, we don't have people hacking other peoples work to bits, and we all have the opportunity to improve our work. -- PhilGoodwin


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