[Home]ReplaceQuestionWithAnswer

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There's a wonderful elegance about seeing a question, and not answering it, but replacing it with the answer. It is one way to avoid having to convert ThreadMode to DocumentMode.

Often an exchange will arise on a wiki such as this:

I really like green eggs and ham.

What is green eggs and ham?

One way to respond to this is in ThreadMode:

I really like green eggs and ham.

What is green eggs and ham?

Green eggs are a peculiar type of eggs that aren't really green, in so much as discoloured. While they are famous from a Dr. Seuss book of the same name, they actually exist. Green eggs and ham is a type of breakfast.

Another way to respond it by modifying the original text, removing the question.

I really like green eggs which are a peculiar type of eggs that aren't really green, in so much as discoloured. While they are famous from a Dr. Seuss book of the same name, they actually exist. Green eggs and ham is a type of breakfast that I really fancy.

This has a certain zen to it, and it makes the page a lot nicer to read. Another way to respond is by removing the question and adding a PageLink?:

I really like GreenEggsAndHam.

That often has the highest value when the page already exists, but you could also apply ExtractPage for the purpose. Be sure you're not creating a ShallowPage.

These simple tricks help keep clutter down and help IncreaseClarity?. Think of questions as only stubs for additional content, not sequence points between content. While editing as you go sometimes makes it hard for the questioner to find the answer to her question, you may presume that your readers are smart enough to figure it out.

Contrast ReworkLater. See also ReworkingProblems, Wiki:RefactorAsYouGo, Wiki:RefactorByCondensingQuestionAnswerPair

Problems with comment pages

ReplaceQuestionWithAnswer happens much less on wikis that make extensive use of CommentPages, such as Wikipedia, where ThreadMode is kept strictly separate from the DocumentMode articles. One solution is to allow people to leave "question" annotations in articles when they sense they need more information. e.g.

The quick red fox [What about arctic foxes?] jumped over the lazy brown dog.

To be written: section on arctic foxes

The syntax translator could also sense the style [ text goes here, until question mark & right bracket--> ?] and render the HTML less obtrusively. See WikiPedia:Wikipedia:make_omissions_explicit.

This used to be common practice on Wikipedia. The community moved away from it as Wikipedia started to become useful as a reference and started to have readers who weren't also contributors. Inline questions and "to be written" sections made the text look somewhat dubious. However, it would be possible to hide [question?] text from readers but keep it visible to contributors, set in preferences. This would EnlargeSpace by allowing text to be directed at contributors without disturbing readers.

List of concerns

Although making omissions explicit is usually inline, you could also make space for out-of-line comments to ease IncidentalCollaboration, such as by creating a section at the end of each article called Concerns or Defects or Issues where people could list issues with text in DocumentMode. e.g. "While red foxes are covered, a discussion about arctic foxes is strikingly absent." That way readers are at least aware that there are critical points they should remain concerned about when reading the text without having to move to a separate free form (i.e. mostly ThreadMode), unedited page and digest that as well. Wikipedia does this somewhat, usually with prefixed boilerplate saying things like "this article's neutrality is disputed".

An alternative would be to have this edited list of current issues at the top of the talk page. However, this is not very reader-friendly. HTwoGTwo does something similiar, but doesn't allow for collaboration. See, for example, the [Wikipedia article]. It's really quite good, but there are some minor errors. Therefore, someone could add a comment at the bottom of the page to point out those errors.


I like this pages. It has this zen-ish approach to untie the knot from insides instead of making endless pages that describe different types of knots and by doing so not to untie anything. 040130 13:20 UTC, +01 -- MattisManzel


CategoryReworking

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