• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

where should the subject line be  RSS feed

 
Brian Tkatch
Bartender
Posts: 598
26
Linux Notepad Oracle
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No offense meant, but i hate it when people start typing their message in the subject line and continue it in the body. Firstly, that's not what it is for. Secondly, i often open many links based on the subject line, and then when i read them, i do not read the subject line. That can get really confusing.

I do not know why subject lines are above message boxes, when they should be written after the post is completed. Putting the subject line on bottom would remove the urge to fill it first (with what you think you are going to say) and would allow it to be a summary--as it's very point of being is--written on what was actually said. Further, when written first, people often put in nonsense, the first line of the message, or some out of context error message. Written afterward, people aren't so hasty, and may take a second or two to reflect on what the title out to be.

Someone asked for comment and improvements. I think moving the subject line under the message would be an excellent one.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal
Posts: 37181
515
Eclipse IDE Java VI Editor
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Amazon does this for reviews. That's the only place I've ever seen it. I like it, but it still "feels weird".

Anyone else have an opinion on this?
 
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal
Posts: 66153
146
IntelliJ IDE Java jQuery Mac Mac OS X
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While I agree that the subject should be a short descriptive identifier for the topic (and should not be used as the first line of topic), placing it after the body would just seem outright bizarre to me.

Guess I'm too used to email for changing it to seem not weird.
 
Ahmed Bin S
Ranch Hand
Posts: 385
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If I understand correctly, BT is saying that subject line should be before message body when displaying it, but after message body when writing it, as it is likely to be more accurately descriptive if done this way.

Doesn't seem a bad idea to me to be honest.
 
Brian Tkatch
Bartender
Posts: 598
26
Linux Notepad Oracle
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bear Bibeault wrote:While I agree that the subject should be a short descriptive identifier for the topic (and should not be used as the first line of topic), placing it after the body would just seem outright bizarre to me.

Guess I'm too used to email for changing it to seem not weird.

Wait, i think i can challenge the new UI based on that comment. Ready?

The new UI, which adds no functionality, we will change because it's different.
Putting the subject line second, which adds functionality, we won't change because it's different.
 
Brian Tkatch
Bartender
Posts: 598
26
Linux Notepad Oracle
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ahmed Bin S wrote:If I understand correctly, BT is saying that subject line should be before message body when displaying it, but after message body when writing it, as it is likely to be more accurately descriptive if done this way.

Yes, that is correct. Though truthfully, i thought that was obvious. Thank you for explaining it.
 
Stephan van Hulst
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 7722
142
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had to read it a second time when Brian wrote it at first. It's not that it's unclear, but it's just not what I'm used to.

Having said that, I like the idea and it makes sense. When I write an e-mail, I usually only write the final version of the subject line after I've read the body back to myself.
 
Daniel Cox
Ranch Foreman
Posts: 228
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brian Tkatch wrote:...i hate it when people start typing their message in the subject line and continue it in the body.

I also find that a little irritating but that's no reason to punish people who find it more intuitive to have a subject line before the message. And putting the subject line after the message won't stop anyone who wants use the subject line as the first line of the message. We all do things that others may find a little irritating, for example, I find the following a little irritating:
  • a subject line that starts with a small letter (like this thread's subject line)
  • a sentence in which "I" is replaced with "i", for example, "Wait, i think i can challenge the new UI" instead of "Wait, I think I can challenge the new UI"
  •  
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Daniel Cox wrote:I also find that a little irritating but that's no reason to punish people who find it more intuitive to have a subject line before the message.

    Punish?

    Daniel Cox wrote:And putting the subject line after the message won't stop anyone who wants use the subject line as the first line of the message.

    True. But it won't promote the practice it either.

    Daniel Cox wrote:We all do things that others may find a little irritating, for example, I find the following a little irritating:
  • a subject line that starts with a small letter (like this thread's subject line)

  • FWIW, i did not create this thread; it was forked from another.

    Daniel Cox wrote:
  • a sentence in which "I" is replaced with "i", for example, "Wait, i think i can challenge the new UI" instead of "Wait, I think I can challenge the new UI"

  • That is a practice i consciously adopted a little over 13 years ago. I am curious what annoys you though. Is it that it is unsightly, non-conforming, or you just don't like my (unstated) reason?
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10573
    65
    Eclipse IDE Hibernate Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Brian Tkatch wrote:Someone asked for comment and improvements. I think moving the subject line under the message would be an excellent one.

    I disagree.

    1. I reckon it depends what the post is about, and also where it is. Posts in the Drivel and SnakePit forums, for example, tend to be quite "existential", and I often put the first line in the subject (no doubt annoying you ).

    2. Even in the more technical forums, putting the subject line first MIGHT make someone think about what they're asking (although I must admit, I'm not going to hold my breath on that one).

    What annoys me is when the contents of a post has absolutely nothing to do with the subject line...

    Winston
     
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    Brian Tkatch wrote:Someone asked for comment and improvements. I think moving the subject line under the message would be an excellent one.

    I disagree.

    1. I reckon it depends what the post is about, and also where it is. Posts in the Drivel and SnakePit forums, for example, tend to be quite "existential", and I often put the first line in the subject (no doubt annoying you ).

    2. Even in the more technical forums, putting the subject line first MIGHT make someone think about what they're asking (although I must admit, I'm not going to hold my breath on that one).

    What annoys me is when the contents of a post has absolutely nothing to do with the subject line...

    So, put the "subject" line on top, and a "summary" line on bottom. Add the subject line to the message when displaying it, and use the summary as the title. Voila!
     
    Daniel Cox
    Ranch Foreman
    Posts: 228
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Brian Tkatch wrote:I am curious what annoys you though.

    Yes I do find it a little unsightly but I'm not making a big fuss over it because I accept that we all have our little quirks. 

    I did a quick Google search:
  • this thread says 'I' referring to oneself should always be capitalised.
  • this thread says One of the capitalization rules is, to capitalize the letter "I" when referring to yourself, so it must be capitalized.
  • this thread says It's common practise to do that, especially during texting, but its not grammatically correct.
  •  
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Brian Tkatch wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:If I understand correctly, BT is saying that subject line should be before message body when displaying it, but after message body when writing it, as it is likely to be more accurately descriptive if done this way.

    Yes, that is correct. Though truthfully, i thought that was obvious. Thank you for explaining it.


    Mr Bear found your suggestion bizarre. I see nothing bizarre about it so I thought he might have read it very quickly and not understood exactly what you were saying - I know when I am busy and scan-read something,
    sometimes I misunderstand it. That isn't to say it isn't bizarre and he is wrong if he thinks it is, there are no rights or wrongs here, but I was clarifying in case someone did misunderstand it.

    Personally, I don't see the problem if someone doesn't put a proper subject line on an online forum. In emails, yes, because you will usually have to read emails as they are addressed to you and you might have to do something in response to what the email says, but in an online forum there is no obligation on you to read the post so if you see someone has posted a subject line as "I predict", I see no problem because you don't have to read that post and the OP should be able to post however they want to.
     
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Daniel Cox wrote:I did a quick Google search:

    Silly rules... Anyway, this was a conscious decision which just became habit. If you care, 'Too much "I"': 1, 2, 3. Everyone hated it back then too. My feelings have evolved since then, and i am quite happy with them now.
     
    Daniel Cox
    Ranch Foreman
    Posts: 228
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Personally, I don't see the problem if someone doesn't put a proper subject line on an online forum.

    A subject is the one thing that entices users of a forum to read a post and so it is advisable to make it as descriptive as possible.
     
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Mr Bear found your suggestion bizarre. I see nothing bizarre about it so I thought he might have read it very quickly and not understood exactly what you were saying

    I figured that's what you thought he thought. I thought he thought that it simply isn't what 98% of the UIs do, so changing it is making a fashion statement. And without being super clear, it comes off as bizarre. (I also think "bizarre" is bizarre,  with only one "z" and two "r"s.) I also think it is funny that you refer to him as "Mr. Bear." Makes me giggle each time. :P

    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Personally, I don't see the problem if someone doesn't put a proper subject line on an online forum. In emails, yes, because you will usually have to read emails as they are addressed to you and you might have to do something in response to what the email says, but in an online forum there is no obligation on you to read the post so if you see someone has posted a subject line as "I predict", I see no problem because you don't have to read that post and the OP should be able to post however they want to.

    I have done tech support before, and often ignore subject lines. The purpose of the subject is to decide what to read, but if reading everything, why bother with the subject line? When dealing with hundreds of emails, those few seconds matter. (I used to estimate my average response time, which for the basic questions was seconds. Like 7 or 15 seconds, because most questions were very simple and due to a lack of understanding of a subject. I use the keyboard over the mouse, and that saved loads of time too.)

    In forums, i often read subject lines to decide what to read, open a bunch at a time, and then go through them one at a time, which provides no need to re-read the subject line. Those few times i am left scratching my head over what the person meant can sometimes be answered by looking at the subject line. I chalk them up to being PHBs, and perhaps just ignore the message and move on. In forums where there is a title on each post in the same thread, i don't think i even notice them.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Daniel Cox wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Personally, I don't see the problem if someone doesn't put a proper subject line on an online forum.

    A subject is the one thing that entices users of a forum to read a post and so it is advisable to make it as descriptive as possible.


    That's the whole point. If someone is stuck and needs a question answered, then it is in their best interest to put a good subject line. If they don't, then less people will read it, and their question might not get answered as quickly. It ends up affecting this person, but not others, so I don't see why others should get upset about it.

    In Meaningless Drivel, I think it's perfectly acceptable to have meaningless subject lines such as "I predict".
     
    Daniel Cox
    Ranch Foreman
    Posts: 228
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:It ends up affecting this person, but not others, so I don't see why others should get upset about it.

    It does end up affecting others. We are all here to learn and if I log in looking to learn about generics and someone asks a generics question but with a subject line that suggests String concatenation, I'll end up ignoring the thread because I want to learn about generics; not String concatenation. This affects me because I could have learnt something useful about generics but I haven't due to a non-descriptive subject line.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Daniel Cox wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:It ends up affecting this person, but not others, so I don't see why others should get upset about it.

    It does end up affecting others. We are all here to learn and if I log in looking to learn about generics and someone asks a generics question but with a subject line that suggests String concatenation, I'll end up ignoring the thread because I want to learn about generics; not String concatenation. This affects me because I could have learnt something useful about generics but I haven't due to a non-descriptive subject line.


    Do a search on generics. It will return posts where the body mentions generics.
     
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:
    Daniel Cox wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:It ends up affecting this person, but not others, so I don't see why others should get upset about it.

    It does end up affecting others. We are all here to learn and if I log in looking to learn about generics and someone asks a generics question but with a subject line that suggests String concatenation, I'll end up ignoring the thread because I want to learn about generics; not String concatenation. This affects me because I could have learnt something useful about generics but I haven't due to a non-descriptive subject line.


    Do a search on generics. It will return posts where the body mentions generics.

    Yeah, but a bunch of generic posts (couldn't resist) not new ones with people working on them.

    The ranch is not just a place with answers, it's a place for learning, and new posts are the lifeblood of this place. A search is helpful, but it just isn't the same thing. Not by a long shot.
     
    Daniel Cox
    Ranch Foreman
    Posts: 228
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Some users may prefer to do that; however, other users may prefer to simply log in and browse through subject lines in order to deduce posts they are interested in. These users need subject lines to be as descriptive as possible.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal
    Posts: 37181
    515
    Eclipse IDE Java VI Editor
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    ++ on learning.  It's tough because we can't force descriptive subject lines however much we may want them.

    ps - i'm glad I split your comment out of the original thread. This discussion is interesting.

     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    First of all, the overwhelming majority of posts have relevant subject lines. So if you want to look for posts about Generics by subject line, you will find the majority of them.

    Secondly, learning involves doing hard work yourself. If you can't be bothered searching for keywords, then you should remember the times when people actually had to spend time going to the library, and realise just how lucky you are in this day and age.

    Thirdly, if this is really such a big issue, then the moderators should state in the rules that subject lines should not be something like "need help in Java assignment". and then enforce it whenever they can.

    Personally, I don't see this as s big issue at all.
     
    Brian Tkatch
    Bartender
    Posts: 598
    26
    Linux Notepad Oracle
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:First of all, the overwhelming majority of posts have relevant subject lines. So if you want to look for posts about Generics by subject line, you will find the majority of them.

    Secondly, learning involves doing hard work yourself. If you can't be bothered searching for keywords, then you should remember the times when people actually had to spend time going to the library, and realise just how lucky you are in this day and age.

    Thirdly, if this is really such a big issue, then the moderators should state in the rules that subject lines should not be something like "need help in Java assignment". and then enforce it whenever they can.

    Personally, I don't see this as s big issue at all.

    Who said issue? Just a suggestion to put the subject line (during the editing phase) under the message body.
     
    Paul Clapham
    Sheriff
    Posts: 22374
    42
    Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Thirdly, if this is really such a big issue, then the moderators should state in the rules that subject lines should not be something like "need help in Java assignment". and then enforce it whenever they can.


    Actually the moderators do try to enforce the idea of Use A Meaningful Subject Line in cases when it's necessary. Although it's not really one of the forum rules, just a polite suggestion. There's only one rule. And as somebody already said (it was you actually), most of the subject lines are meaningful.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Paul Clapham wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Thirdly, if this is really such a big issue, then the moderators should state in the rules that subject lines should not be something like "need help in Java assignment". and then enforce it whenever they can.


    Actually the moderators do try to enforce the idea of Use A Meaningful Subject Line in cases when it's necessary. Although it's not really one of the forum rules, just a polite suggestion. There's only one rule. And as somebody already said (it was you actually), most of the subject lines are meaningful.


    Fair enough!

    But I don't like that the FAQ takes you to a whole list of Wiki articles. I think there should be an easily accessible "Rules" or whatever you want to call it on the main page that summaries the dos and donts of this forum.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal
    Posts: 37181
    515
    Eclipse IDE Java VI Editor
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:But I don't like that the FAQ takes you to a whole list of Wiki articles. I think there should be an easily accessible "Rules"

    There's only one rule: be nice .

    I get what you mean though - forum conventions or something.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
    Ahmed Bin S wrote:But I don't like that the FAQ takes you to a whole list of Wiki articles. I think there should be an easily accessible "Rules"

    There's only one rule: be nice .

    I get what you mean though - forum conventions or something.


    So I keep hearing there is only one rule, but in reality, there isn't, is there?

    For example, there's the rule that you shouldn't hijack someone's thread.
    Or the rule that if you cross-post at another forum, you should make it clear on Coderanch.

    Failure to do any of the above would result in some sort of action by the moderators, so I am not sure why I keep hearing there is only one rule.
     
    Norm Radder
    Ranch Foreman
    Posts: 2238
    28
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Fixed.
     
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal
    Posts: 66153
    146
    IntelliJ IDE Java jQuery Mac Mac OS X
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thread hijacking is not nice -- it therefore falls under the "Be nice" rule.
     
    Paul Clapham
    Sheriff
    Posts: 22374
    42
    Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Likewise cross-posting without letting people know isn't nice. So yes, there really is "One Rule to Ring them All".
     
    Ahmed Bin S
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 385
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Well I hope saying to the moderators they are wrong doesn't fall under this very loosely defined, very subjective thing called "not being nice", because when I get some time I will post a post showing that saying there is only one rule at this forum that covers all rules people need to abide by at CodeRanch is factually incorrect!
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal
    Posts: 37181
    515
    Eclipse IDE Java VI Editor
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Everyone is wrong sometimes including the mods!

    Maybe the other "Rules" are conventions or corollaries or something?
     
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!