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Short does not necessarily mean DUMP

By sH in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:30:39 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

I haven't been on K5 long; only since it re-opened. As most of the K5 newbies, I came from Slashdot, where one gets short snippets of news and goes on their merry way. I fully understand that this site is not about getting a snippet and leaving. I rather enjoy that there are actual discussions here, and not who can be 1337 and post first.

However, I think that some very pertinent stories have been dumped because they were only a few lines long, even though the content was VERY discussible; this is utter crap.

I am referring specifically to a post I just moderated. I would post it in here, but it seems to be off the queue for some reason. It was about an article the person had read that was about the Austrian government demanding that some site take down it's information pertaining to why the Holocaust didn't happen and that is was a big censor that "opens up a big can of worms."

I agree that it is a VERY important topic that concerns everyone of us. Just because there wasn't a three page PS to it doesn't mean that it cannot be discussed. The idea is to discuss, not kick something out just because it is short. If it lacks content for discussion, sure, dump it, but if it has content keep it.

I'm not sure how many newbies there are here that take everything that people here say as the word of GOD, but just because krannt says that we should have no more one paragraph stories doesn't mean that you should BS four paragraphs when the point LIES IN ONE or dump it only because it is only ONE PARAGRAPH.

Again, I agree that short snippets are for /., but when it is FULL of content in ONE PARAGRAPH, don't dump it because it is ONE PARAGRAPH.

If I didn't get my point across, here is a little summation:



Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Slashdot
o no more one paragraph stories
o Also by sH

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Short does not necessarily mean DUMP | 23 comments (18 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Yes and no and how (3.46 / 15) (#1)
by Hillgiant on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 11:02:22 PM EST

Personally, I am more inclined to vote down short posts for one overriding reason.


K5 is a discussion forum. In my view, you cannot form an intelligent discussion on the basis of one short paragraph. This may be old fashioned of me, but I really appreciate a well reasoned post. I want to see `hooks' to draw in participants (even if they do not agree with the poster). Not just some ill-constructed statment of an obvious problem with two or three obvious viewpoints.

In my (admittedly limited) experience with k5, short posts fall into one of four catagories:
1) Poorly written, but good idea (I would actually like to see more of these)
2) Trivial. i.e. what is your favorite programing language. Sorry, kids but I don't care and what little discussion is availible more likely than not will degenerate into...
3) Flamebait / Troll (these have been thankfully rare so far, but remember: Sig11 is hiding amoung us somewhere =] )
4) MLP I don't care for these, but I understand that they have thier place.

Bottom line: I am less likely to read, much less vote up, a short submission. I do not feel that you can do ANY subject justice in one paragraph.

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny

Agreed: short -> Holy War (3.80 / 5) (#2)
by jabber on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 11:16:12 PM EST

What makes for a good discussion is a well reasoned argument that can subsequently be poked and prodded by the rest of the lookenpeepers.

If somone submits a short article where it is easy to fall in on one side or the other, I will likely vote it down, because the lines are easy to draw. I might then think about it some more, turn the ideas, suppositions and assumptions around in my head until the issue no longer seems so straight-forward. Afterwards, if I feel strongly about my reasoning and if I consider my view to be unorthodox, or if some piece just doesn't fit in an otherwise logical chain, then I might repost the blurb or link, ALONG WITH commentary. That way, there's something specific to argue for or against and a good time can be had by all.

After all, we've all gotten suckered at one time or another, into a discussion based on a simple statement: "PC's are better than Macs", "KDE sucks compared to Gnome" or better still "My God can beat up your God". There's no intelligent discussion to be had there until there are some straw-men to knock down, set on fire and trmple into dust.

If you feel strongly enough about Aussie censorship, dig up the link and post it along with your reasons, or projections of where this might lead and why. Or better yet, take a stand counter to your actual thoughts, earnestly play Devil's Advocate, and see how many people actually think the way you do.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Re: Agreed: short -> Holy War (2.00 / 1) (#19)
by sH on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:21:26 AM EST

assuming you have a view point. sometimes others want to discuss before they decide on such finalities.

[ Parent ]
Re: Agreed: short -> Holy War (none / 0) (#22)
by jabber on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:08:17 PM EST

I suppose, but that assumes that either they have SOMETHING to say on the matter, or they just want to sit back and watch other dodge and parry for their amusement. In the former case, I stand by my post, in the later... Well, there's much more to be amused by at that other site. This place is ABOUT something, about reaching resolution or concensus, or at least 'walking the loop' and agreeing to disagree - IMO, FWIW, all standard disclaimers apply. :)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Re: Yes and no and how (1.60 / 5) (#6)
by dice on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 11:19:55 PM EST

well here's the thing, Hillgiant;
redundancy of information for purposes of self-aggrandizement is unnecessary
when the link (or news story, or whatever) speaks for itself, and shows what could be discussed, there's absolutely no reason for a large writeup, other than to show off your m4d bs skills.
i'd rather people didn't color things with their own biases if it doesn't need it.
just the news, ma'am.
you remind me of an english teacher i had.
wanted our papers to be a certain length.
i went through and replaced each word with a dictionary definition of such, and then did it again as necessary.
did i add any content? no.
would i have wasted bandwidth if i had posted it on k5? absolutely.

[ Parent ]
Re: Yes and no and how (none / 0) (#23)
by Hillgiant on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 07:36:14 PM EST

No, dice....
Filler is even worse than a one paragraph post. Two (or more) paragraphs of "th15 link is k3wl plz clik on it!!!1!" is not any more likely to attract my interest. If the web page can be summarised in one paragraph, why should I go to it? Few things torque me off more than seeing a post on a topic that sounds interesting, going to the link, and waiting for my poor modem to d/l all the ads and extrainious photos only to discover that the entire article was so much fluff pasted together by some two bit hack in about 2 minutes. I have better ways to waste my time.
Which brings up another point. Hasn't your english teacher taught you how to add content? This is what I think that most discussion boards are sorely lacking... original ideas. Go to that other website and pick any topic with more that 30 responses. Every single topic will be repeated over and over and over. For all of the geek culture's individualism ideals, there seems to be alot of parroting going on.

grumble, grumble, mutter...

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Re: Yes and no and how (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by ramses0 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:41:16 AM EST

This story got +1 front page from me-

It is my humble opinion that K5 is much more than a "discussion forum." It simply happens to allow people to discuss whatever is brought up here.

I think of it as much more a "meme sharing system" which just happens to allow discussion.

Some memes are large, and so interesting, and so well presented that it makes the heart yearn for more stories of this quality.

Some memes are smaller, and require effort on the part of the reader to read the link, realize what the author is pointing out, and then comment not on what the author said, but instead on what the author has pointed out.

If I told you that Microsoft tells sales-drones that installing a non-MS operating system on their computer is bad, you'd better not vote me down for that. I don't need to tell you how this makes MS an evil company, or that MS doesn't know what's best for all consumers, or that MS's operating systems are better for some things, and worse for others.

No. I shared with you the idea that there's something funny going on here, and I'd like your opinion on it, and I'd like to voice my opinion on it too. Ya'know... have a discusson?

On that other site, (the one carrying the MS sales-drone story), about 200 words have generated about 800 comments.

I'm firmly on the side of the author that the discussion-worthiness of a topic (idea) is not directly related to the length of the writeup. I'm much more likely to find something interesting hidden two or three levels deep into the discussion that grabs my attention, and makes me glad that I read the comments attached to the article.

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

*sigh* (2.63 / 11) (#4)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 11:18:53 PM EST

There are already many websites that cater to the one paragraph/one link story, what makes kuro5hin unique is the length and quality of the write up that goes with the links.
Also kuro5hin has a category for one paragraph/one link stories(MLP) so why should we suddenly stop using that section because some story submitter decides to ignore the MLP choice from the drop down list?

An error on the story submitter's part does not indicate an emergency on mine.

Carnage4Life voted -1 to this story

Re: *sigh* (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:18:47 AM EST

I've been wondering for a while now: are people adding those tags by hand, like "Carnage4Life voted -1 to this story", or is there some speedy way to do that?

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]
[OT]Blah voted foo to this story (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by kraant on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:01:11 AM EST

Nah it's historical... Way back in the day when you voted you had the option of commenting as you voted and the comment would have a little note on it saying which way you had voted...

So when you see a comment about which way someone voted put in italics it's because of how voting used to be done...
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

Re: [OT]Blah voted foo to this story (2.00 / 1) (#21)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:34:17 PM EST

So people are putting it there by hand because they liked that feature?

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]
Trust the voters (3.44 / 9) (#7)
by shook on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 11:41:25 PM EST

I personally didn't see the article you were referring to. But just because people voted it down, doesn't mean they voted it down because it short. Maybe they didn't like it. Even if someone doesn't like a story because they think it is short, they are free to vote as they choose.

On the other hand,
I don't like to see people vote on litmus-test rules. Never put Meta on the front page, always dump short stories, always dump articles mentioning Napster. Just vote on your hunches of what is informative/discussable.

oops, there I go, telling people how to vote :-)

Not always does ($length eq $discussion) (4.12 / 8) (#10)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:39:32 AM EST

While I agree that one-paragraph (or one-line) stories should not normally be posted outside the MLP section, I do think that there can be exceptions to this.

A long comment may generate less discussion in some cases, because the point is too clearly (and verbosely) made. Sometimes being concise can have more of an effect on discussion than lengthy argument.

Also, there seems to be some confusion as to debate vs. discussion -- I see these terms used interchangably here, but they are not the same. Sometimes, discussion is valuable precisely because it is not a debate. Other times, debate is the most valuable form of discussion.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

A cautionary thought (3.41 / 12) (#11)
by nuntius on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:53:55 AM EST

Here's how the "1P==dump" mentality could bite us:

k5 reader x wishes to post a message. x feels its important, but rather short. However, x knows that 1 paragraph equals death to his story.

What happens? x writes 2 paragraphs. Everyone agrees that the point is valid and worthy of discussion. However, the same message could have been expressed in 1 paragraph.

==> We end up reading wordy fluff.
==> The signal/noise ratio on k5 actually goes down.

Just my $0.02 (American ;-)

but surely... (3.22 / 9) (#12)
by acb on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:00:35 AM EST

i would like to ask a question.

couldn't have this been addressed in one paragraph instead of "BS[ing] four paragraphs"?

Have a Nice Day.

--- acb #kuro5hin
Re: but surely... (1.00 / 4) (#15)
by Jack9 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:17:12 AM EST

Often wrong but never in doubt.
I am Jack9.
Everyone knows me.

[ Parent ]
Re: but surely... (1.00 / 2) (#17)
by sH on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:14:16 AM EST

yes, but it would have been dumped.

[ Parent ]
Why only go down to a paragraph? (4.41 / 12) (#16)
by Aquarius on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:28:06 AM EST

If the purpose of a story is merely to provoke discussion, and an extensive writeup isn't required, then why only worry about single paragraph stories? Why not single sentences?

"More servers will be running Linux than NT by 2005, said a report today. Discuss."
"Lee Harvey Oswald was framed."
Perhaps we should dispense with the story queue and posting altogether and have one story only; title and text:
When I see a story posted (unless it's MLP, when I have no real problem with a short paragraph of writeup), I assume that the poster posted it for some reason, and that they are therefore more knowledgeable about the story subject matter than I. I'd like to see them take advantage of their prior knowledge to not only alert me to a point which needs discussion, but to also summarise and put forward arguments both for and against the proposition and bring me up to date with current thinking surrounding the subject. That way, the K5 discussion avoids rehashing any previous arguments that have been had on this topic elsewhere, and the posters can avoid making elementary mistakes based on their lack of knowledge of the subject matter.

For instance, imagine that I were to post a story about theories of faster-than-light travel. If the story was framed as a discussion on whether FTL travel is possible at all, in light of the latest theory from J. Random Scientist, I'd want to not only mention the theory, but problems that other competing theories would need to overcome, specifically that an FTL ship must not only find some way of overcoming lightspeed itself (which theoretically cannot be exceeded), and that a theory must explain how FTL travel is not to produce unsolveable paradoxes. The key point here is that many "amateur" theories address the first point but not the second; any discussion of FTL theories would be well to be alerted to these, as it stops people coming up with theories that are incorrect and therefore waste time in the discussion. If everyone's up to date, then the discussion can produce genuinely new and interesting material rather than revisiting old and previously dismissed ground.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
Short does not necessarily mean DUMP | 23 comments (18 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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