How do I use the power of consideration responsibly?
This is relevant for Friars and above.
With the power to consider nodes comes the responsibility to use it wisely.
- Consideration amounts to a suggestion that janitors "fix" something. Most nodes don't need "fixing" - janitorial attention - beyond formatting.
- Consideration is NOT an appropriate vehicle for expressing your personal agreement or disagreement with the node's contents, nor for expressing your distaste for its manner of expression.
If you're not sure, leave the node for someone more experienced, or ask for advice in the chatterbox.
Before you begin to consider nodes, lurk about in Nodes to Consider for a few days. Make note of the reasons given, and see if you agree or disagree with the conclusions. Some nodes will remain on this list for days. Others will be edited very quickly. There are no hard and fast guidelines, but the community standards are evolving.
The janitors's job is to correct the bletcherous mistakes that monks occasionally make in posting; the goal is to keep the quality of the site high. However, janitors are not like newspaper editors: they do not fix problems with spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, tone, or fact. Node authors own their nodes, and they should be encouraged to learn how to post well and to bear responsibility for the quality of the site. Therefore: Help authors to help themselves; don't consider the small stuff.
Good reasons to consider a node include:
- To change a title. Janitors are particularly interested in the quality of titles, because bad titles can seriously impede site navigation. Always include an exact suggestion for the new title. See How do I compose an effective node title? for a comprehensive discussion of what makes a bad (and thus consideration-worthy) title.
- To fix formatting, e.g. adding <code> tags around code, adding <readmore> tags.
- To move a node between sections, such as a Perl News item which really should be in PerlMonks Discussions.
- To reap a duplicate node. Occasionally a new monk will post a question two (or more!) times because they don't see their post show up on the front page, and they assume something went wrong. If caught quickly, the duplicates can be reaped. Also sometimes someone forgets to log in before posting, so they log in and post the same question again; we end up with duplicates, one of them by Anonymous Monk. When considering for this reason, it is generally better to prefer to keep the node with most of the replies; or the node which was posted earlier; or the node which is not by Anonymous Monk (in that order of priority). The consideration should always include the node ID of the node which is to be kept, and it should also include a request that the replies (if any) should be re-parented to the other node. Note: just because a node contains a FAQ, or any question that has been asked before, that doesn't make it a duplicate. Just reply to the node with a link to other relevant threads. Consideration to reap such nodes as duplicates will almost certainly be rejected.
- To reap a highly offensive posting. PerlMonks is meant to be family friendly. And perhaps more importantly, we'd like to keep PerlMonks off of corporate blacklists which would prevent worthy monks from participating while at work.
Poor reasons to consider a node include:
- To correct a typo. The janitors are not in the business of changing words out from under a poster. This includes problems in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, clarity, and style. (Of course, if you are the original poster, feel free to fix such mistakes yourself. We'd hate for you to misspell 'orthogonal' as 'ornithopter' or even 'orthography'.)
- To correct factual errors. Instead, post a response or send a message to the original author.
- Personal preference. If you don't like a node, then ignore it, downvote it, respond to it, contact the author... or any combination of the above.
- Bad research on duplicates. Occasionally, when there are duplicate posts, two people will consider both, almost simultaneously. Please avoid this if at all possible. Aggressive use of the Chatterbox is warranted here.
- Not Perl-related enough. PerlMonks tolerates off-topic questions to some extent. Many Perl Monks know a bit about operating systems, web servers, databases, and so on. Perl is a glue language, and occasionally it has to interact with other things. If the question has come up before, it will probably come up again. Let the archives have it, so that those who search can find it.
- Other reasons. You're a Friar, you should have a good feel for how the Monastery operates. You have this power because we trust you to be reasonable and objective. Make wise decisions. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't get wrapped up in "not wasting precious database space" and enforcing "node purity". Relax. It's a good system, and there's room to be flexible with people.
These are bad reasons because, even if they pass in the popular vote, janitors are still likely to veto the action!
Another "No No"
Please refrain from soliciting votes in the Chatterbox. It is acceptable (and encouraged) to work out in the Chatterbox which duplicate should be considered, but it's usually unacceptable to ask in the CB that people vote on a consideration or the considered node's rep. Let things run their course. Requesting votes in the CB is the same as attempting to influence the outcome or subvert the system of failsafes.
Note that your nickname will be prepended to all of the considerations you submit. This provides some accountability. Follow the suggestions above and /msg a senior monk or a janitor if you have any questions, and you will do fine.
Go back to What is consideration? for the basics.
Back to the PerlMonks FAQ.