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Last modified date on nodes

by Nkuvu (Priest)
on Mar 23, 2009 at 17:08 UTC ( #752660=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Simple idea, really. In fact, so simple that I'd be very surprised if it wasn't suggested before this. A SuperSearch for "last modified node" turned up nothing relevant in several pages of results, with nodes dating back to 2004. It's quite possible that other search terms would produce what I'm looking for, or that I overlooked a relevant node. In which case, I ask forgiveness, for it is Monday morning.

In any case, I've been seeing nodes that have been updated by the author after other replies were provided. This frequently makes the replies confusing. For example, a monk suggests "on line x you need to change 'some code' to 'some other code'." Except that the node being replied to already has 'some other code'. Did the author update? Or maybe the monk replying misread? I can't tell.

So I'd like to see a small note added to indicate the last time the node was modified. I am not suggesting that the site keep a revision history or anything complicated, just a time stamp. Perhaps added to the information containing node creation:
"on Mar 14, 1592 at 06:53 MST ( #xxxxxx=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ), last modified Mar 14, 1592 at 07:53 MST"

I know nothing of the underlying codebase or how node information is stored, so I don't have any idea how complicated this change would be (i.e., does the database have a field where two dates could be stored, or would it require a revision to the whole shebang?).

Feasible? Unfeasible? Pointless? Best idea in the world? Interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Last modified date on nodes
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Mar 23, 2009 at 20:02 UTC
    See What XML generators are currently available on PerlMonks?. There is a node attribute for the last update and/or edit time. I remember having a conversation about this years ago with tye as a means for making an efficient thread watcher to let you know when the content of a node in a thread you were interested in had changed. I don't remember the exact details but as far as I know, the attribute is not updated when a node is modified (IOW - it doesn't work).

    Not being a devil, I can't say for sure but I would think that could be used as a stepping stone. Unfortunately, as far as I know - that has never been fixed.

    Cheers - L~R

      The plan was that this would be fixed as a consequence of deploying the new node cache. That would still be true and that is where I am likely to concentrate my efforts. But replacing the node cache is a large project and, although I've done most of the work required for this already, it still takes a surprisingly long time for deployment to actually get done. So, it might be good to fix this specific bug within the old node cache for the short term.

      - tye        

Re: Last modified date on nodes
by ww (Archbishop) on Mar 23, 2009 at 17:49 UTC
    I'd give this an absolutely, rock-solid "maybe"...
        except for a contrary inclination to say "lousy idea."

    On the plus side -- and assuming it's feasible -- it might pose less work for the janitors who get a fair number of considerations requesting "restore original content" (which they can and sometimes do, whilst differentiating the OP from its updated content.

    But, TTBOMK, Corion's records, at are the best source for original content and are accessible to anyone who wishes to review a node for possible un-flagged updates. I keep a link in my Free Nodelet for such review. It looks like this:

    [`id`.xml|Original content of `id`]

    On the down side, your proposal fails to discourage the abusers who update without warning; especially those who remove their original content in favor of something that's responsive to a reply or to make themselves appear a bit less dunder-headed. A datastamp would do nothing to restore the original... and it's the lack of that which -- IMO -- makes the replies "confusing."

    An alternative might be developing a mechanism that "locks down" a node as soon as it receives a reply (thus encouraging a reply to a reply), but even that has its weaknesses, as threads sometimes contain nodes that are tantamount to replies to nodes at the same level.

      I don't think the point was to discourage updates, but simply to flag them. There is no reason not to allow some updates, its specific types of updates that are harmful. With a last update stamp you would at least know that content had been updated, unlike now where you have to guess (which gets increasingly more difficult if you haven't looked at the specific node recently.)

      Additionaly it would appear that the database already holds an update date, so then its merely a matter of adding it to the output.

      Eric Hodges

      eric256 summed up my intentions for this idea rather well. This isn't intended to record what changed, or how often a node has changed, and it's certainly not intended to discourage abusers. Just a flag to say that it did change.

      Anything further than the flag could still rely on requests to janitors or referencing the node history you've indicated, just like it happens already.

      For the record, Corion's site sounds very useful. But tell me how I'd find that? This is the first I've heard of it, and it isn't like I joined the site yesterday. Even looking at Corion's homenode I see nothing about the node history available.

        AFAIK, this bit of arcana was solely the purview of janitors, since the only place I recall it being discussed was the editors' wiki, 'way back when it was g0n's "secret node stash". Or IOW, unless you were a janitor (or other cabal), you would not have found it.

        Note that neither tribal knowledge nor leprechauns should be derided as potential sources of esoteric knowledge, especially as regards PM.



        By using the link just as ww suggested, but replace the 'id' with the actual node id. For the OP in this thread for example the link is

        True laziness is hard work

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