Minimum Words in a Post

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Minimum Words in a Post

Post by Scott » October 10th, 2009, 6:35 pm

The forum rules require that all new threads must contain at least 45 words, which helps ensure they are philosophical and meet the other guidelines.

In regards to replies, the rules currently say "No single word posts, or meaningless posts. No posts that simply say 'yes', 'no', 'bump', or 'I agree'." But there is no minimum amount of words in the post.

I now want to add a minimum number of words in a post because I've recently had problems with new members posting replies that do not contribute to the discussion but only disrupt and distract from the discussion.

For instance, if you carefully write out a few paragraphs to have an in-depth, open-minded philosophical discussion about a topic, you'd probably be annoyed if someone posts a reply that only contains a quick quip.

Consider if someone created a topic in which they carefully wrote a few paragraphs about the possibility of life after death, entitles it what happens when we die, and then some other attention-seeking poster makes a reply that only says, "worms eat you." That is utterly unacceptable in the on-topic parts of the forum. (In the off-topic section, poetry, riddles, jokes, etc. are allowed as long as they are not mean-spirited.)

But I want to know what the minimum amount of words and/or sentences a reply needs to be able to provide a philosophical contribution to the discussion as opposed to only being a quick quip or useless statement (such as merely saying, "I agree," which isn't allowed). What do you think?

What about at least 10 words and at least 2 sentences?
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Post by lifegazer » October 10th, 2009, 7:03 pm

I don't think a post should be judged by the word-count ALONE. I think that you have to be open to the possibility of abbreviated genius at work. I don't think that you should just 'willy nilly' condemn everything that is ultra-short, as worthless.

Another thing: the 'human factor'. We're not robots. We like banter. We enjoy a bit of drama, here and there. We're all emotional, as well as rational. We want to keep philosophy 'vibrant' and make it as popular as is possible. And, imo, you are trying to over-formalise events here.

Some of what you said makes sense. Many one-liners (or even one-worders) are annoying and devoid of meaningful content. In fact, many of them are just 'ad hominem'. But not all. And that is why I think you might be making a mistake.

Imo, you should incorporate a less-absolute ruling into this very-human meeting-place of ours. Otherwise, only the robots will stay.

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Post by wanabe » October 10th, 2009, 7:49 pm

I agree with lifegazer you can't properly quantify with word count alone, what a good contribution is.

It's more a bout how it is said, than what is said as far as contribution. Sometimes it is fitting to use short posts. I think if there is a problem with short posts. You or a moderator should tell them to expand the idea rather than delete it.

You should make a "return to sender feature", so that one may expand their idea (but leave a place saver where the post was, other wise things will get confusing).

If you set a minimum there will be times when "fluffery" is used to fill the required space (like in high school when you teacher told you to write a 3 page paper, and it simply didn't take 3 pages), which is not philosophical but just wasted space (more so, cause not you are saving "pointless" words that take up more bits; rather than blank space).

For now I think the "report post" button will have to suffice. You could add more moderators (no offense but the ones you have don't always follow the rules, or do the same things as you would do; as that may be part of your concern [they should be elected]).

Or suffer the fate of the robot.
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Post by Scott » October 10th, 2009, 8:48 pm

I of course do not judge posts on word count alone. There many posts that are very long that I have deleted. When I delete a post, I try to send a copy of the post to the user with an explanation of why I deleted it, so that they can fix it and re-post if desired.

There are plenty of times I have been inclined to make a reply that just says, "I agree," or just says something like, "great post." But I don't. I either elaborate (Why do I agree? What else do I think about the topic?) or I just do not post a reply.

I want a minimum, but I suppose it would be a good idea to make the minimum very small. Even if 90% of posts that are only 50 words and 4 sentences long need to either be elaborated or left out, I think that is too high of a minimum, considering that 10%.

I think one can easily elaborate on what they mean or think to make a post at least 2 sentences and at least 10 words without adding "fluffery"--to take wanabe's term.

What do you all think?
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Post by wanabe » October 10th, 2009, 9:10 pm

2 sentences and 10 words is fair/manageable. I just see something wrong with putting a number to it: How long is a sentence? what is a word?: I is a word, and Pseudohypoparathyroidism is also a word.

I think you should just go off of quality of content rather than number of words.
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Post by lifegazer » October 12th, 2009, 7:05 pm

wanabe wrote:I think you should just go off of quality of content rather than number of words.
It's nice to agree with you, for once. :)

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Post by lifegazer » October 12th, 2009, 7:21 pm

I just realised, that under newly proposed rules, my previous post would have been deleted. But I don't see why. Wanabe understands the comment, and it might even serve to aid relations between us in future discussions (what greater reason could there be for allowing such one-liners?). But do I really need to explain 'this', as I am now? How silly do I look? Whatever sincerity I thought that there was in my previous post, has just been lost in its explanation, here. Oh dear. But if nothing else, perhaps this serves as an example of why posts should be left alone, at least for the most part, regardless of the number of words.

The context, purpose & emotion, behind a one-liner, have to be taken into account.

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Post by wanabe » October 12th, 2009, 7:24 pm

Well, until the rules change. I’m happy we agree as well. I'm sure we agree on much more.(Darn I didn't break the proposed rule). We can't forget that a critical factor in philosophy is the humanity of it, we can't let our self's loose that under the guise of efficacy.
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Post by Scott » October 21st, 2009, 5:44 pm

lifegazer wrote:I just realised, that under newly proposed rules...
No, because these types of rules only apply to the on-topic parts of the forum. Silly, pointless or irrelevant posts are allowed in the off-topic section generally.

And if your post were in the on-topic section, it would be deleted without the rule change. Just saying, "I agree," is not allowed because it does not contribute to the discussion. That's why I had proposed the minimum word count, to make it easier to identify useless, pointless or snide posts.

***

Anyway, I have decided that I agree with you folks. I won't be making this change. I will just judge posts based on the content.

Nonetheless, there is already a minimum word requirement for new threads (as opposed to replies), which I do like.

Thanks for your feedback!
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