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Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Do we need templates for new posts?

+6
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We have some posting tips on the "ask question" (or "create post" etc) pages, and we plan to add better contextual help in the future. Another way to guide people would be with templates, a "proto-question" (or proto-blog-post or proto-challenge etc) that you get in the editor. A template could be a mix of content (like headings) and instructive HTML comments.

I got this idea when I saw this request for better recipe formatting on Cooking. Most recipes follow a particular format -- introduction, ingredients, equipment, instructions -- but people have to create that structure by hand, each time. Over on SE, on some sites people asked for such templates to help people ask decent questions (particularly on SO, as I understood it). On GitHub, a feature request is similarly populated with some instructive comments.

Should we have (optional) templates for posts? I'm imagining that a template could be defined per category and per post type -- so articles in the Recipes category get that special recipe template, but it wouldn't affect questions or other categories. On Judaism, the Challenges category supports both articles (to announce challenges) and questions (to collect suggestions), so articles in that category could have a template without affecting questions in that category.

This approach would not help with finer distinctions, though. One could imagine feature requests on Meta having a template and bug reports having a different template, but that would mean either having several buttons ("create feature request", "report bug", "request support", "discuss something") or adjusting the editor contents after tags are chosen, which seems hard to do robustly. Alternatively, we could let the author select a template (or not) if templates are defined for that site (or category?), but this might mean newer users would be less likely to use them, defeating one of the purposes.

Should we do something like this? If so, how should we structure it?

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2 answers

+3
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I would like templates for the photography contests on Outdoors and Photography, the questions and the answers follow the same format and it would save some time when creating them.

A template for the top level contests already exits, however it lives on Notepad++ tab on my computer and it would be helpful if more people than me had access to the template.

Sometimes people submit answers to the contests without all the requisite information and others get annoyed, hopefully templates would cut down on that.

The other place I can see them being helpful would be the gear recommendation categories.

However, I don't currently see a use for them on the main sites, unless it would be possible to link a template to a tag like identification which has a more specific format.

Also, if someone doesn't want to use a template, they can always CTRL-A + Backpsace and remove it entirely.

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General comments (4 comments)
+2
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Please no, except perhaps for unusual form-like posts.

I have never experience seeded text to be useful. It's actually a negative because it distracts and I have to delete it. Seeded text is never what I want to say. It also feels like an intrusion on my author's rights, and nannyish in general.

If a post has to conform to some very specific formatting, then it might make sense. That would be very rare, however. Perhaps recipes on Cooking fall into that category. I am not familiar with them. Even then, you have to be careful that it doesn't stifle creativity in those cases where an unusual approach benefits the post. I don't think this feature would be appropriate for any of the places I have been here (which is pretty much everywhere except Cooking and Judaism).

By all means, provide lots of documentation. In the end, though, it's up to each author what to write. Then it's up to the community to judge that writing.

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General comments (5 comments)

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