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12:10 AM
So this question gave me two silver badges :)
I almost got Mortarboard as well, but fell 8 points short. Oh well.
 
Woo, Enthusiast badges are coming in!
For those of us who've been here since day 1, anyway. Sorry, @Shokhet ;-)
 
Ash
12:35 AM
I am bad at remembering to visit sites every day :P
The only reason I think I ended up with it on Arqade is because I mod
 
Yeah, having to check for flags every day is certainly a good motivation.
 
@Randal'Thor :)
I had no idea that this site existed until I saw a HNQ
2
 
@Standback Are you still around, or is it too late in your timezone? We seem to be talking at cross-purposes in those meta comments - I'm not getting what your issue is, and you're not getting what my suggestion is - so maybe we can work it out here and then I can edit the meta post to clarify?
@Shokhet Yay, HNQ works! :-D
 
And then I got very excited because I always wanted a literature site here (but was scared off from starting one because it had failed before)
@Randal'Thor Yep :)
...the newest member is #648. Some of the questions here have thousands of views -- those will have to come mostly from sites other than Lit, hence HNQ
@Randal'Thor I'm getting there. I have 5 consecutive days, so far :P
 
@Shokhet Oh, hey, @terdon is here! I was thinking he might be useful to have around on this site.
 
12:49 AM
What is occuring when the notification counter is higher than the number of notifications you have?
 
@Randal'Thor I have no clue who he is. I just looked at literature.stackexchange.com/… to find the newest user :)
 
@Benjamin Which notification counter?
 
@Randal'Thor The one in the top navigation bar.
 
Maybe the review counter?
36
Q: Review Count - Fix It or Lose It

RainboltAnother meta question identified a bug that was marked as designed. To summarize the bug, the little number that appears next the Review link in the header shows an incorrect value most of the time. Wrong posts number on SO Review section I would like to propose that the feature be dropped...

 
@Shokhet He's a guy who doesn't like Wheel of Time, so we've had some friendly fights over that ;-) But he does seem quite knowledgeable about literature.
 
12:52 AM
@Randal'Thor Heh. WoT is on my to-read list. It's scary long, though....
 
@Benjamin If you get e.g. two comments on the same post, that gives you a red "2" in the top bar but only a single highlighted item (the last comment) when you actually click the dropdown.
 
@Shokhet No/
@Randal'Thor Ah, that explains it.
 
@Randal'Thor That's what I've been hearing
 
1:13 AM
5
Q: When did Robert Frost write "Two Tramps in Mud Time"?

B. Clay ShannonGoogling the poem, and utilizing Wikipedia, I could not find the answer to my question. The book I own ("101 Great American Poems") which contains the poem also does not give the year of its creation - it gives the birth and death years of the featured poets, but not the publication year of the s...

Are questions like the above on topic?
 
@Benjamin Why not? It's about literature, isn't it?
 
@Shokhet But it is simple Trivia and shows little research effort.
 
@Benjamin That's a reason to downvote, not to VTC.
 
@Benjamin I thought that particular question showed pretty good research effort -- the OP searched in the copy of the book he owned, which did not contain the info he wanted. Then he also Googled and looked at Wikipedia. I think he did his due diligence
@Randal'Thor Also true. Unless we plan on making a custom close reason for "general reference"
 
At least until such time as Literature instates a special close reason for "not enough research effort", like ELU has.
Also, what Shokhet said.
 
1:18 AM
@Randal'Thor That would be a good discussion on Meta. Do you think we need one of those here?
 
Once again, allow me to link to my essay on why a close vote is not a super-downvote:
16
A: Is the distinction too subtle between downvoting and voting to close?

rand al'thorA CLOSE VOTE IS NOT A SUPER-DOWNVOTE. Sorry for shouting. But this is a really important point which far too many people apparently fail to grasp. Downvotes are used at the discretion of the individual voter, and mean "this is a bad question". They can reflect the voter's opinion of the qualit...

@Shokhet At this stage, no. We don't have that many poorly researched questions. ELU is literally overrun with them.
 
@Randal'Thor Okay
To be clear: I wasn't advocating a close reason. I was advocating a discussion around a close reason
 
Sure. But the site is still young, and until we have a bigger volume of questions (or one particular type of question which is becoming a huge problem) it's going to be hard to tell what we need special close reasons for.
 
@Randal'Thor Makes sense
If memory serves, a CM posted the question on LH a while after the site entered public beta
No time to find it now; class starts soon
 
Btw, @Shokhet, is it "Shokh-ay" or "Shokh-ett"?
I like to know how to pronounce people's usernames in my head :-)
Even if it's difficult with people like Wrzlprmft, Wipqozn, and Wbogacz.
 
1:22 AM
(I pick one that's easy .. nobody's going to hear it, after all. :P )
 
@Randal'Thor "-ett," but the kh is a sound you probably can't do :)
 
@Shokhet Ah, it's not just an ordinary "kh" like in "loch" then?
 
@Randal'Thor I'm not sure how to pronounce "loch." I've heard "lock" but I've also heard "lokh."
This guy does a pretty good job of it, but I haven't watched enough to see whether he differentiates between ח and כ
Ḥet or H̱et (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the eighth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ḥēt , Hebrew Ḥēt ח, Aramaic Ḥēth , Syriac Ḥēṯ ܚ, and Arabic Ḥā' ح. Heth originally represented a voiceless fricative, either pharyngeal /ħ/, or velar /x/ (the two Proto-Semitic phonemes having merged in Canaanite). In Arabic, two corresponding letters were created for both phonemic sounds: unmodified ḥāʾ ح represents /ħ/, while ḫāʾ خ represents /x/. The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Eta Η, Etruscan , Latin H and Cyrillic И. While H is a consonant in the Latin...
Sorry. That's the letter. Here's the video: youtube.com/watch?v=PlmbiM_ASIE
 
@Shokhet It should definitely be "lokh" and not "lock".
Can't watch the video now, sorry.
 
@Randal'Thor Okay, so probably that sound, then
Incidentally, my username is probably transliterated incorrectly. The Hebrew word is שוחט, but most use kh for the letter כ
Anyways, gotta go
See ya!
 
1:29 AM
Seeya! :-)
I've posted a few tagline suggestions in the Literature Community Ad design chatroom. All thoughts welcome.
 
Is tehre a way to search for all posts with all undescribed photos?
 
@Shokhet If you'd like a dissenting opinion, I have one.
@Benjamin The meta post contains a link to a query which should do the trick, or am I missing something?
 
@BESW Thanks!
 
1:52 AM
@Benjamin You may want to space out the edits a bit, to avoid flooding the front page.
 
@HDE226868 I'll try.
 
Feb 12 at 12:59, by BESW
If we've got someone who's willing to do the gruntwork of necessary tag curation, I see no reason to make their life artificially harder by forcing them to spread the work across hours and days.
Same applies for accessibility edits, IMNSHO.
 
@BESW I don't mean to get my knickers too twisty, but I don't agree that we have enough activity for the front page to recover so quickly (re your above message).
 
Feb 12 at 13:00, by BESW
(Given how many different ways you can sort the front page, I wouldn't have a problem with it anyway.)
 
@BESW (the only way worth sorting is by activity)
 
2:02 AM
Playing Devil's Advocate, I'd bet that most folks would only use Newest and Active. I also use Unanswered on a regular basis, but I'm likely an outlier.
But I don't have any data to back that up.
 
There are a number of folks who disagree with that. [wry] I like Active best myself, but I wouldn't make any absolute declarations about it.
 
Data would be hard to come by, but flood any reasonably active site's active page and see how quickly they complain
 
@HDE226868 I mainly use newest and unanswered.
 
I think it'd be interesting to see how long the Active list takes to recover from a decent edit string.
 
@muru Depends on the site.
Some people on SFF will get their knickers in a twist over more than 5 edits at a time. M&TV often has 10 in a row edited by the same user (a mod, even) with no issues.
 
2:08 AM
@Randal'Thor I do see that a lot on M&TV (mod named Nick-something?), but since I have no answers to give there, I don't mind that much.
Used to be the same on U&L when Gilles did his daily tag correction
But then, one could tell what time that happened and go for a walk to other sites
 
@muru You're probably thinking of Napoleon Wilson.
Oh God. I'm going to call him Nickelodeon Wilson now.
2
 
Ah yes, sorry.
 
2:23 AM
-3
Q: Should we leave explanation of our votes?

BenjaminWhenever I leave an upvote, I do not feel the need to explain it as it is in support of the status quo. However, when I leave a downvote or a close vote, I tend to leave an explanation about improvement and generally ask the same of others in the comments. However, others do not tend to follow th...

 
2:58 AM
MedievalPOC's response to an explanation of the Wahgi Phantom fandom is a good example of using a critical lens to do close reading, then bringing in related works which compare or contrast meaningfully to the original text when looked at through the same lens in order to support a broader conclusion about the positionality of the original text.
 
3:41 AM
0
Q: What's the symbolism of the flowers in The Winter's Tale?

Rand al'ThorIn Act IV, Scene IV of The Winter's Tale, Perdita is "mistress o' the feast", playing hostess at the sheep-shearing feast, when King Polixenes and Camillo arrive in disguise. Perdita gives them both flowers, accompanied by the following short speech: Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Rever...

 
4:16 AM
@BESW Right. That was the other part of my reluctance to start.
Friends of mine who've read it routinely tell me that quality dips (maybe books 7-9?) and then recovers with Sanderson (and then maybe gets better than it ever was)
 
I'd say the first three are solid, and then it starts getting overburdened with characters and Jordan can't keep them all straight himself.
(The first novel was hailed as "Tolkien, but with women!" and so every book after he added more women... they blur together over time until they're all the exact same personality with a different physical tic when they get mad.)
Also there's a stretch of... I don't know how many, I gave up after the third or fourth in a row... books that are basically "We're going to do things... in a future book."
 
Ash
I really wanted to read them but the first book never grabbed me
 
It's got a lot of stereotypes I'm very tired of, and few if any characters I enjoyed spending time with.
That leaves... the plot, which as I said just sorta dies for several books. And the prose, which is serviceable but nothing to write home about. And the worldbuilding, which is elaborate but predictable and stumbles over itself sometimes. Some lovely setpieces, though.
And of course the central theme of the series is that men and women are so fundamentally different that each is incapable of truly empathising with the other. Gag me with a ferret.
 
Thanks for the dissenting opinion, @BESW. I still plan on starting, but I probably won't until I have more time than I reasonably know what to do with (perhaps summer, depending on what I'm doing).
 
Fair enough.
 
4:30 AM
My school schedule allows me to invest time in fewer books than probably any other point in my personal history, so I try to choose more carefully
 
(Having Opinions is a service I'm usually happy to provide!)
 
@BESW :)
For example, I probably read every Animorph book in elementary school, even though I knew that they weren't great and wasn't even really following the order of the books because I could afford to. I just don't have the time to spend anymore
Time is really just like money, in that sense
A commodity
(and probably too much of it is spent on SE, but that's a different problem :P)
 
Eyup.
(For all that series' other flaws, I found Applegate's ability to evoke the experience of being another creature, physically and mentally, quite compelling.)
 
@BESW True.
Though not always realistic
And they also had that cool thing that let you morph someone by flipping the pages of the book really fast :P
 
Well, no. She did about as much research as a textbook designed for the target demographic would provide.
That was sometimes disappointing.
 
4:35 AM
@Shokhet The inconsistency of morphing back to human (or whatever your starting point was) and back healing a wound didn't feel right to me
@BESW What, the research? or the page corner morphing?
 
The research.
 
Yeah
That didn't really bother me so much in 4th and 5th grade
 
(Of course I liked the flip morphs; I'm not a monster.)
 
Lol
@BESW This was also sometimes inconsistent. Like sometimes, if they weren't fighting to be human, they were limited by the attention span of whatever animal they were at the time (let's say, a fly), because of the hardware limitations inherent in the brain the size of a fly's. But they're still able to be completely human inside that tiny skull
 
Z-space! [handwave]
 
4:38 AM
Oh, and I had no grasp on the conservation of mass thing while I was reading them. Looking back, that's also an issue with their morphing
 
Seriously, most of the morphing weirdness was explained, at least superficially, via Z-space.
 
Somehow, I don't remember what that was. Was that the box that they had around, that they had to make sure the Visser wouldn't get?
 
Z-space is the alternate universe Andalites used to go faster than light, because it had different physical properties. They tapped into it for morphing, too. Excess mass was extruded into Z-space when you morphed small, and extra mass was pulled from Z-space when you morphed big.
 
Oh! That should work
 
This was explained about halfway through the series, when they started having interstellar adventures as well as Earth-based ones.
 
4:41 AM
I saw someone attempt something similar online to explain Ant-Man
 
No, Ant-Man is just Pym Particles, which do exactly what the plot needs.
 
@BESW I remember those. They needed help because Tobias (I think?) got stuck as a hawk
@BESW I know that's what the movie says, but Pym Particles shouldn't violate conservation of mass (unless they let you borrow/lend money into another universe)
 
Ash
@Shokhet Yep he did
(I own most of the books still)
 
Pym Particles are like Sherlock Holmes being right: they work only because of non-diegetic pressures, within the setting there's not even an attempt to reconcile their contradictions.
 
Ash
@Shokhet I loved that, I miss that with the ebook versions I have
 
4:45 AM
@Ash We took them out from the library as kids. Which partly explains why we mostly didn't read them in order
 
Ash
@Shokhet there was like this book club book order thing my school did so I could sometimes get bunches of them for cheap so I got a lot that way
also thrift stores
 
@Shokhet Those were the days. We'd go to the library every 2 or 3 weeks, whatever the limit on borrowing was, and max out our mother's library card.
 
@Ash The Scholastic book order forms were pretty amazing.
 
Ash
@BESW yessss those
I loved them
 
@Ash I remember the first time I discovered what those little pictures on the bottom of the books actually did. Flipping the pages slowly at first, then more quickly. That was magical :)
@BESW Oh yes! Those were very good too
 
Ash
4:48 AM
@Shokhet Yes! I thought it was such a neat touch
 
The school gave them out
 
Our library didn't get new books very often, so my new books came from the used book store (stocked largely by departing military families) and mail orders like Scholastic and Chinaberry.
From the library I got Willy Ley and Hugh Lofting and Chris Van Allsburg and Arnold Lobel.
 
@Shokhet Anyway, gotta go. Homework calls :/
 
5:42 AM
@Randal'Thor actually, I didn't. Only one of them was :P I'll let you guess which, but no confirmation...
 
5:58 AM
0
Q: Is Jack (in Lord of the Flies) actually 'bad'?

MirteFor my feeling in the Lord of the Flies the real 'evil' was Roger, from the beginning the story shows how he has 'revelations' about how there is no one to stop him bulying and hurting. Jack for my feeling simply goes mad, and the apparent lack of punishment suggests this. Fear, hunger and pride...

 
6:11 AM
0
Q: Can we assume the 'Savages' go unpunished?

MirteIn the end of Lord of the Flies the boys rescuer, the Naval Officer, does not comprehend what is really happening, terming it "all fun and games". Can we assume that the savages, especially Jack and Roger, go totally unpunished? Ralph is there to speak against them,but he is practically the onl...

 
 
2 hours later…
7:44 AM
0
Q: What's the English version of this quote by Exupéry?

user657I need to quote something from Exupéry's The Wisdom of the Sands in an English paper, but I only have a translation at my disposal. The quote should go like this: Do not care about dogma if you can establish faith. For thousands of expositors will be borne who will take care about it. It ...

 
8:04 AM
@Randal'Thor Heya! On and about now :) Happy to talk whenever you're around. Could you start by re-stating your suggestion? (Not the whole proposal, just the bit about italics/quotation marks).
 
 
3 hours later…
10:37 AM
I am back.
 
@Benjamin Hola!
 
@Mithrandir ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?
 
...I don't speak Spanish :P
 
@Mithrandir Oh.
 
:P
I know like four words.
Hola, Si, Gracias, Nadal, No. That's 5.
 
10:44 AM
@Mithrandir Well, I know about four words in Hebrew, and I can't even type them so...
 
;)
למה?
in The Sphinx's Lair, 13 hours ago, by Deusovi
...I'm really tempted to kick Mithrandir
 
@Mithrandir I participated in a friend's bar mitzvah a long time ago.
 
Ah. Can you transliterate them?
 
And I have a large number of Jewish friends who tend to curse and greet me in Hebrew.
@Mithrandir No, I don't think I can.
 
@Benjamin cursing isn't good
 
10:48 AM
@Mithrandir Did I claim it was?
 
0
Q: Is there significance behind the name "Scout" from To Kill A Mockingbird?

BenjaminI am asking this question in response to the response to this question, which was more broadly asking about the significance of the names in To Kill A Mockingbird. However, it was closed as too broad. As I stated there I have not done a significant amount of research because I am not yet finished...

 
@Benjamin nope
 
@Mithrandir They do it in Hebrew because we are in an environment where those near us would be annoyed with true cursing.
 
@Benjamin Please don't make trivial edits.
We've had this before with the "I'm" -> "I am", and now it's adding/removing commas unnecessarily.
 
@Randal'Thor I am adding image descriptions.
@Randal'Thor I was just throwing those in to improve the grammar (this is a true instance of correctness as opposed to preference) as I added the image descriptions.
 
10:56 AM
@Benjamin Yes, those edits are fine. Edits like this and this aren't.
@Benjamin Um, no it isn't. Saying "eventually this happened" is just as valid as saying "eventually, this happened".
 
@Randal'Thor Yes, but in certain circumstances one is more correct than the other. If you would like I can quote from the Chicago Manual of Style.
@Randal'Thor So, if I combine a few of those with something else, it would be fine.
 
@Benjamin If you have a substantial improvement to make to a post, of course that's fine. But editing something mainly to add commas, even if you find some other minor things to change too, would almost certainly come under this:
> This edit fails to make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are [...] completely superfluous
 
@Randal'Thor Well, how do we define "more accurate"?
 
And if it would have been rejected out of hand as a suggested edit, I see no reason not to roll it back as a higher-rep user's edit.
 
1
Q: Are Frog and Toad more than just friends?

BESWThere's no strong support in the text itself, but it's easy enough to read the relationship between Frog and Toad as more sexual than the text admits. Is there any strong extra-textual support, such as interviews with Lobel or comparisons of the text with Lobel's life, for the supposition that Fr...

 
11:03 AM
> Every publisher has a stylebook, and they don't agree. Even in something like "American English," choices about the Oxford (serial) comma, whether to use "further" and "farther" or just "further," and whether to hyphenate "African American," create wide divides in style and grammar. Taken to its logical conclusion, we can't rule any style choice as right or wrong unless we adopt a specific style manual for the whole site.
 
@Randal'Thor In both of the above instances it falls under Chicago Manual of Style 6.24, which suggests the usage of a comma after an adverb, the role being served by "that" and "eventually" in those sentences/
@BESW Well, maybe the solution is to adopt a specific style manual. And there are some things that most manuals of style agree on.
 
I suggest you read the linked post.
Basically the broader network consensus is that posts should be internally consistent, but beyond that style arguments aren't worth having: instead edit for clarity.
 
@Standback Well, I mainly mentioned the bit about italics and quotation marks because it shows that there's a precedent for treating long and short works differently (someone in comments was doubtful over whether that was a sensible line to draw). But it could also be used as a rule of thumb for our own "when to tag" line. [cont]
[cont] Even if there's no single authority on which works take italics and which take quotation marks, we could leave it up to the OP: if you ask a question about a work you consider short enough to put its title in quotation marks, then don't bother giving it a tag.
 
If the post is technically wrong on grammar or syntax according to some particular style guide, but its meaning is still clear, there's no need to change it.
2
(The instant we start forcing people from one place to use another's punctuation for no reason except conformity, we're done as a site that people will be comfortable coming to.)
 
@Benjamin Why would we want to do that? As long as a post is readable and understandable, and in at least some version of "correct" English, why change it?
 
11:09 AM
@Randal'Thor Because it will always be less correct in someone's mind.
 
English is a hot mess, and at least an eighth of its problems come from misguided attempts to standardise it.
4
 
@Benjamin And more correct in someone else's.
This site is meant to be for all of us, not just for people who follow the Chicago Manual of Style.
 
@Randal'Thor But, what about a work that already has a tag, but the OP doesn't think it needs one.
 
I'd suggest Fowler's, myself. He's at least fun to read.
 
@BESW This is unfortunately very true.
 
11:11 AM
@Benjamin If it already has a tag, I guess there's no harm in continuing to use that tag on new questions.
 
Can you wise folks take a look here?
1
A: Please include descriptions of your images

GallifreyanI guess I'll throw my hat in. Here's how I'll be doing it in my answers: Description. The [enter image description here] part serves most of all the author of the post. It eases the indexing of your images, so that when you have to edit replace one, it will be easier to locate it among the lin...

 
@Gallifreyan ALready did
+1
 
I feel like the description part is off, or at least not as others understand it to be.
 
@Randal'Thor I don't care whether you follow the CMOS as long as you can back your language up with some Manual of Style. I also don't solely use the CMOS, I use one from MLA, the ALA, Oxford, Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, and then books like Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.
 
Viewers can't access the description, right? What's it use? And why would @Benjamin flood the active page with his description edits?!
 
11:13 AM
(And, um. Any given style guide worth the paper it's written on knows that it's not a universal formula for Good English in all situations. Code-switching is A Thing. There are different styles and forms and syntaxes for different contexts. A business report uses different forms than a white paper or a EIS.)
 
@Gallifreyan Because it was discussed here and no one had any major objections, as to why, it is helpful for the blind and others who can not access the image.
 
@Benjamin but how is it helpful? How do viewers see or otherwise access the description?
 
Feb 12 at 13:00, by Rand al'Thor
Since this site is new enough not to have a consensus yet, I'll just go ahead and see if anyone complains on meta.
 
@BESW Actually, on this issue, I have to say I am an outlier, I do all of my personal and professional writing in the same formal style, because I enjoy being a grammarian, so I am probably not the best person to talk to if you are looking for the average English speaker.
 
@Gallifreyan Are you familiar with accessibility software?
 
11:17 AM
@Gallifreyan It shows up in the HTML and if the image does not load it will display instead. Do you want to help in the creation of a site that is inaccessible to the blind? Because if so, you and I are trying to create different sites.
 
Screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, Voiceover?
 
@Benjamin I'm not going to look up in all the possible Manuals of Style to justify every writing decision I make. I'm a native English speaker and a hardcore spelling/grammar/punctuation pedant. If you ever find me making a mistake, let me no ;-)
3
 
@BESW I know what it is. Does it use the description part?
 
@Gallifreyan Yes. That's.... kinda what it's there for.
 
@BESW So what should I include there? I'm asking for my answer on meta (see above)
 
11:18 AM
(And if people are starring that just for the last sentence, remember that that doesn't show up on the star-board.)
 
* given that I already provide a transcript after the picture
 
@Gallifreyan From the link provided in the meta question:
26
A: What's the point in adding alt-text to an image?

Yi JiangThe alt (alternative) attribute is used when the image fails to load, or for user agents that can't display images (screen readers, very old mobile browsers, etc.) According to the HTML5 specifications, The most general rule to consider when writing alternative text is the following: the in...

 
Starboard is full with the pins anyway. Can't see any of the regular stars :(
 
> The most general rule to consider when writing alternative text is the following: the intent is that replacing every image with the text of its alt attribute not change the meaning of the page.
 
@Mithrandir You're gonna need a bigger screen.
 
11:20 AM
@Randal'Thor ...And more books. And one more flag on Ask Ubuntu.
I'm adding the books that I find here to my to-find-and-read list :D
 
@Gallifreyan If by "transcript" you mean a kind of caption line after the picture, that's great... but it's not in the markdown for the picture.
 
@Randal'Thor I just found one. Furthermore, I do try and overjustify myself.
 
If you mean the mouseover text... that's still not in the part of the markdown the screen reader expects it to be. The key to accessibility is consistency and predictability across the medium.
 
@BESW thank you, I think I understand now. I'll edit my answer(s).
 
There are accessibility standards, and inventing our own new ways of doing things just makes the screen reader confused.
(One of my side jobs is teaching the visually impaired how to use common programs through a screen reader interface.)
If you want the technical side of things, ask @doppelgreener.
 
11:25 AM
@Randal'Thor isn't this the quintessential example of a standard thanks comment that get deleted as not constructive?
 
@BESW I have wanted to do this,but where I live they have a wait list to volunteer for such activities.
 
@Mithrandir I sometimes leave such comments, wait long enough for the OP to see them, and then delete them. Gone.
 
And another helpful flag for me :P
 
@Randal'Thor I hear you saying two things here:
1. "Is it reasonable to draw a line between short fiction and long fiction? YES -- as precedent, consider the common convention of using one format for titles of short fiction, and another for titles of long fiction."
2. "How do I know whether a piece is short or long, for the purposes of tagging guidelines? ANSWER: Rule of thumb -- if you'd use italics for its title, it's long; if you'd use quotation marks, it's short." (Hypothetically, instead of "you'd use," we could refer to some external source to see which it is. But probably not.)
Did I get that right?
(I may be ducking in and out; middle of the work day. My apologies.)
 
@Standback Yes, absolutely. 1) is important enough that I might edit it into the question, but 2) is just a suggestion and probably not important enough to edit in and risk downvotes on that being read as downvotes on the whole proposal.
 
11:37 AM
Okay, so there's this problem I've run into a few times now. Is it really reasonable to need to explain that a religious work is religious, or that a gay author is gay? It feels like needing to mention that an author is female if I'm asking about her depiction of women. It's basic stuff that any expert should know, but I'll get downvotes if I don't explain my questions so non-experts can understand 'em.
On RPG.SE there's an equivalent action: asking for copy-pasted swathes of rules so that people who don't have the manual can answer the question. We learnt fast not to do that, because it gives people the illusion they can answer the question without having the context that comes from knowing the whole system.
 
@Randal'Thor So, I just see "Is it reasonable to draw a line between short fiction and long fiction?" as something that's absolutely self-evident.
Like "Is it reasonable to draw a line between a novel and a graphic novel." And like you'd go, "Oh, yes, there's precedent for differentiating there! Graphic novels often credit an 'inker'."
 
> asked 2 days ago

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...o_O Power of the HNQ.
 
@Mithrandir I don't even think we had anything like this on SFF lately. And the OP beat you to the first gold badge :P
 
@BESW I think that if one is skilled enough at researching relevant info, it is possible to answer questions here without being an expert in the subject material or even having any prior knowledge of it. Personally, when writing questions here or on SFF, I often put a short introductory section with some info about the work, so that even people who've never heard of it can have some idea what the question is about. You can see this in my question, for instance.
 
@Gallifreyan :( I need 3 votes on that answer still... :P
 
11:45 AM
@Randal'Thor Granted. But that's different from expecting questions to do your research for you.
 
@Standback Right, but a couple of the previous commenters seemed more sceptical, and worried that trying to draw a line would just lead to fights over what counts as on one side or the other of that line.
 
If you didn't provide that introductory section, should you be downvoted for it?
 
@BESW Regarding the impact on screen readers, we have two pieces of information we can define: the alt text and the title attribute (the tooltip text). The alt text is ![defined here where you put the image in the body][1], the title attribute is defined [1]: http://example.com/image.jpg "here when you define the URL reference".
The first one matters to screen readers & machines the most, and screen readers ignore tooltips so the second part doesn't matter for accessibility.
 
@doppelgreener Do you think my answer is ok now?
 
@Mithrandir If someone un-upvoted because of that, let it be known that I was kidding... As usual...
 
11:49 AM
@Gallifreyan I need to give it a check over again -- I read "this part is what readers will be interested in" and thought you meant screen readers at first, so left my comment, then realised you might just mean ordinary human readers and so deleted it.
 
@BESW IMO, no. But not providing it will very likely lead to fewer upvotes if not more downvotes, simply because fewer people will understand your question well enough to vote on it.
 
@Randal'Thor I don't know. I'm bewildered by that. Short stories are a form. Poetry is a form. There can be edge-cases (there always are), but that's no reason to deny the distinction entirely.
 
There might even be people who downvote because "huh? dunno what this guy is on about. -1" :-/ We can't tell people how to use their votes.
 
@Gallifreyan Yes, the accessibility advice in that answer is very good.
 
@Standback Totally agreed. But some people don't like to recognise distinctions unless they can draw a hard line.
(afk for a bit)
 
11:53 AM
"@Randal'Thor "Short stories are often anthologized, novels aren't" :P
 
@Standback Almost every Vorkosigan novel Bujold has written has been anthologised.
 
@BESW like that one time someone set out deciding there was going to be a correct spelling for each word and then defined the correct spellings inconsistently and based on primitive etymological methods but it stuck anyway
 
@Standback you here to delete something?
 
@Mithrandir it's gone! boom
 
@Mithrandir Thanks. Spam-flagged.
@BESW Serialized, or anthologized?
"Collected short stories are called an anthology; collected novels are called an omnibus edition."
 
12:01 PM
@Standback Each book published individually as it first comes out; then later collected into many volumes of two or three books each.
I don't know what you're quoting.
In my world, an omnibus is a particular kind of anthology.
 
I'm just saying that the specific italics vs. quotemarks distinction just seems to be picking an oddly specific, awfully tangential differentiation. That's all :)
 
@doppelgreener @BESW what to write in the image description? E.g. in my answer on Dr. Manhattan. I'm already providing transcripts, what would I include in the description to make it most useful?
 
I still don't know what you mean by transcripts in this context.
 
@BESW Everything that the character says on the page
 
You mention it as a possible use for the title attribute.
In this context, where it is is the undefined question.
Is it the title attribute? Is it text that comes after the picture but isn't associated with the picture's markdown?
 
12:10 PM
@BESW see updated answer. Transcripts are the things in blockquotes (I'm still working on them)
 
Then I will wait for you to be done while I work on my own writing.
@Standback Is "coded gay" too ambiguous or jargonistic?
 
@Gallifreyan "Comic panels of John musing over an old photo. Transcript of John's thoughts immediately below."
(or, uh, Jon*)
 
12:28 PM
 
@Gallifreyan that makes me crack up, thanks. :D
 
@Standback Fair enough. So maybe I'll scrap 2) and just say 1) (by your numbering).
 
@Gallifreyan the idea is to bundle up whatever meaning the image has. let's say you had a blind friend or loved one sitting beside you: what would you describe to them if you were reading the page to them? say that.
 
12:52 PM
@Gallifreyan Oh, man that is wonderful and the comments
 
1:42 PM
@BESW That's much much clearer to me. Thanks :)
 
@Gallifreyan that may be on of my favorite edit proposals I've seen
 
Phew, finally finished adapting my answer according to this meta. @doppelgreener @BESW is that good enough?
 
@BESW I think "coded gay" works better for me because, even if there's some ambiguity over whether a particular detail is "coding" or not, you can argue that, and justify your argument.
Whereas I'd hate to see people arguing whether taking care of a guy who won't get out of bed "is or isn't gay," or "does or does not signify a sexual relationship."
 
It's exactly what I was asking all along--just using jargon I originally avoided because I expected to get pushback on it.
 
...of course, this might just be me splitting hairs to death :-)
@BESW hmmm. You see "coded gay" as, what, more inflammatory?
It seems to me so much more precise.
 
1:54 PM
It's slightly more neutral than the often-derogatory "coded queer," and I don't expect the lit.se community (which is still having trouble with concepts like close reading) to be familiar with it.
 
@BESW Aim high, is my philosophy :-)
Is "coded gay" seen as derogatory?
 
Last time I aimed high, I got downvoted into negatives for assuming asking about a religious text's re-translation wouldn't require explaining why a re-translation is worth asking about.
2
 
:-/
I think establishing context is going to be a thing. Your questions are going to be read by a whole lot more non-experts than experts.
But imho that means backing things up, not dumbing things down.
 
Clarity edits, sure, I'm down for that. I know I don't write questions really well the first time and I need to workshop them.
But I'm getting a little frustrated with users who are totally unfamiliar with the material complaining that I should explain it to them. Does SFF.SE expect plot summaries in the questions, or RPG.SE expect questions to explain a game system beyond quoting what's specifically confusing?
That's not expecting clarity, that's a community developing bad voting habits.
If I don't know anything about a work, I'm not likely to know if a question about it is clear or too opinion-based or whatever.
 
Well, they (and I) will have a hard time telling the difference between asinine questions on kid's lit, and really good ones, if there's no backup for it.
 
2:03 PM
mornin
 
I mean, I know Frog and Toad plenty well -- but didn't know the author was gay.
 
@BESW (coming in the middle of a conversation; forgive me if this has been covered before) @BESW, can you take a look at the alt texts that I and others have been adding to check that they are in the best possible form?
 
It's the middle of the night and I'm going to bed.
ttfn
 
I have a friend that uses a refreshable Braille interface, but I don't know how websites and alt text show up for him, or what he expects to read
@BESW Gnite! See you around
 
@BESW You're kind of aiming for a very precise level of expertise, for readers who know enough to say "yes, that's a good question," but NOT a level of expertise that assumes the answer (or the essentials of the issues) is well-known.
@BESW g'night!
 
2:07 PM
@doppelgreener Good to know. Thank you for that information.
 
@Gallifreyan It's very good. I'd say 'Salvador Dali's "Time" painting' over 'Dali's "Time"' to be more clear; I can confirm my guess about what you mean by looking at the picture but a blind person can't.
 
I guess it's a question of "This post looks poor; is that because I don't know enough, or because OP doesn't?"
 
@doppelgreener Something I've seen something wondered about: should the alt text include the words "A picture showing" or similar? Or do screen readers automatically include that information, so including that is superfluous and possibly confusing?
 
@Shokhet Screen readers will read out "Image: (whatever you use for its alt text)"
2
 
@doppelgreener Okay. Thank you!
 
2:11 PM
@Shokhet You're most welcome.
 
@doppelgreener fixed now.
 
@Gallifreyan Good stuff. Thanks. :)
 
@Standback Mmm. You got my back up with the first comment by repeatedly misrepresenting me (I never said "really" or "real") and then using that to draw false comparisons to an extreme example that would get righteously closed for other reasons.
 
@Shokhet Wow, the English skillz apparent in that post. I'm still pre-coffee, though, so it's excusable :p
 
@Shokhet What OS do you use?
 
2:24 PM
@BESW Windows 10
Why?
 
Every major operating system, desktop and mobile, has an inbuilt screen reader as part of its accessibility suite.
Windows' is called Narrator, Mac's is called Voiceover.
 
Ah. That's clever. I should have thought of that
 
There are also browser-based screen readers, extensions and full apps, free and paid.
 
FYI, Chrome has its own screen reader called ChromeVox. Other screen readers do not generally support Chrome or play nicely with it; screen readers support Firefox and IE/Edge very well and Chrome basically not at all. Chrome's in an accessibility catch 22: it's historically had poor screen reader support, so nobody with a screen reader uses it, so they haven't worried about adding screen reader support.
So you could use ChromeVox to check out how screen readers read stuff in Chrome, and Windows Narrator to read stuff in Firefox or IE or Edge.
 
2:47 PM
@BESW My apologies for that. I try to avoid snarking, but I'm not 100% at it. I hope it's clear by this point I wasn't just trying to heckle :)
I know we're just figuring the site out (definitely myself included), and this in particular can be a tricky subject to start discussions over.
And, I really did need the more precise definition. Without it, it just felt like "Here's something that may or may not be true, which is it." I'm glad we talked it out :)
 
 
2 hours later…
4:41 PM
Has anyone here besides @Emrakul read The Federalist Papers, by any chance?
 
5:12 PM
@HDE226868 nope
 
 
1 hour later…
user61230
6:39 PM
@HDE226868 (I do not actually recommend this.)
 
@Emrakul I'm not reading them all, merely certain selected essays.
 
user61230
@HDE226868 Oh, yeah, that's probably worthwhile, then.
 
7:40 PM
0
Q: What is "a Tiger"?

B. Clay ShannonI know about the big stripey cat, but what is "a tiger" in this context: "finishing up with cheers and a tiger for "Hadleyburg purity and our eighteen immortal representatives of it."" (from "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" by Mark Twain) I've seen it in other of his writings, and those by ...

 
8:39 PM
@MatrimCauthon What was your think here? literature.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/1112
 
@muru I still do that. But I guess with the traffic we have now it gets lost in the mass
 
@Gilles imho the active questions page is useless for anything other than seeing what's been edited recently
otherwise, there's a button to see everything's that new
 
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