This is a post by proxy for Gerhard Paseman. Please see the relevant meta.MO discussion.
questions on math.stackexchange Posting policy and Interface issue
I thank the poster in advance for posting this on my behalf; somehow the meta "Ask Question" interface will not let me submit a question.
I have two questions:
Will the policy on signatures be revised?
Where is the delete button for an answer?
I include most of a short correspondence below. Following it is a short discussion.
I am contributing answers to math.stackexchange.com. In order to justify the time spent on this, I add a signature to most of the contributions I make. This signature serves several purposes for me. Two of them are:
- For the items I want to search, I can use the signature to help select those that are my contribution. The date I put helps me place the post in a proper context for me.
- For the audience I want to reach, I want to encourage them to talk to me regarding system design.
The resources that the signature takes are small compared to the resources taken by the rest of the answer.
I read the no signature policy on the site, and decided that I would attempt to contribute anyway, especially since the site was in beta and with the hope that the policy would be modified.
Now the issue is being mentioned, and in particular, at least one of my contributions is being edited to remove the signature. I want a brief discussion before I take one of two actions:
- rollback the edit to restore the signature
- delete the answer to remove the signature and the contribution. (Question: where is the delete button for an answer anyway?)
If the signature policy is to be enforced, then I prefer to withdraw myself and my contributions from math.stackexchange. If the policy is modified to accommodate me, then I am willing to consider modifying the signature to give it a smaller footprint.
I would like a response from one of the moderators of the math.stackexchange site. If this policy is applied to all stackexchange sites, then I suggest it be modified to limit signatures to a small footprint.
I await your reply.
Gerhard Paseman, 2010.08.11
The network policy is, no signatures please, for the reasons defined in the /faq on every site -- http://math.stackexchange.com/faq
Can I use a signature or tagline?
Please don't use signatures or taglines in your posts. Every post you make is already "signed" with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page. Your user page belongs to you — fill it with interesting information about your interests, links to cool stuff you've worked on, or whatever else you like!
You can and definitely should open this as a question on http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/ to see if the moderators agree. It is theoretically up to THAT community to decide what they want and don't want. But, if they allow an exception for you, they must allow an exception for everyone... and that to me is the crux of the issue.
I personally think it's a bad idea to allow exceptions on signatures, since the overall increase in noise is damaging to the community in a very "broken windows" way.
But as I said, it is not for me to decide.. this is something for you in the math community to hash out yourselves as "state's rights" override the "national rules" in general.
Regarding the issue of signatures, I understand the point about having excess bytes that may be considered noise by others. If the bytes served no purpose to me, I would agree. And if the tag served the purposes that I wanted, I would use the tag instead. The tag does not serve the purposes I want, the signature does, and the demonstrated (to me) negative impact of the signature is zero. I suggest the signature policy be modified so that signatures of small footprint are allowed. Mine takes up less than 60 bytes; how many bytes/pixels does the tag take up? There is also the indexing issue, which the tag does not properly address.
Regarding the user interface, I ask for help: where is the delete button for a user to delete his own answer?
I am also disappointed that the answers were edited to remove my signature AFTER I invited discussion and before I received a reply regarding the discussion. I am willing to overlook this as unfortunate timing if a proper response to this question is made.
Finally, a request for the moderator. Depending on how the signature policy for math.stackexchange is upheld/modified, please either rollback all of the edits made to remove the signature, or else remove all of the answers/comments containing them. I would prefer they be rolled back now until a final ruling is made.
I am willing to give more arguments to justify the presence of signatures, as well as craft an appropriate policy for them. I am also willing (but not eager) to have my contributions to this forum removed. I want a good resolution to this issue for both me and the forming community.
Gerhard "Ask Me About System Design" Paseman, 2010.08.11
End of proxy message.