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Someone's setting pointless and/or bogus Canonical Titles

Common Knowledge, WikiThing, HelpThing

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1r.orrison
May 24, 2012, 3:55pm Top

http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/changelog.php?user=1383960&uid=4...

I don't think they understand what they're doing. As an example, they set the Canonical Title for Dr. Axelrod's Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes to "Axelrod's ATLAS". Often they set the Canonical Title to just what the title would have been anyway. They have comments turned off on their profile. Am I overreacting, or do we need to request an intervention by staff?

2MarthaJeanne
May 24, 2012, 4:02pm Top

I've seen a lot of similar stuff recently. The member namses were different from this case. I was wondering if there shouldn't be something that shows when you open canonical title (and author name) that says something like: Most works (authors) should not have a canonical title (name). Are you sure this is really needed?

3brightcopy
May 24, 2012, 4:07pm Top

Definitely request intervention from staff when someone who has their profile comments turned off is entering erroneous CK information. Everyone is free to do with their catalog what they want. CK is different.

4AnnieMod
May 24, 2012, 4:28pm Top

They may not realize that they are entering CK and influence how other people see these books.

5r.orrison
May 24, 2012, 4:38pm Top

I've asked Jeremy to look at this thread.

6r.orrison
Edited: May 24, 2012, 4:40pm Top

They just set the title of The Brothers Karamozov to "Dostoevsky". (http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/changelog.php?item=7856&type=1&a...) I think it's clear that they don't understand what they're doing.

7jbd1
May 24, 2012, 4:50pm Top

Thanks. I've contacted the member directly, pointing them to this thread and the CK help page for those fields.

8r.orrison
May 24, 2012, 5:01pm Top

Thanks!

9r.orrison
May 24, 2012, 5:15pm Top

I've added a bit to the CK help page pointing out how to edit your own book.

10brightcopy
May 24, 2012, 5:18pm Top

Sometimes I wish the CK fields showed up in the catalog as read-only and users had to read a help screen that tells them to go into their settings to turn on an option to let them edit them. Would serve as a bit of a gatekeeper.

Not trying to be critical of the people who make this mistake. I think it's VERY easy not to realize that some part of your catalog is private and some part is shared.

11r.orrison
Edited: May 24, 2012, 5:26pm Top

That user is now setting the Canonical Title on works that have only one private member. For example, http://www.librarything.com/work/12612175 has one edition titled "The brothers Karamozov" but they've set the Canonical Title to "Dostoevsky". Not a problem, until that work gets combined with the main Brothers Karamozov work and their Canonical Title takes over.

I think they should be editing their own book, but haven't found the Edit Book page.

Another example: http://www.librarything.com/work/12612194/editions has editions named "Moby-Dick; or, The whale" but they've set the Canonical Title to "Melville".

Since it's a private library, it's not possible to see what source they're using, but they may be better off using manual entry so that it's entered the way they want it in the first place.

12brightcopy
May 24, 2012, 5:31pm Top

#11 by r.orrison> Bleh. That's a disaster.

13rsterling
May 24, 2012, 5:34pm Top

There was a case not long ago where someone else was repeatedly messing up CK entries on multiple works. Tim actually blocked the person from editing and put a banner at the top of the page for that person, explaining why, and asking the person to contact him before editing would be reinstated.

This current person is editing CK on a lot of books that need to be combined into the main work, which means it's going to mess up the CK for those main works when they're combined (or that people are going to have to painstakingly remove this CK before or after combining).

Blocking editing seems like a good solution in this case too.

14rsterling
May 24, 2012, 5:42pm Top

That user is now setting the Canonical Title on works that have only one private member

And also books that have many members:
http://www.librarything.com/work/44929

15brightcopy
May 24, 2012, 5:47pm Top

Blocking editing, combined with a rollback of all canonical title CK entered.

And perhaps any other CK. I don't really trust them to be putting in information for things like OPD other than specific to their copy.

16eromsted
May 24, 2012, 6:06pm Top

>13 rsterling:&14

The recent set are probably from the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series and the user seems to be entering the text from the spine.

>15 brightcopy:
Unless there's a response to jbd's message, yes.

17rsterling
May 24, 2012, 6:13pm Top

The recent set are probably from the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series and the user seems to be entering the text from the spine.
Yes, I think you're right.

18eromsted
May 25, 2012, 9:34am Top

This user seems to have gotten the message, but now has switched to using alternate title. This is better as alternate title doesn't have the impact of canonical title. But it still strikes me as wrong.

19cpg
May 25, 2012, 9:53am Top

>2 MarthaJeanne: "Most works (authors) should not have a canonical title (name)."

The official instructions for the Canonical Title field currently read: "Authoritative title for a work in the language of the site you are on". Those official instructions should be changed if most works should not have a canonical title, since most works do have an authoritative title in a given language.

20jjwilson61
Edited: May 25, 2012, 9:57am Top

Something like "...if that title is different than the one the system calculates automatically" should be appended.

21brightcopy
Edited: May 25, 2012, 10:55am Top

#19 by cpg> Yeah, that's what Canonical Title is. But as it says in the detailed help link for CK right above the CK section says:
To get this common form, LibraryThing chooses the "democratic" answer--the title or name that is used the most on the site. The "Canonical title" and "Canonical name" fields are there for when this falters.


There's only so much they can put in a reminder hint.

22cpg
May 25, 2012, 11:54am Top

>19 cpg:

1) If what I call the "official instruction" is only a "reminder hint", where did CK users ostensibly originally obtain the information of which they are being reminded?

2) The current official instruction may be wrong but it's not ambiguous. Thus, a typical user would feel no need to consult the help page.

3) Anyone at all can change the contents of the help page, so the help page does not, in general, deserve to be viewed as authoritative. (Tim was the one who wrote this particular section of the help page, but you can only discover that by browsing through the history.)

With the instructions the way they currently are, it is hardly surprising that people are entering authoritative titles into this field.

23benuathanasia
May 25, 2012, 12:34pm Top

When I change CK data, I get a pop-up that says that I'm editing information "shared" by all LibraryThing users. This "shared" is what confused me when I first started contributing; the way it's written, to me, implies that I'm adding information, not overwriting or changing information.

Perhaps if the warning message said something along the lines of "editing this information changes the information for all LibraryThing users" someone editing CK info might have a better idea of the breadth of their actions.

24brightcopy
May 25, 2012, 4:38pm Top

22> I choose the word "reminder", not LT. So just ignore it. Think of it add just a hint.

And should it be longer and fully explain not only what goes there but when you should use it and when you shouldn't? Maybe. But the sad truth is the longer you make it, the less likely people are to read it.

So I'd rather it be short, people read it, and possibly have people enter unnecessary but correct information rather than it be longer, ignored and people enter plainly wrong data.

25r.orrison
Edited: May 25, 2012, 5:09pm Top

#22 by cpg>
1) If what I call the "official instruction" is only a "reminder hint", where did CK users ostensibly originally obtain the information of which they are being reminded?

From LibraryThing blog entries, the initial text of the wiki page written by staff, and subsequent discussions in this and other groups involving staff and community consensus. That can't all fit into the typical one-liner that appears under each CK field.

3) Anyone at all can change the contents of the help page, so the help page does not, in general, deserve to be viewed as authoritative

For further documentation the CK sections of the work and author pages link to the official Common Knowledge help page, which is the wiki page. It is those links to the CK help page that make it authoritative. If LibraryThing developers didn't support what was written there, they wouldn't have linked to it. (Actually, the link probably came first -- they want the specification of usage to be community defined.)

26Noisy
May 26, 2012, 11:37am Top

There are still hundreds left to undo ...

27fdholt
May 26, 2012, 1:55pm Top

Oh crud! Just what we need - having to fix canonical and other titles before combining the strays that this member has put into the system. Well, it does mean permanent job security for all of us!

28jbd1
May 26, 2012, 2:04pm Top

Tim needed to finish off the covers-issue before we dealt with this, but we should be able to do some admin-things to roll back these edits, I think. Sorry for the delay.

29benuathanasia
May 26, 2012, 2:18pm Top

Holy crepe suzette!
I just looked at what everyone is talking about, has an admin tried contacting them or freezing their ability to do anything?

30brightcopy
May 26, 2012, 2:26pm Top

Yes and no. See above posts.

31_Zoe_
May 26, 2012, 2:55pm Top

I don't think people with profile comments disabled should be allowed to edit CK more generally. If they don't want to interact with the community, they shouldn't be able to change community data.

32benuathanasia
May 26, 2012, 3:15pm Top

30) I see that someone told them to check out this thread, but they were still changing stuff even after being directed here. Wouldn't it have been easier to freeze them and then make sure they understand the issue before being allowed to mess stuff up more?

31) I agree 100%. Same should go for discussion boards. If you just want to live in isolation, don't mess around with anything that is for interaction and collaboration.

33cpg
May 26, 2012, 3:17pm Top

>25 r.orrison: "If LibraryThing developers didn't support what was written there, they wouldn't have linked to it."

But they linked to it before much of its content was written. And then they said that "The first rule of HelpThing is 'be bold!'" So if I boldly edit the page to reflect my views, do my views become authoritative?

34jbd1
May 26, 2012, 3:28pm Top

>32 benuathanasia: - Yes, but Tim (the only one at the moment who can freeze access, &c.), was working very hard to fix the covers bug when all this was going on, and couldn't break away to deal with this particular issue. I did what I could in contacting the member, and kept an eye on the situation all evening and since. We'll take additional steps as needed.

35r.orrison
May 26, 2012, 3:49pm Top

#33 by cpg> So if I boldly edit the page to reflect my views, do my views become authoritative?

If your views also reflect the views of most other people, then go for it. If you find that many people disagree with you, then you shouldn't try to impose your view by editing the wiki. If there's something in there that you disagree with, bring it up in the relevant forum and see what others think.

If you want to contribute to the wiki, stick around, listen to discussions, and when it appears that a consensus has been reached, add that to the page. That's how most of what's there now got there.

If someone were to consistently abuse the help system by entering misleading or inaccurate information -- well, observe what people are calling for on this thread when a user has been doing that to the CK.

36cpg
Edited: May 26, 2012, 3:55pm Top

>35 r.orrison: Is that a "yes" or a "no"?

Vote: If I boldly edit the HelpThing page to reflect my views, do my views become authoritative?

Current tally: Yes 1, No 20, Undecided 1

37r.orrison
May 26, 2012, 3:57pm Top

#36 by cpg>
It's a yes if your views match the consensus of the group, and a no if you disagree with everyone else and just want to impose your own dissenting view.

38cpg
Edited: May 26, 2012, 4:01pm Top

>37 r.orrison: "It's a yes if your views match the consensus of the group"

Where's the boldness in that?

"no if you disagree with everyone else"

So a CK user can't be certain that everything written on the HelpThing page is authoritative?

39brightcopy
Edited: May 26, 2012, 4:09pm Top

This isn't really as complicated as you're trying to make out.

40cpg
Edited: May 26, 2012, 4:15pm Top

>39 brightcopy:

I'm not trying to make things complicated. I think the answer to the poll question is simple: No.

41r.orrison
May 26, 2012, 4:15pm Top

HelpThing in general is authoritative, but not everything written there is necessarily accurate. (That's true for all product documetation, even printed manuals that are published by the manufacturer.)

There is perhaps more scope for inaccuracy, because individuals can edit it, but there's also the same scope for corrections to be made. If a specific individual repeatedly and intentionally introduces inaccuracies, then I suspect staff would have a way to deal with them.

We've gotten way off topic for this thread. You could probably start a separate one if you wanted, but I don't really see the point. I get the feeling that you're being argumentative just for the sake of it.

42cpg
Edited: May 26, 2012, 4:20pm Top

>41 r.orrison: "HelpThing in general is authoritative, but not everything written there is necessarily accurate."

Is everything written there necessarily *authoritative*?

"I get the feeling that you're being argumentative just for the sake of it."

I won't impute motives to you if you don't impute motives to me. Is it a deal?

43jbd1
May 26, 2012, 4:22pm Top

>41 r.orrison: Agreed, and thanks.

Just because someone posts something in HelpThing doesn't make it so. If it's out of whack with common LT practice/understanding/&c., people are going to change it back.

44cpg
Edited: May 26, 2012, 4:27pm Top

>43 jbd1: "Just because someone posts something in HelpThing doesn't make it so."

Now *that* sounds authoritative!

45jjwilson61
May 26, 2012, 4:47pm Top

42> You could try to impose your views in the help wiki, but someone will be along shortly to change it back to the consensus. So, if you change it, does that make your views authoritative. No. However, you can count on it being authoritative most of the time.

46brightcopy
May 26, 2012, 6:03pm Top

So, cpg, apart from the sideshow about the wiki, do you believe what we've told you about only setting Canoical Title when the system fails? Or should we have a member of LT staff repeat it so you can consider it authoritative?

47benuathanasia
May 26, 2012, 8:21pm Top

34 - Sounds like Tim should delegate a little bit more. If he gave capabilities like that to trusted staff (like yourself) he would be able to devote more of his time to more important stuff (like the cover issues) and have other people worry about infractions and other paltry policing things like this that are, for all intents and purposes, minor, yet very annoying (like mosquitoes).

48jbd1
May 26, 2012, 8:49pm Top

>47 benuathanasia: - It's not a matter of delegation, it's just that he hadn't shown me how to do it. It's hardly something we need to do very often. Once he does, I'm sure I'll have it handy if I need it.

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