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The current working policy on CocoaDev is to remain anonymous when having discussions, keeping pages unencumbered by identity. However, as soon as a page develops an argument, identity is already involved. Following an argument is much harder when one has to struggle to determine who is arguing what, as it is nearly impossible to follow points of contention, who has been convinced by what, et cetera.

Therefore, if you disagree with something on a page, sign your posts, including any comments you may have made earlier in the discussion. This also applies if someone disagrees with something you wrote and you wish to continue the argument. If necessary, you may use a (consistent) pseudonym for the course of the discussion. You shouldn’t need to be shy about openly voicing your opinion, however.

To assist the reader visually, the \%\%REPLY\%\% tag should also be added before each post to emphasise where individual comments start and end, and discussions about different points of contention should be untangled then separated with the \%\%LINE\%\% tag.

Finally, this site operates as an inclusive community. One voice must not be dismissed simply because the majority disagrees. Hence there is no motivation for sock-puppetry. Please do not pretend to be different people in an argument.

The above text is a draft by moi. I’m tired of struggling to follow arguments, scouring through the history to try and determine which bits of text are by the same people. Anonymous advice is fine; anonymous dissent is not. Even pseudonyms are an improvement. – KritTer

We should push a policy to Sign all discussion edits, it would probably bring lots of good. Even if you use a pseudonym, you think over if it’s worth it before you post; now you may think you can say anything since nobody knows who it is. I think this could bring us back to normal here. –EnglaBenny

People post anonymously to argument pages because they don’t want to be dragged through the muck for their beliefs. You know some in this community will do just that. Google the wiki for terms like “tell us the name of your applications so we can avoid them in the future”, or “if you feel that way about your users, then why don’t you tell us your name.” Who in their right mind would say, “Oh, okay …” to someone obviously trying to start trouble? - Signed, Anonymous1234.

If you don’t want to post on a page with your real name, post with a pseudonym. It doesn’t have to be a site-wide pseudonym, just consistent for the course of the discussion at hand. For this discussion, for instance, I am quite happy if you sign “Anonymous”, as long as that is a unique identifier on this page, and you keep using it. – KritTer

You make a valid point and I cede, though if more than one ‘Anonymous’ posts, it could get confusing. Therefore, I’ve changed in kind. - Anonymous1234

Incidentally, I’ve briefly searched the wiki (google:”your name”, google:”your users”, internal search:”your users”), and cannot find the kind of post you complain about. SoftwareSerializationPiracyDiscussion comes close, though :(

I appreciate that signing with anything connected to your real name is occasionally imprudent. However, there is an (in my opinion) excessive backlash of refusing to sign anything, making it harder to build up a community of trust. I hope we can collectively get around that sometime soon, though I am completely against forcing anyone to it. – KritTer

SoftwareSerializationPiracyDiscussion was one of the discussions, yes. - Anonymous1234

A decent solution to a common problem. Will do. – 4321suomynonA

… I don’t recall saying that backwards! - Anonymous1234

4321suomynonA - !sdrawkcab taht gniyas llacer t’nod I … :-)

“!ho’D” - Anonymous1234 … or 4321 … can’t remember which any more …

I’ve added the new \%\%REPLY\%\% tag to the CocoaDev engine to help make long arguments more legible, easier to rewrite and extract value from, and involve less gratuitous italics/bold. It doesn’t look perfect just yet, so if someone with great CSS skill wants to have a tinker, be my guest. In the meantime, please use the tag the way it’s intended (even though you may think it looks better e.g. doubled, with separating \%\%LINE\%\% tags, et cetera). – KritTer

I’m not sure I like the use of the “REPLY” tag … it is confusing as hell (visually speaking) and I see no indication of what is a reply to what. Can we either improve it or not use it? – anon

Each post is a reply to the discussion above it; the only problem therefore is how to let people easily spot where one post ends and the next begins. The formatting I chose comes from an ad-hoc solution to this problem on another site: it works, but it sure ain’t pretty! So, yes, I’d love to improve it, but I wanted to get the ball rolling with this first attempt, and get the markup fixed for people to start using. – KritTer

(Shuddering at typing those characters) … But do we really want to turn this into a forum-looking place? This definitely is not a ‘forum’ with threaded discussions and what do we do when two or three people are replying to the same post? Many don’t even bother changing their formatting (into bold or italic) to set their reply apart from the original, so using reply and lines correctly is probably not going to happen either, which will only result in an inconsistent mess, IMO. Sorry, in its present state, I have to vote against it most vehemently. It’s very confusing. Your use above is marking every other paragraph as reply … but the case immediately above is a reply to a reply to a reply to a reply ………. I honestly see nothing gained and a little clarity lost by the use of the reply tag. - Anonymous1234

Based on popular usage, it is a forum. I agree that was not the initial intent of a wiki, but that is it’s common use here. It’s also used that way in many private installations that I’m familiar with. Most software projects in my company (both internal and with clients) install a related wiki exclusively for project team use. Both discussion and information get catalogued.

So rather that trying to stem the rising tide, I agree with KritTer - let’s find a solution. I do not find the current visual representation of a \%\%REPLY\%\% to be confusing, but I’m all for a better visual organization if you have one. –TimHart

A wiki is most emphatically not capable of supporting threaded discussion. Nor are people, usually. So nested replies are not a helpful thing to support.

Yes, every other paragraph is marked as a reply. In fact, every reply is marked as a reply. It’s just to separate posts. Think of an IRC discussion, if you like. I see that the alternating indent may mislead you about that, though.

We can always add the reply tag to people’s responses if an argument breaks out. – KritTer

This new REPLY thing doesn’t help me follow the discussion at all. If it’s “just to separate posts” then lets just add lines - one less tag to remember and it separates better than this new thing does. Though I do appreciate the effort I think this is being over-engineered. – 4321suomynonA

Lines should separate topics, not posts. Why over-engineered, by the way? It’s four lines of code and two of CSS - hardly a behemoth of excess ;) – KritTer

Not bad at all. If now just some people keep injecting this into ongoing discussions, it will catch on. –EnglaBenny

Lines can separate either; theory vs. practice. Whether you use the line tag or an empty line…whatever.. Signing every post (pseudonym or not) is more natural and fixes the issue (follow-ability) more elegantly, IMO. The reply tag may not be over-engineered technically but all it seems to add is complexity. I fear we’ll end up dealing with more inconsistency on this site (old pages won’t be updated, new users won’t use the tag, etc.) instead of working together to produce good software. – 4321suomynonA

The problem is that people don’t just write one paragraph per reply, making things really hard to follow. The problem is not that old pages may not use the new graphical whizzy-bang. It’s certainly not that people may not use the tag, since that’s why pages are editable. – KritTer

This last is a good point. I think it beats the chaotic kind of font-changing that people sometimes put themselves through to try to keep a conversation sensible. – Masked and Anonymous, now trying to be helpful

You’re probably right. Even if I can’t remember the last time I was truly confused by this problem it won’t kill me to play along. – 4321suomynonA

Your enthusiasm is overwhelming ;) – KritTer

Just a quick note to make sure you note the difference between Anonymous1234 and Anonymous4321 …

Perhaps one or the other could use a different pseudonym? (Or even a homepage?) – KritTer

My bad, I was 4321A and switched to A4321 at some point. Confused yet? – RyanStevens

Just want to say I like the REPLY tag a lot. First time I saw it, I found it very helpful to see the structure of the discussion, and it definitely adds some structure to just the LINE tag. –CharlesParnot (or whoever is using that name to sign…)

it makes me think of Mail’s and Eudora’s quote bars. maybe something like that instead?

%%BEGINQUOTE%% something said by somebody else %%ENDQUOTE%%

my reply.


That would needlessly inflate the amount of text on the page. Emails only do that because messages aren’t concatenated to the prior discussion; in a wiki, concatenation is the default. If the default REPLY styling of alternating-indent-with-bars looks wrong to you, please, by all means create a simple HTML/CSS prototype of a better layout! If enough people like it, I’ll alter the engine to format all REPLY-using pages that way. – KritTer

I’ve worked out an alternative way of formatting REPLY blocks that I personally rather like.

If you’re inspired to try rolling your own variant, the priorities are: * Text must still be easily readable, and links must still be obvious * Horizontal rules must look more prominent than the separation between REPLY blocks

If you make one you like but haven’t got a server to share it on, email it to me at and I’ll pop it up for you. – KritTer

Makes it stand out. However, I had another idea. What if instead of using lines to separate what usually are separate discussions, we use a \%\%BEGINDISCUSSION\%\% and \%\%ENDDISCUSSION\%\% tags, and then each “discussion” and its individual replies would be more visually separated.

The cosmetic change has gone live. Hope it’s widely regarded as an improvement on the old quote-like bars.

I’m not sure how one could separate discussions better than with the traditional horizontal rule. If you mock up a convincing HTML rendition of a good layout, that could convince us (read: me, since I’m the Perl hacker) to add it into the engine. Otherwise, I’m inclined not to, as it complicates the engine for no gain. – KritTer