Question for the @Narrative Network Team: there is a niche up for approval with quotes in the name (""):

"Contemporary art making"

A couple of us (including me) have down-voted it out of caution because of the quotes.  I'm concerned this will mess with the search function.

Trying to put on a programmer's hat here, although it is possible to code around the inclusion of non-alphanumeric characters, having to do so multiplies the risk of unforeseen cases and glitches, as well as being extra work that is not strictly necessary.

It might be easier and more efficient in the long run to not allow certain characters to be entered into the niche name suggestion field.  Following this train of thought, which non-alphanumeric characters would ever be useful?  My intuition tells me we can do without them all for niche names, and if any should be allowed, it might be ! and ?...  As a rule, forcing people to use actual words is a disambiguating tactic.

Do we want people using @symbols, & symbols?  Any layer of codification beyond simple words creates more opportunity for ambiguity.  & means 'and' except when it doesn't, like in WTF!$&!?  Are we confident the 'similar niche name' matching engine will know how to deal with these correctly every time?

If I'm overthinking this, and you feel it is super easy to make these characters a complete non issue for searches (by ignoring them completely or treating them as blank spaces), then great!  But I always have the sneaking suspicion that it invites the potential for glitches no matter how confident we might feel about it.

Then there is the question of whether non-alphanumeric characters are wanted, aesthetically?  Thinking about what a list of niches (something people will probably look at fairly often on Narrative) actually looks like, without special characters on the one hand, and potentially rife with them on the other.  To me, the first is clean, the second messy. 


Original Post

There are already some non-alphanumeric characters that aren't allowed in niche names. I tried to make a hashtag-based niche, but it was not allowed by the system. 

Also, I knew there was a reason why I hadn't voted on "Contemporary Art Making" yet. My eyes had tuned out the quotation marks. It also seems like they are superfluous airquotes, unintentionally suggesting sarcasm.

Agreed. The quotation marks are strange... But, this puts the voter in an awkward position (based on all the previous discussions about problematic niches). 

Do we:
a) vote to approve with a hope that the Niche will be edited/optimized after the fact?
b) vote to reject so as to make sure that we aren't using "hope" as a strategy to catch problems after they've been approved as-is. 

A simple "Edit Ballot" feature available to niche authors would enable quick fixes from sabotaging otherwise legitimate niches.

Editing a niche would suspend the ballot, reset the votes, reset the ballot clock and allow the niche author to continue participating/promoting their niche idea. 

Approving a problematic niche means someone(s) has to watchdog the niche post-approval; making sure that an appeal is filed; making sure the Tribunal is made aware of the issue, etc. 

The current ballot system could be made more flexible (read: "friendly") to the comment/feedback of the community before locking IN bad niches, or locking OUT what could have been good ones. 

Good summary of the doubts floating around our minds, @Bryan.

Personally, these days I am more and more comfortable with voting down and having the niche suggester fix and resubmit.

It might seem harsh, but the rep hit for having a niche rejected is probably quite small, and it is the only thing motivating people to pay attention and do as much quality control as possible before submitting.  Ideally, I don't want any of us to have to be commenting on niches, making posts on the forums about them, umming and aahing about them.  I want the niche submitter to do all those things themselves BEFORE submitting their niche.  The small rep hit is the only thing motivating them to do so.

You might say it isn't working very well so far, but I do think it will start working better once the reputation system is fully implemented, and people see their reputation level, and receive notifications when it is affected.

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