"Key posts" is a new feature that allows for the highlighting of important/interesting/useful posts in a thread and which together essentially create a "topic index": a table of contents for the thread. Read on to find out more!
Why do we need key posts?
- The sheer amount of posts in a topic can be overwhelming and make you miss key information.
- People asking the same questions over and over again, because they don't want to dig through hundreds of posts to find the information they are looking for;
- People providing information that was already given a few hundreds posts ago, unaware that this information was already there;
- Topics loosing direction or getting derailed due to lack thereof.
Key posts are our answer to these challenges. Essentially, a key post is nothing more than the notion that a post is to be considered essential, the information it provides should be known by everyone who is interested in the topic. It's a piece of information or an update that brings a topic forward and will frequently lead to a whole new series of questions, opinions, and discussion.
In a way, you could compare this to the index of a book. If you're looking for information in a book, you need an index to quickly find something that you're looking for. And you need the table of contents to get a feeling of the topics the book contain. Key posts are meant to work the same way; they should give direction and purpose to a topic. Ideally you should be able to get fully updated about (everything that has happened in) a topic just by reading all of its key posts.
What makes a key post?
Basically any post in the forum can be marked as a key post by Pinside Staff and "Pinside editors" (more about them below). When marking a post as a key post, the editor is required to give a short summary of its contents.
Key posts have the following characteristics:
- They should be essential information that's vital to the topic;
- They should contain factual information. Opinions or suggestions are generally not key posts;
- They should bring the topic forward. In practice, this means they will frequently continue or lead to new discussion.
A list of all key posts linking to their associated posts, called the "topic index", will be displayed at the top of every topic that has them. This will allow reader to jump right in and start reading a topic at the spot they are most interested in. Or to quickly monitor a discuccion for new developments (e.g. "New pricing announced" or "New developments").
Who gets to mark posts as key posts?
As you can see, marking posts as key posts is a task that requires precision and a knack to discern the most important elements in a discussion. For the system to work, it's important that everyone who marks key posts follows the same guidelines. This is why, for now, we will only allow Pinside staff and Pinside Editors to mark posts as key post. Note that we take the task quite seriously; editors are hand picked by us. To ensure key posts are marked in a consistent manner, we ask all editors to honor the criteria set by us. That being said, being an editor doesn't require a lot of extra time or effort. Even better, you can do it while doing what you already love doing: browsing the Pinside forums. And now you even have a great excuse to do so!
How do I become an editor? Pinside Editors wanted!
To become an editor, send a PM to Robin or Martijn with a short explanation (300 characters at most) on why you would like to become one and what makes you a good candidate. Also, please let us know which section(s) of the forums you find most interesting or visit most frequently. This is to ensure that we will have adequate coverage throughout all areas and sub-forums. From the applications, we will select a small group of members to begin with. Once we get things running smoothly, we will expand this group based on the need for it.
Note that this function is only the beginning, and if things work out successfully, there will be more privileges we will make available to editors in the future that will help make Pinside even better!
How do I mark a post as a key post
Just keep on doing what you're already doing and read the topics that interest you. When you see a post that meets all requirements of being a key post, you can indicate so by clicking the 'key post' button on the bottom left of that post (next to the 'drain post' button, only visible once you are an editor). Doing so opens a form where you can fill in a summary of the post and confirm your nomination. Note that if the post was already nominated by another editor, you will see the previous summary instead. You can edit this summary, if you see anything that can be improved (the idea being that editors work together as a team), or you can confirm your nomination without changing it.
Can you give me an example of a key post?
To make clear what we had in mind when we were developing this feature, have a look at this thread for which we marked posts we considered key post worthy.
As you can see, the result summarizes the thread rather nicely, and gives a good idea of its contents, its progress over time, and indicates you where to jump to in order read about a certain aspect of the discussion.