Scripting Games: What Should We Do With Comments?

Right now, I've got the Scripting Games Web site built to only make comments visible to a entry's author. Some of the comments have been a little snarky, and I don't want to create an online argument forum.

I'm curious what folks think we should do as a next step.

I could, for example, make comments visible to everyone once voting has ended for an event (I don't want to make comments visible while we're still accepting comments, because it'll run a big risk of creating a discussion, which isn't the intent).

We do have a plan to dump all the entries into static files for long-term reference; I could insert entries' comments at the end of each entry, in a PowerShell comment block.

Or, we could just leave comments visible to the entry's author. That provides a learning experience for the author, although not for the public, and only until we purge the database for the next event.

Thoughts?

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About the Author

Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft’s). Power to the shell!

18 Comments

  1. Is there a way to leave the comments, but keep them anonymous? I would be curious what other people said about scripts I have commented on. Perhaps they saw something differently than I did and that would expand the learning scope of the events.

    I don't think it is a good idea to add the names of who wrote what comment; as you said, that could start a flame war on and off the games, whether it was meant to be snarky or not. I know sometimes people, myself included, can say something innocently and not realize how it might be received.

  2. One problem with making all comments visible is that there are some that are not accurate...at least there were on my event 1. If comments were made visible, than there should also be a way to refute them. Rather than implement a per-script argument thread, I would leave them as-is. It is probably better for the community as a whole to keep the peace.

    I agree with Mike that it would be cool if the score were visible with the comment.

    • This is my concern. We're not making the Games archive into a back-and-forth discussion with allegations and refutations. They're going to be static HTML pages.

  3. "...make comments visible to everyone once voting has ended" makes most sense to yours truly. That way voters will have to rely on their minds to make comments genuine and original. I would like to see what other people thought about good and bad scripts once voting ends.

    I don't know if it works like this; I also agree that leaving the comments anonymous would be best, except for judges.

    Any chance for video responses, I read like a monkey? (ignore this I'm hungry (Your name is Hungry? Yes, and I'm proud of it. What's your surname?))

  4. I'd like to see all comments from others and preferably also during the voting.

    I think it would be a better learning Experience as i doubt i will have the time reading through ALL scripts Again after the Games. I could immediately learn from the Comments for the next Events. (And Probably improve my commenting as well)

    Little Examples:
    If i test a script and it does not work on my TestData/Testenviroment but >5 People before me commented it worked like expected i would think twice before Scoring/Commenting (Sorry for the Submissioner who used CreationTime instead of LastWriteTime, i recognized it reviewing a 2nd Submission i reviewed)

    Maybe what i think of a good PS Practice and commented isn't that well. Other Commenters could correct me.

    I am also OK if it's not anonymous. (Maybe the Commenter could choose?!?)

    With the comments i got so far i am not happy. But as i like my solution i am still very confident.

    If i comment a Submission with my Name next to it, for sure the person will visit my script right after. But this could be also advertisment to get votes and comments.
    If i am nitpicking on a topic my script has deserved to be inspected as well.

    Also suggest to have prizes for constructive commenters as well. (Chosen by the Jury Board)

    Lastly, just thought about stopping a possible FlameWar by hiding the Points instead of hiding the comments until the Event has ended. 😉

  5. My thoughts (as shared in a brilliant but much longer post on the forums) are that making the comments public is the way forward. Keeping them anonymous is also important to prevent a either a direct flame war or any sort of "revenge" voting.

    Also including the score on the comment makes it easier to see what they might have meant. As Don and other admins can see the comments maybe he knows if the last one i received was good, middling or bad, it sort of went through all 3. Seeing the score i would then have known.

  6. Anonymous comments, along with that person's score, and the entry's total score. I can do that. And Jonathan, you've summed up what I'd hoped people would want - seeing other comments on scripts YOU commented on, to see what you might have missed. EXCELLENT learning opportunity!

    I'll get something in place to make this happen. I code best on airplanes, it turns out. Flight coming up...

  7. I agree with luesec. I left some comments when I thought I knew what I was talking about. But as I went through more and more scripts, and read the comments left by others about my script, I started to realize that I was incorrect in some cases. Being able to read comments written by others would greatly enhance the learning experience.

  8. Make comments mandatory for voters to collect a pointlet. I aslo agree with comment "Also suggest to have prizes for constructive commenters as well. (Chosen by the Jury Board) ". I'm still wondering why I got 1 point (Awful) and the comment read "no identifiable info" from a voter. I've yet to find a script that could be marked as truely "awful"

    • Right now, we're not going to be making comments mandatory. We're taking suggestions like this for next time, though. I'm not sure the numeric score has as much value as the comment, so one option is to simply ask for comments without a score.

  9. Post the comments after the event as a read-only list, but give the entry's author the right of reply as a final round-up of the comments, especially where they have found them to be constructive.

    • I appreciate the thought, but we're going to be posting the archive as static HTML, so there aren't going to be any replies to replies. Authors are welcome to blog about their entries.

  10. I'd like to see some indication of which comments were left by judges.

    Some of the comments being left are legitimate criticism, and some of them are just plain rubbish, and you get to guess who knows what they're talking about and who's actually worse off than you are and doesn't know it yet.

    • I don't agree that the "who" matters. If you can tell the rubbish from the legit, then it shouldn't matter who which left. The idea that an "expert judge" can't leave rubbish is not a stipulation I accept. I've probably left some rubbish comments myself at 1am. I understand you want to know who wrote the comment (broadly) so that you know whether to lend extra weight to it. I just disagree that doing so is valid. Just because Jeff Hicks tells you you're wrong (he's famous for that, the sneak), doesn't mean you are. I realize folks don't agree with me on this point, and that's fine too. I'm not going to argue about it.

      • I didn't say it was a perfect solution.

        Don, I want the games to be a success. Right now we seem to have a lot of people confused and frustrated about some of the comments and scores they've received, and we've lost almost a quarter of the participants in the Advanced track after the first event. I suspect those two things are not entirely unrelated.