What should go in the 'Option description'?


#1

What are the guidelines for the option description text?


#2

I honestly don’t know. I find that when I start writing a description I’m writting things I want to add as Pro/Cons. While I can’t say it is bad to repeat the information, it does seem odd to do that so close together.


#3

I agree. We made it optional due to this. I think a good guideline is “enough information to provide context to the pros and cons”. But that is pretty vague.


#4

I feel that the pros and cons show what the option does well, but the description more accurately describes the “philosophy” behind the option more efficiently. Maybe the core philosophy behind why the option is the way it is isn’t its best pro but enables the others? I’m not sure how to better qualify that into a guideline though.


#5

Since the addition of sources, I feel the relevance of pro/con descriptions has somewhat reduced, unless it’s my own unbacked opinion.

I’d even argue that often having a description doesn’t really add anything and thus is noise.

Let’s take this for example:
http://www.slant.co/topics/100/viewpoints/8#1

Pro title “Great value for money at $350 USD unlocked”

Description:

The nexus 5 comes with the latest generation snapdragon CPU, a 1080p screen and has fantastic build quality. Traditionally the top-end phones command at least $700USD+ to own outright, at $350 unlocked the Nexus 5 is fantastic value for money

And a source from Engadget:

A phone like the Nexus 5 would get our blessing even at a higher price, but the fact that you can buy it for as low as $350 makes it that much sweeter.

The first sentence in the description, although I understand how it relates to the title, should probably be better off separated out - fast (CPU), great screen (1080p, other reasons), solid build quality. Each with a source backing it up.

Now, the title, second sentence of the description and the source are about the same thing. But they iterate the same thing 3 times, so the description becomes middle-ground-ey that’s neither here nor there.

It would be easier to skim through 4 titles that only hold the clearest signal (with deeper information in sources if I’m interested in it) than read all of the descriptions to see if I’ve missed an important tidbit of information which I would have in this case.

I guess here’s the abstract argument: depth vs width. In a way it ties into granularity vs consolidation discussion.

There’s an inherent feeling that a description is needed, if the form asks for it, even if it’s optional. Most of the time it ends up being flavor text, lorem ipsum, noise.

HN doesn’t have flavor text to their links and it is super-easy to overview. It also lowers the barrier to entry if I can just drop “beautiful design” without having to verbalize something so highly subjective.

It sounds extreme and quite possibly I’m missing something obvious, but currently I feel that removing pro/con descriptions would make for a less confusing, more intuitive and friendly system. There already are other systems in place that can fill the role of descriptions in edge cases - if not sources, then comments.


Additional thoughts:

  • Would avoid review and comment style contributions.
  • Aesthetically looks worse. Could there be a front-end solution?
  • More reasons to take part in comments/take part in community discussion.