Recently a certain question (https://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/85829/28939 ) had its title edited from

My coworkers saw me naked. How to handle this situation?

for the purpose

to get rid of the HNQ click bait not because I thought the question deserved more thought.

specifically to remove the word "naked" in the hopes that it would not show up in HNQ.

Can we get some guidance on whether this is appropriate, advisable, etc?

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    the edit was wrong first of all because it didn't help to get it off of HNQ. :) Proper edit to the title would be like "My coworkers of the opposite sex saw me naked. How to handle this situation?" – gnat Feb 27 '17 at 18:02
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    I made the first edit to this question, in simply changing the word 'naked' to 'showering' - I thought this would retain the meaning of the question while taking away any overt sexual connotations. – user44108 Feb 27 '17 at 18:21
  • @Pᴇᴛᴇ and agree with that wording myself. This question came out of a discussion where even "showering" was removed and replaced with "in the bathroom" (or words to that effect) as we as the purpose being to keep it from getting on HNQ. – Chris E Feb 27 '17 at 18:53
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    Maybe there's scope in requesting some kind of tag to show the question isn't HNQ material. – user44108 Feb 27 '17 at 19:33
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    I honestly don't see what the big deal is. – Chris E Feb 27 '17 at 19:35
  • "Can we get some guidance on whether this is appropriate, advisable, etc?" - I think the intent was good, but I'm not so sure about the execution. I thought I read something about the algorithm used to pick items for HNQ but I couldn't find it. I'd like to know if a title change can be effective and if so, how to successfully accomplish non-HNQ-status. – Joe Strazzere Feb 27 '17 at 19:38
  • You removed an important detail IMO. As the question reads at the moment it is not at all clear that the questioner's workmates saw her naked and that would add significantly to the awkwardness factor. – Martin Smith Feb 28 '17 at 20:43
  • @MartinSmith I didn't remove anything. :) But you are correct. I just checked and the only mention that she was seen naked was in the title and maybe it should be put back in. Feel free to suggest an edit. :) – Chris E Feb 28 '17 at 20:52
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    @Pete really? saying naked is an overt sexual connotation???? – Prodnegel Mar 1 '17 at 14:59

In my humble opinion, there are a number of problems with the intent of that edit.

  1. The OP's issue was being seen naked, not using the wrong bathroom. If the OP had come out of the bathroom fully dressed when the co-workers looked at her with bemused expressions, she would have probably just said, "Oops, sorry, I did not read the sign", and moved on.

  2. There are several scenarios not involving bathrooms when a person could be inadvertently seen naked. In this situation, there happened to be a bathroom involved, but that is just an incidental detail, not the core problem. Some examples could include a change room door that accidentally opened, or the good old "wardrobe malfunction".

  3. The OP's issue is dealing with the awkwardness of working with people who have seen her naked. It has nothing to do with whether using a wrong bathroom is "criminal" in some corner of the world. OP does not mention that her co-workers complained about it or even commented on the incident, leave alone suggesting her that she might have committed a crime.

  4. This is not a porn site. If people click the link on seeing the word "naked" in the hope of seeing pictures of naked people (as is implied by the claim of clickbaiting), they are in the wrong place. Those people most certainly know many other places where that would work!

Anyway, these are somewhat subjective interpretations of the change, but to answer the original question: changing a question purely to knock it off the HNQ should not be allowed. It is well known to everyone except SO employees that HNQ is an absolute disaster, and two wrongs don't make a right.

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    I don't think people here are expecting to see photos, but I do think they're wanting to see some semi-salacious details. We had another question recently recounting someone getting "caught in the act". It's human nature that these kinds of questions attract a large amount of attention and I don't think there's any good way of preventing it without aggressive and question-changing editing. Some thing to note is that the OP hasn't returned to make any comment and that everyone responding are simply talking to each other.... – user44108 Feb 27 '17 at 18:25
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    It doesn't matter, we always assume good intentions until proven otherwise, to prevent crying wolf kind of situations. Also, this site is not about the OP alone, we need to consider the usefulness of the question to future readers as well. – Masked Man Feb 27 '17 at 18:42
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    You kind of got a bit ranty here considering the clear & direct question. If I may: 1. That's a bit nit-picky honestly. You and the editor couldn't come to an agreement so it probably should have been left alone 2. doesn't really change anything 3. I'm not sure where that come up 4. Just because this isn't a pron site doesn't mean we can ignore human nature and how it might interfere with the usefulness of a questions. – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 20:45
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    On another point, "HNQ is an absolute disaster" I think that is the opinion of a loud minority honestly; if it was causing actual harm then lots of people would care about it. HNQ brings in traffic, and for an older SE site that is the lifeblood we need. Otherwise all the easy questions will be answered and traffic will dwindle. – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 20:46
  • In closing, please try not to speak for all SE visitors with opinions like that. – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 20:47
  • @DoritoStyle All of those points were in direct response to the comments posted by the said editor in chat, so yeah, that's where that came from. If you see most of the points being ranty, that clearly vindicates my point that most of the reasons by the said editor for changing the question were irrelevant. – Masked Man Feb 28 '17 at 1:03
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    Regarding HNQ, a lot of people do care about the problem, including a couple of our moderators here, but a certain somebody considers that as "entertainment", and hence, no attempts are made to fix the problem. We don't really need that kind of low quality traffic that brings in driveby upvoting which skews the voting on HNQ questions and answers. Votes are a lot more important to maintain the quality of this site than traffic. In closing, I am free to post whatever I want in my answer, let the community decide if they agree with me or not, and that includes you. – Masked Man Feb 28 '17 at 1:08

The intent of the edit was not to avoid the HNQ. It was to remove the click-bait salaciousness that many users infer from the title.

The question itself was not salacious and presumably contained a real problem the OP wanted to deal with. Bringing in a bunch of users that want to read about how her entire office saw her naked is not going to help that.

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    That's pretty hair-splitting. – Chris E Feb 27 '17 at 20:50
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    @ChristopherEstep Not really. The original edit specifically stated why it was done, and it had nothing to do with HNQ: workplace.stackexchange.com/revisions/85829/3 – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 20:51
  • @DoritoStyle - Strangely I did not see that original (3rd) edit when I did mine. It showed naked when I did my edit. It is entirely possible that I opened the page before it was edited in a tab and that tab sat unused for a few hours till i got a chance to actually read it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 27 '17 at 20:53
  • And the subsequent edit removed that completely. Why? HNQ. – Chris E Feb 27 '17 at 20:54
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    Looks like the editor confirmed the intention regarding HNQ in chat: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/35712562#35712562 – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 20:57
  • @DoritoStyle I know it's cool to rag on the sub 10K guy here, but you might want to refer to the original content steam (now moved to a chat stream) where Joe first raised the HNQ issue so you can grab some context . I posted in chat because I don't think it's appropriate to discuss HNQ on a question. – user44108 Feb 27 '17 at 21:15
  • I did go thru chat eventually (what a task that was today!), we're on the same page now. – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 21:36

What I personally don't get is: why are we trying to keep certain questions off the HNQ in the first place? It is rather the point of the HNQ that it spreads popular questions across the network to gather attention from alternate viewpoints, is it not? And it is not up to us to decide what becomes popular.

So I would say: any edits for the purposes of preventing a question becoming a HNQ should be discouraged.

  • People don't like HNQ because it does two things 1) Attracts attention to low-quality sensationalist questions 2) Rewards people who create and answers low-quality sensationalist questions. Somehow, this happening to one or two questions per day in the Workplace Stack is a bad thing. – user44108 Mar 2 '17 at 14:09
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    @Pᴇᴛᴇ I'm aware it is generally disliked (I happen to personally disagree, but irrelevant). My point is that it is part of the system, and if you are fighting the system in such ways you are destabilising trust in the system. And, not to talk in hyperbole too much, it's only a few steps from people trying to go around Moderators. – Weckar E. Mar 2 '17 at 14:19
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    I totally agree with you. – user44108 Mar 2 '17 at 14:22
  • Someone asked about salacious words in the HNQ list on Meta, and you won't believe what happens next! WeckarE., have you never heard of "clickbait"? @Pᴇᴛᴇ is right. – Wildcard Mar 8 '17 at 4:28

Edit: Jeff Atwood clearly states the reason for the HNQ here.

In response to the user's claim, that's not a good reason to edit it.

HNQ exists for a reason (some people don't like it, but it's still here). Edits should only be used to get better answers, and I don't think avoiding HNQ really helps that.

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    I wonder why you use vague smokescreen wording "exists for a reason" when there is a clear official statement on that made by SE Community manager: entertainment. They never ever officially stated that HNQ are intended for anything else – gnat Feb 28 '17 at 5:43
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    @gnat, you ever consider that not everyone knows the meta like the back of their hand?! I was not using any "vague smokescreen". – user30031 Feb 28 '17 at 7:23
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    The goal of HNQ is not generating traffic, it is not getting better quality answers, it is just meant to be a source of entertainment for a bunch of SE employees, who have nothing better to do with their time, despite several highly upvoted feature requests pending since 2009 or before. But even if we go by your premise, how does avoiding HNQ prevent getting better answers? On the contrary, we often see HNQ questions getting "protected" to because it attracted several low quality answers. – Masked Man Feb 28 '17 at 16:03
  • Looks like the goals are summed up nicely (with a source) here, and it has nothing to do with entertainment. That's just how some people use it. meta.stackexchange.com/a/222730/343082 – user30031 Feb 28 '17 at 17:03
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    @ThatOneGuy You do realize, don't you, that the answer you have linked to is written by the same user (gnat) who made the above comment calling out the clear official statement? You might also notice that 1. he explicitly calls it the "original" intent of the HNQ 2. the top voted answer to that question comes from a so-called Community Manager and that talks at length about the "entertainment value" of HNQ, even going to the extent of saying, "if HNQ is causing you problems, the problem is YOU!!" – Masked Man Feb 28 '17 at 18:00
  • @MaskedMan funny thing is, back then I've been looking for alternative authoritative references hoping to find ones to counter "entertainment" purpose. This could help justify many old hanging feature requests to make HNQ more useful or at least less harmful. Unfortunately I found none: if you look closer, all alternatives I discovered are "compatible" with entertainment. So I just documented all of them, only to save effort for future readers – gnat Mar 1 '17 at 5:35
  • @masked_man the answer I liked to referenced Jeff Atwood directly. I tend to consider that a pretty authoritative source. – user30031 Mar 1 '17 at 15:39
  • @Dorito This (meta.stackexchange.com/a/222730/343082) is not an answer written by Jeff Whoeverwood. – Masked Man Mar 2 '17 at 16:22
  • @MaskedMan indeed, as I said it references Jeff Atwood (A founder and original designer of Stack Exchange). – user30031 Mar 2 '17 at 16:33
  • Following thru: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/84389/filtering-hot-questions/… – user30031 Mar 2 '17 at 16:33

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