21 votes

Feature request: Use "/t/" in alternative to "~" in the url of a tilde.

My title sucks, couldn't word it better.

So, I hate having to use the tilde char. Doing tildes.net~tildes is much harder for me than tildes.net/t/tildes. It would be cool if tildes also supported using "/t/". I am not suggesting to remove the "~", but make one redirect to the other.

34 comments

  1. [23]
    emdash Link
    Does it even have to be /t/groupname? Make the URLs prefer /~groupname/, but support /groupname/ instead, if you're really in need of an alternative. Not supporting /t/ would go a small way to...

    Does it even have to be /t/groupname? Make the URLs prefer /~groupname/, but support /groupname/ instead, if you're really in need of an alternative. Not supporting /t/ would go a small way to emphasizing the fact tildes isn't reddit.

    As far as I can tell, the only namespace collision would be with /user/, and even then the URL structures are syntactically distinct enough that it should be able to resolve them.

    20 votes
    1. [19]
      Adys Link Parent
      It's generally a bad idea to allow user input without namespacing. Tilde groups aren't user input but they may some day be, so I agree with namespacing with /t/.

      It's generally a bad idea to allow user input without namespacing.

      Tilde groups aren't user input but they may some day be, so I agree with namespacing with /t/.

      15 votes
      1. [18]
        emdash Link Parent
        Can you expand on this please. What makes it bad? According to whom? The same un-namespaced pattern is used by enterprise organisations like github, you'll notice that my link to /about/press is...

        It's generally a bad idea to allow user input without namespacing.

        Can you expand on this please. What makes it bad? According to whom?

        The same un-namespaced pattern is used by enterprise organisations like github, you'll notice that my link to /about/press is not a repository called press that is owned by about, and they seem to be doing pretty well if you ask me.

        Tilde groups aren't user input but they may some day be

        This isn't an API designed to be consumed by a computer that needs to follow strict revision control. It's a user-parsable and otherwise fungible set of URLs that leads to users, groups—anything really.

        9 votes
        1. [17]
          Wes Link Parent
          Before clicking these links, can you guess if they're user-generated or official? https://github.com/help/ https://github.com/user/ https://github.com/pull-requests/ https://github.com/contact/...

          Can you expand on this please. What makes it bad?

          Before clicking these links, can you guess if they're user-generated or official?

          https://github.com/help/
          https://github.com/user/
          https://github.com/pull-requests/
          https://github.com/contact/
          https://github.com/employment/

          That's certainly an issue.

          More importantly though, Deimos may want to add a page in the future but find its name has already been reserved by a group. Namespacing them ensures these problems can't crop up down the road.

          20 votes
          1. [6]
            emdash Link Parent
            I'd say they're all official! I know what you're trying to say though. True, but if you scroll to the footer of the site, and see the URLs for all the links, you'll find most of them are...

            I'd say they're all official! I know what you're trying to say though.

            More importantly though, Deimos may want to add a page in the future but find its name has already been reserved by a group. Namespacing them ensures these problems can't crop up down the road.

            True, but if you scroll to the footer of the site, and see the URLs for all the links, you'll find most of them are pre-namespaced by docs.tildes.net anyway; so a lot of discussion & meta-commentary is going to be, and already is, located away from the main site entirely.

            3 votes
            1. [5]
              nsz Link Parent
              Was curious, so I checked, it looks like: /user and /employment are two account with those names, and /pull-requests is just for one guy's pull requests , no idea how this works. The only official...

              I'd say they're all official!

              Was curious, so I checked, it looks like: /user and /employment are two account with those names, and /pull-requests is just for one guy's pull requests , no idea how this works. The only official link is /help

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Bauke Link Parent
                /pull-requests is an organization that's called "Pull Requests from ..."

                /pull-requests is an organization that's called "Pull Requests from ..."

                2 votes
                1. nsz Link Parent
                  ah gotcha

                  ah gotcha

                  1 vote
              2. [2]
                emdash Link Parent
                I still don't see the actual, real downside, to these links being user-generated or official however. What's any actual consequence of significance here? Tildes is a discussion board. If GitHub—a...

                I still don't see the actual, real downside, to these links being user-generated or official however.

                What's any actual consequence of significance here? Tildes is a discussion board. If GitHub—a billion dollar+ corporation—feels like such a level of indirection is acceptable, why isn't it acceptable on Tildes?

                1. nsz Link Parent
                  enh, I guess it's just a preference really, plenty of large sites do make a distinction. Personally I think there is something comforting about having a clear distinction, some organisation--even...

                  enh, I guess it's just a preference really, plenty of large sites do make a distinction. Personally I think there is something comforting about having a clear distinction, some organisation--even if it's not necessarily the biggest real-world impact.

                  Also the site name and the ~ were chose for a reason, it seems a waist to not lean into it.

                  2 votes
          2. [10]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            Does it matter? As a non-developer, I don't even know what "user-generated" or "official" mean in this context - or, more importantly, why it matters. I just click on the link to see what I want...

            can you guess if they're user-generated or official?

            Does it matter? As a non-developer, I don't even know what "user-generated" or "official" mean in this context - or, more importantly, why it matters. I just click on the link to see what I want to see. What's the point of knowing whether a URL is "user-generated" or "official"? How will it change my behaviour as a user of Tildes?

            1 vote
            1. [8]
              Wes Link Parent
              It could change it quite a lot. If you land on a user page thinking you're on an official help page, you might end up sending a message to a user named "help" by mistake. You and I might recognize...

              What's the point of knowing whether a URL is "user-generated" or "official"? How will it change my behaviour as a user of Tildes?

              It could change it quite a lot. If you land on a user page thinking you're on an official help page, you might end up sending a message to a user named "help" by mistake. You and I might recognize that the page template is different, but for somebody blindly googling words like "tildes" and "help" together, they could very easily make that mistake.

              I understand that namespacing produces dirtier-looking URLs, but its pros still outweigh its cons.

              13 votes
              1. [7]
                Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                But that has nothing to do with whether a URL is "user-generated" or "official" (neither of which you actually explained, by the way, so I'm just shooting in the dark here). That's just...

                It could change it quite a lot. If you land on a user page thinking you're on an official help page, you might end up sending a message to a user named "help" by mistake.

                But that has nothing to do with whether a URL is "user-generated" or "official" (neither of which you actually explained, by the way, so I'm just shooting in the dark here). That's just recognising the format of a URL: certain URL formats lead to certain types of pages. And, as you say, when you land on the page, you can see what type of page it is, so there's no problem.

                Anyway... how does a user generate a URL? How can I, as a user of Tildes, generate a Tildes URL? That seems nonsensical to me.

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  Wes Link Parent
                  I'm sorry, I thought it was clear from context. A user-generated URL would be something created by someone other than the site owner. In my examples above, https://github.com/help/ is official and...

                  But that has nothing to do with whether a URL is "user-generated" or "official" (neither of which you actually explained, by the way, so I'm just shooting in the dark here).

                  I'm sorry, I thought it was clear from context. A user-generated URL would be something created by someone other than the site owner. In my examples above, https://github.com/help/ is official and takes you to a help page, while https://github.com/employment/ is actually a user's page (thus user-generated content).

                  The point I was trying to make is that while both URLs look official, there's actually ambiguity unless you look closer (and have the skills and familiarity to differentiate).

                  Anyway... how does a user generate a URL? How can I, as a user of Tildes, generate a Tildes URL? That seems nonsensical to me.

                  At this time, it isn't possible. We're discussing a potential future where groups can be created by users. The context is from @Adys' comment above:

                  Tilde groups aren't user input but they may some day be

                  11 votes
                  1. [5]
                    Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                    And how does that matter to me, a user? To me, they're both just pages. The "help" one allows me to ask for help with using GitHub, and the "employment" one shows me a user page for a user called...

                    In my examples above, https://github.com/help/ is official and takes you to a help page, while https://github.com/employment/ is actually a user's page (thus user-generated content).

                    And how does that matter to me, a user? To me, they're both just pages. The "help" one allows me to ask for help with using GitHub, and the "employment" one shows me a user page for a user called "employment".

                    I'm not understanding the importance of this distinction.

                    There seems to be a tangential point here that URLs should be well formatted, to indicate what they are and what they do: a URL for a user page should indicate that it is a user page URL, rather than a URL for a posting page or for a web form. But that doesn't seem like a problem caused by whether the URL is created as a result of user activity or developer activity. I, as a user, don't care if a page was created by a user or by a developer. I care about what the page is and what it does, not who made it. Or, in other words, this seems to support the namespacing recommended by @Adys, so that readers can differentiate between https://github.com/employment/ and https://github.com/user/employment/. But it's irrelevant whether those pages/URLs were created by users or developers.

                    In other words: focus on the end result and the user, rather than the origin and the creator. What a page is and what it is used for is more important than who made it.

                    2 votes
                    1. [4]
                      Wes Link Parent
                      I feel I've given a couple valid examples of how this creates confusion for users and leads to problems down the road. It is important that a user understand when the information they're reading...

                      I'm not understanding the importance of this distinction.

                      I feel I've given a couple valid examples of how this creates confusion for users and leads to problems down the road. It is important that a user understand when the information they're reading is coming from a trusted source (like the site owner), or an untrusted one (like a user page). Additionally if a user is trying to accomplish a specific task then the page name should accurately reflect that task, else the user may become frustrated.

                      There seems to be a tangential point here that URLs should be well formatted, to indicate what they are and what they do

                      If you'll allow me to push back a little here, the point isn't actually tangential; it's the main point that I've been trying to make. Proper namespacing is the most effective way to accomplish that goal because it gives a much clearer context to the page.

                      In other words: focus on the end result and the user, rather than the origin and the creator.

                      Okay, and that's fine. You're correct that ambiguity could be introduced by some other means than user-generated content. However user-generated content is being brought up because it is the most likely cause of these sorts of conflicts. In the Github examples above, it was always a repo, organization, or user page that introduced ambiguity. That's the reason I've focused on that aspect of the problem. In the context of Tildes, this would also be the most likely source of name conflicts down the road if group names were accessible as standard subdirectories.

                      11 votes
                      1. [3]
                        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                        In all fairness, you haven't been making that point very well. You kept talking about who generated a URL - a user or a developer - rather than the format of the URL itself. And, in the context of...

                        If you'll allow me to push back a little here, the point isn't actually tangential; it's the main point that I've been trying to make.

                        In all fairness, you haven't been making that point very well. You kept talking about who generated a URL - a user or a developer - rather than the format of the URL itself.

                        And, in the context of Tildes, users are only able to create the pages that Deimos allows them to create, according to the rules Deimos lays down. If I create a user page on Tildes, I'm only able to create it because Deimos created a method for me to create it. If the user page I create is called https://tildes.net/user/Algernon_Asimov, it uses that format because it has been created according to rules Deimos wrote. I don't get to decide whether my user page is called https://tildes.net/user/Algernon_Asimov or https://tildes.net/u/Algernon_Asimov or https://tildes.net/Algernon_Asimov. If, in the future, I create a group on Tildes, it will also be created according to rules Deimos writes. Whether my new group is called https://tildes.net/group/scifi or https://tildes.net/t/scifi or https://tildes.net/scifi will be up to Deimos to decide.

                        I, as a user, have absolutely no influence over the format of a URL here. All I do is type in my username or group name, and the URL gets created automatically, according to rules that Deimos programs.

                        So, ultimately, the distinction between user-generated URLs and official URLs doesn't really matter, because all URLs on Tildes are generated by the website itself.

                        1 vote
                        1. TheJorro Link Parent
                          I'm sorry, but you're being entirely unfair now. He has been very clear about his point, right from the start. If anything, this entire exchange reads like you parachuted in trying to shove in...

                          In all fairness, you haven't been making that point very well. You kept talking about who generated a URL - a user or a developer - rather than the format of the URL itself.

                          I'm sorry, but you're being entirely unfair now. He has been very clear about his point, right from the start. If anything, this entire exchange reads like you parachuted in trying to shove in your own argument where it wasn't in question before. Now you're being condescending about him not making his point clearly when it seems like you've been doing your best to misconstrue his points from the beginning. I feel like you haven't displayed any attempt to understand what he was saying.

                          11 votes
                        2. lol Link Parent
                          Seems pretty clear to me. Ambiguity is undesireable, if you’re trying to find out how to apply to a job at github, and theoretically the link is in the ‘help’ section, it isn’t ideal to keep the...

                          Seems pretty clear to me. Ambiguity is undesireable, if you’re trying to find out how to apply to a job at github, and theoretically the link is in the ‘help’ section, it isn’t ideal to keep the user guessing between /help or /employment. Moreover, if the user ‘employment’ somehow formats their landing page as a fake job application, that’s potentially a security concern. If you namespace users behind /user/, then it is much easier to tell that /user/employment is not an official page.

                          6 votes
            2. TheJorro (edited ) Link Parent
              I'm a non-developer too, but I arrived at the opposite of your takeaway. It's very clear after clicking all those links what is meant by official and user-generated. Two of those pages are user...

              I'm a non-developer too, but I arrived at the opposite of your takeaway. It's very clear after clicking all those links what is meant by official and user-generated. Two of those pages are user accounts. One is a user organization. The other two are official GitHub pages. It seems pretty clearcut from context what is meant by "official" and "user-generated" after a brief glimpse across all of them.

              The issue with namespacing that he's pointing out is that you don't know what you're going to see at all. You can't possibly tell what's behind those links at a glance at the URL. It may not be an issue in all situations but in some (e.g. in an org where a non-technical person gets a format-stripped email and has to tell by the link URL itself if it's spam or not) it can make all the difference.

              7 votes
    2. [3]
      superkp Link Parent
      I think this is a very good point. There are actually a lot of reddit clones that use the /r/ format, and only some of them actually change the "r" to the first letter of their own site. As far as...

      I think this is a very good point. There are actually a lot of reddit clones that use the /r/ format, and only some of them actually change the "r" to the first letter of their own site.

      As far as I can tell, they are almost always created because the creator was mad that reddit has rules they don't like.

      Instead of being "not like reddit", tildes is trying to be "in-depth-discussion-focused" - i.e. focused on attempting to be something, instead of focused on being 'not reddit'. We don't hate reddit here, but we also don't find it sufficient for what we want.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        This is a good point. However, there are a lot of former and current redditors here (starting with @Deimos himself, and not excluding me and a few other so-called power users), and I see a lot of...

        Instead of being "not like reddit", tildes is trying to be "in-depth-discussion-focused" - i.e. focused on attempting to be something, instead of focused on being 'not reddit'. We don't hate reddit here, but we also don't find it sufficient for what we want.

        This is a good point. However, there are a lot of former and current redditors here (starting with @Deimos himself, and not excluding me and a few other so-called power users), and I see a lot of posts about Reddit here. There's a strong ex-Reddit culture here. There are a lot of people talking about where they came from, rather than where they are now. Anything we can do to emphasise to those people and others that Tildes is not Reddit, and not trying to be an anti-Reddit or a meta-Reddit or a Reddit-clone or an anything-Reddit, is good. The people on Twitter don't spend half their time talking about Facebook, and the people on Facebook don't spend half their time talking about Tumblr, and the people on Tumblr don't spend half their time talking about Instagram. Nor should we Tilders spend so much time talking about Reddit - or Hacker News, for that matter. Leave your Reddit problems at the door, so to speak. And, anything we can do to even subtly differentiate Tildes from Reddit will assist that goal of giving Tildes its own stand-alone identity.

        That said, I agree with @user2 that using the tilde character in URLs can be a bit fiddly. An alternative would be good.

        7 votes
        1. Adys Link Parent
          Besides, Reddit is moving away from its iconic use of /u/ to instead /user/. What's the point in trying to be different from Reddit if Reddit is changing and turning itself into an unrecognizable,...

          Besides, Reddit is moving away from its iconic use of /u/ to instead /user/. What's the point in trying to be different from Reddit if Reddit is changing and turning itself into an unrecognizable, hypergeneric social network all on its own anyway?

          1 vote
  2. [2]
    Bauke Link
    What about /g/? They are groups after all. We already have @Bauke and /u/Bauke ways of mentioning people. ~tildes and /g/tildes would make sense.

    What about /g/? They are groups after all. We already have @Bauke and /u/Bauke ways of mentioning people. ~tildes and /g/tildes would make sense.

    7 votes
    1. MetArtScroll Link Parent
      For completeness, /t/base36 topic ID can be for topics and /c/base36 comment ID for comments.

      For completeness, /t/base36 topic ID can be for topics and /c/base36 comment ID for comments.

      3 votes
  3. DanBC Link
    It might be useful for international users to describe what they have to do to generate a ~. For me it's a shifted keystroke, but for some people it's an alt code.

    It might be useful for international users to describe what they have to do to generate a ~. For me it's a shifted keystroke, but for some people it's an alt code.

    4 votes
  4. [7]
    Deimos Link
    I'm not opposed to adding an alternate method, but to look at this from a slightly different angle: what situation(s) are you needing to manually type the urls for? Could we make those cases...

    I'm not opposed to adding an alternate method, but to look at this from a slightly different angle: what situation(s) are you needing to manually type the urls for? Could we make those cases easier through the interface itself somehow, so that typing isn't necessary?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      TheJorro Link Parent
      Not so much on Tildes, but to avoid frontpage distractions (e.g. I'm avoiding spoilers, or I'm looking for a specific collection of information such as the latest computer part sales), I type in...

      Not so much on Tildes, but to avoid frontpage distractions (e.g. I'm avoiding spoilers, or I'm looking for a specific collection of information such as the latest computer part sales), I type in subreddit names manually. If Tildes ever crosses a certain threshold of traffic, I'd probably scale up my useage of going directly into a group from the URL.

      That said, typing in a ~ is just fine to me, but @DanBC raised a good point: some keyboards make using the ~ character a bit more cumbersome than the US layout.

      3 votes
      1. Deimos Link Parent
        Yeah, because a ~ is difficult to type sometimes (other keyboard layouts, mobile), having typing in the url as the only option isn't ideal. An alternate url without a tilde is fine, but that...

        Yeah, because a ~ is difficult to type sometimes (other keyboard layouts, mobile), having typing in the url as the only option isn't ideal. An alternate url without a tilde is fine, but that probably won't be very easily discoverable, so it most likely wouldn't be used very much.

        As kind of a related neat trick that I use on both Tildes and reddit, in Firefox (not sure about other browsers) you can define a "keyword" for a bookmark that lets you create a shortcut in your url bar. For example, on Tildes I can make a bookmark to this url: https://tildes.net/~%s and give it the keyword of t. Then if I want to go to ~games I type t games into the url bar.

        4 votes
    2. [4]
      user2 Link Parent
      But why would I use the mouse if I can use the keyboard? I use the keyboard whenever I can. It's better, faster, stronger and saves the planet.

      But why would I use the mouse if I can use the keyboard? I use the keyboard whenever I can. It's better, faster, stronger and saves the planet.

      1. Deimos Link Parent
        I mostly use keyboard too - are you using a keyboard-interface addon like Tridactyl that makes it easier to interact with the site through the keyboard? That lets you "click" elements easily...

        I mostly use keyboard too - are you using a keyboard-interface addon like Tridactyl that makes it easier to interact with the site through the keyboard? That lets you "click" elements easily without using a mouse.

        Also, the "bookmark keyword" trick I posted might be useful to you, if you're using Firefox.

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        TheJorro Link Parent
        I find it hard to resolve that you want to only use the keyboard but you don't want to use a specific character. You're basically asking for the site to cater to your personal preferences, not...

        I find it hard to resolve that you want to only use the keyboard but you don't want to use a specific character. You're basically asking for the site to cater to your personal preferences, not suggesting a scaleable solution.

        You really need to decide what's a higher priority: typing one character, or using a mouse. Because both of those are extremely simple solutions already.

        3 votes
        1. user2 Link Parent
          Well, yes, you just gave the definition of a "feature request". How is this not scaleable?

          You're basically asking for the site to cater to your personal preferences, not suggesting a scaleable solution.

          Well, yes, you just gave the definition of a "feature request". How is this not scaleable?