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Poll: Sticky Situation
Acetaldehyde --- 4 (11.11%)
Benzene --- 6 (16.67%)
Hydrazine --- 10 (27.78%)
Permanganates --- 6 (16.67%)
Sodium --- 7 (19.44%)
Don't do this --- 3 (8.33%)

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Author: Subject: Sticky Situation
Texium
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[*] posted on 16-3-2022 at 10:12
Sticky Situation


It's widely recognized that the long, stickied threads here contain a plethora of valuable information and interesting ideas. Unfortunately, the interesting parts are diluted with pages of halfhearted speculation and people asking the same questions over and over for years. It would be quite a big undertaking, but I was thinking I might want to go through each of these threads in turn, from beginning to end, and take notes as I go to construct a summary of everything worth reading. Then the original thread can be closed, and a new stickied thread created with the summarized version in the first post, along with an FAQ addressing the more tiresome questions, links to useful external references on the topic, and a link to the original thread so that it's still accessible. From then on, the discussion can continue in the new thread, hopefully in a more productive and easy to follow manner.

If I do this, I would like to start with one of the relatively short ones (Permanganates, Hydrazine, Sodium, Acetaldehyde, or Benzene) as sort of a trial run for the extremely long ones (Potassium, Phosphorus, Acetic Anhydride) so vote on your favorite sticky to get the treatment first, or if you think this idea is stupid, let me know and please explain why.




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[*] posted on 16-3-2022 at 10:41


The sodium thread here is mighty long and repetitive.
I haven't read all of the threads you mentioned, but this is the worst I have read.

Its also a very fundamentally useful product that doesn't involve the same sneaky risks as things like benzene and phosphorous and hydrazine.

Seems like the most useful and least likely to kill people.

Edit: also, it's easy to read quite a way through that thread without getting to see the later developments.
I bet a lot of readers don't get far enough to learn that there are easier to get catalysts than tert butanol (Or whatever the first used catalyst was)

Edit: just realized I was thinking of the potassium thread.






[Edited on 16-3-2022 by SWIM]

[Edited on 16-3-2022 by SWIM]




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[*] posted on 16-3-2022 at 18:26


If a thread is locked (but kept readable) to make a new 'sticky' ok
No censorship of old posts.

Unless the new sticky is locked,
it too will inevitably gather some extraneous verbosity.





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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 09:20


Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
If a thread is locked (but kept readable) to make a new 'sticky' ok
No censorship of old posts.

Unless the new sticky is locked,
it too will inevitably gather some extraneous verbosity.
Like I said, the old thread will be locked to prevent the old and new threads from becoming parallel discussions, but it will still be available to read, and there will be a link to it from the new thread to ensure that it's easy to find. Censorship is out of the question: the goal of this idea is to increase the visibility of the ideas in the thread and make it much easier for readers to understand the topic and what has developed throughout the long discussions.

Will the new threads descend into "extraneous verbosity?" Yes, probably so. But with the FAQ in the first post, the number of impertinent questions should be reduced, and those that still pop up can be easily directed to it (UTFFAQ!), rather than spawning another round of the same discussion that was previously buried somewhere deeper in the thread. Eventually it may be necessary to create a third edition, though it would likely take longer to get to that point than it did the first time.




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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 15:05


Doesn't really make sense IMHO.



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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 17:27


Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack  
Doesn't really make sense IMHO.
Care to elaborate?



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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 18:26


Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack  
There were plans to take this further before posting, but I made the mistake of mentioning this in a thread where I argued with an admin, who just hours later totally by coincidence announces his intention to lock this thread, and immediately this thread magically became the frontrunner in voting to be the very first of all threads locked. (a lot of people spent a lot of time writing posts in this thread, just for it to be locked and unstuck, and for their posts to be reduced to a much more important "summary" written by someone else, if mentioned at all...so why bother writing anything in the first place?)
Ohhh so this is your problem? Yes, coincidence indeed! Hate to disappoint you, but the whole forum doesn't revolve around you, and I'm not hatching some petty conspiracy to hide and/or take credit for your posts. I haven't read much of the Hydrazine thread, and I can't even recall when the last time I looked at it was. Only reason I popped in now was because it came up on Today's Posts.

It's not like these threads will be disappeared when the new threads are made. There will be a link to the old thread (now just read only) right in the first post, and discussion will be able to continue in the new thread. As I said in my last post, the only reason for closing the old thread would be to prevent two parallel discussions from being formed. If you prefer to read it in long form, that option remains freely available. Seems your reaction is a tad over-dramatic. I know we've butted heads a lot recently, but I won't slight you just because we've had personal disagreements. I understand that some people put a lot of time and effort into their posts. I want to distill that so it shines out above the posts that didn't require much time, or effort, or general use of one's brain. Experiments and significant ideas will be credited to their originators with links to the original post. Posted files will be consolidated to make them easier to find.

I was actually inspired by what woelen did in making a new sticky small-scale sulfuric acid thread, untopping the lead chamber process thread, and including a link to that in the new thread. Doesn't seem like that caused any outrage, and we've gone nearly 2 years since he made that change. I just want to take this idea a step further by adding a review/table of contents of sorts.

As for Hydrazine being the frontrunner, that was short-lived. Now it's in a four-way tie with Permanganates, Sodium, and Benzene. I haven't even voted, because I honestly have no preference. I figured I would hold out to cast a tie-breaking vote if necessary. Thanks though, this has been a good laugh. :D




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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 19:16


4way tie...coincidence? I feel like it's made intentionally...:P(I didnt vote)

[Edited on 220318 by fusso]
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[*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 19:30


I love the idea, Texium. But it is not clear in my mind what the new thread will look like. Are you copying the posts into a new thread? Are you moving the posts to a new thread? Are you copying information from the posts into a new thread? (I am thinking about the tools available on XMB and trying to imagine how you would do it.)

A couple of thoughts.
  • If effort goes into making a clean, mean, thread with all the important information in one place, then it might make sense to make that the locked one so that it does not become cluttered.
  • It might be that we could use the wiki intelligently here. Perhaps a trimmed and sealed version of the thread could go on the wiki and the original could remain live. I am sure we could find a way to include a link to the wiki page right beside the sticky. It might elevate the status of the wiki too. (I am sure that I am not the only one who forgets about it and occasionally goes months without even looking at it.)
  • A short cut solution might be simply to highlight the most critical posts in the existing thread -- Maybe by editing the text to blue. Quick, simple and easy to execute. Then anyone who wishes to get the overview can read the blue posts. And if someone wants to dive deeper into the discussion on a point then they can read the in-betweens. It also makes for an easy alteration if someone notices for example that the same question has been answered twice but post 300 did it better than post 200.

    As for where to start: out of that list, my vote is with permanganates, with sodium a close second. (Nurdrages's original videos are my go-to on the sodium topic. That was such a well-executed and documented project. The thread, although good, does not augment the information by a significant percentage.)
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    [*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 22:40


    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
    I love the idea, Texium. But it is not clear in my mind what the new thread will look like. Are you copying the posts into a new thread? Are you moving the posts to a new thread? Are you copying information from the posts into a new thread? (I am thinking about the tools available on XMB and trying to imagine how you would do it.)
    Thanks for the feedback, J. I'll address each of your points.

    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

  • If effort goes into making a clean, mean, thread with all the important information in one place, then it might make sense to make that the locked one so that it does not become cluttered.
  • I thought about that, but if it was done that way, then the old thread would become even more cluttered, and posters may just ignore the new thread. We'd also have to have twice as many sticky threads since there would be a summary thread and the original thread, which would be unwieldy.

    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

  • It might be that we could use the wiki intelligently here. Perhaps a trimmed and sealed version of the thread could go on the wiki and the original could remain live. I am sure we could find a way to include a link to the wiki page right beside the sticky. It might elevate the status of the wiki too. (I am sure that I am not the only one who forgets about it and occasionally goes months without even looking at it.)
  • I considered this option as well, and I think a combination of both would be ideal. Links to relevant wiki pages in the opening post of the new thread, bare minimum. I'm not certain if having special pages on the wiki about the threads themselves would be necessary though. That isn't something we have to decide now though. I think it would depend on how the process plays out.

    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

  • A short cut solution might be simply to highlight the most critical posts in the existing thread -- Maybe by editing the text to blue. Quick, simple and easy to execute. Then anyone who wishes to get the overview can read the blue posts. And if someone wants to dive deeper into the discussion on a point then they can read the in-betweens. It also makes for an easy alteration if someone notices for example that the same question has been answered twice but post 300 did it better than post 200.
  • I don't intend to edit the original thread at all, not even to change the text color. I don't think that would be a very effective solution because you'd still have the issue of "wait, was that experiment/file download/etc on post 200 or post 300?" and even if it was highlighted you'd still have to scroll around searching for it.

    This is what I want to do:
    1. I read the thread in its entirety, while taking notes to construct an overview of the discussion, figuring out what parts get repetitive, and flagging posts that I want to make sure to revisit. None of this would involve any changes on the forum, it would just be reading and taking notes on my computer. This part alone would take quite a while.

    2. Looking at this overview, I come up with a sensible way to organize all of the information. Perhaps there are 3 different main synthetic methods discussed in the thread that all wax and wane in popularity over the years. Rather than organizing all the information chronologically and jumping back and forth between topics, I would split it up by the different methods. Breaking it up into chunks in some way is practically a necessity.

    3. Once there's an outline, I can summarize the discussion. Posts may be quoted word-for-word if it makes sense to do so, but for the most part things would be paraphrased for the sake of brevity and cohesion. Still, proper attribution to the originator of the idea and links to the relevant part of the original thread are always a must. I'm not certain exactly how I'll format that yet, but that can be worked out later. Any references that were posted to the original thread will be re-posted to the first post of the new thread so that they can easily be found.

    4. Either before or after the main summary, I'll also write an FAQ in the hope that those questions will come up less often going forward.

    The original thread will not be altered in any way besides being made read-only and having a link to the new thread included on the first and last pages.




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    [*] posted on 17-3-2022 at 23:08


    Thanks for clarifying. That sounds like an excellent plan. I love it.

    It may be possible to have a small collaborative team, especially for the larger threads. I would think if the first one set a high standard, it could become a series of projects that greatly add to the value of the board.
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    [*] posted on 18-3-2022 at 00:19


    Sounds good to me. Especially with j_sums1's idea of having multiple people writing on the summary, it is easy to mis things and the summary will probably become "leading". Sure people can read back and add on later, but still.
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    [*] posted on 18-3-2022 at 00:25


    This is a great idea, but more so, an extremely generous undertaking. I get the apprehension and the concern about losing content that you might value where you feel another may not. However, when you go through some of the huge threads that are times when you start to feel there is more off topic posts, unreliable information, people requesting information already contained within the thread or one line non informative posts than there is usable content. I look forward to seeing the result!
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    [*] posted on 19-3-2022 at 17:16


    I think this is a great proposal, Texium. But I do think it will be quite a lot of work.
    Thanks so much for the offer.

    Again, I think that it might be something that others might help with -- that is, once the details are ironed out and the standard set. God knows there are enough competent chemists on this board who are unable to get into a lab spacve regularly who would love to become a bit more engaged.
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    [*] posted on 19-3-2022 at 18:59


    Once upon a time I did do a summary for the Phosphorus thread.

    https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=65...

    Covering pages 1-37 out of 60 current pages. Might be a good jumping point if you wanted to tackle it. Interestingly it was only shortly after that things really took off with people experimenting in their labs.




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    [*] posted on 20-3-2022 at 03:27


    Wow, I think this would be really useful.

    I voted for sodium but I just realized there are actually 2 sodium sticky threads (one called "unconventional sodium"). I think both could probably be replaced by one FAQ and summary.




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    [*] posted on 20-3-2022 at 06:13


    Isn't that the purpose of the wiki in the first place?



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    [*] posted on 20-3-2022 at 12:27


    The Wiki is not a place where everyone can contribute and discuss. The Wiki is a nice to have, but the pages are far from complete and although it is a good pursuit, they will never be.
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    [*] posted on 22-3-2022 at 18:15


    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
    Again, I think that it might be something that others might help with -- that is, once the details are ironed out and the standard set. God knows there are enough competent chemists on this board who are unable to get into a lab space regularly who would love to become a bit more engaged.
    I agree. I would love for others to help, and it would be quite grueling for me to go through all of these threads by myself. The problem is that it would be difficult to collaborate on an individual thread, because everyone involved would almost necessarily need to have an understanding of the thread's entire contents. Since the threads aren't organized, you can't just say "you take pages 1-6 and I'll take 7-12," because inevitably there will be some understanding and context missing for both people. I was just looking at the benzene thread earlier today, for instance, and realized that there were people speculating about the Friedel-Crafts disproportionation of toluene on both the first page and the last (a span of nearly 2 decades!), but no definitive answer as to its viability was given on either page. Perhaps it's somewhere in the middle, or perhaps it's never been written up by a member. Only poring over the entire thread would yield the answer.

    I think the best solution would be for me to take on the first thread on my own. I could also post my notes and explain difficulties that I had along the way here in this thread, and from there, if others would like to tackle some of the other threads, there will be a clear example to go by.

    Quote: Originally posted by BromicAcid  
    Once upon a time I did do a summary for the Phosphorus thread.
    Wonderful! that should be very helpful, indeed.

    Quote: Originally posted by Metacelsus  
    I voted for sodium but I just realized there are actually 2 sodium sticky threads (one called "unconventional sodium"). I think both could probably be replaced by one FAQ and summary.
    I agree 100%... however, given that that would make the problem of the sodium summary considerably more complex and time-consuming, I think I'll have to take it out of the running for the first thread if we're going to do it that way.

    Quote: Originally posted by brubei  
    Isn't that the purpose of the wiki in the first place?
    Not exactly. I thought about putting it on the wiki, but this doesn't exactly fit what the wiki is supposed to be. The wiki is meant to be a gateway of sorts. It contains the most essential information about a subject, but the finer details are kept to a minimum, in favor of citing forum threads and other sources that contain the explicit details of procedures. If every known synthesis involving a compound was included on its wiki page in full detail, the wiki would never end, and it would get redundant.

    Moreover, the summary page of the thread is meant to rejuvenate the discussion on the topic. Putting it at the start of a new thread should encourage people to respond to it where they see gaps and drive discussion in a productive direction. And the FAQ is more powerful if it's located right there in the thread rather than being on some page on the wiki that people will inevitably link to over and over.

    Given that Sodium and Permanganates are currently tied for first place, and the fact that Sodium is complicated by there being two very long threads on the subject, I've decided I'll start with Permanganates. I have some spare time tonight, so it seems like a good time to get started.




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    [*] posted on 11-4-2022 at 16:17


    Say someone was to write an open source script that would
    1) download a thread just like a browser,
    2) sort it into a csv file for use in excell as a spread sheet.
    3)Then a user would delete/edit the lines as needed.
    4) then the script would export the edited cvs file to a magical format for use on this site.

    What format would the export need to be in?




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    [*] posted on 9-8-2022 at 09:23


    Wanted to give an update on this since it's been awhile. I started working on the Permanganates thread back in March, but over the last few months I've become a lot more busy with research, along with other important projects, and I haven't had time or motivation to sit down and really focus on it. It is still something I very much want to do, it'll just take longer than I had initially hoped.



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    [*] posted on 12-8-2022 at 11:00


    Thanks for the effort, Texium!

    I was thinking about some sort of "distilling the essence of the thread" - like thing. E.g. there is this 100+ pages long thread about making substance X.

    I'm not really interested in reading about the decade long "evolution" of the amateur synthesis of X. What I would like to see is an "ultimate" answer: if I wanted to prepare substance X, then this was the way I should do it!

    It would be a closed thread (how to make substance X), and the original thread could be left open to discuss new ideas (if any) and such...

    If I wanted to know the fine details I could read from page 1 to page 120 the whole, original thread, but most of the time the "distilled collective wisdom" in the new, closed thread would "suffice". :)

    Of course, if there were more than one "good paths" then all could be shown in the closed thread and I, the reader, could decide which one I wanted to pursue. It would be much easier than finding these hidden descriptions on say page 34, page 58-59, and on page 92 in a very long thread.
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    [*] posted on 12-8-2022 at 12:32


    Quote: Originally posted by Pumukli  
    I'm not really interested in reading about the decade long "evolution" of the amateur synthesis of X. What I would like to see is an "ultimate" answer: if I wanted to prepare substance X, then this was the way I should do it!

    It would be a closed thread (how to make substance X), and the original thread could be left open to discuss new ideas (if any) and such...
    The decade long evolution is good to summarize for people who are trying to find better methods, to give them knowledge of where to start and prevent them from covering well-worn ground without realizing that we’ve been there, done that.

    Documenting the best, tried and true methods is where the Wiki comes in. “Closed thread that tells you best way to make substance X” sounds like it would work a lot better as a wiki page.




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    [*] posted on 12-8-2022 at 14:22


    In many ways you want to read the thread back to front with all the fat cut out. First give the answer, then show your work. It saves you from going down the rabbit hole just to learn that it's out of reach.



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