macheide (macheide) wrote in xxcustomization,
macheide
macheide
xxcustomization

General FAQ on Overrides?

OK, I give up. I've tried drafting something for this, and I hate what I have too much to even post it, although I might if I see nothing better.

Several things have been bugging me a bit. First, that there are too many customization requests that involve very frequently asked override issues, for which we have no FAQ to point to. Maybe pointing to howto suffices, although I'd maybe feel more comfortable if that community were elevated to the same official status as lj_style (which is a distinct other option for picking up the tab on overrides, since technically overrides are a part of the style system); but for the record, despite all I've done in ljoverride, I'd much prefer seeing customization support point elsewhere whenever possible, since that journal was never meant to serve any official customization role.

But second, and of quite a bit more concern to me, I don't think that LJ's stance on overrides is getting communicated often enough and clearly enough in the vast majority of customization support responses. Notwithstanding the several override-based FAQs, specific overrides beyond those FAQs are a matter of individual use of LJ versus in and of themselves being considered an official feature of LJ, and generally the use of the style editing powers that come with paid membership ought to be encouraged as an alternative to the overrides.

This is not meant to re-hash here the long-debated issue of whether or not it is appropriate for support volunteers to offer specific overrides on the board. But both in that debate and in other lj_support discussion, it has long been clear to support vets that there ought to be suitable clarification of any override support: for example, although it is not proper to say "you must get a paid account" if an override would work, it is almost as improper if not more so to neglect to say "can be done better or more completely under style editing via paid membership" when giving an override.

To many, even to many of the newer support volunteers who haven't been around the carousel on this one yet, customization support = overrides. Maybe I won't see the day I've long dreamed of, when paid members are getting specialized support on style management, but I'd like to at least have it better understood that overrides are not the end-all of LJ customization.

Stick that bit of rant along with a few of the most common questions on overrides -- where you put them, what the basic format is, maybe a word or two about the most common problem areas (e.g., merging) -- and then maybe not so many of those override questions won't have to go FAQless.
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