Just to make sure we are on the same page, you are talking about the “Req’d Time” column in the “alternate” qstat output format, right?
If so my opinion is that leaving things as they are currently is correct and we do not show soft_walltime in this field at all. That is, if CPU time is requested, “Req’d Time” shows CPU time. Otherwise, shows walltime. If neither were requested it should continue to show “–” (even if soft_walltime was specified for the job).
No job can ever “request” soft_walltime, it can only be assigned to a job by a manager (usually through a hook). Showing a value to users that they cannot request in a column called “requested” would be confusing. It is true that today jobs are often “assigned” a walltime by either a hook or a resources_default.walltime or resources_max.walltime and these do show up in the “Req’d Time” field, but walltime can of course actually be requested by normal job submitters.
Further, normal users will not normally even need to know about soft_walltime since it is really a tool to help the scheduler make better decisions, not something that impacts/limits their jobs (especially after they are running) like hard walltime is.
One question came into my mind while re-reading the EDD: Can a PBS manager can submit a job that explicitly requests soft_walltime, or is it always read only outside of hooks? The current EDD makes me think the answer is that a manager can explicitly request it, but it would be nice to be sure.
Also, what message would a user expect to see if they attempt to request it? “qsub: Cannot set attribute, read only or insufficient permission Resource_List.soft_walltime”?