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Author Topic: Naming and Shaming Bad Forums with Bad Ethics  (Read 5989 times)
Stoic Joker
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2010, 12:24:19 PM »

It's often been wisely said that what you say isn't nearly as important as how you say it. Therein lying the rub. In a form of communication that is exclusively text based, the inflection applied to the words in the posters head doesn't necessarily (ever) translate well to the reader. This can cause frustration (which is quite rare in IT...) to be perceived as rudeness even tho it was not actually the intent.

So as Gwen7 mentioned a bit of understanding goes a long way... (Well said G)

I add this as a continuation of my earlier post in the defense of the "stupid" question. As most of us aren't really all that bright when we hit topics that are outside of our respective skill-sets. I myself have asked a few questions here at DC that were for-all-intent-and-purpose dumber than hell. But I did so in the hopes that someone would give me a gentile kick in the right direction...and that it may just help some other poor sap who couldn't quite muster the stones to put on the dunce cap for a bit.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2010, 12:48:49 PM »

Why anybody would want to waste the effort of 100+ words just to say "no" to a complete stranger is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Well, it's like this — and you may or may not agree and, frankly, whether or not you do is of little consequence to me because I, personally, have never contributed any post that is other than fatuous — but having nothing useful to offer results in people trying to seem as if they might have something worth saying, notwithstanding their inability to contribute meaningfully, and thus they are prompted — often without a great deal of forethought (possibly because that is something of which they are incapable) — to enter somewhat empty and often unpleasant material that some might say would be best left aside and which is always negative.
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Chris
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2010, 12:52:57 PM »

I, personally, have never contributed any post that is other than fatuous

Except this one <g,d,&r /> tongue?
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40hz
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« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2010, 01:54:51 PM »

Why anybody would want to waste the effort of 100+ words just to say "no" to a complete stranger is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Well, it's like this — and you may or may not agree and, frankly, whether or not you do is of little consequence to me because I, personally, have never contributed any post that is other than fatuous — but having nothing useful to offer results in people trying to seem as if they might have something worth saying, notwithstanding their inability to contribute meaningfully, and thus they are prompted — often without a great deal of forethought (possibly because that is something of which they are incapable) — to enter somewhat empty and often unpleasant material that some might say would be best left aside and which is always negative.


111 words Chris?

Exactly 111?


Bow your heads, all Ye Devoted. For we are in the presence of a Master...  Grin Cool Thmbsup

« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 02:25:13 PM by 40hz » Logged

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IainB
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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2010, 03:30:34 PM »

In a separate topic, @superboyac posed what he later reckoned was a deliberately provocative question: "Why do we go out of our way to be unhelpful in forums?".
You could look at his Q as being relevant to this topic (i.e., "Naming and Shaming Bad Forums with Bad Ethics").

As well as suggesting that his Q was a loaded Q, full of assumptions, and thus likely to generate a random/irrational response, I also suggested - in a response to @mrainey that:
Quote
At the risk of being repetitious, I thought it had been conclusively established a while back elsewhere in this forum -
e.g., Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
- that the most effective method for improving the DC forum's feel-good factor and avoiding things sucking was to plaster animated pictures of Angelina Jolie in scant or zero attire all over the place.

So, in this case, the answer could be equally simple (with some modification):
Quote
  • Instigate an auto-parsing of the grammar of every single initial/new topic post.
  • If the parsing detects that a question is being asked, then this triggers an auto-response post/comment from the Moderator.
  • The first part of the Moderator's post displays a largish (say) 4cm high animated icon of a naked Angelina Jolie - or maybe any babe - blowing you a kiss or doing something nastier.
  • The second part of the post could say something like, "97.63% of people who asked this or a similar question managed to obtain a satisfactory answer by "googling" it (i.e., by searching for it on http:\google.com), or by RTM (Reading The Manual). Have you already tried these? If you have, then please reply to this comment with "I already tried that, thanks." and members of our forum will no doubt be falling over themselves to help you! Meanwhile, enjoy the image above and have a nice day!
Results?
  • This would be guaranteed to blast the user experience up by a factor of 150% (at least)! Do the math!        Thmbsup
  • The take-away would an enormous feel-good factor for 99.97% of your target audience, who will tell 87.3% of their friends about it, 99% of whom will rush off to try it out and tell their friends about it, thus increasing the number of users of the DC forum asking inane questions at an exponential rate!       Thmbsup
  • A 100% reduction in "forum fatigue" from responding to the same old questions or variations of the same, time and time again.

Editor's note: 93.75% of statistics are made up.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 03:44:10 PM by IainB » Logged
J-Mac
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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2010, 11:07:18 PM »

A good example of the correct way to imply RTFM is Kinook's Ultra Recall forum. On a few occasions - and on many others for other users - I have gotten a reply to my question from the developer that consisted of a link to the Online Help page that contains an answer. In all cases I have searched through the UR Help file but it is an extremely extensive file that, while containing a vast amount of knowledge, is more of a great read for programming types and kind of hard to understand by mere mortals! (I occasionally read the UR manual when I am having difficulty falling asleep!  Grin )

Thanks!

Jim
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TucknDar
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« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2010, 05:14:11 AM »

Makes me remember the ruckus caused by the developer of an early version of the blackbox shell for windows. He was so tired of "noobs" asking the same questions over and over, that he changed the shell executable so that it needed the parameter "-rtfm" to run cheesy Obviously caused a bunch of complaints that the shell wouldn't start. To be fair to the developer, the information about the rtfm parameter was rather publicly available IIRC, and as such it proved his point that many people don't actually read the manual (or a simple README in this case).

Even though I agree that answers such as "Google it" or "RTFM" are useless and rude, sometimes I can see why people using these replies may be annoyed. I'm frequenting the XDA forums (phone OS/software development), more specifically this thread: http://forum.xda-develope...m/showthread.php?t=829734 and the same questions are asked over and over and over again. The forum has a rather simple, yet sufficient "Search this thread" function, which is apparently not used much.

Just as "RTFM-repliers" are rude, when people don't first search for answers to their questions, I think that may be considered rude as well, as these people obviously expect others to provide information that they themselves might have found with just a little effort. But when a search didn't help, obviously one wants a more helpful reply than "Google it" or "RTFM"...
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40hz
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« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2010, 11:14:14 AM »

Quote
Even though I agree that answers such as "Google it" or "RTFM" are useless and rude, sometimes I can see why people using these replies may be annoyed. I'm frequenting the XDA forums (phone OS/software development), more specifically this thread: http://forum.xda-develope...m/showthread.php?t=829734 and the same questions are asked over and over and over again. The forum has a rather simple, yet sufficient "Search this thread" function, which is apparently not used much.

I deal with a similiar problem on a forum I'm a moderator for.

From my experience, that sort of behavior seems largely confined to first time visitors. And the last thing I ever want to do (no matter how frustrated I get) is come down like a ton of bricks on some first-timer who is merely trying to get a question answered.

So rather than bang my head against the wall, I went and stored a bunch of canned FAQ-type responses in a clipping utility. Now, whenever I get a repeat question, I'll just paste a repeat answer and call it a day. I do, however, also include boilerplate that politely points out the same information is available elswhere along with the link to it.

So far, I've only had few cases where the same person continuously neglected to first look at the FAQ section after that. But rather than be rude to these people (who are obviously brain-damaged and deserving of pity) I just paste them additional canned responses - and hope for the best.
 
Cool


« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 11:25:08 AM by 40hz » Logged

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J-Mac
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« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2010, 11:50:57 AM »

I will usually try to answer any question which I am equipped to answer. The only exception, the kinds of questions that bug me are when someone just purchased/obtained a program and very obviously hasn’t even tried to use it yet. E.g., "I just downloaded and installed this. How do I use it?". Grrr...  Angry  Especially when the title of the thread they started is something similar to "HEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPP!!!! plz!!?"

Jim
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40hz
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2010, 12:24:04 PM »

^For people like that, I'll just post them a link to the Getting Started section of the user manual or wiki.

Not everybody is as easygoing however.

My good and utterly charming friend Gwyneth (Gwen7 btw. Hi Gwen!) deals with it on her forum by "bopping" such messages. Bopping consists of locking the post and tossing it over to the Disallowed Posts & Questions section of her site. When you go there, there's a nice little pop-up that answers the question "Why did my post end up here?"

Things that will get you "bopped" are clearly spelled out in the forum rules section - which you supposedly read because you needed to agree to it before you were allowed to post.

Some things on the bop list (besides the usual obscene/illegal/etc. stuff) include:

Crying Wolf - saying things like ***EMERGENCY*** in the headline when it's something that clearly isn't.

Excessive Noise - entering headlines that include things like HEEELLLLPPP!!!  and WTF????

Plus one that cracks me up:

Anatomy Lesson - referring to an entire individual (or group) as any specific part, or parts, of the human anatomy.

----

Makes me wonder what would happen if I said: Boy are these people ever a complete bunch of lungs!

Hmmm...gonna have to try it.  Grin
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 12:34:43 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2010, 12:36:10 PM »

^ Anymore I just ignore such posts, unless I happen to be in a very good mood. Then I will try to steer them properly.

Bopped? Wow, she's tough!

Thanks!

Jim
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rgdot
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« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2010, 12:46:33 PM »

In my opinion worst than RTFM or google it are format, clean install or you have a virus.
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40hz
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« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2010, 03:02:42 PM »


Bopped? Wow, she's tough!

True, but not overly.  Grin She always sends a PM with a nicely worded request that you correct and resubmit. Most of the suggestions she makes for how to improve your post are hysterically funny.

Oddly enough, almost all of the participants seem to respect and appreciate her rulebook. Especially the ones who occasionally run afoul of it. I suspect half of them do it in hopes of getting a coveted Gwen|gramme which always begins with:

Quote
Dear  ( ) Sir:
        ( ) Madam:
        ( ) Fido:

It has recently reached our ears that YOU - in PUBLIC and with your BARE FACE hanging out - have:



I think most people don't have any trouble with rules as long as they're logical, presented with a touch of humor - and enforced in a fair and consistent manner.

-----
EDIT: fixed some bad grammar.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 06:41:45 PM by 40hz » Logged

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Gwen7
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« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2010, 03:28:43 PM »

40hz neglected to mention that the forum i lord it over is for the employee association of the company i work for. being 'work related' changes the whole social contract. as such, it allows me to enforce a stricter set of rules than someone who is running a public space could likely get away with. it also permits me to fannysmack miscreants without coming off as being too much of a martinet.

#

@40hz- re: bunch of lungs

don't even *think* of trying it.  :-))
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2010, 03:53:07 PM »

@40hz- re: bunch of lungs

don't even *think* of trying it.  :-))

And don't for one moment consider calling him brainy!
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Chris
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« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2010, 06:22:06 PM »

fannysmack

Either thats lost in translation or yeaaaaah....it doesnt mean the same thing in England  huh
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40hz
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« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2010, 06:37:05 PM »

fannysmack

Either thats lost in translation or yeaaaaah....it doesnt mean the same thing in England  huh

I shudder to think.  undecided

But they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road over there to begin with, so I suppose anything is possible.  Grin

BTW: this side of the pond it's mostly taken to mean the practice of beating up a tourist or first time visitor. There are, however, shall we say...other...interpretations as well?  Wink
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 06:39:01 PM by 40hz » Logged

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Stephen66515
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« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2010, 06:44:10 PM »

fannysmack

Either thats lost in translation or yeaaaaah....it doesnt mean the same thing in England  huh

I shudder to think.  undecided

But they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road over there to begin with, so I suppose anything is possible.  Grin

 ohmy.... Sad.... Angry...bad 40hz!

lol yeah, a "fanny" here in England, ya know, that little island that basically owns America, and the country above it Wink means something TOTALLY different  Cool
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« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2010, 06:52:38 PM »

Quote
... and the same questions are asked over and over and over again. The forum has a rather simple, yet sufficient "Search this thread" function, which is apparently not used much.

To be honest, most often I don't think that's an excuse for anything at all. My reasons are different that you may expect though.

The VAST majority of forums and web sites have search functionality that rivals trying to find that penny you swallowed when you were five, over at the local sewage treatment plant. i.e Far beyond useless and well into idiotic.

I cannot count the number of times I've tried to search some forums or a web site and gotten a massive result set shipped in by a garbage truck, and not 1 clue as to how in any reality any of the results could possibly be considered relevant.

Now, different forums/sites have better/worse search functionality, but with so many bad search engines out there, people are basically trained to not search at a site.

It's a bad situation -- time and time again people get no useful results from searches, then get banged over the head for "not searching".

Google, Bing and Yahoo make the problem even worse as they set the bar so high for what people expect when they search.

Now, SMF forums actually have decent search as does vBulletin and some others. But they don't measure up to Google.

I've found myself going to Google to search like this:

some set of keywords site:somesite.com inurl:forum

But then I'm at the mercy of Google's index.

For newbies, I can see why they don't search. Still, there's no excuse for people who should know better, and developer forums... sigh... yeah... no excuse.

On a semi-related topic -- I sometimes start a thread when I already know of previous ones simply due to new information possibly being available. The older, the more likely I am to start a thread.
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40hz
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« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2010, 07:01:33 PM »

...ya know, that little island that basically owns America...

Little island...little island...that owns America...

What! Has China finally taken over Taiwan and moved it's capital there?  tongue Grin

------

BTW: Looked up 'fanny' in my BritSlang dictionary. (Only you guys... undecided)

I seriously doubt she meant it the way some people over there might take it. Especially since the "smack" part would likely require some rather complicated choreography. Possibly even special equipment.

 Grin
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2010, 07:06:12 PM »

...ya know, that little island that basically owns America...

Little island...little island...that owns America...

What! Has China finally taken over Taiwan and moved it's capital there?  tongue Grin

------

BTW: Looked up 'fanny' in my BritSlang dictionary. (Only you guys... undecided)

I seriously doubt she meant it the way some people over there might take it. Especially since the "smack" part would likely require some rather complicated choreography. Possibly even special equipment.

 Grin

I guess you would have to RTFM for that special equip 40hz

*dies laughing*
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40hz
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« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2010, 07:11:02 PM »

Quote
... and the same questions are asked over and over and over again. The forum has a rather simple, yet sufficient "Search this thread" function, which is apparently not used much.

To be honest, most often I don't think that's an excuse for anything at all. 


Agree.

Just for the record, the first quote about the "Search this thread" function isn't mine. It's me quoting TucknDar further up in the thread. Don't know why the attribution got chopped off.

 smiley
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« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2010, 08:19:16 PM »

Quote
... and the same questions are asked over and over and over again. The forum has a rather simple, yet sufficient "Search this thread" function, which is apparently not used much.

To be honest, most often I don't think that's an excuse for anything at all. 


Agree.

Just for the record, the first quote about the "Search this thread" function isn't mine. It's me quoting TucknDar further up in the thread. Don't know why the attribution got chopped off.

 smiley

Oooops. Sorry. I knew that. I was just sloppy with editing. I generally try to keep the quotes short as I'm already very long-winded. tongue cheesy
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« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2010, 08:44:18 AM »

If you look at this forum search features you will see what I also mean by forum management. Is not default SMF and hints effort has been made to increase quality for users. "Small" things like that is what make a difference when it comes to fighting noise, stupid questions and replies. If users sense site/forum is of quality most behave and it becomes a lot easier to weed out the few who insist on being stupid. Management in a good way does not appeal to tossers - the less moderators, and as annoying their helpers, act up the better though  tongue
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 08:54:52 AM by Bamse » Logged
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« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2010, 09:31:13 AM »

If you look at this forum search features you will see what I also mean by forum management. Is not default SMF and hints effort has been made to increase quality for users. "Small" things like that is what make a difference when it comes to fighting noise, stupid questions and replies. If users sense site/forum is of quality most behave and it becomes a lot easier to weed out the few who insist on being stupid. Management in a good way does not appeal to tossers - the less moderators, and as annoying their helpers, act up the better though  tongue

Ah. I didn't know the search here had been tweaked. I frequent 2 forums that use SMF and they both have good search. I've used many others that are less than useless.
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