SEARCH

The How-To Geek Forums Have Migrated to Discourse

How-To Geek Forums / Site Suggestions

(Solved) - Where will the current state of affairs lead this forum?

(29 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by algotechie
  • Latest reply from Scott
  • Topic Viewed 3956 times

algotechie
Posts: 110

The questions are being added at a rate far greater than the rate at which they are being solved. Just wondering what the result will be if it continued that way. The whole forum would look like a big pot of unsolved problems with the frustrated answerers picking out 1 or 2 problems at a time. Are there any plans to avoid that or am I just being paranoid?

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
madmacs
Posts: 1438

Hi algotechie, a lot of our forum members are fast asleep in their beds at the moment, so answering a question would be quite impossible!! Apart from that everyone that helps here are doing it on a free basis, answering in their own time. Some could be at work others may have more important things to do. Believe it or not even the Mods here have full time jobs to go to. We all try to help where we can, unfortunately not everyone has an answer to everything. I'm sure there will be more answers to the questions, if given time. Matt

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
edmenje
Posts: 279

I think it's probably a situation where many of the topics are being started by people who don't extend the courtesy, when they actually solve the problem, to return to the forum and mark it as such. One instance I will mention is that I was answering someones problem, and along with another member we told the woman a few times with slightly different wording the sure solution to the problem. The final post was mine, pointing her to a step-by-step tutorial that included screenshots. If she did go to that link and follow the steps her problem would have been certainly solved by even the most wet behind the ears newbie. Since the ball was now in her court, it would be up to her to post a follow up and either mark it solved or thank us for the help and ask if anyone else had another solution, she did neither. I assume she merely solved the problem and did not think to bring closure to the thread. This probably happens quite often.

I just marked two of my threads solved, one was waiting around a while to see if any further ideas would be posted, and the other I'm marking right away as the solution was clearly achieved quickly. I for one will not leave threads open once the solution has been found...simple netiquette.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
LH
Posts: 20002

Also, some of our members who help out greatly, can only get on maybe once a week or less.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
The Geek
Posts: 2059

Browse just about any forum out there, and it's a sea of unsolved topics. It's par for the course, especially when the original poster never comes back to explain what fixed the problem for them.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

edmenje, you make a good point. It is very frustrating to see OPs abandoning their query after an initial post or later. I saw this happen hundreds of times. Besides, some of the most active and knowledgeable contributers from the past have vanished (for whatever reason). That puts a big dent into our ability to answer many questions. But I am sure we'll plow along - somehow.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

a lot of the problems can be solved by going to the "help" files for individual programs. if i knew more i would help, i'm here learning as i go

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
mfletch
Posts: 1434

Can the forum software do a time out solved

eg/ no reply in posts in say one week and it auto gets a solved or locked notice.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
LH
Posts: 20002

mfletch, if you think about it, that is not a practicable solution.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
algotechie
Posts: 110

Dear madmacs

You misunderstood me. I didn't mean to say the moderators or the members are not helpful enough here. They certainly are. I'd especially like to mention LH who's been the best mod as far as my posts go. The thing I actually wanted to point out is this. Consider the forum as a departmental store with a stamping desk where the newly arrived items are marked with an authenticity code stamp. Consider the new problems posted as the new items arriving at the store, and the solved ones as the stamped items. The person at the stamping desk is analogous to the moderators and the other answerers. Now, suppose, as is the case on the forum as I viewed it (I might be wrong), the person at the stamping desk is working with an efficiency close to 100% all the time. But obviously there's a limit to the maximum number of items that the person can stamp in a given slot of time. Let's just say that limit is N items per day. (You can say all the answerers can solve a maximum of N problems a day, as a best case scenario.)

Now, what I observed was that the new problems being posted are coming at a rate greater than N per day. It has nothing to do with the "free" thing that you pointed out. Now, if the situation prevails, the number of unsolved problems would eventually reach large enough to be impossible to solve without pausing the new problem posting for some time. And as every site administrator knows, it's the worst thing for the PR of the site after server crash and data loss.

To The Geek

I'd like to cite the example of Yahoo! Answers. There, the problems posted get a solution almost instantaneously, and that is also free. I don't mean to compare the two platforms - they are by no means similar. But we CAN adopt some of the strategies if they help make this forum different from the so many other forums cluttered with unsolved (and hence useless to browse and wasteful to disk space) problems. I think the users should be able to vote for a problem as being solved or unsolved after, say, 30 days of no response from the original asker (but not applicable if the last reply is the asker's only). Better yet, let the asker decide the validity period for the problem, instead of assuming that every asker would wait 30 days for a little tiny problem.

Now, in the case of the problem being decided by the users as being solved or not-solved, since the original asker has presumably not actually gotten the solution, and since the other users have most likely not tried to reproduce the exact same problem with the exact same set of hardware and software in every case, it makes sense that the asker be given the ability to mark a post as being permanently unsolved (which can then not be marked as solved by the users).

So, in case the asker has found all the solutions inapplicable, the problem would be marked unsolved. In case the asker marks it as solved, it's just good. In both of these, the asker has confirmed the asker's opinion about the replies. In the third case where the asker just ignored the topic after a certain number of posts and neither marked it as unsolved nor solved, the users can decide the fate of the topic.

To encourage the answers, awards (in terms of special titles) can be given, like Google Help forums do. There need to be more subtitles among the main title "Member" LOL :D

Just my 2 cents. Please see if they make any sense. I can make more suggestions if the mods and members liked them hehehe...

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
LH
Posts: 20002

I cannot stop laughing after the "Yahoo Answers" reference. It's where I go to have a laugh.
When I stop, I will get back to you on some other points :)

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
The Geek
Posts: 2059

Yahoo Answers is consistently the most ridiculed question/answer site out there. It's full of complete nonsense, right around the level of YouTube comments. Google Help forums are completely overrun with spam to the point where people are leaving them in droves.

The fact is, our mission here is to try and help people in a nice friendly manner, and relaxed environment without yelling, spam, or nonsense like most other forums have. If people choose to never come back, that's perfectly fine. If they choose to come back a month later (happens quite often actually), that's also fine.

It's meant to be a no-pressure zone where people can hang out and answer a few questions if they feel like it. We feel that we've helped a lot of people, but there's no way to help everybody, especially when the most consistent problem is just user error in the first place.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
The Geek
Posts: 2059

@LH - you beat me by 31 seconds... I totally agree! =)

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
algotechie
Posts: 110

Actually you sorted out the negative points from both Yahoo Answers and Google Help and completely ignored the plus points I meant to draw your kind attention to. There are two things on all these forums: The content itself and its management. I picked up the best points from the latter and presented them to you. You looked at the worst points of the former and started making fun of them.

I'm a bit disappointed. But well... That's life... Never mind.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
LH
Posts: 20002

I have spent maybe weeks (as have many other members, on resolving a problem for others), Hours of research and thought and testing.
Nobody here puts up bad advice. Sometimes it may arrive, but will quickly be noticed, and removed.
Unlike other sites !

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
algotechie
Posts: 110

But, LH, what about the increasing number of unsolved problems? That is what the discussion was all about. (I never said there's spam on the site or something like that.) I mean, like all other forums, will this one also keep accomodating the unsolved problems as such or is there something that'll solve the problem? And if there is, then what is it? Alright my solution may not be practical. But what is the other solution, if any?

Actually, I initially thought I was probably concerned too much. But the responses from the other members show they too realize this problem. So there ought to be some solution...

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
LH
Posts: 20002

Unsolved problems arrive because either there is no one around at the the time that knows the answer, or there is someone who knows, but is away at the time.
What more can I say ?

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

Hmmmm maybe those green dots are not such a great idea after all - makes people notice how much there isn't solved :)

Algotechie - I don't think the number of unsolved problems in increasing, it's just more noticeable.
I don't think in any point in time all questions have been answered.
And I rather have my topic marked as unsolved, than not being presented by a solution and the topic get's closed and marked as being solved, because the respondent takes it he has spend enough time on the topic.

I myself have a problem with Windows Mail since the beginning I got Vista.
I posted it on a Microsoft site (forgot which one) got two replies which didn't help me at all and then the topic was closed and marked solved. Well, maybe that keeps up the statistics, but my problem was not solved and when I google for the solution to a problem and I come across posts like these I think I have found the answer to a problem, but then it doesn't work, because it is not really a solution.
So I prefer the HTG-way :)

Btw. haven't met any frustrated answerers so far around here :)
We all chime in, take out the questions we think we have an answer to and try to help. Whether it is regulars or mods.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

Hmm, I am lucky. When I click on "unresolved topics", I get a blank page. Must not be so bad after all.

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

LOL whs, same for me. And I just marked one of my topics solved, which wasn't really looking for a solution, so it was solved in that regard, just to keep the statistics up :)

Posted 5 years ago
Top
 



Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.