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irbrian

Pondering the Inter-Forum Disease

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Abandoning the forums for a Wiki is a very bad idea. neurokaotix has a point - some questions are unique; not everything has been answered, or answered satisfactorily.

A partial system should be implemented (I believe Oluseyi proposed this already) where the Wiki is controlled by a "select few" (those with high rankings in the new forums?), who distill the knowledge from the forums into the Wiki. Once a satisfactory answer has been found in the forums, it is rolled into the wiki. If someone asks a question that is already in the wiki, a simple link should suffice as a hint (perhaps a tag such as [ wiki ] that creates an link?).

This would allow for: a) a better organized and more permanent knowledge base of common questions and b) the ability to ask specific questions in the case where it is not in the KB or the poster does not know the correct terms for a web search.

I doubt this is anything that hasn''t already been discussed, but it''s a thought. I''m sure the staff aren''t fond of requests to completely revamp the forums when the new ones aren''t even out yet.

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You have to wonder - would these newbies even bother looking towards the Wikis if they can''t even be bothered to search the forums / articles.

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Wow, I''m definitely getting my answers. Where to begin?

Maybe I''ll start in the middle:
quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Hmm. Let''s take a look at, say, the last 100 posts on the Active Topics page. Actually, ''nuff said.
Dunno if you looked at the active topics page, but right now, there are a remarkable (and surprising, even to me) number of threads that strike me as very interesting and unique (at least within the list).
quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
Why do so many of the new visitors to these forums fail to search for existing conversations on their topic.
Well, for starters, you''re absolutely right -- there''s no convenient way to go back in time and find this information. A knowledge base of some kind would be fantastic and would probably answer a lot of newbies'' prayers. In the meantime, the Search feature on this forum SUCKS and everyone seems to be in agreement on that point, and yet I see sarcastic comments about using the search engine in virtually every post made by an inexperienced user. I''ll admit freely that I''m occasionally guilty of bypassing the Search button and just posting, but I do so knowing full well there''s a snowball''s chance in Phoenix that I''ll find what I''m looking for. Laziness? Perhaps, but only if you describe laziness as wanting to save time. For some, i.e. those who have lives, that''s a legitimate concern. (Alright, so I''m being negative and sarcastic myself now, but honestly, the endless oh-so-clever "Search and Ye Shall Find" quips are on my Top Three Least Favorite Responses at gamedev.)
quote:
I''d be willing to wager a significant amount of my own body that you''re not the first to ask about fstreams, or implementing Win32 window procedures as class methods (make it static), or advice on whether you should roll your own list for "improved performance" (in your dreams, buddy; at most, write custom allocators and traits classes), or...

What can we do to counter this problem...?
This is a fantastic idea. Really. One of the biggest problems on this forum is its a pain in the butt to figure out whether something has been discussed before, and the Search engine is only part of the problem. Active, and especially frequently discussed topics should be made into articles -- or, ideally, relocated into some kind of seperate, ongoing "interactive article" that reads like a forum thread but is more finely organized by topic, with extraneous crap stripped out to make it more focused.
quote:
Or are moderators part of the problem?
You''d like that, wouldn''t you? Everybody likes to pick on moderators.
I have no desire to pick on moderators, any more than I desire to pick on newbies, know-it-alls, or whiners. I wish others could say the same. However, I have seen a handful of moderators give less than constructive feedback. I would think a moderator should be more interested in answering people''s questions, not alienating people for simple mistakes. Also, I''ve seen circumstances where a new member of the forum is told off for making some newbie mistake as if they''ve done it a hundred times before. You can''t just lump everyone into one group and tell off Newbie Y for something Newbie C did a year ago.
quote:
We''ve decided to be a little more formal in terms of moderator policy, for more consistency across the board. Hope that alleviates your concerns. If we''re going to be pricks, we''re all going to be pricks.
Cute.

I''ve said enough for now. I hope I''m getting my point across. And if there''s really nothing that can be done about it (although I''m still all for the wiki/KB/FAQ/Interactive Article/Whatever idea), then so be it. It just seems to me the "experienced" and long-time members could stand to be a tad more polite and professional.

****************************************

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?


"I create. Therefore I am."

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quote:
Original post by downgraded
You have to wonder - would these newbies even bother looking towards the Wikis if they can''t even be bothered to search the forums / articles.

The newbie forums would more or less become the Wiki.


Thanks Salsa!Colin Jeanne | Invader''s Realm
"I forgot I had the Scroll Lock key until a few weeks ago when some asshole program used it. It even used it right" - Conner McCloud

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quote:
Original post by Invader X
The newbie forums would more or less become the Wiki.



Except that the newbies wouldn''t have posting access to it, right? I still doubt that they will browse it, instead choosing to hit whatever forum is available to them.

But I think that the wiki would be better for people who are genuinely interested in helping themselves.

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quote:
Original post by Arild Fines
quote:
Original post by irbrian
Why, and Can it be Stopped?

Yes. GD just needs better newbies.
Hehehehe.

I sympathise, Brian, and I do know exactly what you mean. I think it''s still worst in the Help Wanted forum.

There are a number of things which should, we hope, begin to solve the problem.

Firstly, neurokaotix said: "People could be nice... but with no real consequence, why?"

Well, the new forum software has this rating system - a numerical embodiment of your opinion of someone. If a poster is frequently arrogant and snobbish, they''ll get rated down as a result; their behaviour will be given a consequence. And it is a "real consequence;" all users get a slashdot-style "threshold," and posts by users below that threshold will be hidden from view. So if you irritate a lot of people, you''ll suddenly find your audience shrinking rapidly.

Secondly, as noted, the moderators are working on standardizing their policy, which should mean less subjective depends-on-who-you-get moderation. Once such a standard is in place, we can say things like "We will vote down people who are being tactless/rude," and the moderators as a whole will make it happen. As it stands at the moment, someone will say "shouldn''t we do something about the increasing level of rudeness on the boards?" and a couple of other people will say, "Yes, totally, 100% agreed..." and then nothing much will happen. Maybe a couple of people will get banned or something. It''s not terribly effective.

Thirdly, we''re working on attracting more professionals to the site. At the moment, a large part of our user base is made up of students and hobbyists - we have no intention of getting rid of them, but we''d like to up the relative proportion of professionals. And with professional users you usually get professional behaviour.

So, hopefully, those will help solve the problem. If you''ve got any other workable ideas, we''d love to hear them...


Richard "Superpig" Fine
Smoother than a greased baby
[TBRF|GP&T|Enginuity1|Enginuity2|Enginuity3|Enginuity4|Enginuity5|TB]

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quote:
Original post by irbrian
quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Hmm. Let's take a look at, say, the last 100 posts on the Active Topics page. Actually, 'nuff said.
Dunno if you looked at the active topics page, but right now, there are a remarkable (and surprising, even to me) number of threads that strike me as very interesting and unique (at least within the list).

Such as?
[edit - fixing up your quoting - superpig]

[edited by - Superpig on April 7, 2004 3:14:14 PM]
Thanks

[edited by - Woodsman on April 7, 2004 4:19:07 PM]

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Maybe you should promote the search feature. Give it some upgrades, speed ups, optimization, extra options..

AND MAKE IT BIGGER!!

--
You''re Welcome,
Rick Wong

- sitting in his chair doing the most time-consuming thing..

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Yeah, look at this "problem" from the expert''s view... we see questions 50 times a day like:

D000000DddZZ!!! Help me make5 TEH QUAKE!111! ??? It rox0rs!

or, my favorite:

What''s wrong with this code
(insert 500 lines of code they copied from somewhere)

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