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irbrian

Pondering the Inter-Forum Disease

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quote:
Original post by Xai
Oluseyi, if you read that paragraph as a rant, you didn''t read that paragraph ...
Nah. On second glance, it''s your total lack of periods! Goodness, man, it''s like you leave every single sentence dangling and running into the next.

Sorry, but that''s the way it reads. This is a textual medium.

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yeah, I guess you could call me a stream of conciousness writer

which isn''t always a good thing, but it''s the only way I can keep myself from refactoring my prose until it reads like code.

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Modifying the ''New Post'' for new users would be an option.

1) User clicks ''New Post'' and enters their post.
2) Post text is saved and keywords in the post are run through the search
3) List of potential matches to the likely content of the new post are displayed - prompting the user to check out these threads, articles, FAQs or Wiki entries

Obviously there''d need to be a way of moderating the posts:- how about they get moderated before they appear? If the mod is happy that this is a new or unanswered question they can let the post go up.

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I'd argue that the problem isn't the newbies at all but is instead a fault of the flamers. If instead of flaming every mmorpg post and every question that has been asked before we just pointed them to the faq and search, or even just ignored them, threads wouldn't turn into flame wars, they would just be quick pointers to the right information. Then the forums would remain professional and newbies would learn where to get help first.

tj963

[edited by - tj963 on April 9, 2004 5:24:16 PM]

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I disagree. If it wasn''t incredibly rude, I''d be able to point on one or two active posters on the boards right now who consistently asked stupid, ill-researched, non-thought-out questions, until they were flamed. At which point they started actually doing some work for themselves instead of asking to be spoon fed. Politely pointing them to the faqs or search features, on the other hand, didn''t work.

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Flaming ignorant posters is good. Consider it some kind of rite-of-passage. If you get flamed and you refuse to learn anything from it, you really shouldn''t be doing programming at all.

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
quote:
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.
Works for me. Of course, I know how to search. It''s like the comment Xai made about Google pros: we should give tips on how to search (skip conjunctions, prepositions, etc; focus on "power terms").
If these forums used Google as their search engine, I don''t think I''d have trouble finding what I was looking for. But they don''t. Too bad.

quote:
quote:
...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.
Depends on how stupid it is.

There used to be something called netiquette. It went, roughly, like this: When you joined a new community, regardless of your skill level, you lurked first, getting a feel for the community - the sorts of questions asked and answers received, the informal "rules" in effect, etc. That way, when you began to post, you knew where the boundaries are.

Netiquette is dead. With netiquette dead, the ''net becomes a sort of Wild West frontier. Newcomers get shot along with old hands.
I''d argue that, when it comes to our relative state as Web users, you''ve got it backwards.

Netiquette, you might say, is like the Code of the Old West -- it was well established when the ''net was young and undercivilized, when you had to know it and live by it, or you''d get "shot." Nowadays, the ''Net is a thriving metropolis. It''s populated by scores of different groups of people with all different kinds of experiences. The Code is no more -- we live by necessity in a society of general acceptance, where the fibers of each citizen''s experiences and culture must be respected, and as a product of that respect, we discover unexpected value in the final tapestry.

Perhaps you would like to just get to the heart of the matter and ban newbies who post "stupid" questions. Well, most of the experienced posters on this forum were once total newbies -- and while I don''t know how "stupid" their initial questions were, many probably didn''t know what to expect or what was expected. Some perhaps had no notion at all of some Code of "Netiquette." But some epic discussions and ideas have been born of their arrival. Would GameDev be better off if those newbies hadn''t been accepted and invited to stick around and learn a few things? I think not.

If I can take these thoughts one step further, I SEE NO REASON why new users shouldn''t be invited to post their questions, regardless of how they are viewed by Veterans. I consider GameDev to be first and foremost a Resource Site -- a way for game developers of all skill and experience levels to expand their skills. When a visitor desperately needs the answer to the question, sometimes a "Hello, I''m new, I don''t know what I''m doing but I really need this figured out quickly, so can someone tell me X" is really not such a terrible thing. Actually, even the most basic, novice questions that come up frequently on this forum occasionally result in fantastic tutorials, timeless wisdom, fresh perspectives, and practical answers. New users that receive such valuable and valid responses tend to not only stick around, but to continue their learning.

These users quickly learn that there are ways to solve their own problems instead of posting every little question, and they should absolutely be encouraged and guided in doing so. I have no interest in reading through some kid''s 500 lines of code to find his missing dereferencing character, for instance. But a gentle invitation to the poster to first step through his own code and think it through carefully, coupled with a simple "Here''s a good place to find the answer to your question if you get stumped" (and Google.Com is not a valid Here ) is thoughtful, helpful, and can not negatively impact the responder to the least degree. If you don''t have an answer like this or can''t be bothered to come up with one, then why not follow the ancient bit of wisdom, "If you can''t say something nice, don''t say anything at all."

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

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?


"I create. Therefore I am."

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quote:
Original post by irbrian
If these forums used Google as their search engine, I don't think I'd have trouble finding what I was looking for. But they don't. Too bad.


You do realize that the forums are indexed by google? I just popped the title of this thread in google and got a link right back here. I can find posts I made on gamedev as far back as February 2000 via google. It seems like you can get to the first page of pretty much any thread in this manner. (edit: well since the last crawl anyways.)

quote:
If you don't have an answer like this or can't be bothered to come up with one, then why not follow the ancient bit of wisdom, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Sometimes nice doesn't work. This is something that is painfully true. Some posters, as nice as you are to them, are just lazy, and no matter how gently you prod them towards the tools to finding answers on their own, prefer to use the forums as the first stop when finding information. And it's in their best interests that they stop doing so. They will not grow in skill as programmers as long as they keep getting spoon fed. If nice or even mildly irritated doesn't help them develop their skills, then rude will have to do.

[edited by - SiCrane on April 11, 2004 2:05:01 AM]

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quote:
Original post by irbrian
Netiquette, you might say, is like the Code of the Old West -- it was well established when the ''net was young and undercivilized, when you had to know it and live by it, or you''d get "shot." Nowadays, the ''Net is a thriving metropolis. It''s populated by scores of different groups of people with all different kinds of experiences. The Code is no more -- we live by necessity in a society of general acceptance, where the fibers of each citizen''s experiences and culture must be respected, and as a product of that respect, we discover unexpected value in the final tapestry.
Stop.

When you move into a Metropolis, do you or do you not try to find out what the laws are governing your neighborhood - what side to park on (if you don''t have off-street parking), when garbage day is, etc? In fact, this information is given to you either by the landlord or by the city council when you register your status as a resident. And when you register your status as a member of GDNet, what document is automatically presented to you?

That''s right, the Site FAQ, the rules that govern your existence on GameDev.Net.

"Oh, but no one ever reads that!" Well, if you parked your car on the wrong side of the street back in our hypothetical real world metropolis, you wouldn''t be able to use that as an excuse. In the words of many a law enforcement agent, "Ignorance is no excuse."

All I''m advocating is a little personal responsibility. "Wow, cool site! Great, they talk about making games and stuff - the kinda stuff I wanna learn! What are the limits, though?" That''s all. That''s not too much to ask, is it?

quote:
If you don''t have an answer like this or can''t be bothered to come up with one, then why not follow the ancient bit of wisdom, "If you can''t say something nice, don''t say anything at all."
Somebody''s mother came up with that bit of "wisdom", and all it did was make him a pansy.

Here''s a question for you: Should there be a bar to entry at all? Should anybody, with zero initiative, be able to stumble onto this site (#1 Google result for "game development") and start asking random, zero-knowledge questions? Should we be obligated to answer, despite the fact that we have introductory material - frequently pointed to, more frequently ignored?

We''re trying to make the site easier to use, emphasizing things like FAQs, Articles and other resources. We''re working on expanding the FAQ system considerably beyond just laying out per-forum rules. We''re doing a lot, because we want to be the for independent and "semi-pro" game development (I suppose I should improve my attitude, in keeping with that goal). But at some point, the individual member is going to have to supply the initiative to make things happen.

That''s all I''m saying.

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I don''t really feel like going back and finding exact quotes for this post, but whatever...

a while back the topic of netiquette was brought up, and how a person should sit back and observe a community first before posting, and learn the general behavior of the people...

if new users did that now, does it not seem likely that we''d be getting even more flame posts? I mean, that''s what happens often on the forums, newbies post a question, everyone else screams at them. anyone who follows netiquette will see this common trend, and suddenly, more people are screaming at everyone else because that''s just the way things seem to go.

Also, on the topic of politely answering questions by referring to another post or just answering it, and screaming at and flaming the original posters... if a kid, say 5 years old, came up to you and asked "Why is the grass green?", would you scream "LOOK IT UP RETARD!!!! THAT''S BEEN ANSWERED MILLIONS OF TIMES ALREADY!!!!!!!" and hit the kid in the face with an encyclopedia? or would you be a bit more civil and either try to answer it as truthfully and simply as you could, or just that that''s the way things are?

That''s close to the situation that occurs here. A kid of 5 years experience in life asking a question that has been asked and answered an uncountable number of times in the past... or a new member here, with maybe a year or experience in programming asking a question that has been asked and answered (for the most part with "USE THE SEARCH YOU STUPID MORON!!!!!!") a few hundred times...

Now, for the idea of having the search come up when you click on "New Topic", why not take advantage of the user ranking or something... a person with a lower ranking or who just joined recently or something would have the search come up, but older users wouldn''t...

Or, have a couple different buttons: "New Topic" and "Ask Question" or something similar. The Ask Question thing could be more prominent so that a person who''s just clicking where ever would be more drawn to it. Then, when you click Ask Question, you could be brought to a more in-depth form to fill out about your question. You would be able to categorize the question -- a few main categories: general game dev, graphics, general programming, etc; and then you could pick a subcategory relevent to the main category. Then you could put in a few key words of your own, and it would search for relevent topics. So now you''d have a list of possible answers which you could peruse, and if none of them worked out, then your question could be made public, and you''d get an answer that way.

If it were planned out, I''m sure something like that could work very nicely. Maybe even when the list of possible answers comes up, a cookie could be stored that would count how many of the results actually are checked, and if the poster just chooses to ignore them, the question would not be posted... Just an idea...

Anyways, I''m sure I have better stuff to do right now, so I''ll call it quits for now.

Queeble (aka BlabberBoy)

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