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"Plz help" "Help me please" "Untitled" None of the above tell people who are glancing at the threads here what your problem might be, potentially turning them off to better specified problems. If you can't even title your thread, what's the probability that you can describe your problem? At least, that's how they are likely to view it. Everyone is here either for help or to help, so "please help" is a worthless thread title. Tell us what your problem is about, in broad, concise terms, in your title, and then lay it out in greater detail within the thread body.

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I totally agree. Countless number of times have I browsed the forums only to find threads with these titles and pointless descriptions. Time is money, and those who take their time to browse the forums and try to help other people should be appreciated, specially in a forum like this. Gamedev.net forums are (GLADLY ) extrememly active. What bothers me is that this is common sense, yet people continue to do the same thing over and over again. I think there is already an article ( not to say many) regarding this problem. It would be a good idea to send new members an email with a set of guidelines for the forums. Until then we will continue to encounter these posts and many will be ignored.

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Anyone who uses "Please Help me" as a title is probably not going to take the time to read the forum guidelines, just like they dont take the time to read the faqs. :/

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Thx for pointing this out Olu - this is an age-old problem really. I for one don't have the time to check through every single post in the forums I frequent, and I'm sure a lot of people share this trait as well. If I can't figure out what the topic is about, I don't even bother looking at it...

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Original post by seriouscoder
I totally agree. Countless number of times have I browsed the forums only to find threads with these titles and pointless descriptions. Time is money, and those who take their time to browse the forums and try to help other people should be appreciated, specially in a forum like this. Gamedev.net forums are (GLADLY ) extrememly active. What bothers me is that this is common sense, yet people continue to do the same thing over and over again. I think there is already an article ( not to say many) regarding this problem. It would be a good idea to send new members an email with a set of guidelines for the forums. Until then we will continue to encounter these posts and many will be ignored.


[lol] This coming from someone who just joined today [lol] (And I know you could have browsed AP for a while, I'm just pointing out the funny irony)

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Original post by seriouscoderIt would be a good idea to send new members an email with a set of guidelines for the forums. Until then we will continue to encounter these posts and many will be ignored.


Brilliant idea, it could also contain some of the common links given to new users in thier threads, etc, although it would have to be kept very short and concise to try to ensure as many people as possible actually read it.

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true. But yeah, i've been around here for a while, just under other screen name. I have intermediate skills so I often seek help as well as go through the beginners forums to help others. It is there where i find most of these posts.

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Original post by Kazgoroth
Quote:
Original post by seriouscoderIt would be a good idea to send new members an email with a set of guidelines for the forums. Until then we will continue to encounter these posts and many will be ignored.


Brilliant idea, it could also contain some of the common links given to new users in thier threads, etc, although it would have to be kept very short and concise to try to ensure as many people as possible actually read it.

Maybe, if technically feasable, when a user account makes a new topic in a forum they haven't visited before it auto-emails them a cut down version (or link to) the forum FAQ.

For example, I never tend to look at the "Help Wanted" forum, but if I were to go and post in there, the forum software could email through a sort of "introduction to 'Help Wanted' forum" email.

Then again, for a long time the forums email stuff has been completely broken for me - so this might not be such a good idea [wink]..

Jack

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Original post by jollyjeffers
Maybe, if technically feasable, when a user account makes a new topic in a forum they haven't visited before it auto-emails them a cut down version (or link to) the forum FAQ.

For example, I never tend to look at the "Help Wanted" forum, but if I were to go and post in there, the forum software could email through a sort of "introduction to 'Help Wanted' forum" email.


But in this case, the email would only arrive after a post had been made. This seems a little to somewhat defeat the purpose slightly, although it may help with future posts in that particular forum. Better would perhaps be redirecting to the appropriate FAQ the first time a user views a particular forum, or something similar. Both of these options (email or redirect) could be rather annoying however (especially the email one).

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Important
You should really add that people can edit the title of their posts, otherwise, they go duplicating their threads just because of this notice.

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Original post by Pipo DeClown
Important
You should really add that people can edit the title of their posts, otherwise, they go duplicating their threads just because of this notice.


An excellent point. For anyone new enough to have not yet noticed, there is an edit button in the upper right of each post, next to the quote button. You can use this to edit your post content and/or title (if it's the opening post of a thread), or delete the post if you for some reason feel it's necessary. If you delete the opening post of a thread, the thread will be deleted.

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But in this case, the email would only arrive after a post had been made. This seems a little to somewhat defeat the purpose slightly

eek! probably should've thought that one through a bit [embarrass]

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Better would perhaps be redirecting to the appropriate FAQ the first time a user views a particular forum, or something similar.

Something similar, but imo an improvement would be first time a user clicks "New Thread" in a given forum it forwards them to read the forum FAQ.

In fact, scrap the email idea I was on about - its rubbish by comparison [grin].

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For anyone new enough to have not yet noticed, there is an edit button in the upper right of each post

I liked the fact that recently people have appended "(solved)" or "[solved]" to the end of a post when they got the answer they wanted. I've tended to read through those out of curiousity/self-learning.

----------------

Anyway, would it be an idea to copy some of these ideas over to GDNet Comments, Suggestions and Ideas so that the powers-that be can add them to any potential forum upgrades? Or, if Oluseyi is still watching - maybe you could put it in front of the panel?

Cheers,
Jack

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Original post by jollyjeffers
I'm sure I saw a better version of the above page somewhere, but google couldn't find it for me right now - but the above is pretty much the same
It's in the Forum FAQ, written by Tiffany_Smith.

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I liked the fact that recently people have appended "(solved)" or "[solved]" to the end of a post when they got the answer they wanted. I've tended to read through those out of curiousity/self-learning.
There's a problem with that, which Yann L (I think) brilliantly codified somewhere else. The forums do not exist to provide an individual with answers to his/her problems, but rather for communal information interchange. You may have found the answer to your immediate challenge, but the discussion way weave and wend in interesting directions, leading to others - or the thread starter! - learning things they hadn't expected to.

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Or, if Oluseyi is still watching - maybe you could put it in front of the panel?
I'll point the staff/mods to some of them.

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I admit to doing a bit of erm... skimming on this thread... but i have an idea, what if (building off of someone elses idea)

when someone posts for the first time (maybe even second or third), it links them to the forum faq, but probably beautified a bit (make em WANT to read it) and have a short timer (you could even make it visible so that the user doesnt just get up and walk away) and then redirect them to the "create thread" page

thats my 1.5 cents :-D
-Dan

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playing devil's advocate:

OR, maybe not even have titles! and since this isn't a cookie baking site but a programming related site think of a better way to make a 'message board'. One idea is to create an AI script that would take whatever input the newbie enters as the entire post and parse key words from the input. Surely a bunch of great pros here would be able to use their years of experience and expertise to create such a 'bot'. (Think of Search Engines...ya it would be hard to create...)

Perhaps the person asking the question is unaware of not only the answer(s) but the true subject for a title?

Also, a _better_ way to make a title is not at the beginning but after you write your entire summary...then go over it and title it(I read this someplace). You may have thought of some better words to use. (Not that I do this...I'm lazy though.)

Just trying to think of something inbetween 'Untitled' and the people suggesting that newbies should know perfect titles (or have to read through long faqs/redirects...which then they could solve the problem themselves anyways or go to another help site/chat/board/etc. and why even bother having a newbie section? or help anybody..ever! with anything!)

OH and: Theres a lot of sites out there. And I've came across some that had ridiculous posting rules. 'register' and read this faq and jump this hoop and spin around 5 times...etc. Well as soon as I read the requirements I never visit those sites again. And I'm new to this site and i think most people here in the newbie section are really really nice :D But i wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to know this if there were a bunch of hoops my first post because my first post wouldn't have existed o.o;

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Original post by jollyjeffers
I'm sure I saw a better version of the above page somewhere, but google couldn't find it for me right now - but the above is pretty much the same


It's in the Forum FAQ, written by Tiffany_Smith.

hmm, that's the one I was thinking of. Maybe I should've looked closer to home than trying to be adventurous..


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The forums do not exist to provide an individual with answers to his/her problems, but rather for communal information interchange. You may have found the answer to your immediate challenge, but the discussion way weave and wend in interesting directions

Yeah, suppose that's a side I hadn't thought of. Still, it *can* be a good thing in some of the simpler question.

Q:"Help, my geometry is all black when I render it"
A:"Configure lighting correctly and it'll work"


Something like that warrants, maybe, a detailed explanation of why incorrect lighting configuration might make geometry black/invisible - but it's unlikely to spawn a multi-page discussion that will "weave and wend in interesting directions".

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Theres a lot of sites out there. And I've came across some that had ridiculous posting rules. 'register' and read this faq and jump this hoop and spin around 5 times...etc. Well as soon as I read the requirements I never visit those sites again.

Whatever they do choose to implement (that is, if they do change anything at all) shouldn't raise the entry level or push people out. b3ta has an amusing forum I used to read - but you have to wait (from registering) a week before you can actually post anything. I still read the board every now and then, but I can't be bothered to contribute...

Jack

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Just had another idea inspired by visiting another forum a few minutes ago... thought I'd share it here and see what people think...

Based on the assumption that most people who've posted a few times (say more than 10x) will probably know at least the basic rules/conventions here; something like the following could be shown before a post/reply is committed for people posting their first 10x.

Think of it as a check-list/preview page. A simple, short, bullet-pointed list of obvious things to check:

--------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for taking the time to post on GameDev.net, before finalising your post please take a few moments to check the following things:

1. Is your chosen title relevent/appropriate?
You will find that the number and quality of replies will be increased with an appropriate topic title. For examples click [here]

2. Have you checked if this question has been answered before?
The forums provide a search facility [here]. Performing a quick search may well yield the answer you need without having to wait for people to reply to your new question.

3. Is the content of your post appropriate for this forum?
There are many forums on this site, each with their own specific purposes. Posting your topic in the correct forum will often yield a higher quality of response. For the sites forum list, click [here]

4. Have you given enough information?
In order for people to respond to the best of their ability, you should give as much information on what you are trying to do. However, keep information and source code brief as people usually won't read incredibly long posts. For examples of what (or what not) to include, click [here]

Finally, we request that you read this [forum FAQ] (Frequently Asked Questions) page. You will find a more detailed explanation of this forum's purpose, rules and other useful information.

[Put a copy of the post in an edit box here, so the user can edit it if they want]
[Click here to post your thread]

--------------------------------------------------------


Sure, the above "example" would need a bit of work - the context would probably have to change between the informal (e.g. lounge) and the technical (e.g. General Programming). #3 and #4 in particular are fairly context-sensitive...

Hopefully you can see what I'm getting at [grin] - any thoughts?
Cheers,
Jack

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how can be sure that people wouldn't go "OMG WORDS" and click post anyway

You probably cant. You're always going to get some crap posts - either because people are lazy or don't care for the guidelines.

But if this even works moderately well (say 90% actually read the words, and 50% of those actually go and refine their post) you'd notice an improvement I reckon.

And, entirely upto the mods/staff, but if this were in place, there's almost no argument for blatant breaking of the basic rules - meaning any warnings/bans/whatever would be dished out more to those that broke rules "with intent" than "out of stupidity"...

Jack

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I like cppgirl's idea, but there's one major problem. Sometimes people post and they don't even have the vocabulary to describe their problem, requiring some amount of back and forth before a suitable description can be arrived at. In such instances, parsing and inference may be problematic.

That said, a simpler solution to all of this is for moderators reading For Beginners to rename threads when appropriate, with "[Renamed] <New Title>; was <Old Title>". In fact, maybe we can get that as one of the administrative options... cppgirl raised an important point about being newbie-friendly, and all these barriers to posting may result in no post at all. I'd like to think of myself as a relatively savvy individual, and I know I've walked away from sites because there were too many barriers to posting.

Food for thought.

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cppgirl
One idea is to create an AI script that would take whatever input the newbie enters as the entire post and parse key words from the input. Surely a bunch of great pros here would be able to use their years of experience and expertise to create such a 'bot'.

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Oluseyi
I like cppgirl's idea

Yeah, cool idea - I like it. But strikes me that it'd be a fair task for even a pro AI programmer. Also, a program that if not done really well might not generate anything much more useful/reader-friendly than the OP had..

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a simpler solution to all of this is for moderators reading For Beginners to rename threads

Definitely the simplest by a long way. But that puts the onus on the mods spending the time reading/correcting stuff which could become quite a lot of extra work?

Also, at least with my idea (or, any similar idea) is that the quality of post across the forum may well increase depending on whether (new) people keep up the good habit in the long run.

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cppgirl raised an important point about being newbie-friendly, and all these barriers to posting may result in no post at all.

it's possibly the most important point you staff/mods need to consider when putting something like this in. But as a flip-side, there will be the trade off between any measure you implement that improves the situation and also turns away newbies.

Leaving it as current probably gives you the (occasionally) low quality yet minimal "loss of custom". Depending on what (if any) change you make you'll probably lose a few newbies but get better post quality... depends what an acceptable ratio is.

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I know I've walked away from sites because there were too many barriers to posting.

Likewise (see my b3ta example), but (real sorry to keep blowing my own trumpet here) my "auto-guidelines for the first-10 posts" could fit into a minimal amount of screen-space so as not to be obtrusive.

I forget which (phpBB?) standardised forum software does it, but by default ANY post/topic goes through a "preview your post" with a button "Go back and edit some more" and a button for "post now!".. I've never seen something like that to put me off posting in a new forum.

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Food for thought.

wish you hadn't said that. I'm hungry. In order to use the vending machine I gotta walk across the labs to "recharge" my smart-card [headshake]

Jack

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