Forum Decorum

This is a discussion on Forum Decorum within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I have been a member of many online communities over the years. Some for work, others for fun. I do ...

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    Forum Decorum

    I have been a member of many online communities over the years. Some for work, others for fun. I do often wonder what specifically is the magic to making some sites work and others not. I think the biggest problem that is gripping the forums here is the fact that often people get so involved in correcting one another and nit-picking details that they forget to keep the original poster in heart.

    Of course the biggest problem with doing this is the overall experience that from the poster is that they feel like their question is answered but then dwindles off into confusion. Which may even discourage them from reading a well-written answer that was given to them prior to the thread's digression. Though it is not always clear to the original poster where the digression began. Thus their questions remain ultimately unanswered in a way that is satisfactory to them.

    That is my two cents.

    -Matt

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    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    Judging by cboard's track record so far, I don't think the problem you've described is much of a problem at all. We don't cater to lazy people. If you ask a question, you can expect to get far more detailed answers than you hoped for, both from direct responses and from tangents. In return, we expect you to be resourceful enough to take the answers given to you and pick out the parts that apply to your immediate problem, possibly learning unexpected things in the process.

    >Thus their questions remain ultimately unanswered in a way that is satisfactory to them.
    When most of the questions boil down to "do this for me so I don't have to work", I'd imagine that most of these guys walk away with an unsatisfactory answer.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

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    I do not disagree with that fact. Its just I hate to see the overal "friendly" factor to be lacking, is really the focal concern.

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    >> I think the biggest problem that is gripping the forums here
    To my knowledge, this is the most successful forum for beginner C and C++ programmers on the internet. So while I have no problem identifying ways to improve it I think it should also be said that any existing problems are not really that bad.

    As to your overall point, I would say a couple things. First, it really is the responsibility of the original poster to chime in and state clearly that the digression that has taken the thread away from the original question has made it difficult for him or her to understand the responses. If that were to happen then most likely someone will be glad to post a summary of the advice. If the problem is ongoing then a moderator will often split the thread so that the off-topic discussion can continue without polluting the poster's thread.

    Second, it is the responsibility of the moderators to split threads (or otherwise handle the situation) where a thread gets off topic before it has been resolved. To my knowledge they do a very good job of this, but if there is a specific instance they miss then just send a PM or mention it in the thread or do something else to request that they do something.

    Finally, I have noticed that certain posters lately do like to carry topic digressions on when it would appear obvious that the original post has not been resolved. It is annoying and I agree that it can have a negative effect on the quality of help given. If you notice certain people who do that consistently, I'd consider sending them a PM (if you have PMs enabled) and letting them know that you think it is a problem. Hopefully they will take your opinion under advisement and try to pay more attention in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    Finally, I have noticed that certain posters lately do like to carry topic digressions on when it would appear obvious that the original post has not been resolved. It is annoying and I agree that it can have a negative effect on the quality of help given. If you notice certain people who do that consistently, I'd consider sending them a PM (if you have PMs enabled) and letting them know that you think it is a problem. Hopefully they will take your opinion under advisement and try to pay more attention in the future.
    I do believe this is probably the biggest thing. Though I would imagine the moderators in particular should be the ones PM'ing the culprits.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post
    I do believe this is probably the biggest thing. Though I would imagine the moderators in particular should be the ones PM'ing the culprits.
    I would go with Daved's first idea that it's best to PM an administrator or moderator when you see something that you think is a problem and they will deal with it as they see fit, including potentially sending Private Messages to those involved.
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    Should the admins just ban the individual for breaking implicitly set rules? That seems a little overkill.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post
    Should the admins just ban the individual for breaking implicitly set rules? That seems a little overkill.
    Of course not.

    You generally can't put any fault on people who start an off-topic discussion in a thread so long as there is a logical transition between the original topic and the branched discussion. The most I would imagine a moderator doing in this circumstance is simply splitting the discussion to a new thread where is goes off topic and perhaps PMing the member who threw it off-topic, so long as they appear to have had no reason to do so. Generally, though... threads that go off-topic tend to do so in a natural curve over the course of four or five posts.

    In the case of a member "hijacking" a thread, meaning to say that they ask a seemingly irrelevant question in a response which generates a new discussion, the member might get some sort of warning or perhaps stiffer action if they are a multiple offender.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 12-09-2008 at 03:09 PM.
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    >> Though I would imagine the moderators in particular should be the ones PM'ing the culprits.
    Yes, and I'm sure they are doing what they feel is necessary for each given situation.

    At the same time, it is certainly possible that you see it as a larger problem than they do. In that case, it doesn't hurt for you to do something about it (as you have by starting this thread). I think calling specific people out might be more effective than making generalities, which is why I suggested using PMs.

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    So members shouldn't be banned unless they have an opinion that varies from a moderator, correct? I just want to make sure I am understanding what you are saying correctly.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post
    So members shouldn't be banned unless they have an opinion that varies from a moderator, correct? I just want to make sure I am understanding what you are saying correctly.
    I don't think you're understanding what we're saying at all. Nobody mentioned banning except yourself and I believe everyone else has voiced some sort of agreement that this would be too drastic of an action for something as simple as throwing a thread off-topic unintentionally.

    I believe I, as well as Daved and Prelude, have emphasized our opinions fairly clearly and any effort to repeat it would feel redundant.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 12-09-2008 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Grammar diversification.
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    I know I introduced that subject matter. I am only trying to understand the cosmos a bit while gaining a firm base of people who agree with me on something Nothing more.

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    This forum works fine, I don't know what you're talking about...

    Just because those people who come on here and say "give me teh codez" don't get a direct answer doesn't mean anything. Nor does correcting other people (or being corrected, such as most often in my case ) who may of given incorrect or ambiguous responses -- it helps everyone learn!

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    Agreed. This thread could happily be closed, I appreciate every response here. You all said exactly what I hoped for

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    I'm probably guilty of a few tangents, and a few "snotty" replies to someone asking for us to do their schoolwork (and a few examples that will probably get them a big fat "F" or some other "failure" if they were to hand in that particular example of code - when I feel a bit devilish, I can write pretty clever&nasty code).

    I don't have any plan on changing that.

    I think you will also find that I try to help in almost every case I see - not always successfully, but that's a different matter.

    --
    Mats
    Compilers can produce warnings - make the compiler programmers happy: Use them!
    Please don't PM me for help - and no, I don't do help over instant messengers.

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