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Old 12-12-2011, 06:29 PM   #1
Nominal Animal
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Feedback: one year and 1000 posts later.


(I have a tentative suggestion for enhancement regarding the reputation mechanism at the second to last paragraph of this post.)

First, let me tell you something about myself first. I joined LinuxQuestions almost exactly one year ago today. This is my 1000th post to LinuxQuestions, and also the first thread I've started here. I wanted to take this opportunity to offer some feedback in the hopes it is useful; to describe my experience here thus far; and to offer a thank you to the other members, moderators, and of course Jeremy.

My reason for joining was two-fold. First, I'm addicted to problem-solving. If there is a problem to solve in the Linux/GNU/free software world, especially one that is considered difficult or even impossible, I'm absolutely hooked. I do have a bit of a perfectionist streak, although I'm satisfied with durable, robust, modular solutions. (I guess you could say that usefulness is one aspect of beauty for me.)

Second reason is that I enjoy learning through debate and logical arguments. I easily get carried away, and I'm often wrong, but logic will (should!) sway me. I enjoy seeing others develop solutions that I can accept myself; doubly so when I've participated in the discussion in a positive way. I do have a tendency to lecture, because I enjoy seeing what direction others will take the new viewpoint or information. My own solutions are much better when I have the viewpoints of others to draw from.

I'm definitely not an easy member. I have had three points for infraction (inappropriate language). I tend to be quite aggressive if I perceive unfairness, or even if I perceive a knowledgeable member take an intellectual shortcut. Normally I try to be polite, though.

At LQ, I've found moderators to be quite fair in the forums I've participated in. Jeremy himself was quite helpful in clearing my misunderstandings about certain moderation practices. I wish I had realized that one can contact him directly if there are perceived issues with moderators -- I might not have made such an ass of myself early on. Simply put, I've been treated very fairly by the admins, even when my own behaviour was lacking.

As to threads started by other members: I do not mind supplying a full script as a solution to a specific problem, as long as the original poster is willing to learn (at least a bit of) how it works, and why it works. That is, as long as it is not a homework assignment.

I believe there has been at least a slight increase of new members using the site to help them with their homework. (Then again, it may be due to introductory courses starting in the autumn.) I don't mind the ones that ask for help to locating a bug or overcoming a problem in their solution, but there seems to be quite a lot of "Please send me teh codez" -types of threads. I have zero tolerance for the ones that say they're in a hurry, just need something to submit, and are utterly unwilling to show any kind of effort themselves. I do not believe LQ exists to facilitate such .. cheaters. I wish we had a way to flag such threads and users.

That is actually a bad segway to the one feature in LQ which I believe needs fixing. Somehow.

Two posts of mine, this and this, have been marked as "unhelpful". I know that many members disagree, and that I may be even wrong (in one or both cases), but I'm utterly baffled and constantly wondering the reasoning behind the 'unhelpful' tag. (To me, it means something like "you're detracting from the discussion", and not "I disagree".)

I understand that that is an insignificant detail to most, but for someone like me (for whom being useful is a major reason why they participate in LQ) knowing the reason their post was marked unhelpful is very important. I am tempted to ask moderators to find out if possible, but that would be unfair to other posts where such marking is questionable -- unless, of course, the moderators or Jeremy is willing to facilitate checking such "unhelpful" marking whenever requested?

Perhaps the reputation system could be modified so that neutral/negative reputation would have a reason attached ("unhelpful", "homework assignment", "flamewar", "out of topic"?). To avoid abuse, the assigning user name would be shown along with the mark in the thread view (perhaps with the user name(s) in the tooltip). It should be noted that this feature would help members to ignore behaviour they dislike without adding a lot of users to their ignore list, to keep the discussion on track. As such, I think seeing the assigners username would help readers in making the decision.

Thank you for your site, your problems, your arguments, your solutions, and for your suggestions thus far. I hope we can be mutually useful in the future, too.
 
Click here to see the post LQ members have rated as the most helpful post in this thread.
Old 12-12-2011, 08:14 PM   #2
corp769
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Quote:
Two posts of mine, this and this, have been marked as "unhelpful". I know that many members disagree, and that I may be even wrong (in one or both cases), but I'm utterly baffled and constantly wondering the reasoning behind the 'unhelpful' tag. (To me, it means something like "you're detracting from the discussion", and not "I disagree".)
I couldn't agree more with you. This has happened to me on multiple occasions. On a side note though, I know that sometimes I come off as harsh, but I don't try to.
Quote:
I believe there has been at least a slight increase of new members using the site to help them with their homework. (Then again, it may be due to introductory courses starting in the autumn.) I don't mind the ones that ask for help to locating a bug or overcoming a problem in their solution, but there seems to be quite a lot of "Please send me teh codez" -types of threads. I have zero tolerance for the ones that say they're in a hurry, just need something to submit, and are utterly unwilling to show any kind of effort themselves. I do not believe LQ exists to facilitate such .. cheaters. I wish we had a way to flag such threads and users.
I'm fully with you on that one, man. Like I just said before, I have had posts marked as unhelpful because I asked for what the OP has done so far, and that we are not here to do everything for them. I don't get it?
 
Old 12-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
frankbell
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I second what corp769 said. I know I have posted responses that were off the mark (and once or twice just plain wrong). I don't mind it when someone points out that I've made a mistake; indeed, I try to thank anyone who corrects me. Mistakes are how I learn.

It does rankle when a post I made with the intention of helping gets marked as unhelpful because I missed the mark. I think it is because calling the post "unhelpful" seems to impugn my motives, rather than just my actions.

Nevertheless, the great majority of LQ members are a positive recommendation for human-kind, so I try to ignore the small minority who are not or who may have been having bad days.

I have also seen moderators call out members for marking posts as "unhelpful" when, in the eyes of the moderator, the member meant, "I do not agree"; the mods are not blind to this, though there may be little they can do about it.
 
Old 12-13-2011, 12:42 AM   #4
Mr. Bill
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I totally agree with everything said so far- everyone makes mistakes, but I would prefer someone correct me so I know where the mistake was made, rather than anonymously marking the post as unhelpful, but I have one more point I'd like to make on the subject: "4 out of 5 found this post helpful". WTH is that? How could it be so unhelpful to the 1 that their vote should count at all without explanation? And yet it does count, not only with that line tagged to the post, but also against your "LQ helpful quotient" in your profile.

Doesn't give much incentive to spend time here helping, IMHO.
 
Old 12-13-2011, 04:49 AM   #5
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nominal Animal View Post
Two posts of mine, this and this, have been marked as "unhelpful". I know that many members disagree, and that I may be even wrong (in one or both cases), but I'm utterly baffled and constantly wondering the reasoning behind the 'unhelpful' tag. (To me, it means something like "you're detracting from the discussion", and not "I disagree".)

I understand that that is an insignificant detail to most, but for someone like me (for whom being useful is a major reason why they participate in LQ) knowing the reason their post was marked unhelpful is very important. I am tempted to ask moderators to find out if possible, but that would be unfair to other posts where such marking is questionable -- unless, of course, the moderators or Jeremy is willing to facilitate checking such "unhelpful" marking whenever requested?

Perhaps the reputation system could be modified so that neutral/negative reputation would have a reason attached ("unhelpful", "homework assignment", "flamewar", "out of topic"?). To avoid abuse, the assigning user name would be shown along with the mark in the thread view (perhaps with the user name(s) in the tooltip). It should be noted that this feature would help members to ignore behaviour they dislike without adding a lot of users to their ignore list, to keep the discussion on track. As such, I think seeing the assigners username would help readers in making the decision.

Thank you for your site, your problems, your arguments, your solutions, and for your suggestions thus far. I hope we can be mutually useful in the future, too.
Great post. I agree with all of that. I think that you are right, the 'unhelpful' button is not helpful as is. You should be able to see who marked your post as unhelpful and why. And, not only that, you should also be able to challenge it. From what I've seen, currently, 'unhelpful' = 'I do not agree with your opinions', and this is not helpful for anything. It does annoy me.
 
Old 12-13-2011, 05:08 AM   #6
catkin
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Given the choice, I would do away with the "Did you find this post helpful? No" link. Many posts are made with good intent but are not helpful, perhaps making a suggestion that did not work or because the poster did not fully understand the question (mea culpa for that one, many times). What benefit would there be in clicking the No link? Would it not discourage the poster?

Sometimes people accidentally click No instead of Yes and it is not obvious how to rectify the error and, as already mentioned, No is often used to mean "I do not agree/like the post".
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 10:49 AM   #7
XavierP
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Technically, and somewhat flippantly, the "unhelpful" button was used correctly:
Question: will you do all my work for me?
Answer: No
Response: That was no help to me at all, where's that button gone?


The button isn't meant to do away with the conversational format we have here, I would hope that everyone who hits the button at least takes the time to explain politely why they think a particular answer was not helpful. Maybe the question just needs to be expanded on or an answer needs to go a few extra steps. If anyone does feel that they are being down-graded unfairly, let one of us know. We may not be able to fix it or the person's perspective, but we do have looong memories
 
Old 12-13-2011, 11:09 AM   #8
jeremy
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Thanks for the feedback. The button was intended to address very specific cases (such as a post being dangerous, misleading or not adding to the conversation in a constructive way). It was explicitly *not* meant as an "I do not agree with this opinion" or "I don't like this content" button. While we have tried to ensure the option is used as intended (as noted the mods have addressed misuses), it's clear that the option currently isn't reaching its intended goal. While I maintain that a negative option, if used correctly, would benefit LQ; I am going to disable the "No" until we can review how it may be used in a manner more congruent with its intended goals.

--jeremy
 
9 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
Based on feedback, we have removed the No option until we can ensure it's being used properly.
Ah, I already wondered where it is gone before seeing this thread. Since I use that function occasionally (and I think in the way it is intended to be used), is it possible to enable it at least for senior members?
When I think about it, I can't imagine a way to make sure that is used properly.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 11:41 AM   #10
jeremy
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TobiSGD,

I've moved your post to this thread to keep discussion and feedback in a single place. I do see value in the "No" option if used correctly, so we'll try to figure out a way to ensure it will be used correctly and consistently. It's possible usergroup based restrictions will be part of that.

--jeremy
 
Old 12-13-2011, 11:42 AM   #11
timetraveler
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Is there a mechanism in place to prevent someone from creating one or more accounts on lq and then using those accounts to boost the rep of the other accounts?

I don't pay attention to the rep system. I pay attention to the content of the post(s).
I don't even know how the rep system works and I don't care. It seems to me that it is a system that is based on what other people want to tell you to think of someone else. I like to decide for myself.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 11:58 AM   #12
jeremy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timetraveler View Post
Is there a mechanism in place to prevent someone from creating one or more accounts on lq and then using those accounts to boost the rep of the other accounts?
Yes.

--jeremy
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 12:05 PM   #13
catkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
The button was intended to address very specific cases (such as a post being dangerous, misleading or not adding to the conversation in a constructive way).
Doesn't the Report button address most of those cases?
 
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-13-2011, 12:13 PM   #14
jeremy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catkin View Post
Doesn't the Report button address most of those cases?
While it's certainly true that dangerous or malicious commands will be edited, there's a large gray area in the "misleading or not adding to the conversation in a constructive way" group that may not require individual immediate attention, but taken as a larger group are indicative of an issue.

--jeremy
 
Old 12-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #15
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
While it's certainly true that dangerous or malicious commands will be edited, there's a large gray area in the "misleading or not adding to the conversation in a constructive way" group that may not require individual immediate attention, but taken as a larger group are indicative of an issue.

--jeremy
In that case, why not make it so that, after pressing the Report button, you get a choice of severity/importance/priority of the report. Say from 1 to 5, where 1 is minor and 5 is critical, kinda like in bug reports.

If a post is misleading, maybe it should be removed, but maybe something else has priority, so you could rate it 1. If a post is dangerous, it should be removed right away to prevent damage to user's systems, so you could rate it 5. This would also tell the mods in which order to handle the posts. Yeah, it is subjective, but that doesn't mean it won't work or help. It would make the "grey area" into shades of gray.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 12-13-2011 at 12:33 PM.
 
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