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Not sure if this has come up before - did search but not evident that it has - but one thing I found on a couple of forums (possibly simplymepis, not sure) is to enable registered subscribers to edit the title of their posts to include one of a set of status prefixes. These could be things like HOWTO, unsolved, solved, etc in different colours). Experienced users, who spend a lot of time helping others, would find a "solved" prefix very helpful - either because they can read it for a solution or "unsolved" because they know that person is still struggling for a solution. Also, as a newbie, if I am looking for a solution to, for example, how to set up dual monitors and there are 30 references I can look at the "solved" ones first. Other helpful categories are possible as well.
You're both probably right. My idea was to have it semi-automated with additional choices under the options below. All that someone would have to do, for example when they got a post that solved their problem, was to click on the button under options. This would automatically flag the post with the appropriate prefix. I know some would not bother but then we have to design our systems around the best performance - no??
I found over at mepis (yuch!) that people certainly used the "unsolved" prefix - it was the only way to call attention to the fact that they still needed help!!
As mentioned, the question of marking threads as being 'solved', 'answered', etc, etc, has been asked dozens of times - it's a nice idea in theory, but successfully implementing it in practice is a whole different story. (A 'solved' flag actually was in place in the past, but it was discontinued because no one used it.) The main complicating factor is simply that there is no reliable method to automatically determine the true status of a thread; the only person who can really make that assessment would be the original poster. Obviously if the OP posts back saying the question has been solved, that's great, but if he/she doesn't, then there's no real way of knowing.
If you ask me, the best possible way to have threads be marked as 'solved' would be for the original poster to simply post a followup comment indicating that the problem was solved and indicating what the solution was. Again though, this question is asked frequently, and I'd encourage you to read through the other existing threads for more background.
Lastly, LQ is always open to suggestions on how to make the site better, and if you have an idea that you think would be worthwhile, please share it -- J.W.
I agree that the only reliable way (and even that is not always the case!) is to have the poster mark up the result. I thought that it worked quite well on some of the sites that I looked at when I was using other distros. It should only be open to registered users of course.
The reason why I still think it is worth pursuing - maybe in a different format - is because of the hours I have wasted looking through loads of threads only to find that nothing ever came of them.
My general observation is that this is the main weakness of the forum model. What typically happens, is that 500 people post requests for help. Ten hard pressed experts try to service those 500 requests. If you are lucky, the expert gives you enough clues to solve the problem by the first or second post.
However, in my experience, if your problem is more complicated or unusual, and the first 2-3 suggestions don't work, the expert/s drop you. They just never answer your fourth or fifth explanation that whatever they suggested just doesn't work.
I could point you to a dozen threads where I have asked for help and well-meaning and very generous experts give you a bit of help but seem to just fade away when things get tough.
Now, I have enormous respect for the people who give so generously of their time - totally for free. I hope that some day I can be in a position to be able to help a few people myself (still a bit too much of a newbie to do that).
What I have observed is that the problem is much worse over at the new distros - I have tried simplymepis, minislack and ubuntu/kubuntu in the 6-8 weeks since I moved over to linux. Why is it worse? IMHO simply because of the ration of experts to newbies. There simply isn't the time to devote to anything that doesn't respond to fairly simple and tried/trusted routine posts.
My theory is that this is why so many newbies rush from one distro to another. They are desperately hoping that the new distro will solve a problem that the old one would not. they are not able to compile software or do much more than edit a simple conf file so they depend on things working out of the box.
I am a case in point - my first distro was Fedora FC3. This was a bit much for a complete linux newbie and in spite of expert help for days and days, I could never get FC3 to automount a digi camera. - one of the most important requirement for me. Also I just couldn't get on with yum and rpms - too many unmet dependencies. So I switched to simplymepis and, guess what, it mounted both my digi cameras "out of the box"!! Wonderful I thought - but then no one could solve my problems of not being able to get dual monitors up and running (a doddle under FC3!!)
So I moved on to ubuntu and then Kubuntu which did both - but KDE was completely broken under Kubuntu (see numerous complaints in the bug sites).
So - now here I am at Debian - desperately hoping that this will be the distro that solves it all. So far it looks very promising (so far). And so it goes on.
Anything that can be done to improve the "strike rate" on forums must be a good thing!!
Originally posted by XavierP Who reads stickies, though? Trickykid has a had a sticky up for more than ayear with instructions on installing programs - we still get questions asked that are answered by the sticky.
I also have a sticky with other rules like creating threads with crap titles but yet, we still get those threads that simply state, "Help", "Need Help", "Help Urgent!" and so on..
Perhaps we need to create stickies in all the forums that simply point to the "Search" link instead..
Originally posted by jonaskoelker But, I don't know what your point is.
Are you just blowing off steam? Are you dismissing my suggestion (pointing the users to the stickies), on grounds of having it right in their face not being helpful?
If the latter, I *do* think there's a valid reason for pointing users to the stickies--it goes in more depth. At least *I* (and people like me) might read the sticky even when not offending.
And of course there will always be users who doesn't listen to good advice, even when given on the way to a ban list.
I think what XavierP is trying to say is, no matter what we do, members are going to do it anyways. We could have it in 100 point fonts splashing on their screens and they'd still title their threads with "urgent" and "help me pleeeeez"..