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Suggestion Add a guide for creating question threads

Discussion in 'Community Chat' started by Paolo Mazzon, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Paolo Mazzon

    Paolo Mazzon Guest

    If you've ever made a question on Stack Overflow, you notice that you are greeted with a quick guide for creating questions before you are allowed to make it.
    [​IMG]
    I often see in the programming board "x question" or "question about y," and obviously that is not a very informative title (And Stack Overflow even goes as far as banning the word "question" in titles along with a few others). I realize that there are way more questions on Stack Overflow and you want to almost "sell" your question to get someone's attention (Which is certainly not the case here; more questions get answered than not.), but I think that this would still be good here.

    So thus my suggestion would be to have either a little bar at the top with a few tips about how to ask questions (And maybe acknowledge that there is a dedicated code tag...) or a page before getting to post a thread.
     
  2. Nocturne

    Nocturne Friendly Tyrant Forum Staff Admin

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    csanyk and chance like this.
  3. Paolo Mazzon

    Paolo Mazzon Guest

    I understand that there is already the info available on the forums, but it would be rather naive to assume that everyone who posts has read the community guideline and ToS. Obviously, a page before/a bar at the top can be ignored much like the aforementioned resources, but since it is right in front of people before they get to post something it is much more likely to grab their attention.
     
  4. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    <shudders> Please, no more rules and guidelines. Each time more guidelines are added, it reduces the likelihood anyone will read them. Rules creep.

    On the old GMC, the Programming forum had three pinned guidelines topics. One by J Dan linked in the header, another pinned topic by Tsuka (mostly the same issues), and a third pinned topic by Weird Dragon about bumping.

    Similarly, the Portfolios forum had guidelines by Nocturne, then a 2nd pinned topic was added by Jobo (mostly saying the same thing), and then a 3rd pinned topic was added by Jobo (expanding an existing rule). And yet there was NO change in posting behavior.

    All these guideline topics addressed important issues. But ultimately, they had little effect. Perhaps it's an example of the 90-10 rule: 90% of the problems are caused by 10% of the members (who don't read rules).
     
    Aura and Nocturne like this.
  5. csanyk

    csanyk Member

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    This makes me wonder how good Stack Overflow is for GML q&a...
     
  6. csanyk

    csanyk Member

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    So the question should be how do we get people to read/follow guidelines.

    Obviously, pinned topics with redundant information aren't as good as they could be. There should have been an effort to consolidate it.

    My hypothesis is that most people don't bother to read the guidelines, period. This could be due to how they're written, but it's as likely to be because they are not visible. Think about a typical GM:S user who has a question. Are they more interested in posting their question quickly so they can get an answer ASAP, or are they more interested in searching the forums to see if a similar question may have been asked that may have been answered in a way that is actually useful to their situation? Are they really going to be interested in spending 5-10 minutes reading sticky posts telling them how to compose their question, or are they going to want to dive right in and ask their question? People are just impatient, and "don't have time" to do things the right way. (Then they end up wasting even more time doing them the wrong way, and end up in more of a hurry than when they started...)

    What could be more effective than sticky posts? Something that makes the guidelines visible in the posting form itself, perhaps...

    Another idea, not necessarily a good one, but forum moderators could be more active in killing topics that don't follow guidelines. If someone asks a bad question, or uses a bad topic title, take the thread down and message the poster and and advise them on how to re-submit it. Of course, then you'd need an army of full-time moderators to keep up with the additional workload...

    But mostly, I think this sorts itself out through natural selection. People who aren't good at asking questions eventually go away, because they're also not good at getting answers, or at progamming, or game design. Or, they learn and eventually start doing things the right way. The problem itself never goes away, of course, because there's always a fresh influx of new people who don't know how to do these things, who either learn or fade away...
     
  7. Nocturne

    Nocturne Friendly Tyrant Forum Staff Admin

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    Umm... it HAS been consolidated? The only rules on the whole forum are in the Community Rules And Guidelines topic, and the rest of the forums have brief friendly introduction that points to them. More consolidated than that it couldn't possibly be... ;)

    Or it could be that in general noone ever reads anything? Do you read the ToS of every website you sign up to (you wouldn't sign up to many if you did... :p)? Do you read the instructions for every new gadget you buy or do you just dive in and see what happens, only referring to the instructions if you have to? Do you read the small print on every contract for gas, electricity, web or telephone service you sign? If you do, then good on you, but a large majority of people don't... especially not here. I mean it's a forum and we all know how forums work so why read the rules...?

    Ummm... this is what we had on the previous forum and it never worked there either... people still posted in the wrong place all the time!

    EXACTLY! This is the crux of the problem. Some people will always ignore the rules, some people will just not think about the rules in the heat of the moment, some people will not care about the rules and think they don't apply to them... and others will read them and remember them. We can only do our best to report topics in the wrong place or that break the rules and politely inform users of these things and hope that they listen, don't take offense and become a great new member here. In general it works, as we have far more people (like you!) that are helpful and pay attention to the details.

    :)
     

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