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Author Topic: Suggestions for CH (And some reasons as to why we suggested these)  (Read 15926 times)

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Raptor

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Discussed & compiled by me and CBMatt.. What are your thoughts?

SUGGESTIONS:

1. Hardware/software details have to be filled out when registering.  Omitting this data is not an option.  If a user is unsure of how to obtain said information, they may be directed towards a tool such as SIW or Everest.  If possible, a good method would be the ability to save information for multiple computers. Then, when somebody posts, they can choose which computer they're talking about. Much like the billing plans on a site such as Amazon.

2. A FORCED spellcheck before posting. (It doesn't have to come out clean, just force people to go through the words that the speller thinks are misspelled.)

3. The option to provide an area of specialization/skill/hobby and the possible existence of papers to prove this.  This information will be available in your profile to help everyone recognize your level of knowledge/understanding.

4. A system where a poster's problem is ranked and the most skilled person is chosen for the job. One on one service; but other members can leave comments. (Comments should be smaller than forum posts and not in the actual topic, but rather on another page as can be found on Wikipedia.)

5. Some sort of three-strikes system. If someone is unable to comply to the rules, they get one (maybe two) warnings. And if they continue to provide inadequate information or make incoherent posts, then they're automatically banned.

6. There should be some sort of time limit. If the OP doesn't respond within two days (or whatever specified amount of time would be appropriate), then they are notified and/or their post is deleted. It's tiresome seeing threads where people will post suggestions for a week but the OP is long gone. There should also be some sort of limit on new threads (perhaps a grace period) to help cut down on multiple postings.

7. Postcounts should be hidden from the general public. Or at least only viewable in a user's profile. It seems like people tend to wear it as a badge, which causes some of the younger members (and older immature members) to post blindly in hopes of reaching some sort of status.

8. Perhaps users' posts could be categorized under the different computers on their profile. Instead of seeing all of their posts, we get a list of their computers on file, then choosing one will list the posts pertaining to that computer. Perhaps there could be several ways of filtering the posts. Such as seeing only that user's past software issues or hardware issues or whatever.


---------------------------------------
ARGUMENTS:
1. The forum is not making any progress. We're constantly repeating ourself and the way the forum operates is not very efficient. We should take a more professional/corporate approach to solving problems, like the live-chat function ComputerHope has.  We do this to help people, not to repeat ourselves as many times as possible each week and one-on-one help is a lot better than having people post random comments or things completely irrelevant to the situation.

2. The Off-Topic section is a mess. We can use the Computer News section and post all of the news messages there, which can turn out pretty much off-topic, but at least the discussions there would be semi-productive and not completely random, redundant, and irrelevant, as is the case now in Off-Topic and Forum Games.  Lately, it's causing a MySpace-like atmosphere and the off-topic discussion is overflowing into other discussions.

3. ComputerHope could be more efficient if the forum was handled in a more strict manner through software, not just rules. As people don't pay attention to the rules anyway. A filtering systemóike having to fill out your hardware when you register an accountórevents people who have the attention span of a goldfish to come and annoy the h**l out of everyone.

Sure, CH aims to help everyone, but we'd rather aim to help out those who truly deserve it and really couldn't find an answer to their problems instead of those who choose us over Google, even though they're going to have to learn some time.

For every 10 people with a lack of an attention span, there is one good person. And the quality of help suffers because of these 9 others. It's better to reduce that number or do away with it entirely.  Much like corporations wouldn't answer people who do not buy their products but have questions about a product in general, we shouldn't answer people who are A) Incoherent B) Wasting our time C) Just plain ignorant.

Free help doesn't mean we have to put up with some of the things people would want us to put up with here.

M1CH431



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    I'd have to agree with suggestions: 1,2,5,6 and 7. I also agree with the arguments, definitely some good points in the suggestions and arguments.

    CBMatt

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    Well, I'm glad someone at least partially agrees with us.  I'd like to know what everyone on here thinks, but the board appears to be a bit dead tonight.  I'm wondering how many stones will be tossed our way.  Heh.
    Quote
    An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
    óRobert A. Humphrey

    soybean



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    I also think Iíd vote for 1,2,5,6, and 7.   

    #3 may be a bit too much; it seems to kinda overlook practical experience.  If I understand it correctly, some good past contributors could actually be barred from participation due to lack of formal certification. 

    #4 also seems a bit far-fetched.  Choose the most skilled person is chosen for the job?   Uh, hold on here.  Letís remember this is a volunteer community.  This suggestion seems to impose a responsibility on the most skilled person chosen for the job to be available when needed.  Again, this is a volunteer community.  And, I donít think that calls for the level of commitment implied in this suggestion.

    Regarding the arguments, I donít agree that the Off-Topic section is a mess.   Why does it matter if discussions there are not ďproductiveĒ?  They donít need to be productive (in terms of computing topics); indeed, the Off-Topic section was, in a sense, created for non-productive discussions, created to provide an area specifically for off-topic discussions.

    Regarding the implementation of some or most of these suggestions, Iím sure the feasibility of doing so depends on whether the SMF forum software is designed to accommodate such ideas, and I doubt that it is so designed.

    dl65

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      hummmmmmmm........
      Quote
      Discussed & compiled by me and CBMatt.. What are your thoughts?
      Under suggestions...... There are several things mentioned that make sense. The remainder, appear to be a little intrusive.

      Under ARGUMENTS.....
      Quote
      The forum is not making any progress
      How are you defining progress........... Perhaps ask a few of the visitors and or members, who have come here looking for a solution to some issue and it has been resolved, what they think.

      Quote
      The Off-Topic section is a mess
         If memory serves me , it was the members who lobbied to get a off-topic section.

      Quote
      ComputerHope could be more efficient if the forum was handled in a more strict manner
      Ah ...... do we mean, 1 spelling error (a warning), 1 poorly worded sentance. (a warning), posting in the wrong place........  oops that 3 your banned.......... get a grip people.

      Quote
      Sure, CH aims to help everyone, but we'd rather aim to help out those who truly deserve it and really couldn't find an answer to their problems instead of those who choose us over Google, even though they're going to have to learn some time.
      ........ Who decides who truly needs help?

      Quote
      For every 10 people with a lack of an attention span, there is one good person. And the quality of help suffers because of these 9 others. It's better to reduce that number or do away with it entirely.  Much like corporations wouldn't answer people who do not buy their products but have questions about a product in general, we shouldn't answer people who are A) Incoherent B) Wasting our time C) Just plain ignorant.
      ......... Again everyone is differant ........ thats just the way it is as frustrating as it may be.

      Quote
      Free help doesn't mean we have to put up with some of the things people would want us to put up with here.
      ...... Again, clearly the posters who ask for those items such as how to make a virus or how to fool WGA do not know that Computer Hope doesn't offer this type of information.

      I understand your frustration, however people arrive at Computer Hope usually because they have some sort of issue. These people may be from anywhere in the world and may not have a good understanding of the english language ........... Hows your Hindi , Cantonese or Polish.

      Cheers,

      dl65  ::)

      If you don't know the answer, it isn't a dumb question.

      Carbon Dudeoxide

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      A lot of good points from Raptor and Dl65.

      I think 1 and 3 are really good, share your hobbies and knowledge without using the Off-Topic forum.

      Quote
      Quote
      ComputerHope could be more efficient if the forum was handled in a more strict manner
      Ah ...... do we mean, 1 spelling error (a warning), 1 poorly worded sentance. (a warning), posting in the wrong place........  oops that 3 your banned.......... get a grip people.
      Yeah, and if a newbie doesn't post enough information about their system, what will happen? We all make mistakes.

      CBMatt

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      Quote
      #3 may be a bit too much; it seems to kinda overlook practical experience.  If I understand it correctly, some good past contributors could actually be barred from participation due to lack of formal certification.
      Like Raptor's post says, this would be optional.  Neither of us have any formal certifications either; it would just be a nice option to have for profiles.  Notice that "hobby" is also mentioned.  Other words, that would be your area of interest, for those of us who don't have any official papers.

      Quote
      #4 also seems a bit far-fetched.  Choose the most skilled person is chosen for the job?   Uh, hold on here.  Let’s remember this is a volunteer community.  This suggestion seems to impose a responsibility on the most skilled person chosen for the job to be available when needed.  Again, this is a volunteer community.  And, I don’t think that calls for the level of commitment implied in this suggestion.
      Point taken.  As this was more Raptor's suggestion, I'll let him give a rebuttal if he wishes to do so.

      Quote
      Regarding the arguments, I don’t agree that the Off-Topic section is a mess.   Why does it matter if discussions there are not “productive”?  They don’t need to be productive (in terms of computing topics); indeed, the Off-Topic section was, in a sense, created for non-productive discussions, created to provide an area specifically for off-topic discussions.
      My issue with the Off-Topic section is that it seems to be spilling out onto the other forums.  We all like to have a bit of fun; but since the inclusion of the Off-Topic section, the "play area" and "work area" seem to be meshing more.  Before having this designated section, I didn't notice this nearly as much.  It brings in...certain un-named members who just seem to want to goof off and talk to people.  That's what chat rooms are for.

      Quote
      Regarding the implementation of some or most of these suggestions, I’m sure the feasibility of doing so depends on whether the SMF forum software is designed to accommodate such ideas, and I doubt that it is so designed.
      We understand that many of these things would be difficult to implement.  Heck, some of them might be downright impossible.  But it doesn't hurt to bring it up for a friendly debate (and let's please try to keep this friendly, gentlemen).  If enough people agree on something and we decide that it's in our best interest, perhaps we can find some sort of workaround.




      Quote
      hummmmmmmm........
      Quote
      Discussed & compiled by me and CBMatt.. What are your thoughts?
      Under suggestions...... There are several things mentioned that make sense. The remainder, appear to be a little intrusive.
      Anything intrusive is probably Raptor.  Ha.

      Quote
      Quote
      The forum is not making any progress
      How are you defining progress........... Perhaps ask a few of the visitors and or members, who have come here looking for a solution to some issue and it has been resolved, what they think.
      Perhaps this one was overstated just a little.  Yes, there is some progress.  Personally, I feel I have made a lot of my own progress since joining ComputerHope.  I've learned a lot since coming here with my own problems.  However, as a whole, we're not making much progress.  Yes, we help a lot of people.  Yes, people learn something by coming here.  That's what's great about this place.  But it gets tiresome repeating ourselves over and over to answer the same questions that could be found on Google in a few seconds.  I understand that it's not always easy to know what to search for (I myself sometimes need a point in the right direction), but some things are just common sense.  I'm sure GX1_Man feels me on this one.

      Quote
      Quote
      ComputerHope could be more efficient if the forum was handled in a more strict manner
      Ah ...... do we mean, 1 spelling error (a warning), 1 poorly worded sentance. (a warning), posting in the wrong place........  oops that 3 your banned.......... get a grip people.
      We're not talking about being that strict.  We can't all be perfect, and that's acceptable.  But some people appear to make no real effort.  A few spelling errors here and there are fine.  But someone who provides very little or almost no information, or someone who is flat-out incoherent is counter-productive and wasting time.  The continuation of this sort of activity is what the "three-strikes rule" refers to.  And spam and multiple-postings as well, of course.

      Quote
      I understand your frustration, however people arrive at Computer Hope usually because they have some sort of issue. These people may be from anywhere in the world and may not have a good understanding of the english language ........... Hows your Hindi , Cantonese or Polish.
      We understand that there are some language barriers, and that's understandable, but some people are just plain lazy when it comes to communicating.  There are several members here whom I recently found out are American and I have to say I was very surprised to discover this.  Some people flat-out don't make an effort to make sense.

      That's part of the reason why we suggested the spellcheck.  It could really help things out if there were some sort of automated spellcheck when posting, much like some e-mail clients.  And we're not saying that it's an automatic ban if someone can't spell.  As long as I can understand what someone's saying, it's fine with me.





      Quote
      Yeah, and if a newbie doesn't post enough information about their system, what will happen? We all make mistakes.
      Being a newbie isn't an excuse for ignorance.  Even when I was totally new to computers, this stuff wasn't hard to find out.  Heck, most of the important information is printed on the front of the PC!  And something isn't, it literally takes seconds to find out on Google.  Manufacturer sites are also very useful for this (that would be the most logical approach, I think).  For the longest time, I had no idea what motherboard I have.  It isn't listed anywhere.  I found Everest and it listed it as unknown.  Well, I spent a whole five minutes on the Gateway site and got all of the information I needed (including stuff I didn't even think of).

      In my mind, there would be a large feedback form prior to registration, and it would list all of the components we need information for.  If there's somebody doesn't know something, the form can refer them to Google, SIW, Everest, etc.  It's really quite simple.  I think anyone who isn't willing to make the effort must not really be serious about their problem(s).  If they are in fact serious, they'll take the time to fill out the form.  And the best part about it is that it'll help them learn some things about their computer.  Better yet, while looking up information, they may even stumble upon a solution on their own.  I know I often do.

      This seems pretty win-win to me.  Not only do new users keep us from wasting time asking questions that should've been provided from the start; they also learn something in the process!  And isn't that what we want?



      EDIT:  A thought I had...perhaps there could be a General Help section.  Those who are serious can actually go through the registration process and gain access to the normal forums.  Those who are totally lost/clueless would be limited to the General Help.  That way, we could make progress without having to deny those who need help.  I think this is fair, and I'm sure it would be possible to set up.
      « Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 02:27:21 AM by CBMatt »
      Quote
      An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
      óRobert A. Humphrey

      reaper_tbs



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      i reckon live chat is an awesome idea. the spealing mitakering thin gy (spelling mistake thingo, or spellcheck is also a good idea, an understandable one at that, which some of the others are not. i might expand on this comment another time but i really couldn't be bothered right now, i've just been on a 30 hour plane trip and i'm wondering why it's bright outside at 10:30 pm.

      so there.
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      i reckon live chat is an awesome idea. the spealing mitakering thin gy (spelling mistake thingo, or spellcheck is also a good idea, an understandable one at that, which some of the others are not. i might expand on this comment another time but i really couldn't be bothered right now, i've just been on a 30 hour plane trip and i'm wondering why it's bright outside at 10:30 pm.

      so there.
      Actually, we do have a live chat; it's just that it doesn't seem to get much use.  And from what I've seen, it also appears to be in bad shape.  I would share some examples, but I'm having trouble with getting the chatlogs to work properly for me.  The site's been giving some grief for a few days now.
      Quote
      An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
      óRobert A. Humphrey

      Carbon Dudeoxide

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      Quote
      My issue with the Off-Topic section is that it seems to be spilling out onto the other forums. 
      I agree with you CBMatt, although I think the Off-Topic section is good, it is being spread onto the other forums.
      For example, sometimes after a question is solved, everyone start talking about random stuff. Somtimes it is relavent but sometimes it isnt.

      reaper_tbs



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      i also agree, but, irrelevance is the point of the off-topic forum, but the problem is when that irrelevance leaks out to other topics.
      Computer Hope

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      2k_dummy



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        Sometimes the irrelevant comments are just meant as a joke. Theres nothing wrong with that.

        "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone".

        99% of us are guilty. Who chooses the one that will be stoned?
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        Raptor

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        Sometimes the irrelevant comments are just meant as a joke. Theres nothing wrong with that.

        "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone".

        99% of us are guilty. Who chooses the one that will be stoned?

        Just because everyone does it doesn't mean it can't be changed or people don't want it changed..

        As for the off-topic section; there seem to be a lot of Myspace type of people who fill out a profile and completely disappear... The profiling should be limited to.. Your profile!

        Quote
        ........ Who decides who truly needs help?

        Those with a good attention span who manage to fill out all the details and now waste our time asking the same over and over.

        Quote
        ........ Again everyone is differant ........ thats just the way it is as frustrating as it may be.

        Yes everyone is different but some people are a complete waste of time because they're either too lazy to communicate or have other disabilities that do not allow them to function the way is required on a forum to actually make sense to others.

        Quote
        I understand your frustration, however people arrive at Computer Hope usually because they have some sort of issue. These people may be from anywhere in the world and may not have a good understanding of the English language ........... Hows your Hindi , Cantonese or Polish.

        This doesn't make sense. What does filling out a hardware form and having to click through a spell-check before posting have to do with where you are from?

        You seem to forget that my native tongue isn't English either, yet I easily pass a spell-checker. Besides that, I never said people should pass, they should just be taken through one cycle to get 'm to pay attention and fix as many words as possible. Heck, they might even end up learning something from the process.

        For example; your constant habit to spell 'differant' would soon turn into 'different' as it'd be constantly marked out..

        Besides that; let it be very clear that I have nothing against people who are not native English speakers. Dl65 seems to want to make it look different but our ideas have never been to filter out bad English speakers; they have been there to filter out those without patience or no real need for help.

        (And those who deserve help are the ones who are willing to fill out an hardware forum and read through database articles before coming here, which is step 2 on the Computerhope website. The first step being DIY like everyone else had to unless they really can't find an answer.. People are too quick to waste our time. And if you don't think its wasting time, then gladly respond to EVERY post each day, Don, which I haven't seen you do for ages..  )

        Quote
           If memory serves me , it was the members who lobbied to get a off-topic section.

        Doesn't mean it's not a mess.

        Quote
        How are you defining progress........... Perhaps ask a few of the visitors and or members, who have come here looking for a solution to some issue and it has been resolved, what they think.

        Progress as in constantly having to repeat ourselves. You don't have to do that as you're very selective on where you post. Some of us try (or tried) to answer to everyone and most of the time we find us repeating ourselves 10x a day because people were too lazy to mention details or do a simple google search.

        Quote
        Ah ...... do we mean, 1 spelling error (a warning), 1 poorly worded sentance. (a warning), posting in the wrong place........  oops that 3 your banned.......... get a grip people.

        Get a grip? Why are you patronizing us like this? All you've done is offer answers that we'd already seen coming. Just because you like the forum the way it is doesn't mean it's not open for improvement or tighter regulation and it doesn't mean that we're suddenly anti-Polish people or whatever.


        unlovedwarrior



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          Discussed & compiled by me and CBMatt.. What are your thoughts?

          SUGGESTIONS:

          1. Hardware/software details have to be filled out when registering.  Omitting this data is not an option.  If a user is unsure of how to obtain said information, they may be directed towards a tool such as SIW or Everest.  If possible, a good method would be the ability to save information for multiple computers. Then, when somebody posts, they can choose which computer they're talking about. Much like the billing plans on a site such as Amazon.

          this one is not a bad idea and like stated somewhere it would be a good way for ppl to get to know they computers better
          2. A FORCED spellcheck before posting. (It doesn't have to come out clean, just force people to go through the words that the speller thinks are misspelled.)
          yes  we do need this, i for one really need it, yes i'm one of the Americans that have poor english

          3. The option to provide an area of specialization/skill/hobby and the possible existence of papers to prove this.  This information will be available in your profile to help everyone recognize your level of knowledge/understanding.
          ummmm. this should be optional just so we have a little more info, but should not be important

          4. A system where a poster's problem is ranked and the most skilled person is chosen for the job. One on one service; but other members can leave comments. (Comments should be smaller than forum posts and not in the actual topic, but rather on another page as can be found on Wikipedia.)
          I'm not a real big fan on this idea, because well the op would have to wait around for the asigned helper when other members could be tring to help out like asking the simple questions, the a more experienced helper can come in and clean up like how it is now


          5. Some sort of three-strikes system. If someone is unable to comply to the rules, they get one (maybe two) warnings. And if they continue to provide inadequate information or make incoherent posts, then they're automatically banned.
          this should be for spammers(which should be more strict) and the people who post random stuff in boards that are not in the off-topic board just to increase post count

          6. There should be some sort of time limit. If the OP doesn't respond within two days (or whatever specified amount of time would be appropriate), then they are notified and/or their post is deleted. It's tiresome seeing threads where people will post suggestions for a week but the OP is long gone. There should also be some sort of limit on new threads (perhaps a grace period) to help cut down on multiple postings.
          i dont know about deleted in such a short time maybe locked like what oddjob suggested, then after maybe a week  delete it, but who is going to be the one finding them and deleteing them??


          7. Postcounts should be hidden from the general public. Or at least only viewable in a user's profile. It seems like people tend to wear it as a badge, which causes some of the younger members (and older immature members) to post blindly in hopes of reaching some sort of status.
          those member should be warned that they are spaming just to get higher rank, which is pointless because well look at oddjob his be very helpful in the virus section but he has(had) a low postcount. so should he not be taken as seriously as someone with a way higher rank that just randomly posts in a section that they know nothing about?

          8. Perhaps users' posts could be categorized under the different computers on their profile. Instead of seeing all of their posts, we get a list of their computers on file, then choosing one will list the posts pertaining to that computer. Perhaps there could be several ways of filtering the posts. Such as seeing only that user's past software issues or hardware issues or whatever.
          i like this one, but can it be done


          M1CH431



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            I'd have to agree with the constant repeating. Some new posters wont bother using the simple search function to find an answer to their problem. Instead they make a whole new topic when the same problem might have been addressed two days ago.

            Zylstra

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            ComputerHope forums should in some ways approach people as they would in an actual computer business.

            However, we dont get paid, so there is some excuse.

            As for the live chat, it has its uses, but there is one major problem with it:
            We dont have the variety of users in there to take all questions avalible.

            I myself stopped using the CH chat (but plan to start again at the next upgrade) for two reasons:
            I personally keep having to redirect users to the forums.
            I dont see much use of myself in the chat, since my computer knowledge is very very scattered.

            I would post an example chat log, but I dont think that very well complies with the privacy agreement.

            unlovedwarrior



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              change naames

              i use the chat.. but every time i get on there, no one needs help so after 30 mins or so i close it

              Sid



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                1. Hardware/software details have to be filled out when registering.

                I agree, but it should be tied to a standardised way of doing so.  And it has to be idiot proof, ie: Go to URL and fill in this form with the info that is there.

                However I do think it might be harder for some people, especially those who can't access the internet on the problem machine, and don't know the full specs of said troublesome rig.

                I think maybe a 1 topic (not post so we can get the problem fixed) limit without full registration maybe, so they can get online with their preferred machine?

                2. A FORCED spellcheck before posting.

                Great idea, although people should just use Firefox...

                3. The option to provide an area of specialization/skill/hobby and the possible existence of papers to prove this.

                I think having that displayed under someone's avatar would be a very good idea indeed.  Also age should be displayed too, and maybe location, for interest?

                5. Some sort of three-strikes system.

                We'd need clear simple rules.  No more than 10, that could end up in a strike.  And an expiry period, like driving license points.

                7. Postcounts should be hidden

                They're rather pointless...

                WillyW



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                While always being open to changes that bring improvement is a good thing,  often changes that, on the surface,  look good -  and are well intentioned -  have detrimental side effects.

                Remember -  these forums would not be so popular if they were so bad - just as they are now.   :)




                ...

                 ComputerHope could be more efficient if the forum was handled in a more strict manner through software, not just rules. As people don't pay attention to the rules anyway. A filtering system


                Much of what you are discussing is summed up with that -  a filtering system.
                That's what you are trying to accomplish -  filter out some things.

                It is a commendable idea -  but I question if it can be implented without
                undesireable side effects.    If nothing else,  creating a stricter, more rigid atmosphere.    That would keep some people away.     
                Too many rules and restictions is not a good thing.

                Personally,  I like the tone of "Hey.... it's a friendly place... don't be afraid to just ask"


                It is difficult to fit everything into a rule or filter when you try to write it down.   But beyond any doubt,  the absolute best filter in the world is -  right between your ears.   
                Your, my,  ... everybodies' ability to think about individual conditions and either proceed or blow on by  - is far better than any filtering system that can ever be set up.



                Quote
                óike having to fill out your hardware when you register an accountórevents people who have the attention span of a goldfish

                In my opinion,  while you may be right,  comments like this are not good for CH.   
                Think about it.    That post can be searched up and read for a very long time.
                The person reading it could be a total, complete, honest-to-goodness,  computer know-nothing.   It's not their fault.
                But that person would not be as likely to join in with a request for help, after having read that.... it gives a negative feel.


                Quote
                to come and annoy the h**l out of everyone.

                Now seriously....   ::)   ...    just like my words here now....  whatever anybody says here is just some electrons lighting some pixels on your screen.
                How can it annoy you?  ....  when all you have to do is ignore it?     ;)

                Don't think I don't understand.   I do.    Because I catch myself getting annoyed at times!    And have to remind myself.


                Quote
                ... we shouldn't answer people who are A) Incoherent B) Wasting our time

                How can anyone here waste your time?      Just ignore 'em and move on.
                It is your choice.

                Quote
                C) Just plain ignorant.

                You shouldn't call anyone ignorant on a help forum like this that claims to be willing to help "newbies".     
                Again,  it gives a bad impression.

                Besides,  that is just your opinion.       :)          You aren't special, in that you get to decide who is ignorant, and who isn't.


                Quote
                Free help doesn't mean we have to put up with some of the things people would want us to put up with here.

                "put up with"  ??    You don't have to put up with anything here.
                Just don't.    It is your choice.     Ignore whomever you want to ignore.


                I have a suggestion,  regarding the  repetition that you mentioned.   I've considered this myself,  but just haven't gotten around to doing it.
                Find posts that contain the answer -  to whatever it is at the moment that is on your mind as being continually repeated.
                Save the url to a text file.
                Slowly build yourself a little library of  'canned' answers.
                When you see that same ol' question coming up again -  don't frustrate yourself with typing that which you know you've typed several times before.
                     
                Copy-n-paste the url,  with a    "Read this".
                Done.
                I come close sometimes.    I use the extensive information that can be found right here on CH.     In a heartbeat,   I'll direct someone to one of those pages.



                In conclusion: 
                I think an atmosphere/tone of welcoming with open arms the people that know nothing about their computers is a good thing.

                I think anything that is a move away from that should be scrutinized very, very carefully before moving in that direction.

                I think that anyone that realizes that they are finding some posts frustrating, should learn to simply blow on by such posts.
                This includes posts from the legitimate, honest person that doesn't know any better.   If you don't feel like holding their hand and leading them,  then don't.   No one is obligated.
                This also includes posts from people who should know better.    If someone like this is continuing to not understand - or worse,  just not trying -  to  get with the protocol.... then just blow on by their posts too.    No need to beat your head on a wall.


                .



                Zylstra

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                Two chat examples, randomly chosen
                A quick note:
                Names, and IP have been removed to keep the ComputerHope privacy policy
                http://www.computerhope.com/legal.htm
                ComputerHope makes their users aware that their information may be logged for statistical purposes, so it seems to comply that the following information can be provided.

                Quote
                User Agent :Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.0.04506)
                OS :Windows
                OS Version :Codename: Longhorn
                Browser :Internet Explorer
                Browser_Version :
                Type :browser
                Ip :
                Cookied :Y
                New Session :N
                "Chat Operator" : Hi, how's it going?
                "Chat Participant" : im ok
                "Chat Participant" : and u
                "Chat Operator" : Fine thanks
                "Chat Participant" : i need some help with my computer, its not acting right
                "Chat Operator" : OK, what seems to be the problem?
                "Chat Participant" : well i have windows vista, and i put a dvd in my computer the other day. and when i took it out because it froze my computer, something happoned to my computer and now i can't make a new folder, i cant put links onto my start menu, and its become really slow and i just got this computer in february
                "Chat Operator" : I've never used Vista myself so I won't be able to help you
                "Chat Operator" : If I were you I'd use the warranty
                "Chat Participant" : ok thanks
                "Chat Participant" : i guess i'll take my computer to best buy later then lol
                "Chat Participant" : i just dont want to pay for them fixing it
                "Chat Participant" : nullstring
                "Chat Participant" : thanks have a nice day
                Quote
                computer help and support
                Status:chat
                Departments Computer Hope Support
                E-mail :

                User Agent :Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; YPC 3.2.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; IEMB3; IEMB3)
                OS :Windows
                OS Version :XP
                Browser :Internet Explorer
                Browser_Version :
                Type :browser
                Ip :
                Cookied :Y
                New Session :N

                "Chat Operator" :  when did this happen??
                "Chat Participant" : ma computer display had flipped
                "Chat Participant" : how can i make it like before
                "Chat Operator" : what windows do you have
                "Chat Participant" : u mean xp
                "Chat Operator" : ok hold on
                "Chat Operator" : right click on the desktop go to graphic options rotation normal
                "Chat Participant" : ok thanks man
                "Chat Participant" : i got it
                "Chat Participant" : really thanks a lot
                "Chat Operator" : welcome
                "Chat Participant" : bye haeva nice day
                "Chat Operator" : you too

                These are just two randomly selected chat sessions.

                One major thing to keep your mind focused on would be that a lot of our CH Chat visitors do not speak English as their first language, and some speak it better than others. This creates a [size varying] language barrier between the participant, and the operator.

                GX1_Man

                • Guest

                2. A FORCED spellcheck before posting. (It doesn't have to come out clean, just force people to go through the words that the speller thinks are misspelled.)
                yes  we do need this, i for one really need it, yes i'm one of the Americans that have poor english

                unloved warrior, you could start this immediately. We can judge your progress.  ;)

                Raptor and Chris,

                I think your plan, while commendable and obviously took some work on your part, is a bit excessive for a computer help forum for the unlearned. The repeating questions are a bit tiresome, but I doubt that a person who does not understand what a BIOS is will be the one to start in the FAQ section. That is already one of the first things they see when they first log on - the Read Me file at the top of every sub-topic on the forum. Some people do not know what components are in their computer and don't know where to even look to get that info. Every question is an education opportunity.

                As WillyW stated if you don't want to participate in a thread, just move on. The freedom of the Internet, and even the randomness of it, are not necessarily a bad thing.

                I think what you really need is a Jp filter.  ;)
                « Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 02:41:29 AM by GX1_Man »

                Raptor

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                Quote
                It is a commendable idea -  but I question if it can be implented without
                undesireable side effects.    If nothing else,  creating a stricter, more rigid atmosphere.    That would keep some people away.     
                Too many rules and restictions is not a good thing.

                Actually, I think the opposite is true. More rules and stricter regulations would allow for a more professional environment.

                Quote
                Remember -  these forums would not be so popular if they were so bad - just as they are now.

                They're a tad too popular and not because every poster here is intelligent and caring but because people can get away with asking stupid questions and wasting everyone's time.

                Quote
                Personally,  I like the tone of "Hey.... it's a friendly place... don't be afraid to just ask"

                Friendliness is a state of mind, it doesn't depend on the type of forum used. I could give someone a hard time on the forum as it is now as well should I be in a bad mood.

                Not a very good argument, but I see your point. I don't think that would change when people are forced to do a spellcheck and have to list their hardware before posting unless they ... Do not have an attention span!!

                Quote
                Now seriously....   Roll Eyes   ...    just like my words here now....  whatever anybody says here is just some electrons lighting some pixels on your screen.
                How can it annoy you?  ....  when all you have to do is ignore it?     Wink

                Don't think I don't understand.   I do.    Because I catch myself getting annoyed at times!    And have to remind myself.

                ....You have to remind yourself that they're just pixels?

                If you consider everything 'just pixels' do you stop to remember that there are real people communicating with one another? And that we're here to help others out of a situation? Somehow, the word 'pixels' just doesn't describe what we try to do here.

                Quote
                I have a suggestion,  regarding the  repetition that you mentioned.   I've considered this myself,  but just haven't gotten around to doing it.
                Find posts that contain the answer -  to whatever it is at the moment that is on your mind as being continually repeated.
                Save the url to a text file.
                Slowly build yourself a little library of  'canned' answers.
                When you see that same ol' question coming up again -  don't frustrate yourself with typing that which you know you've typed several times before.

                We tried that. Even if we were to do so, the forum is a mess. There are lots of topics that are completely irrelevant and lots of subject lines that make no sense.

                Why should I do the searching when the OP can as well? It's not my problem, I'm here to give advise, not over-load Google search engine. I've got better things to do with my time than doing a google... Like.. Giving advise!

                Quote
                "put up with"  ??    You don't have to put up with anything here.
                Just don't.    It is your choice.     Ignore whomever you want to ignore.

                No, that was an argument against those who would argue that the help is free and that we therefore haven't got a choice as to how things should be ran. Which was used a while ago, I'd look it up, but I got so tired of digging through countless meaningless posts I'll let you do it as you obviously haven't done it often enough.

                Quote
                You shouldn't call anyone ignorant on a help forum like this that claims to be willing to help "newbies".     
                Again,  it gives a bad impression.

                Besides,  that is just your opinion.       Smiley          You aren't special, in that you get to decide who is ignorant, and who isn't.


                Bad impression? I'm not santaclaus, I have a limit on how far my patience will go.

                Besides that, the ignorance part was on the rules of said corporation. For example, not replying to automated E-mails. Doing so anyway even after specifically being told not to means you're ignorant and therefore a waste of time as you obviously have a problem paying attention.

                Quote
                I think that anyone that realizes that they are finding some posts frustrating, should learn to simply blow on by such posts.
                This includes posts from the legitimate, honest person that doesn't know any better.   If you don't feel like holding their hand and leading them,  then don't.   No one is obligated.
                This also includes posts from people who should know better.    If someone like this is continuing to not understand - or worse,  just not trying -  to  get with the protocol.... then just blow on by their posts too.    No need to beat your head on a wall.

                The way the forum is now makes me force to click and read everything because people A) can't think of subject titles and B) the forum does not properly list categories it is posted under, nor does it immediately let me know what kind of PC i am dealing with.

                Information is imperative when it comes to fixing PCs. I'm not getting enough and that is frustrating. It's not about simply ignoring posts, I still have to click on each single one of 'm and waste my time closing them again. The forum categories only go so far and people who have a severe lack of attention span will post in the first section they come across, anyway.

                You just don't get it, do you? I'm not talking about Nazi-CH, I'm talking about a more stream-lined CH with more information, less hit 'n run posters, less junk and better communication!







                GX1_Man

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                Well, let's get Nathan's ideas as he is the supreme leader.  ;)

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                Quote
                3. The option to provide an area of specialization/skill/hobby and the possible existence of papers to prove this.  This information will be available in your profile to help everyone recognize your level of knowledge/understanding.
                ummmm. this should be optional just so we have a little more info, but should not be important
                This idea is optional.  It would just be there to give everyone a better idea of who's good at what.

                Quote
                Quote
                2. A FORCED spellcheck before posting.
                Great idea, although people should just use Firefox...
                Perhaps people should, but they don't.  You can't force someone to use a certain software; especially if they don't want to (I don't).  Forcing a spellcheck is easier and less abrasive.



                Quote
                Personally,  I like the tone of "Hey.... it's a friendly place... don't be afraid to just ask"
                I like that tone too.  Why should that have to stop?  A stricter forum policy doesn't have to change how friendly we are.  Heck, the atmosphere might even become friendlier because we'd be dealing with people who aren't as frustrating.  It's not like our attitudes/personalities should become more serious; but the way we run things should.

                Quote
                Now seriously....      ...    just like my words here now....  whatever anybody says here is just some electrons lighting some pixels on your screen.
                How can it annoy you?  ....  when all you have to do is ignore it?    

                Don't think I don't understand.   I do.    Because I catch myself getting annoyed at times!    And have to remind myself.
                You pretty much just cancelled out your own argument there.  Besides, ignoring text isn't much different than ignoring actual speech.  It isn't always easy to simply block out.  Like Raptor said, these are actual people we're dealing with.  These words are being generated by human beings (at least I hope so).  And it's upsetting to think about the general level of ignorance out there.  Even if I ignore the dumb/silly/pointless posts, I've still wasted my time and it's already infected my brain.

                Quote
                You aren't special, in that you get to decide who is ignorant, and who isn't.
                We're not deciding who's ignorant.  Really, I don't feel it's a matter of opinion.  Someone who is ignorant is someone who lacks knowledge, understanding, and common sense.  If someone can't perform a simple Google search and ask a coherent question with providing some information...newbie or not, that's ignorant.

                We're hoping to filter out posts like this:
                http://www.computerhope.com/forum/index.php/topic,35719.0.html

                And perhaps even filter out whoever would make the suggestion that Calum and patio refer to in that post.



                Quote
                That is already one of the first things they see when they first log on - the Read Me file at the top of every sub-topic on the forum.
                Yes, it's one of the first things they see.  But it's obviously not one of the first things they actually read.  If it were, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.  We wouldn't have so many "puter help plz.  what to do?" posts.

                Quote
                Some people do not know what components are in their computer and don't know where to even look to get that info.
                This is why I suggested giving them some helpful suggestions (instructions, web sites, etc.) on how to find this information.  It's also why I suggested a General Help forum for those who are just completely oblivious.  Anyone who has the patience to deal with drive-by posters and posts that provide no information can be a helper on this board.  Despite the frustration involved, I'm sure I would help out there too.  But I would certainly prefer not having to pull teeth and drag information out of people that easily could've been provided from the beginning.



                Also...like I said to Raptor via PM...yes, it's a voluntary service and if we don't like something, we can just ignore it.  But that doesn't mean that something doesn't need to be done.  And because we're volunteers and we're the ones taking time out of our schedules for these people, we should have some say in how things operate around here.  People should accomodate to our standards, not the other way around.  When you work at a soup kitchen, do the homeless expect fancy four-course meals?  No, you serve them what you have, and if they don't like it, they don't have to accept it.  But because they need the help, most of them do.



                Quote
                Well, let's get Nathan's ideas as he is the supreme leader.
                That's what I'm hoping for here.  From the beginning, we've been sure that he'll disagree with a lot of what we say, but I'd still like to hear his take on everything.
                Quote
                An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                óRobert A. Humphrey

                M1CH431



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                  Quote
                  We're hoping to filter out posts like this:
                  http://www.computerhope.com/forum/index.php/topic,35719.0.html

                  And perhaps even filter out whoever would make the suggestion that Calum and patio refer to in that post.



                  Whoa there, buddy.  With the loads and loads of information you have provided, I'm having a bit of an overload and it might take me a bit of time to process it all.
                  Well, why not filter out the sarcastic not useful posts as well?

                  CBMatt

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                  Our suggestions would help filter out such posts as well.

                  Coherent questions with helpful information = more serious responses.
                  Quote
                  An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                  óRobert A. Humphrey

                  unlovedwarrior



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                    GX i wouldnt mind being the test dummy for spell check maybe it will help prepare me for english next fall

                    Zylstra

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                    Now, it is possible to get an addon for this forum to add spell check, but requiring it would be pointless.

                    Raptor, you like to complain, don't you?

                    GX1_Man

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                    GX i wouldnt mind being the test dummy for spell check maybe it will help prepare me for english next fall

                    Don't you use Firefox? Start now.  ;)

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                    I have been to and joined forums that are very strict in
                    comparison to this forum.That is why I am here.

                    CBMatt and Raptor join the armed forces in your country.

                    You will then appreciate this forum for what it really is.

                    If you make this forum real strict and guidelines galore,
                    hope you two enjoy the vacuum.

                    I mean,where else can the Gerber Baby talk about
                    Toliver Gravy and Liverscuits. ;D
                    Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                    Raptor

                    • Guest
                    Now, it is possible to get an addon for this forum to add spell check, but requiring it would be pointless.

                    Raptor, you like to complain, don't you?

                    Now where did you get that idea?

                    Quote
                    CBMatt and Raptor join the armed forces in your country.

                    You will then appreciate this forum for what it really is.

                    If you make this forum real strict and guidelines galore,
                    hope you two enjoy the vacuum.

                    *censored*. Just because people have to let know their hardware settings and are forced to do a spellcheck before posting doesn't mean it turns into nazi-germany..

                    Conservative bollocks, I'd like to see Nathan's opinion.

                    Zylstra

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                    I requested that this forum have an option during registration to select your experience level, but now that I think of it, it would be kind of pointless.

                    Other than that, the only reason to have extra registration options is to reduce the spambots that make it past our CAPATCHA system.


                    And it would be a pain for most users to register that information.

                    What would be neat is if ComputerHope had a special tool made for the forums that would allow a user to get their system specs when they don't know how.

                    Nathan might be potentially avoiding this topic...

                    You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers, Raptor.

                    unlovedwarrior



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                      GX i wouldnt mind being the test dummy for spell check maybe it will help prepare me for english next fall

                      Don't you use Firefox? Start now.  ;)

                      of course i do....
                      i jusst got portable fr at work

                      CBMatt

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                      Other than that, the only reason to have extra registration options is to reduce the spambots that make it past our CAPATCHA system.

                      I'm not in the debating mood this evening (things are too stressful in reality at the moment), so I'm going to stray off-topic for just a minute...

                      Whatever happened to the registration method of using a hidden text field that spambots would detect, but actual people wouldn't be able to see?  I remember there being some issues with screenreaders possibly picking it up, but I imagine this could be solved with a bit of clever CSS.
                      Quote
                      An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                      óRobert A. Humphrey

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                      Well,it appears to me Nathan has already covered everything
                      real well.

                      When a post is not correct,or makes you angry,or confused... why not just add a link--->

                      ReadThisBeforeYouContinue!

                      If you get confused at any time....Remember it's only a forum.



                      "Most of all have fun and enjoy the community that is here!"


                      "Thanks to GX1_Man and all the forum members who help put this together."
                      « Last Edit: May 18, 2007, 05:23:47 AM by street1 »
                      Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                      Raptor

                      • Guest
                      Quote
                      And it would be a pain for most users to register that information.

                      What would be neat is if ComputerHope had a special tool made for the forums that would allow a user to get their system specs when they don't know how.

                      It's an even bigger pain for us to request it every time.

                      Sorry, I don't see in why we should bear the trouble that the OP's should in reality. We don't get paid for this, so they could at least be courteous and provide us all the information we need.. Or be forced to.

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                      Quote
                      And it would be a pain for most users to register that information.

                      What would be neat is if ComputerHope had a special tool made for the forums that would allow a user to get their system specs when they don't know how.

                      It's an even bigger pain for us to request it every time.

                      Sorry, I don't see in why we should bear the trouble that the OP's should in reality. We don't get paid for this, so they could at least be courteous and provide us all the information we need.. Or be forced to.

                      Do you dare argue with the Gerber baby? ;D
                      Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                      CBMatt

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                      I swear I'll fight that baby.
                      Quote
                      An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                      óRobert A. Humphrey

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                      Been meaning to reply to this post just knew it was going to be a long one and take some time.. but without further adieu here is a reply. It's long..  :-\

                      1. Good ideas, potentially difficult to implement because of the requirement to fill out the data.

                      2. Still working with ISP on spell check option, but something I am doing. Need to get the pspell PHP module on the server. Although at first I don't believe it would be something that would be mandatory.

                      3. Believe it's possible with a mod. However, not sure how many people really look at the profiles.

                      4. Would be extremely difficult to implement something like this I would imagine. Besides the technical difficulties of implementing actually getting dedicated people to answer specific questions really makes it hard for other people to come in and participate if there are only select individuals for each category.

                      5. Really already done. If users let me know of problems with users, I warn the user if not something that is blatantly against the forum rules. If something such as spamming, I just ban first offense, no point in three strike rule if rules are already stated when registering.

                      6. Not sure if something like this could be done.

                      7. This would have to be something voted on before even thought about implementing. I believe a post was made back in the YaBB days about post counts. Lots of people enjoy the post count system and wouldn't want it to be hidden.

                      8. Whew, something like this would be way hard to implement, I can't even fathom a method of doign this (although it's pretty late so brains kind of fried).

                      --------------------
                      Replies to original arguments

                      1. I wouldn't go so far to say the forum is not making progress. But really it comes down to the users and the consistent problems of doing repeat questions. Many of the questions on the forums are also answered on the main Computer Hope page, can be found in the search on the forum and on the main site. Yet many of the questions will always continue to be repeated because of either the users inability to perform simple searches or because searches are not pulling results with the words they're using. So really it's not a simple solution. :/

                      2. The Off-Topic section was created as a way for users to talk about other things, help build a community (maybe get more users with more than 10 posts), and a place for people to just talk -- a place for users who may be new to computers who can't really answer questions to talk.

                      I really never thought of the news section turning to another off-topic section, I think it's a section that really has a lot of good computer related news, which it was designed for.

                      3. While I agree with most of what you said, you also have to take into consideration you're dealing with **new computer users**, many users have a hard enough time registering and posting a message on the forums. So you have to give many of the users some slack.

                      -----------------------
                      Other stuff:

                      Quote
                      What would be neat is if ComputerHope had a special tool made for the forums that would allow a user to get their system specs when they don't know how.
                      My idea (although haven't be able to do it), was to lookup on the browser information and pull the OS and have it inserted into the message. Much like how the e-mail support forum auto selects the Operating system. My problem is getting it into the forum code.







                      Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
                      -Albert Einstein

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                      Condensed version and what I think would be the next best step..

                      I think before even going after most of what's been discussed on this thread we work on the primary issues. Based off reading everyones comments and also off of my own experience I think the biggest issue most people complain about and probably what this whole post was about is repeat questions and not enough information.

                      Let's first work on solutions for these two issues. If anyone has any additional suggestions on resolving these two problems apart from what has already been suggested please feel free to post them and I'll try my best at working on those issues first.

                      Or -- if I'm wrong about what I think are the two biggest issues tell me what are the two biggest issues. I obviously can't resolve everything on this list anytime soon so lets start with just start with the biggest issues.

                      *Spelling is technically not an issue because I've been working with ISP to get the PHP module going so I can enable the spell check feature.
                      Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
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                      street1 (RIP)

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                      Subject: _______________
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                      Manufacturer/Model:____________

                      I have been to another site that uses the above as part
                      of the original post.I believe it gives a lot of starting
                      information.

                      Then again, a post like this should have been a PM to
                      Nathan to start with.An obvious respect issue.

                      Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                      2k_dummy



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                        Why not just force a new registrant to a "please read this first" that has been modified to tell them how to obtain the basic information. This could probably be done based a 0 post count or from the registration screen by adding a continue button linked to it.
                        If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
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                        WillyW



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                        Subject: _______________
                        Exact OS:__________ CPU/Ram: ___________
                        Manufacturer/Model:____________

                        I have been to another site that uses the above as part
                        of the original post.I believe it gives a lot of starting
                        information.



                        That does list some important, very basic info.

                        But let's think about it. 

                        Try to turn back time.... to the time when you knew  nothing.   
                        When you hit those questions,  you were stuck.    You could not proceed until you somehow found out that info. 


                        :(     Not good for the newcomer to a forum.   He might just move on.


                        Or....
                        Another kind of new comer ... not quite so studious....    might easily provide responses like:

                        Subject:   Help!
                        Exact OS:   I don't know
                        CPU/RAM:  Intel Inside / 250 Gig
                        Manufacturer/Model:    Best Buy/  on sale

                        then keep right on moving,   because (in his mind)  he's here to get some help,  so he's got to get his question posted.


                        I agree that it would be great to get at least that basic info.
                        IF you can get it  -  and without running people off.   




                        .



                        Carbon Dudeoxide

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                        Yeh WillyW, that was my first though when I saw Stree1's post.
                        Not a really good idea

                        Quote
                        CPU/RAM:  Intel Inside / 250 Gig
                        lol, nice RAM man.

                        2k_dummy



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                          nice RAM man

                          Thats what she said. ;D
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                          Condensed version and what I think would be the next best step..

                          I think before even going after most of what's been discussed on this thread we work on the primary issues. Based off reading everyones comments and also off of my own experience I think the biggest issue most people complain about and probably what this whole post was about is repeat questions and not enough information.

                          Let's first work on solutions for these two issues. If anyone has any additional suggestions on resolving these two problems apart from what has already been suggested please feel free to post them and I'll try my best at working on those issues first.
                          ...

                          Re:   repeated topics/questions

                          First,  identify the repeated questions.   List them.   
                          Getting on 'The List' is the first step. 
                          Ask for input from the folks here.   Ask them to go find good examples, and paste the links to them.

                          Next,  identify the good replies.   
                          Again, ask for input from the people here.   Go find what they feel are good examples of replies,  and provide the links.     You choose the best.

                          Now you've got the info.
                          I'm undecided on just how best to utilize it.    I'm sure others will have ideas here.

                          The trick is be sure it is easily accessible -   and keep in mind,  this time it must be primarily easily accessible to the 'experts',  not the new comer asking for help.     When the expert sees the oft repeated question,  situation, or condition -    copy a url, click on reply,  paste,    Type "Read this and get back to us".   
                          Done.


                          I don't think there is a feasible way to eliminate repeated questions.
                          I do think that some creative minds can come up with ways to make them
                          easier to deal with productively.


                          .



                          WillyW



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                          Yeh WillyW, that was my first though when I saw Stree1's post.
                          Not a really good idea

                          Quote
                          CPU/RAM:  Intel Inside / 250 Gig
                          lol, nice RAM man.



                          Actually,  his base idea -  one of the roots of this whole thread -  is a very good idea.   
                          But....  implementing it ....   now that's the catch.   That's what I was trying to illustrate.    :)


                          .



                          patio

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                          Quote
                          Re:   repeated topics/questions

                          First,  identify the repeated questions.   List them.   
                          Getting on 'The List' is the first step.
                          Ask for input from the folks here.   Ask them to go find good examples, and paste the links to them.

                          Next,  identify the good replies.   
                          Again, ask for input from the people here.   Go find what they feel are good examples of replies,  and provide the links.     You choose the best.

                          Now you've got the info.
                          I'm undecided on just how best to utilize it.    I'm sure others will have ideas here.

                          Why not just "automate" the whole d**n process and not have a help forum at all ?
                          " Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

                          Raptor

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                          Quote
                          Re:   repeated topics/questions

                          First,  identify the repeated questions.   List them.   
                          Getting on 'The List' is the first step.
                          Ask for input from the folks here.   Ask them to go find good examples, and paste the links to them.

                          Next,  identify the good replies.   
                          Again, ask for input from the people here.   Go find what they feel are good examples of replies,  and provide the links.     You choose the best.

                          Now you've got the info.
                          I'm undecided on just how best to utilize it.    I'm sure others will have ideas here.

                          Why not just "automate" the whole d**n process and not have a help forum at all ?

                          That is a stupid suggestion.

                          street1 (RIP)

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                          Quote
                          Re:   repeated topics/questions

                          First,  identify the repeated questions.   List them.   
                          Getting on 'The List' is the first step.
                          Ask for input from the folks here.   Ask them to go find good examples, and paste the links to them.

                          Next,  identify the good replies.   
                          Again, ask for input from the people here.   Go find what they feel are good examples of replies,  and provide the links.     You choose the best.

                          Now you've got the info.
                          I'm undecided on just how best to utilize it.    I'm sure others will have ideas here.

                          Why not just "automate" the whole d**n process and not have a help forum at all ?

                          That is a stupid suggestion.

                          Cold answer Raptor.....Increase intake of medications as needed.
                          Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                          patio

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                          Actually i'm the one probably short on medication...i was in a foul mood.

                          I apologise for hitting Post before thinking.
                          " Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

                          street1 (RIP)

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                          Actually i'm the one probably short on medication...i was in a foul mood.

                          I apologise for hitting Post before thinking.

                          No problem patio.I do that all the time.

                          I would enjoy the site though.How it would
                          work.See Below...
                          _______________________________________
                          You have reached 'CH auto-mate' by chance,or
                          just good searching.

                          This is an automated site.Find your own way!
                          You got here didn't you ?

                          Now I must take my tranxene.........SNAP!
                          That's right folks street1 has a anxiety disorder
                          for real.I am not ashamed of it.Developed it during
                          my 10 years and 9 months in the US Army.

                          Sorry,The USA has ruined the language The United Kingdom loaned us. We do our best not to type gibberish. I Hope you can forgive us.

                          Sid



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                            An easy enough way of making sure everyone posts standardised info about thier machine, is CCleaner...it lists the info about your machine on the top.

                            WillyW



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                            Why not just "automate" the whole d**n process and not have a help forum at all ?

                            There you go!    That'll work.   :)
                            .



                            Zylstra

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                            Well, we could revert to this system:

                            "Hello, my name is Manadukie, how may I help you?"
                            Yeah, I got this stuck pixel on my desktop, how the heck do I get rid of it?
                            "Ok, lets try the first method"
                            <silence for a little while>
                            "Is it still there?"
                            Uhh... *censored* do you think?
                            "Ok, so the leave it alone and it will go away method will not work here"
                            ...
                            "Could you please uninstall all the monitor drivers?"
                            If I uninstall all the monitor drivers, won't the screen stop displaying things, all together?
                            "Yes, but there will no longer be a stuck pixel"
                            ...



                            Lets face it:
                            A lot of our suggestions can not be completed. Not everything is possible on this forum.

                            The best you could do is make a script (probably a PERL script that utilizes the CGI) that can ASSIST[/i] a user with making a post. (Asking for an issue category, and then from there, asking for a system specification)

                            There will always be users who say:
                            "HELP! MY SYSTEM WONT START UP!"
                            Who, for some reason, know exactly how to use BBC and make their text more obnoxious then ever, but cant seem to give us any more information  >:( >:( >:(

                            CBMatt

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                            What I think would be really helpful is if we could do something with that Mr. Hope project you started, Nathan.  Maybe we could all pitch in on compiling as many scenarios as we can think of.  We would be a lot of work, but I think it'd be worth it.

                            At the beginning, it could ask for system specs and explain how to obtain the needed information.  Then users would go through the troubleshooting process for a few minutes and if Mr. Hope can't figure it out, he'd direct the user to the forum and when they post, a Mr. Hope log could be attached.

                            I don't know...I haven't slept and I'm very tired, so maybe I'm just pulling things out of my *censored*.  But I think something like this could really help a lot.



                            I'm still partial to the idea of filling out specs during the registration, though.  It's true that some people would say things like "I don't know", but not everyone would, and at least it would give us something to work with.  We can't force people to read the guides, but we can at least try to force them to give us more information.
                            Quote
                            An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                            óRobert A. Humphrey

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                            Quote
                            I'm still partial to the idea of filling out specs during the registration, though.  It's true that some people would say things like "I don't know", but not everyone would, and at least it would give us something to work with.  We can't force people to read the guides, but we can at least try to force them to give us more information.

                            I think we should have some thing when you register where you need to put in certain information (e.g. OS, manufacturer), and some other information is optional (e.g. the harder information to find: CPU/RAM, is your copy legal etc. etc.). That way, at least we'll have SOME idea of what the poster is using.
                            Also, I think that the specs. information could be change on the profile page, so users could add extra information to it if they wanted to.

                            patio

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                            And what about registration numbers nosediving because new users can't find their system info and just want help ? ? ?
                            " Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

                            Raptor

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                            And what about registration numbers nosediving because new users can't find their system info and just want help ? ? ?

                            They're going to have it sooner or later.. Better sooner and without too much hassle than later with us wasting time on asking redundant questions.

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                            Maybe new users are allowed only one topic without their info (many new users only stay on for that long). (Ithink that I've seen someone post this before, but I think it's a good idea)

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                            And what about registration numbers nosediving because new users can't find their system info and just want help ? ? ?

                            I have a feeling that most of those members would be the ones who post once or twice and then never come back because they either gave up and/or got help somewhere else.  If registration takes a bit more work, there's a significantly higher probability of getting people who are more serious about getting help here.
                            Quote
                            An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                            óRobert A. Humphrey

                            Raptor

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                            DarkBlade made some good suggestions, actually. They should be easier to implement and more user friendly..

                            unlovedwarrior



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                              1. Hardware/software details have to be filled out when registering.  Omitting this data is not an option.  If a user is unsure of how to obtain said information, they may be directed towards a tool such as SIW or Everest.  If possible, a good method would be the ability to save information for multiple computers. Then, when somebody posts, they can choose which computer they're talking about. Much like the billing plans on a site such as Amazon.

                              maybe something like on this page


                              Computer Hope Admin

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                              Unfortunately I'm having to do many of these changes manually so it's going slow (my PHP skills are null) but have started out with a potential start to the solution. Users who are now creating a message (not replying) will have a message displayed above the message box that says:

                              Asking a question? Click here to add your system information to the message.

                              If the user clicks "Click here", text similar to the below example will automatically be entered into their message box. This information is pulled from the browser user_agent so if the user is on the computer they're asking a question about key information such as OS and browser will be typed in for them.

                              Example test:
                              I'm running Windows XP and the Firefox browser. My question is

                              From that point the user can finish typing their question.

                              It's a start. Unfortunately the user_agent can't pull system specific information so still working on possible solutions for that.
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                              Sid, regarding the suggestion about CCleaner, it would be a great idea. However, unfortunately I don't think most users would take the time to download a third-party app if many are not spending the time to read the read me first posts.

                              CBMatt, Mr. Hope is still a work in progress, not a small task and with me bouncing around from one thing to another takes awhile. ;) However, I definitely welcome any scenarios or FAQ's that are not already answered. The beat (updated a month or so after originally posting) is still up at:

                              http://www.computerhope.com/cgi-bin/mrhope/mrhope.cgi

                              Not sure how he could be implemented into the forums (as far as users doing it before posting). But a log or things he's stepped them through could definitely be logged or even better sent to the forums. But good idea, something maybe for the future once it's more complete.

                              My only problem with filling out specs upon creating an account is where to store the data, unfortunately I'm not that great with PHP and new to SMF so implementing something like that would unfortunately take me personally a lot of time if at all possible.

                              Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
                              -Albert Einstein

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                              Example of user using this new feature.

                              http://www.computerhope.com/forum/index.php/topic,36120.0.html

                              If you happen to see a post where the users did not list their OS information but should of that has been made late today or any time in the future mention it, let's see if this helps as far as getting more users to at least post their  os information.
                              Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
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                              Zylstra

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                              Two things:
                              Do you think it would be a good idea or a bad idea to sometimes redirect a user to the Mr. Hope BETA to see what they get?
                              (Actually, you might put it on the oh.htm page as a BETA once you think it works well enough)

                              Also:
                              There is a way to make it so users can input their system information, or any information. You might remember when I suggested that users would be able to register their computer experience level. The modification allows you to make anything required or not required on the registration page, However, It would get terribly annoying if we were constantly going to look at their profiles.

                              Check with the SMF Forums, and see about a way to allow users to put more information in their posts (same way as you carry information from one programming file to another, CGI) by using either a Java, Flash, or ActiveX type of program.

                              I dont think Rob_Pomeroy has Internet at this moment :( , but if he does but I think you might be able to find him on Skype (you never know) and ask him about possible solutions (since, as you recall, he was very giddy about helping with this forum and website)


                              CBMatt

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                              CBMatt, Mr. Hope is still a work in progress, not a small task and with me bouncing around from one thing to another takes awhile. ;) However, I definitely welcome any scenarios or FAQ's that are not already answered. The beat (updated a month or so after originally posting) is still up at:

                              http://www.computerhope.com/cgi-bin/mrhope/mrhope.cgi

                              Not sure how he could be implemented into the forums (as far as users doing it before posting). But a log or things he's stepped them through could definitely be logged or even better sent to the forums. But good idea, something maybe for the future once it's more complete.

                              My only problem with filling out specs upon creating an account is where to store the data, unfortunately I'm not that great with PHP and new to SMF so implementing something like that would unfortunately take me personally a lot of time if at all possible.

                              I definitely sympathize when it comes to Mr. Hope.  It's obviously a BIG task, and it will take a long time to get him to the point of actually being truly helpful.  Although I like the idea of using him in conjunction with the board somehow, we probably won't be doing that anytime soon, even if we were all working on it.  I still like the idea, though.

                              As for the system specs...like Zylstra suggests, I bet you could find some solutions on the SMF forums.  There has to be someone who has done something very similar to this and could make it a lot easier for you.  I understand that your abilities and time are limited, but the work may have already been done for you.  With some luck, you may only have to follow some simple steps.

                              And there's something else I'm wondering.  Many forums have a tooltips feature that lets you preview the content of a post by overing over the subject line.  Do you know if SMF supports this?  This could help cut down on a lot of wasted time and we wouldn't have to get sucked into so many posts with generic and/or misleading titles.  Just a thought.


                              Example of user using this new feature.

                              http://www.computerhope.com/forum/index.php/topic,36120.0.html

                              If you happen to see a post where the users did not list their OS information but should of that has been made late today or any time in the future mention it, let's see if this helps as far as getting more users to at least post their  os information.
                              Although not major, that is a step in the right direction.  Do you think it would be possible to have some textareas show up after clicking on that link?  Kinda like the Additional Options link...when you click on that, you're presented with some checkboxes and options.  Perhaps clicking on the "Click here" link could present the poster with several textareas asking for certain specs.  I don't like this as much as the registration, but perhaps it would be easier?  Or would it actually be harder?

                              I'd like to thank you for attention on this matter so far, Nathan.  I appreciate you looking over our suggestiongs and trying to address this with us.  He'll never say it, but Raptor appreciates it too.  I swear, he's a big ol' softie on the inside.  Heh.



                              Do you think it would be a good idea or a bad idea to sometimes redirect a user to the Mr. Hope BETA to see what they get?
                              This could really go either way, I think.  If we did use Mr. Hope, perhaps it would be best to keep it optional, as I'm sure some people might get confused or frustrated.  However, it could help give someone an idea of what information to provide.  Even if it's just something like "I tried Mr. Hope and he told me to do this, this, and this but none of it worked."


                              However, It would get terribly annoying if we were constantly going to look at their profiles.
                              I agree.  But perhaps the information could be included on the side underneath the avatar and user quote.  Wherever it is, it should be easily accessible.  Maybe the information could be hidden and then activated by clicking on a link (much like when clicking on the Additional Options link).  The information will load with the rest of the page, but it can be concealed/revealed by using javascript.  Perhaps it could be included in the signature somehow.  From the beginning, I have had my computer specs in my signature because I knew that whenever I had a problem, the information would be asked for, and I didn't want to have to keep posting it.

                              When registering for GeeksToGo, you are asked to provide your OS and it is displayed underneath your avatar.  We can surely do something like this on a slightly larger scale.  It would be a lot nicer, I think, if we could save info for multiple computers, but I know there's only so much we can do.  And if storage/space is an issue, we could look into my above suggestion to Nathan.
                              Quote
                              An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
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                              Zylstra, technically right now Mr. Hope is in the alpha stage, which is why it hasn't been mentioned anywhere but the forums. I'm going to try to go into overdrive this weekend and I'll see if I can get it up to at least beta where I think it's more suitable for all visitors to try.

                              As far as a mod, there are a few mods that look promising unfortunately installing mods with SMF seem to be short of impossible. I've not yet been able to install one mod successfully. Starting to see what Saviour meant about installing mods with this forum system. I'm sure my lack of PHP skills and limited time however don't help. ;)

                              Finally, I'm sure Rob would be more than happy to help and maybe he could come up with a good solution. My issue is that it would have to be a solution external of the server. Most solutions I'd imagine require some form of access to the Computer Hope server, which I'm unable to do.

                              CBMatt, I did see a possible solution on the SMF forums that would of been nice to implement, however it wasn't a mod it was something they did internally. There are some other solutions however all of them had some additional text boxes, still debating if adding even more text boxes to fill out is the best solution. Always try to keep with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle.

                              However, I do like your idea of the link also pulling down additional information about what the user should post ie: RAM, CPU, other information. I don't know if it would be harder or not but I assume it couldn't be that hard. That's just JavaScript / HTML stuff which is fairly easy for me.

                              Finally, I like the idea of having the system information under the profile on the left side. I agreed with Zylstra on how much of a pain it would be having to open peoples profile's just to see system specs and then how disappointed you would be if they were not there. I'll also look into that as a possible solution. I'm sure it will take a mod, but maybe it will be a simple mod. ;)
                              Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
                              -Albert Einstein

                              CBMatt

                              • Mod & Malware Specialist


                              • Prodigy

                              • Sad and lonely...and loving every minute of it.
                              • Thanked: 167
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                              • Experience: Experienced
                              • OS: Windows 7
                              You've definitely got my vote of confidence, Nathan.  Having no experience with SMF or PHP, I guess it's pretty easy for me to say that something sounds like it'll be easy.  But you're a resourceful guy and I'm sure you can pull it off.  At the very least, I think it's worth a shot.
                              Quote
                              An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
                              óRobert A. Humphrey

                              beach_horse

                              • Guest
                              you rock, somebody cares 8)