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How do we get rid of self-propose? RRS feed

  • Question

  • As predicted, the self-propose clicking is really getting out of hand.  There are already numerous posts burned on the issue, I'm sure you've seen them.  I acknowledge that you'll bring back the proposer's name some day, but that doesn't really solve the problem.

    The way I see it, there are four of you and roughly a million of us.  Users that mostly have attitudes towards self-propose between "why is that even possible?" to "this is evil, it must die!"  The vast majority of them do the Right Thing and never click.  But there are some chronic abusers out there, some of whom even ignore the "hey, stop that!" prompt. 

    I think I've seen you try to do the right thing before, self-propose was disabled in one release.  But it came right back in the next release.  That looked a lot like your decision was overruled by somebody with the power to push buttons.

    Who was that?  We need a name so we can target our lover letters and flames to the person that makes the call.  Just the name will do, we'll figure out how to get in touch.
    Hans Passant.
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 10:53 AM

All replies

  • I'd say that we need the name NOW as a quick way of *helping* with the self-propose problem.

    But what we really need is self-proposing not being possible. FULL-STOP - just not possible at all.


    I am hoping for a message back saying that both these actions will be taken.

    So far we have promises only on the name of the proposer coming back. I'm still waiting with baited breath,



    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 2:58 PM
  • What exactly is so evil about self-proposing one's post as an answer?

    After all, if a proposed answer actually isn't an answer the solution is very simple: just don't mark it as an answer!  In order to determine whether some specific post answers a question or not, you have to read its content anyway.  Proposing a post as an answer creates no obligation and does not automatically add forum points -- correct?

    On the other hand, this feature does seem useful because you can make a post that you think answers the question stand out in an ongoing discussion.  "Propose as answer" simply means that a post is not a request for clarification, or a response to such a request, or a collection of your favorite lolcats etc., but in fact an attempt to answer the question.

    Sure, it's not exactly *necessary* since anyone qualified to mark posts as answers does need to read the post itself anyway, as mentioned above.  But it's not obvious to me why this feature is actively harmful, or how proposing your own posts as answers is different from someone else doing it.
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 12:35 PM
  • Chris, It's impossible to see from your post if you are a moderator in any forum or not. 

    If you were you would have seen that the majority of self-proposed posts occur within seconds or minutes of posting the reply and that a large percentage of them are not answers to the question itself (and certainly not for sure) but merely a reply. Rather too many users seem to think that posting a reply is posting an answer and justifies in turn their marking the post as an answer.

    The second aspect is that most of the self-proposers are people trying frantically to improve their points score. In other words whereas most proposers of other people's posts by doing so provide valuable assistance to the moderators (because they are totally unbiased and not doing this for any point scoring reasons)by marking only good answers from other people, the majority of self-proposers are far too quick (not just in time - the bar is very low for a lot of them) to propose their own posts and thus cause additional work for the moderators rather than helping them.

    Being a conscientious Moderator has meant that day in day out Mon-Sun I spend at least 2 hours and often more in the forums and most of it is pure Moderator work (with the occasional joy of actually answering a question thrown in). In other words I need all the help I can get and needing to check the posts of self-proposers is not helping me a bit to have a life outside the forums and normal work.

    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 12:45 PM
  • Chris, the pros and cons have been discussed *many* times already, you'll find the threads in the feedback forums.  Please contribute to those and keep this thread on topic.

    I haven't received an answer yet, it was a simple question.  If public disclosure is a problem, please send me an email.  You'll find the address in my profile on the forums 2.x site.
    Hans Passant.
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 12:53 PM
  • Mike, thanks for the explanation.  I had not considered the proposal feature as an aid for moderators who are scanning lots of threads that still needed answering.  I can see how self-proposal spam would get annoying in a forum that relies heavily on moderation.  Anyway, not being a moderator I'm neutral towards the whole thing, so getting rid of self-proposal is fine with me.
    Sunday, April 5, 2009 7:10 AM
  • The only times I would self propose is if:

    1. My post is quite obviously the answer.
    2. My post is quite obviously the answer of a "sub-question".
    3. Some idiot decides to post pretty much the same thing afterwards, in which case I'd propose their post as an answer as well.

    It wouldn't be a bad thing if moderators were to be alerted of self proposers and they were given the power to remove that privilege for that user, if they deem necessary. In fact that would be quite a good idea. Why not? Anyway, I only did this as a bump (hopefully someone will do something).
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 12:18 PM
  • >The only times I would self propose is if:
    >
    >1. My post is quite obviously the answer.
    >2. My post is quite obviously the answer of a "sub-question".

    Unfortunately that is indeed you and you are in the minority in my experience.

    > It wouldn't be a bad thing if moderators were to be alerted of self proposers and they were given the power to remove that privilege for that user, if they deem necessary.

    It's a nice idea. But I suspect it would lead to so many complaints that Microsoft would remove the possibility fairly quickly.

    Also the problem is that most self-proposers will be able to find at least one post which is worthy of being proposed as an answer. In other words if moderators ever did remove the privildege for a particular user they would need to be safe to first look through ALL the self-proposes of that user. As the idea is to save Moderators time by avoiding them having to check self-proposed (and often not-sufficient) posts, the whole idea would probably be worse rather than better.

    Banning all self-proposers does - it is true - then affect people who are restrictive in which of their own posts they propose, but it is on the other hand a very clear-cut solution that ought I imagine to be easier to implement than removing the right to self-propose from certain people.


    P.S. Thanks for bumping this :)

    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 12:53 PM
  • Its very strange, this thread is being avoided by MSFT!!! 
    Arjun Paudel
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 4:25 PM
  • How about limiting Propose As Answer to those with say 4 or 5 stars (i.e. the equivalent points). That way, it's a right that has to be earned. Maybe if the OP sees that someone reputable and respected has proposed a post as the answer, they may bother to mark it. Another option is a workaround: make proposed answers invisible - problem still exists, but no-one will know. I'm just throwing light on the subject. Maybe one idea will latch on.
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 11:43 AM
  • 1. limiting Propose As Answer to those with say 4 or 5 stars : that's a good idea but will need more code than just an outright ban.

    However it would (usually) help the Moderators a lot. The only main problem I can see is that all those stars could have been gained in another completely different set of forums - i.e. there is no posting record in this set of forums (and stars can be obtained for just posting)

    One variation (again even more things for the code to consider) would be more than a certain number of posts *in that set of forums* that have been marked as Answers.

    2. Making proposed answers invisible.

    Presumably they are still visible to someone, which would then presumably mean the moderators. If so it wouldn't help at all because moderators would still have to process them. That's (mostly?) what banning self-proposing is trying to avoid.

    Mike
    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:50 PM
  • Well, close to 2 weeks without a response.  Maybe it is easier if I restate the original question: "how do we get rid of self-propose?"
    Hans Passant.
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:25 PM
  • If moderators don't find it is useful to review proposed answers and validate them first, you don't have to. Proposed marking doesn't increment recognition points. I guess I might be misisng something?

    Can someone inlcude a list of these self propose abuses? I'd like to take a look at them along with the other proposed answers. Thanks
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 6:44 PM
  • Brent:

    Not everyone agrees, but I think the utility of Propose in general is very marginal. But its only possible benefit (alerting moderators to posts that might be marked as answer) is completely trashed by self-propose, because it introduces a large amount of noise in a signal that is pretty weak to begin with.

    Quiz:

    Do you think a self-proposal is a better indicator of

    (a) the quality of the response

    (b) the lack of humility of the proposer?

    I rest my case.

    The problem is made even worse in V4 by the lack of any indication of who has proposed, marked or edited a post. Is this at least going to be fixed?
    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 10:21 PM
  • Brent,

    Asking for a list of self-propose abuses is not helpful. It's possible to find cases where the question has been answered in a self-propose post and it is equally possible to find lots of cases where it hasn't been.  The problem is that there is a vast discrepancy between the average quality of a post that has been self-proposed and the average quality of a post that someone else has proposed as an answer.

    In most cases the latter - typically marked byexperts on the subject - are quality answers (the only cases where this is not the case is where a beginner has gone wild and marked everything in sight as an answer). In other words provided a Moderator knows (= has seen the person's posts often and knows of their quality) the person who proposes someone else's post, he can generally just up it to Answer statement without needing to check the details.

    Self-proposers vary so much (beginners; points seekers; people oversure of themselves; and yes even posters of quality posts) that it is impossible to "up" such a post without serious study of the post itself. Even so if they were upped as a result of that, posts that were far superior (but with less pushy posters) would still be left not marked as answers - there is only so much time in a moderator's day.

    I check all proposed posts to see if I should up them. I do this as a regular part of each session. I always turn off self-propose markings (because of all the above problems) in "my" forums so I can concentrate on the "proposed by someone else" posts and on regular posts. Turning off the ability to self-propose would therefore allow me to spend my time much more productively as almost all time spent looking at the proposed threads would not be wasted.

     ----------

    I agree with this

    >But its only possible benefit (alerting moderators to posts that might be marked as answer) is completely trashed by self-propose, because it introduces a large >amount of noise in a signal that is pretty weak to begin with.

    and the comments a and b that follow.

    Except that I actually think propose as answer COULD be more useful than it is at the moment if only self-proposals weren't allowed. The the amount of noise and the problem of lack of humility connected with it will remain as long as there is self-proposal.

    -----------

    You should perhaps note that we (normal) Moderators are not paid (that's for sure) or judged on the stats of number of threads and number of answers in a thread. We are therefore interested only in providing the service of having a thread marked as an answer when there actually is an answer in it. Not for us then the automatic upgrade to Answer status of anything that has been proposed as an answer ....


    Mike Walsh



    Much later addition: Brent says "Proposed marking doesn't increment recognition points." This is missing the point. Having a post marked as an Answer does increase points and proposing one's own post as an Answer is intended to get it marked as an Answer. Hence self-proposing IS an attempt to get extra points.
    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Monday, April 20, 2009 7:22 AM
  • Now here's an argument for keeping self-propose. Just have a look at this thread. I'm sure we've all had one of these - the "oh thank you it worked" post being marked as answer, but jeez... that's newbish beyond belief.
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:05 PM
  • Now here's an argument for keeping self-propose. Just have a look at this thread. I'm sure we've all had one of these - the "oh thank you it worked" post being marked as answer, but jeez... that's newbish beyond belief.
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    I disagree.

    This is not a reason to keep self-propose by responders. Rather it is a reason to get rid of self-marking by OP's.

    Both are evil, IMHO, but self-propose is worse.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:42 PM
  • Good point. The problem is once a question is answered, moderators aren't going to do anything about proposed answers, are they? At least that's what I find. So now it can be: "How do we get rid of self-propose and self-marking?".
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:45 PM
  • I am not a moderator either, so maybe my thoughts here are too narrow in view but ...

    In many cases, I wait until the next day and  then mark my replies as proposed answers if I think they did answer the question. My thought was that people would use the "notify me" feature and would then get a reminder email that they did not mark their question as answered.

    What I really didn't  like from the last time I hung  out here was that several people would write anything and immediately mark the question as answered before the OP actually even had a chance to look at it. This was prior to the "proposed answer" feature. So then no one else would look at the question to provide a more  complete/correct answer.

    So I see self-propose as an improvement.
    www.insteptech.com
    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 4:35 AM
  • I found myself making my answers as proposed answers tonight also when the OP said something like "that was it, thanks" but did not mark the question as  answered. Again, I thought that the OP would get an email that  would hopefully remind them to mark the question as answered.

    www.insteptech.com
    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 5:23 AM
  • Doing that (even in such circumstances) would mean that I would remove the propose as answered mark.

    I don't have the time to check if self-proposers are self-proposing because someone somewhere in the thread said Thanks it works (often without a quote to indicate which post worked) and as I use the posts by time posted view I need some reference. 

    I'm a black/white guy and I take the fair-to-all way of removing all self-proposals - even those from MVPs (and others) whose knowledge of the subject I have faith in. Hence my desire for self-proposal to be not possible as that would put it in line with what I do anyway.



    WSS FAQ sites: WSS 2.0: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007: http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language titles) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 5:44 AM
  • So now it can be: "How do we get rid of self-propose and self-marking?".
    Hobbyist programmer: VB.NET, C++, Pascal
    You have to be persuasive. I really don't think there is really any strong support for self-propose, so this one should be easy.

    OTOH, many people believe that OP-mark is a good thing. I don't, and I think the thread you showed is a prime example of its counter-productiveness.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 11:05 AM