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Old Timer Criticizes Ranking System, Makes Suggestions

    General discussion

  • I have some suggestions to address the problem of customers who become alienated just as they're putting in the time to become customers.

    I began contributing on technical forms back in the late 70's when we hooked BBS systems to each other via FidoNet.  Then I continued contributing via CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL, UseNet, and TechNet.  When this current ranking system was introduced, it seriously damaged the quality of answers people provide.  Yes, to a degree, more answers are good.  The ranking system provokes more answers.  However, so many non-answers alienate customers just as they're trying to become customers.  Many of us old timers quit being much of a contributor because it wastes our time wading through threads that grow endlessly long with so many back-and-forth posts that disrespect the customer. 

    Customers become alienated.  Microsoft is damaged by answers that disrespect the customer and lack quality. 

    PROBLEM 1:  People race to get points for providing the "first answer".  If you'll take the time to cruise the TechNet forums, you'll find the first reply is often one that says "Why are you doing that?  You shouldn't be doing that."  It's not an answer, but the poster gets points for it.

    PROBLEM 2:  Buddy systems have formed where people mark each other's non-answer as an answer.  If you cruise just a few threads you'll find the original poster frequently "unmarking" the proposed answer.  In too many cases the original poster doesn't return in time to unmark the non-answer, and it times-out to become a permanent "answer".

    SUGGESTIONS: 

    1. Quit giving points for a first answer. 

    2. Slow down the buddy systems.  Add a Many-to-Many relationship table to your forum database that notes when Fred marks Bob's post as an anwer.  You'll quickly discover who the buddy abusers are.  What to do about it?  It seems an easy task to either limit the number of times Fred can mark Bob's post as an answer, or throttle down the number of points that are awarded with each Fred-to-Bob answer mark.

    3. List the buddy count data in the footer of a marked message so we can judge its credibility.  A count of 1,2, or 3 would be high credibility.  A count of 100+ means something fishy is going on. 

    4. Let a moderator sheriff go to work.  Randomly audit threads.  Notice customer frustration and record it in your database.  Most moderators care about the customer, but they become compromised because relationships become too strong within a particular forum.  You need a sheriff because too often, moderators don't put a stop on posters where relationships have grown too strong.  As it is now, customers who express frustration get attacked.  That doesn't make sense because, THEY'RE THE CUSTOMER. 


    Cloud Production

    Monday, February 1, 2016 6:01 PM