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Using Forums RRS feed

  • Question

  • Due to the large amount of off-topic posts landing in this forum and the Using Forums in general, something needs to change. Every day I see moderators in here letting a user know he's in the wrong forum.

    - Implement a post queue similar to asp.net where the message needs to be moderated first before acceptance for new users only .
    or
    - Move the entire "Using Forums" group down to the bottom, as most people won't read anything in it anyway.

    Also, another thing I noticed was the alarming number of categories in general, this needs to be cut in half at least. With this many categories, a user will get flustered and panic submit a post in order to get it over with.
    hi
    Wednesday, June 24, 2009 9:24 PM

All replies

  • I think you got the wrong impression.  The people, well, person, declaring threads off topic is not in fact a moderator.  If he was, he would have done something about those posts.  The only people with moderator rights in this forum category are Microsoft employees.  They don't tend to the forums well.  Moderating is a job that's pretty boring and repetitive.  The kind of job where volunteers tend to be more effective than employees that get paid to do the job.

    Which would a significant problem with your proposed solution.  There are a *lot* of newbie threads, having to screen them would be excruciating boring work.  They would be able to find neither volunteers nor paid workers to get that taken care of.

    Moving the category isn't likely to work well either.  It used to be at the bottom, but still got off topic posts.  And the off topic load would just move to another category.

    There are other ways to organize forums that wouldn't cause nearly as much off topic posts or such a large laundry list of categories.  The Stackoverflow.com model is a good example.  It is organized by user entered tags, posting off topic is nearly impossible.  Even using the wrong tag is taken care of, most users that post there can change the tag if they think it is wrong.  The entire site runs with only about 4 moderators.

    But that kind of anarchy doesn't fit the Microsoft model well at all.  Each forum is supposed to be sponsored by the corresponding group at Microsoft.  And users doing anything to keep the forums tidy, like they used to, have been replaced by employees from India and China.
    Hans Passant.
    Thursday, June 25, 2009 2:13 AM
  • I think it would help if there was only one Microsoft forums and then divide that by good categorization and deeper category hierarchy. Often when I have an issue, I am guided to some other Microsoft forum (eg. TechNet or newsgroups) instead. So I don't even have the correct category under one big forums in the first place but have to go somewhere else. And how Msdn and TechNet differ anyway? To new users they sound somewhat similar in nature.

    So I would like to have all the categories I need in one place. Just manage the categories better. Now all the categories are in one big list in the front page containing also subcategories in the same list. Also the categories in the forums are not organized as well as they could. Not all subcategories are under seemingly correct category, and under some category are subcategories that could belong to some other category if you look the category by name. A deeper hierarchy shouldn't be hard to create. Remove some links from the main list and add some more pages under them dynamically. The hiearchy should be stored in the database, not hard coded to the web page.

    I have written about that earlier too, but nothing seems to happen. You could make the organizing categories system more dynamic so that when you change categories you don't break the addresses to threads.

    Sure there can be sponsors for different categories and things, but that shouldn't rule out good organizing of the forums. I have tried to write something under a certain subcategory, but the sponsors have guarded the subcategory by saying my issue really doesn't belong there because blaa blaa blaa even though the name of the subcategory was quite general. If you have strongly guarded sponsored subcategories that are not general, then those should be under some specific sponsor category and add a general category of the thing too. Also if you think you want to upkeep only sponsored subcategories, then what is the idea behind that? Who is sponsoring for example some general thing like "Architect Role"? And if you have sponsored and non-sponsored categories, then that is a mess unless we the users can easily see what is and what is not sponsored one and what is general and how they are put into the hierarchy.
    • Edited by Silvercode Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:40 AM
    Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:30 AM
  • I have a sticky post at the top of the main two SharePoint forums which has guidelines on which SharePoint forum to post to and which (allied) subjects are not to be posted to SharePoint forums and where they should go to.

    I estimate that if those guidelines were followed by posters probably over 95% of the posts I now move would not need to be moved.

    That's one point. It's the users of the forums who are causing the organization problems not the structure and names of the forums themselves.

    Another is that Moderators - even non-MS moderators (and perhaps following Hans' point especially non-MS moderators) CAN keep the forums tidy. (Questions another point of Hans' "And users doing anything to keep the forums tidy, like they used to, have been replaced by employees from India and China." - in the SharePoint forums these MS (Chinese) employees provide valuable technical responses but don't replace the "users" (Moderators) in keeping the forums tidy).


    Final Point: Things vary from forum (and group of forums) to forum. Some work; some don't. Some have good MS support; some don't and some don't have any MS support at all. Some have logical names and some don't. (But you tell me why a forum called "MSDN and TechNet Search Feedback" gets lots of Windows 7 questions - it's not because of unclear naming that's for sure)






    WSS FAQ sites: http://wssv2faq.mindsharp.com and http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com
    Total list of WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007 Books (including foreign language) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/Lists/v3%20WSS%20FAQ/V%20Books.aspx
    Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:52 PM
  • "I have a sticky post at the top of the main two SharePoint forums which has guidelines on which SharePoint forum to post to and which (allied) subjects are not to be posted to SharePoint forums and where they should go to."

    I would like it more, if there was deeper hierarchy. Usually people don't read manuals. The more the people need to read manuals, the more errors there will eventually be.

    "I estimate that if those guidelines were followed by posters probably over 95% of the posts I now move would not need to be moved. .. Things vary from forum (and group of forums) to forum. Some work; some don't. Some have good MS support; some don't and some don't have any MS support at all. Some have logical names and some don't. .."

    Even if there was better categories, users will post also into wrong subcategories. But if Forums was better organized, then Forums would be easier to grasp and use. I use mental images when I work. If Forums is more like a jungle with manuals, the image is not easy to create.

    "That's one point. It's the users of the forums who are causing the organization problems not the structure and names of the forums themselves."

    I would not call it very good structure, when there is one huge list of categories and subcategories in one single page with mixed modes and manuals, plus some of the stuff in TechNet and others. So until the structure is very good, I think there is some improvements to be done.

    "(But you tell me why a forum called "MSDN and TechNet Search Feedback" gets lots of Windows 7 questions - it's not because of unclear naming that's for sure)"

    Maybe users just throw their post just somewhere off their hands when they don't easily find the correct subcategory. I see you have put a label that forwards people to TechNet for Windows 7 issues. Well, that is just like in a jungle. You are somewhere, lost, and need a sign to go somewhere else. I would prefer MSDN forums and TechNet forums and all others to be combined and to make deeper categorization in Forums. Then the user just clicks maybe for example Development->Windows->Windows 7 instead of going through a huge list of categories and subcategories in the first page of Forums Home (where it even doesn't remember collapsing of categories) maybe without finding their subcategory but going to TechNet and browsing some more.

    Very important would be to be able to browse back and forth in the hierarchy as fast as possible. The fastness of the hierarchy would allow users to search and use the Forums site efficiently and have bigger motivation to search the correct place for their posts. If the hierarchy is rigid and slow, that is irritating. Computers are supposedly evolving faster, not slower. Almost instant is the new norm. So I wouldn't need any excess data (about who wrote last in what category, who has how many points etc.), when I am using the hierarchy as a tool, if the data is slowing the tool down. But when I finally find what I need (the forum), then there could be more info about the threads.

    I don't think that Search replaces a good hierarchy much, because searches usually don't work like the hierarchy. Search searches some random stuff for me instead of I having a neat mental image of where the things really are like in a hierarchy. Also good searches link not only to content but to preset results too.
    • Edited by Silvercode Saturday, June 27, 2009 4:30 AM
    Saturday, June 27, 2009 4:04 AM
  • Complaints about the forums organization have been around just about as long as the forums have.  Yes, it's not ideal.  But to get this fixed, we need to hear some ideas how to organize them differently.

    I believe in the idea of many hands making light work.  There's been a problem with that in the past year, there are not many hands left.  And the few that are left don't want to do the large amount of work.
    Hans Passant.
    Saturday, June 27, 2009 9:17 AM
  • Well, it's an idea (not a complaint)

    My experience with forums is limited, so if there is already something like this or better, please let me know.

    What I'm suggesting is like an Index of a book. But, unlike a book, the index headings would be tags in posts and the page numbers would be links to forums.

    So for example, if I were looking for a place to ask about WMI, I would search the Index for WMI and might get something like this:

      WMI
        Forum A (500 posts)
        Forum B (100 posts)
        Forum C (2 posts)

    Looking at this, my question would probably be answered (or already be answered) in Forums A and B, and maybe in C.

    Then if I click on Forum A under the WMI heading, I would get all the posts about WMI in Forum A.

    So, where should the index headings (tags) come from?

    It's probably best if the index headings came from people who are answering a question. This way, someone can look at this index and see that 500 replies in Forum A were about WMI, rather than 500 threads in Forum A were about WMI, which may or may not have any replies.

    Also, people replying to a question will probably have a better idea of what the tags should be and are also probably more willing to take the time to tag their posts. Their answers may even contain subjects that the questioner did not consider while asking the question. However, I'm not sure if replies to a question can be tagged.

    But why?

    Because, as Silvercode wrote, "search searches some random stuff for me."

    Why not?

    I don't know. That's why it's only a suggestion. :-)

    Francis

    Friday, October 30, 2009 3:49 AM