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Would it be possible to have "mark as unhelpful" or similar options to discourage pointless posts?

    Question

  • Hiya,

    I've noticed on a number of Technet forums I frequent there is a small minority of posters who appear to be posting just for points or something similar.

    These are often posts where they will:

    * Say they agree with the answer, then mark their reply as the answer. When there's disagreement or the original poster is looking for validation from a few sources, fair enough, but in most of these cases the posters don't add anything to the conversation.

    * Post "any update on the issue" to a thread they weren't a part of, literally hours after someone else gave the answer.

    * Give bad information on a subject that clearly isn't their strong point or just reply with the results of a Bing / Google search.

    Now, everyone might do one of these once in a while, but there seems to be a minority in the forums I frequent who do all three, nearly all the time. They tend to come for a few months, then when they don't get whatever it is they were expecting they either get bored or leave.

    If there was a way to mark someone down for giving bad information (apart from just professional reputation) then I feel this might discourage people posting for the sake of it.

    Steve


    Steve Goodman
    Check out my Blog for more Exchange info or find me on Twitter

    Friday, August 26, 2011 9:43 AM

All replies

  • Hi Steve,

    Just to add to this, I think there are some who post inane replies, just to get their tag line in the thread.  Their tag line will often contain links to their web-sites and blogs, solicitations for paid support etc.

    There is a way to 'mark a post as un-helpful'.  Just report it as being Off Topic/Irellevant, or if appropriate, as Spam/Advertising.


    [string](0..9|%{[char][int](32+("39826578840055658268").substring(($_*2),2))})-replace "\s{1}\b"
    Sunday, August 28, 2011 5:58 AM
  • I did read your suggestion in the other thread about that and had two minds about changing my signature. However, I don't take advertising on my blog and when someone contacts me via my blog or twitter I help them for free and would never take a penny.

    I saw the Off Temport/Irrelevant but didn't think the type of posts I'm referring to class as either?

    Steve


    Steve Goodman
    Check out my Blog for more Exchange info or find me on Twitter

    Sunday, August 28, 2011 9:26 AM
  • Hi Steve,

    In my other post about adverts in tag lines, I was not referring to yours.  I don't think what you have as a tag line is in any way offensive, it's cool.

    What I am against is people putting in links to their web-sites for commercial purposes.  This is abuse, and should be reported as such, using the little "Report As Abuse" function.

    With regard to marking peoples posts as 'unhelpful', I think such functionality would do more harm than good.  It would lead to bun fights.  To report a post as abusive is a serious matter, and should not be done lightly.  I think a simple button to "de-vote" a post would itself be abused.

    The "Off Topic/Irrelevant Posts" report is a sort of catch-all, and I think can be used if a person persists in disrupting threads as you describe.

    As an aside, recently I saw that one of my posts had been given a -1 vote!  It was a completely normal post in the course of a conversation.  So I queried this with the moderator, who corrected it and gave me a +1 vote instead.  He couldn't explain how I'd gotten a -1 in the first place!  True story.


    [string](0..9|%{[char][int](32+("39826578840055658268").substring(($_*2),2))})-replace "\s{1}\b"

    Monday, August 29, 2011 6:37 AM
  • agree and wish if we can pan them

     


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    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 1:04 PM
  • Steve et al,

    I wouldn't like to see a "mark as unhelpful" button because I feel it would set a bad tone.  It might cause posters to be reluctant to post a comment or suggestion for fear of getting a bad vote.

    I would like to see the forums encourage any suggestion, and as just as there are no dumb questions, I also feel there are no dumb answers.  No one person can judge that another person's post was unhelpful, just because it didn't seem helpful to them personally. 

    I agree there are cases where posters ARE posting "dumb" things, just to get their tag out there( for spam purposes or other reasons) 

    But I think the best way to handle these is to mark these as Spam/Off topic so they can be handled by a moderator.   


    Tom Overton
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:16 PM
  • Tom,

    OK, I see your point. The kind of things I mean aren't off topic. Like, if someone posts "I agree" in 20 threads and marks it as the answer each time, it's not spam and it's not really off topic. Maybe there should be a little more moderation to delete posts like that when it's a repeat offender instead?

    Steve


    Steve Goodman
    Check out my Blog for more Exchange info or find me on Twitter

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:56 PM
  • Steve,

    I totally agree with your argument for wanting a "mark as unhelpful" button, given the situations that's you've described.  

    I just don't agree with actually doing it.

    You and I would know what it's for, but many others, espeically those new to the forum, would be intimidated by it and worry they're going to be publicly marked as unhelpful any time they try to make an honest suggestion.  

    The only way I would agree with a "mark as unhelpful" button would be if the unhelpful votes were not shown publicly or even to the recipient.  They would just be used to flag the moderators to pay attention to those individuals that have been getting a lot of unhelpful votes.  

     


    Tom Overton
    • Proposed as answer by Cor Ligthert Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:23 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by Cor Ligthert Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:36 AM
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 11:36 PM
  • Hi Steve,

    You make a very good point, and I agree with you.  Besides being open to abuse (bun-fights), I agree that a 'de-vote' button would be very intimidating.

    As you say, there is no such thing as a bad answer, and I would like to encourage that way of thinking:  I learn a lot more by being wrong than being right all the time.

    Asking silly questions and giving erroneous replies is what these forums are all about!  In both cases, you will learn, because others will point out your mistakes.


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    • Proposed as answer by Cor Ligthert Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:36 AM
    Thursday, September 8, 2011 3:59 AM
  • OK, I see your point. The kind of things I mean aren't off topic. Like, if someone posts "I agree" in 20 threads and marks it as the answer each time, it's not spam and it's not really off topic. Maybe there should be a little more moderation to delete posts like that when it's a repeat offender instead?

    It seems that usually if you explain forum etiquette to users who do that then they cease that behaviour.

    --
    Andrew

    Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:14 PM