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Marking as answers RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Why do MS moderators troll the threads and mark responses as answers when they are not the answers? Is this so that they can get more points on the forums? Its frustrating as a forum user because now people stop responding because they think the thread is answered. Not a very good practice in my opinion.
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:17 PM

Answers

  • It's fairly common for moderators to clean up the forums and mark responses as answers if they are truly the correct answer. Some times this means the moderator will be marking their own posts as the answers as well. However they should only be doing this if their response is the answer. Moderators are usually experts in the technology they are moderators for. The main reason for this is that most people don't bother marking questions as answered. In fact, in the forums I moderate about 80% of the questions are never marked as answered by the question asker even though full solutions that are well known for the question were provided. In most of these cases its just the question asker not familiar with the forums or just not concerned about keeping the forums clean (lazy). Part of the job as a moderator is to keep the forums clean and up to date so this includes not only marking questioned as answered when an answer is provided but also cleaning up/reporting spam, deleting duplicate posts, editing users post to remove things like their passwords.

    I've been a moderator for over 6 years now and have been accused of marking a couple of times of marking my own posts as the answer when the question asker didn't agree. This usually was a result of the question asker either not liking the answer even though it was the correct one (I.e. what you are trying to do is not supported) or they simply don't understand the technology they are working with and have no idea how to implement the answer (even when it's pretty clearly spelt out). Unfortunately over the years I have come across a few moderators who mark themselves as the answers when ever possible, even when they did not provide any kind of answer.

    Here is the general process I follow when marking answers. If the answer has been online for a good week without a response and the answer is the type that is 100% the right answer then I'll mark it as the answer. If the question is a type where the answer requires testing by the end user or their could be multiple solutions then I mark the possible answers as proposed answers and let them sit for about a month. This gives the question asker ample time to un-propose the answer or response to the thread. If there is no responses after a month I then mark the proposed answers and answers.


    http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com


    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:37 PM
  • Did the moderator in question propose as answer first and then wait at least a few days (it's supposed to be seven, but I've definitely seen shorter windows being used) before marking answers?

    If so, they're within the guidelines they've been instructed to use. If not, there's an issue with the specific moderator in question.

    If you're interested, here's the guidelines all laid out:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1059.forum-moderation-guide-managing-posts-and-threads-marking-answers.aspx#Guidance


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Don't give up yet - 12,700+ strong and growing)

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:00 PM

All replies

  • It's fairly common for moderators to clean up the forums and mark responses as answers if they are truly the correct answer. Some times this means the moderator will be marking their own posts as the answers as well. However they should only be doing this if their response is the answer. Moderators are usually experts in the technology they are moderators for. The main reason for this is that most people don't bother marking questions as answered. In fact, in the forums I moderate about 80% of the questions are never marked as answered by the question asker even though full solutions that are well known for the question were provided. In most of these cases its just the question asker not familiar with the forums or just not concerned about keeping the forums clean (lazy). Part of the job as a moderator is to keep the forums clean and up to date so this includes not only marking questioned as answered when an answer is provided but also cleaning up/reporting spam, deleting duplicate posts, editing users post to remove things like their passwords.

    I've been a moderator for over 6 years now and have been accused of marking a couple of times of marking my own posts as the answer when the question asker didn't agree. This usually was a result of the question asker either not liking the answer even though it was the correct one (I.e. what you are trying to do is not supported) or they simply don't understand the technology they are working with and have no idea how to implement the answer (even when it's pretty clearly spelt out). Unfortunately over the years I have come across a few moderators who mark themselves as the answers when ever possible, even when they did not provide any kind of answer.

    Here is the general process I follow when marking answers. If the answer has been online for a good week without a response and the answer is the type that is 100% the right answer then I'll mark it as the answer. If the question is a type where the answer requires testing by the end user or their could be multiple solutions then I mark the possible answers as proposed answers and let them sit for about a month. This gives the question asker ample time to un-propose the answer or response to the thread. If there is no responses after a month I then mark the proposed answers and answers.


    http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com


    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:37 PM
  • This is standard practice, and moderators do not get points for marking their own answers.

    The general guidelines are to propose an answer and then wait 7 days. After 7 days, if the OP has not responded, the answer will be marked. The OP is free at any point to unpropose or unmark any answers.


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Don't give up yet - 12,700+ strong and growing)

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:38 PM
  • Thanks for the replies. I have to say, Standard Practice does it make it correct practice. Couple this with the fact that the web page is blowing up when I try to unmark the answer, Now I have an important thread that will miss opportunities for input because some moderator decided to mark an answer where they were not involved in the conversation what so ever. I guess I can start a new thread and point back to the main one with hopes of getting assistance. I would call this an unfortunate practice vs a Standard practice.
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:41 PM
  • Not to nit pick but as the asker it's also not a good practice to mark your own reply as the answer unless you solve your question and provide the solution in your response.

    http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:52 PM
  • It was marked with a sarcastic tone to the topic ;)
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:56 PM
  • It was marked with a sarcastic tone to the topic ;)

    What else are you looking for?

    EDIT: Full disclosure - I'm not a moderator in any forum. I'm just a standard user like you.


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Don't give up yet - 12,700+ strong and growing)

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:30 PM
  • Good point, what am I looking for?

    Without anywhere but here from what I can see to express my concerns as a partner user that spends a lot of money annually for access to partner forums as well as other utilities, I would expect that MS moderators not mark my threads as answers when 1) the issue has not been answered 2) the moderator in question has not been involved the discussion at all but does a fly-by "mark as answer". Where the latter scenario is certainly more concerning.

    When a thread is marked as answers, people stop looking at it and I stop getting the replies that I need.

    So what I am looking for is a change to policies in how MS moderates these forums.

    Thank you.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:51 PM
  • Did the moderator in question propose as answer first and then wait at least a few days (it's supposed to be seven, but I've definitely seen shorter windows being used) before marking answers?

    If so, they're within the guidelines they've been instructed to use. If not, there's an issue with the specific moderator in question.

    If you're interested, here's the guidelines all laid out:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1059.forum-moderation-guide-managing-posts-and-threads-marking-answers.aspx#Guidance


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Don't give up yet - 12,700+ strong and growing)

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:00 PM
  • No, the moderator that marked the answer had no role in the discussion at all, just showed up after 2 days and marked an answer.
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:25 PM
  • The inability to unmark marked answer (or proposed answer) is pointed out in that forum and bug is logged, but we don't know when it's going to be resolved. I agree that till it's resolved OPs and moderators may have hard time. I personally found a few occasions when I wanted to unmark or unpropose an answer I felt not correct, but instead was getting errors. That's frustrating.

    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:25 PM
    Moderator
  • No, the moderator that marked the answer had no role in the discussion at all, just showed up after 2 days and marked an answer.

    Odd. They must of assumed one of the answers were correct. They moderator wouldn't benefit from marking the question as answered other than having a cleaner forum. Also, not all moderators work for Microsoft. Many are partners and MVP's.

    http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com


    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 3:21 PM
  • * * * STOP MARKING UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AS 'ANSWERED'! * * *

    Just because someone has replied to a question doesn't mean the question has been answered!

    When questions are marked as 'Answered', we have to read through them if we are looking for an answer. 

    When we find that the question does not have a functional answer, we have wasted that time. 

    When we actually 'have an answer', we don't go in and 'Answer' the question because it's already marked as 'Answered', so why would we open it to share our answer?

    What DOES happen is that we find that the question shows up as 'ANSWERED' in several ways, with several wordings, typically referring back to other non-answers in a 'round-robin' type form, and we waste our time reading all of the BS. - BUT IT DOESN'T STOP THERE, DOES IT?

    Of course not, why?  - BECAUSE WE STILL DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER!!!

    So, what is our only recourse? - CREATE YET ANOTHER THREAD WITH THE SAME QUESTION NI HOPES THAT SOMEONE WILL ACTUALLY OFFER AN ANSWER BEFORE SOME A-HOLE DECIDES TO MARK IT AS 'ANSWEWRED' AND WE HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN.

    So again, I request:

    PLEASE STOP MARKING UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AS 'ANSWERED'!

    It doesn't make you 'cool' to mark stuff as answered that you've never even attempted yourself, it just makes YOU the A-HOLE marking stuff as answered!

    Monday, May 26, 2014 6:57 AM
  • Solution to every issue mentioned above: switch to serverfault.com

    Thursday, August 4, 2016 4:48 PM
  • I think that was a bad call,

    The banning was more than likely a result of the profanity expressed in another thread.

     

     



    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server] Datacenter Management

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees, and confers no rights.


    Thursday, August 4, 2016 10:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Maybe so, Dave.  I haven't seen those.  Have you? 

    Yea, I did, it was just a few minutes before these "serverfault" comments.

     

     



    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server] Datacenter Management

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees, and confers no rights.

    Thursday, August 4, 2016 11:02 PM
    Moderator
  • I don't really have any way to know.

     

     



    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server] Datacenter Management

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees, and confers no rights.

    Thursday, August 4, 2016 11:10 PM
    Moderator
  • For me, it is a waste of my time when trying to find 'real answers' to 'real problems'... All too often I'll see someone post "This is my problem", and someone else post "You can look at XXX for a solution..." - and without any investigation at all, that gets marked as an answer. - It is not an answer! - even if the info it points at is correct, it is a link to a site that may or may not even exist when I go looking for it.

    When I am looking for answers, I am more and more finding it impossible to actually get to an 'answer' from Microsoft's sites on Microsoft's products and am finding MORE ACCURATE INFORMATION in a GENERIC GOOGLE SEARCH!

    It dilutes the value of the forums and TechNet sites all together and has effectively rendered them essentially useless to me.  I've been doing IT work for more than 20 years and this has been a continual downhill slide.

    Friday, August 5, 2016 12:38 AM
  • ... All too often I'll see someone post "This is my problem", and someone else post "You can look at XXX for a solution..." - and without any investigation at all, that gets marked as an answer. - It is not an answer! - even if the info it points at is correct, it is a link to a site that may or may not even exist when I go looking for it.


    Hi

    Yes it is an answer! A link to the answer is in itself an answer - what do you expect a total re-write of an article? A broken link is something that happens throughout the internet and is out of the hands of those who choose to post the link.

    What I think is more difficult to classify are some of the questions - I have in the past struggled over many posts to try and get the actual question (then sometimes discover I can't answer it anyway).


    Regards Les, Livingston, Scotland


    • Edited by leshay Friday, August 5, 2016 1:20 AM
    Friday, August 5, 2016 1:20 AM
  • 90% of the time, it is a lazy look at something that 'might be' remotely related... but usually isn't.

    I certainly don't think that someone needs to "Totally re-write an article" - anybody who isn't capable of 'copy' and 'paste' is probably not on these sites anyway.  If there is an "answer" in what is being pointed to, then show 'that answer'.  Copy the 'relevant information' and paste it into your response rather than just starting some line of 'wild-goose-chase' that may be live now, but because the internet is a fluid thing, is likely not going to be of use to anyone next month, next year, or 3 years from now when they are looking.  All that does is waste someone's time with a dead end.

    It's lazy, it's a selfish play at "look at me", and its worthless most of the time.  It's merely a tool to say "I found it" - but ultimately does the consumer of the information no good whatsoever.

    Friday, August 5, 2016 3:56 AM
  • 90% of the time, it is a lazy look at something that 'might be' remotely related... but usually isn't.

    I certainly don't think that someone needs to "Totally re-write an article" - anybody who isn't capable of 'copy' and 'paste' is probably not on these sites anyway.  If there is an "answer" in what is being pointed to, then show 'that answer'.  Copy the 'relevant information' and paste it into your response rather than just starting some line of 'wild-goose-chase' that may be live now, but because the internet is a fluid thing, is likely not going to be of use to anyone next month, next year, or 3 years from now when they are looking.  All that does is waste someone's time with a dead end.

    It's lazy, it's a selfish play at "look at me", and its worthless most of the time.  It's merely a tool to say "I found it" - but ultimately does the consumer of the information no good whatsoever.

    Hi

    Total garbage!


    Regards Les, Livingston, Scotland

    Friday, August 5, 2016 11:23 AM
  • Hi,

    of course: A link to a resource where it is explained, is an answer!

    What do you expect? Should people write everything again and again? Sorr, but if msdn or technet has the documentation then I simply point there. If there is already some other thread about this topic, then I point there.

    Generic Google/bing search is always best. Normaly I would expect everyone to do a search first. That is much quicker than just being lazy and ask in the forum. And the forums are crawled by google and bing so it is simply a waste of time when just searching the forum to find an answer. There are so many nice blogs and other sites outside. A lot of MVPs have their own sites. Skipping these when looking for a solution is not a good idea in my eyes.

    Someone who has a problem and asks in a forum for help: I expect him to come back and tell us the result. It is simply rude to ask a question and do not reply to people who take the time to write a reply.
    Where is the problem about unmarking a reply? I simply do not see the point. One ore line in the post telling everyone that the reply was unmarked. That is it already!

    And I just want to bring one point that is really important that seems to be lost. When the Internet was quite new and newsgroups was starting to be famous at university and so, there was some "rules". The most important rule was always:

    Try not to offend someone and not to be offended by someone!

    The person who has a problem want help. So be happy that other reply. Others try to help you and spend their time on it. It might be frustrating if something does not work and something might be buggy. But you get free help! That is a reason to be happy! Nobody tries to offend you.

    How the hell can you start beeing offended?

    Ok, I know that there is at least one MSFT who marks his replies as proposed answer all the time. That is something that I do not like. But I think he is simply trying to do a good job. He is looking in all threads that are not marked and tried to help. As soon as there is a reply that should / could be the answer, it is marked as proposed answer. It might not be the answer. A lot of my replies are not an answer because it is mainly a friendly "What the hell do you mean?" with some guessing like "if you mean abc then please look at http://www.abc.com". And then no reply at all. So a moderator might think: "That might have been the help that he required. But even if not: he is not bothered to come back to clarify his topic. So I can be sure that marking it as reply is not bothering him, too".)

    Just my thoughts on this topic. Maybe it was of interest for someone.

    With kind regards,

    Konrad

    Friday, August 5, 2016 12:55 PM
  • Hi,

    I disagree.

    - The chances that the content is available in multiple months is really big on a lot of sites. MSDN and the forums itself are very likely to not change.

    - There is a copy right. You should not copy other stuff around. There might be some "fair use" rules that apply, but be aware that this is something where local rules are important. 

    - If the original location is changed, then the link will point to the corrected version. If I copied some content, then the changes will not be available.

    - Copy and Paste - did you try it? This forum already has a lot of problems with formating everything. Copy and Paste is a nightmare! I always copy and paste to notepad first to get rid of all formating but that could have been important.

    - Hiding information - The location where I point to offers more than I would copy and paste. Through the link, you get full access to all information. So I might have linked a thread because one reply was the answer in my eyes. But that wasn't his problem but below the important stuff in my eyes maybe was some other reply that was solving the issue. Or on MSDN all the other links available.

    So I think there are good reasons for links. And I will continue with them.

    With kind regards,

    Konrad

    Friday, August 5, 2016 1:05 PM
  • I will frequently post a link to one of my own blog posts in a reply ... I know those aren't going away any time soon! ;0)

    Here's another gripe I have about marking answered posts, and it concerns marking a "non-answer". I noticed late yesterday that one of my replies was marked as an answer and I went to check it out last night (because I didn't remember actually helping the guy all that much). Here's the thread in case anyone is interested: https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/028f8adc-23c3-43c8-a3a4-d0e34821ef6f/datatable-empty-after-update-and-refill?forum=csharpgeneral

    The last post in the thread (which was my post) was marked as an answer, when in fact it should have been the post just before that, from the OP, where he said he found the problem (an outdated MySql provider). *His* post should have been marked as the answer, not mine!! All I said was "Great news! I'm glad that you got it working!" How is *that* an answer?!?!?

    In fact, I'm going to go in there and change that right now, since I'm a Moderator in that C# forum.


    ~~Bonnie DeWitt [C# MVP]

    http://geek-goddess-bonnie.blogspot.com

    Saturday, August 6, 2016 4:26 PM
  • @Yo Mama --- You could be right, I didn't even think of that.

    While, it *does* benefit me if it's true, I think it's not a very good policy. Being an MVP doesn't always make me right. And in this case, I didn't even answer any questions!! There's obviously got to be an objective reason for marking an Answer, but there should also be some subjective discretion, you can't just automatically mark an MVP's reply as an Answer!!! He was definitely *not* using his head when he marked my reply as such!!


    ~~Bonnie DeWitt [C# MVP]

    http://geek-goddess-bonnie.blogspot.com

    Saturday, August 6, 2016 8:20 PM