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People don't vote RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • If I filter by Helpful in either of the Visual C++ groups (and I would imagine other groups) I get no hits. Zero.

    This indicates to me that the feature is not used. I'm not actually sure what the criterion for marking a thread as helpful is, but having single post marked as helpful does not seem to cut it, because I tried marking a post as helpful (on the bug forum) and it did not cause the thread to be designated as helpful. If I look at the thread view, I see one vote indicated against the thread, but that is the only place.

    This seems a pity, because this is actually a potentially useful feature:

    1. It would give responders credit for good answers that do not necessarily answer the OP's question, or where the OP has neglected to mark a post as the answer, or where the OP ends up marking his own post as answer.

    2. It would provide a filter for good/informative answers that could be more meaningful than being designated as *the* answer.

    So why is this feature not used? Maybe a combination of reasons:

    1. Lack of user education on how to use the forums.

    2. The feature is contaminated by potential votes as "Unhelpful" or "Abusive", which are totally useless, IMHO.

    3. In many cases where a post should be marked as helpful, it in fact gets proposed as answer (another useless feature, IMHO). Being marked as helpful is much more meaningful, because (a) it gives credit to the responder, and (b) can indicate a good/informative response that did not (for whatever reason) actually give the OP the answer he needed. Only the OP knows if his/her question was answered, but anyone can judge a post to be helpful.

    4. The fact that the person who voted a post helpful is not indicated at the bottom of a post (as mark as answer and propose as answer are) suggests that voting as helpful is a third class citizen here.

    5. If you vote a post as helpful, perhaps by accident, it does not seem possible to retract your vote. Again this is in contrast to mark as answer and propose as answer.

    Specific proposals:

    1. Get rid of competing, but useless, features such as: "vote unhelpful", "vote abusive", "propose as answer", and "has code". Just too many useless features, IMHO.

    2. Make it possible to retract a helpful vote, and indicate at the bottom of the post (in thread view) who has added or retracted a helpful vote. I.e. make it the same as "mark as answer" in this regard.

    3. Lower the criterion for getting a thread marked as helpful (i.e. has posts voted helpful). Maybe just one vote should be enough.

    4. Encourage moderators to use this feature, rather than retroactively declaring some or all as the responses as answers when the OP has not followed up.

    5. Replace the generally useless material in the right-hand column (Top Answerers in particular) by a simple set of guidelines on how to use the forums.

    6. Anything else that might be useful in promoting this feature.




    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    • Edited by davewilk Sunday, June 29, 2008 12:32 PM Addition
    Sunday, June 29, 2008 12:27 PM

All replies

  • That's a good point, I've never used the "Vote" feature... in fact I wasn't even consciously aware that it existed.  Perhaps separate buttons for Helpful/Unhelpful/Abusive would be a better idea than hiding them behind the inconspicuous "Vote" button?
    Monday, June 30, 2008 7:23 AM
  • Chris:

    I say get rid of useless features (Keep It Simple, S***). Just keep "Mark as answer" and "Mark as Helpful", and educate users in the proper use of these actions. "Mark as Helpful" should be grouped with "Mark as Answer", not hidden inside "Vote" which itself is grouped with Reply and Quote.

    I also think it is important to provide these features in preview. Having Reply in preview is great, but it provides an opportunity for users to completely avoid the functionality in the thread view.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Monday, June 30, 2008 10:32 AM
  • More specific proposal:

    On the thread view:

    1. Get rid of "Vote" and "Propose as answer".

    2. Add an item "Mark as helpful" which is grouped with "Mark as answer", not with Reply, Quote and Edit.

    [Only the OP can "Mark as answer". Anybody except the poster can "Mark as helpful"]

    3. Make more accessible information on how/why to use these features.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    • Edited by davewilk Monday, June 30, 2008 11:43 AM Rephrase
    Monday, June 30, 2008 11:38 AM
  • Just a little feedback from a relatively new poster to the forums...

    Over the years I've had dozens if not hundreds of problems addressed by answers in forums that I've found via Google (sorry Live Search team!), but even if the MSDN forum had been in it's current form the vote button would be greyed out and even if I noticed it I wouldn't know there was a helpful vote underneath, something I'd have been happy to click on.

    I suspect it's the vote of the browsing users that is most useful because not only does it suggest the answer is correct but also that it's findable with the sort of query that people use when they encounter that problem.

    If you want to catch those users I would suggest the button work exactly as it does when not logged in as it does when the user is logged in.  I.e. one can click on vote, select 'helpful' and then be taken to the sign-in screen if necessary.  Ideally that person should then simply have to sign in and shouldn't be required to create a profile (some of us agonize for ages before coming up with silly handles like rtizan :-) so I would have backed out at that stage).

    If you get statistically meaningful number 'helpful' votes then it might negate the need for 'not helpful' as a low helpful/view ratio would indicate that.

    I would also agree with the need to be able to retract a helpful vote.  How do I know if it's useful until I try it?  So either one is saying 'Looks Useful' or one needs to test the answer and remember to come back to vote.  I would also suggest a lot of retracted votes would be a good indicator that an apparently useful answer is less useful than it first appears.

    Since I've become a poster I have voted a few times, but one thing that isn't 100% clear, (even in the FAQ I think) is whether one is voting to say "The post is helpful to me" or "The poster was very helpful in this post".  Many of those posts I've marked as helpful have been one line answers which have been of value to me but took very little effort on the part of the poster.  I presume this is the intent of the vote.  But... it did cross my mind whether it was to reward answerers who put in a lot of effort.  Some people spend a lot of time helping fix some bad piece of code, they're extremely helpful to the person who asked that question but that help is very unlikely to be of general use.   Perhaps one needs to be very pedantic to worry about such things but we are talking about developers :-)  How about replacing 'helpful' with 'useful'?

    Cheers,

    John
    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 6:45 AM
  • We have a change in for the next release. The vote menu becomes a "Helpful" button and abusive is now a link at the bottom of the post. "Not helpful" goes away (as suggested, the act of not voting it helpful tacitly indicates it not being helpful). Hopefully this will expose this functionality more and be easier to use.

    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 4:49 PM
  • Matt:

    Sounds great. Thanks!


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 5:55 PM
  • How about adding "report as off-topic" alongside report as abusive?
    Take a chance. Prepare to be surprised.
    Thursday, August 7, 2008 4:28 PM
  • My thread Ensuring that we are signed in might be relevant.


    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Sunday, March 29, 2009 6:46 PM
  • You could have a dropdown, with a big Vote label.

    You still need to show the votes somehow.

    Clicking the label or arrow would give you the choices (Helpful, [not helpful], Off-topic, Spam, Abusive).

    Or, you could have something similar to what they use on Connect.

    I don't think the votes should be anonymous.
    Sunday, March 29, 2009 7:56 PM
  • bnborg:

    This is essentially what we had before (minus the OT category). It didn't work, I think, because Vote As Helpful ( a useful feature) was "hidden" with several other (not so useful) features. I think we need Vote As Helpful to be a first class citizen.

    Personally (as I have suggested many times) I would get rid of Propose as Answer , and put Vote As Helpful in its place at the bottom of each post. I don't think the current top-right position of Vote As Helpful stands out that well.
    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    • Edited by davewilk Tuesday, March 31, 2009 12:26 PM thread->post in last paragraph
    Sunday, March 29, 2009 8:10 PM
  • I am FULLY in agreement with David Wilkinson that Vote As Helpful should replace Propose As Answer.


    Propose as Answer adds to Moderators' workloads because it is a lot of the time used by people pushing their own posts in an attempt to get their names on the leader boards ... 

    Vote As Helpful avoids that pitfall (assuming some bright spark doesn't decide to give points for it and create a new leader board of the people who have marked the most posts as Helpful!!) while at the same time replacing (correct = from third-parties) Propose as Answers as a way of zooming into posts that ought to be considered for Answer status.


    That of course reminds me of one thing. For a Moderator "Vote as Helpful"s are less useful if it is not known (= the situation today) WHO marked the post as useful. It would be very good if a Moderator (only) could click on something to get a list of who marked it. The Moderator would not need such a function for say 5 or over markings but for one or two it would be very useful.





    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
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:42 AM
  • Only self-propose as answer is a problem.  Who marked an answer should be visible to anyone.
    Hans Passant.
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1:06 PM
  • Only self-propose as answer is a problem.  Who marked an answer should be visible to anyone.
    Hans Passant.

    Yes, only self-propose is a real problem. Third-party propose is just useless. It does nothing that vote helpful could not achieve. Yes, there may be some technical difference between "helpful" and "answer", but this nuance does not, IMHO, justify cluttering the interface with two different concepts.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1:29 PM
  • Actually I agree with Hans that the real problem is self-propose.

    However I don't see us being able to get rid of that as long as we have Propose as Answer - goodness knows we non-MS Moderators tried often enough in v3 to get rid of that self-propose abomination - hence my thinking that replacing Propose as Answer completely with Helpful would be best because easiest to achieve.

    I.e. it might be more satisfactory to the few MS Moderators who have been presumably holding up the removal of self-proposal because they could then simply switch to looking at all threads with Helpful set to see what should be marked as an Answer. I.e. it shouldn't affect their stats.
    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
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 2:33 PM
  • At least in the previous version, we could see who had marked a post as an answer or proposed answer.

    I always thought marking your own post as a proposed answer was gauche.
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:20 PM
  • At least in the previous version, we could see who had marked a post as an answer or proposed answer.

    I always thought marking your own post as a proposed answer was gauche.
    It is beyond gauche. Way beyond.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:32 PM
  • At least in the previous version, we could see who had marked a post as an answer or proposed answer.

    I always thought marking your own post as a proposed answer was gauche.
    It is beyond gauche. Way beyond.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    IMO (only), it depends upon when you're doing it.

    Post a response and mark your reply as the proposed answer 8 seconds later - definitely beyond gauche.

    I have in the past "proposed" my own solution as an answer if I post a solid solution to the OP's problem, and a week or two later they still haven't responded with anything.  Rather than post a "hey, did this work for you?" kind of message, I use "Propose as Answer" to nudge the OP.  Not only on my posts, of course - on the most appropriate post for a given topic.

    I've also heard people suggest that posting the "did this work for you" messages might be "milking the points system", since you technically get 2 pts for every reply.

    Again IMO, the points aren't of much use to me.  They're nice, but that's it.  Ultimately, if "propose as answer" can help to get more threads properly closed off, I'm all for it.  If it's being abused, it's clearly counter-productive.  If I'm not mistaken, the vast majority of the people who abuse the "Propose as Answer" feature are actually the MS techs.  I'm sure it's not intentional, and a little re-education would go a long way.

    Aaron Alton | thehobt.blogspot.com
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 4:30 AM
  • I think that for most of my replies, I am proposing an answer, so it seems redundant for me to mark it as a proposed answer. Aaron's suggestion seems valid, but otherwise "propose as answer" seems useless to me.
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 5:08 AM
  • I think that for most of my replies, I am proposing an answer, so it seems redundant for me to mark it as a proposed answer. Aaron's suggestion seems valid, but otherwise "propose as answer" seems useless to me.
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Yes, I agree. The responder most often thinks their the response is the answer. Whether it is or is not the answer often has less to do with the response than whether the OP phrased the question in a complete or sensible manner.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:30 AM
  • Hello Aaron and Dave,

    You are both fully right.
    But i have a proposal : to forbid to a poster to mark his/her post as "proposed as answer" or "answer".
    I am using the "proposed as answer" to push the OP to mark his/her thread as answered and often when i see a thread with a "proposed as answer"  ( and
    i if i think that the answer has been given ), i mark the thread as answered.

    I hate to have to post only because the OP seems to ignore a post which seems useful ( or to give a solution ) and to recall the rules of good behaviour
    notwithstanding the sticky post at the top of each forum about the use of the button Mark as Answer.
    Moreover, i think i am stealing 2 points with this post ( in the same way when i put a message to warn the OP that i am moving his/her thread to another forum which is more appropiate).

    For myself, even a moderator should never mark his own post as the "good answer". I think that to be promoted as moderator or answerer is an honour and
    to behave like that might be considered as a legal way to increase the count of points ( and abusive ).

    A little remark : i have nearly given up the french forums because too  often, the OP posts, receives replies and never answers to tell : you give a good answer or at least ideas to solve my problem. And i understand why some moderators would have the need to mark his/her post as answer ( for SQL Server french forums, i have never seen that, the moderators are really honest )

    For a bad behaviour of MSFT, i think that i have seen never something like that on the SQL Server (us) Forums where i am posting. Every MSFT is correct and giving a good help  to the posters ( and thanks for them )

    As for Aaron, i don't take care of points. Even i prefer edit my own posts to add more informations to avoid that other people may think : oh 2 new points for him.

    A stupid question : when a post is modified for example 2 hours after its creation, is it sent to people following the thread ?

    Have a nice day  
    Mark Post as helpful if it provides any help.Otherwise,leave it as it is.
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:32 AM
  • Personally, I think if it has been two hours you should make a new post.

    The exception would be for correcting typographic errors, etc., in which case notification would not seem appropriate.

    Marking your own post as the answer only makes sense when it is your thread in the first place.  You posted a problem and received valuable suggestions, but none of them solved your problem.

    So you keep working on it, trying diffefent changes in various orders and combinations.  Finally, you find the answer.  In this case, it is certainly valuable to others to post the solution and flag it as the answer, so that others who are interested will get notified.
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 4:33 PM
  • Hello bnborg,

    You are absolutely right

    On my prefered forum, i have several times posted for help and received nothing because my questions are often specialised in SMO .

    Sometimes, people tried to help me unsuccessfully ( now it is different with the arrival of 2 "genious" MSFT ).
    Each time i searched and found a solution, i posted it with codes and examples for other visitors searching informations about a similar problem.
    I know that i can not get points as i started the thread but i like "answered" threads.

    When i am following a thread from an OP , if he finds the solution and posts it, i am trying to post a thanks and give a helpful vote as it is not usual to
    give the solution.

    You have seen a problem about the edit of a post ( typographic errors... ). It is possible to use the box "Reason" . I would prefer a combobox  with some "classical" choices which don't need latter notifications and a last one "important modification" for the add of a link or informations found latter ( i am using the notion of post-scriptum 1,2... ( PS1,PS2...) to keep all informations important ( according to me )

    Have a nice day
    Mark Post as helpful if it provides any help.Otherwise,leave it as it is.
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 5:10 PM
  • A stupid question : when a post is modified for example 2 hours after its creation, is it sent to people following the thread ?

    No, I don't believe post edits are alerted. They certainly don't cause the thread to show as updated in the forum interface.

    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 1:20 AM

  • No, I don't believe post edits are alerted. They certainly don't cause the thread to show as updated in the forum interface.

    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    But they should, IMHO, at least as an option.

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 3:15 AM
  • A stupid question : when a post is modified for example 2 hours after its creation, is it sent to people following the thread ?

    I did not understand this when I read it, but now due to Matt's reply I understand.

    No, an alert is not sent when a message is modified. That certainly is a potential problem. Usually I either have minor modifications to my replies or I have additional comments. For additional comments I add another reply, but then I then copy that and edit the prior reply and add the material to the prior reply. Then I delete the second message. That way anyone that gets alerts will see both but anyone else will see everything but there is only one message overall. Occasionally when I have an important update I will create another message that I delete as soon as I create it, just so the people subscribed to the thread get notified.

    I agree with the design to not send alerts when a message is modified, but sometimes an alert would be useful.
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 3:16 AM
  • Personally, I think if it has been two hours you should make a new post.

    I think it does not matter whether it is two seconds or two hours or two days, if a post is edited, the edited material won't be seen by anyone that relies on the email alert to read the reply. Correct?
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 3:22 AM
  • I recently posted a question and got most excellent information, in fact from several of you I see on this thread.  I want to officially recognize the help, but looking at other posts I did not see much voting.  Would I be wasting my time?  And I tried to find an explanation of what I, the original poster, should be doing to thank others for their efforts.  There is what is legal, there is what is polite, etc... and I am confused.  Should I be marking only 1 answer as "answer" and then in addition 1 or more as "helpful", or can I mark several as "answer" if several replies answered different parts of my question, or should I just let the forum community take care of all voting (on the answers to my post) to avoid any bias on my part?  I'm not sure what I, as a poster, am supposed to do?

    I looked at the FAQ but was still a bit unclear, perhaps I missed it.  Anyways, the responses I got were about the best I've ever gotten on any forum, so whatever the protocol is I'll be happy to follow, and thanks for the expertise. 

    Saturday, April 11, 2009 8:47 PM
  • Yes, you certainly can mark multiple responses as answers. In addition to recognizing a response as being something that helped you, think in terms of what will help others in the future. It helps to mark a response as an answer so anyone in the future with an equivalent problem knows what works.
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 9:09 PM
  • >Yes, you certainly can mark multiple responses as answers.

    I'm not sure I agree with you. In most of the cases where I have seen this the original post - typically a fairly long post - gives the answer; the follow-up post- typically one line - is answering a single follow-up question. (Such as "Did you mean Y or Z?")

    In that case I mark the first as Answer but not the second one.

    I'm more included to mark another different answer in the same thread by someone else as an answer (as well). I.e. I'm not against marking more than one post in the thread as an answer although it's only really necessary to mark one in order for the thread as a whole to be marked as "answered", but I am against giving the same poster in the same thread credit for two answers when usually he has given one real answer and only needed to give a follow-up because the first answer wasn't 100% clear to the OP.
    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 7:57 AM

  • I'm more included to mark another different answer in the same thread by someone else as an answer (as well).

    Please read again what I said. Where did I say anything about multiple answers from one person? I sure did not intend to say that or imply that.

    Please read again what I said. I said that responses should be marked as answers if other people need to know that it is relevant. Hopefully people are not intentionally abusing the system to manipulate it just to get points. Personally, I don't know if a person gets extra points doing that; do you? That is, if a person has more than one response that gets marked as answers, then are you sure they get extra points? Personally I don't care for myself. I also combine (merge) additional responses into a single one when I have more than one response sequentially.

    I think that if extra points are given for additional responses, there is justification for doing that. Most questions are not clear for multiple reasons; if a person has to ask for clarification and then responds after clarification, then it is reasonable that they get more for it. I don't care for myself, but I am just saying that things such as this are not as clear as they might seem at first.
    Sam Hobbs; see my SimpleSamples.Info
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 8:23 AM
  • >Where did I say anything about multiple answers from one person? I sure did not intend to say that or imply that.

    True. Sorry. I tracked this back to the post you were responding to and got the **impression** (should ignore those :)) from that that the poster meant (or at least included) marking several posts from the same person.

    I also don't know if the same person gets points from two answers marked as a reply in the same forum, but that would no doubt be the easier code (no need to check other posts to see if an earlier post has got an Answer mark) so I very much suspect that's the case.

    We can agree to differ on getting points for a second post clarifying the first. I think that one answer mark per person per thread ought to be enough. Otherwise we run the risk of part answers; followed by part answers followed by part answers ... rather than a single good quality post covering all the bases. *Those* are the ones I like to see marked as an answer!

    But again, sorry for making assumptions about what you meant.
    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 10:11 AM