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Off Topic Posts are being handled incorrectly RRS feed

  • General discussion

  •  We really need to do something about OTP while the forums are in flux.  The problem is that moderators are moving posts to the OTP forum if they are not directly related to the forum in question.  The problem with this approach is that, since not all the forums have been moved yet, there is no better place for a post.  This is going to quickly get out of hand.

    Take, for example, a recent post in the C# General forums related to using the DataGridView.  Normally this question is better suited for the WinForms forum.  However that forum hasn't been moved yet.  Therefore the post was moved OT even though there is not a better place for it right now.  We can't start moving reasonable posts to OT just because the appropriate forum isn't available yet.  It is going to cause frustration and confusion to the users.

    Admins you need to provide a temporary solution to this problem.  The problem I see is that not all the forums were brought over at once.  I'm not sure why that was.  We are now in the same situation we were in for years with one set of topics in one forum site (ASP.NET) while another set (everybody else) is at another forum site.  Users don't want to be bouncing between forum sites.  Therefore we either need to temporarily put a hold on moving topics to OT unless they are completely OT for the entire forum site or we need to more quickly migrate all the sites across.

    As a temporary workaround I would recommend that you add links to the missing forums into the main forum page.  However rather than sending the user to new forum site it simply redirects to the original site.  This would eliminate the problem but will cause some temporary confusion as users bounce between sites.  It is the best idea I have.  The current solution of moving things to OT or requiring users to have two different forum sites open just isn't cutting it.  IMHO.

    Michael Taylor - 6/5/08
    http://p3net.mvps.org
    Thursday, June 5, 2008 1:18 PM

All replies

  • I don't want to get into a situation where there's literally hundreds of off-topic posts that are queued up for being moved when and if new forums are migrated. 

    The whole recognition system is pointless if we don't manage appropriate content in each forum.

    It's unfortunate the Windows Forms sub-forums weren't moved over at the same time; but "no better place" for a post isn't reason to leave it in an inappropriate forum.  What about questions put forth in the C# forums about SQL or data access?  There's currently no better place on forums.msdn.microsoft.com; but that's no reason to leave SQL questions in the C# forums.

    We go to great lengths (read as volunteer time) to accommodate posting in the wrong forum.  We have a policy not to simply delete it but to move it to off-topic, where it can continue to be discussed.  It's quite a bit of work to move dozens of posts a day into off-topic, it would be much easier to delete them.


    http://www.peterRitchie.com/blog
    Thursday, June 5, 2008 2:26 PM
  • Posts placed in OTP will never be looked at again by anyone other than those who responded to the original post and perhaps the answer in my experience.  Therefore deleting the post would be faster and have the same effect.  That's a problem.

    While I agree that cluttering up existing forums is not good I don't agree that OTP is where they should go.  Why don't we get a new forum called "Waiting for Migration" or something where we can move posts that are appropriate but awaiting the forum to be migrated.  Then one of the forum admins can pay an intern to move postings from this forum to the correct forum when it is migrated.  Solves the problem although I much prefer links back to the original forums instead as there is no additional work required.

    Michael Taylor - 6/5/08
    http://p3net.mvps.org
    Thursday, June 5, 2008 2:33 PM
  • I don't mind that at the conceptual level (having a "awaiting-migration" forum).  But, we have no idea what forums are planned for migration and what aren't.  There's nothing saying that everything from forums.microsoft.com/msdn will be migrated to forums.msdn.microsoft.com.  Some may be migrated to other "brands", like forums.community.microsoft.com, forums.technet.microsoft.com, forums.expression.microsoft.com, etc.  There's currently no way to move threads from brand to brand.

    Cheers -- Peter
    http://www.peterRitchie.com/blog
    Thursday, June 5, 2008 3:34 PM
  • Taylor,
    I agree.  I think it is better to just reply to the user and let them know they've posted in the wrong forum. And if needed, give the URL to the correct Forum.
    Thanks,
    Carl Prothman
    STO Forums - Software Development Engineer 2
    • Edited by carlpro Friday, June 6, 2008 4:04 PM Updated reply
    Friday, June 6, 2008 4:02 PM
  • The problem with doing this is it completely invalidates the recognition system.  There's a high percentage of questions about WinForms in the C# Language and C# General forums, if these remain in one of the C# forums the Top Answers for the forum (once it works) will be skewed.  Someone in the top answers for the C# General forum may be there because they answer only WinForms questions, giving a false representation that they can answer General C# or C# Language questions.  Plus, it could also mean that the don't get recognition in the Windows Forms forum.

    Moving to off-topic doesn't solve the not getting recognition in the Windows Forms forum unless the OP re-asks the question there; but at least doesn't skew the Top Answers in the forum the off-topic post was posted.

    Off-topic doesn't stop the OP from continuing the discussion and doesn't stop the question from appearing in a search.

    This was discussed quite a bit on the old forums, which was the reason Off-topic was created.
    http://www.peterRitchie.com/blog
    Friday, June 6, 2008 7:15 PM
  • The only benefit I see in the whole Top Answers stuff is for ego boosting.  Who really cares who answered the most questions.  It has absolutely no relation to the quality of the answers nor does it indicate someone who is in any way capable of helping folks.  It doesn't even indicate whether you answered a question correctly or not.  I wish they would get rid of it altogether.  It is so easy to mangle this data. All you have to do is post a bunch of questions and then answer them yourself (or get a friend to help you).  Whamo you are suddenly up on the list.  Unless someone is tracking this stuff and raises a complaint, nobody would know.  Sure MS uses it to determine who might be a good moderator or whatnot but they can pull that data straight from the database so making it public serves little purpose.

    The only recognition system that has some value is the little "medals" below one's name.  This is (I assume) a correlation of posts, helpful posts and answered posts.  It, however, does not apply per forum.  If this information were tracked by forum then it would be quite a bit more useful.  In this case you would know that if user A has 2 medals for this particular forum they might be able to help you out.    IMHO.

    Michael Taylor - 6/6/08
    http://p3net.mvps.org
    Friday, June 6, 2008 7:28 PM
  • TaylorMichaelL said:

    The only benefit I see in the whole Top Answers stuff is for ego boosting.  Who really cares who answered the most questions.  It has absolutely no relation to the quality of the answers nor does it indicate someone who is in any way capable of helping folks.  It doesn't even indicate whether you answered a question correctly or not.  I wish they would get rid of it altogether.  It is so easy to mangle this data. All you have to do is post a bunch of questions and then answer them yourself (or get a friend to help you).  Whamo you are suddenly up on the list.  Unless someone is tracking this stuff and raises a complaint, nobody would know.  Sure MS uses it to determine who might be a good moderator or whatnot but they can pull that data straight from the database so making it public serves little purpose.

    The only recognition system that has some value is the little "medals" below one's name.  This is (I assume) a correlation of posts, helpful posts and answered posts.  It, however, does not apply per forum.  If this information were tracked by forum then it would be quite a bit more useful.  In this case you would know that if user A has 2 medals for this particular forum they might be able to help you out.    IMHO.

    Michael Taylor - 6/6/08
    http://p3net.mvps.org

    If anything the medals are an ego boosting mechanism, not the top answers lists per form.  That's kinda the problem with the recognition system.  The way it works now, if you get a response in the C++ Language forum from someone with 5 medals would you necessarily trust the answer?  Looking at the Top Answers for the forum will tell you if those medals are from answers in the current forum.  But, that does only apply in the last 30 days; so it's still a bit skewed.  Someone who has 1000 answers in the Base Class Library forum but hasn't answered anything in a couple of months will have a lower status in the Top Answers to someone who has answered only 10 questions because they answered them in the last 30 days.

    You get lower points for answering your own question; but I don't know how the Top Answers list is ranked.  The old forums seemed to be on quantity of answers, not quality of answers (points).  As moderators it's our job to notice things like people posting and answering their own questions or an inordinate # of answered-by a particular person for another particular person.

    I agree, a per-forum adornment would be helpful for users to tell who's response is likely trustworth for the particular forum.

    Cheers -- Peter
    http://www.peterRitchie.com/blog
    Friday, June 6, 2008 7:44 PM