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Greg S
19-01-2003, 02:51 AM
Hi. I've found recently that it's frustrating to respond to a request for help, then afterwards someone else denigrates you and/or your advice because you've not anticipated EVERY SINGLE possible scenario that may have contributed to the issue that the poster's problem.

I've seen this lack of insight from follow-up contributors lead to quite a bit of "flaming" back and forth.

Why can't F1 admin make it more clear about what info is critical to posters for us to be able to assist?

Sheesh - there are other great examples of other service sites out there that REQUIRE the basic info before the submission can be put before the forum - is our NZ PressF1 forum a bit backward in this regard?

Jim B
19-01-2003, 08:32 AM
Good point Greg, the basic information such as operating system, browser version, modem model etc is often missing from posts or the problem is poorly described and it is not always clear what the poster is trying to do, or what they have already done.

Another frustrating thing is when people post a problem and they don't bother to respond to any suggestions so it is never clear if the problem has been fixed or not.
I would urge people who post problems to followup and advise the result of any suggestions as this helps build up a base of confirmed fixes for a particular problem.

godfather
19-01-2003, 09:05 AM
Correct Greg

This point has been made to the hosts before, for exactly the same reasons.

A good crystal ball certainly helps, as does the ability to read text with no punctuation or sentence stucture and poor spelling.

While everyday spelling errors are just fine, a whole sentence of them tends to distort the meaning of the problems.

Clueless
19-01-2003, 09:12 AM
I think it is the responcibility of the original poster to get it right, however a reminder of some sort might be in order. As much as a compulsery form where you tick OS or what ever might be a good idea, there would be times when it is just plain irrelevant, or even misleading. imagine having to tick

0 windows 95-98
0 windows NT
0 windows 2000
0 windows ME
0 windows XP
0 windows other

0 Linix Redhat
0 Linix SuSE
etc..........

just to ask about multi boot or a website.

Perhaps a little popup screen that ran first time a user makes a new post would be good?
Failing that, why dont we, the people who use F1 lead by example and start catergerising our own questions in much the same way we usually do with "OT" posts. See my previous post as an example:

(Linux) why do i have a system generated mail folder/message in my email client?? (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=30306)

Clueless
19-01-2003, 09:20 AM
Suggested catagories:

OT (most of us have already got the hang of that one, it means not very computer related)

LINUX
DOZE (+version?)
MAC (yes they are out there, they're just vewy quiet)
WWW

Perhaps the using of caps as above would be good as has become standard for "OT" posts

(see OT does have its use, it is establishing proticol)

.Clueless

Jim B
19-01-2003, 09:33 AM
MAC (yes they are out there, they're just vewy quiet)

Only because we don't have as many problems :D

Terry Porritt
19-01-2003, 12:40 PM
Obliquely related to your post is the comment that it also has to be appreciated that a lot of people with problems don't have the know-how to precisely describe their problem, their computer is just a box :)

If they did, then they would often be able to resolve the problem themselves, if only by doing a Google search.

I do think though that someone who posts vaguely should be encouraged rather than deterred, and as you say, posters who try to help shouldn't be slagged if they dont quite get it right, or give a full answer. After all, no one knows everything, and we all have to start somewhere, learning all the while.

Clueless
19-01-2003, 12:55 PM
>it also has to be appreciated that a lot of people with problems don't have the know-how to precisely describe their problem,

So true Terry,
As fustrating as it sometimes is, it will be up to those who answer to ask for information that the person needing help didn't know would be relevant

Because windows users are so common, alot of questions fail to state that if the poster is using 'doze, let alone version. Indeed alot of stuck people dont realise the differences between versions.

Lets lead by example. In responce to this i shall be making a consious effert to title, where relevent, any thread i start with the format
"OS - question".

Hopefully this sort of carry on will help guide newbies to do much the same.

.Clueless

Billy T
19-01-2003, 01:36 PM
Well, I've got an idea that might help so I'll run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it:

PF1 has a post counter, right?

So, for the first say 5 posts by a newly registered user, when they click "post message" a box opens that either :

(a) Requests their system, OS, and active (problem) program details to be supplied in the boxes provided then attaches the first two to their profile. They can modify that aspect of their profile later if they want to should they stick around and become a regular.

or

(b) Reminds them to provide that info if they want an informed reply to their question and provides a back button to take them back for editing their post if necessary. The second attempt to post the message would post as normal.

It wouldn't work for all, and some just can't be helped because they don't even read their replies properly, but if they come back more than 10 times they are hooked on F1 and don't need any reminders.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D

Clueless
19-01-2003, 02:50 PM
Billy T,

I'd be more in favour or the second approach, as the first is just a little too rigid, and would not work well in the case of people with multiple operating systems, or anything a little outside of the norm.
I imagine a rigid system would also be downright confusing at times, example:

Clueless, Chch, SuSE/98
i'm having a wee problem with a w2k machine......

I'll put my vote with a "first post" reminder/help system, although user profile info as to what we normally use wouldn't hurt. We could always put that in the profiles anyway, There are plenty of spaces such as "last name" that could be used for that.

The second approach is of course assuming that IDG staff have the time to modify the scripts.
:)
.Clueless

Greg S
19-01-2003, 03:56 PM
I reckon the Post-New-Topic form should include fields, as suggested above, for things such as:
Problem heading
Category of problem
Op/sys
Hardware specs
Peripherals
Description of symptoms
What resoltion they'd like achieved
What they've tried to do to remedy the problem
Any other comments that may be useful for us to know

All fields could be optional, so posters that are aware that certain info is irrelevant needn't fill it in.

A site that I don't highly recommend, actually has a great input format here (http://www.5starsupport.com/support).

Billy T
19-01-2003, 04:40 PM
Too complex Greg

Most people would just ignore it.

I actually favour the second of the options I proposed which only affects new posters and acts as a gentle reminder. We have to remember that many people don't Know their system in any great detail. If they did, they probably wouldn't need our help!

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D

Clueless
19-01-2003, 05:01 PM
Something like this?

Our system has detected that you are about to post your first topic for discussion.
Please, if applicible, make it easy for others to help you by telling us a little bit about the system you are having problems with. Useful information includes your computers operating system eg:Windows 98 second edition. If possible, include a little bit about the machine itself eg: Pentuim 1, 450meg AMD chip 256 meg or RAM with benq CDRW.
It is better to post too much information than not enough. There are some very clever people here, but we can only go by what you tell us.

<<Continue>>

Further to that thought i wonder how hard it would be to make what the server can see about the computer making the post visible to the poster as a guide?

Thinks: i'm going to get shot for suggesting work over this one

.Clueless

Chilling_Silence
19-01-2003, 05:57 PM
Good point Clueless, But what if you're PC cant connect, say Im on an lder 95 P133 and its not networking with ICS, so I use my gateway which is 98 (In this example)... All the relevant info would be useless!

As for being put down or whatever because you havent thought of every single scenario, you get used to it, and take it as it comes.
I can safely say that most people here are not trying to critique you in your posting, but offering other views or solutions.

I can remember a while back now, I had been told (by a non-Pf1 member... which may be why I was led astray..) that Celeron processors were of better performance than a same Mhz speed Duron.
I was sharing this with a fellow Pf1'er when they where wanting to buy a new motherboard and CPU.
Obviously, it was pointed out to me that I was wrong.. but you take it as it comes. Im sorry to say that not everybody is perfect, and there are times when you'll make a post that is way off track!!! Especially when you're commenting on something that isnt 100% second nature to you.

You take it as it comes, and move on from that stuff...


I too reakon that there isnt enough info usually given in the first post on a thread when a user has a problem. Perhaps while they are signing up, there are a few guidelines for the new user:
Its a family Forum, so keep it clean
No flaming
Stuff like that, and also include that it is a good idea to post your OS, hardware details and other such things!

And I agree that it would be nice if more people responded back to a thread if they have solved their problem, perhaps letting the rest of the world know what's worked and hasnt. That's always good, as I take a look through the archives sometimes if i think the question may have been asked before (But not always).

Anyways, for now I dont think much can be done.
Perhaps if one of the Admin saw this... but still... You cant force people to post back saying it worked and stuff..

My 2cents worth for the night anyways :-)

Cheers


Chilling_Silence

Disclaimer: nobody was meant to be offended in this, its just me posting my views as Im sure the rest of you do :-)

Clueless
19-01-2003, 06:29 PM
>But what if you're PC cant connect, say Im on an lder 95 P133 and its not networking with ICS, so I use my gateway which is 98 (In this example)... All the relevant info would be useless!

Thats why i suggested it as a guide.....
Hopefully, the poster that was running through their own gateway wouldnt need to be told about declaring their OS anyway.

.Clueless

Clueless
19-01-2003, 06:35 PM
>Hopefully, the poster that was running through their own gateway wouldnt need to be told about declaring their OS anyway.

Unless they are Clueless! :D
I still forget to post my OS when refering to my own machines, but since everyone here just seems to somehow know that my 'doze challenges will be with Vanessa/98, and my Linux challenges will be with Sam/SuSE8 my forgetfulness doesn't seem to be a problem.

.Clueless

tedheath
19-01-2003, 08:08 PM
The big problem here is when you post a question some of the replies are quite often rubbish. This because the person who has answered it hasn't really read the question.
Think of the poster, he has a computer fault and will looking to fix it urgently. They will be checking for replies at every possible moment. They will have their hopes up only to see some rubbish that doesn't apply to them. It more hindrance than help and its the reason they don't post back what was successful.
I have had several windows problems and have sought answers through places like F1.
Unfortunaly my problems are unique to me no one else in the world has had these problems before. I sorted them out my self even though I am a retard.
I think some of these people are trying to get a record number of posts and they reply to questions in a hurry with a stupid reply.
No wonder they get flamed they deserve it.
If the poster has posted scant details its because he doesn't know.
Its no problem just ask him to supply more details.

tedheath

Clueless
19-01-2003, 08:27 PM
I've had so much help from this forum that as a rule i can only say RUBBISH to the above post.

Sometimes i get no reply to something, usually i do, and usually it is useful, and hey, even if its not the "right" answer, it atleast provides food for thought. Hey and when it comes to me trying to get to grips with Linux.. well i didn't call myself Clueless for nothing. People have been extreemly tolerant of my ignorance!

When i look at a post like Susans networking woes, i see us gathering together to offer suggestions on what "might" fix it. I believe everything that was offered was atleast worth considering on what was indeed a difficult problem that ultimatly could only be fixed with a full reformat of the somewhat screwy98 machine that was just not going to do it!

Yay to us for being such a great bunch of people offering our services just for the love of it. For those who are stil not happy, a FULL refund is of course still availible at the door.

:D
.Clueless

Billy T
19-01-2003, 08:51 PM
Fair go Ted

Ask for help in a public forum and you have to accept the answers you get. Its a bit off to complain about volunteer help.

In my time on Press F1 I have not seen many useless or totally irrelevant answers and those that I have seen are usually posted by smart alecs trying to promote their particular flavour of computing (hardware or software) and denigrating those who take an alternative path. Sure some people occasionally answer off the cuff without reading the history but so what

Better than 95% of answers are well intended, even if not necessarily accurate 100% of the time. IMHO that's a better batting average than I ever got from computer shops, and it's free!

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :|

Chilling_Silence
20-01-2003, 09:11 AM
Hey, if you want service with a smile, and a hundred dollar hole in your pocket, I know a few good places in Auckland ;-)

If you wat service with a virtual smile, nothing taken from your wallet, and the combined brainpower (Although still somewhat incomplete ;-)) of a good 6 thousand people, Then Pf1 is your place!

Chilling_Silence
20-01-2003, 09:16 AM
> Unfortunaly my problems are unique to me no one else
> in the world has had these problems before.

Been there, and there's always somebody who's had it too.
If they havent, then you've got something new (like new hardware) and others will have i due time :-)

> I
> sorted them out my self even though I am a retard.
> I think some of these people are trying to get a
> record number of posts and they reply to questions in
> a hurry with a stupid reply.

Hmm.... Perhaps, but I believe it was honeylaser who said Quality not Quantity is what counts. That is what I stand by :)

> No wonder they get flamed they deserve it.

Oooohh... That's a little harsh?!

> If the poster has posted scant details its because he
> doesn't know.

Errr... Im gonna quote Clueless on this one:
>Hopefully, the poster that was running through their own gateway wouldnt need to be told about declaring their OS anyway.

> Unless they are Clueless!
> I still forget to post my OS when refering to my own machines, but since
> everyone here just seems to somehow know that my 'doze challenges
> will be with Vanessa/98, and my Linux challenges will be with Sam/SuSE8
> my forgetfulness doesn't seem to be a problem.

> Its no problem just ask him to supply more details.
>
Agreed - Which is what happens :-)

Clueless
20-01-2003, 09:31 AM
Ted,
When you finaly "sorted them out my self even though I am a retard", i very much hope that you considered all those who tried and failed to find a solution for you. I hope that you bothered to let us know what fixed your problem, so that those who care could add to their knowledge base.

We are ALL learning here.

.Clueless

Chilling_Silence
20-01-2003, 09:37 AM
>
> We are ALL learning here.
>

I very much agree....
Look at you (And me) with Linux. You seem to have come a long way, as have I, and many others who've tried it out with the help of this forum!

Billy T
20-01-2003, 09:56 AM
So, the consensus appears to be:

1) We love F1 people just the way they are.

2) The advice is usually first class, even if it occasionally takes a committee to produce it.

3) We could provide better help to newbies if during their first 5-10 posts they were prompted to enter their system and software details.

Now we need to draw Bruce's attention to this thread ]:)

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D

On reflection, a reminder to make their subject line decriptive enough to attract the appropriate expertise wouldn't be a bad idea either. When using slow dial-up connections it can take an age to work through the new posts so obscure subjects can get skipped. I'm on Jetstream but I still skip if short of time.

robo
20-01-2003, 10:41 AM
Gee, go on holiday for a few days....

I don't think people should ***** at others who try to help. But then people do a lot of things that I don't agree with (drive like morons, drink too much, watch Shortland Street).

We have tried to make it abundantly clear what people should do in asking a question. Sometimes they tell us the version of the RS232C driver and everything else when the problem is hardware. Sometimes they tell us the colour of the power cord when the problem is software. They don't always know what information is relevant, neither do I.

If people need to supply more information, usually someone will ask for it.

Greg, don't let the buggers grind you down. The people you help are the ones that matter. Any kind of criticism in writing can appear worse than it is meant. However, that being said, it would be nice for people to put away the flamethrowers.

robo.

Clueless
20-01-2003, 10:46 AM
Welcome back robo

Billy T
20-01-2003, 01:01 PM
We were just keeping the fires going for you robo.

Hope you had a great holiday.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D