View Full Version : to help or not to help
10-01-2006, 12:43 AM
I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but I have to comment on this whole "go search for your answer" attitude (in the help forum) which I find so prevelant on just about every forum I've ever frequented. I can't think of any forum where it has been a positive thing. Sure, people should search for the answers to their queries before asking for help. Some people are just lazy and that's the reason for the rules in the first place. But search is anything other than perfect, and I have searched myself in vain for hours at times for something that someone pointed out to me in 2 minutes.
I just think that as a community, there's the danger of expending just as much energy (negative) telling people that they should search, as they would need to be positive by simply helping them by telling them the answer.
Invariably, on any forum that has run for a length of time, the questions will have been covered in one way or another, so invariably the answer to most questions is already out there somehwere. But if every question asked that has been asked before elicits a response of go search for the answer, then that will shut down communication as people will be less inclined to ask anything.
So, off my horse now, and I'm not having a go at anyone in particular, it's just food for thought. I believe the way to go is to be very tolerant of all questions, and assume that the poster has already (unsuccessfully) searched for the answer.
I'd love to see some debate on this issue. It's always been an interesting topic for me, because while I'm reasonably savvy with internet development, I'd never consider myself a codehead. But yet I always end up in places like this, where I'm out of my depth and have a lot to learn. But instead of just asking lots of questions, looking for insightful answers from the experienced people, I am often hesitant to ask too much for fear of getting told to read the faq etc. I always do the basics, but as I've said, sometimes you can spend an hour trying to find the answer to something an experienced member could answer in two minutes.
10-01-2006, 05:26 AM
good thing to ask:)
"... sometimes you can spend an hour trying to find the answer to something an experienced member could answer in two minutes. "
this means that the experienced member has to be 24/7 online and wait for the question :) it is all on a volounteer basis here and it's for free.
sometimes it's quicker to use the search than waiting hours or days for the answer...
on the oter hand, I haven't seen a "case" that could not be solved... sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but was solved :)
10-01-2006, 06:46 AM
have a look at the user list please
sort it in that way to show the most active users
you will see an immense, very big gap between maybe 15 persons and the rest of 3000 users
some of these most active persons are members of the developer crew as well
they feel responsible for:
- the program
- the availability of the program
- the developing of the program
- the security of the program
- the functioning of the forum
- the mood in the forum
- the wiki
- the website
- they pay the website (some of them, one of them)
- many many points more
I really see a big disrelation here!
Please keep also in mind:
- this project is voluntarily by principle
- everyone of these active people joined the "community" (I doubt it is a real community) by becoming active members in the forum here
- everybody of us has limited time, some are in demanding jobs, some are in masterthesis examen, at university or whatever
- everybody of the crew has a limited level of patience
- everybody of the active people has another personality, character, temperament
- and many points more
Now lets talk about me:
- I am using the internet since 14 years now
- I started to moderate a forum already in compuserve time
- I am active
- I check the forum around 15 times a day, when it is possible for me.
- I see the open postings with questions in different levels
- some questions show off again and again
- I expect that these questions are answered by, let us say, skilled forum users maybe, who had the same question once and help out. But this does merely happen, not so often
- I feel tired and bored as well very often ;=(
Many of those who have these questions, mostly come, post the question, take the answer and leave. The majority does not feel to give something back.
Sometimes it seems to me that it is also very easy to complain and demand support, easier than to look and search
I understand that as a "newbie" to a project, a program it is not always easy to find orientations, I experience the same in other forums
But I must say everything I know and what I can give to others, I had to learn by myself.
If I have a problem, I try to find the solution myself first.
I re-install again, I read the documentation, I read the support sections in the forum. Than I start to ask if I find no answer
I do not accept for example, when I have written a manual or a readme, that somebody comes and claims stupidity, that everything is sooo complicated and the team here muuuuust help him out. If it is too complicated, he must not use it. Nobody forces him. In german we say "other mothers have also beautiful sons" - so this person can go and find something what fits more to his level of experience...
But today it is mostly easier to ask than to think, I find very often.
So, to resume here:
- those who help do a lot
- they do big deal, they give a lot time and experience and patience
- they have nerves and moods like everybody other
If there were a better relation between active and non-active users I would accept your complaint about to less help
If the main part of the users would really understand that taking and giving needs to be in equivalence, than I would also say that these short answers "search the forum" are not justified, because in such a situation the answer would have been given by other members already
but in a non-equivalence like it is today, you users must live with the mood and the goodwilling of those few people (a situation which can be changed by the non-active users not by the active users)
I must say that I also join other forums, when I have problems, but I never got such a lot of support like it is here, I even got a bunch of ignorant answers where I was treated like a real stupid, for example in the german Joomla forum..
this is a long text and I know I will be blamed for it a lot, but I will not continue with that discussion
because I also have a life beside pixelpost
I have a 60 hours a week job
I have family
I will have an exhibition in 2 weeks and many reasons more
but I think it was necessary to point out the situation how the situation is from the "other side" as well
10-01-2006, 11:20 AM
actually connie, that was very well put
pixelpost isnt really a true community, as its mroe of a support forum...those who are here fulltime around pushed to the max, and many small questions can be found through the search and the wiki...but many users wish to just ask. It can get very frustrating sometimes, as there are a select group of people who are dedicated. We have a few more fun sections to keep us from going insane...hehe
I wish we had a more active userbase within the forum, as well as more help with developing, but we dont. So everyone must make do and those who wish to improve upon it...help out.
10-02-2006, 02:13 AM
Totally with Blinking8s and Connie - you, and all the developers do a fantastic job.
I try to check the forums at least once a day and help out where I can. More often than not though one of you has already answered..!
When I see those questions being asked over and over, I search the forum and post a link where possible. Maybe that way the user will then understand this is the best way to find an answer.
Have a good day.
10-02-2006, 04:36 AM
Connie, thanks for your post. That gives a very good perspective from the other side. And I totally agree about users needing to search themselves and do some of the work. Anyone who wants it all handed on a plate is a joker. Please don't take my post as a complaint. I haven't got any complaints with this place. I've been met with lots of friendly help and advice. I suppose I just think the active ones here need to understand human nature, and that most users will ask for help before they exhaust the faqs etc, and that they could be redirected to search with friendliness and no sarcasm. I understand how hard it must be to be one of the very active though. I didn't realise the user breakdown was so disparate. If I only knew a little more about it I'd answer more questions myself. As I learn I'll get more involved. But yeah, thanks again for your post. I understand it a lot better now.
10-02-2006, 05:50 AM
ok, Geoff, welcome in the club!
have a good day!
10-02-2006, 07:15 AM
i wish i was in Queensland right now
10-02-2006, 11:20 AM
Yeah Will, it's pretty nice over here right now. Early spring and it's 20-26 degrees over 24 hours (that's about 70-80 for you fahrenheit dudes) and the sun is shining and the water is cool. :)
But in a few short months, it'll be disgustingly humid and over 100F and then you wouldn't want to be anywhere near the place except in an airconditioned shopping centre. Come December, I'll be wishing I was in downtown Copenhagen, preparing for a cold, white beerful Christmas :)
10-06-2006, 03:09 PM
I have to agree with djaef about the negativity in the forums. Whenever I see the comment to search the forums in any community, it never sounds to me like the poster is trying to be helpful. More often than not they could have been just as helpful in saying "Go f**k yourself." Having worked in tech support for nearly 10 year, I know how frustrating it can be to answer the same questions over and over again. It's easy to get bitter that you're answering a question that you know so well you could probably fix it with your eyes closed. I also know that people are far more inclined to pick up the phone then to pick up a users manual. People don't want to sort through pages and pages of information that doesn't pertain to their issue, when they know that someone who know the answer is just a phone call away. The same holds true in support forums such as this, there will always be people who want someone to tell them exactly how to fix their problem, and don't want to think about anything else. In order to stay sane you have to remind yourself that for most people, this is the first and last time they will ever encounter these issues, and if you don't take care of their problem they are going to find someone or something else that will.
That said there are also plenty of people who genuinely look for the answers to the questions, and solutions to their problems, yet cannot seem to find or make sense of the information available. Maybe they just aren't experienced enough to know how to phrase the question, or can't see how one solution is going to fix their problem.
If the same questions are being asked over and over again, then it might be beneficial to make one of the threads that describes how to fix it sticky, or create a sticky/announcement thread that contains links to solutions for the most common problems. Or if those solutions aren't already in the WIKI, add them, then have a thread that provides links to WIKI for the most common problems/questions. This won't stop people from asking the quesitons, but it will make it easier to point them in the right direction for a solution.
One of the things that could make these forums more of a community, is if some of the more active users would to take a step back and allow others to step in and answer questions they know the answers to. If someone has the same question or problem I just had, then I am going to be pretty enthusiastic about helping them find the solution, so leave the negativity out and let someone else help them if they can. If you really feel that you need to respond, instead of just saying, "Search the forums," link to a thread where the might find the answers, or at the very least, give them some suggestions for search terms to use.
Lastly, I think there are some cultural issues here. The membership of this board, especially some of the more active users is pretty diverse. What Americans consider rude is in some cases very different from what Germans, Pols, or Australians find rude.
10-06-2006, 03:33 PM
I doubt that your suggestion to be more passive and let others answer will work
I doubt this because I tested it
I was passive for some time, but nobody stepped into "my footsteps" ;=(
I do not think that the active persons are so rude that the inactive people become passive
I just see that it is easier to take than to give and many people who got their answers leave and never come back
I would glady embrace more and more active people
do you think I was born to spend my time here?
I will have my next exhibition in 10 days and I am not ready, I have a job and a loving husband and now in 2 hours the second day ouf our jazzfestival starts and I still sit in my office and work is not finished
I still refer to my long text... and I deny that our "rudity" bites people away
if you doubt my impression, why not open a poll "does Connie encourage other users?"
I will be very curious to see the answer and for sure I will take consequences...
10-06-2006, 06:03 PM
Connie you seem to take any comment I make about pixelpost or the community personally. I was not singling you out and would never consider putting up a poll, or anything else, that would be construed as insulting to another member of the community. My last post was about the way I percieve such responses from anyone, in any community, not just this one.
My suggestions for improving the community were merely that, suggestions. I offer what I feel is constructive criticism and my feelings aren't hurt if you decide that it's meritless. Don't be surprised, however, if you don't get a lot of feedback from other members of the community. When suggestions are immediately denounced as bad ideas, it gives the impression that they are not welcomed.
As for rudeness driving people away, you can believe that it doesn't, but I believe that it does. It's a fairly well established principle in business that for every person who who expresses some kind of dissatisfaction, there are dozens more who don't express it, and simply leave. I considered abandoning Pixelpost due to some comments directed at me that I felt were very rude. Even though I didn't leave, my loyalty to the project has been greatly diminished. You can deny the impact of rudeness all you want, but I believe it ultimately hurts the project.
10-07-2006, 09:02 AM
we're understaffed, there is no doubt about that. pixelpost has grown and grown and grown yet no help as been added to the core project for quite some while, a few community users have stepped up and that is awesome...but i doubt you will find a forum of this size with a active community so small that can handle itself well. Ive been active in forum communities moderation and management for over 5 years, both web design and photography alike, and in each place i have been a part of there is some bias against the same things popping up over and over and over. It is common that those that do spend more time will be less accepting towards the newer in forms like we are speaking about here.
i see not all but most everything that passes through the forum, and for a vast % of the basic users needs this community has done a fine job and is up to par with other communities i have been a part of. we dont have sponsorship (well outside hosting), do not ask for donations, require a link back from the photoblog users, and are very open to new ideas that come across. The fact that we even have a forum is rather impressive with a staff our size, as many newer applications might offer a group mailing list at most, many times just a wiki with some text and you have to figure it out yourself.
the best way to improve this community is to help out, and as in much of life, if something isnt done the way you think is right, you have to do it yourself
10-08-2006, 04:43 AM
That's really too bad. About a month ago I really started to get excited about Pixelpost. Since I'm out of school and have a new job I found myself with a lot more free time to devote to avocational projects. I was studying the code, trying to figure out how to do some stuff, when I posed this question: http://forum.pixelpost.org/showthread.php?t=4993 to the group. The response I recieved really soured my opinion of the application. After working out a solution, I gave up on digging through the code.
I had honestly been considering volunteering to help make pixelpost better, but after the above exchange, decided against it.
10-08-2006, 07:22 AM
I feel in the middle in this one. I understand what Connie and blinking8s are saying about the enormous amount of work they and only a few others are doing and I commend their efforts. But I also agree with what dakwegmo says. I read the post he referred to and I don't think that he was handled with the appropriate respect. It's a tough one though isn't it. As blinking 8s admits, it's hard for such a small active community to service such a forum and be polite and helpful 100% of the time. I also think there are some language issues in this, as it's easy to be inadvertantly rude if English is not your mother tongue.
On a side note, I've also had that numbering issue dakwegmo, but I just haven't done anything about it :).
I'm doing my best to become active, but I'm a photographer and visual designer first and a poor coder second, so it's slow going for me to develop a decent understanding of this application.
From a newbie's perspective it often seems more complicated and code oriented that it might need be. But as I said, I still haven't drilled down that far yet. I'm doing my best to answer any questions I can though. Giving back to the community is important to me, considering all the hard work that others have done.
10-08-2006, 08:07 AM
we truly appreciate the help
the issue present in the example thread is simply not an issue at all, but a personal annoyance of sorts. The number being applied is an ID to the image, it is assigned to keep things link and organized within the database and has nothing to do with the order pictures are in. It's simply how things work. On a side note, you do not want to change the contents of these ID's around, it messes with saved links, ref links, and search engines
Any similar application uses the exact same method. If it is so bothersome, then something along the lines of a mod rewrite are in need.
http://forum.pixelpost.org/showthread.php?t=2317 is not a perfect solution, i admit we must put something better within pixelpost for use. The only other way to handle this rewrite would be to apply a clean-url use where it uses the image title for display
this would remove all use of id's, as the image id cannot be switched around, there is too much at risk for both the application and viewers experience by allowing this.
There is this addon: http://forum.pixelpost.org/showthread.php?t=4915 as well
now we apologize if you felt that you were treated poorly within the discussion, but there are language barriers present here with such an international community and sometimes, as my parents used to tell me "its not what you say, its how you say it" but in the forum/text it can also be "it's not what you read, its how you read it" in many cases.
I do see some conflict in where the reply post simply says "search for it", it's the community leaders task to assist the user, provide the search link and say the answer is within there...or provide a direct link to a post or the wiki at hand. This is one thing the community could work on, but we don't have a constant staff on hand, and everyone cannot assume everyones role of importance, the world just does not function this way.
10-08-2006, 12:25 PM
"it's not what you read, its how you read it"
I thought I'd quote that from blinking8s and pin it up on the board as my final comment on this thread. I have been a regular visit to internet forums for at least 6 years, and there is no truism more applicable to forums than this one.
keep up the good work guys!!!
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.