February 2, 2015 at 2:32 pm #194928
Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of repetitive forum posts on the same issue which lead me to think, what if we had a forum similar to SO with some following features:
- Posts marked as duplicate. This could work with a certain number of clicks by the community which will put the topic on hold and will require a moderator to approve it. Posts marked as duplicate will be closed for comments with a link to the original post.
- Accepted answers
- Edit titles
- An overlay CodePen module to input code rather than visiting the CodePen site.
I think this will lead to more precise answers to questions.
Thoughts, additional features?February 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm #194930
I’d vote for having a prompt to ask the OP if they’d like to add a codepen before posting. Would save the mods’ nearly required post of “Please provide a codepen”. :)February 3, 2015 at 8:01 am #194960
I would not be in favor of “gamifying” this forum with upvotes/downvotes in the ilk of SO or Reddit. Basically it leads to people downvoting stuff just for shits. I always think it won’t, but it does. However… I WOULD be in favor of requiring new users to post a certain number of replies before they can start threads. It’s not a perfect solution, but it would keep brand new people from coming in here and asking one question and leaving forever.February 3, 2015 at 8:20 am #194965
I WOULD be in favor of requiring new users to post a certain number of replies before they can start threads. It’s not a perfect solution, but it would keep brand new people from coming in here and asking one question and leaving forever.
I’d be against that option.
Coming here and asking a question, getting a reply is a perfectly reasonable option. We can’t (and IMO shouldn’t) force users to engage.
If they come here, ask a reasonable properly formatted question that can be answered without too much difficulty then that should be enough for us.
I’m on SO a lot and I agree that there is a lot of ‘noise’ but that’s the nature of SO…they struggle to maintain a decent signal to noise ratio even with the amount of community driven moderation that they have.
I would not be in favour of moving this forum in that direction.
@traq nailed it for me
S/O is an answer repository; css-tricks is a discussion forum.
That said, we used to have a ‘Solved’ button/indicator and I’d like to see that functionality return.
In the CSS Combat area (where I am most) I will frequently add this manually for users for some ‘added value’ but, in the areas where I lack the knowledge, I’m not comfortable doing that unless the user so indicates.
As for the embedded code idea…I’m inclined to think that would slow the site down…it’s getting tough enough to get people to use Markdown properly and/or actually make a Codepen demo without adding another layer of complexity.
People are inherently lazy I’m afraid, searching is work and it’s much quicker to ask a question than search and go through the results.
If that weren’t the case, a properly formatted question on Google would have gotten them results from CSS-Tricks or SO (both of which rank highly for answers in Google in my experience) and they’d never need to post at all.February 3, 2015 at 8:26 am #194967
The report button almost seems useless as many times we have clicked that and the post/comment has been ignored by moderators.
I don’t receive a notice but I do review that Spam / Pending / Reported ‘filter’s regularly usually every 24 to 48 hours…holidays permitting.
If you really need someone to wade in and take immediate action then link me in and I get an email and can take a look almost immediately (sleep cycle permitting).February 3, 2015 at 8:33 am #194970
The feature button is essentially the same as an upvote but only for the OP to use. I feel like the bury button has shown to be useless and sometimes even to maliciously ignore people that have provided great information (yes, this actually happened).
Feature: Us Mods/Admins can use it too but I agree that it’s underused.
Bury: Ditto and when I come across a buried post I usually review it as I would find it very unlikely that it would ‘deserve’ such a ‘rating’. Plus it disrupts the reading flow so I would usually take the liberty of removing it unless it really is just ‘noise’. That said, I haven’t seen many people use it…as mentioned aboveFebruary 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm #195037
Just letting y’all know I’m listening here. I can chime in with some thoughts soon. Some of this is certainly doable.February 8, 2015 at 7:23 am #195314
February 8, 2015 at 7:55 am #195316
We used to have a “Mark as solved” plugin before bbPress. We can “close” topics (although not 100% sure who all has the power to do that, would be nice if the thread-owner did) This could be used to put like “[Solved]” before the title in the lists of threads…
I recently revamped the “Posting code” section below where you post new threads, emphasizing CodePen and how code is properly posted. Is that helping?
Instead of “Feature” or “Bury” maybe we just get rid of “Bury” and do “Mark as Good Answer” instead of feature. That’s kinda like an “accepted” answer, and the thread owner can do it as well as any admin, which is nice. This is one is fairly easy so I’ll do it now.
Proper syntax highlighting is on the list. It’s a little tough, because we’re Prism.js, which as far as I know doesn’t have any kind of automatic language detection. In some flavors of Markdown, you can do like
```cssat the start of a block to indicate the language, but that’s 1) hard to train people to do and 2) doesn’t work anyway in the WordPress markdown.
Marking as duplicates is interesting, but I’ll have to think on it more. I’m not sure I mind “duplicate” threads. Open discussion can be unique each time even if the theme is the same
I’m kind of resistant to ‘closing’ threads that are only actually ‘solved’ as, I think, it stops any further discussion.
A clear marker as Solved allows easy browsing of the forum without limiting additional comments.February 8, 2015 at 8:08 am #195318
There is no custom bbPress functionality for “solved” though, so it’ll go on the list of ideas for future development (there is one!)February 8, 2015 at 8:50 am #195323
I have a few thoughts as well but will contemplate on most of them for now (I am a newbie after all). But I wanted to mention I do like to upvote idea – to prevent trolling, we could just not implement downvotes.
What ‘concerns’ me a bit is the amount of posts with quick and unclear questions, accompanied by a plain text code dump. Maybe some extra friendly guidance could be provided there, with posts that are really not up to the standard buried until topic starter has provided the minimum requirement for others to be able to troubleshoot.
I am personally not much for closing topics – new developments or ideas might be relevant to update certain threads. Especially if they are ranking high on search engines (of which I noted this site is appearing more and more) and could help solve general long term issues.
Topics with very specific site related problems would be a different category without the need for post mortem revival.February 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm #195330
I’ve mentioned this before, in my opinion, it would be extremely useful to have some sort of sticky post. Potentially titled “Getting Started with CSS-Tricks Forum” (stay always up top). It can serve as running list of most frequently asked questions and other useful resources. I’m part of the Flickr group that has been running strong for quite a while and this simple sticky has eliminated most of the duplication, in addition it serves as a lookup… even for the admins if they need to point someone quickly to a resource. Admins have the power of curation (selecting good respectable resources, managing the list, etc) so it becomes powerful resource for beginners.
Here is just a screengrab of various topics and link backs to those discussions.
Larger VersionFebruary 9, 2015 at 6:20 am #195365
I’m sure a short screencast by @chriscoyier wouldn’t hurt on how to formally post a question with markdown and how to use CodePen.
Actually, I like this idea.
Initially I thought it might sound a little self-serving but it would be a useful resource to be able point new visitors too.
Not sure how many people remember this post How To Ask A Good Question but it’s a little out of date nowFebruary 9, 2015 at 7:29 am #195370
It’s in the nature of the Internet that people will NOT follow rules/advice on a forum unless you absolutely, literally force them to.
No matter how often (or where) instructions are placed, some people will still skip over it.
I once ran a forum for a very popular band (2500 members, about 500 messages a day) and as an experiment, I added some additional instructions here and there. This was to see if people would actually read these instructions. Basically, the instructions said that every single message posted HAD to end with your favorite album by that band (I said it was to counter spam), or else it would be deleted.
It didn’t matter if I used a popup for the instructions, sticky posts, a highlighted message in at the top of the post message page, or in the sidebar…less than 20% of the people actually did it. Even something ridiculously obtrusive (a very clear “are you sure??” warning that would show right after hitting the POST button) didn’t help.
It’s sad but new visitors are usually in a hurry (and too lazy?) to read all the rules.
The only thing that helps, I believe, is what we usually do here already: simply not help them unless they DO follow the instructions. “Sorry, we simply can’t help you unless you give us a site or create a test case on Codepen. See instructions here“. It’s annoying, it’s not 100% user friendly, but at least most of these new people won’t make the same mistake again.
tl;dr — in my opinion it’s a waste of time to keep trying to make people follow instructions. Give basic instructions, and when they don’t follow, tell them to try again.February 10, 2015 at 10:09 am #195486
No matter how often (or where) instructions are placed, some people will still skip over it.
Some people but not all. I’m the type of person that likes to follow forum etiquette and will often look for posts that already answer my questions. So even for me, if I was visiting for the first time, such post would get me up to speed, it would also make me feel motivated to contribute more. I also think there is a lot of people simply just lurking around. Maybe they feel intimidated to ask a question, or whatever. I think having the type of post I’m describing doesn’t hurt it can only benefit. You can’t make anyone read it but it is there for them if they care enough. As I’ve mention, it serves dual purpose, for us who care to stick around. It helps us help people. For me, I know plenty of time where I simply didn’t have time to reiterate information, so I passed on answering the question and let someone else take care of it.
Such post can be open-ended as well. Thinks like “How much should I charge for this?” or “How do I answer to my client?”… Such posts might contain valuable information but you have no way to categorize them, under “Other Discussions”? How about some of the OOP discussions we had in PHP Forums? WOuld that be valuable? How would you point someone to these discussions without spending some time using the search bar, or simply telling them to search. At the end I think it makes CSS-Tricks more inviting. Just my 2c.
@chrisburton The idea of a short screencast video is great as well. Just keep it under 5min. Maybe…
- show how to use css-tricks (login, posting, simple markdown, linking to codepen, posting videos)
- basic usage of codepen
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