How do you know if users have a history of marking answers?

Guide ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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In Stack Overflow, you can easily see if a user is going to acknowledge your help by looking at their acceptance rate. I am finding it frustrating, however, that my answers on the Adobe forums are often ignored in favor of answers I feel are leading the user in a wrong direction, simply because the other person giving an answer had more red "bars" under their name.

I have helped many users, and many of them have come back and thanked me.  However, none have marked my answers as correct or even helpful.  I would like to concentrate on helping users who are willing to mark answers as correct or helpful, so that those bars reflect the amount of help I am actually giving.  Where can I look to find out which users have a history of marking answers?

Thanks;

Amy

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

LEGEND , Aug 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011
Oh, also, I guess, looking at your post-to-point ratio, I don't think you have much to complain about. It's extremely difficult to keep that ratio above 1, and you have. (And I don't even try. That is, I'm perfectly happy to engage in conversations that don't lead to awarded points. Which is fine...)

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Amy,

I know of no way of predetermining a poster's proclivity to award points, or to even return to a thread to mark it as "Answered." Some do, but many do not. In most of the forums, that I frequent, we urge posters to drop back with an update, and if they found success, to mark the post as Answered, so that others, coming to that thread, will know that the replies helped the OP. We are far less concerned with any points, and only care about helping others.

I have seen, exactly what you describe, and a few instances have taken things to absurd level. In a post some years back, there were three "correct," or at least very helpful answers. Someone dropped by that thread and posted something to the effect of "You're too stupid to use a program like ______, so just give up and use something easier for someone like you... " The OP marked that as the "Correct Answer." Oh well, there is no explaining, or anticipating how a poster will respond, or at least not a method, that I know of.

I frequent several travel, food and wine forums, and if looking for useful reviews, will sometimes research a poster, if say they have a scathing review of a fairly popular restaurant, or if they have a glowing review, when most forum folk have been ho-hum. In one particular instance of the former, I tracked down about a dozen posts by that person. All but one were for more expensive, fine-dining restaurants, and were horribly negative. The one good review was for some chain fast-food place. In the cases of the latter, I have found several reviewers, who actually worked for, or owned those restaurants, so their post flew in the face of "general" responses, from people with no vested interests.

With the Adobe forums, I do not know a way to pre-judge a poster's propensity, especially as many are first-time posters. My feeling is to just offer the best that I can, and hope that it helps. If there is a "thank you" at the end - so much the better.

Good luck,

Hunt

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Only speaking for myself but I would say that the average amount of times one of my correct answers gets marked is less that 30%. But in the Acrobat forums, you will seldom see any of us asking to mark questions as answered.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Amy,

As a specialist in answering posts from poor old lost souls who never find their way back to these forums, can I understand your frustration. However, most of the regulars here do not attach any importance to points, and I am quite happy with my 845 points, nothing when compared with Bill's 25,445. I value quite a lot more those "thanks" I have received from the few posters who have come back.

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Guide ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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It's not that I particularly value points--I'm just frustrated seeing users headed off in what I consider to be a wrong direction based on points.  So I'm trying to accumulate points so that users will have (what I feel to be) a more correct idea of whether or not to take my advice.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Amy,

I understand your frustration. I think that many of us feel the same way.

Good luck,

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Hi Amy

I do understand your dilemma. I really do.

However, I think you simply need to focus on providing the best help you know how. My view is that points will come. If users get led in a bad direction simply because they elected to follow bad advice, my view is that it will become self evident and the user will finally begin to realize that they should possibly be more choosy about who they choose to listen to.

Unfortunately, if you begin pleading with folks to come back and mark threads as answered, it begins sounding like you are begging them to do this for the wrong reasons. Simply so that you can garner more points. Even if you toss in a disclaimer saying you want it to happen "for the benefit of future users" it comes off as a veiled attempt to garner points.

Sorry, but those are the breaks when you participate in forums.

Cheers... Rick

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Rick,

if you begin pleading with folks to come back and mark threads as answered, it begins sounding like you are begging them to do this for the wrong reasons.

We had a bit of this in the PrPro forums, but it was really a running joke on the "points system," and usually did not surface, until we'd solved the problem. Then the pleas came out, with "ring kissing," grovelling, and all sorts of activities. I know that a few first-time posters probably got scared, and promptly left.

At least, after the "work" was done, we all had a few laughs, at our own expense. Probably should have gone to The Video Lounge, but we could not resist, and after a long, hard day of problem solving, or wringing the necessary details from a poster, we needed a "break."

I still do urge posters to mark the posts as Answered, but only to help others, in the future.

I have fixed many problems, that did not result in even a "thank you," but have also gotten the "big-10," when I asked for more info. Who knows what a poster will do? So long as we help, that is what it's all about.

Just my thoughts,

Hunt

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Amy, I would think that those in most urgent need are newcomers, to whom the "bars" mean nothing. As for participants who ask for help with some frequency, I think it would be more useful for you to simply keep a list of those who don't thank you but give points to others for less accurate/useful/right answers.

Personally, I don't think that those asking questions judge the answers they receive based on the "bars" of the answerer. I would even think that, more often than not, if someone in need of urgent help receives as an answer "move the pointer all over the screen while taping three times on your monitor", and his/her problem magically disappears when s/he does as directed (even if it's only for that single instance), s/he will think that that's THE right answer.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Claudio,

You make a great point. The majority of posts with issues are from first-timers, or short-timers, and they are only begging for something that is helpful to them, and usually urgently. I doubt that the majority know what the "salamis" mean, and would not know to hover their cursor over someone's Profile to see what they have done in the past. They want a fix, and hope that it comes quickly - evidenced by many first posts, at 10:00AM, and then a second post, along the lines of "what, no on has an answer for me? I have a deadline!" and this is posted at 10:10AM on the same day.

If that poster does get the answer, I will bet that they are also the type, who will never return to award points, return to mark their post as Answered, or even let anyone know, if the suggestion solved the problem. They are off doing whatever they were doing, when they hit the snag.

Personally, I like to get feedback, as it either verifies that my answer was good, or correct, or it teaches me something, and I can apply that later on. I do like the Answered marking, but that is to help others, who might find the thread in a Search (if those ever worked again, in these forums... , but I digress). All too often, I see people finding threads, and asking, "so, did anything above fix your problem?" but Elvis has left the building, and has not returned.

I try to see these forums on several levels:

  • They can be very useful for solving one's problems
  • They can teach many, in that process
  • They can be a great resource to folk just discovering them, and realizing that their current problem was addressed in 2009
  • They can be fun to read... OK, that's probably way down the list

Hunt

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Amy, as you can see, it's taking us a lot of bandwidth to tell you "forget about the points". And to try to convince that, if anyone marks a question as Answered and/or awards some points, very often they do it for the wrong reasons, which happen to be completely unrelated with the "bands/salamis" or previous history of the responder.

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Mentor ,
Aug 18, 2011 Aug 18, 2011

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I myself have been asking and answering questions on Adobe forum for ages.  I don't care one way or the other about points.

To me Points makes it a competition.

Rather than putting up points, if anything put how many years you've been posting all the way back to NNTP Newgroup days. That would give a More accurate representation of one's crediability on a Forum. I even posted on the Macromedia Forums which was belnded into the adobe's with Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia.  (But this is my opinion).

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LEGEND ,
Aug 20, 2011 Aug 20, 2011

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I myself have been asking and answering questions on Adobe forum for ages.  I don't care one way or the other about points.

To me Points makes it a competition.

So when Adobe decides to cash up all the points, you will miss out   The distribution of cash is likely to take place just after the first world war of this century.  Only those who are alive will benefit from the windfall.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2011 Aug 17, 2011

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Señor Claudio,

Back to the "... posters do not bother looking to see who is helping... " [Strong paraphrase there], I was helping out in the PS forum, with a rather elementary problem, and had restated the answer about four ways, but the poster wanted to be in conversation with someone else. With about ten replies along, I asked, "Did you try the suggestions in Replies 1, 3 4 and 6?" The poster came back with "Who are you, and what do you know about Photoshop?" Well, I got the third copy of PS 2.5 released for the PC, and have used it for decades commercially. I also had about 50,000 posts (Adobe, Comp.Photoshop and Alt.Design.Photoshop) to the old NNTP forums, long before the days of the Internet. When the HTTP version came out, I had probably 20,000 posts, that were lost with the first forum changeover. My 2002 "start date" is actually the third wave of Adobe forums. My real "start date" was when the first Adobe HTTP forums began. That is "who I am," and "I have been using Photoshop, from probably before the you [the poster] were born." With a full rack of salamis, the posts, the points, everything, the poster was immediately discounting my answers, and heading in other directions. Why they were not at least trying the suggestions, was a mystery, but I see a lot of that. A poster will make up their mind that the issue is X, and will totally ignore Y and Z, as possibilities.

It just happens, and, while I feel Amy's pain, and support her desire to help, there is not much we can do about it. That is just the way it is, sung to the tune of Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is.

Hunt

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 21, 2011 Aug 21, 2011

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Amy Blankenship wrote:

so that users will have (what I feel to be) a more correct idea of whether or not to take my advice.

oh, a libral. carry on then.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2011 Aug 22, 2011

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dave milbut wrote:

oh, a libral. carry on then.

The libral standard compares the weight of coins to the bronze as, which originally weighed one Roman pound

This makes any more sense the wanting to predict who give points?

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Guide ,
Aug 22, 2011 Aug 22, 2011

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This thread seems to have wandered off a bit.  Just so it's clear, I was asking a technical question (how to see who does and does not mark answers as correct), not a philosophical one (how much value those points do or should have).

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LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2011 Aug 22, 2011

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Hi, Amy. I'm not sure why I'm persisting in this, but:

This thread seems to have wandered off a bit.  Just so it's clear, I was asking a technical question (how to see who does and does not mark answers as correct)

That wasn't clear...just to be clear in return:

This forum provides no summary reporting of a user's marking of answers.

However, if you are truly inspired, there are some things you can do.

If you look at a user's page, under Stuff > Discussions, you will find a tabulation of the threads started by that user. E.g: http://forums.adobe.com/people/Amy%20Blankenship?view=discussions

Those are, of course, the only threads that a user could have awarded points in. The tabulation shows which threads are designated as Answered (http://forums.adobe.com/images/jive-icon-answer-correct-16x16.gif) and which are not (http://forums.adobe.com/images/jive-icon-question-16x16.gif). Whether a user marks a question as Answered is not the same as whether they award points, but I think you will find that there is a reasonable correlation.

If you are even more interested, a script to open all those threads and determine whether they have offered Helpful or Correct answer designations is not very difficult, if you are experienced at writing tools that scrape web pages. Given that most users have less than 100 threads, it is probably not a violation of this site's terms of service (either implicitly or explicitly) to suck down those threads in an automated fashion, and certainly should have no appreciable effect on the server (a question one should always ask when considering automated retreival of data from someone's web server).

So, to summarize: I) This forum software does not keep a running total of this information that is available to us II) You can get a pretty good proxy for it by taking a quick look III) You could write a simple script to calculate it for you with a little bit of work.

Also, there is a moral hazard: Users who do not mark answers as Correct or Helpful are no less deserving of help than those that do. Many are unfamiliar with the cultural/social protocols of this site, and that should not be held against them. That is, however, merely my opinion, and certaily it is arguable.

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 22, 2011 Aug 22, 2011

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thanks curt. (mis-spelled that too, yes! sorry!) yes, autocorrect changed it on me. i meant of course liberal. a poor joke, but what i meant was for the OP to think about what she's asking. she wants to

accumulate points so that users will have (what I feel to be) a more correct idea of whether or not to take my advice.

iow, she wants to bump up her points so (in her opinion) users will treat her answers with more seriousness than others?

are you SURE your anwswers are more correct than others? and what does the user's marking history have to do with the quality of your answers? or will you not answer a user who fails to properly (or at all) mark the answers in a thread?

do you see what i'm getting at? it seems rather scheming and underhanded to me, like an attempt to "game" the system.

maybe it's just me.

nevermind then. it's not like these issues haven't been discussed to death when the whole point system was introduced.

this is the result.

Message was edited by: dave milbut

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LEGEND ,
Aug 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011

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In my experience, Amy, you can get a lot of points if you politely PM users asking you to give points after a question is successfully answered, if they wouldn not be inconvenienced to do so.

Beyond that, there are a large set of political strategies that it's probably not appropriate to get into here.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011

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Oh, also, I guess, looking at your post-to-point ratio, I don't think you have much to complain about. It's extremely difficult to keep that ratio above 1, and you have. (And I don't even try. That is, I'm perfectly happy to engage in conversations that don't lead to awarded points. Which is fine...)

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Mentor ,
Aug 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011

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Took me 10 years to finally get to two dots.

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Guide ,
Aug 22, 2011 Aug 22, 2011

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Thanks.  I guess there's more to look at than the red bars.  I hadn't realized that

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LEGEND ,
Aug 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011

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John Hawkinson wrote:

In my experience, Amy, you can get a lot of points if you politely PM users asking you to give points after a question is successfully answered, if they wouldn not be inconvenienced to do so.

Beyond that, there are a large set of political strategies that it's probably not appropriate to get into here.

Yes in a few years time Adobe will start sending out dollar bills for each point you have accumulated.  In rare circumstances you could be banned if you get more points than the community professional or a moderator as some seasoned posters here will tell you.

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