[locked] A Different Perspective On The Point System

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Jun 03, 2009

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I was reading Joel on Software today and he was talking about "Stack Overflow" which is a very successful Q&A forum for programmers by programmers.  Joel makes the point that the Stack Overflow board (which is similar to these forums in that it's a technical support forum) uses a point system. Joel goes on to write;

"It’s not much of a secret, but Stack Overflow is already a great place to find good programmers, because you can see how good people really are by reading the answers that they post. I’ve noticed a lot of people putting their Stack Overflow reputations on their resumes, and we’re starting to hear stories of people who got jobs through the site. Jeff and I are committed to building features to make this easier in the next “six to eight” weeks. For example, I’ve always hated traditional resumes, which just don’t give the right kind of information about a candidate. If you wanted to hire an iPhone developer, would you rather know that person’s Stack Overflow stats in the iPhone tag and read their answers to technical questions? Or would you rather know where they went to college?

If we pull this off, getting jobs in the tech industry will be a lot saner."


I'm not sure at this point where I sit in this debate; but I thought you all might be interested in a reasoned opinion on the pro side.

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[locked] A Different Perspective On The Point System

Participant ,
Jun 03, 2009

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I was reading Joel on Software today and he was talking about "Stack Overflow" which is a very successful Q&A forum for programmers by programmers.  Joel makes the point that the Stack Overflow board (which is similar to these forums in that it's a technical support forum) uses a point system. Joel goes on to write;

"It’s not much of a secret, but Stack Overflow is already a great place to find good programmers, because you can see how good people really are by reading the answers that they post. I’ve noticed a lot of people putting their Stack Overflow reputations on their resumes, and we’re starting to hear stories of people who got jobs through the site. Jeff and I are committed to building features to make this easier in the next “six to eight” weeks. For example, I’ve always hated traditional resumes, which just don’t give the right kind of information about a candidate. If you wanted to hire an iPhone developer, would you rather know that person’s Stack Overflow stats in the iPhone tag and read their answers to technical questions? Or would you rather know where they went to college?

If we pull this off, getting jobs in the tech industry will be a lot saner."


I'm not sure at this point where I sit in this debate; but I thought you all might be interested in a reasoned opinion on the pro side.

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Mentor ,
Jun 03, 2009

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S.D.A. wrote:

I was reading Joel on Software today and he was talking about "Stack Overflow" which is a very successful Q&A forum for programmers by programmers.  Joel makes the point that the Stack Overflow board (which is similar to these forums in that it's a technical support forum) uses a point system. Joel goes on to write;

"It’s not much of a secret, but Stack Overflow is already a great place to find good programmers, because you can see how good people really are by reading the answers that they post. I’ve noticed a lot of people putting their Stack Overflow reputations on their resumes, and we’re starting to hear stories of people who got jobs through the site. Jeff and I are committed to building features to make this easier in the next “six to eight” weeks. For example, I’ve always hated traditional resumes, which just don’t give the right kind of information about a candidate. If you wanted to hire an iPhone developer, would you rather know that person’s Stack Overflow stats in the iPhone tag and read their answers to technical questions? Or would you rather know where they went to college?

If we pull this off, getting jobs in the tech industry will be a lot saner."


I'm not sure at this point where I sit in this debate; but I thought you all might be interested in a reasoned opinion on the pro side.

personally it doesn't affect me one way or the other I don't give points and I don't answer question for points. Frankly the only time I notice them all is if I happen to mousover my avatar.

But I get the impression from most of the people Fussing about the points. Have the opinion anyone other than them have the brain of a Turnip. So people asking legimate questions, with their Turnip Brains don't know enough to decide whether an answer, solves their problem. They think that only a 100 page disertation on the subject is the only correct answer to the question.

The object of answering questions is to solve problems. Whether the answer is a 5 liner, or ten page disertation; if  fixes the problem is all that matters.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 03, 2009

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PjonesCET wrote:

The object of answering questions is to solve problems. Whether the answer is a 5 liner, or ten page disertation; if  fixes the problem is all that matters.

We have been over this several times in other threads. Do I need to ask again if this includes solutions of the type "hit the Esc key times three times in rapid succession, then knock three times on your table, then hit Esc another three times", which may miraculously work once for the poster, and never again for anyone else? Even if a hundred other persons with the same problem try this "solution" unsuccessfully and became unnecessarily frustrated because nobody in the know bothered to read the thread already marked as "Answered", and so none of the true solutions to the problem got to be posted?

Pity you find this so difficult to understand. Although, on second thoughts, perhaps it's really my fault because I have not explained myself sufficiently clearly because of my poor knowledge of your language?

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Participant ,
Jun 04, 2009

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Claudio Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español!


Nevertheless none of the arguments I've heard on the "CON" side have convinced me of their validity. That's the bottom line.


Actually I lied previously ; after having slept on it I'm probably leaning more to the side of favouring the point system. Nothing personal. Everyone's concern for the individual asking the question is admirable -- I'm just not convinced that is the real reasoning behind the arguments.

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Enthusiast ,
Jun 04, 2009

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Claudio Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español!


Nevertheless none of the arguments I've heard on the "CON" side have convinced me of their validity. That's the bottom line.

and again steve, you seem to have missed that claudio was responding to PJ, not to you? is that stuff not visible in whatever client you're using?

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Participant ,
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dave milbut wrote:

Claudio Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español!


Nevertheless none of the arguments I've heard on the "CON" side have convinced me of their validity. That's the bottom line.

and again steve, you seem to have missed that claudio was responding to PJ, not to you? is that stuff not visible in whatever client you're using?

Not when I'm posting via e-mail.

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Participant ,
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Not when I'm posting via e-mail. In the web interface, yes.

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Enthusiast ,
Jun 04, 2009

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S.D.A. wrote:

dave milbut wrote:

Claudio Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español!


Nevertheless none of the arguments I've heard on the "CON" side have convinced me of their validity. That's the bottom line.

and again steve, you seem to have missed that claudio was responding to PJ, not to you? is that stuff not visible in whatever client you're using?

Not when I'm posting via e-mail.

You're freaking incredible Dave.

so then am i freaking credible again?

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Participant ,
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Not when I'm posting via e-mail. In the web interface, yes.

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Participant ,
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Not when I'm posting via e-mail. In the web interface, yes.

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Advocate ,
Jun 04, 2009

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Oh Gawd, another thread that will need locking because of the repeat postings from Steve. Will somebody sort this bloody out!!!!!

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Advocate ,
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Kath-H wrote:

Oh Gawd, another thread that will need locking because of the repeat postings from Steve. Will somebody sort this bloody out!!!!!

lol - Feeling a little Jived lately? (big obnoxious smiley, for email users)

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Enthusiast ,
Jun 03, 2009

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personally it doesn't affect me one way or the other

then why would you bother to clutter up this thread with not only a full quote of a long topic starter, but a long post about something that "doesn't affect me [you] one way or the other"?

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Participant ,
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You've lost me, what's your point ? You don't understand why I would want to

offer a reasoned opinion on a topic that seems to be of interest to you old

Web Xers ? You're freaking incredible Dave.

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Participant ,
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dave milbut wrote:

then why would you bother to clutter up this thread with not only a full quote of a long topic starter, but a long post about something that "doesn't affect me [you] one way or the other"?

Actually that was a *partial* quote.

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Enthusiast ,
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The object of answering questions is to solve problems. Whether the answer is a 5 liner, or ten page disertation; if  fixes the problem is all that matters.

if that's the purpose of this forum, then yes, yes it is.

if the purpose of this forum is to TEACH adobe's users how to use [an adobe app] photoshop (the way the pros here taught me when i started back in '02 or so) then the points system is destroying this forum.

so maybe adobe needs to clear up the purpose of this forum. is it to be just questions and answers from now on? in effect, a radical shift in direction and departure from its roots? or is it to remain THE resource on the web to go to learn from real professionals how to use adobe's products?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2009

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if the purpose of this forum is to TEACH adobe's users how to use [an adobe app] photoshop (the way the pros here taught me when i started back in '02 or so) then the points system is destroying this forum.

i never did understand this sort of thinking. If those pros that you're referring to don't care about the points then how exactly are they destroying the forum? The purpose of the points is "primarily to encourage greater participation from those users who care about them." (apparently they are very well received on the programing sections)

On one hand, you guys say that the points are destroying the forums (based on ....) and on the other hand there are those in charge of the Community Help who say that they have solid data indicating that points have helped increase the overall value of the comments posted there. Gee, i wonder who i'll believe....

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2009

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I posted this some hours ago, but it looks like my email didn't quite make it...

I think Dave hit the nail on the head.

Whoever implemented the point system obviously considers the forums a place where users should be encouraged to give free tech support to newbies for Adobe's products (and save Adobe money on tech support...), while traditionally it's been a place where users can learn from each other (pros and newbies alike) to get a greater depth of understanding of the programs.

If the intent was to change the flavor of the forums, they are being very successful! A lot of the old friendly banter is gone, and answers are given to try to satisfy the OPs question and no more. I feel it's a big shame.

What's getting all of us worked up is this shift in focus. If the entire purpose of posting is to increase ones point status, the forum has become a very shallow experience. While it is true that people might answer questions for points, the answers will likely be shallower answers.

I am personally not against a point system per se, but I am opposed to the way it is implemented. If ALL users could give points (or kudos, or what-have-you) for a useful answer (and not just the OP), with no limit to just three per thread, people would be encouraged to give more complete and universally useful answers. I believe that such an implementation would promote the joint learning atmosphere instead of stunting it...

Harbs

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2009

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All good points. (Sorry!)


The word "shallow" is very apt related to the new atmosphere in the forums now.


People are posting in haste and giving incomplete answers in their quest for points.


I am pretty sure the Adobe grey suits have no idea of the havoc they have created, and probably wouldn't understand, even if it were spelled out to them in words of one syllable.

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LEGEND ,
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Whoever implemented the point system obviously considers the forums a place where users should be encouraged to give free tech support to newbies for Adobe's products (and save Adobe money on tech support...), while traditionally it's been a place where users can learn from each other (pros and newbies alike) to get a greater depth of understanding of the programs.

wrong, the points were introduced because they wanted to offer an incentive to those users who care about these sort of things. If i'm not mistaken, they were first introduced when the help system for Lightroom 2.0 went online. The reason why they introduced them to the forums is because they considered the points to be a success on Community Help.

What's getting all of us worked up is this shift in focus. If the entire purpose of posting is to increase ones point status, the forum has become a very shallow experience. While it is true that people might answer questions for points, the answers will likely be shallower answers.

the focus of the forums hasn't shifted, all that happened was that they added points, don't blow this out of proportion.

I am personally not against a point system per se, but I am opposed to the way it is implemented.

And i agree with you, and so do the higher ups. Let me quote one of those evil suits that plan to destroy the forums and all life as we know it (hope i won't get into hot watter over this )

We recognize that there's some understandable frustration with the point system, particularly in the forums, where the Jive-based implementation limits our customization options. However, we want you guys to know that we're working with Jive to see if they can improve their points workflow.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2009

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Zeno,

Thanks for that!

Perhaps I was a bit quick to point blame that this shift in focus was intentional. However, this shift in focus is very real. It's been felt by a lot of us.

If what you are saying is correct that there was no intent to create this shift in focus, then I'm very encouraged! I think I can deal with the bad implementation if there's hope for improvement. With a better implementation, the old flavor of the forums has a good chance of returning...

Harbs

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Enthusiast ,
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If those pros that you're referring to don't care about the points then how exactly are they destroying the forum?

many of them are insulted by them and have left. the format of the forums have changed becasue the new system discourages long teaching discourses with lots of back and forth an examples coming from the teachers and the students. this format encourages quick, dirty answers (as pj says, paraphrasing: who needs a discourse when ESC ESC UP UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT START works, and others add: even if that trashes your image!).

and on the other hand there are those in charge of the Community Help who say that they have solid data indicating that points have helped increase the overall value of the comments posted there

no offense to any but i don't believe that for a second. change that to maybe those who have some vested interest in the new forums or are in some way beholden to adobve mgmt are pushing the corporate line, then yes, you've got a point.

and who the $@** are "community help"? i haven't seen ANY "community help" in the last 7ish years except that provided by myself and other dedicated users to the adobe user "community".

Gee, i wonder who i'll believe....

hmm, maybe the guy who cares enough about adobe and it's products to spend the last 7 years donating his time helping people use adobe's programs? Gee, f*&k off with your snide "Gees" bish. thanks.

You're freaking incredible Dave.

um, sorry steve, you did notice that i was responding to pj who said he doesn't care, right?

If the intent was to change the flavor of the forums, they are being very successful! A lot of the old friendly banter is gone, and answers are given to try to satisfy the OPs question and no more. I feel it's a big shame.

exactly... that's all i was saying.and i feel that if that's the intent, adobe should come out and SAY so. then those of us who care about the programs and helping people make best use of them can move on and those who care about racking up meatballs can provide the free tech support for a change.

I am personally not against a point system per se, but I am opposed to the way it is implemented. If ALL users could give points (or kudos, or what-have-you) for a useful answer (and not just the OP), with no limit to just three per thread, people would be encouraged to give more complete and universally useful answers. I believe that such an implementation would promote the joint learning atmosphere instead of stunting it...

again, yes. and this was brought up in this specific forum when we were asked for feedback.

the focus of the forums hasn't shifted, all that happened was that they added points, don't blow this out of proportion.

you're wrong zeno! not only are you wrong, but you're speaking as if you're some sort of authority on it and if you have any pull with adobe (and it seems you do) then you're providing them with your wrong, skewed view of how things were vs. how they are.

how the heck would you know? where did you come from? how did you get authority? WHERE THE H&LL WERE YOU FOR THE LAST DECADE that you can compare the way the old forum works with the vapid eye candy we're being forced to use now? you sure as heck weren't providing adobe photoshop windows support...

GEE, "A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so."

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Enthusiast ,
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many of them are insulted by them and have left. the format of the forums have changed becasue the new system discourages long teaching discourses with lots of back and forth an examples coming from the teachers and the students. this format encourages quick, dirty answers (as pj says, paraphrasing: who needs a discourse when ESC ESC UP UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT START works, and others add: even if that trashes your image!).

so DON'T say you've never been given any good reasons. say you don't BELIEVE any of the reasons fine, but what i've said ISN'T NEW. it's what the volunteers have been saying since WE WERE ASKED for our opinion.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
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Steve, I was reading your opening post, and found very interesting this phrase in the text you quote:

If you wanted to hire an iPhone developer, would you rather know that person’s Stack Overflow stats in the iPhone tag and read their answers to technical questions?

I went to the original source and, as I understood things, the emphasis is not in a person's statistics, but in actually reading what that person has written when answering technical questions. The quality of those answers is what would really matter for me if I wanted to hire a developer. In fact, if you click on a person's avatar, you not only get several numbers that were meaningless for me, but also a list of links to that person's answers, with ratings I didn't try to discover how they are obtained.


So, I don't see your quotation as an argument in favour of the points system. Maybe it is helpful over there (it wasn't clear for me how and by whom points are awarded), but that doesn't necessarily make it helpful here, where it is the original poster who awards them. And, in the case of newcomers, this can be done for completely wrong reasons... And I very much doubt that someone wanting to hire an expert in using, say, InDesign, would come to the InDesign forum looking for orientation...

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Advocate ,
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Claudio is right, the only way a "point system" would be taken seriously is if it was a primary focus of a very popular and well known site.  Ebay might be the closest example.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2009

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So, I don't see your quotation as an argument in favour of the points system. Maybe it is helpful over there (it wasn't clear for me how and by whom points are awarded), but that doesn't necessarily make it helpful here, where it is the original poster who awards them. And, in the case of newcomers, this can be done for completely wrong reasons... And I very much doubt that someone wanting to hire an expert in using, say, InDesign, would come to the InDesign forum looking for orientation...

As i've said, they are working on changing the way the points are awarded on the forum, this isn't the final implementation. The quality of the points went down when they were introduced in the forums because on CH you have to work much harder for your points as they are awarded only by moderators (not that this changes the quality of points by a whole lot). On CH the points are awarded based on the quality of your post, you get 5 points for pointing out a typo on the documentation but if you post a mini tutorial then you can get as much as 50 points

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Advocate ,
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@ Zeno - that might make more sense, having points awarded by people who know what they are talking about - but on this scale? Very optimistic. Not sure how many forums there are here now but it's a heck of a lot - and some of the hosts have already packed their bags and gone.

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Advocate ,
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Your leaks of information are interesting Zeno, but I do wish we could have some official communication on the subject. Adobe are talking to Jive about improving the system? Some 'suits' know there is dissatisfaction? The points system will be changed? People who already have points on a different system will have them incorporated? What's going on?

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If only the people who are experts are the ones giving out points, who is answering the questions to get the points? So basically, we use "points" to encourage everyone but the experts to post?   Don't think it'll change much.  Not to mention the time wasting figuring out how many points to award, worrying about being fair and consistent, etc.  It's all over complicating and distracting and it's not worth the effort.  Just disable it all and be done with it, maybe it'll even help db performance.

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Just disable it all and be done with it, maybe it'll even help db performance.

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LEGEND ,
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i sent an email to the Community Help Product Manager (what does that even mean? ) about the problem on the forums with the points and apparently it "generated a much-needed internal discussion" so yes, i'd say that the higher ups know of the problem and they "want to refine the implementation".

Ansury wrote:

But if we're admitting that points provide "recognition and status"... we have to also admit that it's changing the forum atmosphere and community, too.

points provide recognition and status to those that care about them. If you don't care about that then it's pretty much useless to you and you can safely ignore them. The reasoning for them is to give an incentive for those that care about such things and clearly those that complain about points don't care about such things, right?

I don't know about how much it affects the performance of the forums but i doubt that it would help much. The points aren't (most likely) the cause of the slowdowns, if it were something as easy as disabling a certain feature then i'm sure they would have fixed it by now and no, just throwing hardware at it also isn't the solution (i'm sure they tried that too), that would just reduce the symptoms and not remove the problem

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LEGEND ,
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... points provide recognition and status to those that care about them. If you don't care about that then it's pretty much useless to you and you can safely ignore them.

Wrong!


I don't care about the points but I do care about the false impression they give about the validity of a reply and the fact that they are totally misleading for newer members who don't know it's a deeply flawed system.

So I can't "ignore" them.

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Advocate ,
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Zeno - I mentioned this somewhere else but the main problem I have with points is that it's distracting and wasting time in important forums.  Haven't you seen people talk about them in other forums yet?  Asking for points, maybe even get into an argument over it, asking to have threads closed or marked answered so that new posters come along with new threads (and more points can be awarded...)  This stuff is getting pretty annoying, to me at least.  And I'm being serious for once..

Claudio - Hey, didn't you just recently flame me for having the same "useless Panzer tactic" mentality that you just defended? (tounge out smilie here, for email users)

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Well the main point is that:

People asking questions about things they don't have a clue about should not be marking that their question as answered. As has been pointed out there are many ways to accomplish the same thing in Adobe apps. marking a question or a thread answered stifles the dialog of the these other methods.

If Zeno is so smart about Adobe apps he should know this and see that its killing further discussion. Oh thats right Zeno wasn't around in the old forum so he doesn't know that.

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