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Point system on forum

Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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I'm sure this has been discussed at length, but I am not a fan of users selecting the "right" answer and points being awarded. Many novice users do not know what the right answer is and vote incorrectly, or there are multiple right answers. I feel this just adds a competitive edge to the forums that is not helpful. I'm a competitor and, I'll admit, when I give a right answer and someone else gives the same answer and gets the "vote", I'm disappointed. There are great, helpful people in these forums and I am indebted to them, that's why I'd like to share some of the knowledge I've gain. I suppose I just need to grow up and ignore the silly point system that is now in place.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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rcraighead wrote:

I suppose I just need to grow up and ignore the silly point system that is now in place.

Many of us do just that.

I'm not here for the points anyhow.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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I may be wrong but I don't think there was a single user in favour of the pointless points system when we switched to jive as forum platform.


Plenty criticised the very faults that you mentioned though.


It was ignored.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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There is also the situation where a poster replies with something like, "you are just not smart enough to use this program, so give up," and they get the 10pt. Correct Answer, while others give answers to the question, and get stiffed.

Stuff happens, and few users pay much attention to the points.

Good luck,

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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Hi all

I can only echo the sentiments of the others here. The points are, well... pointless for all the reasons mentioned earlier.

Sometimes I see folks asking users to mark a correct answer as it "helps the other posters". But in many views those that always ask seem to come off as begging them to "vote for pedro".

Personally I ignore the points. I figure that folks are here for two reasons. Seeking assistance or offering assistance. And if you are here to offer assistance, points shouldn't really matter. If they do, you are probably offering assistance for misguided reasons.

Cheers... Rick

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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rcraighead wrote:

....

.I suppose I just need to grow up and ignore the silly point system that is now in place.


Together with the too many bugs one has to ignore in order to use these forums, some of them corrected in versions of the forums software that are now about a year old, but still there because the software has not been updated...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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The only useful part of that system is that the original poster can mark the thread as "resolved" or "answered", which helps a lot in a busy forum.

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Mentor ,
Sep 18, 2010 Sep 18, 2010

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pwillener wrote:

The only useful part of that system is that the original poster can mark the thread as "resolved" or "answered", which helps a lot in a busy forum.

…provided the poster is really in a position to discern a good answer from a bum steer.

Otherwise, it does more damage than good.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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There will always be the danger of this. Sometimes, it boils down to a suggestion working in the cited case. The answer might not be the best, or most accepted method, but if it gets things working for the OP, good has been done.

With some Adobe programs (PS and PrPro spring immediately to mind), there are many ways to accomplish pretty much the same thing. The difference might only be the workflow that one likes to utilize. Sometimes, it's be a case of using keyboard shortcuts vs some mouse clicks on menus.

That is one of the reasons that I like to see other posters weigh in, with their "solution." Though reply #1 might get the OP going, reply #3 might well be one that they like better, based on their workflow and perhaps their Assets. Also, I often learn other ways of doing something that I have taken for granted for decades, so can learn something from those other posts. Are they the "right answer?" Maybe, but that is in the eyes of the beholder (OP).

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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the_wine_snob wrote:

With some Adobe programs (PS and PrPro spring immediately to mind), there are many ways to accomplish pretty much the same thing. ...   That is one of the reasons that I like to see other posters weigh in, with their "solution." Though reply #1 might get the OP going, reply #3 might well be one that they like better,

Or, more likely, people will see the "Answered" icon and not bother to read the question let alone give an alternative answer.


The system may be fine for some environments but not for these kind of forums.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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Well, that might depend on why one comes to the thread to begin with. If one is hoping to help out, then they might shy away, assuming that the answer has been given. OTOH, if they have used Search, and ended up at the thread, I feel quite certain that the "Answered" icon will not cause them to hesitate. As a matter of fact, should one come to the thread via that route, I would anticipate that they would be MORE likely to read a thread, that might also answer their question.

I cannot count the number of threads, where there were dozens on great answers, and nothing was ever marked. A new subscriber shows up, with a similar problem, and posts, "Did you ever find anything that worked?"

I think that it depends on who is navigating to a thread, and why.

Hunt

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Enthusiast ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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I cannot count the number of threads, where there were dozens on great answers, and nothing was ever marked. A new subscriber shows up, with a similar problem, and posts, "Did you ever find anything that worked?"

i think that's exactly what john means. that person overlooked all those wonderful answers. on the other hand, he gets to a thread with all those wonderful answers but one (and the first poor one, at that) is marked "correct" and all those wonderful answers are wasted on that poor soul.

his fault? ya sure. but a lost opportunity to "teach a man to fish".

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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However, if the OP marked nothing, and just disappeared, the person finding the thread, would have no clue what worked, or did not work.

Sometimes, it's very easy - work down through the suggestions, until something does work. That, rather linear method of troubleshooting is lost on many. They want instant gratification, and not have to do any work. Sometimes, that does happen, but again, so much will depend on the OP's system, and their Assets and workflow - what worked for one, might not work for the next bloke. Still, if there are replies that are marked, the new-comer has a bit of a priority to work with.

Now, should be require that all posters take a test, or perhaps a series of lessons, to determine if they are astute enough to award "Correct Answer" points?

Personally, I much prefer that an OP drop back by the thread, tell what they tried, and what worked, and how. I do not pay much attention to the thread being marked as "answered," or points having been awarded. In the end, it's about solving problems, and for as many, as is possible - at least to me.

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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It seems to me that a very important fact, made several times in many

threads, including this one, tends

at times to be forgotten: more often than not, the least qualified person to judge if any given answer is "correct", is the original poster. This is specially true of newcomers, who only want an immediate answer to their immediate problems. And that will therefore accept as "correct" any workaround that solves the problem at hand, even if it is of the type "hit Return twice, look over your right shoulder, and shout done!". And who will of course not waste their valuable time looking for previously posted messages on the subject.

And, in my experience, the "not even coming back to say thank you" type tends to produce very long threads full of "I have the exact same problem" posts, frequently with only very remote resemblances to the opening post.

And some of you may have noticed that I keep on refusing to use the official workaround for the extra line feeds (to remove them manually!), but have stopped commenting this since we lost the ability to apply most of the basic formatting... 

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Enthusiast ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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i understand your point hunt, and respect it, but agree with clauio. often the person doing the  choosing for correctness is the last person you'd want to take advice  from.

in my experience, the difference in the way it's intended to work and the actual results becomes "correct" versus "first" or "easiest".

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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Dave,

Sometimes, that would be a correct assertion, however take a look at my reply to Claudio. I see many more cases, where a problem is solved for an OP, and that is what they came for.

Thanks for the comments,

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2010 Sep 20, 2010

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I think this very discussion proves beyond reasonable doubt that, since it works so differently in different circumstances, and is so unreliable, it would be better not to have the Points and "Answered" system at all.


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Enthusiast ,
Sep 20, 2010 Sep 20, 2010

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quod erat demonstrandum.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 19, 2010 Sep 19, 2010

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Claudio,

I am not sure that I agree with you, but it might well be the product fora, that I frequent. When an OP has a problem, and someone suggests that they do, say a video driver update, and it solves their issues, I am not sure who would be better qualified to award a "Correct Answer." Hey, it worked for them and got them up and running.

Now, if one is discussing some highly involved topics, like color space, then an OP might well not be qualified to know if they have gotten a correct answer, or not.

If I have an issue, and you give me the answer to fix things, I do feel qualified to say, "Claudio gave me the correct answer." Might not be the ONLY answer, but if it worked... ?

Hunt

PS - for something as inane as the point system in Jive, I wonder if we are not spending too much time discussing it?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2010 Sep 20, 2010

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The following threads show just some of the earlier considerations and observations, and making fun of points (the first two being from the trial period, and the third one actually being the last thread of the fair forums; some of the threads are rather long, stretching over multiple pages; and you will see most of our lost friends from this forum taking part):

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1133300

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1132570

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1909788

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1133045

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1901735

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1922490

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1927404

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1949957

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1968112

http://forums.adobe.com/message/1968106

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/435134

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2055526

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2150876

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2160773

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2226490

As it appears from the following guidelines, there are quite different point systems, the forums only being one rather lean source when comparing points versus contributions (at least in my native forum, I and others regularly post detailed guides, or small tutorials):

http://www.adobe.com/communities/guidelines/

In addition, the points have been in use far longer in those other community areas, thus resulting in some posters having a considerable number of points even from the beginning.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 21, 2010 Sep 21, 2010

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Good post Jacob: and thanks for the trip down memory lane!


Maybe one of those who have gathered brownie points from writing articles, rather than answering questions, could enlighten us on that part of the system.


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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 23, 2010 Sep 23, 2010

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Before and after the change from the fair forums I concentrated my efforts in this forum.

When I resumed my posting in my native forum(s) after some months, I decided to keep stumm about the points and other forum matters, in order to see how they actually worked, in other words without influencing the actual pointsgiving.

Obviously, in many threads no points are given, and in many threads the points reflect the correctness/relevance of answers.

However, I believe the very point/title concept makes the forums a less friendly place and promotes wrong attitudes.

In addition, I believe I can state the following general observations, also based upon a comparison with the conditions in the fair forums. Things may be different in other forums, and other forum changes may have contributed, including the appearance and performance.

1) The giving of points depends on a  number of factors influencing the behaviour on the OP, including knowledge about the way the points/forums  work (and are intended to work), knowledge/insight in the application, desire to please responders,  mood at the time of posting. This gives a certain inherent randomness in  pointsgiving, including the marking of even wrong answers.

2) Apart from rarer cases where points are given after the thread has come to an undisturbed end, the giving of points tends to be based upon time, rather than quality, of answers. This means that the OP will often give (high) points quickly, in some cases just for any answer (see also 1), occasionally apologizing for running out of points to give or simply regretting the choice(s). This also means that whoever starts reading the thread is more likely to stop at the first (right or wrong) marked answer(s) and miss the (benefit of reading and learning from) rest.

3) The giving of points/ticking answered by the OP tends to stop  further development/giving of answers. This is seen as shorter and blander threads, with fewer thorough  discussions and fewer solutions offered; a possible reason is that potential contributors skip the thread, maybe even without opening it, maybe after  reading only the first posts.

     2) and 3) seem to be mutually intensifying, and along with 1) leading to:

A) A certain number of cases where OPs and readers are left with wrong/inferior answers;

B) A loss of inspiring exchange and knowledge building, both for the OP and for everyone else.

4) Based upon a comparison of similar answers in similar threads, forum members asking for/suggesting the giving of points tend to receive an increased number of points, at least for a while. This applies to both the actual threads in question and to other threads, especially for frequent/much read posters.

5) Similarly to 4), forum members denouncing/ridiculing points tend to receive a decreased number points.

6) Forum members with many points seem to be more likely to receive points.

     4), 5), and 6), seem to be interlinked, creating a self induced pattern.

Just a few more specific observations in a few threads, one quite recent:

In one thread, a specific but completely wrong answer in (one of the) first post(s) was given 10 points so that the thread would appear as answered; after that, a number of other posters pointed out the error and gave actual viable answers; the OP thanked for those answers, without giving any points out, and the thread appeared answered, with one (ticked) star only at the wrong answer.

In another thread, one of the posters (often arguing for ticking specific answers (which leads to points)) suggested the awarding of the ticked star (with 10 points) for the right answer by someone else, and got it himself for the post with the suggestion, with no other points given.

The only thread I have ever seen where the pointsgiving really made sense and sorted things out was a thread where

one poster quietly pointed out the inadequacy of an earlier simple solution and gave a clear and detailed answer, which was completely ignored in the following rather unfriendly discussion between a number of other posters, some maintaining the former answers, others suggesting other answers; the OP never reposted but gave the ticked star to the otherwise ignored post when the dust had settled.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 23, 2010 Sep 23, 2010

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Jacob,

I agree with most of your observations, and share those feelings. The one that sticks out, however is:

However, I believe the very point/title concept makes the forums a less friendly place and promotes wrong attitudes.

I'm just not sure of this, but maybe have not seen the issues that struck you. Because of the vagaries of point-giving, I suppose that animosities could crop up, but I have not seen that. I more often see seasoned posters commenting that reply # X was actually better, and that that poster should have gotten the "Big 10."

I believe that most posters here are motivated more by a desire to help, than to receive any stars, points, or anything more than, "hey, that solved my problem." Maybe I am taking a far too simplistic view of things, but then I have a very simple mind.

Still, some very good observations, and perhaps I am just naive on that one point.

Hunt

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 24, 2010 Sep 24, 2010

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Bill,

I agree that most forum members ignore the points; and as everyone is probably aware, the use of pointsgiving is limited.

But this only means that the limited use would limit the damage; there is no basis for any conclusion that it is entirely harmless.

I have also seen the fondness of points cool in many cases, which may also be seen as a confirmation of their inappropriateness.

I agree fully with Rick about the undesirability of forum members offering assistance for misguided reasons.

However, that seems to be an inherent part of the very purpose of the points, according to the guidelines linked to in post #19:

***

Points indicate the value of a contribution to the community and encourage users to participate more actively.

***

Different levels are associated with the points you earn. When you reach  a level, a symbol appears next to your user name on each of your  contributions and your profile page. This symbol recognizes you as a  valued contributor in Adobe communities and establishes your credibility  with the rest of the community.

***

Apart from the breaking up of the free flow of the threads into boxes, the points and levels do set the posters apart. I believe everyone has witnessed some amount of disagreements/complaints/clashes over points.

What has really offended me has been, several months after the forum change, to see a few of the most knowledgeable contributors ever, who had posted extraordinarily insightful and detailed posts for years, often in cases where special knowlegde was required and no one else had the answers, presented as lowest level Users among Participants and Contributors; they often posted late in threads, and mainly in threads with more difficult issues.

Therefore I am afraid the very general observation you mention is a more or less inevitable consequence of the pointsgiving: posters are sorted out, and points do become an issue, at least from time to time, at least for some.

Apart from all that, a bit less than a year ago, after several months with the new forums, many believed that the giving of points was in decline. I decided to have a closer look and went over many pages of threads in one of the forums, right back to the very beginning, counting the number of answered threads on each page. Quite surprisingly, it turned out that the level was almost completely constant. I have not repeated this, but I believe the level is still the same.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 24, 2010 Sep 24, 2010

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Jacob,

Apart from the breaking up of the free flow of the threads into boxes, the points and levels do set the posters apart. I believe everyone has witnessed some amount of disagreements/complaints/clashes over points.

The closest that I have seen to this, is the responder, who points out that _____ actually had the correct answer before they did, and that that person should have gotten the points. In most cases, this has been based on the way the answer was worded - maybe a bit more detail, or perhaps just restating it, but in terms that the OP understood better. Other than that (almost a reverse of what I think you are saying), points seldom come up, except in jokes, or in The Lounge (where talk of salami slices bring some humorous replies). Guess it's just the differences in product fora. At the beginning of these fora, we had a standing joke in the PrPro forum, regarding the points: at some unknown date, Adobe would award an expenses paid trip to have lunch at the Official Adobe Cafeteria on a Friday (Maine Lobster Day), and that they would have 5 mins. with the product manager of their choice. Every time that a new subscriber would ask about the points, someone would chime in with the "expenses paid trip" line.

What has really offended me has been, several months after the forum change, to see a few of the most knowledgeable contributors ever, who had posted extraordinarily insightful and detailed posts for years, often in cases where special knowlegde was required and no one else had the answers, presented as lowest level Users among Participants and Contributors; they often posted late in threads, and mainly in threads with more difficult issues.

Now I do see some, who are always there with the best answers, who do not have the same number of posts, as say someone like me. If there were rewards for the points, like with my United Airlines VISA card, I would comment that "Colin deserves a Big-10 for his answer... "

I've seen posts, where the first responder nailed the answer in reply 1, and then way down thread, the OP would award points to the third person to tell them the same thing. "Stuff" happens.

That valued contributors have left is a shame and the Adobe community has lost an irreplaceable resource. Other threads have hashed about with the reasons for the departures. I doubt that points have had anything to do with the departures, but could be wrong.

Apart from all that, a bit less than a year ago, after several months with the new forums, many believed that the giving of points was in decline. I decided to have a closer look and went over many pages of threads in one of the forums, right back to the very beginning, counting the number of answered threads on each page. Quite surprisingly, it turned out that the level was almost completely constant. I have not repeated this, but I believe the level is still the same.

Interesting, and something that I have not really paid much attention to. Thanks for sharing that. I did just note that in one product forum, there was only one "Answered" post on page 1, when there were probably five, where the OP came back to say, "thanks - everything works perfectly now." Personally, I'd rather see that sort of response in the thread, than an icon on the main page. It lets others know that the suggestions offered did work for that person. I try to encourage all OP's to stop back and update their thread, and then tell 'em thanks.

I'll keep my eyes out for some of your observations. It is probably a case where I have just missed some aspects.

Thanks,

Hunt

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