Fighting trolls

26 Mar 2008 - 5:33pm
6 years ago
36 replies
953 reads
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

Whenever there's a forum, there are three kinds of trolls:
1. automated spambots selling viagra
2. abusers(page wideners, goatse, etc)
3. n00bs who won't search for answers first

#1 is solved by captchas

#2 is solved by not allowing html tags and breaking down long words

For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?
In many forums, new members are not allowed to post for x amount of
days. However, this may hinder a potentially useful input.
A method I thought of was letting new users post whatever they want,
but requiring them to come back in a few hours to comfirm the post.
This will deter lots of impulsive posts, but this too may hinder a
potentially useful input although it's less restrictive.

The general idea behind the methods for reducing #3 is _making the
process of posting more complicated for new users_. This is operating
under the assumption that new users who will be useful to the
community will have the patience to deal with the extra steps, and
those who are impatient are useless to the community. It also assumes
that the old users will never turn into trolls, since we aren't
putting any checks on old users.

Has anyone ever dealt with designing a forum that effectivly reduced trolling?
I'm designing one for a growing community, and it's important that we
enhance signal-to-noise ratio while welcoming all new users.
So far, my favorite discussion system is Slashdot, but I'm afraid that
Slashdot is too complicated for new users, and also useless for a
small community that's unwilling to bother with moderation.

I'd be happy to see good examples.
Thanks.

Comments

26 Mar 2008 - 6:00pm
Cindy Alvarez
2004

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 3:33 PM, Calvin Park 박상빈 <calvinspark at gmail.com>
wrote:

>
> For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
> creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?

Devil's advocate: Why? Isn't this another example of forcing users to
adapt to the technology?

> This is operating
> under the assumption that new users who will be useful to the
> community will have the patience to deal with the extra steps,

Why is the assumption that users have to be useful to the community instead
of the community serving the needs of the users? Now, obviously this is
heavily dependent on the topic - but many times the "old answers" may not be
relevant! For subjective questions, users will feel like their situation
is unique (even if it really isn't); restaurants, travel, and technology go
out of date.

For situations where the "old answers" don't age (i.e. how do I do X in
HTML?), I wouldn't put the burden on the users - that's doomed to failure -
but why not incorporate it into the posting process automatically?

- On the post page, put a "Do you want to search and see if someone's
already answered your question?" -- but off to the side
- Let people write their question out and click Continue
- Show the post preview AND automatically return the search results for
answers that may answer their questions
- If user clicks on one of the "old answers", it should probably open
in-page using AJAX or in a separate window
- If user goes ahead and posts anyways, fine.

I'd prototype something like that quickly and test it out - could be way
off-base, but I think it has about as much teeth as you'd want to put into
the process without annoying potential community contributors. It also
continues to "police" older members as well.

Cindy

26 Mar 2008 - 6:52pm
Jeffrey D. Gimzek
2007

On Mar 26, 2008, at 3:33 PM, Calvin Park 박상빈 wrote:
> Whenever there's a forum, there are three kinds of trolls:

personally, i use billy goats.

- -

Jeffrey D. Gimzek | Senior User Experience Designer

http://www.glassdoor.com

26 Mar 2008 - 7:36pm
SemanticWill
2007

"3. n00bs who won't search for answers first"

As a member of a community of practice, the last thing I would want to do
is denigrate a person new to our profession or list by using an elitist
pejorative best reserved l33t-sp3 at k1ng dorks on linux kernal lists. We
should embrace new people to the list and point them to previous discussion
threads on the topic. I have seen so many topics come up over and over
again, and perhaps the best thing is to take a cue from old-timers here
which is to engage them, point out old threads, and encourage participation.
I've never seen DaveM shut down an ernest new poster to the list. There are
some serious heavy weights here - and they have set the tone that we want to
embrace and encourage new people to join into the discussions. Granted -
this means every once in a while someone wants to spark the ol' "Let's
define IxD/"D"esign/UIE again," and that can be annoying - but often times
the discussion does yield positive fruit. Also - I will be the first to
admit that I haven't always chosen the right path, and come across as snippy
- and that was wrong...

My 2 cents and a tequila shot. or 2. Hell, make it 3.

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 6:33 PM, Calvin Park 박상빈 <calvinspark at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Whenever there's a forum, there are three kinds of trolls:
> 1. automated spambots selling viagra
> 2. abusers(page wideners, goatse, etc)
> 3. n00bs who won't search for answers first
>
> #1 is solved by captchas
>
> #2 is solved by not allowing html tags and breaking down long words
>
> For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
> creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?
> In many forums, new members are not allowed to post for x amount of
> days. However, this may hinder a potentially useful input.
> A method I thought of was letting new users post whatever they want,
> but requiring them to come back in a few hours to comfirm the post.
> This will deter lots of impulsive posts, but this too may hinder a
> potentially useful input although it's less restrictive.
>
> The general idea behind the methods for reducing #3 is _making the
> process of posting more complicated for new users_. This is operating
> under the assumption that new users who will be useful to the
> community will have the patience to deal with the extra steps, and
> those who are impatient are useless to the community. It also assumes
> that the old users will never turn into trolls, since we aren't
> putting any checks on old users.
>
> Has anyone ever dealt with designing a forum that effectivly reduced
> trolling?
> I'm designing one for a growing community, and it's important that we
> enhance signal-to-noise ratio while welcoming all new users.
> So far, my favorite discussion system is Slashdot, but I'm afraid that
> Slashdot is too complicated for new users, and also useless for a
> small community that's unwilling to bother with moderation.
>
> I'd be happy to see good examples.
> Thanks.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | CrowdSprout
tel +1.617.281.1281 | fax +1.617.507.6016 | will at crowdsprout.com

26 Mar 2008 - 8:11pm
Jeff Howard
2004

I woudn't consider the first or third types a troll. Trolling conveys
social intention. I tend to think of trolls as those who deliberately
post inflammatory rhetoric.

These are social problem and the few times when they've come up on
this list (whether discriminatory stereotypes, posting binges or
drug-induced chakra-wielding flameouts) the initial solutions have
been social--a simple warning. Sometimes it escalates to technolgical
solutions such as moderating or banning but that's pretty extreme.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

26 Mar 2008 - 8:18pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

one more thought on searching this list. the search on the IxDA site
is pretty bad actually.. i was trying to use it today and it seemed
like it was only searching message subjects. makes it hard to find
previous threads that might relate to your question.

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 7:00 PM, Cindy Alvarez <cindy at cindyalvarez.com> wrote:
> For situations where the "old answers" don't age (i.e. how do I do X in
> HTML?), I wouldn't put the burden on the users - that's doomed to failure -
> but why not incorporate it into the posting process automatically?
>
> - On the post page, put a "Do you want to search and see if someone's
> already answered your question?" -- but off to the side
> - Let people write their question out and click Continue
> - Show the post preview AND automatically return the search results for
> answers that may answer their questions
> - If user clicks on one of the "old answers", it should probably open
> in-page using AJAX or in a separate window
> - If user goes ahead and posts anyways, fine.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com

26 Mar 2008 - 8:33pm
Troy Gardner
2008

n00bies by definition may not know what to search for, and education
of n00bies is by definition is a repetitive function by people who
know more than them, as they grow from "I know nothing" to "I know
everything".

I generally think solutions to this need to be integrated into the
whole system. Though I haven't seen a good example of this.

1) trusted moderator/harvestors who cluster posts distilling them into
FAQ's/wikis, correlating them with search terms/email contents...I say
trusted as open wiki's tend to have the same spam/abusers as email.,
but suggestions to improve can be done through a similar process.
2) system parsing incoming emails to look for keywords and related to FAQ/Wiki.
3) an opt out, or 'elite' club that is only notified of novel interests

Hope that helps.

Troy Gardner
http://www.troyworks.com/blog/ RIA, Flash and Workflow

26 Mar 2008 - 8:35pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Here are a couple anti-trolling examples...

37signals deals with trolls on their blog by giving trollish comments
a little troll cap. Essentially a social solution.
http://www.37signals.com/svn/archives2/introducing_the_troll_cap.php

Metafilter deals with trolls by allowing the community to flag
trollish comments so the moderators can more easily keep the site in
order. They regularly delete comments and entire threads that violate
community norms. They also wield a banhammer on repeat offenders.
http://mssv.net/wiki.cgi?Flag

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

26 Mar 2008 - 11:59pm
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

Many of us suggested modetrators as a solution, but I was trying to
move away from exactly that. Moderation requires a group of people to
share the same goal and constantly watch the board for every activity.
In my opinion, that puts too much power and responsibility on to few
people's hands. It could be too easily abused/neglected. Next best
idea IMO is letting everyone to moderate, which is what SlashCode
does. Again, I like this alot but it's a bit too complicated for new
users.

Will, I like your idea of respecting new users instead of bashing
them. However IMO, that kind of relationship is only possible on
professional communities like IxDA. If you go to howardforums.com
which is a cellphone hacking forum, you will notice that half of the
messages are n00bs asking the same questions over and over and over
again. This is beyond an issue of annoyance, rather this kind of
behaviour renders the website useless and it must be suppressed in
order to keep the website useful.

I like Cindy's idea of doing the searching for them before allowing
them to post. This will expose them to the available threads, and this
might present them a solution more quicly than to post and wait.
Hopefully this will deter them from dupe-posting.

What do you guys think about my idea of "delaying the post"? It's a
scheme where any post must be reconfirmed in a few hours before it is
publicized.
I thought this wasn't too cruel since they should come back to check
the responses anyway. This is effective for both troll type 1 and type
3.
By making them wait for a few hours, the possibility of quickly
getting a solution via dupe-posting is eliminated. If they really want
a solution fast, they will search. If they searched and couldn't find
it, then the question will be posted.

In any case, I appreciate the great discussion.
ps, Jeff, I agree that not all of the behaviours I mentioned are
"trolling", but I just used it to simplify the terminology. By
trolling, I'm talking about inappropriate behaviours in forums.

27 Mar 2008 - 3:40am
Anonymous

> For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
> creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?

Making things hard seems a little mean! ;)

What springs to mind for me is a (erk) tag cloud. In general I find
them an annoying waste of space, however I could see it being useful
for this 'initial search' purpose.

I'd envisage a pane that can be sorted alphabetically, by date,
frequency, etc. and hidden by regulars if not required. That way its
two or three clicks to the information that you'd want, rather than
going to the hassle of writing a post.

It'll give you an excuse to buy Jeffrey Friedl's 'Mastering Regular
Expressions' if nothing else! (The only programming-y book I've
touched that is actually quite fun to read as well as being good at
conveying its subject matter).

Alex.

27 Mar 2008 - 5:42am
SemanticWill
2007

About the search - and just everything else on IxDA.org site.

There are a lot of place for improvement - but the entire thing has been
built through individual volunteer initiative. If you have improvements, or
would love to take on the task of wire-framing, designing, and implementing
a new discussion list search functionality, I bet the powers that be would
love the help.

Send an email to volunteer at ixda.org and describe your ideas, skillz, and
anything else.

- W

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 4:40 AM, Alexander Livingstone <
adl.ixda at googlemail.com> wrote:

> > For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
> > creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?
>
> Making things hard seems a little mean! ;)
>
> What springs to mind for me is a (erk) tag cloud. In general I find
> them an annoying waste of space, however I could see it being useful
> for this 'initial search' purpose.
>
> I'd envisage a pane that can be sorted alphabetically, by date,
> frequency, etc. and hidden by regulars if not required. That way its
> two or three clicks to the information that you'd want, rather than
> going to the hassle of writing a post.
>
> It'll give you an excuse to buy Jeffrey Friedl's 'Mastering Regular
> Expressions' if nothing else! (The only programming-y book I've
> touched that is actually quite fun to read as well as being good at
> conveying its subject matter).
>
> Alex.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | CrowdSprout
tel +1.617.281.1281 | fax +1.617.507.6016 | will at crowdsprout.com

26 Mar 2008 - 8:32pm
Brandon E.B. Ward
2008

A simple way would be, for the first few posts, when they click on the 'new thread' button, pop up a message that says something like "Why not try searching for your topic first ..." with a link to the search portion, and then another option - "I've already searched, just start a new thread" or something of that nature.

B

27 Mar 2008 - 6:01am
John Gibbard
2008

This very issue has been bugging me on the myStarbucksIdea forum, I really
wish they'd develop a way of combining ideas (or at least proposing that
ideas are combined) because at the moment the world and his wife seem to be
posting the same 'free wireless' idea.

On mailing lists this is much much harder given that the (duplicate) email
will have arrived in your inbox before it is identified as a similar topic.
Recently I posted on IxDA looking for advice about Mac applications and
eventually someone tracked down an old thread which helpfully allowed my new
thread to gradually expire.

I now realise I really ought to go out and check Slashdot and formulate more
useful and researched posts before just hitting 'reply' to things I found
interesting :-/

J.

-----Original Message-----
<snipped for everyone's benefit>

For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?

</snip>

27 Mar 2008 - 7:42am
David Talbot
2008

I guess this problem of duplicates apply to new users as well as old
ones too. On Slashdot, they are a limited number of users and I've
seen duplicates quite often. They must have an efficient way to know
existing threads for the new subject they want to post.

My idea would be to force the search of other threads on a new thread
entry :

1) When a user wants to create a new thread, ask him the subject or
title first.
2) Perform a search of the keywords in other threads.
3) Present the list of other thread titles, with perhaps a short
description and ask the user if he wants to proceed with a new
thread.

I've not seen this in other people's responds, however I've
scanned more less quickly, I must say. I don't know if this could be
useful, but any idea is worth sharing ;)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

27 Mar 2008 - 8:42am
Tim Lynch
2005

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 6:33 PM, <calvinspark at gmail.com> wrote:

> For #3... How do we force new users to search for answers before
> creating a duplicate thread on issues that has been addressed already?

An interesting method implemented by Metafilter (mentioned previous
in regards to their banhammering) is to force a post preview prior to
submission.

In this process (assuming I haven't used the site's standard "search"
options), I type up my post but can only preview it (versus
immediately posting it live). This preview does some sort of check for
similar or previous posts (in Metafilter's case, this check is done by
looking at the URL in the post...but I imagine this check could be
altered to other types of site-relevant content)...if a duplicate
prior post is found, it is displayed with a message along the lines of
"It looks like someone has already posted about topic X..." and some
notes about not duplicating posts or checking to see if your post is
taking a new/unique look at a similar topic.

Granted, at this step, you could ignore the duplicate warning and post
anyways...but I always thought this was a fairly helpful way to help
avoid duplication of ideas.

But I also tend to agree that there should be no "penalty" levied
against new user who inquire about previously-discussed topics...maybe
there could be some sort of "rewards" system set up for answering
questions (like an ebay feedback concept) with no regard to the amount
of time things have been discussed?

- Tim
--
http://www.clampants.com
http://clampants.tumblr.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clampants/

27 Mar 2008 - 8:44am
Scott McDaniel
2007

To go with this concept,but perhaps a bit more usable, is to have a
simple title search appear in an obvious but non-obstructive manner
on the page, layout and visual pleasure permitting.

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM, Brandon E.B. Ward <brandon at pluggd.com> wrote:
> A simple way would be, for the first few posts, when they click on the 'new thread' button, pop up a message that says something like "Why not try searching for your topic first ..." with a link to the search portion, and then another option - "I've already searched, just start a new thread" or something of that nature.
>
> B
--
'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison

27 Mar 2008 - 9:42am
jrrogan
2005

I question the initial premise of this post; is Trolling a problem on this
list, (specifically individuals Trolling, with no malice - #3)?

I just ignore posts I'm not interested in and it works very well. As for
forcing searches of previous posts to minimize repeat discussions, I'm not
sure this "cure" is worth the discussions it may stop. Sure many things are
repeated with no value added, but when value is added it seems to often more
then make up for the inconvenient "noise".

For example I'd still be interested in discussions on "Agile and ID", even
though it's been discussed 100 x. I'd even be interested in it being
revisited with no further new info, besides to confirm old feedback is still
relevant.

I'd err on keeping an "open" forum, VS an "expert focused" forum. IMHO some
of the best discussions are where "experts" initiate interesting
discussions, and "newbees" add the value, I really wouldn't want to hamper
this.

--
Joseph Rich Rogan
President UX/UI Inc.
http://www.jrrogan.com

27 Mar 2008 - 10:22am
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

> I question the initial premise of this post; is Trolling a problem on this
> list, (specifically individuals Trolling, with no malice - #3)?

For some cases, it can be a problem. For example, I enjoy going to
howardforums.com which is a cellphone hacking community. That forum
suffers greatly from new members asking HOW DO I ADD FREE RINGTONES TO
MY NEW RAZR THX every.single.day. I'm not even joking about the caps
and the tone of the voice either. Questions like this has been
answered at least 20 times, and at this point, the question serves no
value but degrading the signal to noise ratio. It makes the site
harder to use because of the useless information like that, and it
eventually renders the site useless.

I understand where the members of this mailing list is coming from
when you say "respect the new users", but in some cases, new users
must be forced to search unless you want your site to end up in a pile
of junk.

27 Mar 2008 - 10:35am
Cindy Alvarez
2004

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 8:22 AM, Calvin Park 박상빈 <calvinspark at gmail.com>
wrote:

> > I question the initial premise of this post; is Trolling a problem on
> this
> > list, (specifically individuals Trolling, with no malice - #3)?
>
> For some cases, it can be a problem. For example, I enjoy going to
> howardforums.com which is a cellphone hacking community. That forum
> suffers greatly from new members asking HOW DO I ADD FREE RINGTONES TO
> MY NEW RAZR THX every.single.day. I'm not even joking about the caps
> and the tone of the voice either.

Again, this can be done through integration with the posting process. If
more than 50% of the post content is in all caps, stop and make them rewrite
(and at the same time, show the user matching similar posts to divert
them). There are undoubtedly other patterns that are associated with
"noise" - but the burden should be on the technology, not the user.

Cindy

27 Mar 2008 - 10:55am
Billy Cox
2007

I peruse the Kurzweil (musical instrument) forums every now and then. They
have some read-only forums consisting of answers to commonly asked
questions. (Now if I would just read them, I could get more out of my
Kurzweil instrument.)

I suspect that such threads/forums can provide the information that some
users seek in a format that is even easier than posting to the forum.

> > I question the initial premise of this post; is Trolling a problem
> > on
> this
> > list, (specifically individuals Trolling, with no malice - #3)?
>
> For some cases, it can be a problem. For example, I enjoy going to
> howardforums.com which is a cellphone hacking community. That forum
> suffers greatly from new members asking HOW DO I ADD FREE RINGTONES TO
> MY NEW RAZR THX every.single.day. I'm not even joking about the caps
> and the tone of the voice either.

Again, this can be done through integration with the posting process. If
more than 50% of the post content is in all caps, stop and make them rewrite
(and at the same time, show the user matching similar posts to divert them).
There are undoubtedly other patterns that are associated with "noise" - but
the burden should be on the technology, not the user.

27 Mar 2008 - 11:16am
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

Billy,
I like the idea of FAQ and Wikis.

Cindy,
Wouldn't forcing the posts with all caps to be rewritten be equivalent
to forcing the new posts to be delayed? In both cases, we are
detecting behaviours that are recognized as "noise" and disallowing
such behaviours. In your case, we would use pattern recognition, and
in my case, we would simply assume that all posts are potential source
of "noise".

I understand your argument and respect your input, but to me it seems
like your idea is fundamentally equivalent to mine; only difference is
what we consider "noise".

So far, my model is to
1. upon posting, ask for the title first
2. search the title and present the results
3. if the poster isn't interested in the results, let him/her post
4. if the post body is recognized as "noise"(too many caps, etc),
reject the post
5. the post isn't publicized until the poster comes back in a few
hours and reconfirms it
6. other users can flag the posts as "redundant" or "rude" so that
moderators can act upon it
7. create a wiki and FAQ

27 Mar 2008 - 11:51am
Jeff Howard
2004

Hi Calvin,

An explicit "timeout" period for the new post isn't going to go
over well at all. It'll work but people will hate you. I wouldn't
recommend your approach, but if you're set on it I'd construct some
plausible deniability into the process.

For instance, you might do the post confirmation via e-mail, and note
that the e-mail may take up to 24 hours to arrive. That makes the
actual 2 hour delay seem less harsh. Give them the option to cancel
and search instead. During the interim, they might find the answer
they're looking for and decide not to confirm the post when it
arrives.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

27 Mar 2008 - 12:20pm
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

Jeff,

That is an excellent suggestion! Maybe I can take your approach and
adjust the timeout period according to the "usefulness" of the
member(however we measure it).

And you're right that it'll work but people will hate me. Would you
have some other suggestions that will help?

<rant>During this discussion, I realized that what I'm fighting is
"immaturity". Since a dominant character of immaturity is impatience,
I'm using the patience of a poster to determine the level of
maturity.</rant>

On Thu, 27 Mar 2008 09:51:47, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
> Hi Calvin,
>
> An explicit "timeout" period for the new post isn't going to go
> over well at all. It'll work but people will hate you. I wouldn't
> recommend your approach, but if you're set on it I'd construct some
> plausible deniability into the process.
>
> For instance, you might do the post confirmation via e-mail, and note
> that the e-mail may take up to 24 hours to arrive. That makes the
> actual 2 hour delay seem less harsh. Give them the option to cancel
> and search instead. During the interim, they might find the answer
> they're looking for and decide not to confirm the post when it
> arrives.
>
> // jeff

27 Mar 2008 - 4:28pm
sava
2007

just a couple of thoughts:

firstly, having to confirm a post 2 hours later will be very very annoying - reducing the timeline might work, maybe something like craigslist where they send you an email immediately after you post and you can publish your listing through the email.

I'm someone who usually looks through forums or help to find my answer before posting, but sometimes I want an answer sooner than that and often I won't have the time to spend searching through sites. and to be honest, I'm somewhat of a n00b to this list, so I'm often shy about saying anything =)

the idea (I think it was Cindy?) to present a user with related titles based on their post before the post is published sounds like a really good solution. as a user (and especially a n00b) I would appreciate that greatly and feel like the community is trying to help rather than make it hard for me to join.

27 Mar 2008 - 12:41pm
Cindy Alvarez
2004

>
> Cindy,
> In your case, we would use pattern recognition, and
> in my case, we would simply assume that all posts are potential source
> of "noise".

That is exactly the important difference - "assuming that all posts are
potentially noise". How disrespectful to the user!
The thing is, no one thinks their post is noise, and most of them are
correct. You should only be interfering when you have some real "evidence"
that their post is noise. It's a subtle difference but the "feel" of any
community is mostly governed by subtle interactions.

So far, my model is to
> 1. upon posting, ask for the title first
> 2. search the title and present the results
> 3. if the poster isn't interested in the results, let him/her post
> 4. if the post body is recognized as "noise"(too many caps, etc),
> reject the post
>

I think this is great (you could move #1 to between #3 and #4 potentially as
well)

> 5. the post isn't publicized until the poster comes back in a few
> hours and reconfirms it

I think you'll lose 90% of posts this way. When you ask the user to come
back, a lot won't bother - just human nature.

>
> 6. other users can flag the posts as "redundant" or "rude" so that
> moderators can act upon it

"rude", yes. "redundant", I think that's rude if it's public. But it would
be really useful to flag as redundant IF you used that as a guideline to
what FAQs to create next!

>
> 7. create a wiki and FAQ

Definitely good.

Cindy

27 Mar 2008 - 11:19am
Dave Meeker
2008

One random thought:

This is a MAILING LIST not a FORUM.
It is unfair to flame new users for posting a question or opinion on a
previoulsy discussed topic, as they are a new subscriber and they don't know
what has or has not been discussed in the past. I realize that means that
the "list" can become chock full of repeat subjects and conversations, but
who are "we" to tell someone that they should go back in time to join the
list in order to have their question be valid? You know?

It probably makes sens for iXda to start up online forums to solve this
problem. But the social aspects and usage patterns of a listserv are quite
different than a mailing list. (then again, based on the audience of this
list, that goes without saying).

In addition, the suggestion that you should deflect a post that a user makes
that is in ALL CAPS is just wrong imho. One of the basic rules of good
experience design is to not blame your user or make them follow a
non-natural process. No?

dave

27 Mar 2008 - 2:42pm
Patricia Garcia
2007

I like Cindy's solution.

I would also like to share how this was handled on a board I
frequented. New people are encouraged to make themselves known to
others (via a post). A moderator would send them a welcome with
links to some old postings that had great information they may be
here seeking. She knew what that information was because basically
it was a FAQ. She also took the time to introduce some of the
regulars that they may be reading if they choose to stick around. Of
course, this is less of a technological solution and it would require
some work on someone's part to keep that welcome post up to date.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

27 Mar 2008 - 3:54pm
lorelei brown
2007

I think it's good that we're having this conversation,
because it implies that there enough people doing this
long enough the same number of ways that there are
both newbies and a more or less established way to do
things.

That's a lot of progress! However, any growing
community has this issue - what to do with all those
bandwidth sucking people who keep asking the same damn
question?

I second the moderation - it helps keep the
conversational tension even between everyone. It's
also welcoming for the new or insecure who need a
little reassurance.

I'd also request that you think about this in a
different light - maybe it's the same question, but
are you answering it the same way you did a year ago?
5 years ago? Why did you change? What's remained
constant and fundamental?

Context, delivery, user knowledge and experience are
all very different from when I started thinking about
interaction problems (too long ago to get into), and
require different tools and solutions.

Just my two cents -

Lorelei

27 Mar 2008 - 3:49pm
Nabil Durand
2008

I'm hearing from this thread:
-Don't want Noobies to clutter the forum with redundant information
-Noobies more than likely don't know what to search for, thats why they ask
it
-If they don't know what to search for, they might ask their question in any
possible folder/thread on the forum

I guess there's 3 types of new users
#1. experts ready to join the community
#2. noobies without a clue but wanting to learn
#3. noobies that just want their answer and most likely will never
participate further

How about giving the noobies their own area. This would help both #2 and #3
noobies, but would also filter out #3noobie quick and dirty posts.

They can visit all forum areas, but can only post in their own Noobie folder
for the first 2
weeks. Afterwards they can graduate to join the rest of the forum .

27 Mar 2008 - 5:24pm
Nasir Barday
2006

>> This is a MAILING LIST not a FORUM.

Well, the two really are one in the same, the way we've positioned it. This
is a Community of Practice, which happens to have a mailing list as one of
its touch points. We're working more and more to blend the web version and
the mailing list together, so people of all digital lifestyles can jack into
all of these lovely threads ...

I do think all this talk of treating people as "newbies" is a bit elitist.
Let's face it: in the larger context of the design community, we're all
newbies. I agree with the sentiments of guiding new members to older
answers, but not with banning them or spanking them into submission. I mean,
we just did away with our list's nanny ... Besides, as someone said in this
thread before, sometimes it makes sense to re-awaken old topics. But not
anything that asks us to define UCD. Yeesh. Heck, I might just ban anyone
that posts a message like that myself.

OMG, please, whoever threw that tomato in my direction, I was only kidding.
Ask us about UCD all you want ... we'll just hold back and politely point
you to the plethora of threads from the past ... right? RIGHT??

:-)

- Nasir

27 Mar 2008 - 7:41pm
Brandon E.B. Ward
2008

How many experts do you think would actually frequent the n00b forums to answer their questions though? Maybe a couple of kind-hearted altruists, but really, it'd end up like posting your question on the event horizon of a black hole. Maybe it'll get picked up and answered, but more likely it'll be sucked into the abyss.

B

On 3/27/08 1:49 PM, "Nabil Durand" <nabildurand at gmail.com> wrote:

How about giving the noobies their own area. This would help both #2 and #3
noobies, but would also filter out #3noobie quick and dirty posts.

27 Mar 2008 - 6:49pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

Oh, er, um...my previous responses were going on the idea of general
means to moderate forums,
not being overly concerned with moderation of this list.

We all seem adults here and usually act like it...
So...never mind!

Scott

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 12:19 PM, Dave Meeker <meekerd at gmail.com> wrote:
> One random thought:
>
> This is a MAILING LIST not a FORUM.

--
'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison

27 Mar 2008 - 11:19pm
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

In discussion of loving/hating n00bs, I realized that what I really
was fighting wasn't n00bs, but rather immaturity. Both are obviously
mutually exclusive.

>From my previous post...
<rant>During this discussion, I realized that what I'm fighting is
"immaturity". Since a dominant character of immaturity is impatience,
I'm using the patience of a poster to determine the level of
maturity.</rant>

I realize my mistake of choosing the incorrect terminology, thereby
misleading many in this discussion.

Nasir,
I agree with you in respecting mature new users. However, my stance is
still strong on hating immature new(and old) users =).

28 Mar 2008 - 12:20am
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

> How about giving the noobies their own area. ...
> They can visit all forum areas, but can only post in their own Noobie folder
> for the first 2
> weeks. Afterwards they can graduate to join the rest of the forum .

I've dealt with this mechanism, and it is by far my least favorite
because puts all 1, 2, and 3 into the same bin. This will drive away
#1, which is a bad thing.

28 Mar 2008 - 2:59pm
michel.milano
2005

> - On the post page, put a "Do you want to search and see if someone's
> already answered your question?" -- but off to the side
> - Let people write their question out and click Continue
> - Show the post preview AND automatically return the search results for
> answers that may answer their questions
> If user clicks on one of the "old answers", it should probably open
> in-page using AJAX or in a separate window
> - If user goes ahead and posts anyways, fine.

I think this is a great solution. The pattern itself has been used in the world of bug-tracking tools and customer support requests, where the submission (the posting, in this context) is used first as a query to see if any results cross a certain threshold in relevance. Above the threshold and the application asks the user if one of these other items is a duplicate or meets their needs. Otherwise, proceed.

And its a great illustration of making the technology go to work instead of making the humans do more work.

For the list, extending it to email would be novel, functioning as a sort of call-and-response in non-web channels.

- Michel.

29 Mar 2008 - 9:13am
Eric Gauvin
2007

I think the issue is more social than technical.

The root problem is uncivil and/or inappropriate interactions in an
open, informal conversation-like exchange. The problem is that you
can't tell for sure always what a person's intentions or
motivations are. It may be carelessness or emotion or a direct
intention to disrupt or hijack and take control of the audience.

I personally don't like name-calling or labeling people as
"trolls" or "newbies." I don't like the in-group/out-group
feeling that conveys. In fact, I think that only motivates people
even more to be uncivil.

As for "3. n00bs who won't search for answers first", that's just
people asking typically-asked questions over and over again. I think
this will gradually improve somehow as users get more experience with
the internet. But for now you can't fault people for going to a forum
for camera buffs and enthusiastically asking, "Which is better Canon
or Nikon?" over and over again. The temptation is very strong to
join the community and interact with others even if the answer is in
the FAQs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27634

31 Mar 2008 - 10:09am
Ilan Volow
2004

Sorry I'm a little late to the discussion.

Regarding FAQ's: If someone is a producer of some kind of technology
(software, hardware, gardening tools, whatever), they really should
be reading the FAQ's for their own product; if dozens of people are
asking over and over again how to do something that should in theory
be simple, that might just be a hint that something in the design of
their product needs to change.

Instead of asking

"How do we get people to stop asking the same question about how to
add ringtones to their RAZR?"

Perhaps we should go one step further and ask:

"Why are so many people asking the same question about how to add
ringtones to their RAZR?"

Perhaps mailing lists might just qualify as a quasi-ethnographic
study tool.

On Mar 27, 2008, at 11:22 AM, Calvin Park 박상빈 wrote:

>> I question the initial premise of this post; is Trolling a problem
>> on this
>> list, (specifically individuals Trolling, with no malice - #3)?
>
> For some cases, it can be a problem. For example, I enjoy going to
> howardforums.com which is a cellphone hacking community. That forum
> suffers greatly from new members asking HOW DO I ADD FREE RINGTONES TO
> MY NEW RAZR THX every.single.day. I'm not even joking about the caps
> and the tone of the voice either. Questions like this has been
> answered at least 20 times, and at this point, the question serves no
> value but degrading the signal to noise ratio. It makes the site
> harder to use because of the useless information like that, and it
> eventually renders the site useless.
>
> I understand where the members of this mailing list is coming from
> when you say "respect the new users", but in some cases, new users
> must be forced to search unless you want your site to end up in a pile
> of junk.
> ________________________________________________________________
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Ilan Volow
"Implicit code is inherently evil, and here's the reason why:"

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