How To Deal With The Newbs?


Aninhumer

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As I'm sure most people are aware, there have been a lot of newb posts recently, and I'm sure there will be waves like this in the future.
In my opinion, these posts tend to cause a lot more chaos than they perhaps should.
By making this topic, I'm hoping there can be a constructive discussion about how we can best deal with these newbs to reduce their impact on the forums.


Now, my actual point, there are two things that I've seen happening in these topics:

If the answer to the question is well known, people are obviously annoyed and tell them to search and read the stickies, as they should.
However, the manner in which this is done can often be very aggressive, and the actual answer is never posted, and I'm not sure this is actually beneficial.
The post then often derails into a discussion about n00bs, which means all that person sees is a direct attack, followed by a generalised one.

I personally think the best way of dealing with these topics, is to post a link to the relevant FAQ section, or previous topic, followed by a polite comment to indicate that this was information they could easily have found if they had looked. Then, most importantly, people should ignore the topic completely.
This way, the newb gets a quick answer to their question, learns the error of their ways (as most of them are just ignorant not stupid) and the topic drops off the page.


In the second case, if the answer to the question is not well known, or is open for debate, the thread turns into a technical argument.
This isn't necessarily bad, but is often highly confusing for a newb who was asking what they thought was a simple question.
Often these questions are asking if something is possible, where the short answer is "No", and instead that answer seems to be "Maybe". (Case in point: the WINE sticky)
To be fair, plenty of people do see this and post the simple answer, but I think it's perhaps something talented devs should be aware of when they're talking very tentative "Maybes".


What do other people think? :)
 

dflemstr

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OMG n00b this is already mentioned in the FAQ, there's even an official n00b treatment policy act in the Wiki... Read the stickies kthxbai.


Now on a more serious note: I agree to this wholeheartedly, and it might even be useful to create a "standard response template" for everyone to use. You know, along the lines of "The matter of <OP's problem here> has already been covered in <link to solution here>. Please do also refer to <FAQ>, <Wiki>, <Stickies> if you have further questions."
Not because we really need one, but because that will motivate some of the folks around here to actually use a response like what you propose ("Oh, cool, I get to use the template! Now I feel all special and sh*t").

There's still the issue of balance of course: How do we prevent folks from bashing someone posting a legitimate question, or how do we prevent folks from ninja-ing each other when trying to post the standard response? If ED was to allow it, we could ask for a button similar to the "Report" button (
), and if enough users click it, the thread is autolocked and a standard response is added.

Thoughts?
 

Aninhumer

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dflemstr said:
There's still the issue of balance of course: How do we prevent folks from bashing someone posting a legitimate question,
Well, actually having to link to it already being discussed should stop people posting "OMFG we already discussed obscure game 47, probably"

or how do we prevent folks from ninja-ing each other when trying to post the standard response?
I don't think that's really an issue, if we can redirect "FIRST POST" syndrome into constructive replies to newbs, that would be awesome :p

If ED was to allow it, we could ask for a button similar to the "Report" button, and if enough users click it, the thread is autolocked and a standard response is added.
This might be nice, but probably unnecessary, and adds extra workload for the mods, (using the search function) that could easily be done by members, although locking the threads might be a good idea.
I think just codifying a policy would be enough, though.

EDIT:
@Unfathomable Depths: That was rather the idea of doing this now :)
 
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bzar

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Unfathomable Depths said:
WTF?

Newbs? On an, as yet, unreleased platform?

I think we are going to see 3800 'newbs'/'noobs' very soon ;)


Wait until it ships..... A brilliant chaos.... :)
Forum newbs, you dummy :)
 
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Ahh, then we should include this link in our un-newb signatures to set us apart :)

http://www.gp32x.de/board/index.php?/topic/44746-the-pandora-information-index/

Perhaps in italics....
 
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second exodous

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I think we need to have more forum topics when the Pandora is released. Right now everything is posted in General Talk, but if we had a forum for GUI stuff, one for emulation, one for home brew, one for wireless issues, or whatever, one topic won't be flooded.

Basically break up the chatter.

Also, I like the idea of being nice, don't rip someone's head off for asking a question that has already been asked a million times. And don't dwell on things, I've posted something and person after person dwell on it. By dwell I mean you don't need to quote one person that rips into the new guy and say 'yeah you stupid !@*$'. I'm a forum user only for Ubuntu and Linux and I am always asking dumb questions (I'm not a l337 Linux user) and no one dwells on it.

When I first started posting here before the GP2X came out I was shocked how people were so rude on this forum, I just thought to my self 'but this is a Linux hand held, where is the Linux community?'

Just take a chill pill and tell yourself not to post if you don't have anything nice to say. Being mean/rude is not helpful to anyone and might steer people away from a already small community like this.
 

DaMummy

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sorry for beign a n00b, i blame the schools. but heres an idea, why not create a sticky that simply states something alone the lines of "noob paradise, ask away"(yes i stole the idea from gbatemp) and that way anyone having a n00b question can ask w/o being flamed and noobs can often help each other and itll stop all the pointless n00b topics being started
 

second exodous

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Aninhumer said:
If ED was to allow it, we could ask for a button similar to the "Report" button, and if enough users click it, the thread is autolocked and a standard response is added.
This might be nice, but probably unnecessary, and adds extra workload for the mods, (using the search function) that could easily be done by members, although locking the threads might be a good idea.
I think just codifying a policy would be enough, though.

EDIT:
@Unfathomable Depths: That was rather the idea of doing this now :)
Or if the 'report' button is clicked enough it erases a reply from the thread, like one's that are rude, off topic, or not constructive.
 
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dflemstr

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OK so I added a button to my sig with the link; it's very discrete, but feel free to reuse it if you think that it is of any use (It's cc-by-sa, but please rehost the image somewhere else as I might change the URL for my server without notice, or just make your own image, whatever).
 

emil10001

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Personally, I really like the idea of the template response. I don't think that we should split up the 'General Discussion' section into sub-topics because I really don't want to have to go to a bunch of sub-topics looking for new/interesting discussions or news. I also think that people might have issues figuring out where to post their questions if something covers more than one sup-topic. And, finally newbs will tend to post where they think that they have the best chance of getting an answer, i.e. the 'General Discussion' forum. An example of this situation is the xda-developers forum, where they have had a ton of newbs posting questions in the dev forum, and new rom threads quickly become 50-100 pages long with stupid 'flashing now' posts. They have a Q&A section, but newbs go to the dev forum because that's where the activity is.

If we go the route of the templates, we should be on the lookout for a couple of things. First is the way the user is asking the question. If you think that they are asking to get flamed, post the template response and request a lock for the thread. If they are nice about it, and you think that there might be a chance for additional discussion, beyond what has been discussed in previous threads, then post the template response, but don't request the lock. I don't think that we should be trying to lock each of the threads that this issue appears in, because some of those still manage to host fruitful discussions.

I think that the best feature that we can all utilize here, is our own personal ignore button. If you see someone posting something stupid, and it pisses you off, you certainly have the option to ignore those posts.

Also, the template response is really helpful for people who are searching down the road a bit, say a few months after the thread dies. That will cut down on search times for some of us in the future.
 

Miknal

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I have seen newbie forums work well.

Generally being nicer to them (I would say me, but I have never had anyone being an ass) could also help. Information is good, snarky comments, not so much.
 

second exodous

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emil10001 said:
Personally, I really like the idea of the template response. I don't think that we should split up the 'General Discussion' section into sub-topics because I really don't want to have to go to a bunch of sub-topics looking for new/interesting discussions or news. I also think that people might have issues figuring out where to post their questions if something covers more than one sup-topic. And, finally newbs will tend to post where they think that they have the best chance of getting an answer, i.e. the 'General Discussion' forum. An example of this situation is the xda-developers forum, where they have had a ton of newbs posting questions in the dev forum, and new rom threads quickly become 50-100 pages long with stupid 'flashing now' posts. They have a Q&A section, but newbs go to the dev forum because that's where the activity is.
Hmm, I didn't think of this, but for support I still like the idea of having sub forms, but for general Pandora talk the 'General talk' would still be kept. I just thought of a problem with seperate forms, the community isn't big enough right now.

emil10001 said:
If we go the route of the templates, we should be on the lookout for a couple of things. First is the way the user is asking the question. If you think that they are asking to get flamed, post the template response and request a lock for the thread. If they are nice about it, and you think that there might be a chance for additional discussion, beyond what has been discussed in previous threads, then post the template response, but don't request the lock. I don't think that we should be trying to lock each of the threads that this issue appears in, because some of those still manage to host fruitful discussions.
This is why I don't like a template response, no matter what a template won't fit every situation. I think if we're just nice and use common sense we won't need a template response. As far as people looking to start a flame war just don't post, period, let the mods handle it.

emil10001 said:
I think that the best feature that we can all utilize here, is our own personal ignore button. If you see someone posting something stupid, and it pisses you off, you certainly have the option to ignore those posts.

Also, the template response is really helpful for people who are searching down the road a bit, say a few months after the thread dies. That will cut down on search times for some of us in the future.
Should have read the last part before I mentioned ignoring.
 
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carlgeorge

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second exodous said:
Just take a chill pill and tell yourself not to post if you don't have anything nice to say. Being mean/rude is not helpful to anyone and might steer people away from a already small community like this.

Exactly, well said.
 
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cobaltage

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I also think it will be necessary to split up forum areas, adding categories for beginning users and for technical problems. If there's a separate category, the older, more jaded and irritable forum members can avoid that entire category, which will alleviate them from having to see the posts of beginning or prospective users and wasting everyone's time by providing aggressive, empty, and uninformative responses. (I suspect that once they have the Pandora, they will have better things to do with their time as well.) Also, those forums should perhaps be heavily moderated.

Once the Pandora is actually released, the entire character of the forums will be different.
 

Aninhumer

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On the subject of splitting the forums:
I think a "Newb Questions" Forum, as exists for the other consoles would be a good idea.
A subheading saying "No question is too stupid" means that anyone who flames people posting in that thread is clearly in the wrong.
Obviously there would be cases of newbs posting in General anyway, but just adding "and please post newb questions in this thread", and having a mod move them when they can is probably enough to deal with this.

Further subforums might be useful, but I think they should be added if and when they are needed, as splitting everything up immediately inevitably means some will become idle, and therefore useless for people trying to ask questions.

On Templates:
I don't really think they're necessary, and as second exodous said, they won't necessarily fit all situations.
Rather, a standard set of what should be said is enough of a template, and can be worded however members feel is appropriate.
I think the more important thing is that, after the question has been answered, and suggestions to search next time posted, the thread can be left alone.
 

Pleng

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I've never seen a forum where it was such an issue. Usually people welcome people into the community and are glad interest is being shown, even if that interest amounts to asking questions that have been asked before.

Whereas here there seems to be some kind of sense of elitism. Maybe it's because a few of us are one of only 4000 people in the world that's going to get a Pandora. Maybe the waiting has just p*ssed a few people to many people off to remember what good manners are. Whatever it is, as the focal point of the community, it kinda stinks as far as first impressions are concerned.
 
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