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#26 2012-09-12 19:34:32

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

So... The gist of what I'm getting here is that thread closure is left to the discretion of those found competent enough with the rules to have been given the power to close threads? tongue

I stand by my point above: Posters should think very carefully about just how much potential benefit revisiting a years-old thread can really have.  Even with version-agnostic info, one still needs to take into account that enough time has passed to allow for information to possibly crop up elsewhere.  If that's not the case then contacting a mod or editing the wiki is called for.  There's no doubt in my mind that some folks--just trying to be helpful--perform a quick Google search and then necro-bump, not realizing their time is wasted.

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#27 2012-09-12 20:18:37

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,178

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

There is only one solution! FluxBB needs to be hacked, so threads can be marked as relevant to each other! Like jtrac does with tickets! Off to the upstream page!

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#28 2012-09-12 22:41:02

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,427

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Awebb wrote:

There is only one solution! FluxBB needs to be hacked, so threads can be marked as relevant to each other!

I haven't used it in a long time, but https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=878157

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#29 2012-09-13 03:44:33

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,816

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Awebb wrote:

Off to the upstream page!

To download the source and hack it yourself, right smile


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jasonwryan-Installing Arch is a measure of your literacy. Maintaining Arch is a measure of your diligence. Contributing to Arch is a measure of your competence.
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#30 2012-09-13 08:05:31

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,178

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

ngoonee wrote:

To download the source and hack it yourself, right smile

When I say hack I mean it! *utterly ambiguous eye twitch and gesture*

@karol: That looks interesting.

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#31 2012-09-16 22:01:02

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Why are we so concerned with keeping the results of the forum neat and tidy anyway? My thought process when I see search results for my problem is not: "oh look at all these results I will have to go through. What a mess."

It is actually more like: "excellent, there is more than one result here for my problem. Surely out of all of these at least one of them will be relevant to my problem".

I believe this is how quite a lot of users feel. Why? Well athough there may be some initial discomfort at having to scan through so many posts, it is still much less infuriating than the alternative of having to read and re-read the one source that a moderator decided was most relevant (when it actually isn't). There are many reasons why I may not want the first solution that the moderator chooses to keep: sometimes it is too advanced for my level of knowledge, other times it just isn't relevant to my problem.

And that is what I was really getting at in my original post: do not just delete threads just for the sake of following the rules. If it looks as if it at least might be useful, then leave it be.

Some have responded that the user can just ask for a post to be re-opened if it is closed in error. Although I agree that a user could just ask this, the reality is that they won't even bother. They might be an infrequent user who only popped in to give the solution, so why would they go to the hassle of trying to get their thread re-opened? And as others have already said, they may even feel put down by the fact their thread was closed.

And as some of you have acknowledged: the wiki is the place for authorative and revised post, but it doesn't follow that the forum must try and mimic the behaviour of a wiki. The forum should instead be kept as a place for the subtle nuances that might get lost in the wiki. Sure, in an ideal world every forum post would be useful, but in reality it is better to just let the users decide what is useful and what is not, because the moderators cannot possibly know the individual circumstances of every user, and yet some moderators do seem to think they know better than the user does about the users own situation. Perhaps sometimes moderators do know better than the user, but not quite as much as they would like to think. 

This isn't going to be the popular opinion, but I just really don't see why forums need to be so neat and tidy. All-in-all, if you really want a neat and tidy solution to your problem, then - as already stated by some - the correct place to seek a collated and revised response should be on the wiki. But as far as forum posts are concerned, why bother trying to wikify them? Leave the posts be and allow the very nature of forum correspondence to work its magic. Let the sheer volume be a source of information in itself. Let the forum offer multiple ways to skin the cat. Every individual has their own ways of understanding and absorbing information. The only other legitimate reason I can see to delete posts just for the sake of tidyness is to save bandwidth. Is bandwidth really the concern, though?

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-16 23:07:26)

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#32 2012-09-16 22:54:52

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,565
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Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

There are a number of disparate issue you raise; not all of which are consistent.

First, threads are only ever deleted if they are either spam, offensive or completely redundant and contribute nothing. So the default position is basically keep the information available. Closing a thread is not the same as deleting it; it is a way of ensuring that it does not continue to surface in the active category and serves to provide a cue that the information has, for a rolling release, passed its use-by-date.

Secondly, while the wiki should be the canonical source of information on Arch, it is not particularly good at capturing common, or even edge-case issues, that are time bound. The boards excel at this and so, to use the glibc change as an example, for a particular period of time it is important that the various threads relevant to an issue are actively moderated to ensure that searches (either on site or off) turn up not a whole mess of different threads but the threads most likely to contain helpful, timely information.

This is also the reason we encourage users to prepend [Solved] to their thread titles: it helps winnow out the noise. My sense is that you are in the minority of Arch users wanting "sheer volume" as a source of information.


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#33 2012-09-16 22:57:58

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,178

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:

And that is what I was really getting at in my original post: do not just delete threads just for the sake of following the rules. If it looks as if it at least might be useful, then leave it be.

Nothing is deleted until there is really no content. Such old threads are usually only closed to avoid confusion. Having many old threads is never the problem, it's just that a single thread with 10 posts every year might only be helpful in some rare cases.

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#34 2012-09-16 23:19:52

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Sorry. I edited my thread as you posted a reply, as it was a bit unclear what I was trying to say the first time round.

jasonwryan wrote:

There are a number of disparate issue you raise; not all of which are consistent.

...

Closing a thread is not the same as deleting it...

But closing the thread does cause harm nonetheless. Some consider PMing a moderator to re-open threads as an uneccessary hassle, and would just move on to another source instead. I like free flowing discussion; it disappoints me when the discussion gets cut abruptly short. Too many times I've seen threads closed and then desperately searched for a continuation of a thread by doing a username search. I think closing threads and asking users to create new topics just causes fragmented information. At worst, the user will just get annoyed that their topic was closed and move on to another forum like LinuxForums or Ubuntu Forums to ask the question instead. I've done this myself.

Secondly, while the wiki should be the canonical source of information on Arch, it is not particularly good at capturing common, or even edge-case issues, that are time bound. The boards excel at this and so, to use the glibc change as an example, for a particular period of time it is important that the various threads relevant to an issue are actively moderated to ensure that searches (either on site or off) turn up not a whole mess of different threads but the threads most likely to contain helpful, timely information.

I'm not arguing against you on this point. In fact one of my main points is that forums offer more subtle information that a wiki couldn't display. What I am saying is that some moderators seem to moderate forums in such a way as if they are trying to maintain a wiki. They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-16 23:23:17)

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#35 2012-09-16 23:21:33

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,740

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:

What I am saying is that some moderators seem to moderate in such a way as if they are trying to maintain a wiki. They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Noted.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
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#36 2012-09-16 23:37:21

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,565
Website

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:

What I am saying is that some moderators seem to moderate forums in such a way as if they are trying to maintain a wiki. They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Here we reach complete disagreement. Forums where the same questions are endlessly asked, and the same answers (correct or otherwise) endlessly proffered are, in my view, worse than useless. They are a breeding ground for help vampires and encourage a culture of clueless dependency. Closing a thread is one way of communicating to someone that, before asking a community for help, it is polite and even character building, to do a little bit of work yourself.*

My suggestion to you is to imagine what your approach would do to the boards if it were applied for any substantive length of time. The answer, as I see it, is the other boards that you mention.


In any event, I am done arguing about this. The Forum Etiquette has been developed over time by people who have spent a significant amount of time here working to advance the utility of the boards. We don't always get it right, that's why you can ask to have a thread reopened; if that it too much trouble for someone then they are unlikely to contribute much in any other area of Arch so I see little point in lamenting any purported slight that they may feel.



*Where I define "work" as, at a minimum, the demanding activity of spending 20 minutes searching the web.


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#37 2012-09-16 23:43:21

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

jasonwryan wrote:

This is also the reason we encourage users to prepend [Solved] to their thread titles: it helps winnow out the noise.

It isn't a black and white situation though. I may have come across as though I am completely against forum tidyness - sorry if my post made it sound that way - but I am not. Certainly marking threads as solved is useful, as is making popular threads sticky, as is moving total flame wars to trash. But it doesn't mean we must always spend time making everything neat and tidy down to the last detail. It just isn't possible to do that correctly.

jasonwryan wrote:

My sense is that you are in the minority of Arch users wanting "sheer volume" as a source of information.

I will have to disagree with you. I do not think I am in the minority of users who will search for their problem with a very specific long tail keyword such as "how do I record desktop audio with loopback". It is a fact that I can back up with sources if I really have to that sheer volume will create more long tail results, and thus more sources of information for a user trying to find their specific problem. Google has made an empire out of sheer volume. It got to number one by the sheer amount of information it was able to index because many users like to have multiple alternative pathways for seeking information.

And just to clarify: I do not always think sheer volume is the solution. I admit that no one wants to search through 10+ page sticky to find their specific problem. E.g., my video card is ATI and when I had a problem with it I groaned when I noticed the amount of pages I would have to sift through to find my solution in the "ATI Bar & Grill thread". But this is where I was glad of having a lot of smaller posts in the search results. And as you might guess, I was annoyed to find posts where the forum moderator had just linked everyone to 'Bar & Grill' thread and closed the thread.

I'm sure developers who frequent forums prefer to just have one big thread they can monitor so they can answer questions, so I do understand why certain threads (such as window manager threads) become so big. Even so, ideally I'd like to just see lots of little threads with individual specific problems.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-17 00:19:39)

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#38 2012-09-16 23:54:05

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

jasonwryan wrote:
rodyaj wrote:

What I am saying is that some moderators seem to moderate forums in such a way as if they are trying to maintain a wiki. They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Here we reach complete disagreement. Forums where the same questions are endlessly asked, and the same answers (correct or otherwise) endlessly proffered are, in my view, worse than useless.

You are taking my statement out of context. Notice how I say the moderators delete posts because they believe the question has been asked before. If the exact question really has been asked before then I am actually in complete agreement with you that the thread should be closed. But this is where the "believe" part of my statement comes in. Often times moderators just think they are seeing a certain question when they are actually seeing a question with a subtle difference. For example I might ask: what command do I have to run after systemd update because I get kernel panic with.... bam the moderator doesn't even read any further and will close the thread pointing to the recent news update etc. Yet if he'd carried on reading maybe I was asking something really specific to my computer e.g., to do with hooks for ATI cards. And this is the whole crux of my argument; moderators need to stop making snap judgements where they think they know better than the user (when they actually don't). This whole elitism of "we've been here for ages so we know better" doesn't wash with me.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-17 00:01:26)

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#39 2012-09-17 00:01:03

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,565
Website

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:
jasonwryan wrote:
rodyaj wrote:

What I am saying is that some moderators seem to moderate forums in such a way as if they are trying to maintain a wiki. They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Here we reach complete disagreement. Forums where the same questions are endlessly asked, and the same answers (correct or otherwise) endlessly proffered are, in my view, worse than useless.

You are taking my statement out of context. Notice how I say the moderators delete posts because they believe the question has been asked before. If the exact question really has been asked before then I am actually in complete agreement with you that the thread should be closed. But this is where the "believe" part of my statement comes in. Often times moderators just think they are seeing a certain question when they are actually seeing a question with a subtle difference. For example I might ask: what command do I have to run after systemd update because I get kernel panic with.... bam the moderator doesn't even read any further and will close the thread pointing to the recent news update etc. Yet if he'd carried on reading maybe I was asking something really specific to my computer e.g., to do with hooks for ATI cards.


Attributing belief is an epistemic (and rhetorical) dead end. Moderators act with good faith to ensure the signal to noise benefits the community. As I have said, repeatedly in this thread, we are fallible and are happy to admit we make mistakes and rectify them where we can by, for example, reopening threads that should not have been closed.

If you have specific axe to grind about a thread of yours, this is not the place to do it.


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#40 2012-09-17 00:06:21

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

jasonwryan wrote:
rodyaj wrote:
jasonwryan wrote:

Here we reach complete disagreement. Forums where the same questions are endlessly asked, and the same answers (correct or otherwise) endlessly proffered are, in my view, worse than useless.

You are taking my statement out of context. Notice how I say the moderators delete posts because they believe the question has been asked before. If the exact question really has been asked before then I am actually in complete agreement with you that the thread should be closed. But this is where the "believe" part of my statement comes in. Often times moderators just think they are seeing a certain question when they are actually seeing a question with a subtle difference. For example I might ask: what command do I have to run after systemd update because I get kernel panic with.... bam the moderator doesn't even read any further and will close the thread pointing to the recent news update etc. Yet if he'd carried on reading maybe I was asking something really specific to my computer e.g., to do with hooks for ATI cards.


Attributing belief is an epistemic (and rhetorical) dead end. Moderators act with good faith to ensure the signal to noise benefits the community. As I have said, repeatedly in this thread, we are fallible and are happy to admit we make mistakes and rectify them where we can by, for example, reopening threads that should not have been closed.

If you have specific axe to grind about a thread of yours, this is not the place to do it.

No I don't have a specific axe to grind; I merely cite examples to illustrate my points. Belief is what it is... everyone has their own opinion. But, the fact is that although moderators may act in good faith, they do have a tendency to act slightly elitist at times and believe they know better than others, whilst that actually isn't always the case.

rodyaj wrote:

They will delete any posts they believe have been "asked before" etc - as if this is a bad thing - when imo it isn't.

Reading back on my own post here, I have to admit that I made it seem as though I am all for just letting the forum get into a complete mess with duplicate posts. I didn't mean to come across that way, and agree that not all duplicate posts should be allowed. If a user is just too lazy to use the search feature then their thread should be closed. Even so, I stand by what I inferred originally: that asking the same question again isn't always a bad thing. And now I'll explain why. 

Sometimes daring to ask a question again is a necessary evil. Perhaps the user tried their best to find the answer, but just couldn't think of the right keywords to use -- this is not exactly the worst sin in the world. And this is why at least a few duplicate posts help; the "volume" creates more long tail keywords, which allow relevant threads to show up in the forum search. That said, it surprises me how many mods will just completely lock a duplicate thread, just because they remember that one time many months ago where they vaguely remember seeing the question asked. To reiterate, just because a question might've been asked on one or two occasions, it doesn't mean it is going to be easy to find with the search for others; so please only delete the thread if it really is just blatant laziness and help vampirism from the user.

I think I've said everything I want to say on the issue now. Really just wish threads were only closed as a last resort, rather than as an automatic response.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-23 15:20:47)

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