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I was a noob, posting stupid questions. I got on the wrong side of the mods on a couple of occasions and acted like a bit of a troll. I got better. I learned, I started contributing. Then a lot, then became a mod for a few years, before taking a back seat. This does happen. How often? Not very, I don't think. Noob to Mod - maybe 6 years? That's a (very) long term view. I agree with AN - something needs to happen now with regard to quality. "We" can't let shit posts litter the place. They stink and leave a bad taste in your mouth. :(

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An observation.

Imagine you are someone new to Daniweb. You go to the programming forum. You see a bunch of threads with titles like

  • HELP!!!
  • Urgent
  • Compiler
  • Pointers

(This has actually been a good few days with not too many of these types). You hover over the thread titles and see some poorly (sometimes unintelligibly) worded questions. And on some of the better titles you still see (basically) demands to do someone's homework for them. Even if, after some gentle prodding, an intelligent question emerges, the first impression one gets is not a fair representation of the actual Daniweb experience (I hope).

I'm not saying that we shouldn't help the noobs to become better at asking questions (and hopefully sticking around). It's a better approach and I'm all for it. I'm just saying that we will still have that "first impression" problem.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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However, you alone, or you with a handful of paid helpers (not sure how many employees you have, if any), are being paid

Davey is on the payroll as community administrator. James is on the payroll as systems admin. I take home whatever's left over, if anything. Lately I've just been losing money and not taking anything home except for draining my bank account. It's not sustainable.

your Business Model which relies 100% on quantity, you'll keep a troll like https://www.daniweb.com/members/893435/spoonlicker around to make some posts

The member you mention was banned for a prolonged period of time. Then their ban ultimately ended. We give members like that the opportunity to mature. Some come back more mature and evolve into outstanding community members, some come back the same and are swiftly banned again, and some are turned off from the ban and never return. New accounts created to circumvent a ban are swiftly deleted upon being discovered.

As far as why this member lasted for 100+ posts before being banned, I cannot speak for. They were active in the C++ area which isn't where I spend a majority of my time, during a time when it was the most popular C++ forum on the Internet. It was also during a time when we had moderators assigned to individual forums based on the mod's skillsets and interests.

My point is that my business model does NOT rely 100% on quantity. It relies on doing whatever is possible to get quantity, and the only way to achive that is with quality, and therefore quality is integral to the business model.

I was a noob, posting stupid questions. I got on the wrong side of the mods on a couple of occasions and acted like a bit of a troll. I got better. I learned, I started contributing. Then a lot, then became a mod for a few years, before taking a back seat. This does happen. How often? Not very, I don't think.

I would say it's more norm than not.

This thread spurred an intense discussion in the mod forum, and we're working on figuring things out now. :)

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In other words, to your point, we're dying a slow death because the question answerers aren't happy. If my goal it to increase quantity, and I strictly care about quantity, the only way to achive that is to make the question answerers happy, isn't it? Threfore, the only way to achive my goal is through quality.

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I would say it's more norm than not.

diafol, you started as a noob posting stupid questions. Narue started as a troll and ended up co-administrator with Davey for quite a number of years. The story resonates with other former mods as well. It's definitely more the norm than not.

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The slow death isn't down to question answerers not being happy. That's just a symptom of a greater illness: people are not asking the right questions, dammit people are not asking any questions.

Question answerers get fed up pretty quickly when the only questions there are to answer are either 'gimme teh codez' or 'this question has been asked a hundred times, and answered 50 times, but I cannot be bothered to put any effort into looking before asking again' or so badly constructed that they make no sense.

So people leave and go take their answers to pastures new. Which means there are less 'experts' in the community that are available to answer the good questions that trickle in. Which drives the decent users away as nobody is helping them. So the signal to noise ration drops, and drops, and drops to the point where all you see are the shitty questions and that drives away potential good new community members because they want to see high quality answers to an interesting range of questions.

This death-spiral is very difficult to break it would appear. The only hope is more question quality and a very harsh sweeping up of all the rubbish in my never humble opinion. How that gels with helping trolls and lazy fecks looking for the no-effort fix is, of course, something to ponder...

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I'm of the opinion the solution is the complete opposite, Davey! I think the problem is that we've been way too hard on newbies, and therefore keep losing out on all of the potential newbies who could have ultimately turned into great members by now if we didn't keep turning them off.

It hasn't been more clear to me than reading these posts over the past day and recalling how the majority of mods and regular members started out here as complete noobs.

Sure, DaniWeb might not be too attractive to the really awesome answerers at the moment. But what about the next generation of answerers that are today's newbies? We can capture them as newbies now. Because they're newbies, they'll like us just for being nice to them. They'll become loyal. They'll become more experienced. They will be our next generation of answerers.

When I started DaniWeb, I was a 19 year old newbie. I attracted other newbies. But there was a loyal following. As the expertise of the loyal members increased, they started being able to help with more advanced questions. We've gone through generation after generation of this. For some reason something changed, and the last generation of newbies never became loyal and left before their expertise increased. We've always relied on fostering the next generation.

Edited by Dani

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It's definitely more the norm than not.

I'm not so sure Dani. The number of shit-tippers and fly-byers is high. The number of those who will become valuable members will not be high. Yes, some of them potentially, but not many, and in that time the damage will be done. I think it's reasonable to separate the stupid questions (due to naivety maybe) from "give me the codez". Noobs are not the problem - shit-tippers are.

However, I'm very aware that this thread has been hijacked by (or has morphed into) another topic entirely, so I'll shut up and just give you a big hug for the fullpage editor :)

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I think the phrase 'shit-tippers' hits the nail on the head. A noob I will nurtue, a shit-tipper I have no interest in hand-holding and community singing with to be honest. But there is a difference between the two, and usually it is fairly obvious IMHO, which means that nurturing noobs and giving shit-tippers a swift roshambo need not be mutually exclusive (again IMHO).

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For what it's worth, I'm still of the mentality that a huge part of the problem was my removal of the notice that we are a members helping members community. Now that the notice appears when starting s new thread, I'm interested to see what happens once we give it a couple of weeks.

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When I joined Daniweb, there was a very active and friendly group of helpers in the python forum, led by Vegaseat, and most threads were from beginners learning python programming and there was always a debate over the different ways to do things. I probably wouldn't have stayed if there had been only one or two people involved in this forum and very low traffic. There is a critical mass effect that can not be easily recovered.

I think the many user interface changes may have cost you some traffic. People were used to a simple and classical interface but you wanted to modernize the site, and I think it bothered some members. I know that because I like classical interfaces, folder icons where you can click and find files inside, traditional menus etc for example I keep the KDE interface for my OS. I understand that this is not at all the trend in web design, but user interfaces are supposed to be made for real humans, aren't they ?

Edited by Gribouillis

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We change our UI every few years to keep up with the latest trends as best possible. What do you mean by classical interface? Traditional menus? I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean.

Perhaps if you more clearly defined what about our current design you are not a fan of, as that would provide more actionable feedback.

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It is difficult for me to analyse it, but I feel better with a traditional design such as programmingforum's for example. I'm trying to understand where is the difference. Basically I find it easier to navigate.

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Even vBulletin's official forums don't even resemble anything like that anymore.

If you could pinpoint the difference that would be helpful.

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A tiny difference that I like for example is this: if I watch the thread Need Help With Hangman , there is a clickable bar at the top that says Programming Forums > Application Development > C++ > Need Help With Hangman . It gives the impression that there is a simple tree of topics and one can navigate in this tree.
 

Edited by Gribouillis

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This very page has the exact same breadcrumb trail with the exception of it not including the page title, for the sake of being repetitive. However, it says: Community Center > DaniWeb Community Feedback. Is the fact that it is missing Home > confusing you?

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You're right. It may be the tag system that gives the impression that the site is a tote. There used to be a section for each language for example, now every programming thread is in 'Programming Forum > Software Development Forum' and nothing else.

Edited by Gribouillis

Votes + Comments
Yes, I really miss the Java forum
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Are you wanting to see the tags in the breadcrumb trail? Would that help? What I find fascinating is that you pointed out that the first difference you noticed and that was important to you was one had a breadcrumb trail and the other didn't. Meanwhile, they both have a breadcrumb trail, albeit in the current version, the page title is much larger. It seemed you were not turned off by a small page title that blended into the breadcrumb navigation. (I see that as a negative.)

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JamesCherrill, do you miss how popular the Java forum was, or do you actually miss the Java forum itself? ;)

Also I went and changed the breadcrumb navigation. Hopefully it's a bit more clear now.

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Have you noticed that since the move away from forums in favour of tags, more people have just been dumping their programming/web questions directly into the Community section? When I see that I generally move the thread to the appropriate location with Moved to programming forum in the edit-reason field. Is this an appropriate response?

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Have you noticed that since the move away from forums in favour of tags, more people have just been dumping their programming/web questions directly into the Community section?

It has nothing to do with the switch from forums to tags. It has to do with the fact that the introductory message members now receive has a link suggesting they begin by introducing themselves to the community, with a link to start a new thread in the community center.

Additionally, the "Ask" link in the top navigation menu is sensitive to the forum you're currently in. So if you are currently browsing somewehre in the Software Dev forum, and you click Ask, it will default to starting a new Software Dev thread.

People wind up in the Community Center because that's where the welcome message directs them to.

Is this an appropriate response?

Yes.

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A suggestion - when someone posts in the community forum and adds tags like programming, c#, vb.net, etc, couldn't the thread be automatically relocated to the programming forum? Or perhaps when the user makes the post, the tags could be scanned and a suggestion popped up with something like "This appears to be programming related. Would you like this post moved top the programming forum?"

Edited by Reverend Jim

Votes + Comments
Great idea.
Predictive analysis, I can't just let that pass unappreciated
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Wow, with the editor toolbar in fullscreen mode, this mode is usable in qutebrowser! The whole process of sending a post can be done with keyboard only! Awesome.

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