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An example of a Q&A gone wrong

By Oz_Media ·
Here's just one example of a Tech Q&a question gone wrong.

Someone is advertising a website that offers FREE MUSIC downloads, it also provides links to Kazaa and a few others.

While THIS person says they are FREE MUSIC downloads, they are actually ILLEGAL music downloads in many countries. The poster has the nerve to offer 1 (ONE) point for what I am not sure. I have reported it to TR for them to take whatever action they choose, as it could result in a liability suit on TR.

none of the artists listed are ons I work with so personally I do't care, but I DO know who manages two of the bands listed and they would not be too pleased to see this guys website.

Why bring this up here?

This is the exact type of issue that a FLAG would be great for. Flaggig this as inapporiate would enable TR to remove it and avoid any repercussions. PLUS, this guy is going to get 1000 points if someone replies (er, which i did DOH!) I hope i get my ONE point, I could really use it

ths is just one xample of where a user could bring a post to Tr's attention and help keep this site operating properly, today is also a great day to get an idea of just HOW MANY PEOPLE think that the Discussion forum isa mroe appropriate place to ask questions than Tech Q&A,

-Help Running Proftpd on FreeBSD 4.9

-3G/GPRS Wireless Card

-Access to MySQL Migration

-Popups from **** on TR

-Half installed SP2


-VPN changes one client won't accept

-Outlook 2003

and th list goes on.

either people are REALY stupid (okay, but not EVERYONE) or they just don't have clear navigation here.

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Possible Q&A Rules

by maxwell edison In reply to An example of a Q&A gone ...

1. Assign a point value to a question.

2. The asker of the question must provide some basic information such as:

A. Operating System.
B. Processor
D. Networked or Stand-Alone
E. Etc.
F. Other

Note: I don't know or Not Applicable could certainly be acceptable

3. If you close a question without rating the answers, you lose the points. The "lost" points go:

A. Into la-la land never to be seen again.
B. Divided between all who posted an answer.
C. To a moderator to decide how to assign them - possibly even giving them back to the person who asked and closed the question.
D. Other

4. If you close a question without accepting an answer, but rejecting all answers:

A. You MUST provide an explanation in the remarks section of every answer or it won't let you close it.
B. The question goes to a moderator to decide the merits of the answers, and the moderator decides what to do.
C. Other

5. If a question remains open for 30 days:

A. An email is sent to the person who opened the question asking him/her to address it.
B. It gets "recycled", and appears at the top of the most recent list along with the new questions.
C. Other

6. If a question goes without ANY activity for 60 days:

A. It auto-closes, and all points are divided equally between all who posted an answer. (See Note)
B. The question goes to a moderator to decide the merits of the answers, and the moderator decides what to do.
C. Other

Note: Before a question auto-closes, it goes to a moderator to eliminate points being assigned to the nonsense answers posted just to get some points.

Okay, that's enough for now.

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by Oz_Media In reply to Possible Q&A Rules

Yes Max, you are bang on with this one.
I didn't believe it when TR started awarding mre points to people with problems than those who help them. What an opportunity for abuse!

I think any unclosed questions should be split between all respondents as well as anyone not awarding points must explain why and if not, points are split between all respondents.

This is an area that needs close attention, the 'bread and butter' of TR, so to speak.

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by Oz_Media In reply to These accounts should be ...

Don't post my name Max.

That would be too easy, huh?

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Another One

by willcomp In reply to These accounts should be ...


You chastised the questioner pretty well in this question, but probably not well enough.

This is, I believe, an example of someone who's jerking us around and wasting our time. These type questions gripe my rear end more than any other type.

Haven't had to tap on a drive since stepper motor days. Stuck heads should not prevent drive from being recognized by BIOS.

This obviously is a smart a** jerking us around.

These types need to be booted out. I really try to help those that need it and are sincere, but these jerks make my rear end want to eat barbed wire.

Getting rid of rogue posters will require some type of verification or they'll just sign up again with a bogus e-mail address.


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Mail Fraud

by BFilmFan In reply to These accounts should be ...

I am tempted to send him the card and then when he doesn't deliver, let my friends over there at the FBI introduce him to the concept of 10-20 for mail fraud.

I agree that poster is a total annoyance. Worse than the never raters!

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That is more effort that what it is worth

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Mail Fraud

This form of blatant commercialism is another attempt to ruin the site here for all of us by a few who see a possible short term gain.

It would be far easier to just remove them rather than going to all the trouble of falling victim to the fraud that they are attempting to mount.

I only hope that the people here have enough smarts not to fall for this rubbish and I do mean the newbies as if they where to fall victim to this they would have an adverse opinion of TR all together.


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To verify a valid email address

by maxwell edison In reply to An example of a Q&A gone ...

I know that I'm a "privacy" advocate, but a person can maintain privacy (and/or anonymity) and still have a valid email address - and one that can be verified as valid. Heck, my Yahoo email account ( )is valid, but I can still maintain my anonymity. But the account should be denied if the valid email address can't be verified. And it would be easy to do.

A person signs up for a TR membership and must provide a valid email address, just like it states now. However, you don't verify that the email address is valid. All you would have to do is send some computer generated password to that email address that the new member would have to cut and paste into a "welcome new member" screen before the account is activated.

The way it is now, I could create an account using a bogus email address such as:

There ya go. People with way too much time on their hands create a dozen or so of those bogus TR memberships with those bogus email accounts and run amok with nonsense and abuse.

Just have a system where ONE member must have ONE real email address, or it's no membership. And no ONE email address could create more than ONE membership. Sure, a person could open a dozen Yahoo or Hotmail accounts, but that's a pain - and much harder than just making them up.

(Gee, I am on a soapbox today, aren't I?)

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Max I was only joking when I said it was your fault

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to To verify a valid email a ...

But I whole heartily agree with you on this one the T Q & A section is out of control and is being abused by some to the cost of us all.

The questions that are blatantly abuse should be stopped and the points not awarded as it is obvious that these are nothing more than a points gathering exercise. While I'm not at all sure why as really TR points are only a number and allow you to list a question with a large point value otherwise they serve little purpose.

As far as a valid e-mail address goes the normal way now is to register an account and then the web site auto generates an e-mail that gives you a URL to click onto to activate the account. Originally this was brought into existence for anti spam purposes but it would work just as well for new members and maybe limit some Legal Exposure to TR as well.


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Took the words right out of my mouth

by Jay Garmon Contributor In reply to Max I was only joking whe ...

We actually use this system--officially known as Closed Loop Confirmation--to verify newsletter signups (as required by the Can Spam Act). I'll have to talk to engineering, but it would probably be feasible to extend the process to forum membership.

(And, just as a bit of trivia, most of us who get drafted into QA duty around here have to maintain multiple Hotmail/Yahoo accounts so we can test features at multiple settings. And yes, it is a pain in the butt.)

As to tossing out abusive posters, most of the names you've mentioned have been on our radar for a little while, since we started auditing activity levels as part of this project. Points-rigging will almost certainly lead to us revoking these guys' memberships.

However, I don't see a really viable way to guard against idiotic posts, other than to simply refuse to answer them. That's a pretty sticky gray area and, quite frankly, one that would be difficult to objectively enforce.

As to the subject of awarding question askers points, that's not a practice that is really of any value to us anymore, either. We have no reason to "chum for pageviews" by getting people to post for the sake of posting. It just dilutes the forum, so I doubt that will rear its ugly head again.


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