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Help rebuild Tech Q&A, choose TR's contest prizes

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
TECHREPUBLIC COMMUNITY NETNOTE NEWSLETTER for June 21, 2005

HELP REBUILD TECH Q&A, CHOOSE TR'S CONTEST PRIZES

No big feature release news from the TechRepublic Community team this
week, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. We're nearing the end of our
first big "improvement" push, with a new blogs newsletter, a unified
tags results page, and a few other tweaks set to come in the next week
or two. These should maximize the utility of our new Community features
and give us a chance to plan Phase Two, wherein we start heavily
promoting the usage of our improved feature set, even while the
features themselves continue to improve.
http://nl.com.com/MiniFormHandler?brand=techrepublic&list_id=e131

On the list for Phase Two: MONTHLY SWEEPSTAKES, and the long-awaited
TECHNICAL Q&A REBUILD. One would think our membership might have an
opinion or three on these subjects. So, the Community Team needs to
know, what sort of prizes should we be handing out as part of our next
round of sweepstakes, and what features or fixes need to be built into
a revamped and revitalized Tech Q&A system. If you ever wanted a hand
in redesigning the heart and soul of TechRepublic, this is it.

Post your prize suggestions and feature requests in this discussion.

You can view the Community NetNote archive here.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5260-1-0.html?query=community%20netnote

You can instantly subscribe to the Community NetNote Newsletter here:
http://nl.com.com/MiniFormHandler?brand=techrepublic&list_id=e129

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: APOTHEON

APOTHEON isn't just another member of TechRepublic's Top 100 members,
he's also our inside man at Wikimedia, the crazy geniuses that gave us
the Wikipedia open source encyclopedia (often the power behind the
throne of Geek Trivia). If you ever want to know when this priceless
resource is going shut down for a few hours or days, APOTHEON is the
guy to ask. Oh, he's got some Linux skills, too.

View APOTHEON's complete profile here.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=3923716

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TAG, YOU'RE IT: TECH NEWS

Apparently, TechRepublic members love technology-related news, because
tech news has become the most popular tag in our new Links feature.
Find our which tech news sites are the most popular and the most useful
in the eyes of the TR readership.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5264-1-0.html?query=tech%20news

----------------------------------------

LAST WEEK'S MOST ACTIVE TECHNICAL Q&A QUESTIONS

DRIVE INSTALL CHANGES BIOS?!!
Have you ever had one of those days where you install a larger backup
drive to a run-of-the-mill PC, and suddenly the drive hierarchy is
inherently reset, and the PC can no longer boot? Yeah, me neither, but
member KAHUNANUI is going crazy diagnosing this exact problem, and
could use a little help.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=48&threadID=175939&start=0

2. PC WON'T BOOT WITH TRANSPLANTED HDD
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=48&threadID=176148&start=0

3. CANNOT JOIN COMPUTER TO DOMAIN
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=39&threadID=175979&start=0

4. CHANGING BASIC DISK TO DYNAMIC
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=39&threadID=176009&start=0

5. CORRUPT HDS ON 2 SYSTEMS IN SAME LOC.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=48&threadID=175877&start=0

----------------------------------------

LAST WEEK'S MOST ACTIVE DISCUSSIONS

THE CAUSE OF THE DEGRADATION OF PROGRAMMING
Yet another computing crime has been laid at the feet of Microsoft:
Basic, Visual Basic, and MS Office macros have trained a generation of
"dumb" programmers, who are subsequently unable to grasp the finer
points of high-end software development. Naturally, this ruffled some
feather in the Windows camp, and yet another passionate debate was
born.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11195-0.html?forumID=87&threadID=176054&start=0

2. MICROSOFT TO ADD 'BLACK BOX' TO WINDOWS
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11183-0.html?forumID=89&threadID=172584&start=0

3. E-MAIL DELUSIONS WITHIN THE ORGANISATION.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11191-0.html?forumID=84&threadID=175748&start=0

4. MICROSOFT TARGETS APACHE WEB SERVER
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11185-0.html?forumID=85&threadID=175795&start=0

5. IT DEPARTMENT STAFFING ISSUE
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11179-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=175946&start=0

----------------------------------------

"TOO HOT FOR TR"

The following discussions were sufficiently non-technical or
controversial to be suppressed from TechRepublic's Hot and New
Discussions lists.

HAVE YOU HAD A DIVORCE? NEED TIPS.
Member JDCLYDE's continued struggles with impending divorce and single
fatherhood have not only placed this thread at the top of the Too Hot
list for the second time, but have made this the third highest posted
thread in the history of TechRepublic. If only the Linux vs. Windows
debate were this compelling.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=169818&start=0

2. INFORMATION AS A FOUNDATION
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=169734&start=0

3. WHAT THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT WON'T ACCEPT: MORAL VALUES WITHOUT
RELIGION!
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=174908&start=0

4. JACKSON ACQUITTED
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=176059&start=0

5. THE COST OF HEALTH CARE IN THE USA IS SO EXPENSIVE BECAUSE. . .
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=175589&start=0

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

49 total posts (Page 1 of 5)   01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05   Next
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All Comments

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Suggestions

by gene.fellner In reply to Help rebuild Tech Q&A, ch ...

Most important to me is a way to tell whether there have been any new postings since the last time I looked, without having to check each forum. Restructuring the threads for strict chronological sequence would make this all simpler. There's no good reason on any forum for anyone to be able to post a response in the middle of the thread. Put them all at the end.

Second, do something about the point system. Far too many people are sandbaggers who ask questions but never award points to the best answer and close it out. Perhaps the point system just doesn't work here. But I would sure hate to see Tech Q&A degenerate into something similar to the regular TR discussion board, where the median thread length appears to be about fifty postings. Nobody reads them all so we just start repeating each other.

Third, put a time limit on the questions. Perhaps some areas of interest are more esoteric and need more time to get a good answer, but in general I don't think that leaving a question open for six months is doing anyone any good. Especially in the "career" forums. "Help, I may get fired next week and I'd like to know what to do." It's kind of sad to read that one a year later, especially if no one responded.

I suppose that leads to number four: Make readers more aware of Tech Q&A. I was here for a year or two before I became conscious of it. I know the tab is up there, but there aren't many references to it throughout the other areas of TR to lure people to take a look.

Finally, pare down the number of topics. For example, it doesn't look like very many CIOs come to us for advice. ^_^

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Comments

by ITgirli In reply to Suggestions

People should be able to post where the part of the thread they want to refernce is, not at the bottom. It wouldn't make sense and it would be a heck of a lot harder to read the many different conversations and could lead to mass confusion.
I do agree with the time limit on questions. Perhaps something the poster would have to choose to post the question, then in 3 days from the end of their chosen time, they would get an email asking if they wanted to extend the question's time limit or close the question. If they did not respond, it would be closed automatically with points going to all answers. So it would not be a waste of our time answering.

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You want LINEAR posting?

by deepsand In reply to Suggestions

Owing to the limited allowable depth of the sub-threads, many are already too linear, with the result that it is exceedingly difficult to identify to which post another given post is a reply.

Without the depth afforded by sub-threads, context is lost, making for cacophonous chaos & confusion.

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I agree

by TheChas In reply to You want LINEAR posting?

I agree.

We need to look at expanding the allowed thread levels. There would only be great confusion to a fully flat thread format.

Besides, if you wish to know where the new posts are in a thread, all you need to do is subscribe to the discussion or question and you get an email with a link to newly posted comments.

Chas

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Some Ideas

by TheChas In reply to Help rebuild Tech Q&A, ch ...

First off, revamp the categories for questions.

You might even want to use the tag system to create sub categories.

Start with just major categories such as:

Hardware
Software
OS
Career
Other

Then, use a form type system to force the full categorization of the question.

Take hardware:

Select from:
Video, sound, system, CPU, BIOS, Memory, Hard drive, CD/DVD drive, and so on.

Add a few more required option fields to force further characterization:

Make and model

OS

Problem description.

As to closing questions, keep a bonus for closing the question in a timely manner.

Auto-close questions after 2 to 4 weeks of no activity.
Cut the reward in half and split it evenly among unrated answers.

Replace "Question closed by member" with a drop down selection of phrases like:

Did not help.
Solved my problem myself.
Duplicate answer.
Created a new problem.
Thanks for the help.

I know that TR wants to get rid of the point system. I do not have an alternative to propose.

Still, is recent activity as valid?

A very active member could be posting a lot of very wrong answers.

Similarly, rejected answers should not necessarily count against a peer rating.
Many answers are rejected because they duplicate an answer that was posted while another answer was being composed.

Perhaps member ratings should be by peer review, or quiz scores.

Chas

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Great suggestion

by Senior Program Analyst In reply to Some Ideas

I particularly like the restructure idea of the categories. There have been times when I was unsure which category to put the question. However with a narrow focus on the categories as suggested with possible more detailed sub categories I would know where to place the question appropriately. If the list of Open questions could be listed within each category by the sub categories then I would also be better equiped to find the questions I feel I can assist the most on. (many Help Desk - espeically online resources; have started doing this also).

I also agree with the AutoClosing and rewarding of some of the points to the posters (at least those not already rated). I would recommend a time frame choice also from the poster. If they rate the answers and close the question then you could return a portion of the points to them. Also give them a choice to extend the time with an explaination. If they dont extend the time - close it. More detail in the ratings is also a good idea. Maybe a rating system 0 to 9. then give the points weighted between the answers. if 3 answers are given with ratings of 0, 5, 9 then answer 1 gets 0, answer 2 gets 5/14 of the points and answer 9 gets 9/14th.

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Ditto on Categories

by willcomp In reply to Some Ideas

I agree with Chas. There are now too many and they overlap. Chas had a good basic list but may want to add Programming as well.

Dalton

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Prizes

by ITgirli In reply to Help rebuild Tech Q&A, ch ...

T-shirts with your picture on them! That would be too funny!

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Prizes I couldn't...

by LeoOfMars In reply to Prizes

Prizes should have a high coolness factor. They shouldn't necessarily be practical. They should be prizes I couldn't justify buying to my wife.

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see?

by ITgirli In reply to Prizes I couldn't...

That's why they should have Jay's face on them....oh, wait...you said coolness factor. never mind.

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