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  • #2226441

    Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

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    by jtakiwi ·

    Hi all,

    Not to be derogatory, but I’ve been using TR for maybe 6 years off and on. Definately more off than on over the past couple of years. Am I wrong in my perception that the majority of technical questions posted here are less than challenging? I mean, have any of you asking these quite simple questions ever heard of Google? A few years ago, folks didn’t even ask simple questions like the one I saw today, from an “IT Department Manager”, about how do I start the print spooler? Just wondering is all, i may have missed a memo somewhere. Did all the talent head off to Experts Exchange or TR’s paid service? Thanks, just curious.

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    • #2636219

      In a way

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      There seems to have been a rise in newbies. This is not necessarily a bad thing though.
      Certainly TR or their sponsors won’t think it is.
      I tend to only do the coding and design questions being miserably out of date on admin and hardware, levels on my side of the partition don’t seem to have changed.

      • #2636202

        Good to know

        by jtakiwi ·

        In reply to In a way

        The two areas you mention are places I just tend to stay away from. I’ve got nothing against newbies, I was one once myself, but I just expect folks to dig a little on their own before pulling the fire alarm.

    • #2636192

      The whole World has changed…

      by dawgit ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      Just in case you haven’t noticed. It’s the new “IT” most of which isn’t. (as in what used to be Sectutaries, Book-keepers, Clerks, etc. They all have ‘puters now, and are “IT”) Most of these new kids don’t even have to study Math. Sad realy. -d

      • #2636184

        Maybe I am sheltered

        by jtakiwi ·

        In reply to The whole World has changed…

        Fortunately, I work with skilled individuals most of the time when tackling IT projects or problems, so I don’t encounter the odd secretary turned IT director too often. I do encounter the skilled BS’er on occasion (I am related to one extreme example by marriage) who espouse their IT prowess to whoever is unfortuate enough to be within shouting distance (at least he was buying at the time)

        • #2635182

          Then you haven’t heard…

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Maybe I am sheltered

          “Operating System? Oh- You mean windows, Of course it’s windows, it’s a computer isn’t it?” Silly me. (I’ve actually had that said to me. And there was the penquin siting right on the screen too.) -d

        • #2634955

          Or as someone asked me

          by neil higgins ·

          In reply to Then you haven’t heard…

          when they saw my Ubuntu sticker on my office pc.”Have a nice time did you?”
          Doh!!

    • #2636190

      TR eliminated

      by dr dij ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      storing of questions by topic, which sites like tek-tips.com still do.

      So once it scrolls off the screen less likely to be answered and users go somewhere else to get answers.

    • #2635177

      The talent was laid off and downsized

      by the scummy one ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      Then there is a whole bunch of people that know little to nothing, but want to look important, so they make up job titles.

      I love the CEO and CIO titles and the person is incoherent completely.

      I think that is the main reasons for the questions that lack any knowledge.

      But on the other side of things, many of us that answered the questions, do not do it as much anymore. For me, it is because of the way the new site design plays.

    • #2635170

      My take

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      There are still questions that come in that are worthy of more than the “Google is your friend” reminder.

      There are many seagulls. But in truth, there have always been many seagulls.

      The core user base, to me, is just as strong and vibrant as it ever was. The new folk either get used to this “extended family” or they don’t.

      Change is inevitable. And seasonal. Come Fall and Winter, we will be back to serious questions and people who want us to do their homework.

      *sigh*

      • #2635836

        No such thing as stupid questions

        by absolutely ·

        In reply to My take

        Just because I already know the answer doesn’t mean that the person asking [i]should[/i] already know it. I think that when people who are learning pro-actively forget how little we used to know, we tend to perceive others as falling behind, or “watering down” the average quality of questions, or some such. Recent “improvements” to the site exaggerated that illusory effect by disorganizing questions, and removing the archive of topically sorted questions from the location that the fogies found very convenient and familiar. I couldn’t say whether those changes are better or worse for newcomers, but if it’s true that there are more noob-type questions, that would seem to suggest that the site is now [i]better[/i] for people who aren’t yet snotty know-it-alls.

        Good points, Tig.

        • #2636116

          Hmm, you may have a point there

          by jtakiwi ·

          In reply to No such thing as stupid questions

          First off, Tig was dead on with the homework observation. Funny thing, right after I made the post, some guy from India had posted a question asking for solicitations on what his thesis paper should be. I think he joined TR that day. Now, those type of questions are easy to ignore and fall under the “do your own homework” heading. I guess there are noob type questions, that fall under two general headings (maybe more than two): the “I’m lost and need help, I’ve tried to discover this on my own and cannot figure it out” and the “throw it out there and hope someone answers because I don’t feel like spending the time to research myself” the panicked “HELP!!!!” questions may also fall under this catagory too. I’m with you in that I would much rather have a community that doesn’t have the snotty know it alls (you know, the ones who answered with RTFM!!!!). I’d like to think i am not the snotty type (except when I have headcold, like now), but I also expect folks to be conversant a bit with the technology they have invested in, or at least show an interest in helping themselvs first, new to IT or not. Thanks for pointing this out.

        • #2636057

          One more type of noob question

          by locolobo ·

          In reply to Hmm, you may have a point there

          I have done some searching without success but am still searching. When I ask a question here this is only one of several places I post it. I really do try to find the answer myself but usually need it pounded into my head 3 times before decent retention (read it, think it, do it: not always in that order).

        • #2617852

          Search First, Then Post Everywhere

          by smilingsheep ·

          In reply to One more type of noob question

          If I’m stuck on a problem, I’ll usually run some searches (especially if its something I knew how to do once but it leaked out in the past six months). If I can’t find it, then I’ll post the question.

          I think what amazes me sometimes is the group flame of a noob who joins the same day they start posting the “How do I break into my computer” or “How do I change the password on my firewall” type questions. Y’all put a lot of energy into it. Although I’m not sure if leaving them hanging or posting a reply with a known title like “Fish Slap” or something (reading some ‘spam spam spam’ posts this am … reminds me of the fish slapping bit).

        • #2635991

          That one cracked me up!

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Hmm, you may have a point there

          Considering the meaning of the word ‘thesis’, I believe that the question ‘What should my thesis be’ allows only one responsible answer: ‘What do you think?’

    • #2635813

      You have a point, but I don’t think it’s that bad yet.

      by dedlbug ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      It seems it must be several contributing factors to produce what you see as, “watered-down”. There was a point made of users that do search the internet for answers, but TechRepublic can be found in the results. The good thing is answers here are generally understandable and correct. I suppose Tech Republic can go private, but there becomes a chance that another site, likely free, becomes the “goto” site for IT answers. Then it becomes the site for IT answers for novice questions.

      I can however relate to where you are coming from. I constantly use the internet for answers, but I have learned to use actual sites instead of search engines to find my answers. When I first got my foot in the door in the IT world, TechRepublic was there. I then decided to use the additional resources offered to help assist in my education. My point being, there is a difference in answering an easier question from someone who wants to learn, then from someone who just wants the answer and to be on his/her way. My thinking is IT support is not something you can just take for granted, which is probably where the majority of “Watered-Down” users can derive.

      In the end of it all, I do like the fact that TechRepublic offers a place to get help. What “grinds my gears” (hehe) are the questions from people who join right before posting AND expect to get an answer right away.

    • #2636035

      I perceive it also. But. Who Cares?

      by sgt_shultz ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      Sheesh. Answer the questions, don’t answer them. Be sarcastic, be nice. It is a free country, so far anyway. It just doesn’t matter. Really. Your and my answers just do not matter at all.
      As for dumb or good questions. You all have seen me ask dumb questions. some days are just like that. it helps me out just to have made the decision to ask for help and to form the question, however badly. And folks who are raised not having English as their first language may word questions less than clearly. So what?
      I happen to like the folks that ask stupid questions. (less guilt when I sneer and sneering relieves my stress. what can i say? I feel they are doing me a favor. i am weak that way).
      To think that this forum *matters* in the ‘big scheme’ of things or that any one of us has a corner on what is appropriate is just arrogantly silly. It is just a public place to blow off steam. (Just like the bar the BS-er so disrespected in the previous post was buying in. (you think you are better than that guy don’t you? ha. funny!)
      I like this forum because I like to see what kind of problems users have. I like a ‘reason’ to browse the mskb. I like the variety. I have learned a ton here from attempting to answer others questions. I don’t really care if I am right or if my answer helps them. The chips fall where they may. I come here to amuse myself. period. I get the most satisfaction if I think I’ve tickled somebody else to give a better, more correct answer.
      I do think there is a big need to get some usability testing done on this website tho. it is being programmed by somebody who isn’t using it, is my perception.

      • #2635990

        I care, because…

        by absolutely ·

        In reply to I perceive it also. But. Who Cares?

        I view this site similarly to you.

        [i]I like this forum because I like to see what kind of problems users have. I like a ‘reason’ to browse the mskb. I like the variety. I have learned a ton here from attempting to answer others questions. I don’t really care if I am right or if my answer helps them. The chips fall where they may. I come here to amuse myself. period. I get the most satisfaction if I think I’ve tickled somebody else to give a better, more correct answer.
        I do think there is a big need to get some usability testing done on this website tho. it is being programmed by somebody who isn’t using it, is my perception.[/i]

        My perception of the incoming questions lately is that they are far less challenging than they were a couple years ago. Hopefully, part of that is because I know more about ‘puters and ‘puting than I did then. But, I am not (quite!) arrogant enough to believe that is the only reason for my perception that the questions are easier now. I think there is a dilution effect, and I’m not sure if it’s in the clientele, or in the IT industry.

        I will expound on this on request, but I suspect my fellow IT pros have seen the same trends in their own offices, and in the news & literature within their own specialties.

    • #2617844

      Think about it people

      by don ticulate ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      There are millions more Internet connected people out there today. Compare this number (if you can get it) to what was around even 8 years ago. The web and computing (by proxy) is no longer a domain for those ‘in the know’.

    • #2617627

      Like Bob said….

      by nyabdns ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      The times they are a’changin’. As the workforce is taken over by gen xers you will see the level of expertise go down. I’m not stereotyping anyone, but as anyone can observe, the generation entering the workforce has a different work ethic than yesteryear. A lot of them want everything spoonfed to them without them having to lift a finger (figuratevly speaking) to find the answer themselves. Just the way it is.

      • #2617611

        That all depends…

        by naughtymonkey ·

        In reply to Like Bob said….

        on how old you consider gen x to be. I don’t think it is gen x asking the questions since that could be anyone from around 30 to 45. Those would be the ones most likely answering a lot of the questions if not most. I think you are looking for the me me generation which came after.

      • #2617554

        Resources

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Like Bob said….

        As most IT staff will agree, it’s not what you know but how you use resources to acquire answers.

        I don’t care if someone knows something or not, but if needed, they better be able to use their resources to find the right answer.

        Like a boy scout, be wise in the use of your resources.

        Face it, some people thta have been in the industry for decades know pretty much everything about their specific field of work.

        This knowledge has been acquired by resources, not just because they knew it all. When the internet was less active, people in IT hung out with fellow IT nerds and computer geeks and shared information. When a problem arose, they had a network of people they could call on.

        Nowadays instead of having a peer network of friends you call on regularly, there are online peer groups (such as good ole TR) where people get such information.

        You are right in that there are many mroe inexpereienced techs today, that is due to nessessity. A small company that didn’t need an IT guy at all, now needs one part time. They hire the most computer savvy person in the organisation to fill these duties. That person may know quite a bit about desktop support or web building or even office use, but may need support for other server related issues.

        If someone is trying to learn on their free time, this is a great resource website for them.

        Face it, the world isn’t full of F/T IT gurus anyomre, they generally aren’t needed anymore. The worls does need people with a good working knpowledge or at least a foot in th door to IT.

        It has nothing to do with GenXer’s, many of whom would run circles around the IT guy of yesteryear. I have seen little kids with more IT knowledge than seasoned techs.

        It’s simply a matter of business conformig to the new world. If they hire an IT tch with knowledge, that guy isn’t going to stay for 30K/yr, but a junior learning on th ejob will seize the opportunity.

        It really has nothing to do with lazy people( though they are out there, both old and new) and it certainly has nothing to do with age. A good tech costs big money, a part time tech or multitasker doesn’t cost much and can be used in the warehouse or sales team when IT help isn’t needed.

        Perhaps more techs of the days gone by need to learn another skill, so they too can increase their worth instead.

    • #2619100

      Used to be…..

      by cg it ·

      In reply to Is tech republic’s user base being watered down?

      the Q&A section was where IT guys could ask questions on II problems and get answers from other IT guys.

      More often todays Q&A forum is where consumers come to ask consumer questions on consumer related computer or network problems or those in school asking for answers to homework problems or test questions.

      So, the Q&A forum section isn’t as appealing as it was, oh, 5 years ago or even 2 years ago.

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