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So, which is it: Technical Q&A or Ask for Help?

By shiny_topadm ·
I waited a couple of days since it was changed back, and if no one else is going to bring it up...

I used to browse all the categories under "Technical Q&A", looking for questions I could answer, looking for areas to enhance my understanding of how things work. From the time of one or two site re-designs ago, it has gotten more difficult to find areas to contribute. I noticed more new people just asking questions as discussion topics; some of us "old-timers" complained and questioned this. Then, the heading changed to "Ask for Help", but the ability to browse ALL of the questions went away (or at least I couldn't find it). I assumed the site was experimenting with a change. Now, it's back to the old name. Was there any announcement? Does anyone care, or has this site gotten too big to be as relevant as it once was. If I'm the only one with this opinion, that's OK, I'll just go back to my cubicle and be quiet...

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You're not the only one

by house In reply to So, which is it: Technica ...

I did notice that the discussion thread and Q & A browsing were a little bit "out of service" recently. I had trouble viewing and searching through certain links with the "page cannot be found" message appearing on my discusions and my questions. It's working again, and I don't pay for this site, so who am I to complain.

It seems like people don't care what goes into the Q & A. I've seen a little bit of...well, I'd call it Spam like activity. People trying to con or sell their gmail invites should just leave. Others who write in a lewt so thick that no one can understand it, should smarten up and ask their questions in plain english. Those who post questions should take a more active approach regarding their communication after a response is left.

Someone recently complained about diversion topics in the discussions area. Non-tech issues are welcome to me, but not in the Q & A.

The Q & A browsing does need a bit of work though, but I can find my way around.

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They're working on a redesign

by maxwell edison In reply to So, which is it: Technica ...

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You're correct in assuming that the change in name, "Ask For Help" instead of "Technical Q&A" was made in an attempt to keep the specific technical questions out of the discussion area. I'm not sure why they changed it back, nor do I know if it will change again, but I do know that they are going through a major site redesign. The view all open questions link will, in my opinion, come back -- at least I hope it does.

I can say this, however. There are "major" changes on the horizon, and in the meantime we might have to endure a few "growing pains". But rest assured, they're working on making the site better than ever.

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Max is right

by Oz_Media In reply to So, which is it: Technica ...

They are making some major sitewide changes, testing some new scripts etc. you will probably see things pop up and disappear for a while yet as they are testing out new ideas, but things should be back on track soon.

I think Max's request for the All Open Questions link will be coming to us pretty soon too, I think too many people have complained and dropped out of helping in tech Q&A.

It would still be nice to see a BIG HEADING somewhere on the Discussion front page or posting page that says DO NOT POST TECHNICAL QUESTIONS HERE, FOR HELP SOLVING YOUR COMPUTER ISSUES. Click here : (Tech Q&A link)

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General & Support options from "start thread" link

by house In reply to Max is right

I don't think that a big warning like that is really necessary. Perhaps when a user selects the start thread option...they could have two options that come up. One option for general discussion, and another option for technical support/question.

Choosing the support option would redirect them to the "ask a question" screen where they would select a category and fill out the rest.

Choosing the "general discussion" option would bring them to the normal "start thread" section.

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The existing layout

by Oz_Media In reply to General & Support options ...

I think they are just looking to midify the existng layout to reaolve some age old issues.

I see what you mean by a general START THREAD link and yes that has been tossed around before.

I think that simply changing a few issues of the existing site is preferred.

It's not a BIG WARNING, it's just that people DON'T KNOW HOW TO FOLLOW A NAVIGATION PANEL!

People are lazy, they visit 10 sites and post the same question. Most tech related sites look to have questions asked in discussion forums, people just don't read past the link when they see DISCUSSIONS and don't realize there is another forum for them.

When they click the Discussions link (in the existing NAV bar) you are asked to choose a category for your discussion topic, all they need is some Bold or Red copy stating that "this forum is for general discussions related to IT, if you want to ask a question abotu a technical issue, to please 'Click Here' to enter the Technical Q&A forum.

Existing pages, no NAV changes, nothing other than text and a link on an existing page.

Just seems a lot easier and just as effective, if not more. I think people will STILL post in Discussions if they see General Discussions and Tech Support no matter which page it is on, they do it now.

To go a little deeper, when people see Technical Q&A, they think of FAQ's or site issues. Thye temporarily changd the name to Ask For Help but the link was STILL listed AFTER the Discussions link, in my design experience it has been proven to me that people don't read navigation they scan nav bars, first link is 'Discussions' just like every other tech site where you post your questions. I think none of these resolutions will work properly without better navigation (the most important part of the site).

So when people enter the wrong forum as they will always do, they simply need to be prompted to post questions elsewhere.

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