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Why Do People Read a New Topic if They Have No Answer?


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#1 boweasel

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 03:47 PM

Two days ago I posted a topic to the XP area of this forum.  It had a pretty explicit title - How Do I Connect (an) External HDD To (my) Network.  It seems obvious (to me anyway) that I'm looking for some method to render an external hard drive connected to a Windows XP computer 'visible' to other computers on my home network.  

 

Now, so far there has been no responses.  And that's okay.  But why have 140 people read my post?  If they have the same problem and are looking for guidance, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that you're not going to get anything helpful out of reading a topic asking for specific help that has absolutely 0 responses.

 

I mean if I'm a member of a plumbing forum, and I know how to hook up a new water heater I'll read a post asking for help.  Maybe I can help them.  Likewise, if I need to hook up a water heater but need guidance, I'll read that topic, but only if it's gotten some answers - answers that may help me.  But if I have no idea about how to connect a water heater, I'm not going to waste my time reading it.  Or, if I need help myself, why would I waste my time reading somebody else's unanswered topic. 

 

But that is exactly what 140 individuals have done.  I just can't understand why.



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#2 Queen-Evie

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 04:21 PM

They don't know they don't have an answer until the read it.

 

While many may read your post, they may not know the answers. Since Bleeping Computer depends on members to help you have to wait until someone who is knowledgable enough to help is online and sees your post.

 

Although there may be many registered members online at any given time some of them will be here looking for help with their issues.
They are not interested in the problems of other people.

Others want to help but may know nothing about your issue, so they skip over it. That is a good thing-you don't want someone who has no clue advising you.

The BC community is made up of real people who have real lives. We are here as time allows. Patience is the key-you need to wait until someone with knowledge of your issue sees it and responds.

 When time allows they will be here to (hopefully) help you.



#3 RolandJS

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 04:35 PM

I worked on my Dad's network, alongside a very good network person!, is the topic stsill there in XP or network forum?

I might be able to remember an anwser if I understand the question.


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#4 Jaycan

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 04:51 PM

I must agree with the first reply as often I scan the forum for ideas.

Since being a member my "looks" would register but earlier my "looks" did not register on this os other forums.

 

To some extent we are just lookers by nature, and this leads to many looks but no responses, or people who thought they may have a reply, only to find it was another make / model that they thought about. If I had a coin for each time I looked at any forum question I would have been a very rich man by now.

 

I only posted here because your question amused me, although not in a funny way, but a practical way.

 

I have posted simple questions to other forums, and not had a single reply, but 100 odd looks.

Edit.

I mean if I'm a member of a plumbing forum, and I know how to hook up a new water heater I'll read a post asking for help.

But if they wanted an electric water heater installed, and you could only help with a gas heater ?

Plus we learn by reading these days, and we want to learn, that is natural, and Moderators look a couple of times to see the question is OK.


Edited by Jaycan, 10 October 2015 - 04:58 PM.


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#5 Animal

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 04:51 PM

6711 users are online (in the past 60 minutes)
62 members, 6644 guests

As of the time stamp of this reply.

Guests can read but not reply to a topic. So of those 140 views using the current formula of 62 out of 6644. That is a 0.933172787477423 percent of the views are able to reply. Then out of that how many do you suspect actually know or have the answer you need???


So it's not that they read and ignore. It is they read but as non-registered members cannot reply even if they wanted to.

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#6 RolandJS

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 07:26 PM

Ok, I've been in the topic awhile, hopefully, my meager bitsNpieces can at least get us started on some good set of answers.


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#7 boweasel

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 10:26 PM

Since I posted in the XP forum I'm now up to 160 views with 1 reply (RolandJS, thank you), while this topic, posted 2 days later has already garnered 5 replies...  

 

Why am I not surprised?

 

I REALLY thought my question was clear - How do I connect an external hard drive plugged into a Windows XP computer to be visible to the other computers on my home network.  Maybe I was wrong, but I didn't even think the topic required text - I thought it was that self evident.

 

Forget about the plumber example.  If someone posts a topic titled 'What is the capital of Iceland?', I don't need to read anything beyond that.  If I don't know the answer and the question has 0 replies, I'm not gonna read it.  There's no reason to see anything else the original poster added to the question.  If I know the answer I'll probably open it and post a response, unless someone else has already answered correctly.  Either way, I'm not going to add to a view count for a topic outside of my area of expertise.  

 

I've also read what seems to be conflicting accounts of what constitutes a 'view'.  Jaycan writes that, as a member, his looks register, adding to the view count.  But before joining the group, his looks did not register.   However Animal indicates that non-registered users can read (and thus add to the view count), but are unable to respond.  



#8 Platypus

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 06:38 AM

Many factors influence what you're asking about. And some of your reasoning I believe may not be how it works in the real world.

The number of "views" a topic receives on a busy website like this is not necessarily much related to the actual number of posting members reading the content. A hoard of automated entities "read" stuff on the internet. Search engine bots & spiders are always crawling websites, and your topic has certainly been read by Google spiders, as verbatim text from all the posts is instantly found on a Google search. And a high ranking site like BC will certainly be indexed by multiple search engines.

Topics on bulletin boards are also constantly being searched by spam crawlers looking for email addresses, spam registration bots looking for keywords to post automated text responses to, content scrapers and actual living spammers looking for queries to pretend to "help" by posting advertising. Mods are constantly dealing with them.

Also, as Jaycan said, a topic is likely to have been looked at multiple times by Mods, as we have to check for valid content, and we can't tell if another Mod or Mods have already done the same. I've looked at your topic at least 3 times now, and since I am on a dynamic IP allocation from my ISP, I may have been logged as a read from a unique IP on each occasion. You also could be having each time you check your topic show as another view, if you are on a dynamic IP and it changed since your last look. The difference between IP allocation on each occasion could also govern what Jaycan mentioned about multiple views registering or not.

It's also not really so that anyone can tell from the title alone what the issue is likely to be, and whether they might be able to help. I first read your topic as a Moderator, rather than as a tech. I didn't have time to consider any response at that time, especially as my networking expertise is not great, and I would have had no idea from topic title alone whether it was within my remit. Once I had read the content, I formed a suspicion in the back of my mind that the problem might lie between differing Windows versions on the network, but I knew I would need more time than I had available to search out ideas.

 

Once I returned to the computer, and it appeared network people were having a weekend, I found I had time on my Sunday afternoon to do a little Googling and locate some resources that seemed to explain what I had thought might be the cause of your problem. I hope it helps.


Edited by Platypus, 11 October 2015 - 06:46 AM.

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#9 sparklestar

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 07:23 AM

Because they don't know if they don't know the answer until they read it. Obviously.

Also, people may be very quickly scanning and clicking on a bunch of stuff. They are not carefully inspecting how many replies there are, and they might not even be noticing which forum it's in (for example if you view the latest posts on the forum, it mixes them all up, you see posts from various sub forums). So one example of why, is because they clicked on 20 threads, opening them in new tabs, and when they read yours they look closer, see it's about XP and think "Oh, well if this was about win7 maybe I could help but, idk about XP" so they close it.

Another big reason why people would read a thread and not answer is if the post was difficult to read, or rambling in it's content. Some people if they can't figure out what the heck is being talked about in a couple seconds then they close it. Sometimes I have completely read a post 2 or 3 times and still can't figure out what the person is asking.

Another reason is that by the topic wording, they think they know the answer, but then when they get into the thread they realize it's more complicated or different and they don't know it. So for example, with your thread title, one might read it and think "Duh, you plug it into the usb port and then share it" - because sometimes (really) users will post really obvious questions because there's something they just truly didn't understand (for example you might go into a thread with your thread's title and it's just a guy saying "Do I plug it into my computer or do i plug it into the router? Which plug is which?" etc.


I have created threads before where a ton of people read them and nobody answers, and yeah it is frustrating, but in my case I know it's because the thing I am asking about it kind of specialized and not simple. People are reading it in case it's not specialized and complicated so they could help me.

 

In conclusion, I think the reason for all the views with no answers comes from A. people who want to help but read further and realize they don't have an answer off the top of their head (although by the subject title they thought there was a chance they might have), [which raises a good point: If people made their decisions on whether to read and help based solely on the topic title, there would be a lot less replies around here I think] and B. the millions of people in the world randomly searching online for similar problems they are having, hoping to find a solution, and they just read the link title and visit the thread, they don't (and maybe can't) check to see how many replies there are.

Platypus and Animal have some good points I didn't think of too.

 

 

Since I posted in the XP forum I'm now up to 160 views with 1 reply (RolandJS, thank you), while this topic, posted 2 days later has already garnered 5 replies...  

 

Why am I not surprised?

 

I'm not surprised, because your XP thread is about XP, and only a small % of this forum uses XP anymore. People can't just pop open their xp sharing settings in 2 seconds and look at how they are supposed to be, because they are not running XP. I assume (and I have no idea if this is actually true but I think it's a good assumption) that a lot of people don't even go on the XP sub-forum because it's not an area of interest for them. (Having said that, you *can* get XP support on BC, but it probably doesn't account for much of the support on the site just due to popularity.) [and to be clear, I am no spokesperson for BC, I am just a noob.] Also, a much smaller % of posters would know the answer to your XP thread's question. But most posters know the answer to this thread's question! :)

 

Also, if one reads your posts in this thread, they might get the sense that you're being really annoying,  so, I'm drawn to wanting to view and reply to this thread. In the other thread you weren't being annoying so there would be no rush for people to pounce on you for saying something impatient and ridiculous.

 

Non-registered users can increase the view count. I have seen threads with like half a million views in a couple weeks.



#10 sparklestar

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 07:28 AM

Effectively, you are demanding that people take their time to research your problem for you, and scolding people for reading your thread if they didn't already know the answer off the top of their heads - when in fact they read your thread with a generous altruistic intention of helping you.



#11 RolandJS

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 07:29 AM

OP may be under time or work or project pressure to get a solution.


Edited by RolandJS, 11 October 2015 - 07:29 AM.

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#12 Platypus

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 07:50 AM

OP may be under time or work or project pressure to get a solution.

That's certainly true. I hope boweasel understands we're simply explaining the situation, not blaming them for hoping for a quick response.


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#13 Animal

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 01:35 PM

Why Do People Read a New Topic if They Have No Answer?


Often just because they can. Sometimes the topic title is lacking just enough content to merit a further look. Another reason, pure curiosity in humans.

Additionally many visitors just read to learn how to compose questions. Others read the forums like a tech journal or blog. Just to gain information and general tech knowledge and terminology. After all it's free information and help.

EDIT: To clarify if guest or non-registered member views count? If you scroll to the very end of each thread and look in the lower left corner you'll see something similar to this:

topicviewing.png

That image happens to be this topic just before I posted this. So yes, non-registered visitors, bots and spiders views count as a view.

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
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#14 Scottster1

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 01:41 PM

 

Now, so far there has been no responses.  And that's okay.  But why have 140 people read my post?  If they have the same problem and are looking for guidance, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that you're not going to get anything helpful out of reading a topic asking for specific help that has absolutely 0 responses.

 

One explanation for this is that they may have a similar problem or just be curious about the issue, and wish to follow the post (which they can do by opening it). 



#15 Orange Blossom

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 10:52 AM

There are at least two ways that someone could get to your topic without realizing there are no replies. One way is via a Google search or some other search.  I've frequently had that happen when I'm looking for a solution to something, such as how to fix my toaster oven.  I see something that looks like it might have an answer, click on the topic and lo and behold, there are no answers, or often the answers are not helpful.  Another way is from the list of recent topics on the main forum page.  That list doesn't show the number of replies.

 

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