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Let's Archive The Solved Computer Issues To Help Others


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#1 Walkman

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:29 PM

I have an idea that I believe would help alot of people find answers to many of their computer problems quicker if a few small, but important suggestions are put in place.

No# 1. Every topic/post that has a problem resolved needs to be closed. I see too many problems that have been fixed, and verified by the original poster, but the topic is still alive.

The point of closing out the threads will serve as these great benefits to BleepingComputer

a. A problem was solved and now it can be archived as one solution to that particular problem.
b. People can go straight to the answers to specific problems before posting on the forum. Although every computer and it's users are different, many of the solutions can be a positive guide as to rectifying the problem at hand.
c. More time for BleepingComputer to concentrate on other tasks at hand that can benefit everyone.
d. Less file/server space. Those same 100 posts have been answered just one time.

All closed threads that have the problems solved could be in a section+sub-section of it's own. A duplicate of the forum itself, but not all of the threads of the actual forum. It can serve as the 1st place a person should look before posting their computer problem. Of course the threads will need to be in categories, and that isn't hard to do. If there were at least 100 or so people volunteering to do it, we could have an answer archive in about 30 days time or so. I've done 2 topics in just a few hours. And it was easy.

Below is an actual example of what I am referring to:

===========================================================================================
To BleepingComputer:... these threads below do need to be closed because they have been resolved.

CD/DVD Issues
Cd Burner Keeps Getting Errors
Disc Burner Or Software "not Found"?
New Dvd Burner
Dvd Burner Will Not Burn Dvds
Dvd Burner Not Recognizing Dvd-r
External Burner
Dvd Burner Installation, Monitor loses connection upon startup after burner installation
PROBLEMS WITH CD BURNER
Need help with sony DRU 500 AX DVD burner...
DVD Rom Burner, It won't enable
CD Burner not burning
Bike Psycho -- My DVD/CD burner won't work

Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player, Star ratings Question
Windows Media Player, internal application has occured
Front Usb Ports Not Working On Sony Vaio Vgcrb44g Desktop Running Win Media Center...
Can No Longer Burn Cd's With Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player Error, playback error
Media Player 10 Upgrade
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player Toolbar Does Not Work
Sp2 And Media Player, Can't install either
Win Media Player 10
How Can I Do The Best Enhancement In Windows Media Player 11 Or 10?
Volume Control And Media Player Issues, Volume control and Media Player aren't working..please help!
Windows Media Player, internal application error
Windows Media 10 Problem, my player won't access media information
Help! Cant See My Media Thingy .....
Media Player Wil Not Play Video
Windows Media Player 10, won't play clips from internet explorer
annoying windows media player 10 problems
From Mozilla to Windows Media Player
Windows media player
Disable Windows Media Player?, Having Trouble
Media Player Series 9, Missing Toolbar to switch to Miniplayer
Windows Media Player
============================================================================================

Just as the tabs across the screen that reads Home, Forums, Tutorials, Startup List, etc... can include a tab called Solved Issues or anything similar. That way, when people post a question for help, we can assume that they have read the Solved Issues forum. If not, we can easily point them to it.

I'm already aware that everyone's issue may be different. But on the other hand, the same answers are given to each of them, just in different wording and such.


Time and time again, many of us answer the same type of posts all the time (the same exact problem/subject), and then you may get to the point of thinking that the post is deja vu. I've even bookmarked many solved issues, like I always do, but trying to remember it, because of the way it is titled, that can become a problem too.

If the original poster is allowed to close their posts, that would be great... if the admins and monitors can do it too, that would be great.... but I know between the moderators and the admins, your hands are full. But I wouldn't mind being able to monitor solved threads, and mark them as closed/problem solved, and then prepare them for the archive that will grow everyday when an issue gets solved. Before we know it, there will be more and more people posting about how they went right to their answers, and they worked too.

This can be done, and it is a win-win for the site owners, the admins, moderators, and most importantly, the members and those that come here for computer help/support.


For those that would be interested in helping to do this, I have a detailed way where you can find the topics that are common, and at the same time, know which ones have the problems possibly solved, without even looking at every thread/post in that section. It's real easy. It's all a numbers game. Depending on the total posts to a thread, you will know if the problem has been solved and (or) replied back to by the original poster.... :thumbsup: . I took the time and studied that yesterday... and it's very effective and 100% proof as to if a post was solved or not. Just read the posts I've listed here. They have all been solved.

Although I've though of this for quite some time, I would love to see this implemented here. I will do all that's asked of me to help out. Yesterday made it seem all too possible to do. Everyone will jump for joy.

Let's do it. ... and that means that for all of you members that are reading this, you need to be more willing to post back that your problem have been solved. I see too many posts where suggestions are given to help someone out, but they never post back to say if it worked or not,,, or what they did to correct the problem.

If any of you help out anyone, please advise them that it will help everyone else if they post back if something works for them or not. This is the best method of keeping down the same posts being posted over and over again. Sometimes I think it's the same poster, but using different names... who knows?...

The bottom line is that every solved thread/post needs to be closed out in order for this to work. If not, once a problem is solved, someone else is going to make an addition to the already solved thread, and confuse the future reader, because it will most likely get answered by someone.

Please think about this. It will help out.

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#2 -David-

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:15 AM

Hi Walkman, thanks for the suggestion.

Firstly let me start by saying that this is just my opinion and does not represent the site's staff as a whole, so this definitely isn't a definitive answer. Although this idea might work on other sites, I don't think there is any reason for this to be introduced into the forums at this website. I think that if we had problems with posting in forums that needed a solution, then we might be looking for ways in which we could overcome these problems; however I think that at this time the system is running fine and there is no need to change it. I don't actually agree with some of the things that you said, maybe you didn't explain fully why you believe they should be done, but as far as I see it they are not needed.

1) "I see too many problems that have been fixed, and verified by the original poster, but the topic is still alive."
To me, policy we have works fine; I think there are more benefits from leaving topics open, rather than closed.. If I were owner of this site I would choose to have topics left open, even if there was a solution inside. I'm pretty sure the ethos of the site if to encourage posting as much as we can; by closing topics which are resolved this can only discourage posting. For example, a completely new member finds a thread on google that he wants to add some discussion to, whether it be another question to add, a better way of fixing it, or a general observation. That thread is now closed, what does he do? Creating a new topic would be a bit worthless as he would have to link back to the original topic for it to make sense.

2) "Time and time again, many of us answer the same type of posts all the time".
This may sound a bit odd to you, but I feel that this is simply what part of a computer help forum does; I don't really mind doing it. If you look in the Hijackthis logs forum, you will see at least 10 topics on the first page with the same problem. Yes, there are self-help guides with exact instructions for solving them, but most people will prefer to have a one-on-one thread with something they think they can trust. When I first came to Bleeping Computer I could have searched and searched for a solution to the RAM issue I was having, but firstly it takes quite a while, and secondly it's quite exciting to post a thread and wait from a reply from a real person. That's what makes these forums so popular; if you are giving a user the information they want, then I don't see any harm in repeating information that is already on the site. Even a link will do, but it's the personal service.

3) "People can go straight to the answers to specific problems before posting on the forum."
In addition, if people are just reading solved topics, what is the incentive to join the site? They've solved their problem, they can just move on. If they want to ask a question they have to join, that's simply how it works. If you were to introduce this policy, I have absolutely no doubt that membership number rates would decline. It sort of ruins the whole free community thing that this forum tries to put in place. I'm sure that we are trying to put as few restrictions as possible against members, whilst at the same time creating a functioning forum.

I could go on with a few more things, but I would like to finally highlight that the man-power and admin/mod work needed for this job would be huge! I'm pretty sure it's not possible for a user to close his own thread. What about every single topic in the past 3 years that has been solved? We'd have to go back and do every single thread. If your idea was to just start this policy now, and forget the threads in the past, it would create quite a lot of confusion.

Thanks for the suggestion Walkman, but for me, the practicalities don't work.

Edited by jgweed, 21 February 2007 - 07:49 AM.


#3 jgweed

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:32 AM

I tend to agree with D-Trojantor's assessment. If it were a matter of providing an archive of problems and solutions, then the dialogues that develop in the forums would be eliminated. I have, for example, seen very old threads resurrected from the oblivion of page 34 by a fresh question or comment.
Again, even though a search through a forum often yields a surprising amount of similar results, the new Member or a person just beginning to use a computer may not know what to look for. Moreover, posting about a problem or asking a question---no matter how often it has been done previously---offers the Member the learning experience of putting the issue down on paper (as it were), and the ability to ask further questions or for clarification or to pursue the topic as the subject expands or opens up.

In many cases, a solution is readily available to anyone who is willing or knowledgeable enough to do some research on Google; however, quite often the answers are either not specific to a problem, or overwhelming in their number and lack of unity, or written in a way that is not understandable to the beginner.

I can well remember my first introduction, some years ago, into the world of spreadsheets. On my desk was a very thick manual (these were the days when applications came with 300 page manuals), and sitting in the next office was someone who knew how, from experience or trial and error, to get things done with speadsheets. I learned more from pestering him about how to do a particular task---and faster--- than from taking days to read through the manual.
Now these forums, it seems to me, are designed for "noobs" to pester the more experienced for solutions and to gain knowledge and the confidence that brings.

For some people, and for some questions, a "quick guide" is sufficient; for others, this is not the case. In one of my prior lives, as a system administrator of a very complex allocation and planning system, I spent as much time sitting with a new user in front of the computer as I did either writing manuals or teaching classes. If the latter experiences are like archived posts, then the former are the current BC forums.

It may be that some combination of both approaches is feasible and useful.
Hopefully, other Members will comment on your suggestion so the BC Staff will have added insight when it is discussed.
Regards,
John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#4 Orange Blossom

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 02:04 PM

Here are my thoughts.

In order to utilize such an archive:

The user would need to know what he or she is looking for, and the user might not know.

The user would need to know how to do the searching, and the user might not know.

Similiar symptoms may have totally different answers or solutions, and the user may not be aware of this. His/her computer may wind-up on the trash heap when that wouldn't be necessary.

In short - in my opinion - the user would need to be already at something of an intermediate level in order to utilize the archives, and if the user were at that level, the search function already available in each forum is equally as useful.
-------------
As jgweed said, articulating the problem does indeed help clarify to the user what the problem is.

New posts provide a means for new members and learning members to provide assistance. One of the best ways of learning is to help and teach; thus, the ones with the questions and the ones helping out both learn more about computers.

It may take far longer for someone to search out the answer than to post the problem and receive assistance, and the person may not have the time available to search out the answer. I remember finding the answer to a problem elsewhere in the forums some 3 weeks after coming to a solution through help from other members.

People understand things in different ways. An answer worded one way may not make sense to other people; thus, various wordings for the same solution helps more people.

Live interaction, as it were, is more meaningful to a lot of people than interacting with, to quote Lee Maracle, "dead leaves" which is what the archives would be another variation of.

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#5 Walkman

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:12 AM

I agree with all of you to a agree.

Examples like:

What if someone wants to add to a thread?
If the problem was solved, it should be closed because,
1. You prevent others from adding to an already solved issue.
2. If someone has another suggestion, make a post in the suggestion or tips/help area. Make that related info or something.
3. If someone posts to that thread, and their situation is a bit different, someone is going to either move their post, delete their post, or close the thread. I see alot of "make another thread"..... which means either the subject is closed or it's open for more replies... but it can't be replies if a person is told to make a new post. That means that Thread should be closed... Right?

As far as memberships going down, people not doing this or that........ that's all just theoretical. It can happen even if it isn't done, but there is no proof it would.

I had the liberty to do some research on closing threads, and found some interesting info on the Invision Power Board forum. And it relates to the thread below, when I knew the topic was closed, but then someone insisted that I was trying to crash the board... read the entire thread... and you'll see that many sites do have the ability to close threads, and some allow the original posters to do so too.

I Need A Code
and when you get to post no#9, you'll see when the thread got out of hand. I personally feel attacked by that post. But I replied back, because the thread was left open,, and someone flamed me at the same time.

But my point of archiving solved issues will do alot of good and help for members. Even if you still kept them open, they still should be archived as solved issues.

Sometime a person needs to read, and learn. And my suggestion doesn't have anything to do with the search features of the board. Although your computer is different from mine, but yet we have the same problem doesn't mean that there isn't one solution that will fix them. And don't forget that there can be many fixes for the same exact problem.

Since everyone is different and there is no poll yet done on it, but wouldn't it be fair to say that some people would rather go look at a fix for common issues instead of having to post their issues? A person can read a fix, but at the same time apply it to his own scenario. It has worked for eons. That's why there is what is called a "FAQ", a database system, a dictionary, encyclopedia, help sections and so on..... it's to answer questions that are asked the most, no matter how different the actual scenario may be. It's answers to common problems already archived.

As far as old threads, ... that's no problem either. If I was understood correctly, close out the solved threads, starting with the most FAQ.

HijackThis Logs:
If I was able over the weekend to read solved/closed threads on how to remove Smitfraud-C, I could have probably looked at quite a few solved threads, and fixed my computer using the methods stated.... ALTHOUGH my computer, symptoms, and programs are different, I could have still made an informative decision on the route to take to clean the infection.

But I knew there were no such info archived here, I instead removed it myself... within a days time. :thumbsup: I took screen shots, and got every file name associated to my problem, and I'll post it here for others to learn from. That's another point for archiving info.

Also, there are people smart enough to repair their computer problems.... it's just that we have to stop giving reasons as to why they can't or why they shouldn't. Why would I want to make a post whereas it may take days just to get it resolved, when all I have to do is for 1,, use my common sense, and 2, download the tools I needs, and 3, just make it so. And there are millions like that everywhere.

You have a section on tutorials....... that's an archive of how to do something, but can say it'll work for that particular person? No one. No one can say it will work. The archived threads are one that did work for someone. You may have 20 fixes for the same problem. Well, let the person read... because when they are done posting back and forth, they could have read the already proven fixes for a situation and applied it to their own situation. Right?..

It's not about not servicing, not being personal, not interacting.... none of that....... it's about providing answers when they're needed the most, and not wanting to post just to get an answer.

This is different than the search because the search function requires you to search, but the archive allows you view what may be in a search, but stripped away unneeded posts. If I had a problem, like my cd burner isn't burning, I can go to the CD/DVD section and look at all the topics that had the same problem as I now have, and I can see what worked for them. If it's archived as solved, then I know it helped that person, whether it helps me or not.

How many of you ever went to the FAQ, help, documentations to anything and found your solutions and didn't even have to post to a thread?

How many of you posted a thread, but yet at the same time, resolved your issue before your post can be answered?

How many of you will answer a post by providing a link, and that's all? It would appear that you're sending them to some type of archive, somewhere, to help them out... right? The same thing I'm talking about.

Why send members to other archives outside of the site when you can archive the info here, just by using the already solved threads?

So, what is the real so-called downfall of having an archive of solved posts? Let's even go as far as saying "keep them open too, even after they're solved".

But either you do or you don't do it, it doesn't affect the site at all. I just thought it would help out with the recurring posts of the same issues, and providing a solution section to many common issues.

But keep up the great work you all do here at BleepingComputer.

#6 DSTM

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 04:06 AM

For a relative Newbie,I find the current System excellent.I can get help to a problem,often in minutes rather than hours.If I had all the time in the world,I can go to the Tuts for help,but a Newbie is not always familiar on how to navigate a New Forum.I prefer to discuss my PC problem with a Guru,than search through the archives.The Tuts may not explain,exactly the precise problem I'm having.Often they suggest additional links to search,which you wouldn't get from archives.Works great for me. :thumbsup:















#7 acklan

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 05:18 PM

If I may go out on a limb. This board is working as designed. With many other boards a member will be instructed to use the search feature or not post the same question that may already be open. You will not find that here. We deal one on one with everyone and we will not discourage anyone from asking a question.
An example. It many other forums a member will be instructed to start his\her own topic. That seldom happens here. We will spit that topic for the member and the staff member will address it as if it were always a stand alone topic. Many new and inexperienced users do not want to know whats under the hood. We do not try to shove it down their throat. We handle them will patients and when necessary kid gloves.
If you notice we do not have Expert and Novice Forum rooms. We go out of our way to make everyone comfortable. Even if that means answering the same question several times.
This system works and should be preserved "as is". IMHO
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