File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
http://aspose.com/file-tools
The moose likes Ranch Office and the fly likes Don't Wake The Zombies Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » This Site » Ranch Office
Bookmark "Don Watch "Don New topic
Author

Don't Wake The Zombies

David J Smith
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 09, 2009
Posts: 24
I just found the solution to my problem from someone who replied to an old thread. You then posted below that he should not do this. Technical forums are not just there for the people asking the questions, I have in fact learnt 80% of the Java I know from other peoples questions answered on forums. Surely it is better to avoid people re-posting a similar question. IMHO you should re-consider your Don't Wake The Zombies guideline. What do other people think?
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39791
    
  28
Welcome to JavaRanch

Very interesting question

We always think before invoking a rule, including "don't wake the zombies". That rule is intended for people who give an answer to an old question. We try our hardest (despite the efforts of some people who delete their posts after receiving an answer: see this thread) to keep old posts for the very reason you mention.
If somebody asks the same question anew, then starting a new thread alerts others to the fact there is a new question. Even if we answer "look at this old thread and you will find your solution."

Opinions vary; with many people helping that is bound to occur, some people being stricter than others. I am sure other people will voice their own opinions here.
David J Smith
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 09, 2009
Posts: 24
Cool, I appreciate you do not make these rules on a whim but it would be interseting to hear other users opinions...
W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
Well, I'm kind of on the fence. I mean if an old topic doesn't have an answer and someone that knows it can answer it well I am okay with that. However, when somoene replies to a 3 year old thread with "I have the same question!" or "Thanks!" I feel those posts should be avoided.


SCJA
When I die, I want people to look at me and say "Yeah, he might have been crazy, but that was one zarkin frood that knew where his towel was."
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20690
    ∞

Where is this zombies guideline?


permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8964
    
    9

Here, linked off the HowToAnswerQuestionsOnJavaRanch FAQ.


[How To Ask Questions On JavaRanch]
Raghavan Muthu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 3355

Here it is : http://faq.javaranch.com/java/DontWakeTheZombies


Everything has got its own deadline including one's EGO!
[CodeBarn] [Java Concepts-easily] [Corey's articles] [SCJP-SUN] [Servlet Examples] [Java Beginners FAQ] [Sun-Java Tutorials] [Java Coding Guidelines]
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20690
    ∞

I seem to be part of the minority on this one. And frankly, I have not yet been able to get my head wrapped around the position of the majority.

I'm cool with waking zombies.

At the same time, I think, yes, it is possible that some of the information in a thread is outdated. So it becomes debatable about whether it is better to start a new thread or just reply to the old thread.

So .... I suppose there can be a thread that is seven years old and is just as valid today as it was seven years ago. Therefore, it is not a zombie. And there can be a thread from three months ago that is old news - that bug isn't there anymore. So the thread is a zombie. Of course, it doesn't hurt to reply and say "they fixed that bug a couple of months ago." and when you reply, there could be folks subscribed to that thread that would be glad to know that.

Raghavan Muthu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 3355

paul wheaton wrote:

So .... I suppose there can be a thread that is seven years old and is just as valid today as it was seven years ago. Therefore, it is not a zombie. And there can be a thread from three months ago that is old news - that bug isn't there anymore. So the thread is a zombie. Of course, it doesn't hurt to reply and say "they fixed that bug a couple of months ago." and when you reply, there could be folks subscribed to that thread that would be glad to know that.



Perfect and I do definitely agree. But the degree to which the subjective decision taken is what matters
David J Smith
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 09, 2009
Posts: 24
Excellent, my first post started a good little discussion!

As I only started Java and indeed proper programming about 1 year ago, a lot of the questions I've had have been quite basic and people have been asking them for years so old posts are very useful. But then there could be a new, better way of doing something, it would be great if people had added this new way of doing things to the bottom of old posts.
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8964
    
    9

Since no one else has, I will present the case against resurrecting zombie posts. From various other entries in the FAQ:

. . . there is no need to keep pushing [a zombie] post to the top of the list in the forums by adding extra replies to your original reply. In fact, doing so might be considered counterproductive because:

* The extra posts generally do not add anything to the post, and might irritate the reader (and anything that irritates the reader might cause them to ignore the post and move on to another post).

* Some of the gurus on this site occassionaly jump into different forums, looking for posts which have zero replies - these are the ones that might be more challenging. If you [resurrected a zombie rather than posting a new topic], they will not even look at your topic.


PatienceIsAVirtue

Take into account, however, that if you post a new question in someone else's topic, you are hijacking the topic and that isn't nice - especially if the question of the original poster isn't answered yet. Just start your own topic instead of hijacking someone else's.


UseOneThreadPerQuestion

The zombie post I dislike most is the "me too" post. Someone who simply says they have the same problem as the original poster without giving more information to help solve their problem. If the solution isn't already posted in a topic, they should, at the least, ShowSomeEffort and TellTheDetails to help move the topic along.

IMHO, YMMV
Eric Pascarello
author
Rancher

Joined: Nov 08, 2001
Posts: 15376
    
    6
There are four things I see with zombie threads being brought back from the dead

  • People saying "Thanks, this helped me" [useless]
  • People saying I have a similar problem [Start a new thread, do not hijack, add a link back]
  • People trying to promote their sites with look at my solution here [spam spam spam]
  • People that think the solution was bad and offer another one [fine with me]



  • Eric
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 61611
        
      67

  • wrong answers posted to topics already corrected answered


  • [Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20690
        ∞

    So the problem isn't with adding to old thread, the problem is .... other stuff.

    So if somebody adds some useless fluff to an old thread and a moderator deletes the fluff, then the thread will go back to being old. The problem was the fluff, not the age the of the thread.

    Or if somebody just adds a link to their site, then the problem is spam, not the age of the thread. Of course, if the spammy poster adds some real substance to the thread and then mentions their web site, then that could pass muster and be okay.

    It is possible that an old thread could be bumped up for legit reasons.

    So .... to my feeble mind, I still do not understand this "do not wake the zombies" thing. I understand all of these other problems are problems and they sometimes happen with old threads. But if all of those problems were resolved, then I suspect the whole "do not wake the zombies" issue would completely evaporate.






    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 61611
        
      67

    paul wheaton wrote:So if somebody adds some useless fluff to an old thread and a moderator deletes the fluff, then the thread will go back to being old.

    That's a really really good point. Unlike in UBB, a thread can't be bumped to the top of the list by adding a reply and then deleting it. If the fluff gets deleted the thread reverts to its original location.

    I still think we should encourage people to post new topics rather than post "me too" replies -- more often than not the new poster's problem has nuances that deserve their own thread. But it might be a good idea to re-evaluate the blanket "zombie" guideline in light of the jForum behavior.
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20690
        ∞

    "me too" is fluff. Building on the issue and saying "that doesn't work and here is why" seems reasonable.

    David J Smith
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Jun 09, 2009
    Posts: 24
    more often than not the new poster's problem has nuances that deserve their own thread.


    Man, so many times I have seen people's threads being pretty much flamed because they posted it without properly searching the forum for a similar post (not necessarily this forum, just IT forums in general). "Look for a solution elswhere on the forum before posting a duplicate you ignorant fool" (to put it nicely)! So is it the opinion of this forum's top dogs that unless I can find a solution that works reasonably quickly (as in not spending all day searching through the forum) then I should feel comfortable creating a new post even though it feels like a basic question?
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20690
        ∞

    "A friendly place for java greenhorns" .... I think slapping folks for not doing their research first doesn't line up well with our mission. At the same time, when you've seen the same question for the 800th time, any good engineer would have a powerful desire to optimize the system. I would like to think that folks here would patiently show "I clicked on the search link at the top of the page and put in _______ and got these links to older threads. Is this the sort of thing you are experiencing? Does that fix you up?" - thus helping the user and showing them our search stuff.









    Campbell Ritchie
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 13, 2005
    Posts: 39791
        
      28
    Another example of "waking the zombies" but I didn't quote the FAQ
    Hong Anderson
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 05, 2005
    Posts: 1936
    I guess the main problem is the old threads will get bumped, in that case is there any option to configure that threads older than a specified period will not get bumped?


    SCJA 1.0, SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 1.3, SCJP 5.0, SCEA 5, SCBCD 5; OCUP - Fundamental, Intermediate and Advanced; IBM Certified Solution Designer - OOAD, vUML 2; SpringSource Certified Spring Professional
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20690
        ∞

    Campbell Ritchie wrote:Another example of "waking the zombies" but I didn't quote the FAQ


    Good example.

    I think my reply would be "if you had emailed this person you would have been able to discreetly check availability. But because your replied to the post, you put the idea into the heads of all the other folks reading this! Oh no!"


     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: Don't Wake The Zombies