aspose file tools*
The moose likes Ranch Office and the fly likes Topic report button Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Spring in Action this week in the Spring forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » This Site » Ranch Office
Bookmark "Topic report button" Watch "Topic report button" New topic
Author

Topic report button

Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

My suggestion is to introduce a topic report button. The button would be located at the top of every topic and enables users to quickly and easily report a problem about that topic to a bartender/sheriff. This has 3 advantages:

The problems get identified and handled quicker.
The bartenders/sheriffs have less searching for problems to do.
Users feel more involved.

What do you think?

Wouter


"Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand." --- Martin Fowler
Please correct my English.
W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
I like the idea, but I worry that someone, out of spite or just to be a nuisance, would start randomly marking threads which would lead to a big waste of the bartenders' and sheriffs' time. On this forum I'm not sure it would be a big problem though, and I do like the idea.


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."
Mark E Hansen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 01, 2009
Posts: 645
W. Joe Smith wrote:I like the idea, but I worry that someone, out of spite or just to be a nuisance, would start randomly marking threads which would lead to a big waste of the bartenders' and sheriffs' time. On this forum I'm not sure it would be a big problem though, and I do like the idea.
Anybody can abuse the forum. I'm sure there are provisions in place already to deal with that - like removing access.

Like you said, I really doubt this would be a problem. Many other forms I visit have this capability. I was rather surprised that Java Ranch did not.
Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

That's easy to fix just only allow a topic report once every x minutes. Also the user should be able to comment on the problem. A good example would be renaming the topic. Then the bartenders don't have to read the topic just the comment. And if you want to improve the usability then you could filter the problems based on which topics you're administrating.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30764
    
156

Mark E Hansen wrote:Many other forms I visit have this capability. I was rather surprised that Java Ranch did not.

And yet, we don't have a myriad of problem threads. Personally, I'd rather not have that as it implies people post things that are less than nice.

If you want to call attention to a thread, post in it signaling the moderator or send a private message.


[Blog] [JavaRanch FAQ] [How To Ask Questions The Smart Way] [Book Promos]
Blogging on Certs: SCEA Part 1, Part 2 & 3, Core Spring 3, OCAJP, OCPJP beta, TOGAF part 1 and part 2
Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

I don't think it implies that. People make mistakes, we're only human. Contacting a moderator has a certain threshold, at least for me, and it involves a lot of steps:

1. Searching for the right moderator
2. Check if (s)he is online -> if not goto 1
3. Copying the topic url
4. Describing the problem/solution
5. Sending a private message

While a topic report button would only involve step 4
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

I'm a mod on another site that does have a report button, and I hate it! The report goes by email to the whole staff; most of the time, you go to check out the thread, and it's already been deleted/dealt with, so it's a lot of wasted time. So the question is, should the individual Rancher spend a little time once to report a problem, or should every staffer spend a little time every time a Rancher reports a problem? The first has a far lower "human cost."


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30764
    
156

Wouter Oet wrote:I don't think it implies that.

I don't think it implies it either. I think not having a lot of problems implies this isn't a big issue that needs solving.


Wouter Oet wrote:While a topic report button would only involve step 4

Posting in the thread to flag it to the moderator also involves only one step.

Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11481
    
  94

Just brainstorming here ....

I was thinking about Ernest's concerns, and I think that the problem of emails going to all moderators could be alleviated.

I'm thinking that a report could be sent to a central web page (that only moderators can see). Any moderator on the site could see a special icon indicating that there are topics that need to be looked at. When they go to that page they can then click a button to indicate that they are investigating the issue and/or that the issue has been resolved. That way any other moderator coming to that page will see that the issue does not need an extra set of eyes.

Wouter - your comment about checking whether a moderator is online or not is (in my opinion) not very valuable. Many visitors to this site, and many moderators (including myself) deliberately turn off the ability for others to see when they are online.

I am more concerned about the people who would mark a topic as requiring attention simply so that they get a moderator to look at it, hoping for an answer. Thinking about this though, there are many times when a moderator simply deletes a problematic topic with the intent to restore it later when they have some spare time to devote to fixing the problem. So perhaps if the "report this topic to a moderator" screen had an explicit warning that "reporting this topic as a problem might result in the topic being deleted - especially if it is not immediately obvious what the problem is", then this should stop people trying to game the system.

That makes me think there is potentially a need for a fourth state to the problem reports: reported / investigating / fixed / trashed. The trashed status might indicate that a moderator has deleted the topic because they don't have time to do a better fix, but it would be good for someone else to look at it.

I'm also thinking that it might be worthwhile tracking users, the reports they make, and the resolution. This will have two benefits:
  • a user who reports real problems with good reports of what the problem is and what they recommend (thereby making the moderators job easier) might be someone we might want to encourage
  • a user who wastes our time with silly / erroneous reports could be flagged as an abuser of the system, and future reports might be more likely to be ignored (or the ability to make reports might be removed)


  • So - I can see some ways of reducing the concerns listed here, and there are potentially some benefits. I have other features I am trying to add to the site first though, so I am not volunteering to add this one just yet.


    The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
    Wouter Oet
    Saloon Keeper

    Joined: Oct 25, 2008
    Posts: 2700

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Posting in the thread to flag it to the moderator also involves only one step.

    Agreed but I think there are some flaws with that approach:
    - It would decrease the quality of the topic because of the "moderator calling" post.
    - Other people may respond to the report.
    - The problem-reporter might feel a barrier because other users can see that he reported it.
    - The one that caused the problem might feel offended/attacked.

    I was thinking about a box with messages, only visible for moderators, above every category so that moderators visiting that category could fix the problems.
    However a central approach as Andrew suggested is also a good idea.

    Remember that I'm viewing this "problem" from a users perspective since I'm not a moderator.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: Topic report button