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"Question Answered, Topic Closed"


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Windseeker

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 05:20 PM

It's been an unwritten rule that question topics, even those outside of Q&A, will be closed as soon as an answer is given. I propose that we rework this paradigm.

 

I got a PM from a worried member that such topic closures are premature; that the topic starter has no time to confirm their answer, and that it shuts down questions from other members who are blocked from posting in that topic and subsequently discouraged from posting their own question topics, knowing that they will be closed.

 

And I've certainly been guilty of closing topics like this, and can recognize the discouragement that results. As such, the forum staff would like to propose a new way of handling question topics. Here's how you can help with this change:

 

If you are starting a question topic:

  • Follow your topic closely! Keep checking back in order to keep track of answers received.
  • If your question has been answered and would like the topic closed, give the word, either by posting in the topic or by reporting it. Otherwise, we'll leave the topic open in case there are further questions from you or anyone else.

If you are following a question topic and are not the topic starter:

  • Hold off on that Report button. We often get reports that a question has been answered before the topic starter has a chance to reply.
  • If you see that the topic starter has requested closure, then go ahead and report. Otherwise, it's okay to let things be!

I think this is the first time I've ever told BZPower members not to report something. O_o

 

Basically, with approval from Black Six, we're attempting to extend the precedent in the Q&A forum to all question topics in all forums. If you are posting a question topic, remember to be active in it; if you are looking at one, keep the original poster's word in mind.

 

If you have questions, comments, concerns, congratulations, then please post in this topic. And no, this isn't the end of "Question answered, topic closed"; it's only going to be less hasty.

 


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#2 Offline fishers64

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 05:37 PM

You forgot  -- Black Six on the end of the topic title. :P

 

In all seriousness, though, it's nice to see these changes. 


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#3 Offline Ektris

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 05:47 PM

Aw man, this was like my thing. :lol:

(Not that I necessarily find it a bad change of course...)

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#4 Offline TinkerTech

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 07:05 PM

It sounds like a very good idea. (Not that I ever had any problems with the old system.)

 

It'll probably be good for the new members who don't know the nuances, or for kids new to being on a forum in general. It also sounds like it will be easy to implement, although I am concerned about execution. Namely, how many people will report it in their haste or if a topic will be left open simply because the OP never came back to check on it. Maybe a limit on how long the topic stays open after the question has been answered?

 

I like it! 


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#5 Offline Cambion

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 08:17 PM

i never actually thought about how premature topic closings could be a thing, but now that you mention it, this is a really good idea. yet another addition to the list of Good Rule Changes BZP's been getting lately.


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#6 Offline Windseeker

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Posted Oct 17 2014 - 09:19 PM

It also sounds like it will be easy to implement, although I am concerned about execution. Namely, how many people will report it in their haste or if a topic will be left open simply because the OP never came back to check on it. Maybe a limit on how long the topic stays open after the question has been answered?

 

Well, granted, the staff isn't obligated to act on every report that gets sent in. : P I think in the case of a neglected topic that we will leave it open, stepping in to stop the influx of spam as need be. I don't think such a limit is necessary.

 

yet another addition to the list of Good Rule Changes BZP's been getting lately.

 

Glad to hear it!


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#7 Offline Munty

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Posted Oct 18 2014 - 04:56 AM

I've got to say, the mods here seem overly anxious to close all sorts of threads, have done for years. If something isn't quite right or has been posted elsewhere or they just don't like it themselves then that'll be the end of it. And of course once it's closed you can't discuss why it's been closed without contacting the mod who has clearly already made their decision. I recently posted in a thread regarding another members mask collection and unique display method. It was an unintentional necro post (I didn't check date) and it was subsequently closed due to my actions. Now I understand that resurrecting old threads is frowned upon on ALL forums but the fact is, this was a unique thread with information that will likely not be posted again. The poster and I have gone on to private message regarding both of our displays but that's just private networking, I thought this was meant to be a social portal for fans?

 

I just don't understand the mods urgency with regards to closing topics down in general. Multiple times I've returned to my own 'for sale' thread and had it locked when I updated it with new items and re-established myself as a returning seller. Fine, I'm reviving an old topic but by locking it down all the mods really do is cause me to create a new identical thread. Why not just let it go? The point is, threads that are no longer useful will no longer receive posts, therefore essentially removing themselves from the public eye in their own way. Do the mods really need to be in such a hurry to brush these topics under the carpet? Do they really want to force the creation of new identical topics rather than allow the re-opening and continuation of old ones which will still contain relevant information to the poster who does so?

 

Just saying...


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#8 Offline Reznas

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Posted Oct 18 2014 - 05:17 AM

I've got to say, the mods here seem overly anxious to close all sorts of threads, have done for years. If something isn't quite right or has been posted elsewhere or they just don't like it themselves then that'll be the end of it. And of course once it's closed you can't discuss why it's been closed without contacting the mod who has clearly already made their decision. I recently posted in a thread regarding another members mask collection and unique display method. It was an unintentional necro post (I didn't check date) and it was subsequently closed due to my actions. Now I understand that resurrecting old threads is frowned upon on ALL forums but the fact is, this was a unique thread with information that will likely not be posted again. The poster and I have gone on to private message regarding both of our displays but that's just private networking, I thought this was meant to be a social portal for fans?

 

I just don't understand the mods urgency with regards to closing topics down in general. Multiple times I've returned to my own 'for sale' thread and had it locked when I updated it with new items and re-established myself as a returning seller. Fine, I'm reviving an old topic but by locking it down all the mods really do is cause me to create a new identical thread. Why not just let it go? The point is, threads that are no longer useful will no longer receive posts, therefore essentially removing themselves from the public eye in their own way. Do the mods really need to be in such a hurry to brush these topics under the carpet? Do they really want to force the creation of new identical topics rather than allow the re-opening and continuation of old ones which will still contain relevant information to the poster who does so?

 

Just saying...

 

It's not necessarily an issue of the mods "hurriedly and anxiously" closing threads. The fact is that there are revival rules governing each forum. Some have revival, others don't. The only reason the staff close these topics is because they are enforcing already established rules. Now, it could be debated whether or not topic revival should even be a thing anymore, but there is certainly a lot of reasoning behind it. The main reason I see is that reviving old threads that have stopped receiving much activity, especially a bulk of old topics, can crowd the forums, bumping active topics in their stead.

 

I can see what you mean about your "for sale" thread. Maybe you should create a Tracker ticket about ending revival in the Buy/Sell/Trade forum?

 

Also, Windy, this is a wonderful idea! Glad to see it being implemented! It will certainly give less room for error. :)

 

-Rez


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#9 Offline Windseeker

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Posted Oct 18 2014 - 04:59 PM

The Tracker is for general suggestions about BZPower; suggestions for individual subforums should go to the leader of that forum.

 

Let me also respond to Munty, whose concern I appreciate.

 

It is necessary to distinguish between unwritten rules - such as the one addressed in this topic - and those written in the Reference Desk, including topic revival and duplicate topics. If we seem hasty in closing topics in such situations, its because there are written rules in place. I think it's unfair to say that the staff will close a topic if "something isn't quite right" or if they "just don't like it themselves." Furthermore, we're more or less required to give a reason for the closure in our closing posts. I'm not sure how we could be more forward.

 

That said, you totally have a right to question our decisions, even if it means having to come to us over PM. : P I've reopened topics that I've been shown to have wrongfully closed before. And I think the existence of this topic itself is proof that the staff will listen. I know we don't have the best history. But please allow us the possibility of change.

 

The revival rule is indeed in place in certain forums (not all; see here) to ensure healthy forum activity. A member PMed me recently about why topic revival isn't allowed - and rightfully so. It's an ambiguous rule, and the Reference Desk topic doesn't quite elucidate things. The best explanation I've found is that it allows a good flow of topics within a forum. As Reznas suggested, each old thread dug up bumps a new topic with newer information down the list. You are correct to observe that revival encourages duplicate topics, but I see this as a more neutral fact than something inherently detrimental. The only downside I can see is with larger threads where more posts would be "lost" upon topic closure. The traditional solution to that is the Official Topic System in COT and elsewhere, where official topics are exempt from revival.

 

But otherwise, I don't think it is possible to determine revival on a topic-by-topic basis, nor would it be a good idea to do away with the rule. Maybe I'm wrong there; maybe I'm stuck in the pit of tradition. Furthermore, the forums are already set up not to display inactive topics, as you seem to suggest have happen. Then, the reason why some forums don't have revival, such as the Library forums and Comics, is because the narrative nature of the topics means that it would be inefficient for authors to have to start over every two months or so. Yes, the same argument can be made for the B/S/T forum. Several other members have shared your concern about the way revival works in there, so I will bring this up and see if a change can be made.

 

In short, the staff will follow written rules. In those cases, it's very unlikely that our decisions will be reversed. But let it be known that rules, written and unwritten, can be questioned within reason, and that change is possible.

 

And as a sort of aside, if anyone here on BZPower is uncomfortable going to a staff member about anything, I know that I am willing to accompany you or go on your behalf. If you're uncomfortable coming to me, there are other staff and members willing to help out. And if you're not comfortable approaching any of us directly, there is the Tracker and the Q&A forum.


Edited by -Windrider-, Oct 18 2014 - 07:42 PM.

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#10 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Oct 18 2014 - 06:55 PM

I'm all for positive rule changes. It's good to see BZP throwing off the remaining shackles of institutionalized moderation. In this case it's not so much changing rules as it is changing the implementation of them, but it's nonetheless always good to see us growing and changing with the times.


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#11 Offline Munty

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Posted Oct 19 2014 - 03:25 PM

Agreed, thanks for the thorough response Windrider! I've mod'd and even admin'd elsewhere so I do get the rules and why we need them. Am glad it isn't just me who feels B/S/T topics may need a little attention. :)


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#12 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Oct 19 2014 - 04:13 PM

I hope this doesn't mean that funny or creative topic closures are a thing of the past. :P
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#13 Offline Ballom Nom Nom

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Posted Oct 19 2014 - 09:10 PM

I'm a bit surprised that Black Six didn't post this, given his fondness for that line. :P Anyway, this is certainly a good development, and I'm glad BZP continues to improve the forum rules.

 

~B~


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#14 Offline Adventurer

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Posted Oct 20 2014 - 10:36 AM

I think this kind of approach to the rules is a good idea with the size of the community at the moment. It can encourage a bit more discussion in terms of topics lasting a bit longer and evolving as well as members feeling better about opening topics. Typically in the past I feel topics were closed once there original purpose had been served to keep the forums neat and orderly and easy to navigate and find discussion you're interested in, but since the forums aren't as busy as they once were this isn't really a huge issue so I feel in general a change in this regard would be good. :)

 

(Not really saying much here except it was something I was thinking a couple of weeks ago so I'm glad the staff are thinking the same things I have been. :P )


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#15 Offline Toa Smoke Monster

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Posted Oct 20 2014 - 05:46 PM

I usually always keep an eye on any topics I make, so this isn't that big of a change for me. :P

 

But anyway, I like this change a lot and keep them in mind if I ever make a question topic.


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