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Thread: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

  1. #1

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    PowerPoster Elroy's Avatar
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    Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Hello,

    I'm a frequent participant in the "Visual Basic 6 and Earlier" forum, and here's an observation.

    It seems that we somewhat frequently get newcomers, and they're often people with varying skill levels and also varying understandings of how these forums work.

    For the most part, the "old hacks" are nice to them. However, at times, there is some degree of rudeness. For instance, on some simple (or even not so simple) questions, a reply will read something like, "did you even bother to search the forums at all before posting?" or "how many times do we have to go over this for people to understand it?"

    I hold my own, but this type of attitude must be intimidating for people who aren't complete experts in VB6 and don't also have an extremely strong personality.

    From another perspective, once there are posts somewhere on the forum that cover all there is to be known about VB6, do we just close it all down and keep it all for an historical archive? Are we just developing the be-all-end-all MSDN help system?

    I've always felt that there was more to these forums than just an historical archive (or comprehensive help system), such as an interactive teaching component, and an actual social component (but still, of course, always tied to the forum's purpose).

    Is there anything wrong with someone new coming in and starting a thread asking the difference between a While/Wend loop and a Do/Loop? IMHO, I would hope not.

    On the flip side, sure, in times in the past, I've tried to find unexplored areas of VB6 to discuss (such as the internal workings of Collections or how far Variants can be pushed to store data types that aren't intrinsic to VB6 such as the LongLong or unsigned types). However, these topics are rather esoteric to beginner and mid-level programmers. And, to some degree, they scare these people away.

    I guess, what I'm suggesting is, to possibly keep these forums lively and vibrant, we may want to be a bit more kind to people posting who are beginners or mid-level, or even more advanced but possibly exploring an area they haven't explored before (even if the area has been explored in some other past thread). How else are new members (of whatever skill level) going to feel welcome to explore and increase their knowledge in an interactive way?

    Best Regards,
    Elroy

    p.s. Sure, I do occasionally see ... ummm ... "jerks" who start an account and just cause trouble. And I really don't know what the answer is there. But I think the moderators actually do an excellent job of dealing with them. I'm actually trying to make a point that's completely separate from this.

  2. #2
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    For the most part, the "old hacks" are nice to them. However, at times, there is some degree of rudeness. For instance, on some simple (or even not so simple) questions, a reply will read something like, "did you even bother to search the forums at all before posting?" or "how many times do we have to go over this for people to understand it?"
    You're not the first person to mention this. The only sure fire way to help out here is to start coming down hard on the person that does this... Then we risk the possibility of losing them.... Catch 22.

    Open to suggestions.

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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    I absolutely agree with the sentiment but, as Steve says, it's difficult to Police. There's nothing in the forum rules that says you need to be encouraging at all times and, realistically, we all lose our patience from time to time (myself included if I'm being honest) so I'm not sure it's a rule I'd want added.

    I think the best thing is to just each take personal responsibility. Be as encouraging as you can to any newcomer. If you see someone being discouraging, just try to be even more encouraging.

    I do wish folks would remember that we're all human. Sometimes that means we're a bit dense, sometimes a bit lazy, sometimes miss-guided. None of that justifies being "put in our place". In my opinion it's little more than intellectual bullying.
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Hi Steve and Funky,

    Thanks for the replies. I thought about possibly suggesting to put these sentiments into a Sticky, but I don't know. I'll certainly agree that it's a tricky balancing act. Maybe just having this open discussion will help.

    I must say that I certainly enjoy these forums a great deal. These are the only forums of any kind (programming or not) where I've posted more than half-a-dozen posts. And I'm continually amazed at what nuggets of knowledge I pick up here. For instance, just yesterday, I figured out that the new GDI Scaling available in Window 10 version 1703 works well with my programs, and also that turning it on can be done within a manifest file.

    And it's a pure delight to me to feel I'm a part of a larger programming community.

    Best Regards,
    Elroy

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    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    realistically, we all lose our patience from time to time (myself included if I'm being honest)
    I can raise my hand in agreement. I even do it with my paying clients that I do support for.

    "Hey Steve, you know that situation you helped me with two days ago? I have another one just like it."

    Me - Well look at the notes you took and fix it the same way we did two days ago.

    Instead of just telling people what to click on - we work hard to educate them... It should be a Win-Win... Heaven forbid they create a folder in their email app and save the instructions we send out.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Elroy View Post
    From another perspective, once there are posts somewhere on the forum that cover all there is to be known about VB6, do we just close it all down and keep it all for an historical archive? Are we just developing the be-all-end-all MSDN help system?
    Yep, that's the plan. Be sure to let us know when every question has been asked so that we can lock the forum


    I've always felt that there was more to these forums than just an historical archive (or comprehensive help system), such as an interactive teaching component, and an actual social component (but still, of course, always tied to the forum's purpose).

    I'd say that the social component of the forum is a huge part of it. However, once you get a large 'family' you will always end up with that one weird uncle, and this place is only different in that the title gets passed around over time.

    It really comes down to where to draw the line. Everybody seems to have a range. There is no member who is always nice or always rude...actually, there may be a few who are always nice, but I'd be willing to bet that they've deleted a few of their own posts before hitting the Submit Reply button. It's also hard to predict when a person will be short, or when they'll take the time to explain something thoroughly and at a very elementary level....except Sitten, who ALWAYS writes books. It's also hard to tell how people will receive that. We actually had somebody get utterly incensed that a subject was explained thoroughly. The person wanted yes/no and was furious at getting a more detailed answer. So, it's always a bit of a gamble.
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    Administrator brad jones's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Speaking of forum families......and then there is the "Dad" in the group... that person that gets final say....

    Whenever someone sees a thread, post, or action that seems to be outside of what should be appropriate forum behavior, they can always report a post, which goes to moderators and admins. If the issue is with a moderator or admin, then anyone can always connect with me via the forum or email. My email gets posted around and I also get the 'contact us' emails from the forums.

    To add to what others have said, forums are done in written form, so many times posts get taken out of context. Those are unfortunate situations we work through. I've addressed a number of complaints about how someone was treated that came down to being posts taken out of context or language translation issues. Of course, there are those posts of "do your own homework" or "go search for it" that can be written in a snide way. It is agreed that this isn't always a good way to deal with things.

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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    The things you protect say a lot about the community you wish to build.

    I interpret this as, "So long as you produce a lot of content and occasionally answer a question, who cares if you chase a handful of users away from programming forever?"

    Maybe I should switch up my style and help thin out the herd. There's a lot of ways to condescend while looking innocent. Programmers and other geeky types are real good at it.

    Currently, my opinion on when I get to, "Bless his heart, this guy's dense" is I'm supposed to exit the thread. I've seen some pretty nasty alternate responses to that scenario. It's pretty easy to egg someone on until they get ticked off and "become the aggressor". That's forum troll behavior as old as usenet.

    It's not that hard to not be a jerk to people who you think are dense.
    Last edited by Sitten Spynne; Jul 21st, 2017 at 04:44 PM.
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Also in hindsight, I'm starting to think, "I have made 3 drafts of this post" is a good sign I should probably wait a while and/or not post.

    This particular topic irks me because there's been at least 6 threads with an, "I'm never coming back because of you" reply in them for this guy. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time in the last 6 months it's been brought up here. It's pretty telling that while everyone's dancing around naming the member, we all know who he is. He isn't as subtle as he innocently pretends to be, we all agree you have to squint to read it 'properly'.

    I've been the person who debated not coming back before after seeing how badly some person was treated. It's really hard for me to take, "You're being too sensitive". Maybe you're blessed and didn't go through a lot of harassment in your life. Not everyone has. And no one should expect to be insulted or berated for asking a question on a Visual Basic forum.
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    A night of thinking led to I think a shorter, better point.

    Again, I get a little passionate about this because I've been on the receiving end and given up on hobbies because of comments like this. That's a good reason for any expert to not behave in this way. I don't think it's professional, either. I'd rather boot a hostile member off my team than retain "talent" no one wants to work with.

    But this is a forum, not a professional team, and we can't exactly hire on a replacement if we give people the boot. It's hard to tell if anyone's speaking with him in private, and trying to correct someone in public always goes badly. I don't know what the "right" thing to do here is, but it's a problem that could be solved on the user's end.

    To be fair, I can't remember the last time I personally saw it happen.
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    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Just use the "Report Post" option....
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    Administrator brad jones's Avatar
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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve R Jones View Post
    Just use the "Report Post" option....
    Ditto - reported posts are really appreciated. And yes, we do a lot of email and PMs to manage problems. The moderators also delete and ban a lot of spammers on a daily basis. A lot of effort is given by the team to keep this forum functioning without become a full fledged promo site for everyone's shoes, jerseys, medical aids, and more....

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    Re: Just an observation (and maybe a suggestion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve R Jones View Post
    You're not the first person to mention this. The only sure fire way to help out here is to start coming down hard on the person that does this... Then we risk the possibility of losing them.... Catch 22.

    Open to suggestions.
    Before I say anything I have been guilty of "not so nice" responses also...

    Maybe not hard; but a friendly reminder. I got a few of those once or twice in the last decade.

    jmcihinney takes a pretty no nonsense approach to posters that get really lazy or don't even try. Very stern and disciplined but never personal. He always tries to help if the person is trying.

    Another approach is if you don't have something constructive to add; don't post.
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