• San Luis Obispo,
  • California,
  • United States

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What can EE do?

EE has changed a lot since I joined in 2004. It used to be a fun place to be, with plenty of questions and knowledgeable experts. Sadly, it now comes across as a dreary place with no character.

This got me thinking about what I would do to improve EE....

Articles should not be behind the pay-wall

Articles are great, but for most users they generally aren't specific enough to their problem to be of any real help. Attract people to EE by making the articles available freely, then they can sign up to ask questions or search further.

Allow people to vote solutions up or down

Doings so allows for a number of outcomes...

The more up-votes a solution gets, the higher it can appear in the search results
At the moment, there is no reward for quality answers. A crappy answer can get the same as an awesome one. Reward the better answers giving greater incentive for quality. It need only be 10 or 20 points per up-vote.
Make solutions with no votes available freely, but keep up-voted solutions as premium content. Those solutions with a negative vote should be kept hidden from the general public. Obviously it would require going through the entire PAQ and up-voting solutions based on some criteria (page views, used in other solutions, etc).
Allow the general public to vote on the freely available solutions. This can help build the premium content, as well as removing the rubbish from external search engines.

Make the question wizard easier to find

The old button that said "Ask a Question" was great. Easy peasy. Now it's hidden under "Solve". If I'm asking a question, I obviously haven't been able to solve the problem, so I wouldn't think to look for the wizard there. As an expert, Solve is where I would go to solve other peoples questions.

Be visible

We like talking to the people in SLO. Don't lurk. Engage us in conversation. Make us feel like we are being listened to.

Any other recommendations? Try not to get too nasty.
View Previous CommentsLoad All Comments (89)
Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

Mike McCracken2015-01-13 09:25 AMID: 141266
That carrier is pretty close to shore.  ;>

Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Nick672015-01-13 09:35 AMID: 141267
That still don't worry me much.
The brothers-in-law may need to call in a favour or two from 3 Wing Bagotville, but for free beer it could probably get done :)
Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

COBOLdinosaur2015-01-13 10:08 AMID: 141270
Yeah well the cf-18 might find they are not real good when I go to the second last option and bring in the f-35s to fly high cover for the A-7 ground attack.  You don't want to know about the final option,.. it is probably a crime against humanity to use it.

Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Nick672015-01-14 05:24 PMID: 141414
This got me thinking about what I would do to improve EE....
Getting back to the main topic.
informational desertThis page remains an informational whitespace desert.
The amount of whiteness on this page is something I have repeatedly kvetched about.
It makes it impossible to work with in low light situations, but fine, we seem to be stuck with that, but now, let's talk the content on the page.

We have Date-- but what date?  Date asked, Date of last comment, or some other value?
As an Expert I want to see the date & time of the last comment posted if it was in the last week, just the date if earlier.
If the time could be smart enough to know my time zone, great, or note that the times are Pacific Time.
I get a wealth of information from the time.  How recently did someone chime in? Was that the middle of my night?  Then it was a night-owl or one of my European colleagues.  Perhaps a kiwi or an aussie.  Was it very recent? Was it an hour ago?  Was it six hours?  All of these things play into a decision to click a link on this page

We have points.  But points are now always 500 and thus irrelevant
Title and Topic are important.
But clearly there's a lot of space between the end of Topic and the number of comments.
And then there's the stuff to the right of the number of comments.
Given that I am coming from my saved searches, there's nothing in this that's useful to me.
If I am creating a new search perhaps -- but at this point the content to the right is useless

Here's another site we use extensively.
Look in the upper right
Sidebar link
And here is the menu flown out
flown outWith something like that we could then start to put back the useful information that was stripped out of this page when V10 was shipped.
We used to see an icon for the state of the last comment (author, Expert, or Admin) and the Q (active, neglected, awaiting author, abandoned)
We used to see the screenname of the last poster.
Both of those were very important to me, and I miss them still yet.
To the point that I don't look to answer questions unless they are brand new (notifications or email) or Neglected (notifications or email)

I thank whoever at EE made it so that I have not lately seen 'webpage has expired'
Backward navigation from search pages used to be very hideous in that regard.

Why have I brought all this up?
We don't want questions to linger uncompleted.
But the present interface does NOT induce the Expert to prod questions along.
And that is something that EE can do.
Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

COBOLdinosaur2015-01-15 09:11 AMID: 141536
As part of the v11 beta testing group I spend 3 frustrating months pointing out problems with the UI, about 10% got a satisfactory resolution.  Since that time we have moved to a business model where they don't care about how difficult it is for Experts because the site is run by marketing geniuses who don't have a clue what we need because they ignore requests and seem to consider every critique of the crud as a personal attack.  

The UI is the way it is because the people responsible for it are motivated by keeping a paycheck by pleasing the marketing bosses who think that free trial offers, excessive bling, and worthless toys will overcome slow response time flaky navigation, a crappy UI, and a lack of response to questions from Experts who are giving up by cutting back or quitting.  EE's bottom line is that marketing trumps quality and toys for marketing egos are more important that working tools for Experts.

Of course that is negative so I guess SLO and TPTB will see it as another attack from the crazy Canadian who is not a team player.

Rank: Master

Expert Comment

Uni Kitty2015-01-15 09:15 AMID: 141537
This is great Nick, we're conducting navigation research right now so I've added this feedback to the team's project for review.