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Self signing points abuse

I see pattern for gaining points from some members.

The method is:
 - offer a solution (sometimes even months after last post on subject)
 - wait
 - help close email received
 - close question by assigning points to yourself, few or all participants

That way quality and reliability of solutions is, at the best, very questionable.
It will for sure affect forum quality and reputation. To be honest, I believe it is already deteriorating.
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Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

skullnobrains2017-12-26 11:08 PMID: 2085390
thanks for reading us out. so here is a few suggestions

-- give rewards to cleanup volunteers. do not give a bigger reward for selecting one's own answer. i cannot stress out enough how huge a difference this would make.

-- do not allow folks who have zero proven knowledge on topic to close threads ( unmonitored community accepts does qualify. a vote is not a vote unless there is an actual number of expressed votes ). if there are many topics and the closer is proficient in a single one, there are chances he needs to either remove some topics or refrain from cleaning up. ( a simple rule such as : threshold points * number of involved topics < sum of expert's points in said topics could apply )

-- cleanup volunteers may see a small dashboard with their own stats : %age of deleted , %age of forced accepts , %age of self accepts ( for 0 points obviously ) ... no monitoring there but just helpful data helping self monitoring



-- restore a sane maximum of number of topics per questions ( i recollect it used to be 3 ), and possibly have extra topics to give visibility in other topics but not points. suggested new topics are "extra" in essence.

-- cleanup topics by running db queries : if 80% of the questions pertaining topic X also have topic Y, there are chances there is one too many. obvious issues such as "software family" , "software X" , "software X version Y" have already been tackled... more or less. but there are other less obvious ones. possibly make some topics mutually exclusive such as "softX ver1.2" and "softX ver1.3"

-- divide points by the number of main topics. some people add topics at random to either help themselves or make the question more attractive.



-- let experts grade askers, possibly blacklist them. sending a truckload of annoying reminders makes them angry. sending fewer of them and letting them know they have been graded low and flagged as "poorly asked questions, see short ref on how to ask a good question" or possibly "lack of feedback" might help them asking better questions and get better answers next time they come. they may come back with a different paid account, try and get better grades using the same one, or never at all. grading/flagging seems beneficial in each scenari

-- likewise it seems reasonable to allow askers to ban an expert from a specific thread ( though it could be reserved to "good askers" or people who gained points on the forum in other ways )

-- needs thinking>> possibly let askers flag their own question as "help me rephrase, select topics..." so a good will might try to coach them... not that easy to implement but who knows, there should be some space for brainstorming over coaching.



best regards
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

<<-- let experts grade askers, possibly blacklist them. sending a truckload of annoying reminders makes them angry. sending fewer of them and letting them know they have been graded low and flagged as "poorly asked questions, see short ref on how to ask a good question" or possibly "lack of feedback" might help them asking better questions and get better answers next time they come. they may come back with a different paid account, try and get better grades using the same one, or never at all. grading/flagging seems beneficial in each scenari>>

  To grade asker's and even go as far blacklisting them because they ask "poor" questions is a very bad idea.   Asker's are here for help...it's why they are asking a question in the first place.  They can ask a "poor" question in many ways that is through no fault of their own.  For example, they may not be educated enough on a subject.  They know what they want/need, but none of the proper terms to use, so the question is confusing.   Or it may be that English is not their first language, so the question seems "poor" because its gone through a translator.  

 And grading a question would be very subjective.   I have seen it time and time again where two Expert's look at the same question in entirely different ways.   One nails the solution on the first comment because they understand the question, where the other misses it totally and goes in the wrong direction, asking for additional info that has no bearing on the problem.

  If anything, it should be the other way around; Expert's should be the ones held accountable.   They should not be answering questions they have no knowledge on, giving well thought out comments, and suggestion sound solutions.

  But to fault someone for not knowing how to do something is not the right approach, and that applies to Asker's as well as Expert's.  There is a learning curve in knowing how to answer questions as well and not everyone does it well.  Expert's though are the ones that are supposed to know what they are doing.

  But that also implies another disconnect; Expert's Exchange started out as a collaboration site, not as an Expert giving answers site.   The unofficial  motto was "everyone is an Expert" or in other words we are all considered equals, but may not know the same things.   So I help you and you help me with the things we don't know.  That's what gave a sense of community in the past and has been lost at this point.

  But rather than hold asker's accountable for asking "poor" questions, it  would be far better to educate Expert's on how to communicate more effectively with people and each other.   The fundamental problem is, the whole gamification of asking/answering gets in the way of that.  Too many Expert's are too worried about their points.

  You can hold asker's accountable for things like not closing questions and following a process, but you cannot fault them based on content.

Jim.
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Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

skullnobrains2017-12-27 11:23 PMID: 2086118
"grading" askers is essentially about flagging misbehavior and blacklisting is private matter.
this is about education. and i'm not suggesting to ban folks just because they ask a couple of lousy questions.
that said i would probably ignore an unclear question asked by someone with a zero feedback rate.
help them help us help them.

it could be more helpful to the asker to have 15 flags and one person taking time to explain what information is missing and why and help the asker rephrase than having the 8 first comments asking for mostly the same missing piece of information or possibly zero answer and no explanation at all.

likewise being able to flag a comment as rude can be useful. and can be anonymised. it is much better to have a few people flagging a comment as rude and mostly ignoring it rather than having open fights in the middle of the threads.

some flags do not need to stick to the person ( a poor question only matters in it's own scope ), others do ( asking 5 questions in a row and giving zero feedback on any of them )

anyway this is just one little piece of one part of one ( poorly phrased ) suggestion
my main point in this discussion is the first : reward cleanup tasks but do not give extra-rewards for selecting one's own answer.
what do you guys think ?
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Rank: Master

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Craig Kehler2018-01-11 01:31 PMID: 2092100
my main point in this discussion is the first : reward cleanup tasks but do not give extra-rewards for selecting one's own answer.
what do you guys think ?

Agreed that we need to reward the curation of content and that we really need to re-examine the inactive question process. The main focus of the inactive question process was to ensure Experts were able to still be recognized for their contributions when the author abandons the question. In some cases it is used well by people collaborating on what they think the best solution, but it has been the source of disagreements as well. As we improve the ability for members to react to others contribution and use those a signals for recognizing contributions we will be modifying the inactive question process.
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

Julian Hansen2018-01-12 12:05 AMID: 2092263
If anything, it should be the other way around; Expert's should be the ones held accountable.   They should not be answering questions they have no knowledge on, giving well thought out comments, and suggestion sound solutions.
It custs both ways - penalizing experts for not understanding a badly worded question is just as bad as flagging the non-english speaker struggling to get help in a foreign medium.

I think there are separate issues flying around here. One is about the quality of the question asked by people who are generally trying to engage.
The other is about askers who are clearly not interested in engaging - there are a couple of types.

1. The asker who seems almost contemptuous of the experts helping them and gives the barest minimum of input despite continual requests for clarification. Behaviour that is repeated across multiple questions - there are a few of these in my TA's - and regular offenders in the non-closing department

2. The asker who asks questions but is a second language English speaker and doesn't have the vocab to phrase the question correctly. There are some that I am guessing use Google Translate to first translate their questions and post the result given the odd turn of phrase that comes up.

I would argue that the type 1 user is the one that the debate regarding blacklisting pertains to.

Whereas type 2 is the one we need to assist in refining their questions so we can help them.

I get very frustrated with Type1 and have implemented my own blacklisting - I simply don't waste time on their questions. This is not a good solution because they don't know I am ignoring them. If there was some feedback loop (other than the number of views vs non-existent answers - which could be interpreted in a number of ways) it may be a way to "coax" such a user onto  a different track.

We don't want to be alienating users but at the same time we don't want to be frustrating experts - without whom the site will not really work.

On the type 2 askers, this is just pie in the sky for now but maybe having an option where (when progress understanding the question is slow) we have an option for the asker to ask a question in their own language and run it through a translator.
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Rank: Ace

Expert Comment

AndyAinscow2018-01-12 12:51 AMID: 2092279
>>I get very frustrated with Type1 and have implemented my own blacklisting - I simply don't waste time on their questions.

I've been tempted to do so myself but just think it is also effort to maintain that physically.  A few askers of questions I do recognise and remember the names.
In general every question asked anonymously gets ignored by me - simply because it could be someone I don't want to get involved with..
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