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Addressing some of the issues facing Q&A

Greetings all,

I want to share with you some of the things we've recently added and what is planned to address concerns that have been raised regarding abandoned questions, inactive closure and in general rewarding Experts for their contributions.

A well formed question that can be answered.
  • We revamped the question asking process to be more clear on what information is needed.
  • We recently introduced the ability to ask clarifying questions of the question author.
  • Customer Service now can aid new users through the question asking process.

Following up on the question
We've updated the question asking process to guide users through what they need to do.
When they've just ask the question and there are no comments:
helpontheway.PNGWhen experts have commented on the thread
engage.PNGAn example of how we hint to users what functionality does
Informing new Experts
New Experts are now getting guidance on how to contribute as they comment for the first time. Apologies for the issue where many long term Experts got these toasts (pop-ups) that were supposed to only go to new Experts. Basically they guide new Experts to go to https://www.experts-exchange.com/contribute.jsp.

Related to this we also added Job Titles to question comments and soon we will display whether or not a participating Expert has received an award.

Rethinking the way solutions are validated
Soon we'll be trying out a new workflow for question authors. Instead of waiting until a problem is completely solved to reward Experts, we will give authors the ability to react to comments as they arrive by indicating which comments they found helpful or unhelpful. This will allow us to give better instant feedback to Experts, and further down the road we are looking at adding an easy way for authors to indicate they still need a solution. Often Experts rely on the number of comments to determine this or have to review all the comments in the thread, which is not efficient. And when it comes to question closing, we will already have a good list of what helped the author and what likely lead to their solution.

Endorsements can be given for a lot of reasons, we want to allow Experts to choose how they respond to another's comment. Along those lines we are planning to give Experts more granular ways of reacting to other Expert comments. For example, I'm a new Expert in the Oracle topic and sdstuber and slightwv react to my comment as "Insightful" or "Innovative Solution", I would get notified of their approval which would make me feel great and the author would get an indication that comment comes endorsed by seasoned Experts in the topic. Conversely, if they find my solutions to be not well thought-out or just throwing out ideas without experience, then we wouldn't immediately notify me but rather guide me to how to better contribute as an Expert or perhaps suggest some training on Oracle best practices.

This is intended as the replacement of the inactive question system. This will help alleviate some of the issues the inactive question system sees with self assigning solutions and improve the current usage of the "Community Endorsed Solution". We are going to then better distinguish to all users which solutions can be verified as what worked for the author of the question and which ones are based on peer review.

If this works out then we are considering completely rethinking how points are distributed and focus it on what is helpful to the author and what is seen as valuable by the community. We are also heavily considering changing it so that there isn't a point cap per question because fundamentally this doesn't encourage collaboration. The more Experts that help, the less points are available to each participant.

I know this may seem daunting, but Don't Panic! :) We are prepared to spend the time necessary to react to any unintended consequences caused by these changes.


Craig Kehler
Director of Customer Service & Community Relations
View Previous CommentsLoad All Comments (40)
Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

Qlemo2018-02-18 06:45 AMID: 2113576
I've read several mentions of endorsements. I think the issue currently is that there is a lot of confusion about what they really should be used for. We do not have a way to tell how we mean an endorsement.
Is it
 "I like that idea"
 "I agree to the suggestion"
 "thank you for posting that, I won't follow up with it, but still wanted to say it is a good one"
 "this is the approach to be preferred, no matter if accepted"
... ?
In addition to that, what is the value of an endorsement? If I endorse, would I lke the comment author to receive extra points? Do I expect to get something from endoresing content?

Since not much happens with endorsements in regard to the question they are applied to, with exception of a special marker if enough endorsements have been placed, there is not much incentive to do.

Showing what you mean with endorseing (or whatever it will be called by then) will be part of the change, and has to.
Rank: Elite

Expert Comment

John2018-02-18 07:12 AMID: 2113583
The confusion you outline is why we have a long road ahead of us to replace points (nice, crisp Good Answer) with a mish-mash of Endorsements. We need to give Craig et al time to come up with a workable plan but Craig said (and I agree) that the road in front is long.

It also seems to me that I read (in our history) the Good Answer + the points concept was somehow patented.
Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

>>Yes but haven't you always wanted us to be more active outside of our normal work hours? :

There is after hours and VACATION!

>>If my kids come to me with a question they can solve, I show them how to answer it, rather than tell them the answer. :)

I 100% agree but then you have crazy uncle Eric that provides the answer and the teaching moment is lost forever.

I'll keep throwing this out until it takes root.  Let the asker decide:  "Just answer my question" or "I need help to figure this out on my own".

That gives a way to measure posts by others.  Using my 1+1 and they check "I want to learn".  If an Expert posts "2", it can be reported and another "teaching" moment can begin with the Expert.
Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Andrew Leniart2018-02-18 04:11 PMID: 2113732
My point was simply:  Brevity is a good habit in general.

That may have been your intention, but it's not what you wrote. Perhaps it would have been better for you to make your point in the first place, rather than suggesting others write unnecessary essays.

I'm one of those that tries to form a bit of a connection with those I talk to and have found they often appreciate it and reciprocate.

As I said, one size 'never' fits all - I can't think of a single question I've seen where your 13-word answer could be considered even remotely appropriate or helpful.

Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Andrew Leniart2018-02-18 04:19 PMID: 2113738
John, to clarify about Clarifications (:D): They are an option in beta which needs to be switched on by a badger for each question individually - at the moment. After enabling, everyone can post a clarification comment.

Yep. I've been trialing the function and have actually edited some askers stalled questions to switch the option on as it currently defaults to off. A great idea that I've found to be very useful a few times as it saves polluting threads with trying to drag clarifications out of an asker.

My understanding after a recent conversation with Scott Fell is that Craig is going to have that changed to "on" for default. Top idea IMO.
Rank: Ace

Expert Comment

PatHartman2018-04-19 12:44 PMID: 2150744
The new method seems to assign points to every answer the poster touches.  Is that your intention?  Why?  All that does is diminish the value of the actual answer.  I have run into multiple people who had trouble figuring out how to close a question including myself.