• San Luis Obispo,
  • California,
  • United States

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Points irrelevant?

Can't remember the last time I saw a question under 500 points. Given that.... why don't we just move to make every question 500 points and not even give that option to the Asker?
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Rank: Genius

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Nick672015-02-19 01:03 PMID: 145667
the design change to award points in cross-posted topics was stupid to begin with.
Stupid is such a harsh word.

The problem is clear.
Categorizing questions can be complex -- and Askers really don't have to give a flying ...hoot...about doing it well.
GIGO -- garbage in, garbage out.  One of the very first rules.

Then there were the effects.
Most visible was likely bitching
'I don't care if it was coded 'hardware' It was an ASP Classic question and I want the points to be in THAT TA, darn it'
The action at the intersection of 'easy to do, cheap to do, and likely to silence the effect' was award points in all topics selected.
But it doesn't fix the underlying problem: that the asker doesn't have the incentive and sometimes the knowledge to classify correctly, that problems are complex enough occasionally to defy easy classification, and that the number of categories turned the UI for selecting the right ones into an unhappy swamp.

I don't know quite the right word.
Slothful perhaps.
Being loathe to tackle a virtually insoluble problem, and therefore applying a Band-Aid and punting the problem down the road isn't stupidity.

It ain't brilliance, either
Rank: Prodigy

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COBOLdinosaur2015-02-19 02:04 PMID: 145673
K.I.S.S.  In the market where we actually compete (StackO is not the competition they are at least two tiers higher than EE) the medium sized tech QA forums; the competition designs are much simpler. A small number of topics, with supplementary tagging and no cross-posting.  Instead of a large paid staff buildng complex stuff that never works right the first time; they have almost no staff and use custom versions of off the shelf software.  

That is the real competition in the niche where EE currently resides.  Some of those sites like digitalpoint eat EEs lunch on bounce rate; and by the way they have a premium paid version with a small number of subscribers and supplement with advertising.

It is just about time EE had a reality check.  They are not a big league site.  They are a small player becoming even less significant who are in trouble against even the mom-and-pop competition they face. Instead of pushing on with the fantasy that they are taking on StackO it is time for them to understand that ship has sailed.  If they do not simplify and optimize for the real competition they face the next step down will have them competing against kiddie forums run from kids bedrooms.

Rank: Prodigy

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COBOLdinosaur2015-02-19 02:16 PMID: 145676
Just for comparison:
Mom and PopThe once mighty; now tired and ill
So we can continue with the illusion that we are still important and playing in the big leagues, or we can deal with the real competitive threat and make the site a player in the league where we really play.

Rank: Savant

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Merete2015-02-19 07:39 PMID: 145712
The grades given is really the backbone as to how many points is granted.
A 250 point neglected  question with an A  is granted POINTS: 250 + 200 points x solution grade.
Rank: Prodigy

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PortletPaul2015-02-19 09:37 PMID: 145722
My Glass is Half Full
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COBOLdinosaur2015-02-20 09:04 AMID: 145834
Maybe it is time for a reality check

A lot of Experts on EE treat it like a game, and I sometimes think that SLO views it as a game.  So let's apply a sports analogy. In some competitive sports; like soccer or international hockey there are multiple tiers.  If you are not competitive and end up losing at the level you are playing in, you get relegated to a lower tier.  If you start winning against the weaker teams in the lower tier you have a chance to move back up.

So how do we define QA leagues? How about traffic rankings and competitive tiers top 100, top 1000, top 10,000 on the internet.
EE was once a very important top team, but because of some really bad decisions over time it turned into a loser (in terms of traffic ranking) and got relegated some time ago.  EE is now a tier 3 team that is fortunate to retain some Tier 1 players or it could have been down to tier 4.

There is little point in re-hashing the bad decisions that were made.  That is history.  However it is worth examining the reasons that EE remains in the minor leagues.  There seems to be this myth that EE is still important and competing in the big leagues.  No one at SLO; in top management; or even among a lot of the Experts in the community is willing to accept the reality of the situation as they hide in a fantasy world where they are competitive in the big league against StackO.

The cost of continuing to ignore reality is that EE is not only not competitive with StackO, but that the tier 3 teams they actually compete against are eating their lunch. You move back up by wining in your tier, not tilting at windmills by pretending you can compete with the big boys. However TPTB seem to think that having Experts untying knots while wearing a blindfold and boxing gloves is going prove that they are tier 1 and they don't have to be concerned about these other tier 3 teams.

EE still has a big competitive advantage in tier 3. They still have the value of a few remaining tier one players; they have even managed to spawn a few newer players with potential thanks to the efforts of some Experts who still understand how important it is to keep a flow of talent in the community.  Please take off the virtual reality helmet long enough to see where EE really resides, and the nature of the space where we compete.

How does our real competition work? They are much smaller operations with little or no paid staff; so they have much lower overhead.  Most of the revenue they generate comes from advertising or the sale of templates and plugins. A few have "premium" offerings and sell a few subscriptions.  However they impose very few limits on the non-premium users because they need them to answer questions and generate traffic based advertising revenue. They don't make big profits, but they get enough to keep the lights on.

Commonly, there are a few local stars; a few of them could possibly move up.  They also get occasional "drop ins" from top-level stars with more impressive credentials on other sites, and they make sure to welcome them and accommodate their needs. Overall the people answering the questions on these sites are considered a critical asset and the sites go out of their way to keep them happy and posting.

So is EE ready to compete with the tier 3 teams? Tag stew is not going to help because it does nothing but continue the myth that EE can climb back up by mimicking the tier 1 teams.  You have to win in tier 3 by innovating at the tier 3 level and doing a better job in the minor league before you can move up to tier 2 and start attracting stars and new players with potential, then you can extend your model to win in tier 2 and have a shot at getting into tier 1 where you think you should be.

Reality == EE is on the third level and without real creative, outside of the box thinking will stay there or sink lower.  Tag stew is not in the least bit innovative and will fail in the tier 3 space, because the audience in tier 3 is not sophisticated enough to grasp the abstract nature of an all tag format; that is one of the reasons they use tier 3 instead of going to the big league game that challenges them beyond their ability to understand the game.  Semantic tagging within a small group of parent topics, extends the common UI in tier 3 and would make EE the team to beat in tier 3 so we can move up instead of rotting in the minor leagues.

The hybrid keeps a comfortable familiar interface in front of the tagging abstraction but still allows the power and flexibility of tags to create a more efficient, easily navigated, and powerful ability to access detailed related information without needing to figure the right tags to use.

Most of the tag creation, designation of relationships, and classification can be automated, and tools for intervention would not need to be complex or require backend changes that is what you will end up with if you go to tag stew and then have to adjust it constantly because the tier 3 audience has a problem understanding the concepts.  Tags for technical QA are not the same as tags for social networking and TPTB will soon find that out if they try tag stew while relegated to a tier where topic interfaces dominate.

Now I expect SLO and TPTB to ignore the reality as they have been doing for years, and continue to wear a virtual reality helmet in which they are still an important site for tech QA and competing in the big league against their hated opponent StackO who will ultimately be defeated because EE will not just copy their model but improve upon it and venture forth to win the QA Superbowl; but now I have the piece I can point to when I say "I told you so" if they continue to live in the fantasy world in which they are hiding and take us to even lower levels where the trolls dominate and the dark side wins out.