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'On Hold' function

Anyone else think that being able to place a question 'on hold; might be helpful? There are many different reasons that an Expert may want to do this. From, the weekend or sickness/holiday or even a schedule down time for a particular test/solution to be applied.

I have this question out there are the moment http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_28615694.html . We have asked the Data Centre Hosting Company to install more RAM into the server and are currently waiting for a date for this. The DC hoster is a large company with many SLAs and Change Request hoops to jump through for a change like that. I have added a comment to the question.

I would prefer to place the questions into a state that means it doesnt get flagged as neglacted etc. And once the RAM has been upgraded I will report back is that has helped or not.

Thoughts folks?

Thanks
Mark (aka Pappaslim)
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Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

EE isn't a "service desk" sort of application. It's a place for volunteer Experts to help other members resolve their issues. While there are similarities, anything that moves it in that direction is a bad thing, at least in my opinion.
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Rank: Wizard

Author Comment

Mark Galvin2015-02-24 08:41 AMID: 146245
Scott - I'm not suggesting that it is. I making a suggestion on a function that I feel might add value to the system.

Personally I hate working with call/ticket systems as they are too rigid. Again, just my experience. I would never want to see EE move that way.
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

COBOLdinosaur2015-02-24 12:03 PMID: 146289
Scott hit the nail on the head.  We are not the tech help desk. It's Q&A.  If there is a delay say so.  What difference does it make if the neglected flag gets set. If it goes so long that it get deleted, then it should have been deleted in the first place and you post a new question when you are ready to proceed.

If the history of EE tells us anything; it is that anything that can be abused, will be abused.  This can be abused, plus it sends the wrong message to users about how the site should be used.

Cd&
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Rank: Master

Expert Comment

Netminder2015-02-24 07:35 PMID: 146331
Mark,

First of all, there are only two times when a question in which the final comment is NOT by the asker gets tagged as abandoned:
After 14 days, when the Question Wizard locks until the question is updated/closed/deleted by the Asker; and
After 21 days, when the question goes into the Cleanup process.

You're also not the only person who is confused by "Neglected". A question becomes "Neglected" when there are no comments posted within the first twelve hours after the question is posted. At that point, notifications are sent to Designated Experts in the topic areas selected for the question; if there are no DEs for any of the topic areas, the Mods get notified as well. But it's not, in most cases, not a reflection on the Asker unless he's silly enough to post a question at 5 pm Pacific time on a Friday night -- because how much attention is paid to EE after about 5:05 pm Pacific drops by about two thirds.

After 24 hours, if there are no comments, the Asker sees the Request Attention button and can ask the Mods for more help.

Questions can also be marked Neglected, even if there are comments, if a Mod or Topic Advisor wants to use the DE system to get more attention to a question, which usually happens if the Experts have found other questions to answer and miss a notification or two.

Second, over the last decade or so, I've seen thousands of questions in which the Asker says "I'll be back next Wednesday after I've been to the client's"; in very few of them does s/he actually do so. Equally importantly, we have seen probably as many instances in which the Asker has closed the question as best as possible, and then come back and asked a new question that included a reference to the previous one... and not only do the Experts appreciate the additional questions, but they appreciate that the Asker is trying to do the work and get assistance, as opposed to expecting full blown applications or two weeks of on-site consulting for the subscription price.

Third -- and I hate to sound blunt -- but the Experts won't pay any attention one way or the other (as a couple have suggested). If you need two weeks before you're going to be able to report back and tell them that, that's fine. If you come back and post, they'll be notified; if you don't, then they'll have their say when the Cleanup Volunteers get to the question. But they're not going to put anything aside waiting for you, and if they're busy when you DO post again, they'll lose absolutely no sleep while letting you wait until they have time to get back to it. Such is the nature of volunteerism.

Netminder
Senior Admin
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Rank: Wizard

Author Comment

Mark Galvin2015-02-25 12:28 AMID: 146363
@Netminder - Thanks for the clarification. Using EE for 9 years and still learning.

Fell free to close this discussion down.

Thanks
Mark
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Rank: Master

Expert Comment

Netminder2015-02-25 10:11 AMID: 146453
Mark,

I'm not terribly interested in closing off discussion; rather, as you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of the whole Designated Expert/Neglected Questions system, because I think it was created by someone completely unfamiliar with EE in order to solve a problem brought on by an over-exuberant marketing promise made long ago. I would also make the case that the Abandoned system could use a little rethinking as well, and there is a tendency to try to confuse the two, or even make them somehow conjoined.

Neglected has to do with the Asker not getting responses such that s/he feels the question is being answered. Causes could be anything from the question being about obscure technology to just plain being poorly defined to the Asker's question history -- but the idea of having systems by which the Moderators can help Askers get their questions answered isn't a bad one.

Abandoned has to do with the Asker not being responsible for his open questions. That's cultural, because Experts Exchange is the only site of which I'm aware where the expected behavior is the Asker closing; at most forums and Q&A sites, when the Asker gets a solution, that's the end of it (some sites don't even want the Asker to say "thank you") -- but not at EE. We started the Cleanup program because Experts weren't getting the points they had earned, but today, since it's a lot easier to earn the Premium Services, the "problem" of abandoned questions is much less severe -- annoying, yes, but not as critical to the overall functioning of the site.

We believe that the rebuild of the Question Wizard, along with a LOT of revamping of the messaging on pages, will help with both problems; it will set expectations more clearly and will make getting a question in front of the people who can best answer it a lot easier. To that end, the urgency of improved systems to deal with both Neglected and Abandoned questions can use a little "benign neglect" -- but only because we don't know -- we only think -- that the new QW/etc systems will minimize the problems. It's certainly safe to say that we could be wrong, and that despite our best attempts to come up with a relatively foolproof system that the universe is capable of coming up with more adept fools.

So it's entirely appropriate to discuss both systems:
1. What's the best way to help Askers get questions that have been skipped over (for whatever reason) responded to by people who know what they're talking about?
2. What's the best way to compel Askers to close their questions appropriately?

N
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