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I sometimes think that the SDN forums are nothing more than a kindergarten since some people behave like toddlers. As with kids, even if one says something repeatedly, some won’t listen.
Yes, it has been stated a multitude of times, and despite FAQ, the sticky  :O Rules of Engagement — 2005-02-25 by Brian (in the BSP forum) and the sticky Welcome and Rules of Engagement by Craig (in each forum!), people still consider that the rules don’t apply to them and continue to:

  • Ask for illegal content (copy of courses, etc.)
  • Be cryptic in both the subject (eg. “Hi”) and question.
  • Cross post problems
  • Not come back to things when somebody asks for clarification
  • Not reward points
  • Not take things for granted if there is no solution for their problem or of they don’t like the answer
  • Steal answers (yes, even questions)  from others without referring to the original content
  • Post in the wrong forums
  • Post commercial messages
  • Post things that have clearly been asked and answered a multitude of times before
  • Provide e-mail addresses for the answer to be sent to and thereby preventing other people from learn from it too
  • Say that things are urgent
  • Stalk people for failing to answer or address people personally

You can refer to some of my earlier grumpies for more details on the afore-mentioned problems.

I want to finish by adding some personal “Rules of engagement”:

  • As Brian says, ALWAYS reward points. It might not be a spot on answer, but at least someone has done their best to answer. I’ve done a little excercise and spent last Sunday afternoon endless hours on reviewing my last 1500 answers to forum threads. I’ve listened to Craig’s Is it good to be back? and made a list of all threads where the original thread initiator didn’t gave any points to NOBODY. After filtering out the doubtful or where people said it didn’t help or questions which weren’t marked as a question (in order that people don’t have to assign points?), I’ve a list of 255 threads. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 255. Isn’t that a shame? Let’s presume that an avarage of 4 people spend 2,5 minutes to answer a question thread, we get 2550 minutes or 42.5 hours or > 1 man week of work without appreciation. Speaking in terms of points, this comes to at least 510, but more lickeable 1530 points – assuming that the answers are very helpful, but not perfect – waisted. Is it ignorance, egoisme or some kind of sabotage in order to prevent others getting points? It is by all means a disgrace.
    So DO give at least 2 points to every answer for the effort. And no, it will not lead to abuse. It’s up to the poster of the question to check whether an answer is genuine or not. Also reward even if you don’t like the answer. You don’t need to punish others if you expected X as an answer instead of the correct answer Y. Posting a question in order to justify oneself should be prevented.
  • Be brief, straight to the point and avoid epistles. You’re not writing a web log or article.
  • Be careful when posting code.
  • DON’T SHOUT. I’M NOT DEAF. In others words don’t use capital letters all the time. That’s a basic rule in netiquette. The Shift/Shift Lock key can’t be that far away. Even so called ergonomic keyboards do have them. Use a fluo marker if you have difficulties in finding them.
  • Keep code as tidy and as short as possible in order for things to remain readable. Don’t post entire reports. Please also keep in mind that posting someone else’s code without permission is illegal.
  • Not everybody is a native speaker and so keep your language as simple as possible. Some wordings can be wrongly interpreted by other cultures, thus remain polite and avoid slang. If you’re not a native speaker, try your best to make yourself understandable.
  • Post a question in the correct forum. You’ll get quicker and better answers if you do so.

It is all about common sense, so why can’t some people simply comply wuth the rules and start reading the above mentioned rules of engagement. I hope everyone can read (my 6 year old son can), otherwise this Grumpy is useless too. Or maybe one is effectively stuck in the toddler phase.
Call me old fashioned or an old bore, but if they still can’t comply then the only recourse is either a good spank or to put them on their knees in the corner. Either of these might help or at the very least let them know that something is not right.


imageThe World According to SDN. Put yourself on the SND world map and earn 25 points. Spread the wor(l)d!

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  1. Former Member
    Yes that was my advice and YOU were the only one to send me a list. Now if anyone actually thinks I’ll get to it before the 28th well let’s be realistic! I won’t I spent an hour going through the first 27 threads from Eddy’s list – I mean have to read them and if I know the area then I can also reward them if not I have to email the person who asked and talk to them about the process.

    Well with the first 27 I was able to reward points nd I dished out over 250 points – 128 of them went to Eddy the rest went to others in the threads who answered as well. I DID NOT GIVE 2 points for every reply – that I am not a big fan of because some of them would get 2 points for saying “Glad it’s working now”. So use common sense folks.

    Between now and the end of the year and beyond I will be going through the threads that are sent to me and doing this – BUT I will not look at anything that is less than 90 days old. This may change in the future but for now if it’s older than 90 days I’ll look.

    Eddy once again you have done a great job with this blog in bringing to light things that are happening and the fact we ARE trying to fix them but without your cooporation that won’ work.


    1. Eddy De Clercq Post author

      I want to thank you very much for the effort you’re doing to fix an issue that is caused by the ignorance by others. A situation that could be prevented!


    2. Former Member
      Craig, do you want to be bombarded with such lists (with potential follow-ups about not_awarded/Wrongly_awarded threads in those lists)?

      I have <600 posts till now, and a similar random browse of my earlier posts reveal quite a few threads that have no points assigned (to any answers) and which are >90 days old. I can only think of the lists you may get from people at 6K posts (ie if they really take the pain)!

      I don’t think this is an exercise in the right direction. If there are moderators, let them do this job (everyday open all threads which are a month old ‘And’ have answers ‘And’ no points assigned, and assign points if they think fit.).

      1. Former Member
        Actually yes I do want the lists, but if you follow the trail back to where I suggested this – you’ll see that if I do it – it’s final decision no rebuttals – 🙂 in fact some of the questions I went through for Eddy are no longer questions, some were deleted and some were moved to more appropriate areas.

        Our moderators are working on things like this as well, but we don’t ask them to go back through the “old” stuff.

        The point of the exercise is not to reward points, the point of the exercise is to help educate the names I see more than once on how the point system works and why we have it. Believe I don’t want to spend my day rewarding points on old threads – I want to be sure that everyone understands how the system works and then to help ensure we get things moving in the right direction – if someone doesn’t want to reward – we don’t force them but we do want to know why and discuss it with them – these lists help me find those people.


  2. Former Member
    good blog Eddy.
    Though I don’t agree with the 2 point minimum variant. If this were really reasonable we could simply automate.
    To me ‘Helpful answer’ means helpful answer. If an answer isn’t helpful to me I won’t call it helpful. I don’t do that in my real life either, telling someone his advice was helpful if it wasn’t. I’d say ‘thank you for your effort’ though and I try to do the same in forums.
    Moreover, if something is helpful or not is very subjective, e.g. if someone asks “How Do I get started with web services in ABAP” and someone else answers ‘Goto SE80!’, now, is this helpful?

    To me personally this whole fuzz about the points is one kindergarden aspect itself – but I guess I already mentioned that elsewhere.

    Honestly, in recent times I come across more and more forum replies which aren’t only not helpful but plainly wrong, misguiding or trivial.
    If I took the points system that serious I had to stand up here in favour of another option, which is “Absolutely not helpful answer” or simply ‘Wrong answer’ with a value of -2 points or more leading to a readuction to the one posting such an answer.
    Maybe this would – although reasonable – start a massacre in the kindergarden.

    my 2 cents for 2 points minimum,

    1. Eddy De Clercq Post author

      I still think that the Brian’s philosophy is the best (see also :O Rules of Engagement — 2005-02-25)
      It doesn’t say that these 2 points count for incorrect or a malicious answers.
      One doesn’t need to be stingy though. An answer doesn’t need to be spot on for 2 points. That’s why we have also 6 and 10 points.
      As said, it’s up to the poster of the question to check whether an answer is genuine or not.


      1. Former Member
        Eddy I have to agree with Anton – let’s be honest are your posts reminding people to reward answers deserving of two points each time? No, many people consider them annonying actually but the other half of the people find it annonying that people don’t play by the rules and simply reward.

        When Brian wrote that it was a whole different world here on SDN, times changes as do those on the system.

        If you take Brian’s message to the point it was intended then posts that add value even a little are deserving.


        PS – and no Anton no minus points 🙂

        1. Eddy De Clercq Post author

          It speaks for itself that those reminders don’t need to be rewarded. There is no other intention than remind people that one has to reward people if one gets a USEFUL answer to their question. It’s just a matter of common sense of grown up people.
          People might find my reminders annoying but one doesn’t need to shoot the pianist for other people behaving badly and “undermining” the system. If one followed the rules as it should be, these reminders, this and and other forum discussions and even this web log shouldn’t exist.
          And yes, I know : the world isn’t perfect, not even the SDN world 😉



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