17

I'm a little unsure about how strict we should be in regards to what questions we think are appropriate and which questions are not.

I kind of think if we start closing questions that are not technical enough or are too vague then we run the risk of alienating novice users that have just started using Drupal.

Drupal has a very high learning curve and one of the hardest things when starting out is knowing what modules to use.

The kind of questions that I think should be closed are:

  • Questions that are about issues with a specific module. These types of questions should be made on the module's issue queue. We should be friendly and point the user there.
  • Questions that are not related to Drupal at all. Like "How do I style this form?" which is a CSS question.
  • Questions that are just lazy. Like "How to install Drupal or Module x" or "Write me a module".

I've seen so many posts on Drupal where a novice user askeds a simple question and has had frankly rude answers back from more experienced users because either the orignal question was too vague or was in the wrong place etc or did not use right terminology etc.

If we're going to call this site Drupal Answers I think we have to expect all sorts of questions and where we do have questions that are maybe not ideal I think we need to be helpful and kind to each one unless the question is totally taking the p***.

The most important thing for me is that we keep this site friendly. So if we do have to close topics, we are nice about it and don't just reply with "read our rules".

I'm really excited about this site and hope it will turn out to be a great resource for all types of users at all levels.

What does everyone else think?

This question was originally posted on What questions are on-topic, and what questions are off-topic?

8

Moderation issues are a key debate on almost every StackExchange site. I've been ticked off by a moderator before, so I know the concern. However, I'll say that I find the quality level of SE sites to be excellent and I'll trust that being a little strict helps the overall experience for users at the end of the day.

We can't let the site be riddled with basic, easy-to-Google Q&A's or the site just becomes impossible to navigate.

I will say that moderators often sound more stern than they mean to be, simply because tone is hard to acknowledge through electronic means.

4

The key seems to be to attempt to strike the right balance. We don't want the site to be filled with topics that most would consider to be obvious but we also don't want to go too far in the other direction and respond to every question with "check the readme". There is a lot of great documentation buried within drupal.org but it can be hard to find. It is due to this that we have an exceptional opportunity to fill a need with this site.

4

I am a Drupal novice, so hopefully I can give you some useful input on this topic.

Firstly, I'd agree that the drupal.org forum is a bit unfriendly - not just the attitude you sometimes encounter, but the layout of the site and the fact that questions often get ignored.

To give you an idea of my level, I don't know that I use the correct terminology, but I have installed several modules and am getting the hang of Views, but I haven't even started looking at templating.

I couldn't work out how to achieve something I required, so decided to post on the drupal.org forum. I got a reply and it really helped, but it only partially solved my problem - and even then, there was an error with it. I replied detailing the error. Several days on, I haven't had a reply and my post is now on page 16. I posted for help on Twitter's #drupal tag. Whilst I didn't get a reply, someone followed me and, looking at their posts, had linked to this site. It seemed to be just what I had been looking for! A site where you can close questions and point to an accepted answer - great!

It would seem that the site is in beta, and populated by Drupal experts. That's both a blessing and a curse for me. I posted my question, mentioning I'm a newbie, and waited patiently. I got I think 15 views without a reply (a little disappointing!), but eventually got a reply.

I don't want to sound ungrateful to the user who replied, but the reply was very brief and seemed to assume that I have a greater knowledge of Drupal. I explained that I didn't understand, and the user replied very politely, but unfortunately the reply was again rather vague! The thread has been continuing in a similar vein.

Whilst I'm most appreciative that the user took the time to help me, and has indeed been very patient, I would have rather had a step-by-step or a code example than a "use this module to put the data you're after into views" reply!

So, I would request that you remember that those asking questions may well be still at a basic stage of learning, and give them as much information as possible - particularly if they reply to your reply saying they don't understand!

On another note, there are a few things that I find slightly unfriendly/daunting about the site. I am not familiar with stackexchange, but have a feeling they may be more its features than anything to do with you. They are:

  • Being told you need 20 reputation to use chat.
  • Being told you need 150 reputation to create new tags.
  • Being told you can offer a bounty, but need at least 75 reputation.
  • The reply field (where I replied to a reply to my question) doesn't appear to allow formatting, which makes it look cramped and difficult to read.
  • As a result, when you try to press Enter to start a new paragraph, your reply is automatically posted! This wasn't mentioned next to the reply box at all.
  • A reply is limited to a set number of characters. Whilst I appreciate that probably makes sense, for a novice user who needs to expand on something, that's quite restrictive.
  • You only get 5 minutes to edit a post (at least, that's the case with a reply).
  • It would seem that, if for example a novice users requires clarification of a reply (perhaps some code), the OP won't be able to format their reply (and code will therefore look messy).

As I often do on forums, I look at the other questions whilst I'm waiting for a response, as I'm happy to offer help if I can. However, these questions are all WAY too advanced for me! How am I going to get my reputation high enough to use the chat, let alone offer a bounty, if I can't participate in questions?

I appreciate that there's a reason for needing a good reputation to create tags, but it seemed to me that the tags were rather limited and I couldn't find any that really related to my specific question - although I guess tagging it drupal-6 is still helpful!

From reading meta (which I didn't notice until a message told me I had access to it - or maybe I just didn't understand what meta meant!), it seems you might still be in a semi-closed beta stage? This wasn't really obvious to me when I joined, and so being told I couldn't use the chat and getting short answers from experts who seemed to assume I had their level of knowledge made me feel rather alienated and out of my depth. With no disrespect, I appreciate you guys are busy, but having to wait several hours for an answer only to have to ask the poster to elaborate and then wait hours again was quite frustrating. This, combined with the somewhat poor response (although the one reply did help a lot) from the drupal.org forum, made me feel rather depressed that I had achieved very little and perhaps I should just delete Drupal and find a better solution!

Please don't take offence to my post - I respect you guys and think you're doing a great thing here. I certainly hope this takes off for you, as I think it will be a valuable resource. I hope my comments may be of some use to you, though.

  • Thank you for your perspective. As a note: (1) if you are writing comments that long and complex then it is probably more appropriate to edit your existing question to add the new information. This is commonly done and makes it easy for everyone to follow your updates. (2) As for the reputation limits: I imagine they are (unfortunately) required on any SE site to prevent it from being flooded. All that said - welcome to Drupal Answers and I hope you don't get scared off! – Greg Apr 15 '11 at 15:12
  • Thanks for your suggestion! I'll bear that in mind. I'm sure I'll hang around - I like to learn from doing and real-life examples, so this sort of site is quite fascinating in that respect! I'm sure I'll grow to understand what's being said more as I progress! – eggplant_casserole Apr 15 '11 at 22:29
  • One that seems ludicrous to me - I am unable to vote up an answer to my own question as I don't have 15 reputation! I can understand not voting answers on other questions willy-nilly, but why can't I mark an answer as useful on my own question? I may, for example, have received several answers - one partially helped, another completely answered my question. Should I not be able to mark which I found helpful? – eggplant_casserole Apr 18 '11 at 1:06
  • I think you cannot accept an answer if not some hours later. I don't recall exactly when, as when I create a new account my reputation is already 101. – kiamlaluno Nov 7 '11 at 15:15
1

To find the right balance can be difficult, but let us remember there are some parameters that are used to judge how "healthy" a Q&A site is:

  • questions per day
  • answered questions
  • avid users
  • answer ratio
  • visits per day

"questions per day" and "answer ratio" are two parameters that, in some way, limits the difficulty of the questions.

If the question is too easy, then the answer ratio will be low; the same is true for a question that only one user is able to answer it.
The number of questions per day will tend to decrease, if we cut off the questions that are judged too easy (I don't find "too easy" as one of the reasons to close a question, though); that doesn't mean to accept also the too easy questions, but to require that such questions are very specific. A question like "Does Drupal support user permissions?" is too generic, but if the question would be, e.g., "Does Drupal allow me to decide which users can view a specific node without to assign them a specific role?", then it's an acceptable question.

0

I don't think the issue is really that questions aren't technical enough. If a novice asks a question, and it is an easy question to answer, the experts can easily explain it, and it adds to the useful content of the community.

The bigger problem is vague requests, or requests that are so broad that they are hard to answer. Those we need to discourage.

And then we have topics that cross boundaries. These sometimes become hard to place properly.

For example, theming Drupal might easily fall under Drupal, CSS or even PHP depending on what the question is. A CSS expert would have a better understanding of CSS, but a Drupal expert is going to better know where those CSS files are located, and what they contain by default. A PHP expert may be better suited to answer a specific coding example within a Drupal theme being created or modified, but only a Drupal expert is going to know how Drupal themes are structured.

Or someone may be asking the wrong question, and there is a better way to get the result. For example, someone may ask about custom CSS or PHP in Drupal, but in their case, what they really need is a Drupal module that will solve their problem with a click of a button. The CSS or PHP guys won't know there is a Drupal module available that solves their problem.

So I think we should be lenient about questions related to Drupal, as long as they are valid questions. If the question is totally off-topics, I agree it probably should be posted elsewhere. But if the topic crosses boundaries, then it might be best to let it stay in the Drupal community.

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