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Commenting best practices

Posted November 19, 2021 12:00 AM

Last week we focused on how to create high-quality, community-engaging CR4 threads. Ultimately, this is where CR4 content comes from.

However, these threads would be valueless without the comments answering questions or continuing the discussion.

Since last week we talked about posting best practices, this week let’s talk about comments.

Thankfully, the majority of parent-level replies to threads and blogs are on-topic and help further the community’s understanding of the topic at hand.

Too often, comments consist of overly simplistic answers, cynicism or off-topic replies. These types of answers discourage posters from engaging with respondents or asking future questions, and are what we want to prevent.

Common types of unhelpful answers:

  • Let me Google that for you.
  • Homework is not allowed! (so report it instead)
  • One-word replies
  • URL-only replies (add some context, please).
  • Contact the manufacturer (with no additional information provided).

Be sure to rate comments as Good Answers or Off Topic. There is no reason to be stingy handing these votes out.

Also, keep the attitudes and arguments in check. It is okay to disagree, and to criticize each other’s ideas. When the conversation turns personal or insulting, that is when it is time for a moderator to intervene.


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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1631
Good Answers: 142

Re: Commenting best practices

11/21/2021 12:14 AM

Well . . . .

Snarkey remarks are sometimes made that cause friction when there was no need for it. We should try not to do that.

OFF TOPIC: and similar can get out of hand but if you catch an old timer on an honest day I think you will find that the "cast iron bathtub" was probably the best community building exercise that ever existed at CR4. The keyboard you type on is connected to a machine. We are not a machine.

LMGTFY: Answering a dumb question because someone just can't find the answer is one of the reasons we are here. Answering a dumb question from a lazy person who has such low respect for others (us) that he/she doesn't bother to look for the answer themselves, well . . . . .

HOMEWORK: A long time ago I missed many parties, social events and fun things because I worked my a$$ off to get from where I was to where I am. To this day it is a very rare week where I don't spend many hours of the week trying to improve myself. If someone shows that they are working hard and trying then it is often rewarding to help them. If they are just trying to be lazy and want me do their work for them, then, well . . . . .

HOMEWORK PART 2: It seems like we are missing out on bringing in a lot of new people by not being part of the advanced problem solving of young technical people. I don't have any constructive suggestions as to how we can be a resource for hard working students but not a homework cheat site for others. It seems to only be once every 3 or 4 years that a student posts, identifies themselves and sticks around for a few weeks. It just seems like we are missing something. (From the "pay the bills" point of view a lot of people go out in the technical world without having had any contact with GlobalSpec.)

NOT WIKIPEDIA: There is importance to Global Spec (the people paying the bills) to have value and courtesy in the CR4 content. That must not be forgotten. It is also important to remember that if we wanted to be WikiPedia editors we would be logging into our WikiPedia accounts. The best engineering jobs have the job description "do what you don't know how to do and have never done before". See a pattern with members and postings. . . . ?

If I was house broken, well behaved and properly groomed they would let me in the conference room more often.

ROGER PINK & MILO: Where are they? I miss them. It has been a long time since Winfield Hill has visited us but I used to keep his books handy as a reference. It would be nice if he did little "Milo like" postings. If he (and other authors) were allowed to plug their books at the end of the posting it might be "worth their time" to make postings for us. We have (or at least had) at least one other member who is a published author (I don't remember who). Also William Fay at French River Land has one of those web sites that make you realize that break time was over 45 minutes ago. I wish he and his kids (and dogs) would do some "Milo like" postings.

Few things limit our potential as much as knowing answers and setting aside questions.

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: by the beach in Florida
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Good Answers: 1793
In reply to #1

Re: Commenting best practices

11/22/2021 12:22 PM

I think this is more of a wish list than they are topics for conversation....

All living things seek to control their own destiny....this is the purpose of life
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Crime Alley, Gotham City
Posts: 703
Good Answers: 10
In reply to #1

Re: Commenting best practices

11/22/2021 2:28 PM

Hey BruceFlorida,

A lot of stuff I agree with.

We should not be here to Google stuff for people, or help helpless new users. But we should give new users a chance to get acquainted with site decorum and UI before piling on Off Topics or LMGTFY. Multiple previous users have expressed discouragement for not following unwritten rules that community members believe exist or enforce.

We actually do accept homework help questions, and have a dedicated space for this. Look for us to revamp this effort next year, once registration issues are sorted.

If you ever see a post or comment you don't think adds value or is worth your time - just don't engage with it. I promise you will be much happier just ignoring the nonsense than trying to fix it.

Finally, users are free to come and go as they please. Nothing stops users from talking about their projects or work; moderators will only step in for spam postings.

Reply Off Topic (Score 4)

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Hemel Hempstead, UK
Posts: 5723
Good Answers: 309

Re: Commenting best practices

12/08/2021 6:37 AM

I'm not certain that "Let Me Google That For You" is always unhelpful.

I quite often reply to posts "In case you haven't already tried this": I then use the google search string as a link to the google search. Quite often the OP is grateful.

I still struggle myself with finding the right search string for things I'm looking for: some people are brilliant. I remember years ago I was trying to find out if Glucosamine Sulphate would be any good for my arthritic knees. I had found an official web site describing a clinical trial which had already taken place; it was very detailed but no matter how many links I followed I could not find the results. In desperation I asked a guy at work who I knew was really good at that sort of thing; he simply typed "the name of the trial results" into google and found it straight away.

We are alone in the universe, or, we are not. Either way it's incredible... Adapted from R. Buckminster Fuller/Arthur C. Clarke
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