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  • Category: Problems/Complaints

    Old threads, new members, negative points

    This topic might raise hackles because it involves the forum editors. I am raising this thread after long deliberation - whether I should or should not discuss this topic openly.

    Responses to old threads are unceremoniously deleted with a curt message stating that the "Response has been removed by the Admin for invalid response to the thread or violation of forum policies". The erring member loses 10 points for the slip-up and the thread is locked.

    More often than not it is new members who respond to old threads. They are unaware of forum policies. They are not privy to discussions on the forum. They are not prompted to check forum policies when they log in to submit their response. Is it fair then to brush off a response in such a brusque fashion?

    Will deleting responses and assigning negative points (to someone who hasn't yet opened their score board) not lead to losing new, enthusiastic members?

    I am not sure how the registration procedure works and whether new members are advised to read the forum policies during the entire registration process or not. In case new members are not provided a guided tour of the site or are not informed that they have to adhere to strict forum policies then deleting their first post is gratuitous. Refer this thread. Threads are after all left open and show up in search engines.

    Nevertheless, the forum policies link as provided when deleting these 'offensive' responses does not mention anything about posting responses to old threads. This is something that is repeated only in the forum and only active forum members will be aware that responding to old posts is a violation. Have the forum editors read the forum policies, or are they blindly following a tradition that has been set - enforcing a rule that does not exist in the forum policies!
  • #571344
    I too agree with the author that new members should not be penalized with negative points for violating posting guide lines as they are yet to take stand here. Such moves will keep they away from the site. However alert warnings can be issued by the editors to the new members that they are making mistake and better read the posting guidelines or else in future points would be cut or deducted. Moreover for new member moratorium on their mistakes must be given and editors should not be harsh with their punishment. This is my request too the the ISC adminsitration.
    K Mohan
    I consider myself as the learner everyday

  • #571352
    When I joined ISC, I responded to some threads (years old) which lead to the reduction of my points. For one moment, I felt like quitting ISC. Then, I received a message about the mistake I did. I continued my contribution from then after knowing rules and regulations. I personally think there is no mistake in this procedure because I raised three such old threads that day and earned negative points for only one and zero points for the other two. If every new member is suggested to read a resource which contains all such rules and regulations for different sections of ISC, such mistakes may not occur frequently. Also, not only new members but also old members are being awarded negative or zero points for responding to the old threads pulled by the new members as such threads appear in the first page of forum section.

    My 100th Forum Response

    Let us continue learning.

  • #571355
    I have involved myself with the issue raised by the author many times either by raising a thread or by posting a response to a thread raised by the fellow authors. I remember having a submitted suggestion also to display that an advice to the effect that 'please note that more than 10 days old threads should not be pulled again' etc. on the login page where 'Remember ME', 'LOGIN', 'Are you new to IndiaStudyChannel.com?' 'Register now', 'Forgot Password' etc. are written.
    On login page a link to the policies and guidelines pages may also be given with advice to read the same first before/after registering.
    Often members have participated in discussions offering suggestions to develop an automated system to lock more than 10 days old threads or have put onus on the editors to lock all such threads.
    I do agree that it may be practically possible to immediately introduce such measures , but as pointed out by the author of the thread at least some efforts may be made by the editors to educate the new members prior to resorting to harsh punitive measures.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #571358
    Well, indeed the author has touched upon a valid point. It would be fine and most wanted action if the senior members - of level more than silver - should definitely be punished with negative points and curt warnings. But doing it for the newbies who are yet to get a stronger foothold on the site should be given a clear understanding of the site. Assigning negative points to such members and deleting their comments can be a reason to do more harm to the site. The new members may feel offended and that could be the reason for them to stay away from the site thinking it is too autocratic.

    Looks like the forum editors need to give it a thought.

    Live....and Let Live...!

  • #571367
    Responding to old threads is an oft committed mistake. While members who are with ISC for years do it inadvertently(this writer including) by oversight or hurry, new members commit it due to lack of specific information.

    Many threads were raised on this matter and many suggestions also placed. The suggestion of locking the thread after 10 days either by an automatic system or by manually by editors was rejected due to limitataions of current infrastructure. Hence the next alternative was deterrence by penalising. That is why the deduction of points is in vogue. I was always pleading leniency towards the new members. Equally I justify the deduction of higher points for the seasoned members .

    Now I would like to suggest a very new suggestion. The thread author may be given permission to lock the 10 or 15 day old threads he had started. The permission should not be there to extend validity nor to reopen. If a thread is not locked and anyone responds to that old thread, the author should be penalised and points deducted from his account.

    As a member will have only less number of his own threads to be monitored he can exercise more control. Any new suggestion may appear as foolish and ridiculous first. But why can't have it as an experimental implementation?

    I am not a techie and so the technical feasibility and possibility may be explored by the techies and experts.

    ==================================
    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #571373
    There is warning from Editor to the new member for posting more than 10 days old forum posts. when I joined this site after 3-4 days without aware about this rule I posted two message in same forum, and for one I get zero points and the second posts get negative points. And Vandana told me that due to some technical error editor did not get chance to warn me. If there is provision for warning a new member for first time mistake then there is no need of adding some more feature to educate new members about this rule.
    Because the more feature we added in this site will slow down the server speed as well as the page loading.

  • #571431
    Juana,

    The topic did not raise hackles - on the contrary I for one am happy you raised this issue!

    We have been repeatedly requesting Tony Sir to restore the Help pages link at the top which was there earlier as it benefits members greatly, especially new members. We do so hope he will implement our request.

    Your suggestion to include the guideline to not pull up old threads should definitely be included at the forum guidelines page. I would also like to see it up in the text of the Forum section where it begins with the word 'Participate in....'. The second sentence right after that should include both a link to the forum posting guidelines and words to alert not to pull up old threads.

    Regarding the negative points: Indeed, the text is brusque. It appears automatically & is not placed by the editor as soon as negative points are given. The brusqueness does help as it conveys a stern warning and, from my experience, despite the high voltage shock it gives to a new member, it has more often than not actually done a world of good.

    With reference to the particular thread you have mentioned, note that the negative points is not for pulling up the old thread, but because it contained spam & was promoting an external site. Forum editors are aware that new members should otherwise not be assigned negative points, but a zero only & the editor must also send a message, alerting the member about the rule of not pulling up an old thread. In the case of spam, we do know right away whether the person is visiting just to drop spam or is a serious member (won't reveal here how we know). So if we are aware that the person is actually going to be a regular member, then we do send a message and a warning about spamming.

    Any further feedback and suggestion is most welcome!

    Regards,
    Vandana
    Managing Editor, IndiaStudyChannel.com

  • #571433
    Venkiteswaranji,

    Regarding your suggestion in #571367 to permit the member to lock his own thread after 10-15 days, I don't think it is a good idea. In some cases we would like a thread to remain open for longer as some threads do require a longer discussion, such as those related to suggestions & complaints. Also, we have often enough seen how members have misused features (an example is the best answer feature) so I personally feel we cannot really expect members to use the locking feature wisely. They may, for example, not like the manner in which members are responding, take it as personal & hastily lock the thread even after 2 days. This happened very recently in fact, when a member practically demanded that the thread be locked by forum editors as both the thread and the respsonses was considered a personal affront.

    It is also definitely not a good idea too to implement a penalization for not locking the old thread if at all such a feature is incorporated. We will have little flaming wars breaking out every now & then in the forum.

    Regards,
    Vandana
    Managing Editor, IndiaStudyChannel.com

  • #571435
    Yes, old threads do fetch negative or zero points, but its not always and very often the points gained by the new members stays put too. As far as deletion of threads are concerned, they are very rare. The responses get deleted, only when they are objectionable or when it's a spam. As of now, a new member soon learns about the whole game of not pulling up old threads from experience and from the time to time guidance being given by the older members.
    Patience and perseverance pays

  • #571447
    A clear cut guide line is essential to gain the confidence of newbie who may not be aware of the rules and regulations of ISC channel. The new members remain under confusion of the existing rules and still worse, they remain under impression that they would be praised for their contributions being made in different sections. Deductions of the points do act as a demotivating factors and with which we all are familiar with on our entry in the channel in the early days. There is no harm in giving the wide publicity of the existing rules of the channels so that these rules are bypassed deliberately. Co- operations from both the editors and the new members are desirable in this regard.

  • #571450
    The newbies after joining ISC, explore its repository and find a treasure trove of contents on topics useful to them. In their enthusiasm and in absence of visible guidelines regarding not pulling up threads older than 10 days, they interact by posting their response.
    They do deserve proper training and encouragement instead of shocking experience of deduction of points.
    Few points earned by the newbies in the very beginning means a lot to them.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #571454
    What happens when he or she visits the site for the first time is they are confused with the whole lot of information contained in it. In an attempt to understand the site better, they just wander from one section to another - in almost a hurry. They do not bother to look at the guidelines.

    One of the options would be to make a sticky thread with the links to guidelines and a little information on things that need immediate attention - like pulling old threads and it should ALWAYS appear as the first thread in the forum section. Hopefully, that may let the newbies get their attention to it.

    Live....and Let Live...!

  • #571457
    A new member is always issued a warning at first, either as a response or as a message, that he should not pull up threads that are ten or more days older and are no longer active. If the mistake is repeated he is first given zero points before proceeding to the next step of negative marking. The response to the thread under reference was given negative marks not because it was pulled up but because it was spam.

    As we find out details about a place before visiting the same or as we try and find out the details about an organization before applying for a job, I personally feel that one should spend some time to read and understand the guidelines before becoming active here. The section-wise guidelines which is a pinned thread in the first page can sufficiently guide a newbie.

    While I agree that the Help page need to be restored in the opening page for the convenience of new members, I, at the same time, do feel that we too need to be responsible. I am in no way trying to shift the blame but do sincerely feel that we should not behave like irresponsible motorists at a junction without any signal.

    Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad - Miles Kington.

  • #571458
    If any new Member open the old threads (more than 10 days old), he/she is issued a warning. If he/she commits the offence (?) for the second time, points are deducted. The older Members don't get the benefit of warning.
    “Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” - Paul Terry

  • #571466
    The old threads are like a rat trap for new members. They find the topic interesting and reply thinking that they will earn points but the opposite happens. I don't know how many members read messages from anyone because they are hidden for a new member. The messages feature on ISC is not good enough to alert anyone. Most of the new members are not good at navigating through the site and the warning is just not good enough for them to stop.

    Negative points certainly creates a disappointment in newbies. In spite of writing with so much enthusiasm they get negative points which is a big discouragement to anyone. Therefore, it will be better to close this rat trap or be lenient towards new members. At least their first contribution should fetch them points and editors should close that thread after that.

  • #571726
    Author & Editors

    I differ slightly from the author's point of view because these new members are responding to such threads only for their own promotion and hence editors have given negative points in old thread as they have noted it as old thread. Even in other thread the same member has responded with an intention of promotion.

    So I feel editors are correct in awarding negative points as these new members cleverly respond especially these kind of threads.

    Nice to be in ISC and feel the difference.

  • #571734
    Saroja,
    Thanks for alerting us to the promotional response in the other thread by giving a link to it. Please inform any forum editor about such content when you see it, with the URL.

    Regards,
    Vandana
    Managing Editor, IndiaStudyChannel.com


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