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Alert thread for answering old queries in the Ask Expert section.
  • Category: Guidelines & Policies

    Alert: Answering queries in old Ask Expert threads

    We are increasingly seeing a trend of a few members pulling up old Ask Expert questions to answer. Yes, we did say you could answer old queries too, but we do not expect members to deliberately do so merely to get points & cash credits. When there are already apt answers given, what need is there really to give additional answers?

    We repeat: Like when posting a comment to an article, if and only if you are going to add value to the AE query page by giving additional information or are correcting some earlier provided answers, then it makes sense to post an answer.

    Please do not misuse the absence of a feature to lock old AE threads. Old AE question threads are not locked because many of them do have value and may continue to fetch traffic, so we welcome fresh content too via additional info.

    Also, we have repeatedly requested members NOT to answer if the AE query is still under review and has not yet been approved by an editor.

    Henceforth editors will delete your answer if (a) it is not adding value to the page and (b) the question is not approved. We are forced to implement this policy due to misuse of the leeway we gave to members.
  • #594125
    Old means how old? Clarification is required.
    Non-violence is the greatest Dharma; So too is all righteous violence.

  • #594127
    I had been suggesting every now and then that threads older than 10 days should be locked to avoid pulling up by new members. Same is applicable to Ask expert section too. The time duration could be more than 10 days, may be a month or two. But it should be locked by the editors. Or an automatic system should be devised to lock the older threads automatically. ISC can do it, and should do it.
    No life without Sun

  • #594128
    Partha, sorry to say that the period cannot be specified exactly but the point is that an answer that does not provide any additional information to a query that has already got sufficient reactions would not (not) be welcome. Hope it is clear!

    Mr Sun, why do you insist on locking of threads or AE queries? Our experienced members are expected to follow the guidelines.

    'Don't miss the Donut by looking through the hole'- Anonymous.

  • #594133
    Mr. Ganesh: Let us suppose a query has received adequate responses, but the answers are factually wrong but have received cash credits. In that case, can I post my answer? I am giving an example. Please see the question and the responses:-
    The question is very tricky. Some of the Members answered it from their common sense, but the answers are factually wrong. Can I submit answers in such cases?

    Non-violence is the greatest Dharma; So too is all righteous violence.

  • #594139
    By the way I am not pulling any old threads in the Ask Experts section. But what I feel that when a user visits the question, he wont see for the date or how old is the thread. He would be tempted to answer it first and there ends the matter. There must be some mechanism where in old threads must get pushed to no replying mode or the responses should be disabled. However what I feel that when there is question which needs to be answered further, what is the wrong to visit such threads which are even old. A new response may enhance the importance of old thread further.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #594153
    Mostly, the old members will not try to pull up the old threads or old ask expert questions. It is the newbies who are unaware of it. I still insist that the system should have an automatic locking system to lock the expired threads and questions. Otherwise accept their responses.

    No life without Sun

  • #594157
    Dear members,

    I would just like to throw some light on the confusion regarding what kind of old queries should be answered and which all should not be answered.

    First of all, members should check whether the query has received sufficient responses and whether the responses satisfy the requirement of the query. If yes, please avoid answering such questions.

    Secondly, some genuine questions need instant answers. Such old queries should not be answered. This holds specially for technical and medical questions. Say for instance, a person asks for cancer treatments some 2 yrs back. Definitely, either the patient would be fine in the span of 1 yr max 2 yrs or he would have passed away. So there is no point suggesting anything to such queries.

    Technical example, say someone's mobile phone has crashed and he asked how to recover data 6 months back. Then he wont be sitting waiting for members to answer for such long. Either in 15 days he will get it repaired or would change the handset. So again, no point answering.

    Both the above scenarios when the problem is rare and the question has enough responses. If there are no responses and you really have a solution, you can answer them as it can help other members too.

    Third scenario is when some generic questions are asked. Say some one asked about teams of IPL. Just by reading such generic questions we can understand the importance of the response for the member. There is no point answering general questions because the author never needed it and even if he did he might have got his answer in the first 2 responses itself.

    What type of Old questions can be answered?
    Now coming to the point "What type of Old questions can be answered" :
    Questions like "how to reduce weight?", "How to remove coffee stains from white cloth", "How to avoid getting into arguments?", "How to control anger?" etc are some of the types that can be answered even after 5 yrs if and only if "You have a unique solution" which has not been mentioned anywhere in the earlier responses by other members.
    Reason being such problems are long lasting and the member asking the query might not get answer to them even after several years of searching the solutions or he might have tried the earlier solutions recommended but still his problem persists. Such common problems are faced by numerous other members or readers too and if the member asking the query has resolved his problem also, your suggestion can help other members.

    Hope there is some clarity now about what to answer and what not to answer. The main point to be looked upon while answering any old question is whether it has been answered sufficiently by other members earlier and that you have a unique solution which has not been discussed at all in the earlier responses. Only in such cases it makes sense to pull up an old question to answer else its waste.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Akanksha P.V
    Lead Editor(Ask Expert)

  • #594240
    Not everyone writes because they have a passion for writing! Many (I am tempted to say most, if not all) write because there is remuneration involved. So, the "…merely to get points & cash credits" and the charge of 'deliberately' and 'misuse' is not appreciated. I am offended at the tone of this post (even though I haven't been practising what is being condemned here). This amounts to shaming members who have been posting answers under the guidelines that the system permitted.

    By all means, bring in new guidelines into force, but such blatant accusations should/could have been avoided. A message that said moving forward we will not allow the following would have delivered the message with the same effectiveness.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak" - Michael Garrett Marino

  • #594241
    Dear LE,
    When ISC feels that the question is old and has been answered sufficiently well, why not lock the question and save it from getting unnecessary responses? What the Ask expert editors are doing? Else stop awarding points and cash credits to the answers. Make it 0/0 after a specified period.

    No life without Sun

  • #594269
    Dear Members,

    Please understand there are tons of old Ask expert questions posted in all these years since the inception of ISC. It is not possible for editors to review each one of them and lock all the threads which do not need further answers. That is impractical.

    Also there is no need to over react by giving no points to answers in old thread because as I have said in my earlier response there are questions that can still be answered. Had it not been the case the admin would have in general locked all the old threads that were posted 6 months back.

    All we need from members is their co-operation in understanding the need of answering and act a little responsible while posting answers in an important section like Ask Expert where authors post their queries in search of genuine solutions. (By saying acting responsible we dont intend to mean that you all are irresponsible. )

    Thanks & Regards,
    Akanksha P.V
    Lead Editor(Ask Expert)

  • #594270
    If a proper policy is framed, then there would not be any scope of confusion and bitter dispute in future. Without proper policy and also without proper implementation, there will always be doubt in the mind of Members..
    Non-violence is the greatest Dharma; So too is all righteous violence.

  • #594271
    I appreciate your mature and level-headed responses.

    I agree with you. Yes, clear guidelines need to be in place, before anyone is pulled up for noncompliance.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak" - Michael Garrett Marino

  • #594291
    Dear Editors,
    Having read all the post from members of ISC, I'd like to ask few questions before making a further steps ahead.

    1. Why do members answers to new question in AE section?
    2. Why there is a "Best Answer" badge?
    3. Why AE section is missing locking feature?

    We answers to old threads in AE section because it can also be important that the techologies or policies change so newer updated answers can be shown.

    Alternative answers are always valuable unless the author is satisfied with the old answers. Author must choose or select one answer as the best answer.

    Most members are much more likely to contribute rarely in AE. Make an option to lock the specific thread manually / automatically by Author itself when he select one answer as the best answer.

    Hackers never learns but always wins!

  • #594382

    1. Members do not bother to look at the top. When it is clearly stated "The thread has not been reviewed by Editors yet", indicating that the question is not yet approved they should not answer it.
    2. The person who posts the question can mark an answer as the Best Answer. It makes the member feel good!
    3. Already answered by LE Akanksha above.

    This thread is being locked now. If you have any further issues about the AE section other than those already addressed here, then please do so in the thread I posted today.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

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