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#798 - 08/10/09 05:01 AM A "template" for posters
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
In response to joemikeb's request for further input regarding this idea...

The lack of such a template is something I've lamented for years, because I've seen assistance to countless posters delayed because their original posts didn't include machine/OS specs or other necessary info.

What I would like to see, therefore, is a page to which posters would be directed when they click on "New Topic" which would solicit info to be included in their posts in an easily readable format.

The most difficult part of setting up such a page (that I can envision) will be laying it out and wording it in a manner that will neither be off-putting because of its complexity nor cause posters embarrassment about their lack of knowledge, but I'm certain that can be dealt with.

The page would request, in table rather than narrative form, and with *specific* questions, info about a poster's Mac, the OS it is running, and the troubleshooting steps the poster has taken on hir own. (It would also include, when appropriate, directions to posters for obtaining answers.)

That list is bare-bones and needs to be expanded; all are encouraged to express their opinions and append their thoughts.

PS: In addition to being beneficial to both posters and responders such a page would decrease necessary FTM server storage space and bandwidth usage.
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#800 - 08/10/09 05:52 AM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: artie505]
cyn Offline

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
I think such template is a great idea. Don't know how doable integrating it into UBB.threads would be, though. For sure that kind of customization would complicate UBBT upgrades.

One thing to keep in mind is it wouldn't be applicable to forums such as FTM Feedback and the Lounge. So I see a need for either an Admin option to implement it on a forum by forum basis, or a quick and easy way for folks to click through the form without completing it. The former would, I'd think, make the project more complex, while the latter would increase the likelihood that posters who shouldn't would skip through it.
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#805 - 08/10/09 06:15 AM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: cyn]
Gregg Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Artie's idea is similar to what I just described in the "OS X Forum Sub-divisions" thread for the "virtual sub-forums" I've seen on other sites, in that a poster has to indicate a piece (or several pieces) of information before submitting.

However, if Artie's plan is implemented, will that be required for all posters, rookie or veteran? ...every time you post?

Other sites make use of the Profile to allow members to input their Mac model, OS, etc. That at least provides a clue if the post doesn't spell things out - unless the profile info lists 8 Macs with various configurations!

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#813 - 08/10/09 08:15 AM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: Gregg]
cyn Offline

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
Originally Posted By: Gregg
However, if Artie's plan is implemented, will that be required for all posters, rookie or veteran? ...every time you post?

In the troubleshooting forums, I'd say yes for anyone starting a new topic. Even a veteran poster can sometimes forget to include which OS he's running or other such basic details which should be part of every question or request for help. wink

The closest UBBT comes to the profile feature you mention is the signature field.
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#817 - 08/10/09 09:16 AM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: Gregg]
macnerd10 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Most of the veterans include the system info in the signature. But we need something for rookies for sure.
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3.1 GHz 13" MacBook Pro 2015, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, TimeWarner Cable
2.8 GHz Xeon Mac Pro 2010, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, LAN

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#854 - 08/10/09 08:08 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: macnerd10]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I walked two rookies through posting on MacFixit FTM in the last two days. I was shocked at how intimidated both were with making their first post and the fact neither had the vaguest notion of where to even begin and one of them is a master at using the computer and browsing web sites. It took at least a couple of tries for both of them to find the New Topic link or even to know what that meant.

It seems to me the trick is to make it easy for the newbie to figure out what to do and what information is needed without driving the experienced user nuts with repetitive stuff they already know.

Two thoughts occurred to me watching these absolute newbies.
  1. Change the color or otherwise highlight the New Topic link and add "Tool Tips" to important links such as that one.
  2. Take FAQ off of the tool bar and replace it with Posting Hints or perhaps Posting Guidelines. That would be sort of a top level FAQ strictly about using the Forums themselves with items such as the template we have been discussing, a repeat of the guidelines for choosing a forum, forum etiquette, a link to the Board Rules, etc.

My wife was one of those newbie posters and I think I can convince her to suggest what would have been helpful for her to know for her first post. She is pretty good with that kind of thing and could represent a relatively typical first time user.


Edited by joemikeb (08/11/09 08:25 AM)
Edit Reason: Correct a slip of the keyboard
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#856 - 08/10/09 08:30 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: joemikeb]
cyn Offline

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I walked two rookies through posting on MacFixit in the last two days.

Do you mean FTM?
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#857 - 08/10/09 08:47 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: joemikeb]
macnerd10 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Great idea!
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Alex
3.1 GHz 13" MacBook Pro 2015, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, TimeWarner Cable
2.8 GHz Xeon Mac Pro 2010, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, LAN

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#867 - 08/10/09 11:34 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: cyn]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: cyn
I think such template is a great idea. Don't know how doable integrating it into UBB.threads would be, though. For sure that kind of customization would complicate UBBT upgrades.

One thing to keep in mind is it wouldn't be applicable to forums such as FTM Feedback and the Lounge. So I see a need for either an Admin option to implement it on a forum by forum basis, or a quick and easy way for folks to click through the form without completing it. The former would, I'd think, make the project more complex, while the latter would increase the likelihood that posters who shouldn't would skip through it.


Yep... The beautiful simplicity of the concept is offset by the horrible complications that stand in the way of its implementation.

(Would storing poster's configuration data in a cookie simplify matters or complicate them even further?)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#877 - 08/11/09 08:24 AM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: cyn]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: cyn
Do you mean FTM?

blush My fingers are so used to typing MacFixit it doesn't even go through the brain -- or if it does there is nothing there to slow it down. How embarrassing! blush

Of course I meant FTM, but that isn't what I said. crazy
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#919 - 08/11/09 06:38 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: macnerd10]
Gregg Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Originally Posted By: macnerd10
Most of the veterans include the system info in the signature.


I'd say some, not most. Some (like me) don't have a signature. And, usually, the veterans aren't the ones needing to provide such information. I think more people (myself included) would provide it if prompted in the profile creation process.

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#936 - 08/11/09 11:04 PM Re: A "template" for posters [Re: Gregg]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
On the chance it's been overlooked, I'll restate (and expand on) my question to cyn:

Is storing poster's configuration data in a cookie possible, and would it simplify matters or complicate them even further?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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