Hi guys, I've watched the UA daily routine for a while now and I think there need to be some changes made to the way the HelpRoom is used and how moderation is handled.
There were many mod discussions about "improving UA quality" in the past, but all of them were just that, discussions. The only thing actually resulting from them was the creation of the HelpRoom.
Since it's introduction, the quantity of question published daily has not neccessarily gone up, but the overall quality has certainly gone down.
I want to avoid this text being too long to keep your attention, so I deploy my main suggestions right now and go into details later:
Moderation status is optional and not assigned automatically.
All Q's from users <100 rep go strictly into HelpRoom. If the rep>100, users can choose between default, meta (and moderators space if allowed) but not Help.
All moderation actions are publicly visible!
The forum informations are on one page, written short, but clear and in plain English.
The idea is that users can apply to be a moderator and are reviewed by moderators with higher reputation than the applying user. I know reputation is no direct indication of skill, but it can't hurt.
Add a little button to the my profile page, something like this (click the filenames to maximize):
As you can see, when a user quits moderating, he will never be able to become a mod again. Why actively quit when you want to revoke that later?If a user doesn't want to mod now, but maybe in the future, he can just apply when he is ready.
HelpRoom is supposed to help new user navigate and use the site.It is not moderated. Everyone can post there. It's an easy way to bypass moderation. I think that's bad.It needs to be mod'ed like I mentioned above so mods (who are approved by the community=>point 1) can guide the OP's, help them figure out formatting, correct describing of problems, errors, offtopic, etc..if they accept the hints, they will get upvoted naturally and go >100 rep, trained to use UA.If they are not following hints and rules repeatedly, they will get downvoted regularily, so they stay <100 until they "get it". This will logically (or at least theoretically) result in only good Q's asked later in Default. It will not be possible to publish a Q into anything other than Help.At the moment: A new user with 1 rep can ask 1 question in Help, make a couple of comments, get upvoted on those, and immediately has more than the 15 rep (if I'm not mistaking) mod queue limit, so he is not moderated anymore.
Moderator actions need to be transparent. Especially mode queue actions:I believe this is neccessary, especially for finding the mods who publish everything (duplicate, offtopic) to default. Also, if Q's are rejected, it would help to solve disagreements ("my Q was rejected, why?")
This explains itself. At the moment, the user guide and FAQ both contain information that would be easier to grasp if combined into one page.It would also make sense to lower the complexity of the statements, so they are understandable for many non-english users that lack the language skills needed to understand the rules correctly.
I know this is much theoretic stuff and I certainly don't think it is easy to implement these things. It's definitely possible though.
I also know that this is my subjective view, and that's why I ask you to answer with additions or variations of my arguments or even with disagreement while presenting your own opinion why I am wrong.
I have given this a decent amount of thought and I sincerely don't think the site can improve without points 1-3.
My motives for writing this Q are the few discussions I had already on other semi-related moderation Q's, they all advised me to open a new Q, and so I did.
It would also be very nice to hear @SaraCecilia 's extended thoughts on this one, as she is the only person I know who admin's this site. ;)
Thank you for reading (and hopefully agreeing)!
Edit 27th May: I just stumbled across a perfect example why the rep limit should be raised anyways, even if the help room doesn't change:
Got a few upvotes and boom, not moderated anymore, and all the crap goes to Default. This is a major flaw and why I propose the Helproom should be moderated and also the reputation limit to be 100 to post directly to UA.
As I understand it, the problem is that we're using a shared code-base for Unity Answers, so making any changes beyond configuration is nearly out of the question. Honestly, I'm about ready to try to rebuild the UA framework from scratch, even if only for my own curiosity about the complexities of such software. That would actually be a cool collaborative project from some of the top UA folks, though, to build a brand new UA from scratch based on what the community needs.
That being said, something needs to be done about moderator accountability. Right there with you on that one.
Thanks for your response on both of my Q's.
Moderation:It could be done like the moderation queue. Applying to become moderator could add the user to a list of users in the Applications "Room" like here: The users could easily be displayed and sorted like the badge system overview:It could even be handled by creating a hidden "ModStatusApplied" badge, that is removed when either approved or rejected.When removed from Moderator status, a public badge "Resigned Moderator" or "Fired Moderator!" could be assigned, so other users can directly see a list of those users by filtering badges.Fired mods could also be visible in the moderator applications page.
Let's wait for Sara's response, I feel like I might went overboard with this one, since I'm only a user for a bit over one year, but I want to see this page become what it could be and not another dumping ground for useless threads and non-relevant discussions like some other forums.
We do have to be careful not to start a culture of witch-hunting.
You're definitely right. But we need to be able to remove mod rights from people who blatantly publish everything to any room.
Answer by Owen-Reynolds
May 16, 2016 at 07:58 PM
Those four things seem like separate topics to me. Seems like any could be done by itself. To keep my comments managable, I’m only going to respond to: redoing the posting rules, #2. Comments/opinions:
The new HelpRoom moderation Q would pile up badly, the same as the pre-HelpRoom Mod Q used to.
In the past, everything went to one Mod Q and it took forever to comment and reject everything. Mods were having little back and forth conversations with Askers in the comments of unpublished Q’s, trying to explain why Q’s were rejected. New Unity users were just getting angry - complaining to Unity staff and spreading the word UA was full of jerks.
An unmoderated HelpRoom was a solution to that. The advantage was that anyone, not just a Mod, could write all those little comments about how the question needs to be fixed, or could add a link for Duplicate Q’s.
This new idea would turn the new HelpRoom queue back into the old unmanagable Mod Q. I mean, just about every question would go into that single queue, right?
What would be in the new HelpRoom? What kinds of Q’s would be accepted? What would happen to How-do-I-get-started and Help-Me-Make-My-Game Q’s (which are the majority)?
90% of new Q’s are from overwhelmed non-game designers. Would we reject those? Would Mods (and only Mods) be personally responsible for explaining why and posting links to the relevant manual sections (which was sort of the situation before)?
Users over 100 rep can’t post to the Help Room? Is that like a cut-off? Are they supposed to put their Fix-My-Script Q’s unmoderated into Default?
Or would they purposely lose rep until they can post back into the HelpRoom again?
Most good Q’s are from 0-rep game designers. I assume the intent is that they would be hand-moved from the HelpRoom queue into Default?
I feel like about the same thing could be achieved now just by flipping the order in the Spaces drop-down (so it starts on HelpRoom, and most people won’t switch it.) Askers of non-HelpRoom Q’s would at least have a change to switch away from HelpRoom on their own. Leaving us with a small Mod Queue which would mostly be Accept.
Thanks for answering! I didn't want to make a larger Q text for attention-keeping sake.
offtopic = duplicate, how-to-best(subjective), fix-my-code, compiler errors, Too-Lazy-To-Google, 3rd-party software related
Q: What would be in the new HelpRoom? What kinds of Q’s would be accepted?A: Only questions that aren't offtopic or already answered on UA or the Docs.
Q: What would happen to How-do-I-get-started and Help-Me-Make-My-Game Q’s (which are the majority)?A: Reject. UA is not a make-my-game service. How-do-I-get-started->Link to [Unity - Learn]
Q: Users over 100 rep can’t post to the Help Room? Is that like a cut-off? Are they supposed to put their Fix-My-Script Q’s unmoderated into Default?A: Yes, it's a cut-off. They can't ASK Q's in Help. They can post comments or answers there. That's the point. ->Helping<- new users. I don't mean posting a script for the OP to copy, like most people do. I mean explaining what the OP did wrong, how he can avoid it, and point out UA-wise flaws, if needed (formatting).Users who keep posting offtopic Q's will keep getting downvotes so they never exceed 100 rep, until they learn it doesn't work that way.
Q: Most good Q’s are from 0-rep game designers. I assume the intent is that they would be hand-moved from the HelpRoom queue into Default?A: Kind of, they can still be found by searching. The idea is that the Q's stay in Help until they are answered and cleaned up for UA. Then they are closed and moved to Default.
An unmoderated HelpRoom was a solution to [mod Q pile-up]. The advantage was that anyone, not just a Mod, could write all those little comments about how the question needs to be fixed, or could add a link for Duplicate Q’s.
Sadly that happens only 30% of the time. The other 70% a new user asks a beginner 101 Q, another one posts a script into it and either nothing happens, or the script doesn't work and the OP starts a discussion about what to do and the other user isn't able to help because he has no experience.
The problem is that because Help is unmod'ed, this continues and UA will grow with useless Q's that make searching for 1 answer to 1 Q the task of going through 5 Q's that have no real answer.
Even if this would be done, and work, the problem would be publish-everything mods. So we definitely need transp. mod actions too. Otherwise, "redoing the posting rules" will not have any effect.
Now, when we have the changed posting rules, and transp. mod actions, we would still face the problem of mods mis-mod'ing UA. Now we need to make the mod status being optional and possibly taken away. This insures that mods are doing their tasks properly, to the benefit of UA.
It might mean we get more questions to moderate, like before, but it's not about making our queue short and manageable, it's about keeping offtopic posts away from UA and the posts that are published to a certain standard. At least that's what I think moderators should do.
OK, what you're proposing sounds like the old system, which is the same thing as saying to get rid of the HelpRoom. That would be the net effect. Everything goes to one area, where all novice Q's are rejected in a time-consuming process.
If I understand it, the problem this solves is too many redundant Help Room questions appearing in Google searches. But is that a problem? Google does a good job, and my searches still turn up good results.
Like I said, I'm a too "young" member to have experienced the pro's and con's of the old system. Sorry if there are similarities.
But is that a problem? Google does a good job, and my searches still turn up good results.
I believe this is not a major problem, but still, most new users tell us they searched for an answer for about an hour but all they could find where "empty", non answered identical questions, or questions where a lot of misinformation was posted and discussed.
Some moderators will google the question and go through the many empty questions until they find the right one answered and post the link with a tip to do a more thorough research.
Others will post a complete detailed answer, but get no response because the Op did a new search in the meantime and found the solution.
This is the concern I have about letting every offtopic Q be posted.
Everything goes to one area, where all novice Q's are rejected in a time-consuming process.
No, only Q's from <100 rep users go to the Help Room queue. Novice Q's are rejected if they are already answered, or the info is in the docs. "I can't find any information on that topic"->tell user to not just click on the first question when googleing or give tips how to find a correct answer fast when using google.
users >100 rep can post directly to Meta, Mod and Default. Those spaces can be checked daily, weekly, etc..to make sure everything is still fine.
If I understand it, the problem this solves is too many redundant Help Room questions appearing in Google searches.
There shouldn't be any redundant questions to begin with, right? The goal is to "have an answer for every question". To every unique question. Not to every question that is published.
Let's assume there are no redundant, empty duplicate Q's on UA:
It would be much easier to find out if the question has been answered or even asked when googleing. If no results on UA turn up, it hasn't been asked. If it isn't offtopic, the new Q will be accepted to UA.
If a search turns up with the Q being asked already, the user can check that Q to see if it has been answered as well. If the Q were to be asked again, it will be rejected with a link to that existing Q.
This seems to make much more sense than keeping everything that isn't spam, rude or not Unity-related.
I agree with the process of the mod queue being too time consuming, even more so in my proposed scenario. To make it more efficient, Q's should be rejected by clicking a button with a predefined reason (like the closing rolldown menu).
Regarding the "too young to have seen old system" comment:
There's no great mystery about the old system: the same as now, but no Help Room. UA looked pretty much the same as default UA does now, including the "who approved this" Qs. In the Mod queue, instead of moving a Q to the HelpRoom, you rejected and gave a reason in a comment.
My point is, IMHO, your idea is just to go back to the system from last year.
One thing, mentioned a lot in old posts but not recently, is that Mods like answering HelpRoom Qs. Look at default UA for the number of high-point users (people whose names you will recognize) who answer duplicate, etc... Qs (I'm not complaining about it -- Mods are allowed to just answer Qs and not think about Mod stuff. Just pointing out how people like to use the site.)
Although, a strong point against the Help Room system that I'm seeing:
When we allow stuff like duplicate and "what's wrong with my code" questions, they often don't get answered. I wish I could see statistics on this stuff, but the mercy kill in the mod queue might be better, simply because it teaches the user how to do it right (if the mod commented like they were supposed to). But if a user submits such a question to the Help Room, it might just be panned for being poorly written, and they won't ever know it... they'll just think they're stupid or, more likely, UA isn't that helpful.
I personally have seen questions I could answer, but I can't bear to, because my thought process reads "Oh my god, you idiot, is it really that hard to use a search bar?"
Although whether that's better or worse than the mod queue piling up like it has historically is a toss-up. Lately it's been getting clogged even with the help room diverting traffic.
Really, the best solution would be to have Unity hire a community manager or two to run it on a daily basis, but we don't get to choose how they spend their money.
What a nice thought, simply hire somebody to do it! :D
personally have seen questions I could answer, but I can't bear to, because my thought process reads "Oh my god, you idiot, is it really that hard to use a search bar?"*
I always copy their questions title into google and post the link to the google page and close the question if they don't respond. If they respond with a problem they have regarding understanding the docs or answered questions, I try my best to help them, if they seem reasonable.
If however they start to rant or ask for code, I tell them they simply have to learn it and close it.
Yes I know a lot of expert users actually answer most duplicate Q's, I do that myself sometimes when it is obvious the OP has no prior knowledge of anything regarding Unity. I like to help those people, because they really need the help to get started.
But that is merely a side effect of those questions being allowed in the first place. It does not "justify" keeping unrelevant Q's.
If only unique questions would be posted, those users certainly wouldn't say "Hey where are all those new Q's that I already answered 10 times in the past, I want them, I'm so bored without them!", right? :P
A pro argument for using Unity as a whole was always the big and helpful community. Neither Unreal or CryEngine or any other popular highend engine has that.
But being helpful doesn't mean "You have a question, it is already answered 2 years ago, but yes, you can ask that question and we will answer it regardless because we are nice."
It means what the Unity Answers FAQ explains in the beginning.
Being able to provide an answer to every relevant question, being a base of knowledge for new users, an encyclopedia, if you will, for old users who want to look something up they have forgotten.
Sure we like to help. But why repeat the same thing over and over and over again when it is already done? What's the point? It fills UA with copies of copies, which to a certain extent is surely going to anger the servers (I don't know how this site is hosted or the capacities of anything regarding it)
Why allow people to ask questions like "where can I find the system requirements, I can't find the page, I tried many terms."
Googling "unity system requirements" or even typing "system r" in the Unity3d.com search
leads to the exact page the OP requested. When presented with this fact, he goes on to rant about how the users on UA are only making fun of him. it becomes obvious he wants to complain about something not working when in reality he is incapable of doing a simple search.
If the administration wants to keep UA the way it is now, finding correct answers to new questions might not be as easy as clicking on 1 or 2 questions.
We need to be more like guiding people in finding a solution
rather thanserving everyone the immediate solution.
More strict in filtering unrelevant questionsthan inanswering every open question just because it was asked.
Like @meat5000 once said: People are just f*ing lazy man. They will stop using the forum once [we] have successfully written a game for them.
PS: I think I might have found the users who mass publish everything.
"crazyKnight" and "MikeNewall"
They automatically subscribe to every new question everywhere and almost always "last seen" a few minutes ago, regardless if I click their profile at 5 AM or 3 PM. The last public actions are from 2015 though, which seems really strange.
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