When I logged in this morning, there were 70 questions that needed approval.
I got about halfway through them, assessing each, and moderating them properly according to the guidelines.
Then, I started getting errors, so I figured another mod had logged in and started working on them too. I was correct, but there was nothing in the queue after the refresh. So I went to the main page, and whoever it was just blanket approved everything, completely ruining the whole point of the moderation queue. They even approved "me too" answers!
There are a lot of discussions on here about how to improve Unity answers, but apathetic mods must be the most damaging. Is there any way to mitigate this with the current system?
I like the solution @Le-Pampelmuse suggested, but if we can't change the codebase (especially on a site designed for coders!) then we can't use it. Would it be so bad to allow a "council" of high-rep users to offer back-end code changes that need to be peer-reviewed by the other members?
I've heard many times the reason we can't make changes is a shared codebase, but why must we use the shared codebase? We have exceptional talent lurking these pages and willing to offer help. We ought to take advantage of that, and I cannot for the life of me understand why we don't.
Answer by Owen-Reynolds
Feb 05 at 09:40 PM
You need a group of moderators who want a change, which UA doesn't have. In the last year, nothing in Moderators or Meta has gotten more than 3 users to reply. And no sustained effort. For example, you cited LePamp, who got interested for a brief time, but then hasn't been on for 2 months.
You also need a group that agrees on what the rule should be. Now, many mods like ApproveAll - the ones who answer beginner Qs in main UA. Then some want to Reject those Qs completely - users who currently close beginner Qs.
I'm not so sure I agree with these points. This is NOT a community owned site, rather it is only moderated by the community. It is entirely possible for the owner of the site to make changes that encourage enforcement of particular behavior (no need to go into the many solutions people have suggested). Regardless of the will of a group of mods, if the system is such that undesired behavior is rewarded, without limit; they will be unable to implement noticeable positive change. As the OP points out in his anecdote, this a case where one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
Alas, as is systemic with Unity, insufficient effort/funds appears to go into providing advanced users (usually those who end up as mods) with the appropriate resources they need: A poorly managed UA site, god-awful documentation, an occasionally monitored forum site. It's a shame to, just a bit more initial effort on their part and the community could manage much better. It would probably also lead to less discouragement among mods; as you pointed out the number has dwindled considerably.
This site is in serious need of improvement from our (Unity's) side. Unfortunately, since about a year back I have had to prioritise the forum site & account bugs, and I also work with Unity engine bugs & feedback together with our developers. This is obviously not an excuse, but it explains the lack of our time & work on Unity Answers. I'm trying to shuffle some time to revisit a lot of the tasks I started for this site but never finished (or got executed badly/need iteration) -it should get equal attention as the forum seeing as it has equally as many user sessions.
First thing: upgrade the software to the latest version and push the fixes we have from last year.... >___<
Thank you for responding! Glad to know we're not just in a void here.
I don't know.... I thought the guidelines are pretty clear. If someone wants to approve all new questions, they can, but newcomer questions ought to then get immediately moved to Help Room. And even then, they shouldn't be approving "Me Too" answers to year-old questions regardless. There's just no enforcement.
Most sites have Admins that moderate the moderators. That's what we really need. If a mod got a message or two saying "hey, you did this wrong, this is the correct way" that could do a hell of a lot of good, imo.
Unity could do a world of good by having someone official spend even 4 hours a week working on Answers to help... but at this point it seems like a pipe dream.
I used to spend several hours a day on Answers (mainly in the moderation queue) until I had to shift focus entirely to the Forum. I agree it would help to have better communication with the mods regarding behaviour, but currently there is no way through the admin panel to see which mod did what, and I think we have around 600 users with moderator permissions (albeit not all are active.)
In general I think how we (Unity) work with Answers needs to change, and like I mentioned in a post above I'm trying to shuffle some of my time working with forum bugs and unity engine bugs back over to UA.
An obvious, non-technical-needing thing(*) would be to update the FAQ to mention the HelpRoom.
A few months ago I wrote this to a new Mod: "thanks for reading the guidelines, really, and they do say to close/reject Null Reference Q's like you've been doing. But this next thing is totally our fault - many of those Qs should now go to the HelpRoom area. The FAQ is out of date. Find the Spaces dropdown, select HelpRoom, and look at the sticky. Again, we're so, so sorry about this."
(*) Not saying this is easy or will be quick, just that it could be started now, offline.
I agree, I think the guidelines are clear. It would just be great if moderating content was less time consuming. There always seems to be about 50-100 items to moderate and sometimes I spend an hour or so sorting through them and feel like I haven't even made a dent.
And then like @FortisVenaliter said, then someone just comes along and approves everything anyway...
But look at it from Unity's perspective. The mods don't have any complaints - hardly anyone responds to these threads. And the few who do, they want things fixed in opposite ways. So why make any changes?
But yes, I agree this site has devolved into a mockery of it's original purpose. I feel about it the same way I feel about the Star Wars franchise. But doesn't affect my ability to use Unity.
No, but it does affect the ability for new programmers to learn Unity, especially given the often sparse state of official documentation. I learned programming back in the late 90s/early 2000s through a program called Game Maker (I think it's still around) and eventually went to college for it and worked in AAA. Unity has always had a special place in my heart because it was both approachable for new programmers and flexible enough to be useful to advanced programmers. I guess I can only hope that vision endures.
The common complaint is that allowing just any Qs hurts experienced game designers, who have no place to ask except here.
Things seem a wash for new programmers. In the old days, they were told to use the rest of the internet to learn programming -- that's what rejecting all those Qs was about. I'm not sure the current spoon-feeding is an improvement, but it's not worse. I think anyone serious will quickly realize they can read any C# book. And at least we suggest C# now, which has vastly more info than Unityscript(*).
(*)Back then, every game engine was expected to have it's own custom language, so I understand the need to have written and pushed UnityScript.
"No complaints" well, it possible people have just given up on that, as futile.
"want it fixed in opposite ways": this is precisely why the owner of the site needs to step-up, make the final choice, and lay down the "law". Of course they can't please everyone, but simply ignoring issues pleases no one.
I always thought Unity's reason for this was purely financial: Money spent getting NEW users, generates more profit than money spent helping existing users.
If it weren't a subscription service, sure. But nowadays they need to convert Free users to Paid more than they need to entice new users to try it, at least as far as I know. I obviously don't see the metrics they do.
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