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[META] Unity Answers is degrading .... MODERATORS TAKE NOTE

Moderators be aware of what you are approving !#

Simply Stop approving unspecific or write-my-code questions,#

send a message to the OP and then [reject] that question.#


Things that we as Moderators need to start implementing and enforcing :

* Stop approving unspecific or write-my-code questions, send a message to the OP and then [reject] that question.

* immediately close or delete duplicate questions, write-my-code questions

* close but provide links for any I-dont-understand questions

======================================================================================

You know what I'm talking about.

I miss the days where I could read this 'site every day and learn something. Yes, the quality of UA has degraded, and all the great minds are leaving, but what is the solution?

It is great that so many thousands of new users download and start using Unity, one thing this world needs is fresh innovation and different perspectives.

But the trend is obvious. More users come in without any obvious attempt to search their question, when it had been answered hundreds of times before. I know there is breathing room for some leniency here, sometimes the correct search string is elusive, and one has to wade through many search results to get close to the desired information.

I found Unity Answers by searching my questions, so I used to wonder "how are all these people that cannot use a search engine finding this 'site", until one day I saw the link to UA in the help tab of Unity. "that must be it" I thought.

Experienced people are leaving, but new enthusiastic people are joining, so giving answers and scripts to people who don't understand them (or even their own question sometimes) perpetuates. Is this how UA is supposed to work?

I used to be one of those people. Everything Unity was amazing, and I wanted everyone to know it. To use an example, there was one obviously very intelligent person on here when I started, but I used to wonder why they were so cynical in their responses. Now I totally get it, they are justified, I've even become harsh and cynical myself.

So what is the solution? How do we clean up Unity Answers?

How do we funnel all the duplicate questions to their specific past answers? How do we stop the write-my-code questions? What do we do when we give advice without code and then get the response "I am a noob, please write some code to demonstrate your answer for me" ?

I only have a couple of solutions, and they are not great. So far the trend has been this year to shut down unspecific questions, asking for advice on general practices, or asking for code, and sending them to the forums. How do we manage this, and send people to where they should be looking, and where all the excellent learning resources are?

There are some amazing blogs appearing, Mike started an awesome 'site that has so much information that your head will spin. Then there's all the youtube channels, even I started recording videos that teach programming uJS from scratch, but it is getting no views, no-one wants to learn, they just want the code.... This is the part of the problem with todays thinking. Most people here are a younger generation and have grown up with a click-for-instant-response environment. How do we guide these people with learning while keeping them enthusiastic about learning and expanding their knowledge?

Ok, so that was a bunch of more questions rather than solutions. So here is one suggestion.

I noticed at one stage, when you asked a question and started filling out the title, there would be a drop-down box of suggestions to similar questions. How about even hit the new user with information and suggestions even before they start typing a new question?

SO, user under 15 karma hits the [Ask a Question] button. The next page should be clearly stated :

Have you searched for an answer that may already exist? Have you typed the title of your question into a search engine already? Are you asking for code? If so, stop now and go to the Unity Forums. Are you asking for general practices or how to implement a theory? If so, stop now and go to the Unity Forums. Have you checked the Unity Documentation and the Unity Scripting Reference? If not, stop now and go to the Unity Documentation. then the link to the How to use Unity Answers video then the link to the Unity Answers FAQS Then specific instruction to format your code * then clear instruction on accepting answers

Then have another button : [yes, I have searched, and checked the documentation, and I am not asking for code, Continue to ask a new question]

But who am I to say all this. I bombarded UA for 12 months with all my answers and code, I am a problem. I hope it shows I have realized this, and curbed my behaviour.

So this is where I leave my rant, open to suggestions, or to be shot down in flames because I don't have a clue what I'm talking about.

Edit : one more thought, why are users not supporting each other? If you see a good answer, upvote it, that is what the thumbs are for. Apart from a specific few users, no-one here supports their fellow unites. Accept answers that are older than 3 months if you see one, it's obvious the OP doesn't care, they got what they came for and are gone....

======================================================================================

Here are some paraphrased lists of all the excellent suggestions from the answers to this question (subjective and argumentative as it is!) :


Things that we as Moderators need to start implementing and enforcing :#

* Stop approving unspecific or write-my-code questions, send a message to the OP and then [reject] that question.

* immediately close or delete duplicate questions, write-my-code questions

* close but provide links for any I-dont-understand questions


Suggestions to make Unity Answers more dynamic to cater to everyones needs :#

Create an Advanced Questions section. Only other mods can vote a question into this Advanced list. Graham> This is not a very "unity" thing to do.

* Create a list of topics that are the most commonly asked questions

* Create a list of Hottest Answers that cover all those topics

* also create a list of proven useful learning resources sorted by topic, such as : unity3Dstudent, the Unity Online courses, Unity Gems, proven useful YouTube video channels, other unassociated blogs that have a wealth of information.

* Have additional filter tabs, not just unanswered. Including : Hottest Recent Answers, Hottest All-Time Answers, Highest Voted Questions, Highest Voted Answers, Answered but Not Accepted, (am sure there were more suggestions for tags here, but cannot think right now)

Modify the karma system to consider questions asked compared to questions accepted by an OP. Not allowed to post new questions before accepting previous answers. Graham> Makes lots of sense.

* Until things are sorted out, possibly display which Moderator approved a question (although this could lead to headhunting, which is not good, so ...)

Unity Employed Moderators need to provide us a template/guideline to help determine what is a good question, so we can reject without guilt or afterthought. Graham> I think all moderators have a good idea of what's acceptable. We (all) need to toughen up a bit.

Unity Employed Moderators need to formulate a generic response for rejected questions. Again so we feel we are not judging or condemning a question, merely applying the rules. Graham> "Your question isn't precise enough for Unity Answers."

Better still, The reject button should have a list of typical reasons that get auto-sent as a message, similar to the close button. Graham> Agreed.

Unity needs to vastly improve the on-site search system, it has been broken since UDN was implemented. Graham> Agreed. But it's hard to better Google.

* Unity needs to overhaul the Ask a Question procedure. As above, first direct to a page with detailed instructions on asking a question, with a Confirm button, so the OP can be closed down and told they were clearly given instruction on how to ask a good question.

Possibly employ a couple of paid moderators to help clean up the list of questions and enforce the rules (poor Eric, after all his years of contributing, give him a Christmas bonus!) Graham> Seriously, drop me an email graham at if you are interested in joining us in some capacity. I've employed both Duck and Statement into fulltime positions. If there is interest in part-time roles, I'll see what I can do.


I still feel like I have missed a few points, so please let me know what I can add to this list (in point form) so the Unity Employed Moderators can get easy access to all the points without having to read all the answers / comments.

Though if they have the time, they really should, Every single line here is coming from a person who is passionate about Unity and Unity Answers, and only wants the best for and from both Unity and UA.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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asked Apr 06, 2013 at 08:32 AM

alucardj gravatar image

alucardj
29.7k 167 1055 221

As for your videos with no viewing, why not putting them on Mike's website (which is somehow also mine...but more his :)) it gets about +1000 hits per day and has been a little on stand by lately. That would get you going and that would center all resources as well. I am sure Mike would easily provide you with the credentials.

I actually made already two or three little games only with about 10 questions from which some remained unanswered.

I guess the system should somehow clean itself. In order to enforce upvote, a question with no selected answer, no upvote and few viewing could/should be removed. That would also narrow the amount of return answer on a topic.

The search system should be more clear as well. Putting some keywords does not always return a clear selection. Google actually does a better job.

Apr 06, 2013 at 12:30 PM fafase

Lucas it was your idea :) I don't see Gems as mine - I would really like more people to publish on there, because we've managed to make it popular, it would be great if some others could contribute - mainly because my entire spare time isn't spare at the moment....

Apr 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM whydoidoit

I sincerely apologize fafase, I did know you were a major contributer to Unity Gems (especially all the french items, yes?), and gave you no credit.

I can even recall reading the question where Unity Gems was conceived. You and Mike and Fattie were talking, I just associate it with Mike because he said he could implement it with wordpress.

In my eyes you are also a Legend, thank you for your efforts and sorry it took me so long to let you know.

All my stuff is in unityJavaScript, so I don't think it fits in with the C# theme of the 'site. I do however have suggestions on what to do tutorials for; things like trigger volumes for collecting items and opening doors / activating switches, raycasting from the first and third person, and examples of GameObject.Find and GetComponent, with details on how and why this breaks, and what the null / unassigned reference is trying to tell the user. Again, I have actually done videos on these myself, need to expand on the raycast more but have decided to wait and see if I get more than 10 views on these guides before making any more videos.

The videos started from that damn slender guide I did. Honestly wish I could jump in a Delorean and stop myself from posting that. I thought I was stopping those same questions (how to collect papers, how to make enemy follow, how to know when looking at enemy), but afterwards I think I just created more questions, and most of them just posting my code saying "this doesn't work". So I decided to make videos of me following my guide just to say "There, see, it does work". Those videos got an amazing amount of views, so I thought "wow, maybe I could show people how to read, write and understand code themselves". Wrong! No views, they just want the code. I can say without exaggeration I get 2 messages a week saying "please post/send/give me the code".

If I have anything I honestly think is worth posting on Unity Gems, I shall forward the information, but would really like you guys just to use it as a template and formulate better tutorials from them.

Thanks again for all your hard work and contributions to the community fafase.

Apr 06, 2013 at 08:17 PM alucardj

Yeah I like that.

Apr 07, 2013 at 08:01 AM whydoidoit

@alu .. your four paragraphs there. well that's exactly, precisely what I said at length. the best way to help can't-make-a-timer newbs is to have a separate "advanced" section.

as an incidental benefit of a separate "advanced" section, advanced Unity programmers will flock to this site (instead of considering it an annoying site flooded with newb questions) so, additionally, as well as helping the newbs, it will become useful for advanced unity workers.

there is an actual solution to exactly what problem you are describing -- it is simply a separate "advanced" section.

Apr 07, 2013 at 08:37 AM Fattie
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19 answers: sort voted first

Thank you sincerely everyone for all your thoughts and responses. I am very much moved by the overwhelming response (yes, I am getting all emotional).

I believe this question has served its purpose and is now getting resolved. I got the opportunity to vent my frustration, all of your voices have been heard in resounding chorus, the message is now out there.

It is up to us to restore Unity Answers. We are the moderators, we are the community, we are Unity Answers.

The most valuable message from this post is :

Moderators be aware of what you are approving !

Simply Stop approving unspecific or write-my-code questions,

send a message to the OP and then [reject] that question.

A new page is being developed by the Unity employed Moderators which we can all guide and reference the new users to, so there is no excuse for not understanding what the purpose and function of Unity Answers is.

Here is that link : http://answers.unity3d.com/page/newuser.html

Now I shall meekly disappear back into the depths of the night, and watch from there the evolution of Unity Answers and its members' interactions.

Thank you each and everyone for your time and thoughts, you are all awesome people =]

And no, I don't get any karma for accepting my own answer, but I have upvoted you all.

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answered Apr 08, 2013 at 02:19 PM

alucardj gravatar image

alucardj
29.7k 167 1055 221

so guys, why don't include in the "ask a question section" something like a filter, meaning that if there is no code on the question the question goes to a moderator process? mostly meaningless questions have no code on it.

well, let's just say i'm not a noob but i try to earn my place in here, so whenever i ask something i can get a decent answer

Oct 02, 2013 at 04:43 AM FrankStarsKo

That's not a bad idea. Maybe even more complex filters like if the title has all caps the question is auto-rejected. If it has profanity it's auto rejected, if it's shorter than say 200 characters, moderation queue. Of course this only works for people lower than 1000 Karma, since those over would be able to put their own questions through the mod-queue.

The only problem is that none of even the requested and urgent fixes have been fixed in months, so it's highly doubtful anything (even though it's quite simple) as such will ever be implemented. TBO I have lost faith in this website and stopped visiting... I don't want to be part of something whose creators have left to die on it's own ;)

Oct 02, 2013 at 05:05 AM Benproductions1

Sad to hear, but it is totally frustrating that the site is fiddled with to improve things and then abandoned again before the bugs are fixed - moderation broken like it is really is frustrating

Oct 02, 2013 at 05:17 AM whydoidoit

ALU -- there are MANY SIMPLE TECHNOLOICAL FIXES that would solve 50% or 80% of the problem. If Unity had a chance to make the change on the forum software

I will give you a great example.

At the moment on the moderation panel you can tediously select "close .." and then there's (LOL - NO REALLY) a "pop up" (see history book) and you can badly select an item, etc etc

literally a 10 year old today would realize that "nobody, no human being in the universe, will ever use a process that complicated on the web these days"

Sometimes when I have say 7 hours to spare, I do that a few times.

But say Unity did THIS:

there was ONE BUTTON that said:

Close dupe and send polite message <<

So you click that, and in one stroke, well one click, it closes the question as a dupe, and, it sens a polite "Comment" along the lines "Hello! our experienced yet freaking angry moderators have noticed you have asked a question that has been answered in great detail with videos 100s of times in the past. Please first SEARCH this site using your keywords to find answer. if no answer is available, post a new clear question including your attempted code sample. Goodbye."

Again ALU at a STROKE this would solve 50% of the whole total problem.

new moderators would get the idea you're meant to press that button and so on. old moderators would press it. I'd press it ever time. You'd press it every time.

So, that's the answer: technology

Apr 29, 2013 at 05:59 PM Fattie

Or I guess one of us could write some kind of basic wrapper that did all of this (and allowed for flagged as damn interesting). It wouldn't take much, some kind of PHP server or something - good old frames around this site.

Apr 29, 2013 at 06:30 PM whydoidoit
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Very interesting topic and I really felt like starting the same discussion. But who am I? I only downloaded unity a month ago. I do have absolutely no problem working with it though and even after my first day on Unity Answers I already felt more experienced than the average Joe here, but that's probably because of my programming background.

What do I think is wrong?

People expect from Unity to be a drag and drop tool, where they can easily build games in without any programming knowledge whatsoever. (And don't care learning it)

They notice that they need code for certain game behaviour, and they actually do use a search engine the first time. They end up on UAnswers and see that some guy just simply asked for code, and also recieved it. So what is their natural reaction ? They make an account and do exactly the same for all their following problems.

Solution?

Not just close, but DELETE all the malformed questions (including all the old ones). Newbies will then only find well-formed questions and won't even bother making an account if they aren't motivated enough. (Ofcourse this is just an addition to all the other suggestions)

Why does this really bother?

Good questions get less attention and users who are potentional additions to the unity community just avoid this place.

On a side-note : accept-rate

Can't the accept rate be adapted to reflect the rate of a user's questions with an accepted answer, to the total amount of asked questions? (As on Stack Overflow) This can also be used to stop unthankful people from posting questions : if their accepting rate is too low they get a notification that they should first accept some answers on their questions before they can post a new question.

I also advise people to upvote good answers AND questions more frequently.

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answered Apr 06, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Unitraxx gravatar image

Unitraxx
1.7k 8 13 32

I completelly agree here with ya

DELETE the demands

so he learnes what to do

I usually search through but I often see an advanced throw code everything together and I can't figure out the basics

than I must ask at UA the basics so I'm able to do more advanced stuff

when I get to a problem I shrink my code as much as possible and after that I ask that basic that I do not understand

and than I'm able to do more advanced stuff

like at martial arts how can 1 fight if he does not understand the basics of stand pose

Apr 07, 2013 at 11:33 AM sdgd

lmgtfy is the tool for that Unitraxx :D

Apr 06, 2013 at 11:18 PM SirVictory

@Unitraxx You just reminded me to upvote this question XD

Apr 06, 2013 at 11:50 PM Benproductions1
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A moving post, I search thoroughly before I post anything, but then, I am not one of the newer generation ;)

A solution would be moderators that actually filter for something beyond obscenity. It would be quite simple to take some volunteers from the forums and have posts by anyone under 50~100 karma be screened by an individual who wants to clean up the n00b/troll/toenail-chewer posts. ~stares at OP~

Maybe have those individuals, if they decide to block a post, provide an auto message to the user with a reason. One containing a link to a previous topic or google search. Just an idea ^^

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answered Apr 06, 2013 at 09:39 AM

Cyber_Defect gravatar image

Cyber_Defect
197 26 28 35

Thanks for your response, those are some great suggestions. There is a moderation system in place, where users under 15 karma who post a question have their question locked away in the moderation que until it is approved. You probably know and have experienced this. I would like to push this mod que for new users karma up to 100.

Unfortunately alot of mods just find it easier to approve every question there, rather than going through 3 pages of mod que and only filter out the relevant questions.

You don't know how many times I get annoyed after submitting proper questions and leaving the other ones in the mod que, only to have another mod approve everything like bad/non-specific/fishing-for-scripts questions, or even answers to the OPs questions that should actually be a comment, it really does my head in and makes me a little mad.

I think I just have to get harsher and actually start hitting that [reject] button. It's just not me, that's why I havn't rejected anything but obvious spam. I like to help people, but at the same time I like to know my efforts are not in vain.

Many thanks again for your response, you ask some great questions, and prove your self to be a real forward thinker. All the Best =]

Apr 06, 2013 at 09:51 AM alucardj

Maybe the answer is to reject them after sending them a private message with a link? kind of a compromise :P

Apr 06, 2013 at 09:54 AM Cyber_Defect

I agree that one of the problems is that the repetitive questions such as 'how do i raycast' are causing experienced users to lose interest in this site.
I for one am starting to find visiting UA more tedious than before, when I was bound to find an interesting question with informative answers that I could actually learn something new from.
I think one of the biggest changes I see is that questions aren't only asked when a user has gotten to a point in their project where they need other users input on a problem they are having, that is specific to their game.
The questions have become more general and it seems like users will post a lot of questions while working on one single project/game.
It seems that it has changed slightly from being a collection of wellformed ideas/code, to unoriginal questions, and code that the OP hasn't actually written themselves.
This is a really interesting thread

Apr 07, 2013 at 02:36 PM merry_christmas

@Alucardj - I am that mod. Sorry.

Apr 07, 2013 at 09:45 PM Graham Dunnett ♦♦

@All - and obviously I support all of you, and trust your judgement. I'm not going to slap you down ever. Some of you may have seen karma boost when I see you do sensible things.

Apr 07, 2013 at 09:46 PM Graham Dunnett ♦♦
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I supposed that I am one of the newer generations given that I am about 20-25 years old (not that I am not sure how old I am, just that you can't give away any information willy nilly, right?).

I am very new at Unity, maybe about 6-9 months, certainly not more than 12. However, because I came from a programming background, and I am a sort-of-hobbyist in Blender, using Unity is just adapting to a new IDE to me. I never have any problem with figuring out the logic to do something, the problems I ever encounter in Unity are on the configurations/settings.

OPs that don't know how to ask question ##

What if the user/OP doesn't have any programming knowledge (some of them are honest enough to claim that they themselves are noob)? What should we do to these group of users? They are interested in developing their own game, but they lack the knowledge/skill to do so; and unfortunately when they asked a question, because they are inexperience, they makes it sounds like they are asking for a script, and on a bad day, they end up becoming a unfortunate soul that we yelled at. Sometimes, I do feel sorry for them because them suffers for other's fault. Whenever I saw a noob question in moderation, I struggled, "Should I let it rot here at the moderation queue? What if I killed someone's passion in making game? If I approve it, what if I just help a lazy moron gets answers for his question?"

OPs that was obviously asking for script ##

Now comes to those that were obviously asking for scripts and not guides, even if they don't say they want a script, I will know exactly what they want after a few comments. When I answered the question and I say "this is the rough logic/algorithm", "you should look into this" or "you can figure this one out" in a cold/harsh way, usually I mean either one or more of the following:

I am not going to write the whole script for you Example: AI script, FPS-gun-aim script

There are people who have successfully wrote their own script to do the same thing, why can't the OPs? Please don't use inexperience as excuses, we all were noobs and inexperience.

Do you really need me to tell you how to do that?/It has been asked a thousand times Example: spawn random, enable GUI

It is sad that we live in an era that using Google will answer almost any question and it is so effortless that we start not to appreciate how precious these information are, but it is even sadder when there are people that do not want to use Google.

You should know the answer to this because you have asked similar questions

The OP have asked questions of similar topic not long before; if he read the answers and links, he should be capable of solving the question he is posting.

How to fix it ##

The harsh reality is that those who ask for ready made scripts will never change their attitude; we can ban them, they will just make a new account. I don't understand how can one live like that? How can one does not feel bad about himself when he knew that he did nothing at all but he can enjoy the fruits of other's labor?

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answered Apr 06, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Chronos-L gravatar image

Chronos-L
4.9k 28 30 47

I (and most people here) don't have enough karma to reject posts in the queue. So, addressing people asking for a script once the post has already been approved:

I like to go a bit further than lmgtfy. I assume that the person isn't malicious, and try to leave a good (short) message for a user explaining that I won't write their code for them and giving them a link or two to get started (e.g. a link to the script reference).

Unfortunately, pretty much every time I do so, another user comes along in under an hour and writes their code for them. That ends up teaching new users that "if you get a gentle rebuke from someone with high karma, ignore them and keep posting / bumping your questions. Eventually someone will just solve it for you."

I suppose we could just close all such questions to disallow further answers, but that doesn't feel like it's in the spirit of UA. What if someone else comes along with a tutorial or other link that is more relevant/helpful?

On the flip side, is discouraging people from posting code even the right thing to do? If someone is willing to post code for a new user, are we the people who should decide their behaviour, what they can and cannot do?

Apr 28, 2013 at 06:09 PM Julien.Lynge

I'm in for that.

Apr 06, 2013 at 11:41 AM whydoidoit

They should add a special button for that XD

Apr 06, 2013 at 11:45 AM Benproductions1

You have really defined the issues here well, such insight and maturity for a young person of random age!

OPs that don't know how to ask question :

It now has come down to the current mood. Sometimes I walk the OP to the door, open it, and point in a direction saying "there it is, just over there, can you see it?". Then other times it's "far out, have you even bothered reading anything or written some test scripts before posting such a vague question?". Again, you have really described the internal dilema well. Everyone here wants to help people, and no-one wants to crush someone if they are genuine about learning and just needs pointers on where to focus.

OPs that was obviously asking for script :

So very true. Just when you think you are giving a genuine OP all the references and keywords for them to start reading and searching on, then you get the shattering realization that it was all in vain with a single comment "I don't understand, can you please just write my code?".

How to fix it :

I think the answer has come from Cygon4 and all the wonderful responses to this question. Moderators just have to get tough and start rejecting poor questions without any bias or personal agenda, just to keep this 'site functioning with more technical content that we can all appreciate and learn new techniques from. We need to create a template for how to determine what a good question is as whydoidoit states we need, then as suggested by Cyber_Defect first send a message to the OP with links to the UA video faqs and how to ask a good question page, then hit that reject button. The OP will get the message they need to compose a better question to be approved, the quality of questions goes up, and the experienced people come back and become more active and forthcoming with information again.

I am a huge fan of lmgtfy, it sends a message as well as informing, I use it alot here anyway, so unofficially count me in =]

Hey I don't know how old I am ...! My birth certificate says one thing, my body says I'm 60, and my mind says I'm 24 !

Apr 06, 2013 at 08:12 PM alucardj

Can we make a unofficial pact in Unity Answers, where when a question can be answered by a Google search, we all answer it with lmgtfy.com ?

Apr 06, 2013 at 11:12 AM Benproductions1
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In response to @alucardj's "This is STILL happening...I am spitting in the wind" but I'm posting as a answer because it is too long for a comment:

At this point, you are doing more than "spitting into the wind." You are providing leadership in a direction you want UA to move. I watched the list since this post, and there has been a shift. You can see it clearest in the comments like "this belongs in the forums," or "we won't write it for you" being posted by new and low karma posters. A couple of months ago that was not happening. And more questions are being closed. But it likely take more time and consistent effort on your part before the change is as complete and self-sustaining as you would like.

But I have to admit to being confused about the site's standards and your vision. I have a very short history with actively following this list (I started in mid-January). Back in January almost everything other than spam made it through the moderation queue. I left a lot of posts in the moderation queue, but they almost always were published. And after posting, they were almost never closed (and frequently answered). It was sort of like there was one traffic cop and a 1000 speeders. Occasionally someone would be tagged, but there was no practical speed limit.

Early on I understood this was site run by community values, but I saw little consistency in what is closed, and what is published. Things that I clearly thought should be closed were usually ignored by high karma individuals (and often answered by someone). Occasionally something that I thought was clearly out of bounds would be published and participated in by high-karma posters. I've read every closed post that I run across in an attempt to figure out the values, and am still stumped. Note I'm talking about the community values as practiced, not something written somewhere and ignored. So here is a laundry list:

How do I... - The statement was made recently that we should not be answering how-do-I-type questions. Here is question I commented on that was later closed. But to me, this is a good question. It is asking something specific. The likely answer is that it requires a plugin or it cannot be done, but even that has value. I've found the answers to dozens of my personal question of a similar nature by searching UA. An answer to this kind of question has far more value to UA in the long run than the numerous null reference errors we solve each week. So after having this question closed, I started to answer questions this morning and ran across this question and this question. Both of them are of the how-do-I variety. Should they be close? If so why weren't they closed? If not, where is the dividing line? Here is an even more general question. I was tempted to post a shader and a couple of links to get him started, but did not know if it was appropriate.

Off Topic (non-Unity specific) Questions - I remember the first time one of my answers was closed due to being off topic (and the last time until a couple of days ago). I was confused since it did not seem all that much different than many other answers on UA. My confusing increased when an hour later the same person who closed my answer made a lengthy off-topic (in my opinion) answer. Since then I've watched the list with the idea of off-topic questions in mind. Off-topic questions are rarely closed (unless they are way out there) and usually they answered, often by high karma individuals. They come in a variety of forms:

  • C# or Javascript specific questions
  • Programming specific questions
  • Game design questions
  • Algorithm design questions
  • Math questions

Should they be closed? Where is the dividing line?

Code it for me - Many of these are blatant and are easily closed, but many are more subtle. You give an answer and get back, "I don't understand, can you give me an example script?" Where is the line between help and coding it for them? In addition Karma has gamified UA to a certain extent, so many others will come along and provide the script if I don't.

Translate it for me - This is Javascript C# translation. Back in January, there were a number of requests for this kind of translation. There are very few lately. There seems to be a push back on translation, but no clear stand. Is this something we leave up to the community or should they be closed with a link to reference material? Should we only help them after they have made a good faith attempt on their own?

Duplicate Questions - A good deal of the questions on this list have been answered before...in some form, but I rarely see duplicate questions closed unless they are blatant. I see several driving forces beyond just standards for this issue:

  • Karma is a driving force on UA, and an answer is more likely to be selected if it answers a question rather than provides a reference to another question.
  • Few have the history to know what questions have been answered (and in what form).
  • Finding past answers can be difficult and is often more time consuming than just answering the questions.
  • Past answers are rarely complete and are specific to the situation of the question asked.
  • Figuring out the correct answer from a list of other answers posted on this site is a skill that few beginners have (and we answer a lot of beginner questions).

Poorly asked - Frequently questions are asked without enough specific information to be answered in a reasonable way. They are rarely closed. Typically someone asks a list of questions to clarify. Should they just be closed with a reference to how to ask questions? To me this is tricky ground since many posts are by people for which English is not their first language. It can be hard for them to formulate the question. On the other hand, it is hard for us to answer as well, and the questions likely don't meet the standard for the list.

multiple questions - Some questions are really two or more questions. They are rarley closed. In fact the OP is rarely asked to separate the questions. They are less likely to get answered, but often they do get answers to one or more of their questions. What should happen with the questions? Should they routinely be closed?


If there are clear community standards, then it would help to codify those standards into the closing mechanism. Have list of 10 or 20 specific reasons for closure, and including a link to specific suggestions for the OP to either improve the question or where to seek help elsewhere. For example, if we don't do code translation, then that should be a reason for the closure and the message should include a link to resources for translation. It would be much easier and less time consuming for the closer, and user would provide a common experience with respect to the standards.

more ▼

answered Apr 29, 2013 at 08:04 PM

robertbu gravatar image

robertbu
110k 21 39 185

Thanks Robert, this is really good. I for one definitely agree that a user code of conduct for answering questions would be a huge step forward. Even if we only got the top X users following it, it would gradually filter down. I remember when I first started posting here, I learned what was acceptable behaviour by watching folks like @bunny83. At least some (and maybe a majority) of new users look up to the people with high karma.

I don't have time for a detailed response at the moment, but you did bring up a couple things that I have strong opinions on :)

* Finding past answers can be difficult and is often more time consuming than just answering the questions.

This is absolutely true. Honestly, when I look for existing answers to questions, I just use Google - it's better than the internal search, but hardly ideal. Google doesn't take into account how many upvotes an answer has gotten, for instance, so it doesn't bubble good answers to the top.

* Past answers are rarely complete and are specific to the situation of the question asked.

This is right in the FAQ, but is ignored by pretty much the entire community: questions should be "of interest to at least one other Unity user somewhere." What this means to me is that any questions that heavily reference your specific game should be thrown out, because they are by definition only useful for you. This would get rid of so many of the "translate code" and "write my code" questions. But it would also make the remaining questions much more useful if we were better about enforcing this.

Apr 29, 2013 at 08:17 PM Julien.Lynge

@whydoidoit - one way of addressing the moderator issue would be to add a new action for moderators below 10K called 'refer.' It would allow them to "lock" questions in the moderation queue and provide a reason. It would take someone with 5K or 10K to then publish or reject the question. The way it works right now, often the moderator with the lowest standard gets to make the publish decision. This mechanism would also allow them to deal with duplicates. They could publish one, and then refer the rest so that someone who can reject them can deal with them.

Apr 29, 2013 at 08:32 PM robertbu

why not just lower the karma threashold waaaay down for 'convert answers to comments and vice versa

YES

.

that is the single best idea here. Great work - you win.

if Unity can't do that it's pointless putting any further thought in.

GREAT idea. AAA.

Apr 29, 2013 at 08:34 PM Fattie

@robertbu,

Good idea. As it stands, it takes the least amount of energy and lowest amount of trust to mindlessly approve everything in the list. So no one can be surprised that that's what most often happens - people are simple, we all do what's easiest.

Apr 29, 2013 at 08:40 PM Julien.Lynge

Hey, I posted a couple suggestions for the UnityAnswers devs that only require adjusting the karma levels for 2 privileges:

http://answers.unity3d.com/questions/447464/meta-for-ua-devs-can-karma-privileges-be-changed.html

I'm hoping this would be a good first (small) step in cleaning up the site. Let me know what you guys and gals think.

Apr 30, 2013 at 08:15 AM Julien.Lynge
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