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Inappropriateness of subdividing and sub-channelling KudoZ input
Thread poster: Roland Nienerza

Roland Nienerza  Identity Verified

Local time: 19:16
English to German
+ ...
Mar 6, 2009

Not so long ago, the former arrangement of options given to users wishing to contribute to KudoZ term questions were essentially "Answer" - for a full proposition of a term, or "Ask asker" - for all kinds of requests or considerations concerning the question.

It is true, that the title of the section "Ask answer" was a bit to narrow to cover the exchanges of views that developed there - most of the time not only helpful for the asker, but also very often quite interesting for all contributors to the thread.

Now, it appears to have become important or make a difference, at least for some site controllers etc., whether an exchange of views concerning a KudoZ question develops in a field called "Request clarification" or "Discuss". -

Contrary to this it should be easy to understand that an answer given by the asker to a "Request clarification" entry can directly lead to asking for additional clarification - either by the first poster or by one or more other posters. - And then a discussion will be open, that might cause some particularly well-meaning or just overly zealous site controllers to chip in, and order the exchange "to be continued in the right section" - meaning, of course, "Discuss".

But the exchange may be already well underway in the "inappropriate" field - and continuing it now in, i.e. shifting it to another field, will cut the thread apart.

In addition, there is yet another section "Post reference" - and here too one can easily understand - and see in practice - that exchanges of views will develop in connexion with given proposals, exchanges which have or at least should have a clear bearing to the question of the asker and will or should be intended to help finding a correct solution for it. And these exchanges are of course by nature a subject related discussion too - with the result, that the all the sometimes, though by no means always, considerable amount of input that was formerly gathered in the section "Ask asker" is now splintered and scattered in different sections, - with some extra input being coming forward, in a very useful way, to be sure, with the "agrees" etc.

It is quite obvious that this sub-channelling of contributions of well-intended answers does not, as some developers might have believed, have the effect to avoid an "unordered debate" - but in the very opposite creates itself an even more unordered and confused, difficult to analyse environment for the input to a given question.

The only "problem" with the former unique "Ask asker" section could have been the name of it.

If that would - and it should - be changed to "Comments and references" - it would be a clear and purposeful solution. -

Sure. There could a times - although this is not directly the majority of cases - develop an extended more or less "secondary debate. But the total volume of input will be identical, whether it is assembled in one section or split up in three. - The difference is that having all the input in one section - and only having it in just one section - give people that are joining an already open discussion, a chance to get, in a reasonably short time, an idea of the state of the debate.

I suggest to create just one button for all extra input - called "Comment and references", or something like it, for all input, questions or discussions that are not a precise term solution to the question asked.


[Edited at 2009-03-06 12:20 GMT]


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Excellent idea Mar 6, 2009

I think this is an excellent idea (and I think it doesn't come up for the first time - maybe I even proposed it myself at some point...)!

I'd very much like to see this implemented!


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
English to French
Agree Mar 6, 2009

This has been several times discussed when the "discuss" and "clarification" boxes were created. Staff answered that they created these on members' requests...

I still don't like these features, because if you don't follow the discussion - or the discussionS in the different boxes - right from the start, you're not able to know who wrote what in the first place.

Worst thing is when an asker clarification turns into a real discussion and that a moderator decides to transfer the whole "thread" (or only part of it, which is even worse) into the "appropriate" discussion box: it is then a nightmare to read, as it forms a single block or writing with names/times and comments all mixed up. What the purpose of this apart from strictly respect a rule?

Stéphanie


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Roland Nienerza  Identity Verified

Local time: 19:16
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There we are - Mar 6, 2009

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:

Worst thing is when an asker clarification turns into a real discussion and that a moderator decides to transfer the whole "thread" (or only part of it, which is even worse) into the "appropriate" discussion box: it is then a nightmare to read, as it forms a single block or writing with names/times and comments all mixed up. What the purpose of this apart from strictly respect a rule?

Stéphanie



You say it, Stéphanie. - I just happend to experience this - in a way I prefer not to comment in detail about. - After all, we are learning - aren't we?


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Would facilitating the transfer of comments help? Mar 6, 2009

Hi Roland,

I have also come across the problem you describe on more than one occasion. In those KudoZ pairs that I know this problem has become less and less frequent recently; most users seem to have got used to the multiple areas. Nonetheless the problem still exists, and should be addressed.

From what I have seen, the "Reference" field is pretty well used, and is considered useful by many users. I would be very reluctant to merge it with other fields, since its purpose is clearly distinct. Likewise, separation of the discussions related to the question and to the answers has provided a clearer structure; users may gain time by reading only one if they only need that information. I would therefore try to look for solutions that do not do away with this distinction.

One solution I can think of is similar to what is common practice in forums: moderators can move entire topics from one forum to another. Not individual posts -- but that would be quite rarely needed. In KudoZ, moderators could be given some tools to move inputs given in the "Ask the asker" field to the "Discussion" field directly, etc. Something like a drag-and-drop tool would probably be technically feasible (developers, please correct me if I am wrong), and the whole operation would take little time. Users could call moderators to a question and point out if a field is not appropriately used. The intervention could then be done without breaking the continuity of the discussion.

Do you think this would address the problem appropriately?

Attila


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
English to French
agree but... Mar 6, 2009

Attila Piróth wrote:

From what I have seen, the "Reference" field is pretty well used, and is considered useful by many users.


I fully agree. But regarding "clarification" and "discuss" I still don't understand what the point is. Sometimes you ask a question to the asker and they answer in the discussion box. Or you write a comment in the discussion box and the asker answers in the "clarification box". This just doesn't help to follow the thread (I repeat myself, I know). Moreover you are required to write a title for all comments you make in the discussion and I think it doesn't bring much to the discussion.

Anyway, I guess we won't come back to the single "ask the asker" box we used to have...


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 15:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
"REFERENCE" FIELD Mar 6, 2009

I agree with you, Attila, in that the "Reference" field has proved very useful -and enlightening!

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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member
English to Hungarian
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@ Stéphanie Mar 6, 2009

Hi Stéphanie,

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:
But regarding "clarification" and "discuss" I still don't understand what the point is.


The aim is to separate the question from the answers.


Sometimes you ask a question to the asker and they answer in the discussion box. Or you write a comment in the discussion box and the asker answers in the "clarification box". This just doesn't help to follow the thread (I repeat myself, I know).


That is a problem, and I think the easy drag-and-drop transfer of comments could a good solution to that problem. If the participants get email notifications of all such changes, they will easily understand what the reason for that change was.


Moreover you are required to write a title for all comments you make in the discussion and I think it doesn't bring much to the discussion.


I would treat that as a separate issue -- perhaps in a separate thread.
Attila


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 19:16
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reference Mar 6, 2009

I certainly like having this field available. In the past if I wanted to add a reference when agreeing with someone's posting, I would have to tag it onto my "agree", and it wouldn't be very visible. This way makes it more obvious to everyone (and I'm thinking in particular of later consultations linking through the glossary).

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Roland Nienerza  Identity Verified

Local time: 19:16
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
I do not think that your proposal helps - Mar 6, 2009

Attila Piróth wrote:

From what I have seen, the "Reference" field is pretty well used, and is considered useful by many users. I would be very reluctant to merge it with other fields, since its purpose is clearly distinct.


This is exactly the point - that for me there are not several purposes for the input to a question. The input should - and in most cases will - aim on finding a term translation. - What use would there be for a reference other than that the asker and those answerers who wish to invest time for it - click a given link an see its portent to the question.


Likewise, separation of the discussions related to the question and to the answers has provided a clearer structure; users may gain time by reading only one if they only need that information. I would therefore try to look for solutions that do not do away with this distinction.


Which is your perfect right to do.


One solution I can think of is similar to what is common practice in forums: moderators can move entire topics from one forum to another. Not individual posts -- but that would be quite rarely needed. In KudoZ, moderators could be given some tools to move inputs given in the "Ask the asker" field to the "Discussion" field directly, etc. Something like a drag-and-drop tool would probably be technically feasible (developers, please correct me if I am wrong), and the whole operation would take little time.


It seems that this has been done already and I am strongly opposed to giving site controllers the power of playing chess or backgammon with other peoples input.[/quote]


Users could call moderators to a question and point out if a field is not appropriately used. The intervention could then be done without breaking the continuity of the discussion.

Do you think this would address the problem appropriately?


As said in the subject line - I do not, Attila. -

I would rather say something jocose about this - but I have been sufficiently bokanovskified or rather neo-pavlovnian conditioned in the meantime not to do it.

If you give it second thought you might agree that this would not be reasonable to not only have a site surveillance, but also volunteers stepping in for it.




[Edited at 2009-03-06 21:54 GMT]


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Roland Nienerza  Identity Verified

Local time: 19:16
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
It sure would be a good idea to have more space for exchanges in "agrees etc." - Mar 6, 2009

aceavila - Noni wrote:

I certainly like having this field available. In the past if I wanted to add a reference when agreeing with someone's posting, I would have to tag it onto my "agree", and it wouldn't be very visible. This way makes it more obvious to everyone (and I'm thinking in particular of later consultations linking through the glossary).


This is indeed an important point too. - I have observed - and been involved - in several cases where interesting exchanges of views developed in the "agree etc." area - and with the very little space allowed there, had to be either curtailed or continued somewhere else - with a necessary break of the thread.

I would definitely be very much in favour that the space for "agrees etc.", and particularly for the responses to them should be enlarged, possibly even with opening them even for third party postings. - Not as replacement, but in addition to an all-purpose "Comments and reference" box. - The concern that this might engross the "agree etc." section too much might not be too great, as debates there will not be the rule.


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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:16
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
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Definitely agree Mar 6, 2009

My thoughts exactly.

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Roland Nienerza  Identity Verified

Local time: 19:16
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
of course references are useful Mar 6, 2009

Mónica Algazi wrote:

I agree with you, Attila, in that the "Reference" field has proved very useful -and enlightening!


But it is precisely my idea to have all these inputs in one drawer, in order to make them easily visible and not crammed away.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Why seperation of questions and answers? Mar 6, 2009

Attila Piróth wrote:

Hi Stéphanie,

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:
But regarding "clarification" and "discuss" I still don't understand what the point is.


The aim is to separate the question from the answers.


I completely fail to see the benefit here. Could you explain?


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Clarification and discussion Mar 6, 2009

The "clarification" field serves to refine the question. In general, comments are posted there if the asker failed to provide adequate information: if the context was insufficient, if an image was found that could make the question more precise, etc. If I am to answer a question that has already received a few answers, I would first read this part.

Then I can decide if I am able to answer the question. If I am not, then I can leave immediately. So, this separation saves me time compared to the situation where everything is posted in the same place.

The "Discussion" part contains those contributions that are related to a well-defined question. They are often related to general points raised in the specific answers (but not to commenting on specific answers) -- or, of course, by the question itself. Sometimes I only look at this when, for example, I look at already closed questions. I might, then, not be interested in the clarification of the question, so this, again, saves time for me as a reader.

I would be interested in hearing what advantages and disadvantages other users find.

Attila

[Edited at 2009-03-06 13:39 GMT]


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