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The "only 10 open questions" rule is not working.
Thread poster: Stuart Allsop
Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 5, 2006

I just came across yet another case of a person who is managing to ask additional questions, even though they already have SEVENTEEN questions open....

In fact, in this case ALL of the questions that this person ever asked are still open, going back to July of 2005... He/she has never closed even one question, yet is still able to ask new ones.


Link to profile available on request.


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
And another one... Jul 5, 2006

Found another one today. 20 open questions, but still asking away freely, without any trouble.

A link to the offending profile is available on request.

(Assuming that anybody is interested in fixing this broken feature, that is... Or even acknowledging that it is broken.. Or even acknowledging that the bugs was reported here...)


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
And one more.... Jul 6, 2006

This is a real beaut! 39 open questions, most of them from the past week!

It really is VERY annoying that some of us cannot ask more than a handful of questions, while others can ask all that they want, even though they never bother to close old questions....

If you are not planning to fix this bug, then please at least tell us the secret, so that the rest of us can have the same privilege of being able to have dozens of questions open...

(Yes, the link to the profile is avaialable on request)


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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wish you luck Jul 6, 2006

Hi Stuart,

Remember they told me to place support tickets, that moderators could not do anything, and so on?

I even wrote to some staff members but no luck.

Wish you are luckier than me. You have my support, but I gave up.


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Patrick Dotterer
Local time: 12:27
SITE STAFF
We are working on the problem Jul 6, 2006

Dear Stuart,

Thanks for notifying us of this problem.

We have a support ticket regarding this issue and will notify you when the problem is fixed.

I appreciate your patience.

Regards,
Patrick


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just broke it myself! Jul 24, 2006

Hi Patrick,

It's still broken!

In fact, without meaning to, I just managed to break the rule myself! I now have 13 questions open (which I will promptly close, of course!), and I was given no indication at all that I needed to close the other twleve first, before I asked the last one. All of those questions are from the last few days, if that's any help to you in tracking the problem.


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Continued.... Aug 2, 2006

This post is a copy of one I made on another thread, where it was actually off-topic, so I am moving it back here, where it belongs.

Hi Stuart,

Just FYI, I fixed the bug on Tuesday, July 25th. If you notice that anyone has gotten around the open question limit (more than ten open questions with at least one non-declined answer that were asked more than a week ago), please send me a profile mail with the URLs to their profiles, and I will address the problem.

...

Best regards,
Justin



[Justin] I am ... sending you an e-mail with a link to a profile where there are, at present, 18 open questions. The two oldest questions date back to Apr 28 and Apr 10, 2005, and they both have at least one answer. In one of those two questions, the only answer was declined, but in the other case (Apr 10) there are two answers, neither of which was declined. Following that are two questions dated Jun 14 of this year, both of which have no answers. The remaining 14 open questions are dated July 28 up to yesterday (Aug 1), and they all have at least one answer.

So, if I understand the programming rule correctly, this person should not have been able to ask any questions yesterday (Aug 1), since their two oldest questions date back over a year, yet they did in fact ask questions yesterday.

In other words, one of the 18 open questions dates back more than a year and has valid non-declined answers, and in total there are more than ten open questions, yet this person can still ask questions. The way I see it, they should not have been permitted to post new questions until they deal with that very old one.

(They probably don't even realize that they have open questions from that far back, simply because the system never reminds them of it. If the rule were working, then they should not be able to ask more questions until that old question from last year is closed.)

Maybe I misunderstood your explanation of the rule, and it actually wants ALL TEN questions to be both older than a week, but if that is how the rule works, then it is flawed, and needs changing! If there are ANY open questions from more than a week ago with at least one answer, AND a total of more than ten open questions, then more questions should not be permitted. THAT should be the rule.

Otherwise there would be a rather silly and gaping loophole: If the rule works in the manner I am starting to suspect that it does, then it would be perfectly valid to leave nine questions open eternally, never closing them at all, then ask 5 (or 20) new questions each day, closing each of those inside a week. The rule would allow you to do that forever, theoretically having as many as 149 questions open, nine of which date from years back. This behavior would be within the rules, but certainly not within the spirit of Proz.com.

They way I understand it from the original discussions on this rule, the intention of the rule was to force people to close their old questions. If the rule allows you to carry on asking questions WITHOUT forcing you to close the old ones, then it is not working. This is what I am seeing. People with open questions dating back years are still able to ask questions, and this defeats the intention of the rule.

With all due respect, if the rule does not force people to close ancient questions, then the rule is wrong and needs to be changed.



[Edited at 2006-08-02 04:27]

[Edited at 2006-08-02 04:27]

[Edited at 2006-08-02 04:28]


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Fate steps in... Aug 2, 2006

As fate would have it, I just found the prefect example of the exact situation I illustrated above, from this broken rule: In less than five minutes, and by simply clicking on the most recently asked questions, I found half a dozen cases of folks with more than ten questions open, with at least one that goes back more than a week.

And one of those is the exact "loophole" scenario that I outlined. This profile has NINETEEN open questions, and NINE of those are older than seven days, yet this person has carried on oblivously, asking additional questions without closing those nine old ones. And they will continue to be able to do that indefinitely, since the rule itself is broken.

I also found one with 22 open questions, ten of which are older than one week, but in this case three of those ten have no answers at all.

In any event, as I have said all along, the rule is not accomplishing whit it was supposed to accomplish. It may well be working as designed, but if so then it was badly designed, since it is still not forcing people to close questions that have been open for a long time. And that was the original intention, as far as I know.

It needs fixing.


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justin C
United States
Local time: 12:27
English
The open question limit only counts questions that have been open for at least a week Aug 2, 2006

Maybe I misunderstood your explanation of the rule, and it actually wants ALL TEN questions to be both older than a week


Correct.

Enrique can correct me if I am wrong, but I open questions older than a week are only counted because askers are encouraged to keep questions open at least 24 hours before grading, and the thought is that a week should be enough time to close an open question.

Best regards,
Justin


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
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Missing the point... Aug 2, 2006

You are still missing the point, Justin.

The issue is not the 24 hour rule (which is a hornet's nest, all by itself).

The issue is that if the rule works like you say it does, then it will not and cannot achieve what it was supposed to achieve. It will miss up to 80% of what it was supposed to catch.

If you read my above post completely and carefully, instead of just skimming over it, you will understand this.

The rule, as implemented, is broken.

What it SHOULD do is to check firstly if there are more than ten open questions, and then check to see if ANY of those are older than ten days, but not ALL of them.

In other words, the rule currently wants AT LEAST TEN questions to be older than a week in order to stop new questions, but the point is that it should be looking for ANY open question that is older than a week. Even ONE "old" question is bad.

So once again, at the risk of seeming repetitious, the way I understand the original design criteria, the objective was to get people to close their old questions. As implemented currently, the rule does not do that. It will ONLY work for the few cases where there are AT LEAST TEN "old" questions. Everyone else who has between 1 and 9 old questions open is going to be able to ask as many new ones as they like.

So, one more time, what the rule needs to look for is anyone with more than ten questions open, where AT LEAST one of those ten is older than a week (rather than insisting that ALL TEN must be older than a week, as it does now).

As it stands, the current rule will only catch 10% of open "old" questions in the worst case. The fix I am suggesting would catch 90% of open "old" questions, in the worst case.

So a simple programming change will improve your hit rate by 80%.

To my way of thinking, a possible 80% improvement seems well worth the slight effort!




[Edited at 2006-08-02 06:16]


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 13:27
SITE STAFF
On testing and courtesy Aug 2, 2006

Lest’s summarize the discussion about the testing of the limit on open questions:

Yesterday I posted

You are prevented from asking new questions if you have 10 or more questions that have been open for at least a week.
This feature is working.


Then Stuart objected that he found a case with 14 questions open in the last 4 days. I answered:


Dear Stuart,

Did you read my posting above? I repeat here:

You are prevented from asking new questions if you have 10 or more questions that have been open for at least a week.
This feature is working.


Or from the KudoZ asking page:

In addition, askers with more than 10 questions that have been open for more than a week are asked to close their questions before asking new ones.


This means that to test this properly you have to have questions that have been answered but you failed to close for at least a week. This means that if you have 14 questions open in the last 4 days, then none of them is older than a week, and therefore the rule does not apply, as the total of open questions older than a week is zero.

And yes, I did test this personally, I can provide links to the corresponding test questions.


Then I added more detailed information:

Some more details that may explain a different evaluation of some particular test case:

“you may not ask further questions if you have 10 or more questions open that are older than a week. Each of these questions must have at least one un-declined answer.”

Please note that questions without answers are not computed, as it would be unfair to use them as part of a limit. The same applies to questions where all answers have been declined, meaning that the asker did not find them useful.


I honestly believe that it was very clear in all my postings above (and in the way the limit is worded in the KudoZ asking page) that the limit considers only questions that have been open for at least a week.

Some user may not like the way this limit was implemented, and everything can be improved, but I post this just to ratify that the testing of the limit was properly done and to kindly request that posters respect rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/general/2#2

2 Mutual respect, professionalism and fair play are expected. Site users are expected to treat each other with courtesy, whether posting publicly or making direct contact, and are advised to act under the assumption of good faith. ..


Regards,
Enrique


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Partial summary... Aug 2, 2006

Enrique wrote:

Lest’s summarize the discussion about the testing of the limit on open questions:



Good idea. Yes, let’s do that: To complete your partial summary, it should be added that I have since found half a dozen cases of users with questions open for MORE than seven days, and with MORE than ten questions open, so the rule is clearly STILL not catching these cases. It took me no more than a few minutes to find those cases, so obviously there must be an awful lot of them in the entire data base! My rough estimate is about 20% of all users are affected by this faulty rule.


So, since the rule is clearly STILL NOT doing what it is supposed to do, then there is something wrong with the rule, which is what I have been pointing out at great detail in my last few posts here and on the other thread.

I have now explained, several times, exactly what is wrong with the rule (or rather, what is wrong with the way the rule is implemented in software), and I have pointed out that, as implemented at present, it will miss 90% of the old open questions, worst case. I have also shown how the implementation of the rule needs to be changed so that it will only miss 10% of the old open questions, worst case.

But it would appear that I didn’t explain the subtleties of programming very well, since the discussion actually seems to have regressed several steps, so I guess I’ll try again:

The way that the rule is implemented at present, it only prevents someone from asking a new question if there are AT LEAST ten questions open, and ALL TEN OF THEM have been open for more than seven days.

This is WRONG. It does NOT capture the original design intent, which was to force people to close as many old questions as possible. The rule, as implemented right now, just does not do that, and will miss up to 90% of old open quetions (worst case).

The CORRECT way of implementing the original design intent, is to change the rule so that it prevents people from asking a new question if there are AT LEAST ten questions open, and ANY ONE OR MORE OF THOSE TEN has been open for more than seven days.

The cases that I am seeing all over the place (which I estimate might total as much as 20% or more of ALL users of Proz.com) all show this pattern. They all have more than ten open questions, where at least one of those questions is more than seven days old, but not all ten of them.



So, to summarize one more time:

The software implementation of the “10 questions” rule does not actually perform the function that the original design intended for it. It only catches 10% of old open questions, worst case. The correction to the rule that I have outlined above will catch 90% of old open questions, worst case.

That is the status at present.

I can do nothing more here, except to carry on trying to explain the difference between the “AND” clause and the “OR” clause in a programming “IF” statement.

I have shown what is wrong with the rule, I have shown how it can be fixed, but I cannot actually fix it as I don’t have access to the code.

The fix itself depends on Proz.com site staff...


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 13:27
SITE STAFF
Please send links of your test cases Aug 2, 2006

Stuart Allsop wrote:

Enrique wrote:

Lest’s summarize the discussion about the testing of the limit on open questions:



Good idea. Yes, let’s do that: To complete your partial summary, it should be added that I have since found half a dozen cases of users with questions open for MORE than seven days, and with MORE than ten questions open, so the rule is clearly STILL not catching these cases. It took me no more than a few minutes to find those cases, so obviously there must be an awful lot of them in the entire data base! My rough estimate is about 20% of all users are affected by this faulty rule.



Since the bug related to the rule was solved on July 25, to show that the rule is not working we should see at least a case of an asker that could keep asking from July 26 while having at the moment of asking at least 10 open questions, all of them older than a week and having at least a not declined answer.

Please send me the link to at least one profile showing this pattern to my mail enrique@proz.com (not posted here, as it would be against forum rules).

I will evaluate the cases an post again here, as it is possible that you don't understand the way this limit works.


This is WRONG. It does NOT capture the original design intent, which was to force people to close as many old questions as possible. The rule, as implemented right now, just does not do that, and will miss up to 90% of old open quetions (worst case).


With all due respect I wonder how you may know the original design intent of a piece of our software.

Regards,
Enrique


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