Forum etiquette
Thread poster: xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 6, 2006

There is a thread running here today on the "Answer not found" syndrome in Kudoz:

Much of what has been said there applies equally well to people who post enquiries here in the forum, of the kind: "I'm doing research into XYZ and would like to know your experiences in this field."

A week of so ago there was a question of this kind, to which I provided an open-ended reponse giving first thoughts on the subject; around 1000 words (and about an hour to write it.) That was duly acknowledged by the originator of the thread and, encouraged by his apparent interest in persuing the debate, I then enlarged upon my first post with another 1000 words (and another hour or so of my time).

I also spent an hour or more examining the web-site that was the basis of the enquiry - although that was time well spent regardless of the quality of the forum debate so no regrets on that score...

There was one other post in the thread after mine - also giving some useful input - and now it's gone dead.

I believe that people making this sort of enquiry owe it to their colleagues to watch out for replies (do people realise they can get e-mail alerts for all posts in the thread?). They should acknowledge those replies where appropriate, and generally do what's necessary to keep the thread alive for as long as there is worthwhile information coming in.

And when the thread has achieved its purpose, or if it becomes clear that it cannot usefully be continued, then I think the originator should be encouraged (I was going to write 'obliged', but there are enough rules on Proz already ) to 'wrap up' the debate. By that I mean (s)he should take the time to make a brief summary of key points raised, and perhaps indicate how (s)he plans to take the matter further, for example: "Thanks for all the ideas - you can see how I'm implementing them on my website here: xyz dot com"

What say others?


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:56
English to French
+ ...
I completely agree Aug 6, 2006

It's basically the same thing as asking someone for a light in a bar - at the end, we thank them. At least, that is the correct thing to do. People don't seem to realize that it takes others time and effort to be able to help them - the least such posters could do is say thanks for the help. I am worth $50 an hour, so if I invest time to help somebody out AND don't charge for it, I would at least like to see some sign of appreication, or at least be able to see that I did not type a whole page for nothing (i. e., that my explanation DID help the poster).

Another thing I've seen lately is "please send any explanations to". While I am happy to help, I am not willing to take the time to send an e-mail and I also want others to be able to take advantage from my advice, so sending an e-mail is really not an option. Once again, here, people seem to not realize that the forum is supposed to be helpful to EVERYBODY, not just to the poster of that particular question.

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Alan Campbell  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
Russian to English
+ ...
It was I Aug 10, 2006

I'm the originator of the thread to which MediaMatrix referred. I have responded in the original thread:

For the benefit of this thread, I agree wholeheartedly with MediaMatrix's sentiments and acknowledge most humbly that I ought to have responded, even if briefly, to his most helpful second post.

I will be continuing with the thread when time permits and I hope that it is still of interest to those who responded and others.

In embarrasment,

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