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Why do people repeatedly post on subjects that were extensively discussed before?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:51
English to French
+ ...
Jun 8, 2006

Hello dear colleagues,

I would like to know why people post a new thread for old - and extensively discussed - topics.

Examples:
- how can I translate a PDF in Trados?
- what to do when a client doesn't pay up?
- which one is the best CAT tool?
- how do you translate image files?
- and so on...

Also, these widely discussed topics also led to several articles written about them, which can be found in the knowledge base. Don't people ever search for these before asking questions that were asked a gazillion times?

I especially like when they start their thread with "I know this has been discussed before, but I'll ask anyway". If it has been discussed before, then why do you ask anyway? The answer is already there, just use advanced search!

It makes you think of the people who are too lazy to look up their terms in a dictionary and instead post them as KudoZ questions. Lame!

Isn't there a way to emphasize on the possibility - or even the obligation - to search before posting?

I think there should be a group of articles about popular subjects, which should be advertized throughout the site, so that people know that there is actually a virtual book on these. Then, there should be some kind of a rule that will say that you can only post on the very same subject if you read the articles and searched the forums and your specific question still wasn't properly answered, or if the article/forum has been there for a while and things may have changed in the meantime.

I just find it unhealthy that every time I scroll down on the homepage to see recent posts, I always have to filter out a good bunch of them because they are "reheated" old topics.

What do you think?


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
German to English
+ ...
Why do people repeatedly post on subjects that were extensively discussed before? Jun 8, 2006

Ignorance. It may simply not occur to people that the subject has been discussed before, or that it is possible and practical to search for the discussion. Not all online venues are as user-friendly as ProZ.com in this respect. You can search for past discussions on Yahoo! groups for instance, but have you ever tried?!

Laziness. Especially questions of the kind "I am writing my Master's thesis on the subject of different CAT tools, like 3,000 other translation students at the moment, so would you please post your experiences in a form that I only need to collate and summarize?"

Incompetence. Yes, I'll call it incompetence, because some questions are such that if you have to ask them, you probably shouldn't be translating professionally, or running your own business, or both. Questions like "Do I get paid automatically, or am I supposed to send an invoice or something?" Many questions could be resolved so quickly with a minimum of research (now known as "googling") that one has to wonder how some people manage with the research necessary for translation work.

Practicality (justified). Each discussion begins with a particular question and develops in response to particular answers. The discussion doesn't necessarily take a course which is useful to someone with a related but not necessarily identical question. Properly structured articles on the subject are much more practical in this respect.

Also, these widely discussed topics also led to several articles written about them, which can be found in the knowledge base. Don't people ever search for these before asking questions that were asked a gazillion times?


One might equally ask why other users more often reply to the question than pointing to the article concerned or to previous discussions, with some notable exceptions (such as a certain moderator in Bonn).

Isn't there a way to emphasize on the possibility - or even the obligation - to search before posting?


Probably not. If you're too lazy (etc.) to look for the answer, you're probably too lazy to read or observe any such conditions.

I think there should be a group of articles about popular subjects, which should be advertized throughout the site, so that people know that there is actually a virtual book on these.


There already is. The article base is, in my view, much neglected (in particular the articles about using Linux for translation), as is the associated facility which they offer for translators to showcase their knowledge.

Then, there should be some kind of a rule that will say that you can only post on the very same subject if you read the articles and searched the forums and your specific question still wasn't properly answered


... or we could simply expect users to behave like intelligent adults, and be gracious to those whose definition of this differs from our own.

Marc


[Edited at 2006-06-08 09:18]


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
German to English
This has been discussed before :-) Jun 8, 2006

http://www.proz.com/topic/27406?start=0

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:51
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Simple... Jun 8, 2006

add a note saying 'please search the forums before posting a new topic" here:

http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/new&action=PostNewTopic

Giovanni


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 21:51
German
+ ...
It's the same everywhere Jun 8, 2006

The ProZ.com fora are not the only place suffering from this problem of newbies asking the same questions over and over again. There's probably no way of completely preventing that.

I agree with pretty much everything Marc said (as usual) and would like to suggest -again- that a Stickies feature be added to the ProZ.com forum system (after or before the "Preview Posting" feature, I don't care)

I'm sure that would lessen the number of "newbie questions" significantly, as it has on other fora I visit frequently.

Regards,
Benjamin

[Edited at 2006-06-08 09:51]


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:51
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Why do people repeatedly post on subjects that were extensively discussed before? Jun 8, 2006

I am sorry but I disagree with Marc.

Sometimes when an issue comes up and I try to search in the search engine, I do not always find the answer to my question straight away.

The other day I was looking for a way to convert a JPEG into a word document and there was a lot of information on "JPEG into Word" and I couldn't find straight away what I was looking for. I couldn't read all the forums because obviously time is money and I just couldn't spend so much time reading each posting to try to find a way to convert the document I had to translate.

I posted a thread instead and I was immediately contacted by someone who offered to do that conversion and it saved me the time of research.

Also, when it comes to money issues, or about not being paid, the question is raised too many times, yes, but if you look at the threads there's always a new advice by someone, a new experience or a new solution.

There are also newbies who are not aware of the way proz.com works and so those people should be guided by senior colleagues about what they can do, for instance, if we know how to search, we can just provide a few links on that specific question already asked.

You just can't assume that people are lazy, ignorant, incopetent or whatever.

I was already told "search the forums for that answer" but the searching is not always easy and I am not lazy, or ignorant or incompetent.

I agree with much that was said in the previous thread about this same subject.

Best regards,
Ivana

Best regards,
Ivana


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Various reasons... Jun 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I would like to know why people post a new thread for old - and extensively discussed - topics.


Various reasons:

* They may have failed to find their answer in the archives.
* They may have found so many hits about their query in the archives that it would take longer to sift through the results than to wait for a new answer.
* They may think that their problem is slightly unique.
* They may be dissatisfied with the answers given in the archives and hope that someone might know of a new solution.

But why do people respond to questions that have been discussed before? Do you personally do an archive search before answering any post, to make sure that what you are writing, hasn't been written before? And when you find that you have a unique contribution to make... do you post your answer in the new, current thread or in the oldest thread you can find in the archives? I think you'll have to admit that you help propagate new threads on issues, as do we all.

Besides, if you don't want to respond to a known issue, just don't.

Isn't there a way to emphasize on the possibility - or even the obligation - to search before posting?


The Proz.com search system isn't optimal. On more popular issues it takes me very long to find an answer in it.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 20:51
Because everyone thinks they're the only one Jun 8, 2006

...with such a problem, whatever it may be.

And if they're asking on Proz, chances are they're asking the same question in other translation sites and mailing lists, adding to the "clutter" even more.

If there is a new angle to an "old-chestnut" question, then fair enough, but that's not always the case.

I agree with Marc. I do think a lot of it is down to sheer laziness. Plenty of people expect to be spoonfed every step of the way - it is not going to work like that.

Mes 2 cents

Orla

[Edited at 2006-06-08 10:51]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
German to English
+ ...
Why do people repeatedly post on subjects that were extensively discussed before? Jun 8, 2006

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:

I am sorry but I disagree with Marc.


Feel free.

But: my post wasn't intended as criticism, at least not of those who post on issues that have already been discussed. (I have my doubts though about some of the actual questions that are asked, whether repeatedly or not.)

After all (see Samuel's post), I don't necessarily check before replying whether a subject has already been discussed, and when, and what was said - so I'm lazy. I can't tell you off-hand what subjects are covered in the article base - so I'm ignorant. People have many different reasons for asking the same question again; speculating on why that might be doesn't mean that I'm criticizing them for it. A very simple reason may be that they only have a slow and expensive dialup connection which makes it much less practical to research and correspondingly simpler just to ask again. Suggestion that askers search the forums is not necessarily criticism, either, but well-intentioned.

Marc


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:51
German to English
Probably the same people who don't buy dictionaries Jun 8, 2006

A lot of people seem to rely on Proz for all their translation-related needs without putting forth much effort or investment of their own.
I also agree with Marc and Orla.


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:51
French to Portuguese
+ ...
To Marc Jun 8, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:

I am sorry but I disagree with Marc.


Feel free.

But: my post wasn't intended as criticism
Marc


OK Marc. It looked like it was though and that's why I disagreed.

Samuel's answer was not posted yet when I replied to this topic but I agree with him.

However, I do agree with you that a search must be made before asking. I always do that but I don't always find what I am looking for. Maybe the forum search tool could be improved but I can't tell how either. For instance, there could be something like in kudoz: when you ask a question that has already been asked, you are warned about that. I also know that in the forum it is much more complicated because it's not about terms, but whole sentences... So I really don't know any alternative...

I still think it's not useless to ask the same in some cases becasue, as I said before, different answers are always given.


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:51
French to English
+ ...
Because the archives are not easy to search Jun 8, 2006

I agree that people should make an effort to see if their issue has been addressed previously, but I do not think it is easy to do so on proz. The search functions are clumsy and cumbersome.

Also, the mere fact that it has been discussed before does not mean the issue has been completely and adequately addressed. Many people post "answers" that are irrelevant or unhelpful, so raising an issue anew may be useful.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, dialup users... Jun 8, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:
A very simple reason may be that they only have a slow and expensive dialup connection which makes it much less practical to research and correspondingly simpler just to ask again.


Yes, a very good point which I forgot to mention.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 21:51
German
+ ...
Fair point Jun 8, 2006

Okay, I have to agree with the previous posters: the search function really isn't all that helpful and could use an overhaul.

B


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krtko
China
Local time: 04:51
English to Croatian
+ ...
Too many reasons Jun 8, 2006

Because archives are not easy to search, because people who answer your question, did not understand what you wanted to ask, because titles of the posts do not have to be precise, so you often have another question that is only related to title, but that was not answered in numerous posts before, because some new software, technology, method, etc. has come up, because you are not sure that you got things right, so you want to check it with people who know more than you do, beacuse you have tried to do what other coleagues advised you to do, but did not work, because you are new to the job, and do not know that the question was asked about 1000 times, because you might have a bug or something in your software, and you cannot do what was said 1000 times before, but you do not know it, because they are a lot of people on the internet that think they know everything about everything so they mess up other people, because you did not understand the answer, should I continue.......

Oh one more, beacuse the link does not work

[Edited at 2006-06-08 15:43]

[Edited at 2006-06-08 15:44]


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