ITKE Community Blog

Jan 20 2010   10:51AM GMT

Hey, where did my question go?

JennyMack Jenny Mackintosh Profile: JennyMack

Update 11:56 am: Added additional link to feedback page started by Technochic.

This is one of the most frequent questions we receive in our mailbox — member logs in, member asks question, member comes back later to check on question, question has mysteriously disappeared. So why the mystery? Are these questions not going through? Does IT Knowledge Exchange harbor magicians?

Sadly, no, it isn’t magicians. If it was, I’d put them straight to work on my taxes this year. The real story has to do with the questions themselves…

When a member posts a question to IT Knowledge Exchange, we see the new activity and read it. Yes, your friendly neighborhood moderators take a look at every question that comes into the site. If the question needs additional tags or title clarification, we make the appropriate changes. However, if we come across a question from one of the following categories, it is swiftly deleted:

  • Homework and exam questions
  • Advertising-based messages
  • Basic “what is” questions that can easily be answered in a search engine: “What is networking?”, “What does VoIP stand for?”
  • Consumer questions: “How do I change the ringtones on my BlackBerry?” “What antivirus should I install on my personal laptop?”
  • Job postings
  • Questions that are not enterprise IT-specific: “How do I format my spreadsheets?”

“So why the heavy-handedness? Can’t we all just get along?”

Think of it this way: you’re an enterprise IT professional. Maybe you’re a network administrator or a systems engineer. When you visit the site, you only want to see content that is relevant to you. Perhaps you sign up for specific topic updates by e-mail or RSS, or add questions to your Watchlist to make sure you’re seeing what you need to. What would happen if you started to receive “junk questions” in addition to the valuable content?

Our goal as moderators is to keep the conversation as specific to enterprise IT as we can, because that’s what the community is all about. Of course, we can’t always catch 100% of it — we need your feedback to do that! If you see a question or answer you think doesn’t belong in the community (homework questions, sales pitches), please speak up! Flag the question, post something in the discussion or send us an e-mail. We also have a couple of site feedback discussions open where you can contribute your thoughts. This community is meant for your benefit — help us keep it clean!


Community Manager

4  Comments on this Post

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  • TomLiotta
    I wondered about a [A href=""]question that disappeared yesterday[/A]. (Link no longer valid, of course.) I couldn't see anything wrong with it, and it presented an interesting problem that I expected could find wide interest while illustrating a useful technique. Is there any way to find out why it was removed? The time that I spent creating and submitting an answer became wasted.
    125,585 pointsBadges:
  • JennyMack
    Hi Tom, I do remember that question; after taking another look at it, I came to the decision that it was a homework question. Even though you provided a great answer (I remember that too), because a couple of other members noted that it looked an awful lot like a homework or exam question, I couldn't keep it on the site. This is one of the tougher issues of moderating a forum like this one -- sometimes legitimate questions come in that still aren't meant for this community, and sometimes those questions get answered [I]really[/I] well. But even if the question gets a good answer, that doesn't change the fact that it doesn't belong. It would be the same as getting a question about a car motor (believe me, we get those too) and someone on the site just happening to be a mechanic and answering the question. We're doing our best as moderators to eliminate these types of questions before they even reach you so as to not waste your time. Our best advice to you would be to hold off on answering questions that look like homework (though in this case it seems you thought it was legitimate, and maybe you were right), and feel free to e-mail us if you aren't sure or you notice something awry. We're always open to hearing suggestions about how we could improve this functionality without hurting the community's efficiency or our strong ties to search engines. I'd love to talk about this further with you via e-mail, or perhaps open a debate about it on the site. Thanks for your feedback, Tom, I appreciate it! Jenny
    4,280 pointsBadges:
  • TomLiotta
    Somebody is doing "homework" in ILE CL? Then I should have answered better, e.g.:[CODE] pgm dcl &i *int dcl &result *int value( 0 ) dcl &fc *char 12 chgvar &i ( 12 ) /* Max CEE4SIFAC *int value... */ callprc CEE4SIFAC ( + &i + &result + &fc + ) dmpclpgm return endpgm[/CODE] CEE4SIFAC works with *INT. Homework should ask how to use an input value greater than 12.
    125,585 pointsBadges:
  • JennyMack
    Hi Tom, Again, sometimes only people who work with ILE CL would know the difference between a homework question and a legitimate one. If you see comments marking a question as homework and you disagree, let us know and we'll leave it up. Thanks Tom, Jenny
    4,280 pointsBadges:

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