What i really find annoying:

I just looked through the As i gave to different Qs and noticed that a lot of them were an effort that wasn't worth it for some of the following reasons:

  • The A was correct and (maybe) the solution, but the Questioner never came back to mark or even upvote it.
  • The A was close to correct and a discussion about the solution started or further leading Qs were asked, but it suddenly stopped.
  • The Q was asked but no response to comments that would help to make the Q clear.

My actual Problem:

Motivation. Most of that people had a reputation of about 1-100 points (or closely above). I now got the image that those people will not give you anything back for your efforts. Even worse: I got the image that it's not worth answering Qs for people with a rep of let's say below 300. I also saw people really fighting for getting their first rep-points, but i will put them in the same basket (can i say it that way?) and simply ignore them until they prooved to me that they

a) helped others
b) care about their Qs
c) care and honor As

and got the needed rep-points, accepted As and a minimum relation between Q & A.

I also noticed people who ask Qs like this*) or this one, which doesn't really help my motivation very much - i even have to hold myself back from not beeing (too) harsh. So what now? I know the whole thread is more complaining than a real Q, but i don't want to leave WA like i did on other forum systems just because the noise was getting too loud and the interesting part was gone.

The Question:

So is WA about building a high quality wp-resource site or more an alternate to wp.org forums? How do i get to only the interesting Qs (should i create a tag-alias for something and mark them)? How can i motivate moderators to sometimes close inappropriate or too basic Qs - i read through the other meta Qs and don't agree with the "one fits all" argument from Mike and some others. How can i motivate myself to not stop answering and just coming back here if i'm in need of something?

Wish you best.

*) How the hell could he get ~900 rep-points for ~200 Qs and only 8 As?? Am i doing something that wrong (pointing at his vs. my rep-points/Q-A ratio).

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3 Answers 3

First I want to get concept of eliminating bad users out of the way - we will never ever have all-fluffy-perfect users and neither will any other site on the Internet. Life doesn't work that way.

Second I don't think you are factually wrong, but I do think your interpretation of site is quite different from mine.

Users must take care of their questions

It is certainly nice when they do. However I think your overestimate their obligation to do so. In active act of asking question you mistake participation for contribution. Every user is participating, but only small fraction is looking to actively contribute.

It is somewhat like saying that every person reading Wikipedia is obliged to write and correct articles. Would be nice, but not happening.

Users must reward your effort with points

Would you answer questions if there was no points? I know I would. I know I pay actual money for WP forum membership where I mostly only answer questions. I know that answering question makes me more skilled.

Reputation points just happen. Making them a goal or trying to measure the value of your contribution in them is only wasting nerves.

We do not deserve reputation, we are not entitled to it, it's merely here to make things more fun for us. If reputation makes things less fun for you - you are looking at it wrong.

There is nothing to do except answering dumb questions

Oh, but there is. There are plenty corners around that we hadn't even started to work at. Front page is not everything that there is to site.

Find yourself a couple of hobbies, other than front page. I know what mine are - community wikis and questions without answers. These alone are probably enough to occupy me for more time than I spend awake. Don't even start me on tag organization and tag wikis, half a dozen stalled issues on meta, etc, etc.

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"Second I don't think you are factually wrong, but I do think your interpretation of site is quite different from mine." - Surely. I thought so far that it's close to a self building wiki/codex but with the focus/most density on the most needed stuff. Since yesterday i can't get rid of the feeling that it's just another forum. I guess most of the rest is already covered by my 5th comment on Jans A. But to repeat my 'problem' in one sentence: I really dislike wasting time on answers where the Question took my time, but wasn't explained until the end - no learning possibility then. –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 15:06
    
@kaiser simply put - just find what interests you and spend time on that. What site is overall is merely collection of what we, as community, do with it. If you find something boring and useless... Well - downvote and move on to cool stuff. :) –  Rarst Mar 30 '11 at 15:17
    
@Rarst - I really enjoy reading your answer & view of it. Thanks for taking the time! One thing/user is getting the main focus of my anger (i guess he's the root of all evil thoughts): wordpress.stackexchange.com/users/366/scott-b ... 199 Qs and 8 As (to only his own Qs). From taking the whole number of Qs around this forum, he's taking a large part of them - daily. Sorry, I'm really pissed. I took into account every A from you & Jan and you're right in mostly every point, but this list-vampire is making me mad and putting the whole site in the wrong light (imo). –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 2:02
    
@Rarst - please take a look at this: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/13636/… and then this as follow up: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/13668/… –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 2:21
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@kaiser: I understand your frustration, I felt the same way. But, while there is no official way to ignore a user, you can do so individually. There are some users that I just ignore when I see a question from them. I know I should probably downvote or add a comment, but I just move on and look for other questions. There are currently 4750 questions, of which 720 have no upvoted answer: even if Scott asked 200 of them, this is only 4% of all questions! –  Jan Fabry Apr 1 '11 at 7:56
    
@Jan Fabry - thanks. There's still the possibility to flag Qs as inappropriate or not welcome in the community. I hope that some of those Qs who are really inappropriate get closed. –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 8:56
    
@kaiser: The problem is that sometimes one individual question doesn't warrant a flag or a downvote, but a group of question does. However, I think the moderators are aware of this problem and maybe, with their new mandate, they want to do something about it. –  Jan Fabry Apr 1 '11 at 8:59
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@kaiser well, Scott may not be contributing to site himself and that may be annoying, but as per my answer it's not really his obligation to do so. For me it matter less for whom I am answering, but what I am answering. Some of his questions suck, some are genuinely interesting to poke and get useful answers that many will benefit from. Should interesting question be punished because Scott asked it? Definitely not. –  Rarst Apr 1 '11 at 10:41
    
@Rarst - You're right on about how interesting Qs should be treated, but the answer i gave on his Q was one of the first google-results i got and just copy/paste so no real value was added to the site. Further more now he splitted it into multiple Qs which will even make it harder to get around it for users needing & reading it later. I can't get rid of the feeling that this is some sort of tactic. I'm not downvoting or ignoring good Qs, but i'm complaining about Qs that a) can be easily found on the web and b) add no value. –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 12:53
    
@Jan Fabry - 4% is right if he would participate since day one, but if you take the timespan into consideration, then you'll see what's reality. Every 10th Q per page (display 50) currently is from him. - I'm close to posting all tasks i need only for myself here on the list, lean back and enjoy having a lot of people working for free for me. –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 12:57
    
Wow! That particular user now has 226 questions, and only 10 answers, and 66 votes. I think it is an extreme case, but an example of what we should not want or tolerate at WPSE. I disagree with @Rarst that WPSE does not expect contribution; to the contrary: I think that is exactly what WPSE does, and should, expect. –  Chip Bennett Oct 19 '11 at 13:10

These are problems I've been thinking about too. You pose multiple problems in your question, I'll try to tackle most of them in my answer.

The Q was asked but no response to comments that would help to make the Q clear.

I think part of the problem is that comments don't generate mails when you check the "notify me of new answers" option when asking a question. People might pose a question, check that option, and then rely on their inbox to notify them of any replies, like a "traditional" comment system. I know I do that in other places. I have suggested this on Meta Stack Overflow, but Jeff felt it would be too spammy. If you disagree, please vote for my proposal!

The A was correct and (maybe) the solution, but the Questioner never came back to mark or even upvote it.

Indeed, this happens, and sometimes by accident because people don't know that the system works this way. If we had more people going around and voting on answers, this would be less of a problem: you would still get a "reward" for the effort. There are badges to encourage voting, but I know I don't do enough of that myself. I'm trying to think how the system, maybe with some extra input from other users, could encourage you to vote on "probably good answers".

The A was close to correct and a discussion about the solution started or further leading Qs were asked, but it suddenly stopped.

Are you asking this as an answerer who got no upvotes for their effort, or as a followup reader who wants to know how to solve the problem too? If you are an answerer maybe more upvotes from others would encourage you. If you have the question yourself the best way is probably to post a new question, referring to the other question as something you tried, and hope to get attention that way. Or a bounty on the original question, if you want to spend some rep.

I got the image that it's not worth answering Qs for people with a rep of let's say below 300.

Indeed, there is no way to know whether a new user will be a freeloader or grow out to be an active participant on the site. You can try to be selective and only answer questions from people with rep > 300 and leave the rest to others. The problem is that currently the site is too small for that. There are only 90 users with rep above 300, 190 above 150. Another strategy would be to only answer questions you think are interesting, and want to find out yourself. I learned a lot about WordPress by just answering questions here. If you don't get reputation from your answer, at least you learned something.

How the hell could he get ~900 rep-points for ~200 Qs and only 8 As?

An average of one upvote for each question gives you this. But this is an edge case, and Scott B has an accept rate of 97%, so he does reward your effort. Good questions deserve to get recognition, but this problem was noticed before and as a result the weight of a question upvote was reduced from +10 to +5.

Remember, you can both both ways: up or down. If you think a question is "unclear or not useful", feel free to click on the downvote button. If a user has a history of bad questions, ultimately they will be blocked from asking new questions. You can have your own criteria for voting, I found this post by the most active SO user interesting.

How do i get to only the interesting Qs?

I think this is a very important issue, and one I want to tackle in the upcoming months. I want to promote interesting questions via our own blog, and am thinking of a system that would allow participating users to alert each other of possibly interesting questions. I think the other problems can be solved by this: if more people visit an interesting question because they want to learn, they are also more likely to upvote the answer you put so much effort in.

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"The A was close to correct and a discussion about the solution started or further leading Qs were asked, but it suddenly stopped." - I meant that the Questioner just lost interest in the middle of the discussion and the solution stopped at half of the way. –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 11:38
    
"How the hell could he get ~900 rep-points for ~200 Qs and only 8 As?" - I looked thourgh all his Qs and he asks a lot of specific tasks that people (even you tapped into the trap: <a href="wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/3316/… over here</a>) tend to answer with an enormous amount of effort. He got +6, you only +3. Even with half of the rep added i think it's unfair. It's not about the reputation credits. It's about the abilities he gains. –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 11:46
    
"I have suggested this on Meta Stack Overflow, but Jeff felt it would be too spammy. If you disagree, please vote for my proposal!" Done. –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 11:47
    
"How do i get to only the interesting Qs?" - I always flag if the Questioner didn't search before. I also downvote. But i really hope that the new moderators will close as many of such posts as possible (and as fast as possible). –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 11:48
    
"If you don't get reputation from your answer, at least you learned something." - After some mails with Mike and from looking at your "wpse0000_" prefix i started to save my answers (or other interesting As) into files. That's why I'm here. The level of "noise" (for a such small community) is what's bugging me. I don't think blog posts will help much on this topic. Only strict behavior from admins. I came here to learn from intermediate (below hackers, upon wp.org forums) Qs, not to read noise. –  kaiser Mar 30 '11 at 11:52
    
@kaiser: But I don't think you can weed out the noise, SO is full of very simple or badly asked questions. What you can do is grow so large that you have a pool of interesting questions big enough that you can spend your whole day in it. I think we are just too small now, which is why we need to "artificially" highlight the good questions. –  Jan Fabry Mar 30 '11 at 12:34
    
@kaiser: Re: asking a lot of questions and getting rep from it: Reputation is also an indicator of how much you know the site, how much experience you have, so in that way it isn't wrong that Scott got more reputation. And you can write links [like this](http://example.com). –  Jan Fabry Mar 30 '11 at 12:51
    
@Jan Fabry - please take a look at this: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/13636/… and then this as follow up: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/13668/… –  kaiser Apr 1 '11 at 2:21
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@kaiser: I just re-read a proposal to limit the amount of rep you can get from just asking questions. There is a lot of discussion about it, but it seems it will be implemented soon. This will probably reduce the rep score (and abilities) from Scott too. –  Jan Fabry Apr 5 '11 at 7:27
    
@Jan Fabry - after i received a pretty (...) comment from him, i saw that he started to help other people (a little) too. But it's not only about him. It's a general issue, so thanks for the update. –  kaiser Apr 8 '11 at 0:41

If you feel strongly about this subject, you probably want to follow this proposal on Meta Stack Overflow: Should we require minimum reputation to continue asking questions?

In a nutshell: After your first 10 questions, it will require 100 more reputation to ask every additional 10 questions. This would also be applied retroactively, so users can be disassociated from their older questions if they didn't get many upvotes. You would need to get 2 upvotes or more on average per question to keep on going without getting rep in other ways.

Update:

We are reevaluating this based on community feedback. The new heuristic to prevent questions being asked will probably be based on a combination of question closes, question deletes, question flags, and lack of significant upvoting, even at very low levels (0.20 etc) -- scoped to new-ish users.

One new change is that you can only ask 50 questions per 30 days. This was initially 70 questions but quickly lowered to 50, and will probably be tweaked in the future.

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thanks for the update! –  kaiser May 6 '11 at 14:23

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