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Niala Nirell
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I registered to this forum in order to prepare for the SCJP 1.5 exam and first of all I would like to congratulate everyone contributing to this forum, it is a great help.

I would like to suggest something, as the majority of posts are about questions, is there any way to indicate the best answer among all the answer?
like in yahoo questions for example. It would be very interesting for people preparing the exam, at a glance it would be possible to know the correct answer to the question. Another helpful thing would be an option to indicate when the topic is resolved.

What do you think Ranchers and Ranchers admins?
 
Jelle Klap
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As long as it won't be coupled with some ridiculous credit system, you've got my vote. However, I don't think it would be very easy to implement such a system on top of a standard message board system like UBB.
An assumption based on absolutely no experience whatsoever with administrating a UBB message board...
 
Niala Nirell
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maybe we can add some rules in the chart of the forum, something like:
- when your question is resolved, please add the tag [RESOLVED: message 3] in the subject of your topic. It means : my question is resolved and the best solution is the message number 3
- if you disagree with the correct answer of a topic please inform the initiator of the topic or an admin

the advantage of this is that there is no modification to do in UBB. Some opinions about this?
 
Ben Souther
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I'm going to move this from SCJP to our JavaRanch forum as it is more about Javaranch software and policy.

For the most part the staff at JavaRanch is against rating systems.
We feel that they have a negative impact on the quality of the answers given.
There are several discussions about ratings (both for members and the answers themselves) in the JavaRanch forum. I suggest looking them up with the search feature so you don't end up having the same discussion that's been had several times here.

Often, the person asking the question isn't in a position to say which answer was really the best one. They may like a particular answer because it got their code to run or compile today, and not realize that it will create problems for them down the road.

In my opinion, we have something better. A lot of experienced developers who will step in and show why an answer that gets things running is not always the best answer in the long term (if that's the case).
[ March 18, 2008: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]
 
Niala Nirell
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Thank you for moving my post to the right place.

Well, I think there is a misunderstood about my comment. It is really not about giving a notation but about give a way to point the correct result rapidly. As I am preparing for the certification I can tell it is very time consuming to read an entire post where there can be bad answers and same response but presented in different way.
There are so many topics in the certification forum, I think it would be a great thing to help people to find the right info into the whole discussion according to the subject of the topic.
 
paul wheaton
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Hmmmmm .... perhaps with new forum software .... a flag on a post could be "I need Help!" and then the OP could remove that flag. And the staff could downgrade it to "probably resolved". Maybe anybody reading it could downgrade it to "possibly resolved."

So if some smarty-pants genius type comes in and is looking for a challenge, the most difficult questions would ride a bit lower in the list and still say "I need help!"

What do you all think?
 
Andrew Monkhouse
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Addressing Alain's comments (sorry Paul, I think your tangential suggestion merits it's own response, which will have to wait for later) ...

I like your idea, but it would have to be on a per-post basis (no reference back to users as having "100 helpful posts") - as Ben mentions, you can search for ratings in this forum for information on why we don't want that.

Even within an individual topic we would probably have to have the ability to flag multiple responses:
  • There is the possibility that more than one response may be correct, however due to different wording in the response, some people understand answer 1 better than answer 2 and other people understand answer 2 better than answer 1.
  • As Ben mentions, there is the possibility that an answer that is technically correct may cause other problems down the line - it is probably worth flagging it as a technically correct response.
  • There may be other answers that we might like to flag


  • I think that this really needs to be build into the forum software for it to be useful. My reasoning is:
  • If someone sets the header to state that post 3 is correct, I have to be able to determine where they counted from (did they include the original post, or just replies)
  • I have to do the counting myself (just looking at the SCJP forum right now, I see 2 topics with > 10 replies - I would not want to count all the way down to 16. Let alone counting replies in topics that span 4 or 5 pages.
  • I may have to do this multiple times (e.g. answers 3 7, and 21 are correct)
  • Tagging "good" responses in the header can only be done by the original poster (who, as previously noted, may not be the best person to do this), or by a moderator (who probably doesn't want the extra work - I know I don't!)

  • So I think we would need some visual clue as to which answers are worthwhile at the level of the answer, and we need to allow anyone to tag them.

    Which then brings us back to the same problems we get with ratings - again I recommend you read previous posts on this subject to see the problems.

    So - I still like your idea, and I think it is worthwhile looking at how it can be achieved. But there are significant challenges involved.

    Regards, Andrew
    [ March 18, 2008: Message edited by: Andrew Monkhouse ]
     
    Andrew Monkhouse
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    Paul,

    I am not sure about your suggestion.

    I am concerned that the OP may remove their "I need help" flag, resulting in other members not reading the question and answers, resulting in potentially better answers / corrections to an earlier answer not being added.

    I also worry about anybody being able to flag a post as being "possibly resolved" - there is too much risk IMHO of someone posting a wrong answer and flagging it as possibly resolved (which then requires others to want to take the time to read a "possibly resolved" topic, realize it is wrong, remove tag, and possibly write a follow-up post.

    I am also dubious about having staff flag posts for correctness. While we have some awesome staff here, they do not always have expertise in every single area (at least I don't ). So they may not know whether a problem is correctly resolved or not. Not to mention this is adding work for them.

    Regards, Andrew
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    This all assumes that every thread is a question. Many threads are discussions. The concept of a "best answer" or "resolved" don't make sense for discussions.
     
    Niala Nirell
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    Thank you Andrew and Jeanne for your return.

    To answer to Jeanne's message, I totally agree about all discussions not being question. My comment only apply to question and I think questions and discussions can coexist. I don't see restrictions but as I am new to this forum I certainly don't have a good view of all implications. Your comment is interesting, it made me point the fact that threads begining with a question often turn into a discussion which is a really good thing. My idea is to point the answer of the question in the entire discussion but for all reasons mentioned by Andrew (several correct answers, necessity to show problems down the line, different interpretations of the question, etc) it may be inapropriate in some cases. The idea of "technically correct response" is interesting, the only thing is to be sure that every Ranchers are aware of the meaning of "technically correct response"
    It could be something like this:
    - answer good enough for the exam
    - this answer is not validated by admins, error can still exist, make your opinion and read the all thread

    To be clear all the warnings have to be mentioned every time "technically correct response" flag is used.

    As you mentioned Andrew, does the requester of the question is a good authority to decide of the good answer...


    I agree with the necessity of a built-in solution agaisnt my first idea of editing the subject with [RESOLVED], it's clearly not viable.


    As a candidate for the certification I would like to explain how I am using the forum and I think most of candidate are using: JavaRanch is a big mock
    exam (the certification forums). I started entering this forum only after studied the entire preparation book and I am looking for training now.

    The idea is to make the certification forum looks like a mock exam. As I mentioned before it is quite time consuming to find the answer and I have to admit that I'm less using this forum in my preparation. I still use it to post a message when I have a doubt on something, for that the forum is excelent.
     
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