FAQ suggestion


#1

Despite the fact that we have the FAQ, we constantly have to tell newbies to go read the FAQ. I think FA should have a feature when a new person signs up, before they can post (mainly, before they complete their registration), that they FAQ page comes up, and it’s timed for like a minute or a few, and when the timer is done, they can check a box reading something to the effect of “I have read the FAQ.”

You could even extend it to “I have read the Flight Aware Discussion FAQ. I realize that if I post a topic on the message board that is plainly covered in the FAQ, I will be riddiculed, have tomatoes thrown at me, receive IFR cancellation, or get kicked in the but with a huge dirty boot.”


#2

I have also thought about a solution to that problem. I PM’ed Daniel the following but I can’t find his response. I just remember he didn’t like it. :smiley:

[quote=“CCX on July 14, 2006”][mount my soap box]
I am really (i.e. REALLY!) getting a little upset with the the newbie FA members. Here are my complaints

  1. Their questions are already explicitly answered in the FAQ and they don’t bother to read them. If they did, they wouldn’t be asking the questions that they are.

  2. Their questions are already explicitly answered in other posts, many times. If they would do a simple search they would come up with lots of answers.
    [/dismount my soap box]

I think I might have a solution to the problem or an unrealistic creative idea that could be made more realistic. Have the newbie members read the FAQ and give them a 10 question quiz on it. The questions will be multiple choice and if they read the FAQ, will have no problem with the test. Also, the questions will be randomly taken from the FAQ. The newbies are encouraged to look the answers up before they answer the questions. A minimum score could be 75%.

The plus side.
This quiz would make the newbies actually read, yes read, the FAQ. Thus the FA forum would not be cluttered with unnesscesary threads (…and an angry dami, pika, JHEM, cfi, CCX, etc). Also this thread would weed out people who really don’t care about FA. People who really like FA won’t be stoped from being members by a 10 question quiz. They will do what it takes to get into FA.

The negative side.
Some people aren’t going to want to take the quiz and thus less FA members. But I don’t believe this will matter since thoughs who don’t really care about FA, will leave FA. Quiz or no quiz.
[/quote]

(Bold added.)


#3

It’s an exercise in futility to hope that everyone will behave reasonably when joining a Forum or NG by reading all the info available on how the Forum works or even familiarizing themselves with the general tone and tenor by reading some of the threads.

All one can do is point noobs to the FAQs and hope that they’ll take the time to read them.

Same goes for the search function. Many simply aren’t aware such a utility exists.

I believe that we’re becoming a bit less than civil in some of the responses to repetitive questions. This is a disservice to FA in general and gives some of the Forum members an undeserved appearance of being less than welcoming to newbies.

The general ridicule, joshing and one-upmanship that was at one point reserved for replies among the “old timers” has now spread to all replies from some.

We would be better served to take the view that there are no stupid questions!

We were all newbies once.

$.02.

James the Elder


#4

Here is my take on newbies.

I sure would not treat them the way I have seen some treated by others in this discussion forum.

Having worked in the IT field, not everybody is on the same playing field when it comes to computers. Now grant you, we are dealing with the human factor, and laziness does come into play however, rude replies to somebody who just steps up to the plate for the first time is not becoming of us.

It doesn’t take but a couple of seconds to direct a reply to the direct source of the FAQ. In the time it takes to create a rude reply, you can take that energy and make it positive by just saying see such and such in the FAQ with a direct link. You don’t even have to provide the answer in your reply, just a pointer to the spot in the FAQ.

By doing this, you have elequently suggested and directed them to the FAQ without a negative connotation and others that follow may just see that the FAQ does exist. If they don’t see, then we continue pointing them to it.

Think of it this way (for those that live in the US of A).

You go to the IRS website, and it’s rather intimidating, and you post a question to a public forum (if such one existed). Would you want the response to be RTFM? Not likely.

After all, your question just may be a frequently asked question received by the person receiving your inquiry.

So… try to put yourself in somebody’s shoes and treat them as if you would want to be treated.

Truth be known, it’s not worth raising your blood pressure over some newbs that are learning the ropes on something as basic as a flight tracking website.

Allen


#5

discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?t=1802

To quote myself from an earlier post:

"Posted: 16 Jul 2006 14:24 Post subject: Strange track


I think sometimes you have to look at these forums as being city streets / country lanes. You as a local may know every street and short cut to get your food or launch your boat. Sometimes, especially when the weather is nice, people from out of town come around and may ask you for directions. Two responses: What ! are you some kind of dummy, don’t you have a map. Didn’t you ever take geography!? Where’s your GPS ! OR you can take a minute, give directions and send tham on their way.
Maybe the latter is more productive. If enough people visit a town and find the locals hostile, they are most likely going to bring there business down the road.

just another take on the situation. "

OR

"Sometimes the loudest voice is the one that doesn’t speak. ( I should be writing fortune cookies )

It would be very easy to get the message across that a subject is beaten to death or repetitive if there were NO replies to the question.

It seems this forum is one case in point where a maximum effort has been made to make a point that these posts are repetitive, where as a minimum effort could have been made to simply answer the question and send the new guy on the way.

And for my two cents to newer members than me. I spent many months going through these forums to get a handle on the type of people and questions / topics that can be found. I did not spend much time with FAQ’s but I did use them. Become informed and get a feel for things before jumping at posting.

Like I was saying about city streets and country lanes, this place is like a big city. You would never go up to someone on the street and ask why the sky is blue or why birds fly, that just breeds disrespect and contempt."

This topic is a revolving door. :wink:


#6

Very true except if the topic was a month ago buried in a forum, the newbie would never know why his question wasn’t answered.

This would be the bottom line answer. After all, the newbie is already asking a question. Just lead him on his way to the FAQ. Mission accomplished and the noise level goes way down.

All the more reason, just be civil and point the newbie to the FAQ. No need for attitude. Heck, it took me some time to learn the difference between the FA website and this discussion forum, and I think I am computer literate.

With all the experience in here, this shouldn’t be a revolving door among the regulars. Bottom line, give what the person is seeking and move on. It’s no biggie to copy and paste a standard saying if somebody really needed to.

For me, it doesn’t hurt me to customize the reply to the persons needs. I sure hope someone would do the same for me if that need came about.

I am a believer what goes around, comes around :slight_smile:

Allen


#7

As JHEM said:
“All one can do is point noobs to the FAQs and hope that they’ll take the time to read them.
Same goes for the search function. Many simply aren’t aware such a utility exists.
I believe that we’re becoming a bit less than civil in some of the responses to repetitive questions. This is a disservice to FA in general and gives some of the Forum members an undeserved appearance of being less than welcoming to newbies.
The general ridicule, joshing and one-upmanship that was at one point reserved for replies among the “old timers” has now spread to all replies from some”

And my 50p worth:
It is disappointing to see some of the newbie bashing that goes on from both old timers and other recent arrivals who have afforded themselves that status. I would suggest that the FAQ/search feature is not overly intuitive and not the place you would start to look if new to tracking (primary function of the site) and if you have a ‘burning’ question that may well have been seen many times before. If so many issues are raised about the problems of repetitive FAQ’s then an easier method of reading past questions needs to be implemented.Many of the users here are computer literate and can use the tools correctly. Not all!
This site with its wide appeal and wider user base must cater for all needs and levels of experience. It should not be a closed brotherhood of experienced FA users.
Hell, I will probably be pulled up for not being able to quote someone correctly or on my spelling but I can live with that - it might however put a new contributor completely off becoming a valuable member…
So I would suggest the wise-ones just take a breath and politely point new people in the correct direction or just provide a decent answer, surely no need to get newcomers to sign an agreement that they have read all the small print and have commited to memory every recent question over the last x months!!

No wiser words than " we were all newbies once"


#8

The FAQ section is one of the first sections I go to when I go to a new site such as FlightAware. To me it only sounds logical to peruse a site and look at the FAQs before starting to ask questions. I also think people should at least look at the topics that have been risen in the forum (if one is available) before starting to ask questions.

Pet peeve - and, for all thinking people, a good pet peeve: making something for the lowest common denominator. In other words, dumbing down something because there are people out there not smart enough or are too lazy to try to improve themselves.


#9

Ah, here is Daniel’s response. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t in my PM Inbox! It really frustrated me until I remembered he posted it in the Announcements Forum. Here it is. I agree with him.
discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?t=1811


#10

Actually, I was never a newbie. That word didn’t exist when I started using computers. I was cutting edge :wink:

In response to CessnaCitationX. " Say no more ".

As an addition to the topic, a few weeks ago I was curious about the “s” suffix on some flights. I was pointed in the right direction by some helpful FA member. They never gave me the answer I was looking for, but advised me as the the best way to find an answer. I ended up learning much more than just the meaning of the suffix “s” and am better for it.

I really appreciate that kind of teaching.


#11

Pet peeve. Don’t talk for all thinking people as you only represent one of many.

This thinking person takes into consideration that not all people play on the same playing level and this thinking person tries to adjust his way of thinking to HELP others that may not have that ability without some guidance.

After all, everybody can barrel roll an airplane without guidance after reading an FAQ that describes such a manuever. Smart no, wise no.

With guidance, just about everybody (note I say just about) can recover from a barrel roll without further adeu.

My point since we are on topic of talking about something as benign as a website and not a life endangering act like a barrel roll…

No matter what you undertake, there is a learning curve whether it be by using an FAQ or human intervention.

If someone rather ask then read, so be it, it’s not something that will bring the world to their knees.

Deal with it and move on.

Allen


#12

Allen, you make a very valid point, but I tend to agree more with David (dami) on this one. I don’t think we need to completely chastise anyone for not checking the FAQs or simply repeating an answered question, but there needs to be an effort to limit some of these postings that keep coming up over & over. At the very least, an “oldie” should take the initiative and tell a “newbie” that his/her question has been addressed in the past. When I feel compelled to do that, I provide a link to the previous discussion and still offer a welcome to the new person. If we just accept (or ignore) such postings and “move on,” this forum will become a buffet of discussions that have been beaten to death many times over, and it will certainly diminish the value of an outstanding site. Just look at what “dumbing down” has done for our students! No need to bring the otherwise valid topics down to redundant drivel to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.


#13

Thanks for bringing a clarification needed in my prior posting Planeaholic.

When I say “deal with it”, I didn’t mean “put up with it”. Deal with it is what you are doing above, taking action nicely and pointing the person to the information they needed at hand. This is exactly IMHO the way it should be done. So, you are dealing with the problem with an action rather then a reaction.

See above clarification.

Ignoring postings as I stated in an earlier posting surely is not the answer since the new person would wonder why wasn’t he / she answered and be likely to repost or bump the thread up.

So in summary, when I say deal with it, I don’t mean put up with the redundancy, but do exactly what you do, nicely point the newbie to a previous discussion or the FAQ. Usually when this happens, then the problem quietly dissapears and we can focus our attention on the new issues that come across.

Allen


#14

We have some options on how to respond to already answered questions.

#1. Ignore the question. (bad, this makes the newbie hungry for any replies)

#2. Send an angry reply. (bad, makes newbie feel rejected, etc.)

#3. Send an angry or sarcastic reply and give them a link form the FAQ/forum to their question. (better but still bad)

#4. Reply (in a friendly way) by saying that this topic has already been adressed many times and give them a link to answer their question. (good but the newbie still needs to know that it isn’t good to ask questions that have been answered many times)

#5. Reply (in a friendly way) by saying that this topic has already been adressed many times and then give them a link to answer their question. Also make them aware of the SEARCH (the forum) feature at the top of the page and encourage them to use it frequently. I use it all the time and I’ve been here a while. Sure, finding answers takes a little skill but they will quickly get good at the lost art of searching. (best response)


#15

Gotcha. :smiley:


#16

JHEM wrote:

We would be better served to take the view that there are no stupid questions!

Sure, there are no “stupid questions”…But never forget:
There are a lot of inquisitive idiots!

Sorry… Had to post that. It’s from despair.com

I tried finding the Stupid-Questions section of the FAQ’s… Did I miss them?
:wink:

Regards,
The always inquisitive, and sometimes idiot-
criffus


#17

I like that! Thank you for letting me steal it from you and your source!


#18

damiross wrote:

I like that! Thank you for letting me steal it from you and your source!

I don’t see it as “stealing”… more like propagating, or even proselytizing…
:wink: