Show information to new members (to avoid confusion)
New members sometimes have a tendency to:
- Post in wrong community
- Post in an old thread that already has a solution
- Post a problem in the Idea Exchange (either as new idea or as a reply to another idea)
- Post a problem that has an answer in one of sticky posts
- Don't see the Recommended content (as @Blackcat recently mentioned)
When a new member has registered(or when writing the first post) I believe it would be good to display a welcome message with brief information about the different communities so first of all get them to post in the correct section. And not to reply to old threads. Check out the sticky posts first etc. Any information that could avoid the above mentioned things.
And some info that they should mark a correct answer as the solution. (I think it's mostly F-Secure staff that marks solutions today)
Regarding posting in old threads: shouldn't old solved threads be closed? (read-only) If someone posts a similar problem to an old solved thread, and a new reply solves the problem. Then what? Should there be multiple solutions? It seems the link for "Go to Solution" only refers to the first solution, so you most likely won't see if there are other newer solutions.
An example that has multiple solutions: http://community.f-secure.com/t5/Security-for-PC/f-secure-mobile-password/td-p/11373
Would you read all other pages if you found the solution already on the first page? Probably not, and If so you could miss out on a newer and perhaps better solution on the other pages. (not in this example though)
thanks for the suggestions. We're working on making the some improvements in the areas you mentioned. You'll see some "how to post" instructions soon.
Thanks for mentioning the expiration and accepted solutions, that's an area we'll definitely need to look into in the nearest future.
Just as a suggestion, how about something like this as a welcome email:
Welcome to the F-Secure Community Forums!
We hope you will enjoy your time with us, and that you will find the help and information that you need.
We are not one of those forums where new members get 'flamed' or otherwise chastised for asking a question that's already been answered. No one is expected to read all of the topics in the forums before making a post, but by checking the 'Sticky Topics' at the top of each board (if present), you may find the answers you need more quickly, rather than having to wait until someone replies to your post.
It is also to your advantage to post your question / topic in the relevant forum, where it may be responded to more quickly. Posts made in wrong places will be moved to the correct board by the forum staff, or by an F-Secure Expert, but this is a manual process, so there may be a delay until someone is available to perform these tasks.
On the subject of making posts, please remember that this is a public forum, and is available to anyone to view. Therefore, you are strongly advised not to post personal details, such as mobile phone numbers, email addresses, or security / subscription codes, as this could lead to your privacy being compromised. Any such information will be removed by forum / F-Secure staff, but as above, this is a manual process, and will be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
At the bottom of forum threads, you will see a 'Recommended Content' section. This cleverly links to other topics / threads that may be relevant to your current issue, so please check these, as again, this may help you to solve your issue sooner.
We do have a small number of rules which we ask you to observe:
By using this community, you agree that you will not post any material which is knowingly false and / or defamatory, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually offensive, racist, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise in violation of any law. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also explicitly forbidden on this forum.
Whilst not discouraging discussion of other brand's products in a general context, direct promotion of other brands would be considered as advertising. Further, it would be inappropriate use of the F-Secure forum to ask for recommendations for other branded security products, and any such posts may be edited or removed at the discretion of forum staff.
You further agree that you will at no time post in a manner designed or intended to demean, humiliate or mock any other user, or member of staff of this forum. You will at all times observe "Good forum etiquette", be polite and respectful towards all members, administrators, moderators and the forum owners. You agree that you will at no time create posts / threads intended to be deliberately contentious, malicious, critical of and / or harmful to the community, its members, forum staff and owners, or that would create, foment or otherwise cause ill feeling amongst the membership. All queries or comments about the running of the board should, unless otherwise invited by the staff in a thread or poll, be made via PM contact with an administrator.
Finally, please bear in mind that this community is mainly English or Deutsch speaking. Whilst there is no official restriction on other languages being used, you may have to wait until someone comes along who speaks your language, if different to the above, for your question to be responded to.4 4Like
I agree, that is an excellently drafted welcome email, kudos! I'm sure that many new members will be anxious to get right to posting their questions, but for those who take the time to read it, it should prove to be quite helpful! We'll let you know what we end up deciding.
"Thanks for mentioning the expiration and accepted solutions, that's an area we'll definitely need to look into in the nearest future."
I know FS is limited to what's possible to change within Lithium, still maybe it's a good thing to discuss it here to get some opinions about it:
Currently a member can add new replies to old already solved issues. This can lead to an issue ending up with multiple solutions, but the "Go to Solution" link at the first post will only refer to the first and oldest solution. There's a chance members won't see the newer and perhaps better solutions.
Good or bad? Any thoughts?
I believe anyone can un-mark a post as the solution, as I did one the other day which had obviously been marked in error. So therefore, a new solution could replace an older one. The problem is, who's to say which is the best solution, as often one solution will work for one person, where it doesn't for another.
I see your point. When I first joined this community I thought that only I (the topic starter) could decide what the solution was to my problem. It took a few months for me to discover that actually anyone can click "Accept As Solution". It makes more sense if only the topic starter can decide(and FS employees). But as the topic allows new posts after it has been solved, then it wouldn't work with allowing only the topic starter. As it is now you can have one topic starter and multiple "re-starters".
I've been here over 2 years, and only last week realised that I could unmark 'solutions' marked in error! It's very easy to do to, with the buttons being close together.
One other thing that I keep banging on about is the annoyance of having to log in each time one wants to make a post. On every other forum I know of, there is a 'login' cookie, which keeps the user logged in (by their choice). Even the username and password is not able to be remembered by the browser here, so it's a double PITA, especially when I want to just make a quick post via my phone, which I use a lot during the day. If I had my way, this is the first thing that would be changed here. We need to make it easy for users to use the forum, and I'm sure there must be a few who would use the forum more if it wasn't such a faff to get into.
I'm happy to hear you've found the "not the solution" option!
The login issue is a known case, which we're looking into again these days.
To make the login process easier though, provided that you have a Facebook account, you can already connect it to your F-Secure Community one.
You can do it by going to My Settings -->Social Connect and select "Connect to Your Facebook Account"
Once that's done, you can simply select "Connect with Facebook" when you want to login, and you're in!
From a mobile, you'll need to select a "Full" version first to see the Facebook connect option.
I do have a Facebook account, but I don't use it very much as I find it tends to be very invasive, and as soon as you use it you start getting notifications for this, that, and everything else, which they don't make easy to turn off. I'd certainly rather not be using FB just to make logging in here easier. The forum should be easily accessible in it's own right, in my opinion, just like any others.
To get back to my last thought before the login discussion took over
It makes more sense if only the topic starter(and FS employees) can decide what the solution is. But currently as the topic allows new replies after it has been solved, then it wouldn't work with allowing only the topic starter. As it is now you can have one topic starter and multiple "re-starters".
Is it just me who thinks that there should be a different solution than it is currently?
Another problem I see with limiting it to topic starters is that, quite often, particularly with new members, they post their question, get their answer, but you never actually hear from them again. This would put the onus on forum / FS staff to go round marking topics as solved, or the topics would remain 'open'. I don't think there's a perfect solution to this. I guess auto-locking 'solved' topics, would stop them being replied to, but would also prevent 'better' solutions from being added later on, so it's a bit of a catch 22.
Good to hear! I think the current solution is not optimal, but I also agree with Simon that locking after first accepted solution is not good. So I started looking at how other companies that also uses Lithium solves this problem, and Skype seems to have a great solution that Shows all accepted solutions instead of only the first:
Some additional thoughts:
Users(mostly first time users) have a tendency to post in old solved threads, even about completely different problems. This gets very confusing and really difficult to follow the thread history. Especially because the subject for these posts doesn't reflect the problems at all in some cases.
If old solved threads aren't closed for adding new posts, I think the important thing here is to instruct users to first:
1. Find the appropriate community category
2. Click "New Message"
3. Describe the problem shortly in the Subject field
I find this a curious community. I don't think I've come across another forum which has quite so many first time posters who often don't even bother to read the post above their own, which would have given them their answer! How many more times are we going to have to point mobile users to the sticky to recover their security codes, for example? I don't know how much clearer things can be, but it does seem that new members often totally ignore the rest of the forum, and could easily find the information for themselves, much more quickly than waiting for someone to answer their post, simply to point them at a link.
That said, it would be dull if everyone just read what's here and didn't post!
I agree! But WHY is that?
Apparently some users must have used the search function to be able to find a sometimes 1 year old thread to post in, even if that thread is about a completely different problem. Prior to that they have created an account successfully. So obviously it's easy to create accounts and posts, still it seems they cannot find the information they are looking for.
Is it perhaps not clear enough that they can start their own thread? Or do they feel that's a too big of a task?
Maybe the button "New Message" isn't obvious what it actually is. Perhaps "Report your problem" might be a better name for this button.
What is different on this forum compared to other forums?
I don't know, but maybe the fact that users can post in old threads about a different problem. That will confuse all future readers of that thread, including people like myself who read all new posts daily.
The more I think about it, it appears a bad idea that users can post in old threads. If this wasn't allowed, they could be forced to create a new thread and set a subject that describes their problem. I think all readers would benefit from that.
And don't forget: most readers here are guests, not registered users. So simple non-confusing threads would benefit many more than only registered users.
EDIT: I found a great example on how confusing it can be to start a thread:
You can start a new thread very easily. Choose from the category the correct board where you can discuss about your issue. In the board you find an orange button called "New Message".
Thank you for your reply but I still cannot work out how to start a new thread! Too many buttons and nothing ( that I can find ) to lead me to starting a new thread It cannot be that dificult, how about a simple tutorial? Your reply is not clear.
I guess that forums are perhaps a little old-fashioned to some people, who are more used to the Facebook/Twitter types of media, so it may not be blatantly obvious how to start a new thread. That said, often when people ask a question in an old thread, they could have found the answer at the top of the thread, or even a couple of posts back from where they posted themselves. I guess the question has to be, do we want loads of new threads of very similar topics and questions, or do we just want to keep the boards more compact, with lots of similar questions in the same thread? Either way somebody has to answer the questions, and I don't really see much of a difference whether it's a new thread or a question added to an old one.
I guess, to avoid resurrecting very old topics, threads could be closed after, say, one month of no replies. I don't know any other forums that do that, but it might be worth some consideration for here.
I'm guessing that people find the old threads from the Related Topics section at the bottom of the boards. Maybe that could be modified to only show threads which are less than, say, three months old? You wouldn't want to limit it too far, otherwise certain useful information may be missed.
I think there's a danger in using "Report Your Problem", as not all threads relate to actual problems. Further, that may give users the wrong impression that reporting problems on the forum will get straight back to F-Secure, rather than them submitting a support ticket.
To be honest, I don't think there's a perfect solution to any of this. This kind of forum, for specific uses, with specific problems, will always have a lot of repetition as there's not really a lot of scope for varied discussion about an internet security product. It does one job, and that's really all there is to talk about.
Good points. My example of a new button name was not the best I admit. "Start New Thread" would be more clear than current "New Message".
And my point on creating new threads was mainly to prevent users to add completely new problems to existing threads. If they don't find a relevant thread they sometimes seem to just pick one and add a new problem to it.
Returning to this old discussion with a bit of a wrap-up, we've made (and are still making) many changes to keep our members more informed. Thanks to your insights and suggestions, we've initiated a three-prong approach at guiding our new members in the correct direction, by 1) revising the welcome email text, 2) creating the "how to post" spoiler, and 3) adding the text "did you remember to include product & platform details [if known]" before the Post button when starting a new thread.
We're also adjusting the "Mark as Solution" politics, by only allowing the OP and moderators to mark a solution, and sending a one-week reminder to the topic starter to accept a solution or provide more details. Also, multiple solutions will no longer be allowed - old topics with multiple solutions will remain as is. This is all in the works, so stay tuned!
And keep the feedback coming
I think there is also the consideration that we do have visitors who only have a basic grasp of the English language, if any at all, so it may be more difficult for them to search the forums before posting.
There is, of course, the further consideration that some visitors simply can't be bothered to search before posting. Strangely, this seems to apply to mobile security users more than any others.
Thanks to your insights and suggestions, we've initiated a three-prong approach at guiding our new members in the correct direction, by 1) revising the welcome email text, 2) creating the "how to post" spoiler, and 3) adding the text "did you remember to include product & platform details [if known]" before the Post button when starting a new thread.
@Chrissy A late comment because I still think this could be improved:
The "how to post" is great but I can't see it anywhere when starting a new thread. Is it perhaps only visible to first time posters?
But I suspect if you "made it" to the page for starting a new thread, you're unlikely to click a link on "how to post".
So another idea could be to have the text area(form) pre-loaded with this text from the "how to post". Or shown as a pop-up or something. Or shown below the text area instead of the "did you remember...":
Describe your problem in detail. Where applicable, please provide:
- The name and version of the F-secure software you are using,
- The Operating System and service pack related to your request,
- Type of hardware used (more relevant in mobile related questions),
- Relevant (error) logs and screenshots where you have blurred private information from them.
Protect your identity! Please remember that this is a public forum, and is available to anyone to view. Therefore, you are strongly advised not to post personal details such as phone numbers, email addresses, or security / subscription codes, as this could lead to your privacy being compromised.
I've checked it for you (at least I think so)
As long as you split each line of text with HTML line separators, it'll work with replacing the "did you remember" text below the text area. If a single line of text is too long it will be printed on top of the Post button, at least the first line will. So just limit the number of characters for each line and it should work.