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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?




    I tried with a question on looking for significant cells in a contingency table and I was puzzled when the answer seemed to depend on the orientation of the table:

    http://www.talkstats.com/showthread....715#post175715

    I tried to do this:
    1) Put in a significant amount of effort into solving your question first.
    2) Be clear and detailed in what your question is.

    But I may have said too much as nobody replied to the specific question. Anyway, at this stage I shall proceed on the basis that my most recent attempt must be right on the grounds that I have not seen anything wrong with it yet :-)

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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by victorxstc View Post
    Something against that "smart question" thread is that many responders prefer (at least at a subconscious level) to see a succinct question, and not a detailed one. That thread advises to elaborate and clarify and add many details. However, a detailed question usually bores and repels many readers.

    I think you're missing the point of that post. You won't see the word detailed anywhere in that post. It's actually designed to get rid of the irrelevant details users usually post (like adding "PLEASE HELP" and other nonsense), and highlight the necessary information needed. Concerning getting the attention of experts have you read point three of the guidelines? It states Use meaningful, SPECIFIC subject headers - as this is your golden opportunity to catch someones attention.

    However, if your getting the impression that posts should be as detailed as possible from the guidelines post, then maybe more people are? Maybe I should add a part about being succinct in your posts? I guessed people would get that the general ideas is drop the irrelevant nonsense but maybe it needs to be stated explicitly for some? What do you think?
    Last edited by TheEcologist; 06-04-2015 at 08:39 AM.
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by victorxstc View Post
    But if he posts a short question, with a vague title, and excluding many details, people get curious to know more about it and start communicating. They first ask the poster about details, and then, hooked enough, guide him. The best example is the very high rate of "HELP PLEASE" questions being answered, compared to the lower rate of detailed and perfect questions getting answered.
    I tend to completely ignore vague titles, and when too little information is given I just use my quick stamp "Welcome to talkstats! Read the guidelines" response. It is very interesting to know however that vague titles are victorsx clickbait
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by TE
    However, if your getting the impression that post should be as detailed as possible from the guidelines post, then maybe more people are? Maybe I should add a part about being succinct in your posts? I guessed people would get that the general ideas is drop the irrelevant nonsense but may it needs to be stated explicitly for some? What do you think?
    I think we need to think about this. This could definitely be clearer. I've referenced this thread many times and never thought about it being unclear but I was reading into it what I wanted it to say. We want the expectations to be clear for sure to avoid poster frustration.
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by trinker View Post
    I think we need to think about this. This could definitely be clearer. I've referenced this thread many times and never thought about it being unclear but I was reading into it what I wanted it to say. We want the expectations to be clear for sure to avoid poster frustration.
    The guidelines post was peer reviewed here, maybe we should dig up the peer review thread and reevaluate and revise. I'll be happy to update the current version with improvements.
    The true ideals of great philosophies always seem to get lost somewhere along the road..

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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by sysmod View Post
    I tried with a question on looking for significant cells in a contingency table and I was puzzled when the answer seemed to depend on the orientation of the table:

    http://www.talkstats.com/showthread....715#post175715

    I tried to do this:
    1) Put in a significant amount of effort into solving your question first.
    2) Be clear and detailed in what your question is.

    But I may have said too much as nobody replied to the specific question. Anyway, at this stage I shall proceed on the basis that my most recent attempt must be right on the grounds that I have not seen anything wrong with it yet :-)
    Looking at your post as an example, it is tl;dr (but honestly, I'm not on the forum as often, so I miss probably 90% of the questions that come through here). What could make it more palatable? Get to the point. I've nothing against making long posts to explain stuff, but the first few lines should plainly state the question and what you're looking for. You should provide any necessary information to answer the question (like data snippets or outcome expectations). Then after what is available in the head of the post, you could add a supplementary 2nd post or just content below that question in the original post that goes into details if you expect people to need that information once they've assessed the original question. Otherwise, you force everyone to read everything before even assessing the question to be answered, and they'll have already moved on.

    To put this into a different mindset, you're trying to sell a challenge to people that want thought challenges. We don't get paid to help people here, as Jake pointed out nicely. We come here for the mental stimulation and Spunky likes the feels. Therefore, your job is to market to use. If your headline and question aren't zingers to get our attention, then you've failed to capture our attention. When I login at the end of the day and see 50+ new posts, I may look at 2 or 3 based entirely on the headline. Of those, I may read one if it seems interesting. That's it. And that may only be 3 or 4 days out of the week, tops. Because of that, timing is also important. Your post may just get buried behind a wall of other posts, even if it is a good question. That's just the reality of the situation.
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  9. #22
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEcologist View Post
    I think you're missing the point of that post. You won't see the word detailed anywhere in that post. It's actually designed to get rid of the irrelevant details users usually post (like adding "PLEASE HELP" and other nonsense), and highlight the necessary information needed. Concerning getting the attention of experts have you read point three of the guidelines? It states Use meaningful, SPECIFIC subject headers - as this is your golden opportunity to catch someones attention.
    Well I had read it about 4 years ago, and don't remember it very clearly. But at that time, I had the impression that an informative post is better, and to me, informative means detailed.

    It's actually designed to get rid of the irrelevant details users usually post (like adding "PLEASE HELP" and other nonsense), and highlight the necessary information needed.
    Plus, I personally don't consider "help please" or other nonsense, as being detail, in the first place. To me, detail is something relevant to the subject. (ie, relevant information about parts other than the core concept).

    However, if your getting the impression that posts should be as detailed as possible from the guidelines post, then maybe more people are? Maybe I should add a part about being succinct in your posts? I guessed people would get that the general ideas is drop the irrelevant nonsense but maybe it needs to be stated explicitly for some? What do you think?
    Thanks a lot for your attention. I am not a native English speaker, so maybe I had an erroneous interpretation. Let me check it again...

    ...Ok I re-read it and agree it might indirectly recommend detailing, and that it might not emphasize adequately on being concise.

    For example, the addition of the following into a post will make the post, pretty wordy:
    1) Show effort. We cant stress this enough.
    • Read the FAQ.
    • Try to find an answer by searching the forum.
    • Try to find an answer by searching the Web (use that famous search engine).
    • Try to find an answer by reading your statistics package program manual.
    • Try to find an answer by reading your textbook (if you are a student asking for homework help).
    Now when you ask your question, it really helps when you display the fact that you have done these things first; this will help establish that you're not being a lazy sponge or that you are wasting people's time. Better yet, display what you have learned from doing these things. We love answering questions for people who have demonstrated they can learn from the answers
    Then there is this part, which to me (and my English) means "to write as detailed as possible" (and by detail, I mean information):

    5) Be precise and informative about your problem
    • Describe the research you did to try and understand the problem before you asked the question.
    • Describe the steps you took to try and pin down the problem yourself before you asked the question.
    If you can do your best to anticipate the questions an expert will ask, and answer them in advance in your request for help - you will be helped much more rapidly.
    I think I had the impression of asking a detailed (informative) question by reading the above part. Again, to me "describe" means "explain, elaborate on, clarify, etc." which all remind me of detailing on something [although I might be wrong]. But if I were correct, doing one's best to describe the research, the problem, and the steps one has taken to solve it, might already mean the incorporation of a lot of detail into the post.

    So in response to your question about adding a new part to the "smart posting" thread, perhaps, as you stated, emphasizing on conciseness might help too (and be necessary). Or better than that, teaching how to mix the two notions of being succinct and detailed at the same time (a concise abstract of the problem / question within some few lines, followed by a subheader and then detailed [informative] description of the problem).
    "victor is the reviewer from hell" -Jake
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    I was always thankfull that people answered any of my questions (of which I ask a lot) given that its free advice on a complex subject by people who are donanting their time.

    While their are many answers to the original question (and obvviously many questions do get answered as many of mine have) I think one reason some questions don't get answered is that in many areas we have limited number of experts. For example in time series there are perhaps two regular posters who work in that area. In some topics there may be none. So the chances of having a question answered in many topics is small.
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    I agree. I find many questions to be very esoteric and confined to a very limited field. Also, the terminology varies a lot between disciplines. Sometimes I know the equivalent terms, sometimes I do not.

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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    That's good advice, Bryan. I recognise the feeling from my own reaction to posts in my own field of Excel forums. I thought I did summarise my need in the first three paragraphs, and then follow with the data. Still, my post did come across as "please debug my calculations" which isn't something I'd find attractive unless I was looking for a distraction from the day job :-)

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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    There's a quotation from a writer apologising for a letter being long when he had not time to make it short.
    It's hard to get something economically expressed the first time, and once you know the key words and the concepts as they exist in the minds of your readers you can communicate more effectively. It's getting to that stage that is the learning experience.
    I agree with the last point of victorxstc of abstract followed by detail, and bryangoodrich's post here too. Like a newspaper article, a good question has a headline that says what you want, an intro paragraph that makes it easy for others to understand what the real problem is and what a solution would look like, and supporting data for those who want to try it.
    For the FAQ, may I ask for a recommendation for tips on how to copy and format data from Excel or R or SPSS or whatever, in a way that makes it readable and usable in posts. Maybe there is an updated vBulletin version that has a [TABLE] tag.

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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

    The fact that the OP has not returned sums it up for me. If I had a dollar for the number of replies I have made to desperate users trying to get a last minute reply because something is due tomorrow or their supervisor is out of town (probably to avoid the student) and they need an IMMEDIATE answer - I would have about 9 dollars.

    I can kinda pick them now, and tend to avoid them. As I should have this.
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    Re: Why does anyone bother to post questions here?


    Just coz....
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