Ask Your Question
6

Guidelines for answering

asked 2019-12-07 17:13:04 +0200

updated 2019-12-07 17:13:35 +0200

We have quite nice Guidelines for asking. However, I believe that answering is no easier, and needs own guidelines, too.

Why? On this site, we have a great community of experienced contributors (users and developers) who have enough knowledge to help solve many problems asked here. But for any contributor, it seems, the most frustration results from bad questions. And sometimes this gets to the point that any bad question - including those from inexperienced newcomers - gets quite harsh reception.

I don't mean extreme cases, where a user with more than 100 questions asked on the site, and who was asked to express oneself clearer, keeps writing undecipherable code in new questions. And I don't mean that bad questions from newcomers is "good". I, too, feel sorry that what should be part of basic education today: ability to express oneself in a way to be understood - looks like some esoteric knowledge.

Yet, I believe that belittling newcomers doesn't help anyone. Users come here because they have problems; they hope to find help here; and having a degree in rhetorics is not a hard requirement to use LibreOffice. However sad, the reality is that any who answers questions will necessarily see bad questions, so bashing on their authors from the very beginning is denying the reality, and harming the community.

I see many good examples, like having some boilerplate text for the questions of poor quality, with links explaining how to improve - without those -1's and aggressive comments. So the question is: what would experienced contributors suggest to each other, to give good answers to not-so-good questions, and keep own sanity?

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

4 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted
4

answered 2019-12-07 17:48:04 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

First of all, we need humility.

We must remember how we started here. The site ergonomics is not good and people are mainly accustomed to forums where a thread is opened and develops in a time-order fashion with contributions adding "harmoniously" (I hope so because I'm an idealistic dreamer) to the topic until it converges to a solution.

Here, we expect to offer a concise collection of questions and solutions where a newcomer would first search the question, find an approximate one and study the various answers.

We're far from it: the site itself is not clean and newcomers (again because accustomed to forums) will ask a question from scratch.

A factor has not been touched by @Mike Kaganski: language. Questioners and contributors are not all English native speakers. So question itself may be full of native languages colloquialisms or even follow this language grammar.

Contributors must first understand what is at stake on two levels: language and LO skill.

Our long experience with LO makes us consider as obvious some questions though the feature may be implemented differently from the competition (from which the question author may be trying to switch).

I know that probably 90% of LO users have never opened a manual nor even the built-in help. This is laziness and induced ideology about "intuitive behaviour" of modern computer applications. Intuition only means behaviour follows what has been defined as "must-be".

Of course, a harsh answer could be RTFM. But this doesn't help and brings a bad image on LO.

A question is never bad intentionally (except spam). Consequently, we must encourage OP to reformulate the question until it is acceptable both for OP and our LO-culture (our own model of LO which is certainly different from the developers' one -- at least for me where I designed a mental model suitable for my needs).

I disagree with the recent (December 2019) -1 "rain of downvotes". A newcomer has a right to blunder and mistake. I am pretty sure that my initial questions would have deserved such a punishment -- and I would not have come back.

There is no general suggestion I can make. I just browse the new questions until I find one I'd be pleased to answer, no matter how it is formulated. It is my way to improve my LO knowledge. I just try to remember how I behaved when I discovered the site. This is how I can forgive obvious-for-me etiquette faults.

edit flag offensive delete link more

Comments

1

+100

I know that probably 90% of LO users have never opened a manual nor even the built-in help. This is laziness and induced ideology about "intuitive behaviour" of modern computer applications. Intuition only means behaviour follows what has been defined as "must-be".

...

A question is never bad intentionally (except spam). Consequently, we must encourage OP to reformulate the question until it is acceptable both for OP and our LO-culture (our own model of LO which is certainly different from the developers' one -- at least for me where I designed a mental model suitable for my needs).

mauricio gravatar imagemauricio ( 2019-12-07 19:17:21 +0200 )edit
1

answered 2019-12-07 19:58:29 +0200

ebot gravatar image

I believe that keyword is "forbearance".

If we believe more to knowledge and the questioner is inferior in its possibilities, we do not have to answer impulsively.

Let us pause for thought before answering.

Who can it be who asks? What knowledge does he / she bring?

What is missing for me to answer?

Keep cool! If the question arouses you, go to the next question.

edit flag offensive delete link more
1

answered 2019-12-07 19:24:08 +0200

mauricio gravatar image

In my case, my first language is Spanish, and for me, the English is hard. Many times, I have difficult for I understand the questions, but, I can understand "please" and "thanks", many times I miss this words in aks.

My ideal is that we can used other software for forum

edit flag offensive delete link more

Comments

The software will not solve the human problems. But we can all work on our own.

ebot gravatar imageebot ( 2019-12-07 20:06:34 +0200 )edit

Yes I know, are two different problems... the second, we can solve.

mauricio gravatar imagemauricio ( 2019-12-08 01:46:21 +0200 )edit
1

answered 2019-12-07 21:06:13 +0200

ve3oat gravatar image

I agree with @Mike Kaganski's opening statement and all of the comments and answers added so far. I am sure that this site must seem daunting to a new LO user, especially those who might have learned to use a computer only by watching their friends, and for them learning to use new software (LO) must seem like poking at some hidden demon. The logic escapes them and the "intuitiveness" of the interface is just another mystery.

Some questions posted here need to be read many times, over a period of time, before the real problem that is being "described" becomes apparent. One might offer a tentative suggestion, hoping to draw out some more meaningful details from the questioner. But I am sure that at least some questioners do not understand this process of exchanging information, back and forth, to get to the crux of the problem in language that each person can understand and appreciate.

The lack of feedback from some questioners, even after several attempts to answer or at least to reframe their question, is particularly frustrating and unhelpful. If we could find a way to encourage these questioners to actually and actively engage with us, it would increase the questioners' sense of having his or her problem solved, as well as the sense of accomplishment of those who provide answers.

edit flag offensive delete link more

Comments

I agree with you in principle.

If we could find a way to encourage these questioners to actually and actively engage with us, it would increase the questioners' sense of having his or her problem solved, as well as the sense of accomplishment of those who provide answers.

Here is a problem with this ask page.

Unfortunately, questioners can not recognize in the overview, if a comment was written.

ebot gravatar imageebot ( 2019-12-07 22:11:30 +0200 )edit

In principle (but this erratic presently), the "message waiting" icon turns red when any question you participate in (as questioner, commenter or answer provider) is modified in any way. This requires, of course, you log in in the AskLO site.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2019-12-08 08:51:41 +0200 )edit
Login/Signup to Answer

Question Tools

1 follower

Stats

Asked: 2019-12-07 17:13:04 +0200

Seen: 117 times

Last updated: Dec 07 '19