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Bryan's Avatar
Member with 11,942 posts.
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: USA
07-Aug-1999, 05:13 AM #1
When I reply to someones post for help I have a hard time judging how detailed I need to be with my replies. Has anyone ever asked to have a "PC level of expertise" question added to the user profile. Maybe bullets of 1 to 5 where the user can give his or herself a rating. The user could be allowed to change their profile rating as time goes by and they feel they have moved from a level. That way you could avoid, to a certain extent, alot of the back and forth when a user does not understand how to accomplish a fix you are suggesting. For example, extracting CAB files. Do I need to explain what a CAB file is and how to extract it or will I insult them by explaining it. When I reply to a post I would like to know how knowledgeable they are so I could explain what a CAB file is, if necessary. In my opinion, if someone is going to learn about PC's, then before telling them to extract a CAB file, they should understand what a CAB file is. Or else they only know how to type in a command and push a button. I know this request needs to be made at the BB support site, but I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts on this topic.
bones3's Avatar
bones3 bones3 is offline
Junior Member with 13 posts.
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Memorial Hospital for the insa
07-Aug-1999, 01:30 PM #2
Thanks for your very useful help on this
board. Your suggestion above will not work
in practice. Most folks seeking help are
family users with average 6 months experience. They cannot rate their PC skills
or describe their problems in a technical
way. Most of my time is spent on posting
"do you have win95 or win98 or what ?"
or "what exactly does the error message say ?" or "what were you doing when it happened?"
Earlier, this board was more or less an
exchange between pc capable techies.
Now it is having to adapt to the ever
increasing number of people who buy a pc
and expect it to run like the rest of the
things they have.
My answer would be, slowly and carefully
find out what is wrong and ask if they can
do this and do that, to cure it.
Proposing a new
DWORD at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\
windows\explorer\..... may not be of
practical help.
Arionis's Avatar
Arionis Arionis is offline
Junior Member with 10 posts.
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Des Moines, IA
07-Aug-1999, 03:04 PM #3
I agree with bhesson. In teh short time I've been here, I've already ran into the problem. I'm about positive one or more of the replies I have given is going leave the person thinking"Does he think I'm a MORON or something?". But then again, I've already had one that needed more info. Having a "self-rating" would help out in that respect.

In general though,bones seems to have the right impression of most of the people asking questions here. On most of the threads I've read through, more of the posts are asking for more info on the problem or giving more detailed instructions.

Interesting dilemma there. BTW as to the question I put on here (and the one I'm about to) the more info anyone can give, the better. Not that I'm computer illiterate, just that I'm impatient, the one bit of info you DON'T give is (knowing my luck) going to the main one I really needed.
LarryCore's Avatar
Member with 5,223 posts.
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Rockford, IL
Experience: Advanced
07-Aug-1999, 03:51 PM #4
I agree with bhesson on this, though I think the idea needs more refinement. This is something that was talked about a long time ago, with no resolution.

I still think there need to be some kind of check box (someone else, not me suggested this) system for each post. What OS do you have? What level do you think yourself? A few others were suggested, but I don't recall what they were. That way, with each post, you know what it is. You dont have to ask - is it Win98? Do you know what RAM is? I suppose the user profile would be ok for this, but I think each post would be better, in case you are asking about someone elses PC.

That is not dead
Which can eternal lie
Yet with strange aeons
Even death may die
"H.P. Lovecraft"
- From the headstone of Edward T. Head

Anne Troy's Avatar
Computer Specs
Member with 11,731 posts.
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Allentown, PA
Experience: Intermediate
07-Aug-1999, 11:07 PM #5
In theory, it's a great idea bhesson has.

In reality, I get the sneaking suspicion that half of the people who post here never even check back for a reply.

So, I'll just check in once a day or so, and be grateful when someone lets us know that our suggestion solution worked.

Which just got me to thinking . . . maybe mine never work!

Which also gets me to thinking . . . Wonder if Mike has any way of finding out how many people register and post once and have never been back. Mike?

[This message has been edited by Dreamboat (edited 08-08-1999).]
joshmu's Avatar
joshmu joshmu is offline
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Portland, OR, USA
08-Aug-1999, 12:40 AM #6
I find in general most people would rate themselves higher than they should (probably me too.) In general I just give all the details. Even if the person posting the origional question knows what they are doing a less experience user may have the same problem later on and need the detail.

Suggestion Only, Not
Responsible for Damage
Caused by Following
Bryan's Avatar
Member with 11,942 posts.
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: USA
08-Aug-1999, 04:41 AM #7
Thanks for all of the replies. I guess like Bones said, go slow and ask questions is the best approach. I do like Larry Core's idea of at least having check boxes for type of PC, do you have W95 or W98, MS Office Yes/No, Do you use Outlook or Outlook Express for your mail, etc .... Maybe just a question like how long have you been using a PC would help, also.

On the topic of who comes to the board for help, I personally get more satisfaction helping inexperienced users, more than the experienced ones. In general they seem to be much more appreciative of your help and I feel like maybe they learned something at the same time.

[This message has been edited by bhesson (edited 08-08-1999).]
Caper's Avatar
Caper Caper is offline Caper has a Profile Picture
Member with 190 posts.
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Sarasota, FL
Experience: Advanced
08-Aug-1999, 07:14 AM #8
First of all, the scripting needed for such checkboxes would be substantial.. beyond my expertise, for sure.

Then, if the poster is at a lower level, they might have no idea of how to rate themsleves, not knowing enough to judge against higher levels of technical expertise. Checkboxes would be terrific, though, for such things as their OS and machine specs.

I try to keep my responses brief and concise, relying heavily on links to more detailed information. If the poster requires a more detailed explanation, I wait for them to ask for it. If one assumes the poster is at a lower level, it is very easy to insult an advanced user.

Arionis's Avatar
Arionis Arionis is offline
Junior Member with 10 posts.
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Des Moines, IA
08-Aug-1999, 08:26 AM #9
I think Joshmu has hit it perfectly.

Giving as much detail as possible every time As he said, even if it was an experienced user that had the original problem/post, tomorrow the next day, next week, it might be a novice user with the same problem. Having as much info as possible in the original post would save them having to open a new thread or add to the present one to get the additional info they need.

As far as insulting an experienced user by doing that, well, hopefully they will have at least read this particular thread and would understand that we are not being "insulting" just trying to be as helpful as possible to the greatest number of people.

Personally, even though I know that it DOES happen, I really don't understand why anyone would get upset. I mean, face it, if someone is such an "EXPERT" that they're going to get insulted when someone tries to help em, then WHY are they on here asking questions to begin with ?
Arionis's Avatar
Arionis Arionis is offline
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Des Moines, IA
09-Aug-1999, 06:51 PM #10
Retraction to the last portion of my last post.

Going back and reading it again, it didn't seem to come across the way I wanted it to. I was more airing "MY" thought process as to why I PERSONALLY don't take offense if some one gives me more details than I really need or want when I ask for thier advice/help.

My poinions in no way shape or form reflect the opinions, thought processes, attitudes etc... of the Administrators of this board, the moderators, the other posters, or possibly anyone else in the known (or unknown) world.

Having siad that (hehehe) for the same reasons as above, I also don't understand the (mostly older) postings I've read where the person having the problem tries everything BUT what people suggest. But that happens everywhere. At least here it's not the same (I have seen this personally) as people paying Doctor's LARGE sums of money to find out what's wrong with em, just to say "Well, I don't think that's what's causing it, thanks anyway"
YSB's Avatar
YSB YSB is offline
Senior Member with 779 posts.
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: New York City
10-Aug-1999, 03:46 AM #11
I think bhesson has a point. If you want someone to change a display setting can you just say "open your display settings" or do you have to spell it out? If someone has the option to check that they are/are not a newbie it would save some time and maybe some frustration at both ends. We have now an option button for "Message Icon" (which while cute is of little practical use) why can't we have one for level of expertise?
Kristi's Avatar
Kristi Kristi is offline
Member with 125 posts.
Join Date: Aug 1999
11-Aug-1999, 06:39 AM #12
I like bhessom's approach of "teaching" when giving an answer. I found this site by researching a CD-ROM problem yesterday and added my two-cents worth to an OLDER post because my solution to the same problem was different. When and if someone else is researching that same problem they will have yet another possibility to check out. Many people with a common problem can all learn even though only one person posts the problem.
bones3's Avatar
bones3 bones3 is offline
Junior Member with 13 posts.
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Memorial Hospital for the insa
12-Aug-1999, 11:05 AM #13
Arionis' analogy to getting help from a doctor reminded me of a time I went to the
local quack ...
I have a problem with my sinuses !
Oh ! just a minute .....
.... here you are, drink this.
XXXX, that was terrible, what was it ?
It will give you diarrhoea* and I
know how to cure that.

* ps this is the correct spelling of
this word - make yourself muchas $
betting your friends/family/pets
they cannot spell it.

you see, the doctor-analogy is quite
relevant to posting replies on the board.

[This message has been edited by bones (edited 08-12-1999).]

[This message has been edited by bones (edited 08-12-1999).]

[This message has been edited by bones (edited 08-12-1999).]
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