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RFC: Better Best Answers

by jdporter (Canon)
on Sep 12, 2016 at 21:50 UTC ( #1171605=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

It has long been understood, and I have long felt, that the Categorized Questions and Answers section is fundamentally suboptimal in how it works from the users' perspective; and I can tell you that it would be essentially impossible to improve by a sequence of minor tweaks. What we need is a fresh start. And whatever that looks like, it should reduce the complexity of the site, not add to it. I would suggest that the QA section should be eliminated entirely, and instead have some means to identify and indicate "good questions" and "best answers" among the nodes in the Seekers of Perl Wisdom section. Here are my thoughts; please share yours.

QandAEditors would have a way to attach a "good" flag to nodes in SoPW.

A root post (question) so flagged would be analogous to our current "approved questions", and a reply so flagged would be a "good/best answer".

(By procedure, but without enforcement, QandAEditors would generally only mark first-level replies as "good".)

Monks of sufficient venerability would be given special bonus votes to help raise the reputation of worthy replies.

Monks of Level 11 (Chaplain) and above would receive, each day, bonus votes equal to their level minus 10.
These bonus votes can only be spent according to the following restrictions:

  • Only on replies in SoPW, not on root posts and not in any other section;
  • Only to upvote, not to downvote; and
  • Only on nodes which the monk has already upvoted.
In effect, a Level 11 monk would get a chance, once per day, to give +=2 to a SoPW reply of hir choice.

Ancillary to all the above, there would of course be a way visually to indicate which replies to a question were deemed "best". There may even be a reply sorting option to put best answers at the top. An option could be added to Super Search to let the user get only "best answers", if desired.

If this proposal is enacted, then we could theatrically theoretically create a batch process to convert all of the existing Categorized Questions to SoPW posts with the "good" flag set, and their answers to replies similarly. That would fairly trivial.

Why Level 11? Because any time we come up with an idea for a new "level power", I like to try to assign it to a level which currently has none. Ideally, each level would offer some new prize as an enticement. And looking at Number of Monks by Level, I see the numbers jump at level 11. For this arrangement to be worthwhile, we'd need a goodly number of monks to participate.

Credit goes to the author of Re^2: Threaded Monks Yodeling Modeling, for stimulating me to think more about this problem and try to come up with a potential solution.

I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: RFC: Better Best Answers
by Discipulus (Monsignor) on Sep 13, 2016 at 09:35 UTC
    First of all thanks for you efforts in making this monastery a better place.

    Here my thoughts: it is true that the section is suboptimal from the users' perspective, but there is a big plus on how it is actually configured: it is categorized!

    I remember I used frequently the section in my early days here; having genral purpose question indicized by category was something I was happy with.

    More: the section is constrained to be ..of general interest to the Perl programming community. and explicitly overlapping with official Perl's FAQs. In my opinion this too is a feature. Infact to flag a question as a good one can vary a lot on subjective basis. A question on how to free memory allocated by a Tk::Image object can be a good one, and can merit to be frontpaged but is surely not of general interest.

    We must also consider we are in 2016: it is more rare a question on how to loop over multiple arrays, or how to format dates and even when these questions arise we found answers like: "it is a CategorizedAnswer" or "is in the FAQ".

    That said my opinion is that mix the actual section into SOPW is a loose, more than a semplification.

    You said "I can tell you that it would be essentially impossible to improve by a sequence of minor tweaks." and I'm sure you know the matter but i feel to suggest anyway some minor tweeks: make categorized answers upvotable only by high level monks: level 15 or 18 can be the treshold, and then order the answers by experience: this can be a fast way to know which answers is, probably, the best one. Experience of such posts can be visible to all monks by default.

    The QandAEditors members are yet able to move a post into the section, i suppose. But it must also be said that the group is very very small and will be great if some recent and wise monks could be added to it.

    About voting system and good flag: the voting systems is as is. It can be dangerous,imho, to add flags to a post and leave the voting system as is: a post marked as good can attract more votes than normal only to have been flagged. I think the only possible thing to do to make better post more visible is to show the respectability of the monk writing along his name in the post title:

    Amonk lvl 19 11/25/13 (XP per post overall/XP per post current year/best answers)

    Infact if "examine what is said not him who speaks" is wise, is even wiser to know who speaks, too.



    L*

    There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
    Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.
Re: RFC: Better Best Answers
by ww (Archbishop) on Sep 13, 2016 at 12:25 UTC

    Thank you for the thoughts and for soliciting opinions/suggestions/whatever. You do yoeman work here and that gives you special creds for suggesting improvements.

    That said, perhaps there's a way to allow Level 11 monks (and up) to RECOMMEND at node for "good" labeling but to keep that recommendation viewable ONLY BY the Q&A Editors and Gods. My reasoning is similar to that offered by Discipulus: If (and I'm not certain that this is the case; just suspicious) the best nodes list attracts votes to its members surely a public "good" flagging would do likewise or maybe even more so.

    And while the "extra votes" incentive notion has many merits (think how many times we see comments along the line of "I'd upvote this again if I could....") enacting it would surely skew (against!) the rankings of older-but-still-excellent nodes which are no longer attracting active general attention. OTOH, maybe we would give level-11 Monks the opportunity to upvote a node twice, within their current allocation of votes for the price of writing a node with that comment PLUS an explanation of why the reply to which the comment in addressed is so deserving.

    Re Beech's suggestion (above) on tags/keywords: I'm inclined to agree with Tye's remark at Re: Keyword Nodelet / Tagging documentation (vote > privilege)):

    " My experience with PM leads me to believe that voting has a much better chance of resulting in a useful categorization system than privilege (the tag adders, tag deleters, and considerers) does.
    " My bet is that privilege won't result in a very useful tag system and, even if it starts to, the effect won't last."

    Again, thanks for your work to improve PM.

    Come, let us reason together: Spirit of the Monastery
      think how many times we see comments along the line of "I'd upvote this again if I could...."

      Precisely. That was certainly a factor in my thinking.

      ... enacting it would surely skew (against!) the rankings of older-but-still-excellent nodes ...

      If site participation were as great or greater than in the olden days, I'd agree with you; but as was recently brought up, participation in the site is waning, and commensurately the number of votes cast. Indeed, part of my reason for thinking it would be nice to dole out more votes to the active members is to mitigate, at least a little bit, the disadvantage that more recent nodes have against older nodes.

      a way to allow Level 11 monks (and up) to RECOMMEND at node for "good" labeling...

      That's certainly an idea... But it introduces a new mechanic, a second kind of vote, which is the kind of complexity increase I'd like to avoid. On the other hand, QandAEditors can easily see which replies to a question have the highest popular estimation, simply by selecting "Note Ordering: Best First" in User Settings.

      If the best nodes list attracts votes to its members surely a public "good" flagging would do likewise or maybe even more so.

      Yeah; I don't see that as a problem. Think about how the Categorized Questions and Answers section works now. It highlights "good" posts in just the same way.

      Now one thing I want to clarify: These two mechanics — letting people give good nodes more than one upvote, and letting special deputies mark some nodes as "good" — would be independent. The former is mob-sourced approbation, essentially; the latter is elitist control. I envision (and again, I wouldn't expect any mechanical enforcement to be necessary) that the QandAEditors would generally not mark any question as "good" until is has been around a while. That is to say, they wouldn't go through today's/yesterday's new SoPW looking for questions to put their stamp on.

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.
        "If site participation were as great or greater than in the olden days, I'd agree with you; but as was recently brought up, participation in the site is waning, and commensurately the number of votes cast. Indeed, part of my reason for thinking it would be nice to dole out more votes to the active members is to mitigate, at least a little bit, the disadvantage that more recent nodes have against older nodes."

        That's certainly valid, and probably constitutes an incontestable answer to my concerns; one that obviates those concerns. But, FTR, I'm not completely "comfy" with the notion of extra votes as early as Level 11: that's a status that can probably be obtained in just a few weeks by an XP whore.

        And the balance of "crowd sourced approbation" with some "elitist control" is a very strong plus for your idea. Again, thank you!


        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Juvenal, Satires

      Hi,

      Re Beech's suggestion (above) on tags/keywords: I'm inclined to agree with Tye's remark at Re: Keyword Nodelet / Tagging documentation (vote > privilege))

      :)

      I think what I'm really suggesting is buttons,

      like a root node has a [mark as good faq question]

      and a reply has a [mark as good answer]

      I don't think I care too much if that results in some kind of tag/keyword in keyword nodelet, or a "good" flag"

      or simply a  +=2 upvote

      What I do care, is that its a button, that its always available for me to click it, even if I'm out of votes for the day

      vote when out of votes for "good questions" and "best answers" with buttons

        I think what I'm really suggesting is buttons,

        like a root node has a [mark as good faq question]

        and a reply has a [mark as good answer]

        ...

        What I do care, is that its a button, that its always available for me to click it, even if I'm out of votes for the day

        Ah! You have described what I'm envisioning the QandAEditors will be able to do!

        It would be a two stage process: (1) rank-and-file monks increase the rep of good nodes with extra votes; (2) QandAEditors attach special flags to "faqish" questions and "best" answers. I'm afraid you might have gotten the two mixed up a little.

        Thank you!

        I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.
Re: RFC: Better Best Answers (keywords/tagging/badges)
by beech (Priest) on Sep 13, 2016 at 01:13 UTC

    Hi,

    ... QandAEditors would have a way to attach a "good" flag to nodes in SoPW... Monks of Level 11 (Chaplain) and above would receive, each day, bonus votes equal to their level minus 10....

    No more votes please :)

    You're describing tagging, keywords, the thing we've had but weren't able to search, (kudra: keyword nodelet) Re: Searchable keyword meta data in nodes, Keyword Nodelet / Tagging documentation

    There also should be no limit on how times you can tag a node no limit on how many nodes you can tag goodquestion/faq/goodanswer

    There doesn't even have to be a "reward" for tagging a node or having a node tagged, like on stackoverflow

Re: RFC: Better Best Answers
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Sep 12, 2016 at 22:48 UTC

    3 down, 5 to go :)

    I greatly applaud your continued tireless work on dragging this place kicking and screaming into the 21st century. If I could assist you in any way...

      Thanks.

Re: RFC: Better Best Answers
by jdporter (Canon) on Sep 15, 2016 at 13:08 UTC

    Oh, another possible new mechanic occurred to me:

    When a monk's question or answer has been flagged as "good/best" by QandAEditors, he/she would get some kind of public kudos notice. This notice would say something like:

    Limbic~Region's reply was selected as a Best Answer to the question How do I convert seconds into a readable time?

    How these notices are published could take any number forms. For example:

    1. A message is immediately spat into the chatterbox.
    2. A special page contains a running list/archive of such notices.
    3. The notice is automatically inserted in the user's homenode.

    Update: I have implemented some infrastructure for this: a function named post_notice. Currently, it does two things with the given notice message:

    1. It is spat into the chatterbox, as coming from root.
    2. It is added to a running list of notices at the top of The Monastery Gates.

    I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

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