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Re: New node - Supersearch - Feature proposal !

by woolfy (Chaplain)
on Oct 10, 2005 at 09:26 UTC ( #498750=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to New node - Supersearch - Feature proposal !

You propose a technical solution to what basically is a behavioural problem. Whenever somebody wants to ask a question, (s)he should first use SuperSearch before (s)he asks the question. That should be default behaviour. Trying to fix wrong behaviour with a technical solution like you proposed, would be the wrong approach. That's why I downvoted your node.

The technical solution might become a nightmare, by the way. It might not be so much work to implement, but it would be a nuisance to the more experienced monks to use this. And running Super Search on the background all the time when a monk creates a new node, could be quite a strain on the system.

There are quite some nodes on "how to ask a question". Newbie monks are pointed to them all the time. They should learn to use (and search) the Perl Monks website and they should behave the right way as soon as possible, and they should not be helped with a new "system" that they should not need anyway.

(Update: changed spelling a bit.)

  • Comment on Re: New node - Supersearch - Feature proposal !

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Re^2: New node - Supersearch - Feature proposal !
by 5mi11er (Deacon) on Oct 10, 2005 at 15:27 UTC
    I don't agree that a behavioral problem can't be, discouraged, for lack of a better term, with technology. Behavior and interface design, which is implemented with technology, are quite inter-related. Design an interface that sucks, and you can pretty well guarantee that users will not use it properly. Even after very carefully designing the system so that it is easy to use it appropriately isn't going to keep some from using it improperly. But, the second interface should provide self-reinforcing feedback (ie, if correct use feels natural, and is rewarding, most people will use it correctly), and thus partially "solve" the behavioral problem.

    So, am I bashing PM? No, I'm speaking in generalities. Is there room for PM improvement? Yes. Is the OP's idea something that should be implemented? I'm not qualified to provide a definitive answer.

    However I do think the question being asked, and resulting discussion is a good thing for PM. I do hope some sort of interface change can eventually be made such that new users are better encouraged to search first, and ask questions later.


      I disagree with you. Wrong behaviour can only be corrected in a limited way with technological changes. People who don't want to search and read first, but who want answers quick and easy, just are not going to search and read. They will ignore any search results that might be presented when the solution is offered that the OP has thought of.

      More experienced Perl Monks often answer questions with a link to a thread with a question and accompanying answer. By doing that, they educate the monks that ask those easy to answer questions. Search first, and if nothing is found, or if things are still not clear, only than ask the question. Most monks learn this lesson quick.

      Presenting the monk with a tool that offers search information while the question is being formulated, does not educate the monk, it is spoiling the monk, while putting an unnecessary strain on the system.

      An old saying applies here: the whole village is needed to educate a child.

        I think we are, for the most part, in agreement; but talking past one another. Technology can not fix behavioral problems, if someone doesn't want to search, even doing the search for them isn't going to get them to stop and read what the search found. I agree with that.

        And I understand the desire to not put unnecessary strain on a system by doing what would largely be futile searches. I'm not an advocate for the OP's original idea, but I'm willing to entertain weird ideas for the sake of finding something that would work.

        What I did say was that the user interface presented by PM has room for improvement, and that the interface could do a better job encouraging people to search for answers before posting their questions.

        So, the basic tenet I'm presenting is that while technology can't fix behavioral problems, it can, through the use of good user interfaces, encourage correct behavior. The XP system here is simply one way technology is used to encourage correct behavior. While not perfect, it can certainly be said to be mostly successful.

        I'll add some more comments about possible improvements I've thought about in a different node.


Re^2: New node - Supersearch - Feature proposal !
by husker (Chaplain) on Oct 11, 2005 at 14:25 UTC
    They should learn to use (and search) the Perl Monks website and they should behave the right way as soon as possible, and they should not be helped with a new "system" that they should not need anyway.

    Something about this bothers me. Isn't the whole idea of computing and automation to perform tasks that, yes, I could perform myself, but why should I if a computer can do it for me? Then I have more time to do the things that a computer cannot do, and which only I can.

    Your comment about the technical problems involved in providing this service is valid, because we don't have infinite resources, but I have to disagree with your philosophy that computers shouldn't be used to automate repetitive tasks because people "should behave the right way".

      I really do appreciate all those little and not so little innovations that make my life easier and enjoyable. Like my portable DVD player, which I use to see movies and tv series in bed.

      I certainly see the pros and cons of imbedding the super search technology into the page for writing a new node. It's not just making it easier to write a good node. It's not just putting more of a strain on the servers of Perl Monks. It's not just behaviour. It's all this and much more.

      If somebody doesn't want to read related nodes before posting a node, (s)he will not read the suggested related nodes.

      If somebody does read the suggested related nodes, and use them to adapt his/her new node, the new node might become extremely detailed, complex, long, unreadable, and difficult to answer. Even when the node is already an answer to itself.

      I think many monks would ignore this new proposed option.

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