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  • 15. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    BillyVerreynne Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    sonyabarry wrote:
    We will be keeping the point system exactly as it is today for the next few months, and then we will be expanding it with a lot of planning around how to use it to best encourage the kind of community and culture we want to foster here.
    In my experience (hanging around OTN for a number of years), is that when the point system was introduced in 2008, it created a new culture of people wanting to earn points, as oppose to people wanting to help others. A culture where it is not about sharing knowledge and education, but about achieving "guru" status by having lots of points.

    I find the point system, mildly put, offensive and idiotic. And I'm being kind with this description.

    If OTN drops all points and al badges (including showing who are aces), it will have my full support. As then it is about the CONTENTS of the posting and now about WHO/WHAT the poster is.

    I want a person with a problem to judge my answers on the argument and logic I used, the document references I provided, and the test case/sample code I posted. And not judge it because I happen to have a funky badge, am in the top 10 points of a forum, or have been around on OTN since the late 90's.
    Simple downvoting won't happen for exactly the reason you gave - it can encourage bullying. We'll be looking at a range of possibilities for how to reward behavior we want to see, as well as a possible range of real-world rewards over time.
    I disagree. Up and down voting will enable us to collectively say "+yes this is the correct answer+", or "+no, this does not make sense+". And as this is about up/down voting technical contents and details, I fail to see how the bullying aspect would apply.

    By all means, do not make such a feature anonymous to add some kind of accountability to using the feature. Perhaps even make a one-liner response compulsory when using the up/down vote feature.

    It also allows a member, looking for am answer and founding it in an old thread, to upvote it as being useful - instead of posting a belated response of thanks to a dead thread, and nor being able to award any kind of recognition or points to the posting/poster for a useful answer.
    Whatever we end up doing, I'm definitely open to some experimentation to see what works - if something clearly has detrimental side effects that are immediately clear we'll be able to change course quickly.
    Please do. Flexibility is good. And a refreshing change as far as the actual forums go.
  • 16. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    BillyVerreynne Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dude wrote:

    Removing any type of reward system may influence who decides to participate in the forum,
    Exactly. As anyone here that needs to be rewarded for sharing his/her knowledge with peers in a PUBLIC forum, has no place here in the first place. Is NOT the type of person that fosters a community that shares knowledge and information. Is a SELFISH person that puts personal ego first, and helping others, second.

    I have no respect for anyone that needs to be "motivated" by rewards, in order to share knowledge in a public forum.

    And calling the "preservation of forum credits" a million dollar question, is rather pathetic IMO. The million dollar question should instead be, "how well can OTN forums serve people looking for answers and knowledge". AS THAT IS WHAT OTN IS ABOUT!!

    Or at least, was about. Before it became about ego and how much points are needed to feel some kind of self worth on OTN....

    :-(
  • 17. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    Karthick_Arp Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Let's say a new person or someone who has not been actively viewing multiple threads raises a post, with a valid technical question. He get's responses from 4 different people, none of whom he knows in real life or even from monitoring forums (because he hasn't been reading multiple threads). He then looks at the 4 different responses. Which one should be "trust" more ? Which one should he think is more likely to be helpful, even correct ? Which response should he, in turn, respond to ? Which response might he ignore ? The only way he can "evaluate" the credentials of the respondents is to look at the points each of them has gained.
    That's the primary reason why the point system should not exist. Point system indirectly implies (we like it or not) the members "Knowledge". Which is a very incorrect thing and it guides the OP in a wrong way.

    I don't think encouraging the factor of "Trust" in a public forum is a good thing. Even though the member posses great amount of knowledge, whether his answer is appropriate to the OP problem is driven by lot of factor. A primary factor is the amount of information the OP shares.

    So i would suggest that every answer posted must be evaluated by the OP through intense testing. Merely accepting answer because the member has scored more points is a really dangerous way to go.

    And i feel one should be encouraged to participate in forum for the knowledge they gains and not the points they scores. But unfortunately the second thing is getting more importance these days i guess.
  • 18. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    John Stegeman Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    Exactly. As anyone here that needs to be rewarded for sharing his/her knowledge with peers in a PUBLIC forum, has no place here in the first place. Is NOT the type of person that fosters a community that shares knowledge and information. Is a SELFISH person that puts personal ego first, and helping others, second.
    TBH, I don't think Oracle cares one whit why people post on OTN, and if an egotistical jerk who knows his stuff technically happens to give me an answer to a problem I have, I don't care that they helped me in order to stroke their ego either.

    Let me explain.

    Oracle is spending money to provide the OTN Forums to the world. Oracle, presumably not being stupid, must be spending that money for a reason. Their reason is likely to be along the lines of promoting their products and making it easier for people to be successful in implementing their products. Anything that Oracle can do to encourage people to participate likely increases the return on their investment. If making answering questions seem like a game and fostering a competitive spirit to encourage more participation works, then who gives a rip about people's motivation? If I (not me personally, just a generic "I") participate and add value because I like getting points and it strokes my ego, who cares? Now, I (me personally) don't participate for that reason, but who's to judge me or anyone else based on my motivation for participating?

    Having said all of that, Oracle does have to weigh the benefits of gamification against any potential drawbacks. The one drawback that I can see (and others have pointed out, perhaps not explicitly) is that gamification could lead to an increase in low-quality/misleading/wrong "answers," thus going against Oracle's assumed goals of making it easier for people to be successful. People coming to OTN looking for quick fixes/homework answers/etc will tend to take the first answer that appears to work and move on. People who are looking for actual knowledge are presumably intelligent enough to continue reading beyond the first answer given and will take into account subsequent posts that point out fallacies/issues with earlier responses and will presumably learn more by doing so. Readers of the thread will also learn by the process of reading solutions and the subsequent critiques of the solutions. Given that the Internet is by its very nature anonymous, people who are looking for answers have to somehow put together a basis for judging the credibility of proposed solutions. Designations such as "points" or "acehood," while they may give some weight to a potential solution, are only part of the equation - Oracle ACE's and high-point-OTN-forum members have undoubtedly given wrong answers on these forums in the past (I know it to be true because I meet all 3 criteria - ACEhood, high points, and giver of wrong answers). The rest of the credibility factor has to come from other places, things like:

    * Having interaction with the poster over a period of time in the forums (won't happen for the "quick fix" posters)
    * Having facts/test cases/etc to back up their solution
    * Being willing to admit when they are wrong or a better solution is put forth
    * <fill in other things here>

    We, as users of the forum, have different goals in mind than Oracle. That's OK. If our goals and Oracle's exist in symbiosis, that would make for the most successful forums overall. The "points" debate tends to get overblown in my opinion. I'd just as soon not have them, but they don't hinder me from posting nor do they (directly) make my forum experience less useful or enjoyable.

    Who's to say that a knowledgeable person who posts here because they want to rack up points and stroke their ego is any less or more helpful than a person who posts because they are a "nice person" who wants to help? When you boil it down, both people are posting because it benefits them or makes them feel good about themselves in some fashion or another. Although I've seen plenty of people beg for points, I've yet to see anyone try to directly use their accumulated points as a way to browbeat someone into accepting their solution over someone else's solution or in using those points to gain some type of real-world reward (such as in a job interview)

    John
  • 19. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    Hemant K Chitale Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    i would suggest that every answer posted must be evaluated by the OP through intense testing
    Good luck with that !

    Merely accepting answer because the member has scored more points is a really dangerous way to go.
    And so is accepting an answer (any one of 4 different answers) without any guidance as to which is likely to be better. How is going to select one course of action ? Flip a coin ? Intensively test all 4 answers ? (Good luck with that !).


    Hemant K Chitale
  • 20. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    John Stegeman Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hemant,
    forums is about asking questions and then filtering through all the received responses with follow up on the "better" responses. Someone with little experience of forums or the product is unlikely to know which is the better response he has received.
    And so is accepting an answer (any one of 4 different answers) without any guidance as to which is likely to be better. How is going to select one course of action ? Flip a coin ? Intensively test all 4 answers ? (Good luck with that !).
    Good luck with that !
    A good point, but what is your recommendation on how to solve the problem? The only way I know of is to build a model based on an explicit or implicit certification of the person answering questions, something like AskTom, and we all know that such a model doesn't scale.
  • 21. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    Hemant K Chitale Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    In my opinion, the points system, with all it's flaws, serves the purpose of guiding a new user to what are likely to be the better answers. Occassionally, a new user will choose the wrong "right" answer simply because the person giving the answer has more points. But it is equally or more likely that he may prefer the right "right" answer.

    "Up vote" and "Down vote" is a good suggestion. How will this identify an "expert" ? A person whose responses has received the most "Up votes" ? Isn't that an "expanded" form of points -- with the advantage that he may have received "Up votes" from other experts. Better peer feedback. That is how the academic community (I believe) evaluates research papers -- the paper that is most cited by others is more likely to be favoured for learning from than one that hasn't received citations.


    Hemant K Chitale
  • 22. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    John Stegeman Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hemant,

    The way I understand up- and down-votes is that they apply to answers, not to people (although I could be wrong). If they were used in that way, it would mirror your academic example perfectly.

    John
  • 23. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    BluShadow Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hemant K Chitale wrote:
    In my opinion, the points system, with all it's flaws, serves the purpose of guiding a new user to what are likely to be the better answers. Occassionally, a new user will choose the wrong "right" answer simply because the person giving the answer has more points. But it is equally or more likely that he may prefer the right "right" answer.
    Unfortunately, as newbies, they often have no idea how the points system works... all they see is a person with a pretty turnip icon next to their name and a number of posts... no obvious indication of how many points the person has... thus often the 'correct' answer is marked as the first one on the thread that appears to give an output looking like what they want... whether it's technically correct or not, and whether it's from an expert or a clueless amateur.
  • 24. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    jgarry Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hemant K Chitale wrote:
    Let me view it from a different angle.

    Let's say that the points system is not a rewards system.

    Let's say a new person or someone who has not been actively viewing multiple threads raises a post, with a valid technical question. He get's responses from 4 different people, none of whom he knows in real life or even from monitoring forums (because he hasn't been reading multiple threads). He then looks at the 4 different responses. Which one should be "trust" more ? Which one should he think is more likely to be helpful, even correct ? Which response should he, in turn, respond to ? Which response might he ignore ? The only way he can "evaluate" the credentials of the respondents is to look at the points each of them has gained.


    Many moons ago, I had raised a suggestion. Don't list the cumulative points a person has gained since he registered on forums. Only list the points he has gained in the last 30 days. That way, even newer "good respondents" get a chance to be noticed.
    My first thought now was "any system that makes Tom Kyte or Tanel Poder repeatedly look like a newbie is pretty silly." Not that I think they would care.

    But worse, I think this would amplify the newbie-giving-wrong-but-popular-answers problem. People would rapidly figure this out as a method to quickly appear guru-like.

    Anything that states a rating has to be accurate, or it is counter-productive. It really ought to handle the top tail of the bell curve.

    I don't think it has been mentioned recently that a newbie might be more focused on his problem than understanding any intricacies of ratings, even with an explicit legend on the screen. We can hardly convince them to follow a read-this-faq-before-posting.

    >
    forums is about asking questions and then filtering through all the received responses with follow up on the "better" responses. Someone with little experience of forums or the product is unlikely to know which is the better response he has received.


    Hemant K Chitale
  • 25. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    BillyVerreynne Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated
    John Stegeman wrote:

    TBH, I don't think Oracle cares one whit why people post on OTN, and if an egotistical jerk who knows his stuff technically happens to give me an answer to a problem I have, I don't care that they helped me in order to stroke their ego either.
    Maybe I'm too "old school" in this respect. I have been on forums of one kind or another, for about 2 decades now. BBS's. Mailing lists. Usenet. Web forums. And through this time Open Source came and the philosophy of the bazaar. This pretty much shaped my views about knowledge and the importance of sharing it publicly without expecting/demanding a reward.
    Oracle is spending money to provide the OTN Forums to the world. Oracle, presumably not being stupid, must be spending that money for a reason. Their reason is likely to be along the lines of promoting their products and making it easier for people to be successful in implementing their products. Anything that Oracle can do to encourage people to participate likely increases the return on their investment. If making answering questions seem like a game and fostering a competitive spirit to encourage more participation works, then who gives a rip about people's motivation?
    John, if there was no OTN, I'm pretty sure you (and a bunch of other regulars) would have been on some or another Oracle forum/mailing list, helping others. As that is simply how some people are. They like what they do. They like sharing that knowledge. They like helping people.

    That is the type of community I have grown accustom to through the years.
    We, as users of the forum, have different goals in mind than Oracle. That's OK. If our goals and Oracle's exist in symbiosis, that would make for the most successful forums overall. The "points" debate tends to get overblown in my opinion. I'd just as soon not have them, but they don't hinder me from posting nor do they (directly) make my forum experience less useful or enjoyable.
    Same here. But we're allowed to have our pet subjects for getting all self righteous and start foaming at the mouth. And the points issue is one of these for me. :-)
    Who's to say that a knowledgeable person who posts here because they want to rack up points and stroke their ego is any less or more helpful than a person who posts because they are a "nice person" who wants to help?
    Motivation establishes the culture. And personally, I want one where it is about "+how can I convey knowledge to educate+", instead of "+how can I provide a glib correct answer to score points+".

    For me, there is a very fundamental difference.
  • 26. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    jgarry Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    >

    >
    Having said all of that, Oracle does have to weigh the benefits of gamification against any potential drawbacks. The one drawback that I can see (and others have pointed out, perhaps not explicitly) is that gamification could lead to an increase in low-quality/misleading/wrong "answers," thus going against Oracle's assumed goals of making it easier for people to be successful.
    Here's me ranting on about that: http://cfour.fishbowlsolutions.com/2012/05/18/enterprise-gamification-increasing-engagement-roi-data-quality-timeliness-or-learning-in-your-workforce/#comment-487
    Who's to say that a knowledgeable person who posts here because they want to rack up points and stroke their ego is any less or more helpful than a person who posts because they are a "nice person" who wants to help? When you boil it down, both people are posting because it benefits them or makes them feel good about themselves in some fashion or another. Although I've seen plenty of people beg for points, I've yet to see anyone try to directly use their accumulated points as a way to browbeat someone into accepting their solution over someone else's solution or in using those points to gain some type of real-world reward (such as in a job interview)
    Nothing wrong with knowledgeable people here getting stroked. It's the unknowledgeable people who are the problem. Gamification amplifies incorrect positive feedback.
  • 27. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    EdStevens Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Billy  Verreynne  wrote:
    John Stegeman wrote:

    TBH, I don't think Oracle cares one whit why people post on OTN, and if an egotistical jerk who knows his stuff technically happens to give me an answer to a problem I have, I don't care that they helped me in order to stroke their ego either.
    Maybe I'm too "old school" in this respect. I have been on forums of one kind or another, for about 2 decades now. BBS's. Mailing lists. Usenet. Web forums. And through this time Open Source came and the philosophy of the bazaar. This pretty much shaped my views about knowledge and the importance of sharing it publicly without expecting/demanding a reward.
    Just as a side curiosity, I wonder how many people here first became aware of each other on c.d.o.s, or even back to pre-web CompuServe? I do know that when I was just learning 'shutdown abort', you and Sybrand were some of my biggest "tutors".

    <snip>
  • 28. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nothing wrong with knowledgeable people here getting stroked. It's the unknowledgeable people who are the problem. Gamification amplifies incorrect positive feedback.
    The thread owner does not receive points for marking answers and whoever responds cannot demand any points. It's not a compelling system from the perspective of a game. Some people may be fancy to get a Journeyman or Expert icon, but it takes quite some effort by only posting bullshit, not to mention the continued effort and years of contribution it takes to make it into the top users list of any busy forum. Some people may consider themselves experts and "gamble", but they will not receive the feedback they expect and get frustrated. There are better games to play unless you actually know your stuff.

    Despite of what the opponents of the point system may criticize, the majority of answers marked as correct and helpful are not incorrect. Some expert may (always) know better, but right or wrong, the original poster decides, which is important to me and which does however not stop anyone from adding a post to outline the incorrectness.

    Getting points for answers isn't easy. You can even see that looking at the profiles of those people complaining about the point system, which however shouldn't bother these people because the point system is wrong and pointless anyway. :-)

    If there was anything to be be removed between points and posts, I suggest to remove just the post counter, which in my opinion has no purpose and might as well just reflect a number of useless RTFM responses. Removing the post counter will also remove the relationship between number of posts and points, which can lead to incorrect profile judgment.

    I find the point system useful and fun. It usually confirms my analysis and solution. It does not require or demand that people have to express their deep gratitude, which I do not want. It sets an intensive to continue, even though it has no real value. Some people collect stamps, I collect points, and I don't mind seeing my stamp up in the top users list.

    With all due to respect, I wish some valuable experts could lay a bit low on their mission to "educate" the stupid mob. I suggest to let the church where it belongs. A public and global international forum is not the right place for moral imperialism. A noble ideology is not necessarily perceived as noble, in particular when it demands that others apply to it.

    Even if there is some perceived evidence that the point system has a negative impact on the forum, there is no proof. Perhaps posts in the past simply did not bother so much when you were less of an expert. I think the advantages of the point system outweigh the disadvantages. A lot has changed between now and then for which the point system cannot be blamed. If there are more newbies now who try to squeeze a few points and badges for their own egos, where is the problem? This is just a user forum. Oracle may even decide to drop it one day. Or say hey sorry, we lost it after the next upgrade ;-)
  • 29. Re: Forum credits and the one million dollar question.
    jgarry Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    EdStevens wrote:
    Billy  Verreynne  wrote:
    John Stegeman wrote:

    TBH, I don't think Oracle cares one whit why people post on OTN, and if an egotistical jerk who knows his stuff technically happens to give me an answer to a problem I have, I don't care that they helped me in order to stroke their ego either.
    Maybe I'm too "old school" in this respect. I have been on forums of one kind or another, for about 2 decades now. BBS's. Mailing lists. Usenet. Web forums. And through this time Open Source came and the philosophy of the bazaar. This pretty much shaped my views about knowledge and the importance of sharing it publicly without expecting/demanding a reward.
    Just as a side curiosity, I wonder how many people here first became aware of each other on c.d.o.s, or even back to pre-web CompuServe? I do know that when I was just learning 'shutdown abort', you and Sybrand were some of my biggest "tutors".

    <snip>
    I did. I was even surprised when people remembered me years later from compuserve.