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Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?

Mike Kutz Expert
Currently Being Moderated

Someone just 'bumped' a thread from 2008

Re: Problem providing download link for BLOB data in apex report

 

What is the polite way to handle this?

 

thanks

 

MK

  • 1. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    PhHein Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi,

    the easiest thing to do is to report abuse about the zombie. This way we moderators get a notfication and usually branch the new post out to a new thread with a notification to the user.

     

    Phil

  • 2. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    jgarry Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    On the other hand, I was just yesterday looking at a thread started ten years ago on asktom, still active and perfectly fine.  Then just a few minutes ago at a thread locked here because someone revivified it after three years.  I wanted to point out the newest answer was wrong, but it was locked.  I think this whole locking old threads thing is not properly thought out.  Threads have variable lifecycles, and an arbitrary short life is often wrong. 

  • 3. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Hemant K Chitale Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated

    Joel,

    I agree.

     

    Locking a thread after it has received some responses (any one of which may or may not have been marked as "Correct") can convey the impression that the correct resolution has been provided and cannot be disputed.  It would lead novices astray.

     

    Frankly, I don't agree with those who shout against old threads being revived.  A thread is a discussion on a particular topic / issue / problem / question.  How can it have a pre-determined life-span, particularly of the original poster isn't the one who makes the determination.   A question about a particular SQL extract (e.g. against a data dictionary) in V7 might still be relevant in V11 (and recent responses can improve the quality of the report against the data dictionary with a better V11 data dictionary).  A question about the behaviour of a particular component or utility in Oracle might still be relevant 5 years later.

     

     

    Hemant K Chitale

  • 4. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    BluShadow Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated

    Yep, as jgarry points out, the lifetime of a thread is not fixed, and the mods have to look at each one in context.

    As an example, yesterday, someone dragged up an old(ish) thread that already had answers marked as correct and helpful (and I could see they were from experts and they were correct answers).  This new member had added their answer to it, which was just repeating answers that had already been given and added nothing new to the thread.  The nature of the question and the answers given meant that there really was nothing new that I could envisage being added to the discussion, and so I put a standard message about not reviving old threads on there, and locked it.

     

    In other examples, we have people dragging up old threads from years ago, just to ask the OP how they solved their problem.... an OP who quite clearly in a lot of cases is no longer active on the forums and isn't likely to answer them.  If the person dragging up the thread has an issue, they should start their own question, referencing that old thread if they need, but not drag it back out of history.

     

    The other problem is when people drag up an old thread to provide an answer, often saying that the previous answers are not good and that it can be done "this way...", providing some method of resolving the issue that uses new features of the database.... new features that weren't around when the question was originally asked e.g. using LISTAGG function of 11g to solve an issue that was asked around the time of 9i when sys_connect_by_path had to be used.  Posting such answers on old threads help nobody, as there are plenty of recent threads that already have examples of that new functionality being used to answer similar questions.  In these cases, I suspect that the person is just seeing a question that is 'unanswered' and thinking they can get some points for themselves, and perhaps haven't realised just how old the thread is, or that the OP is no longer around.

     

    Of course, there are those discussions which are open-ended, and can be revived after some time if people have new and relevant information to add.  Those sorts of discussions I wouldn't necessarily consider locking.

     

    There are no hard and fast rules for it, the moderators have to use discerned judgement.

  • 5. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    Here is one example how other forums deal with it:

     

    This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 http://stackoverflow.com/help/whats-reputation on this site.

     

    I like such an idea if it could be transferred to points, but not a complex reputation system, like the one on that site mentioned, which I find over-engineered.

  • 6. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    I think the way moderators are currently handling the reviving of old discussions is fine. Though I'm a surprised about the effort, which of course I appreciate, but personally, I would also be happy if old threads were simply locked after a certain period, like 6 months. If anybody has something to add, people can start their own post and refer to an existing discussion. As a discussion owner I may not receive the discussion update, but on the other hand, I may not even have the time or environment or motivation to re-evaluate a response that is added after such a long period of time. My own experience is that most revival of old threads are either done by mistake or newcomers. Unfortunately, the later is not always for a good reason or purpose. In regard to my previous response, unfortunately it seems the available technical options of this forum software are limited.

  • 7. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    BluShadow Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated

    I think one of the options admin were looking at was a way to automatically lock threads that have been inactive for X months...  as for whether they will be able to implement it is anyone's guess. 

  • 8. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    According to Jive documentation, the forum software requires a database, such as Oracle 10g or 11g. I would imagine that is what OTN is using.

  • 9. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    jgarry Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    I'm compelled to point out that in asktom threads, it is common to add a new way to do an old thing, and it makes it easy to follow along with the evolution (if a bit long to read, which has its own risks when pointing newbies who are looking for quick answers - but then again, many get enthused when they see a high density of actual helpful information).  I wish old links pointing there still worked.

  • 10. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Hemant K Chitale Oracle ACE
    Currently Being Moderated

    Since asktom is managed by Tom, he reserves the right to delete a follow up that is not relevant to the thread.  But he does allow a thread to continue for years or a thread to be (re)updated long after the last update.

     

    Unfortunately, in forums, the OP doesn't really "own" the thread in the sense that he cannot refuse / delete an update if it is irrelevant.  So it is left to the moderators to take actions.  Moderators likely have some "rules of business" but don't necessarily apply exactly the same standards.

     

    Hemant K Chitale

  • 11. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    BluShadow Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated

    jgarry wrote:

     

    I'm compelled to point out that in asktom threads, it is common to add a new way to do an old thing, and it makes it easy to follow along with the evolution (if a bit long to read, which has its own risks when pointing newbies who are looking for quick answers - but then again, many get enthused when they see a high density of actual helpful information).  I wish old links pointing there still worked.

     

    Tom can also stop people asking new questions if he's busy.  Can we implement that here too. 

  • 12. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated

    Sorry, perhaps I do not understand the cult that seems to surround Tom Kyte. However, to my experience, I find the information presented in the asktom forum usually takes too much time and effort to find answers. Discussion threads more than often cover too many different topics or technology even advances during the thread development. Perhaps Oracle needs a bit of fresh air to make better products that do not require to spend most of the time to investigate how things work under the hood, rather than to accomplish a task. Anyway, I prefer the way how discussions are being managed and organized here, despite the pitfalls of the forum software.

  • 13. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    Mike Kutz Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    My original question was asked because I feel that the words "report abuse" implies "harsh repercussion".

     

     

    Giving the wording a more friendlier tone may be helpful in instructing non-moderators (such as myself) on how to handle various non-banning type of situations.

    example wording: "flag for moderator review"

     

     

    On the other hand, an additional button would allow distinction between posts that that require 'friendly advise from moderators' versus those posts that may require the implied "harsh repercussion".

     

    I'll let this reply gain some entropy then I'll "close" this thread.

     

    Many thanks for everybody's advise.

     

    MK

  • 14. Re: Proper way to handle people raising dead threads?
    BluShadow Guru Moderator
    Currently Being Moderated

    It's ok to report such things as "general abuse" as you get the option to put a message in as well, so you can say "for moderators review - dragging up old thread" or something, and then we'll know why you're reporting it.

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