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Regarding updated Forum Rules
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Frank Yaeger

DFSORT Moderator


Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 7130
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:42 am    Post subject: Regarding updated Forum Rules
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I just read through the 5 Forum rules which when violated will get somebody banned permanently and immediately. I must say, these seem rather harsh to me. People do make mistakes.

I especially don't understand rule 3:

Quote:
3. No email-ID

Never post your Email-IDs, IRC links in the Posts or signature. Don't attach your resumes/CV. If you have to submit your resume, upload it to mainframeindia.com and submit the link thru a Private Message.


I can see banning resumes, but why ban e-mail addresses entirely. What is the reason for this rule? Is it some specific type of use of e-mail addresses? If so, why ban all use of e-mail addresses?

I sometimes include my e-mail address in a post when I'm helping somebody with a question on my product and need them to send me information offline such as their error messages. This kind of thing doesn't work well through private messages and I find offline e-mail discussions more productive for things like that. I also sometimes post my e-mail address when I have information about my product I can e-mail to people if they ask me for it. Again, I find direct e-mails more productive in this case since I can directly attach the files to a response e-mail. I don't want to do that through private messages. Will I be banned permanently if I ever post my e-mail address for this kind of thing again?

I'm also concerned about rule 5:

Quote:
5. Search before Post

Try to solve the problem yourself and make sure you have used the 'Search' facility before posting. You will be banned if your query already discussed and solved in our forums. If you can't find the exact solution in the 'Search', post the query in 'FAQ' forum with your search history


Whether a query is already discussed and solved in the forums is certainly a subjective call. People not very knowledgeable in a specific subject may not know enough to realize something is a solution to their problem. They may need more guidance than that. If somebody needs help from me for my product, they aren't going to get it by posting in FAQ forum as I never look at it (I expect those questions to be in the DFSORT Forum). Is somebody going to monitor FAQ Forum and move the legitimate questions from FAQ Forum to an appropriate forum? Do we really need that kind of middleman and filtering?

It seems like this Board is becoming a bit user unfriendly, especially for novices. I like this board and I'd hate to see it become unpopular or something to be avoided. Can't the rules be softened a bit?

Frank Yaeger
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mcmillan

Site Admin


Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1202
Location: India

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:12 am    Post subject:
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Quote:
but why ban e-mail addresses entirely. What is the reason for this rule? Is it some specific type of use of e-mail addresses? If so, why ban all use of e-mail addresses


It's to avoid bots. SPAM bots eat up the site traffic once they found email IDs in the forums. We have received complaints regarding SPAM posts from our members.

Quote:
I sometimes include my e-mail address in a post


No frank, You can post your ID till you are using IBM Lotus with AntiSPAM software. Yes, It's my mistake and I have updated the rules.

Quote:
These Forum rules are not applicable for the site moderators and Administrators. Guidelines for Moderators are available at: http://www.ibmmainframes.com/viewtopic.php?t=14


Quote:
Do we really need that kind of middleman and filtering?


No... Is it ok?

Quote:
Try to solve the problem yourself and make sure you have used the 'Search' facility before posting. You may be warned by the moderator, if your query already discussed and solved in our forums. If you are not satisfied with the previous solutions, post the query in the relevant/FAQ forum with your 'search' history


Quote:
Can't the rules be softened a bit?


I have done my best, anyway waiting for other members suggestion regarding this....
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dick scherrer

Site Director


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 19270
Location: Inside the Matrix

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject:
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Hello,

I'll line up with Frank. The forum needs control but (even though some situations are really frustrating) does not need to be too harsh. If we get too rigid, we'll lose the very folks we want to help.

From what i've seen, the moderators and administrators have no qualms stepping in when something get out of hand or dealing with a repeat offender.

Just my $.02.
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William Thompson

Global Moderator


Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 3158
Location: Tucson AZ

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject:
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I might be a bit slow, but I agree with Frank and Dick.
Somebody has been waltzing through this forum with moderator powers, deleting and banning with a rather heavy hand; Just the other day a rather common but expected query was deleted while I was answering it......
I think we are doing a reasonable job with the masses and personally would rather try to teach instead of punish.
I don't totally disagree with mcmillan but i think that a slightly more tolerant approach is called for.
For what it's worth, I'd be more prone to issuing warnings - they do work, behavior does improve when issued and followed up by a PM - if I had the right to back it off when appropriate.
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mcmillan

Site Admin


Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1202
Location: India

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:51 pm    Post subject:
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Dear Dick & Thompson, I really respect your words and can't find beter words than "Updated Forum Rules, Please read and follow them..." instead of "Follow these Five Rules and GET BANNED!". (!)

Anyway, do you have any more suggestion to correct any of the rules from: http://ibmmainframes.com/board_rules.php


Keep in Touch.
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Frank Yaeger

DFSORT Moderator


Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 7130
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:24 pm    Post subject:
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McMillan,

Thanks for "softening" the rules. We appreciate your responsiveness.
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superk

Moderator Team Head


Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 4648
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject:
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This is my take on the direction that I believe this forum is supposed to take. This comes from both my belief of what a technical forum should be, but also from feedback I've received from forum members over the years.

These comments don't apply to the DFSORT/ICETOOL forum, since I don't moderate that forum, and it has unique properties that don't apply elsewhere.

First, it is a technical forum. It should be used to post technical issues on any of the wide range of topics available. It is not to be used as a substitute for proper training (which has been happening a lot recently, especially in the COBOL forum) nor as a substitute for proper vendor support.

Second, the forum members are supposed to be IT professionals. They are not supposed to be students or amateurs. They should possess some of the basic knowledge of IT practices, and should know how to perform basic research and how to properly post a technical question.

Third, other senior forum members and myself believe that our role is to lead others to find solutions on their own. not to spoon-feed the information to them or to actually write code (without being compensated) for them.

Fourth, my approach has been to make the forum more useful to the general user, rather than tailored to a specific user. If a questiona has been asked and answered, multiple times, then the new post should be linked to the previous posts, moved Off-Topic, and locked. I see no benefit in keeping multiple redundant posts for the same topic. Certainly reducing them makes a search much cleaner.

Lastly, I don't know why others have joined this forum, but my original interest was to be able to post general questions regarding career paths, new technologies, and industry best-practices. Unfortunately, rarely do those types of questions elicit responses.
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expat

Global Moderator


Joined: 14 Mar 2007
Posts: 8593
Location: Back in jolly old England

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject:
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Quote:
Second, the forum members are supposed to be IT professionals. They are not supposed to be students or amateurs. They should possess some of the basic knowledge of IT practices, and should know how to perform basic research and how to properly post a technical question.

Third, other senior forum members and myself believe that our role is to lead others to find solutions on their own. not to spoon-feed the information to them or to actually write code (without being compensated) for them.


For me the two points above made by superk are probably, for me anyway, the most important.

If posters put the problem in (a) the correct forum to start with, and (b) supplied evidence of having been through the basics of problem determination and then posted the sufficient information, then the task of pointing them in the right direction would be far easier.

To me, the forum is to help the posters to help themselves - OK, so I can be a bit flip in some of my replies, but maybe that helps too, if someone sees a flip remark it may make them sit back and think - Yes, I should have done that, or maybe, I will remember that for next time, so maybe a bit off at the time but potentially useful in the long term.

An instant ban for getting it wrong ? Like the others I think that a bit harsh. I've made mistakes, and somehow doubt that my eloquence in posting problems or replies is brilliant, but it may get me banned because that's the way I am. Yes, warnings with a follow up PM sounds much better, at least that way if there are repeat offenders they can be spotted and then a ban would be justified.
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mcmillan

Site Admin


Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1202
Location: India

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject:
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Quote:
An instant ban for getting it wrong ? Like the others I think that a bit harsh.


I agree, but we can't eliminate it totally. There are some situations we can't manage with a warning. Here are some samples:

http://www.ibmmainframes.com/viewtopic.php?t=19348

http://www.ibmmainframes.com/viewtopic.php?t=19174

http://www.ibmmainframes.com/viewtopic.php?t=19227

I think it's better to discuss here, 'When to Warn and when to Ban'.
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expat

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Joined: 14 Mar 2007
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Location: Back in jolly old England

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:29 pm    Post subject:
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Quote:
An instant ban for getting it wrong ? Like the others I think that a bit harsh.

I think there is a difference between getting it wrong and open abuse of the rules.

I admit it isn't always easy to determine which is the case.

The only doubt about banning would be the last one where the basic response was RTFM. As someone who has been in mainframes for 30+ years I can quite easily sit back and think well the first place I'd look is the manuals. If all responses to that type of question were along the lines of RTFM then perhaps the poster may eventually get the point, lift their bum off the chair and actually go get the manual / CD / or of course - online.

With the advent of the www I suppose that there are a lot of people out there who will possibly throw in the answer to make a statement about themselves, as in look at me here's the answer. Let's face it, it's competitive out there. Who knows how many prospective employers look at this forum and others like it. But then - that might work both ways.

Enough droning on, the job of the moderators isn't easy when it comes to warnings and bannings, and it's not a task I envy them.
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jasorn

Active User


Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 153
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject:
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Quote:

Try to solve the problem yourself and make sure you have used the 'Search' facility before posting. You may be warned by the moderator, if your query already discussed and solved in our forums. If you are not satisfied with the previous solutions, post the query in the relevant/FAQ forum with your 'search' history

I think I played a hand in this one icon_smile.gif I've maintained various faqs at work for many years. So when I saw a thread on this site about inappropriate posts and dups I put my 2 cents in. I don't think he above words exactly capture my approach but they don't seem that far off either.

The point I was trying to make is one way to eliminate duplicate posts is to have people tell you where they searched and what terms they searched on. That way you can not only answer their question but also improve their searching skills, thereby reducing further dups in the future.

Anyway, I'll post it here, too. The idea isn't to have this forum change any rules. Rather just present my philosophy for consideration and as input in case you are considering changes to the rules.

Some of the main things I want my faqs/forums to be:

1. used by novice and guru alike
2. informative
3. community builders
4. time savers
5. think tanks

My typical mode of updating them are to gather questions and answers I get at work or over hear at work via any means they come to me. I'm usually the only person updating them which gives be the benefit of making all the rules icon_smile.gif

My 'rules' and general approach?

1. No dumb questions or demeaning answers. I want even the guy who's at the 'dummies for dummies' stage of the game to feel at home.
2. If the question is one someone asks me specifically instead of one I 'steal' from someone else's conversation or an email thread I'm just cc'd on vs an active participant, I have him tell me where he's looked for the answer and what terms he used in his search. It's easier for me to 'demand' this when he's asking me specifically.
3. If it's obvious to me the reason he didn't find an answer because he didn't know what words to use in the search, I usually suggest better search terms and ask him to search again.
4. If I know the answer is already in my faq I ask him to search my faq.
5. Since I try to put all of the questions I answer in my faq, I ask him to start searching it before asking me something and to please include the search terms he used in the search if he can't find a solution.
6. If he searched and can't find anything in my faq, I add it to my faq if it hasn't been answered.
7. If it's in my my faq he couldn't find it because he wasn't using the right search terms, I take the search terms he used and put them in the question part of the faq that has been answered. The idea here is that many dups come from people so new they don't yet know which terms to search on. So if I add different questions that are really asking the same question, the next new person who doesn't know the proper terms will likely use similar search terms and find it.
8. When someone says, "Hey, how do you", I try to get people to respond with, "Have you searched the faq?" instead of replying with an immediate answer.
9. If it's really time critical, I'll rattle off the answer. Otherwise I pretty much stick to the above.
10. If I don't know the answer or can't find the answer for new questions, I post them to the group so someone else can answer.
11. I encourage people to post questions like "is there a better way to do this?"
12. This typically results in a nice reference for the old folks as well as an onboarding doc for the new folks. A really nice side benefit is if the group really uses it, there is common understanding and an agreed upon method for doing our work.
13. It works surprisingly well at getting the new folks up to speed.
14. When updates or better answers for a solution are found, I typically leave the old solution there for reference of 'the old way'.
15. I don't try to reinvent the answer. If another site or resource covers it nicely, I link to it. If it's a book, I try to put the page the answer is on.
16. If someone repeatedly asks questions without doing a fair job of researching(at least my faq!) before posting, I write a very nice private message explaining how I like to help people but asking without researching isn't polite and wastes time, etc.
17. I make sure to credit those giving the answers.
18. I make a point of asking him to inform me of the answer he found in case he found it from another source so I can add it to my faq.
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sree_shanthi

New User


Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Hyderabad

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:58 am    Post subject: Re: Regarding updated Forum Rules
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Hi
Can any one help me in contacting administrator of this forum. One of my friend Login to this site has been banned and she does not know the reason why her ID has been blocked.


Thanks
Shanthi
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Frank Yaeger

DFSORT Moderator


Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 7130
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:16 am    Post subject:
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You can send a private message to McMillan by using the PM button at the bottom of one of his posts.
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mcmillan

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:53 am    Post subject:
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Quote:
Can any one help me in contacting administrator of this forum. One of my friend Login to this site has been banned and she does not know the reason why her ID has been blocked.


We have reactivated your friend's Account. Ask him to follow the forum rules in future.
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mcmillan

Site Admin


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject:
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Quote:
One of my friend Login to this site has been banned


Dear Moderators,

Do we really need a 'BAN' button in our site?
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superk

Moderator Team Head


Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 4648
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject:
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mcmillan wrote:
Do we really need a 'BAN' button in our site?


Yes, at least at a Global Moderator level.
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Frank Yaeger

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject:
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Personally, I would only use a ban button for somebody who posts advertisements/spam or offensive material. It is useful for that purpose at least.
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mcmillan

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 1:03 am    Post subject:
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Quote:
who posts advertisements/spam or offensive material


Yes, we can't manage this forum without the BAN control. Why I asked because, we have lost around 4500 other valuable members during the last two years! (simply by Banning them)

Quote:
One of my friend Login to this site has been banned

We really missed them, they can't simply come back again!!! But we can't allow them to violate our Rules. Is there any solution other than banning them?
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dick scherrer

Site Director


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject:
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Hello,

From my perspective, that depends on why they were banned.

I've wondered (more than once or twice) how a person manages to get get banned the day they join the forum - i.e. their first post. . . . Unless content was edited out of the post, i didn't see what caused them to be banned.

This
Quote:
for somebody who posts advertisements/spam or offensive material
needs to be banned for sure and possibly someone who repeatedly posts against the spirit of the forum.

I'll toss in a couple of questions:
1. If they were valuable, why were they banned?
2. Once the Ban Button is clicked, is there any track of why the ban was imposed? Are there stats of the number of people each of us has banned? My guess is that there are some who ban much more quickly than others.
3. If a moderator bans someone, does that moderator have the aurhority to "let them back in"?

To sum up, i do believe there is sometimes a need to ban, but i also believe it should not be used "wholesale". 2500 in 2 years is something just over 100 per month - and that seems like a lot. . . .
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William Thompson

Global Moderator


Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 3158
Location: Tucson AZ

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:36 am    Post subject:
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I may as well jump in here....
I agree with dick in that sometimes the ban seems to be way too quick. I see a newby screw up and double post, I either delete the un-replied dup or the less than complete dup or merge them together. If that same poster rails a little, I either PM him or warn and PM him - so far that has been enough to handle this so far.
mcmillan, you have a good cadre of GMs, and I expect the number will rise, take advantage of us to help the idiots that don't bother to read (me included) the rules and attempt to follow them. Something else, the M vs GM, some Ms are doing a good job at what they have responsibility for and some do (or at least attempt to do) an exceptional job with their limited capabilities, I feel that certain Ms should (quietly) be given the additional abilities of a GM.
One more thing, the warnings might come a Little faster (without the banning) from me and others if there was a button to "subtract a warning"....
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