Identifying topics where a person has waited most patiently for a reply

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by grahamperrin, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Spun off from a topic about Intel Mac threads mixed with PowerPC Mac topics:
    With that as an example, I experimented with a combination of sorts (sort first by date, then by number of replies):
    Result: only one sort order applied – a limitation of XenForo, I guess. And there's the popular emphasis on pushing newness to the front.


    I'd like a quick and easy way to identify topics where a person has waited most politely, most patiently for a response.

    Loosely speaking, that means:
    • beginning with zero response topics
    • an assumption that many of those topics include an unanswered, non-rhetorical question
    • a reasonable, unselfish, punishment-free approach to differentiating between current and outdated content.


    Things such as the Spy can be fun, but there are emphases on rushing, on pushing and (to a degree) on noise.

    Also: where reverse chronological order is forced, that force can have unexpectedly negative consequences. Subtle, but negative.

    In a nutshell: ignorance. The person who waits most patiently, most quietly, is very likely to be ignored. Whilst crowds of people in front engage in pushing and in noise: the quiet, polite person at the back is lost.

    Pause for thought. That phrase above – "emphasis on pushing newness to the front" – when that happens with people and their stuff in reality, it's recognised as queue-jumping. Recognisably rude and inconsiderate. When the same is done with people and their stuff online, it may be treated (mistreated) as acceptable. Crowds of people pushing is encouraged, yet a gentle one-person bump can be a break of the rules. Yeah, online can be weird.

    Background and workaround

    With the current arrangement of things, community-minded people may occasionally click the Replies heading in a forum – once, then once more – and then page through the results (to work around the forced reversal) until:
    1. a reasonable point in time is found
    2. then – as @Gamer9430 put it – attempt to help.
    Again with the MacBook Pro area of MacRumors Forums as an example:
    – in that area alone, more than nine thousand, eight hundred and fifty posts with no reply.

    It's reasonable for most of those to gain no reply. And then somewhere between page 1 and page 198, some of the previously ignored stuff can …

    Side note

    To anyone who screams "RESURRECTION!" in response to this topic: please pause, then read again. Keyword: reasonable.
  2. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    One of the jobs of the mods at iMore is to sort by unanswered to make sure every thread has at least one response, even if it's "I dunno, maybe someone else can help." Being able to sort on unanswered is nice.
  3. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    With additional emphasis:

    "First, make sure you’ve asked a good question. To get better answers, you may need to put additional effort into your question. Edit your question to provide status and progress updates. Document your own continued efforts to answer your question. This will naturally bump your question to the homepage and get more people interested in it.

    If, despite your best efforts, you feel questions aren’t getting good answers, you can help by offering a bounty on any question more than two days old."

    The bounty scheme that is encouraged in Stack Exchange probably has no equivalent in MacRumors Forums. Someone might like to see whether there's a suitable add-on for XenForo.

    In the absence of a reward scheme, I encourage writers here to take a best efforts approach.

    In my experience, best efforts are sometimes mistreated as an excuse to ridicule other people. If you find yourself ridiculed in that way, please report the rule-breakers.

    Related, in MacRumors Forums

    Too easy to bring back old threads?

    Further reading

    How do I get attention for old, unanswered questions? - Meta Stack Exchange (2009–2014)

    Jeff Atwood's answer to Please add a way to 'bump' questions back to the front page - Meta Stack Exchange (2009-07-01)

    How to resurrect my question once it has been buried? - Meta Stack Exchange (2009-08-18)
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    There are two other categories that you don't mention.
    Threads with no answers, but multiple (sometimes hundreds) views. You may see the OP bump a few times, or not.
    OP may think there is no response, but may mean that no one chooses to try an answer.
    Or, a thread with no answers, and few views, probably because of some generic title, or an OP with no actual question, just a statement of some kind. These seem to work down the list, then move off the front page, and go into limbo.

    9,850 posts with no reply?
    What is the average number of _views_ for those nearly 10,000 threads with no replies?
  5. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    I have no idea, sorry.

    At the time of writing, the first page shows that the majority of the most recent posts with no response have gained at least a hundred views. I aimed for two, from June, with reasonable titles, each topic asked reasonable questions.
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Well, that's kind of my point.
    Lots of views, with no responding posts, means the question/thread was active, but not "touching" the viewer in a way to get an actual answer.
    "Many views" with no posts or answers, is not the same as "no response"
    For example - some folks just want hand-holding, or, probably are asking a question because they want help, but the question can be invalid. Or, worse, someone asks a question that I just answered on another thread (and I don't want to start all over with explanations, facts, links, etc, etc, etc. Because - I'm just drained, in a sense of "please don't take me there, again!" ). I expect you have been there, too.

    The "interesting" threads are those that have nearly as many posts, as views :D
    Not too many like that, I think!
  7. grahamperrin thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    I understand, but that doesn't apply to many of the types of question that I saw unanswered.

    Too many things simply don't get the attention that they deserve; the detractions are too much.
  8. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    A lot of times it's not the question itself, but the thread title. Titles I won't click on include:

    Newbie question
    Quick question
    Need help
    How do I....
    Did you ever....

  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Funny you say that. I always go straight for those threads, since I figure it is a complete computer newb desperate for help. I don't think new forum members intentionally obfuscate their titles, I just figure they don't know any better and are a bit shook up because their computer is borked. :)

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