13

Recently, I've asked several questions. I've made sure to explain myself clearly, providing both code samples and trying to be exact on the nature of the problem and the kind of answer I am looking for.

It seems that even though I may get views, I don't get any answers, and what's worse, is nobody votes up my questions, even though I've put a lot of effort into them.

Here are some that are open:

It seems to me that SSE users don't like to give out upvotes. Either that or there aren't enough folks who look at new questions... Shouldn't questions get an upvote if sufficient effort is expended?

I know I have a few open questions, but I always revisit my question when the workflow brings me back to it. Sometimes there aren't enough answers, and sometimes folks answer a year later. But I am careful to revisit each question I ask in order to complete it.

In my opinion, upvotes don't cost anyone anything, and they ought to be given for questions that are well phrased, even if they don't have any particular advantage to the viewer. The fact is, a person asks a good question. It seems that more attention is given to a question (more possibility of answers) if at least one vote is given.

5

This question's been asked a few times in the past in various forms (as you've noted) and the answer is simply that the site's audience is the wrong mix for the structure of the site. Or the site has the wrong structure for the audience, if you prefer.

There are three types of person involved in a question's lifetime:

  • The asker: Poses question, votes on answers, chooses accepted answer.
  • The answerers: Answer question, vote on alternative answers and question
  • Everyone else: Either finds the Q/A immediately useful and votes, or votes out of peer respect

In reality the majority of the site's audience (the Askers and Everyone Else) is passing traffic. Without the 15 rep needed to vote they can't show their appreciation (they may not even grasp the rep system). They're also unlikely to contribute answers, since many visitors don't have SharePoint as their primary role.

Since Answerers don't feel appreciated, they become unmotivated to contribute further answers. Some may even begrudge upvoting competing answers, since there are so few votes their answer would be immediately relegated to the bottom of the page.

  • That all seems reasonable, I suppose. I know I went about answering the newest Autohotkey questions over on SO, which are typically asked by gamers, and are newbies to SO. I found that out of 12 questions I answered, one of them would bother commenting, and a second might bother marking the thread solved. I admit I became discoraged at the return on my time. – bgmCoder Jul 30 '13 at 15:36
  • Also, there are a lot of noob questions on this site... which can discourage some people... there are only so many times you can read "How I can uplod a documnet to sharepint ?" without screaming a little on the inside... You can always create bounties to generate more interest in your questions and to increase your questions' views. – RJ Cuthbertson Jul 30 '13 at 19:17
  • Hmmm... I never thought of creating bounties, really. I was saving up for 2k so I could review posts. Maybe I'll try that. – bgmCoder Jul 31 '13 at 3:35
7

SharePoint is an unusual ecosystem. In one sense, it's an off-the-shelf product, but it's also a development platform. Furthermore, it's a development platform upon which a lot of the people leveraging it are just hacking around trying to make something work. They are what I call "Accidental SharePoint Developers".

So we get a lot of questions where people have copy/pasted something from the web, and lo and behold, it "doesn't work". I look at a lot of questions around JavaScript, and most of them would never need to be asked if the user had even rudimentary skills in troubleshooting and debugging JavaScript. (I'm not faulting these people. SharePoint is really brilliant at letting non-technical people implement cool solutions. It's just really tough to answer questions like that without just saying, 'learn JavaScript'.)

A lot of times, the questions are just too complex to be answerable in a question/answer forum like this. They require a skilled troubleshooter digging into the code and looking at the various interdependencies on the site in question - list/field schemas, which Features are activated, conflicts with other code, etc.

I hope that shed some light on the frustrations you are facing.

  • 1
    Evidently I needed a bit of a rant myself. – Derek Gusoff Jul 31 '13 at 14:11
  • Ha ha! Ranting, at least, does feel like some sort of consolation. – bgmCoder Jul 31 '13 at 16:43
  • I think you are right about some of the questions being too difficult. I know very well that some of mine are very difficult, or at least obscure. I'm actually somewhere between "accidental" and "real" as far as developers go - I have been putting off moving into the harder areas, but I just move along as the need arises. Some of the Sharepoint buglets are so stupid that I can't believe they are even there. But, there isn't really anywhere to go - unless you hire a consultant. This forum is really great for the most part. – bgmCoder Jul 31 '13 at 16:46
1

I think there needs to be some helpful prompt when you browse to a question to try and encourage users to not just view the questions but participate.

Maybe a "you know you can up vote this question/answer if you find it interesting / useful" prompt.

  • You know, I actually saw one of those kinds of prompts once or twice, they read, "Questions need votes too!" For real - I saw it, I think on SuperUser or StackExchange, I can't remember which. – bgmCoder Aug 2 '13 at 14:47
  • 1
    Yes, these prompts do already exist. But they are (thankfully sometimes) quite easy to ignore. – Robert Lindgren Aug 5 '13 at 8:20

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