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View Full Version : What is your opinion about forum friendliness?



idbruce
02-26-2012, 01:10 PM
Hello Everyone

I have been a forum member here for quite some time, so I can honestly say that I know the forum and personalities fairly well, and in my opinion, over the past couple years the friendliness of the forum has been on a continual decline. Now before anybody jumps to the defense of Parallax or the helpful people within the forum, I am not trying to insinuate that Parallax is at fault or that the forum is filled with unfriendly people. I am just saying that there are several people within the forum that really need to lighten up. Additionally, it appears as though it is group based. When one person in a particular group of people has something bad to say, then the other people within that same group join in to either berate the thread or the original poster. Furthermore, I am certain that it will occur in this thread. :) And I know that I am not very popular with this particular group of people, but I don't care :) My goal with this thread and poll is to make the Parallax forum a more friendly place to visit. So if you are one of that particular group that almost always has something negative to say, let's just see what the majority has to say about negative input.

If you have been a member here for any length of time, I am sure you know that such a group does actually exist, and I am not just being paranoid :)

Bruce

Mike G
02-26-2012, 01:25 PM
I've been a member for a long time too. I don't see a decline of friendly.

What do you expect to accomplish with this thread? Unfriendly responses?

idbruce
02-26-2012, 01:28 PM
Mike G


What do you expect to accomplish with this thread? Unfriendly responses?

Hmmmm.... Very close to a negative post.

Leon
02-26-2012, 01:33 PM
It's about the same as most of the other forums I belong to. Try AVR Freaks if you want to see some nasty responses! Amateur radio forums tend to be very friendly.

idbruce
02-26-2012, 01:34 PM
I have decided to refrain from answering any replies within this post to avoid loctite applications.

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
02-26-2012, 01:42 PM
Can't answer due to lack of options...

(O) Consider myself of the people who try to provide positive responses at all times.

This isn't bragging, the goal was posted on my desktop for a long time to make sure I wouldn't forget it.

OBC

mindrobots
02-26-2012, 01:52 PM
I've only been a forum member for about a year. I'm not an active member in any other electronics related forums so I can't compare. I believe the human mind has a wonderful capacity to discriminate noise from the environment and then categorize and process that noise to some benefit.

The majority of people that are active are truly helpful and try to contribute to the good of the community. Some people are positive and have positive things to contribute and there is very little noise to filter. Some people are negative but have a wealth of knowledge and are positive contributors - just turn up the filter a bit for these. Some people are negative for the sake of being negative just as in the real world, I filter them the most.

Just as in any community, groups form and reform with the forum based on common, current interest, personal traits that agree, etc. Some people don't feel threatened by group alignments, some people do and some people don't care. You can't make someone like you, you can make someone dislike you and in the long run, you;re the only person that can make you happy.

Friendly banter is constructive, disagreement is fuel to the creative fires and personal attack is counterproductive.

If you value someone's opinion on professional/technical topics, then you can value their personal opinion of you. If you don't value someone's opinion or knowledge then what they think of you personally shouldn't matter.

Thick skin is healthy skin!

Duane Degn
02-26-2012, 02:26 PM
Can't answer due to lack of options...


+1 here. (Hey, That looks positive!):smile:

Ttailspin
02-26-2012, 03:09 PM
I am not really bothered all that much by unfriendly responses, I would have to vote: "keeps it interesting..."
But then again I deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis...
(Much of this letter was snipped to keep you from falling asleep)

Hello...
How are you?Am here to inform you that your friend paid us to kill
you...So your life is really needed to kill..My boys are really watching
all the full step you make..They really want to kill you....but i see
you as a nice person Since last week we started watching you.....you
deserve to live longer..that why am informing you..but i don't want you
to inform the police because We will kill you before you get there.So
all i need you to do now is to co-operate with me and your life will be
save...And if you corporate with me i will send you the full details and
pictures of your friend that ask us to kill you....i need the sum of
$5,000usd.....to save your life. so know delay..because delay is
dangerous....

1). SO WILL YOU CO-OPERATE WITH ME OR NOT?
2). WILL YOU PAY THE MONEY OR NOT?
Awaiting your respond.Remember i dont delay in my mission....
No delay.
Regards
When I get one of these in my Parallax PM inbox, I might be a little concerned...:lol:


-Tommy

bill190
02-26-2012, 03:16 PM
Actually I consider this forum to be one of the most friendly forums I visit.

When I saw this: "What is your opinion about forum friendliness?" I thought this thread was going to be about how friendly this forum is. Then was surprised to see it was something else.

Perhaps the topics I choose to view are all friendly? So that is why I have had a mostly friendly experience?

Anyway on other forums I visit sometimes there is a LOT of negativity. Or a large number of people will play "forum gang - follow the leader". If you follow along, then you are a member of their gang - I can think on my own and never participate in any of these "high school" antics.

In those situations I go by... "If you don't have anything positive to say, don't say anything at all".

And sometimes there is one person who will try to start arguments with everyone to come along. I don't reply to those. Then they go pick on someone else.

Some people *always* have negative posts. For those, I place them on the "ignore list". I don't have anyone here on that list and don't even know if this forum has an ignore list?

Anyway I visit various forums to learn things. I have learned quite a bit here, so that is why I continue to come back. I just stick to that. And "step over" any "silliness"...

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
02-26-2012, 03:27 PM
@idbruce

I think you might be confusing disagreement with friendliness. There are several people here who disagree with my point of view, but I know that we disagree, agreeably. Part of the magic behind the Propeller is that is it seen differently by many people.

This is the way I've always considered the Propeller:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant#John_Godfrey_Saxe

OBC

Duane Degn
02-26-2012, 03:32 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about how friendly this forum is.

Last night I was saying to my wife. "I wonder why I was so hesitant to ask questions when I first joined the forum?" I soon answered my own question with "Oh, but the forum is much different place now than a few years ago, it's much more friendly now." I went on to explain to my wife (who can never get too much "forum gossip" (or so I assume as she stares at me with her beautiful (but come to think of it, glassy) eyes)) that several years ago newcomers could get some pretty harsh treatment when they asked their "dumb" questions. I continued telling her of the effort Parallax has made to get long time forum members to welcome new forum members. I concluded with summarizing, if I had been getting into electronics now, I'd be much more likely to post my questions on the Parallax forums now than when I was first learning a few years ago.

PS. This really did happen last night.

Edit: I remember the context of the above mentioned conversation. I was telling my wife how smart I am (she also can't get enough of this) by knowing that a Ping can not measure distance more precisely than the wavelength of the ultrasound it uses. This came up in response to Bruce's question here (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?138084-Is-it-possible-to-increase-the-accuracy-of-the-PING)))-Ultrasonic-Distance-Sensor). I also pointed out how Phil had saved me a bunch of time by explaining the futility of trying to use an ultrasound transducer at frequencies other than it resonate frequency. I failed to inform her I had no idea what "extremely high Q factor (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?138084-Is-it-possible-to-increase-the-accuracy-of-the-PING)))-Ultrasonic-Distance-Sensor&p=1076165&viewfull=1#post1076165)" meant (I didn't want to bore her).

Ron Czapala
02-26-2012, 03:34 PM
...
Some people *always* have negative posts. For those, I place them on the "ignore list". I don't have anyone here on that list and don't even know if this forum has an ignore list?
...


I only have one person on my ignore list.

Too bad the forum software doesn't filter all posts started by people on the ignore list and from the "New Posts" list if they are the last person responding to any thread.

Then you could truly ignore them...

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
02-26-2012, 03:41 PM
This forum is, by and large, a very friendly place. I've been a regular for six years now, and I have not detected any decline in general goodwill. That's not to say that all of us have the patience of Job when it comes to irritating posts, and some members do seem to be lightning rods for negativity from time to time. I think it's reasonable to expect overall friendliness and positive responses. I do not think it's reasonable to expect everyone to walk on eggs when provoked or annoyed. It's better to vent a little than to let hostility build. When things get ugly it's because the venting gets amplified in a positive feedback loop. Thick skins and non-fragile egos are what provide the necessary damping.

-Phil

ElectricAye
02-26-2012, 04:31 PM
I haven't noticed any decline. I've always felt this forum is astonishingly friendly, especially when compared to other internet forums. One thing I'm sure of, however: my own state of mind can "color" how I read a short message like an email or forum posting, especially coming from somebody I don't know outside cyberspace. Read in one state of mind (for example, before I've had my morning coffee), a message can appear like an insult, a sneer, a hostile act, or like somebody questioning my unquestionable authority. But read in another state of mind, the same exact message can sound like constructive criticism, a slight ribbing, or, at worst, tough love. It's one of those things to consider when using this medium.

Frankly, I think using forums is much like walking down the sidewalk in a major city. There are lots of rude, creepy people walking around, but the mere presence of one or two intelligent, enlightening people seems to make up for all rest (so long as I've had my morning coffee, that is.). As Mindrobots pointed out, it helps to develop a filter of sorts.

I'm just curious, what sort of action items were you planning based on the results of your poll?

PJ Allen
02-26-2012, 04:56 PM
I think that the saccharine "welcome to the forums" stuff is creepy.
Lord, who needs that?
I won't name names, but every time I come across it I think of the Monty Python toupee sketch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Shygmt6TXpw) like.

Hey, it's an anonymous forum.

Leon
02-26-2012, 05:14 PM
I find it irritating, as well.

Ken Gracey
02-26-2012, 05:25 PM
I think that the saccharine "welcome to the forums" stuff is creepy.

It's not as if I'm asking you to read some religous literature that makes you feel your privacy or views are at threat. The reason we will always welcome people is because there are many who are intimidated by the forums and don't post questions. I meet people all the time who would like to participate but feel that because their knowledge level is low they'll be welcomed by requests to go back and read a manual, or just be plain embarrassed. Don't you like to be made welcome when you go someplace new? I recognize that people aren't here just for social interaction, but that's no excuse for dumping basic etiquitte.

Duane is proof of my point.

Disagreement is always welcome, and as OBC pointed out it shouldn't be confused with hostility.

Ken Gracey

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
02-26-2012, 05:33 PM
"Welcome to the forum," might seem disingenuous and creepy for those who see it every day. But consider that, for every member that's logged in, there are probably nine lurkers who may be too timid to post. (There are currently 39 members online and 376 "guests".) If a person finally takes the initiative to register and post, there's nothing wrong with a cheery "welcome" to help them feel more at ease. Who knows? The next newcomer to post for the first time may be a battered refugee from AVR Freaks who needs a warm embrace and a hot toddy. :)

We all have our pet peeves, I suppose. Mine is threads that begin with "Hello, everyone." But that's just me.

-Phil

Leon
02-26-2012, 05:39 PM
There is probably a cultural difference in attitudes to effusive welcome messages.

idbruce
02-26-2012, 05:45 PM
Okay I have just been kicking back and reading the responses, and then one just pops up that really catches my attention:



We all have our pet peeves, I suppose. Mine is threads that begin with "Hello, everyone." But that's just me.


Okay Phil, since it annoys you, I will change it just a little bit. How about this salutation instead:

"Hello To Everyone But Phil"

Is that a little better? :)

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
02-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Leon, I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're probably right. Nonetheless, it's probably better to err on the side of friendliness, even at the risk being a little off-putting to those of a more reserved nature. Some newcomers really do appreciate the welcome and have said as much.

-Phil

potatohead
02-26-2012, 05:52 PM
I like welcome messages, and will offer them when I see an opportunity.

The only material change I've seen is there is a bit less of a fun factor, maybe just an escalation of more serious projects really. Hard to describe. Not a negative, just a change.

I do not like the question at all. There are just people participating in the forum, and they may do negative things, but I do not wish to validate the assumption that they are, in fact, negative people. Loaded question = not productive question, IMHO.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
02-26-2012, 06:00 PM
How about this salutation instead: "Hello To Everyone But Phil"

Would that mean I can't respond? :) Seriously, it's but a minor peeve that I quite enjoy harboring. On the Pilgrim Peeve Meter that measures from 1 (eye-rolling) to 10 (blood-boiling), the needle barely twitches.

-Phil

whicker
02-26-2012, 06:02 PM
Bruce,

Can you use the specific example of the part where someone has "berate the thread or the original poster"? Berate is a strong word, to me that word means scolding or getting in the person's face and yelling at that person for 5 straight minutes.

Humanoido makes me facepalm, but 1) he's actually posting stuff and generating content. and 2) it would be rude to post my reaction.

Some topics are "hype" based, so I'm the kind of person that likes to cut to the core. To me there has to be a "yeah right show me your math" kind of response. I can remember maybe a year ago a wind-up battery by some graphic design student. The math generally checked out, and there have been crank based generators in the past. I just don't know who would actually sit there winding every battery for 15 minutes, but I didn't actually say it was a stupid idea.


Also, I don't see the hostility towards new people, this was 2-23:
http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?138169-New

If someone was fishing for a little acknowledgement of being a new poster, and the thread had zero or one replies, I'd personally reply myself. "Hi" is the easiest thing to say.

idbruce
02-26-2012, 06:52 PM
Would that mean I can't respond?

That was just an exclusion from the salutation. Perhaps a better one would be:

"Hello To Everyone But Phil/Howdy Phil"

ElectricAye
02-26-2012, 07:09 PM
I think that the saccharine "welcome to the forums" stuff is creepy.
Lord, who needs that? ....

I think it's annoying, too. But I do it because I've been asked to do it, and I want to be polite... or at least project the appearance of being polite...

Okay, okay, I confess. The only reason I do it is because I know it annoys PJ, and every time I do it I delight in knowing that it annoys him, and that he is thankful that I annoy him because that provides him with rationale for getting disgruntled, confirming his suspicions that the human race doesn't stand a chance, a state of mind he finds sublime. You're welcome.

Roy Eltham
02-26-2012, 07:10 PM
I find this poll to be pretty darn negative.

W9GFO
02-26-2012, 07:17 PM
I'm with Roy. The poll choices all seem negative as does the general tone of it.

This (and Savage Circuits) is the most friendly, well behaved forum that I've ever been part of.

Leon
02-26-2012, 07:18 PM
I find this poll to be pretty darn negative.

You're being negative. :)

PJ Allen
02-26-2012, 07:33 PM
It's not as if I'm asking you to read some religous literature that makes you feel your privacy or views are at threat. The reason we will always welcome people is because there are many who are intimidated by the forums and don't post questions. I meet people all the time who would like to participate but feel that because their knowledge level is low they'll be welcomed by requests to go back and read a manual, or just be plain embarrassed. Don't you like to be made welcome when you go someplace new? I recognize that people aren't here just for social interaction, but that's no excuse for dumping basic etiquitte.

Wow. Religious literature? "Privacy", "views", "at threat"? How would that... oh, never mind.

I don't think I've ever replied with "Hey, RTFM", but I have directed many to specific sections of PBASIC Help. PBASIC Help is not The Bible, but it (too?) is a valuable resource much overlooked.

How can a rational person feel embarrassed at posing a question on an anonymous forum? Who should care?

Whenever I choose to help, to answer a question, to provide a schematic, or point to a "chapter and verse" in PBASIC Help, it's purely out of goodwill and that ought to be welcoming and etiquette enough for anyone.

PJ Allen
02-26-2012, 07:47 PM
Okay, okay, I confess. The only reason I do it is because I know it annoys PJ, and every time I do it I delight in knowing that it annoys him, and that he is thankful that I annoy him because that provides him with rationale for getting disgruntled, confirming his suspicions that the human race doesn't stand a chance, a state of mind he finds sublime. You're welcome.

Wow, again.
I didn't post that I think it's annoying, I posted that I think it's creepy.
I've never posted on the matter before.

"Analyse" to your heart's content, I don't care.
You can even start up a subject on the anger I make you feel like that one chick did, I don't care.

Ken Gracey
02-26-2012, 07:54 PM
As the relevant points have been made, I think we'd agree that:

- the best welcome is giving constructive responses to people
- it's okay to welcome newcomers to the forum, one way or another
- written responses can be interpreted many ways, especially across cultures
- forums can require some thick skin and it's okay to disagree

Bruce collected his data and we can move on to new topics!

Ken Gracey