Popular topic link collection as a stickie - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-01-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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Over the years several topics have come back again and again, and those skilled in searching can find the old posts. But some of us are not so skilled and it really would be helpful if links to some of these popular topics were collected as a stickie.

The ones that come immediately to my mind are

Trailer Weight
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...st&p=326865
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...st&p=338694
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...st&p=326582

Trailer Interior Height
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=34031

Trailer Exterior Height
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=34717

Bed Size
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=25101
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=33713

Neither the list nor the links are exhaustive -- I hope others will chime in with additions and corrections.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:27 AM   #2
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Thanks Dana !
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
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Hi Dana,

I agree with you on the problem that makes you suggest this solution. Just this morning there is a new question on Ensolite, when there have been at least a few threads on this topic within the past week or two (not to mention months or years). Talk about reinventing the wheel for answering each new query!

On the other hand, sometimes new information comes to light with a new query, so from that angle it can be good. One boat forum I participate in has an easy to use search function and a moderator who *always* reminds people to search first (it has become a running joke there in a friendly way).

This works out well because you get the benefit of the history (no need to repeat/re-write constantly) along with the new information (as people continually add to the thread). It's a great combination and very effective

However that is a smaller forum (I would guess half this size), so it's a bit easier for the one moderator to remind people each time they ask about something without searching beforehand. And with it being a slightly smaller group, the members are a consistent bunch and will also chime in to remind people to search first, so multiple threads don't really get going at all. Occasionally they will also merge threads to keep there from being many on the same subject.

So, I think in order for something like what you suggested to not only work, and provide old information, but to thrive/live, and include new information, moderators and regulars alike would need to be consistent in letting people know "Oh, if you are talking about bed sizes, please post in the sticky thread so we keep all the information together." But then there are multiple threads in each sticky thread, so I don't know how that would work (?) On the aforementioned website, the stickys are one single thread, not links to multiple other threads.

On the other hand, if each viewer uses search (instead of having sticky threads), then they could come up with threads on their own and add to them. But for this to work I think there have to be <strike>two</strike> three things:

1) A search process or instructions for it that people find easy to understand

2) A moderating team and regular members who consistently encourage people not to start new threads on common topics, but to instead search out the existing threads and post new content in them.

3) If there are sticky threads, that they be single, "living" threads, vs. a collection of links.

I don't know if we can or want to fulfill those two things

But, I'm really glad you brought this up, because I have found myself starting to debate (like on this morning's Ensolite thread), "Gee, do I have the time or motivation to respond to this person, when I've already said what I know about Ensolite in a half dozen other threads." I try to always chime in in such cases, but this morning I just thought "Argh, I can't type that all again today." That's nothing against that poster, because without group (or moderator) consensus on how to handle it, it's hard to know whether to jump in and request that the person search out existing information (in this case just from the past couple of days!), or what to do.

I'm very interested to see what other people think about this. Dana

Raya
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:30 PM   #4
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Hi Dana,

I agree with you on the problem that makes you suggest this solution. Just this morning there is a new question on Ensolite, when there have been at least a few threads on this topic within the past week or two (not to mention months or years). Talk about reinventing the wheel for answering each new query!

Raya
Just some thoughts. I know what it is like to be new, overwhelmed and need info. Can't fault the people who are trying. There may be some ways to point newbies in the right direction.

I like the idea of suggesting that the "search" function be used. If a new post (like Ensolite (aaargh)) shows up that has been/is being addressed in other threads could a moderator remove it or merge it and PM the new poster and suggest the use of "Search"?

I know that is a lot of work but if someone doesn't bother or know how to use search would they notice a Stickie?

For a longer term, systemic solution how about a prompt on the "New Topic" link that asks "Have you used 'Search', your question may already have been answered?" before a post can be initiated? Click 'Yes' and a new post screen pops up. Click 'No' and the 'Search' screen comes up. Only use this in appropriate forums - not 'Chat' .

Another alternative would be a new section for FAQ/FAT similar to the 'Helpful Links' section. Click 'Ensolite' and get a listing of threads? I know, probably too much work....

Dana, thanks for a thought provoking issue.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:03 PM   #5
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I made the proposal for several reasons:

1. It operates as an index which brings together related information. As an example, two of the threads I pointed to in "Trailer Weight" were actually on different topics, but several posts gave very useful information about real trailer weights. I really would not like to see those posts be moved to a "weight" topic -- that would upset the integrity of the topic and make some of the remaining posts unintelligible. Perhaps they could be copied, with a link back to the original thread, but this is a lot more work for the moderators. I really don't want to saddle them with more work, I would far prefer to have a solution that allows the people using the board to do the main grunt work.

2. A good reference book has an extensive index -- without the index the book is much less useful. We do have the advantage of the search function, but that brings me to point 3 --

3. The search function on this board is highly idiosyncratic and it is difficult to design a search query that retrieves most of the information you want without also retrieving a lot of false positives. People are really good at winnowing out the wheat from the chaff, and if we give them a means by which to add to the reference list that would be good. I started a set of bookmarks precisely because it is so difficult to create a really efficient search query. I usually have to remember that some particular member made the post or contributed to the topic and use that information as part of the search query in order to avoid being inundated in false positives.

4. The list of links encourages people to add to those topics instead of generate a new one.

5. I thought it would be better to share some of my bookmarks so others would have the benefit of them too, instead of just keeping them to myself.

In summary, a list of links that has been chosen by people is generally far more useful than the results of a text search. Clearly there is no desire to hand-generate links to every possible topic -- that's where the computerised search shines -- but for really common topics the hand-generated lists are much more useful.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #6
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As an example, just a moment ago I wanted to look up the lightest trailer Frederick has ever weighed, and I used the links posted at the top of this topic to find it. I could have used the search function, but it would have been slower.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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5. I thought it would be better to share some of my bookmarks so others would have the benefit of them too, instead of just keeping them to myself.
Hey group, whatever works for you works for us. If folks want to add their favorite (or most requested) information links to the topic Dana started, I don't see where it can be a bad thing. We just don't want to discourage discussion. For instance in the "Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing, Split topic" we know manufacturers are constantly developing new product and we want to hear about it on the forum. We'd rather encourage discussion rather than squash it, right?

BTW: Dana, I don't keep bookmarks in my browers. I have an Excel spreadsheet with hyperlinks. That lets me put in text that I can find and reference what people are asking about. Sometimes the same link has multiple uses since topics evolve.

Works for me!
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #8
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We'd rather encourage discussion rather than squash it, right?
Absolutely!!

The links help people add to threads that already are on-topic. For those links where the info was a post or two in a thread on a different topic, it encourages people to cite those posts as appropriate.
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