Replies which discourage further replies

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
953
Alamo, CA
Might as well start this off in “agree to disagree” because we probably will...

I sometimes see replies from TFP gurus which say something likeI am sending this to someone who may know the answer. Hold on a bit until they get back with us.”

Now I’m a TFP noob, so feel free to slap me. But it seems to me this kind of reply could discourage other users from replying because An Expert may chime in. There is at least one thread right now which is stopped dead after this response.

I know the responding guru is being helpful, and I’m sure the intent is not to discourage user replies, but I think perhaps better wording could be used in this situation.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
“I am sending this to someone who may know the answer. Hold on a bit until they get back with us.”
Every situation is different. In many cases, we "try" to leave new posts/threads untouched until someone with experience in that specific area can reply. That way it still shows as an unanswered (new) thread in the que. But in some cases, a leak for example, there may not be much time to wait. So we might reply and say something like that while we PM an expert we know is very familiar with the topic at hand (hydraulics, plaster, electrics, etc). Remember that even if we do PM an expert, they may not be online for a day or two (or longer) if there's a personal issue on their end. Most of us still have our day jobs. :wink:

Also, if the post is a new member's first post, we take that into consideration as we don't want a new member to not be welcomed, even though their problem may require an expert's reply. It can be tricky, but in general we try to get the point across nicely.

Still, points well taken, and it's good to hear how everyone feels.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,429
Bedford, TX
R,

I believe the idea is that we do not want the OP to think that we have forgotten them..

Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and have very different levels of expertise. So while I might know a lot about one subject, I might have zero knowledge about a different subject. If the members that have a deep understanding of the OP's topic are not on line at the time, what would you suggest?

The fact that some one asks a question and never comes back happens all the time, when after a few seconds there is no reply, they just move on.

The world is full of all kinds of people and even though we try, we can't make them all happy.

So, tell us, how would you handle the situation?

Give us some better ideas and we will try to incorporate them...

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,020
Tallahassee, FL
I am the one that does that. I try to only do this on posts that have sat unanswered over 24 hours or more. Most are over 48 hours old. I am VERY open to another way of saying it. My main goal is to let them know someone saw their post and is sending someone to help. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to see a better way to say do this.
 

SuzfromTexas

Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
3,365
Houston, Texas
Might as well start this off in “agree to disagree” because we probably will...

I sometimes see replies from TFP gurus which say something likeI am sending this to someone who may know the answer. Hold on a bit until they get back with us.”

Now I’m a TFP noob, so feel free to slap me. But it seems to me this kind of reply could discourage other users from replying because An Expert may chime in. There is at least one thread right now which is stopped dead after this response.

I know the responding guru is being helpful, and I’m sure the intent is not to discourage user replies, but I think perhaps better wording could be used in this situation.


Hi Rocket Squirrel! (love your username, btw) Well, I have to admit, I had my hand up ready for the slap. Then I came to the part where you capitalized "An Expert", and it hit me. The light came on, and I had never looked at it that way. I'm more of the fluff 'n stuff kind of guide, so I don't often get involved in expert-needing-posts. I KNOW what everyone on this side means, but I hadn't looked at it from a noob side. (I recently was a noob and still am for complicated things...Lol!!)

Three years ago, if I had paid a lot of attention to more complicated or technical threads, you would have been so right. If I saw they were waiting on an Expert, why would I even answer? And that is too bad. You never know, I might have had recent experience with the issue. I may not have had a full answer, but I might have had a useful nugget or two. "Nope, gotta wait for the Expert to show up."

So, maybe something like this would work, "Hold on while I call out for someone who may know the answer. While we wait, everyone out there please reply if you have any help here. Thanks!"

What do you think? Of course, I did my usual 50 words when 10 would work. So while I wait for that Expert to show up, anyone feel free to reword it with the same meaning. (just modeling what you suggested!)

You don't find many forums this active with so much response (and often fast), so you can imagine, once in a while we are busy with Life. We'll (meaning the others who open up those complicated or technical threads but aren't quite the right Expert) try to do better, and there may (will?) be times we slip up.

We have a July challenge going on now, and your post addresses that exactly. TFP is always striving to do a better job. And what you're asking us to consider is actually pretty easy and free. Now hopefully we (probably 'I' mostly) can remember this simple addition to the wording. Feel free to follow my posts and knock me over the head if I forget! I do open some of those threads these days, but usually just to be polite and let the poster know they aren't forgotten.

Thanks and take care,
Suz
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,325
Northern NJ
I think something along the lines of “Bump for any ideas on this problem” for any unaswered posts while you can put out a call out to experts in the background. It acknowledges and can welcome the OP while inviting all ideas.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
953
Alamo, CA
Holy vinyl liner, Batman! I guess we'll have to agree to agree, because I agree with all of your responses. Thanks for listening and responding!

I think the solution is as simple as what Suz suggests. "Hold on while I call out for someone who may know the answer. While we wait, everyone out there please reply if you have any help here. Thanks!" Just adding that one extra sentence says we welcome replies from anyone who can help, even if they aren't officially An Expert.

I typically wait until a post has ripened for a while in any case, because there really are experts out there, and they always seem to reply just a minute before I post my own response, while I'm still composing. I'm on several web forums (on one of which I am an expert!), and this is by far the most active. Thanks to the owners for continuing to refuse annoying and self-serving ads.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,670
Houston, Texas
It is kind of a two edged sword. Sometimes I will post a reply with my opinion and full disclosure if I don't have anything concrete to give them, and then send a pm letting them know I am contacting an expert who would probably have better advice to offer. Sometimes if it is a thread where there is great potential for harm, such as electrical issues, I will post publicly that I am contacting an expert, not only to alert the op but for someone who may come along later with a similar issue.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
458
NJ
Perhaps just PM the OP to tell him or her that you have reached out to an expert. That way the OP knows that expert help is coming and the rest of the people won’t hesitate to respond.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
11,006
East Texas
Perhaps just PM the OP to tell him or her that you have reached out to an expert. That way the OP knows that expert help is coming and the rest of the people won’t hesitate to respond.
BUT......whoever does that may have to pm every other Mod, Guide, and Expert as well! A lot of stuff gets caught in the crossfire around here with LOTS of folks trying to help on an issue at the same time. You should see some of the snafus that happen when a few are trying to approve, move, merge posts and such!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,429
Bedford, TX
Rocket,

I completely missed the problem. It is not that we have been bumping the thread to get more eyes on it, but that it "appears" the we only want an "expert" to add comments... Is that correct?

If so, we can fix that easy...

Thanks for the great feedback,

Jim R.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
953
Alamo, CA
I completely missed the problem. It is not that we have been bumping the thread to get more eyes on it, but that it "appears" the we only want an "expert" to add comments... Is that correct?
That's right. A knowledgeable user might be inhibited from responding because (a) the expert may be here any minute, (b) the expert's answer will be better than mine, and (c) I'll be embarrassed if the expert contradicts anything I say. Therefore, it's safer to stay quiet.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,020
Tallahassee, FL
I will make an adjustment to my wording to make it clear anyone can and should give an answer. You never know when someone can learn something new!
 

Teald024

TFP Guide
I sometimes see replies from TFP gurus which say something likeI am sending this to someone who may know the answer. Hold on a bit until they get back with us.”

I know the responding guru is being helpful, and I’m sure the intent is not to discourage user replies, but I think perhaps better wording could be used in this situation.

A knowledgeable user might be inhibited from responding because (a) the expert may be here any minute, (b) the expert's answer will be better than mine, and (c) I'll be embarrassed if the expert contradicts anything I say. Therefore, it's safer to stay quiet.


Typically the "I'm calling an expert" note is given for difficult issues, or threads that have been sitting idle for a while if this note is post#2 on a thread. If it is post#127, then it probably means there have not been any resolution and an "Expert" is really needed.

If a person knows the answer to a problem, they are always free to post it and encouraged to do so. But if you don't know the answer, why are you posting solutions to a problem? Unless advice is flat out wrong, it won't be an issue. Discussions are welcomed and members don't walk in here as "TFP Experts", even those in the industry have to prove their worth. Members with the tag of "TFP Expert" had to post their first reply at some point on this forum with no special tags next to their name. You can't beg, buy, argue, negotiate your way in. It wasn't until they showed their extensive knowledge base that they became a "TFP Expert". Many times that expertise is in a specific area.

I can tell you that A, B, and C happen all the time whether an expert is on their way or not.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,317
Pacific NW
If I saw a post with "I'll get in contact with an expert to reply" And I knew the definitive answer or close to it, I would still respond.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
953
Alamo, CA
I thought I'd circle back to this thread from last year, because I have seen a definite improvement in the "feel" of the forum. People are doing a great job of summoning experts without inhibiting discussion by others. It all just feels friendlier and more interactive to me. So thanks for being open-minded about this.
 
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