Under Review Suggestion: Expiring Posts

Discussion in 'Feedback/Support/Suggestions' started by anabolism, Aug 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Having recently waded through multi-hundred-post threads over in the other place, trying to pick out the useful content from the mindless chatter, it occurred to me that, in general, posts fall into two categories: information that is useful long-term, and short-term content (which might be very relevant at the time, but of fading value). So, it might be a novel and useful feature to have posts by default expire after some period of time (maybe 10-45 days). Perhaps a checkbox during posting could allow the poster to say "this has long-term value, don't expire it," plus of course a way for the poster or a moderator to block expiration. Or, it can be based on community votes, as a parallel to "likes."
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    Sometimes seemingly outdated posts can still be useful. For example, a promo could be expired, but some could still be waiting for miles or points to post, or even fighting to get those miles or points. Another example is that the historical record of promos, availability, and sales can help one to predict what future offers are likely.
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Posts that don’t expire also have historical value. As an example an airline may have run a promo two years ago and something similar today, you may wish to compare the two and review the historical comments to assist in determining its value.
     
  4. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    Have to agree with the OP on this one. I know that a lot of people enjoy the chat aspect of these forums and that is fine. But long winded and diluted threads can be a lot less helpfull when trying to solve a problem or to learn new things.
     
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  5. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Exactly, which is why I propose that posts which contain information (including promos) not expire. On the other hand, posts which merely say "Man, I wish airline foo would copy the promo from bar" or posts every day which say "My miles haven't shown up yet" would expire. Then, when someone searches and comes across that thread a year later, rather than 500 posts of mostly useless chatter, there would be 10 posts that are useful.

    The idea is that the chatter may be fun during the heat of the thread, but becomes annoying historically. So, let's have a way to separate them, with one expiring and the other not.
    You are exactly correct, which is why I suggested that some posts don't expire, while others do. I also proposed three approaches to determining which posts wouldn't expire (check-box for poster to select, moderator action, and community vote).
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    The problem is that it can be hard to predict which posts will be valuable to some unknown person at some unknown point in the future. I can't say which of my posts might be useful to some stranger in the future, moderators would be less able to do this and besides, MP doesn't have or want moderators while I don't want moderators deleting my posts arbitrarily because they decide that something I said has expired, and any community vote will be based on whether the majority thinks some information is useful, while the point is to retain the information even if it can be useful to only one person.

    To give an example that predates MP, suppose Bob Soukup is hired to run the new UA/CO FF program. Then someone trying to decide whether to put miles on UA/CO or AA would like to make a best guess of how the UA/CO program will evolve. This means that posts about the old NW WorldPerks program become very valuable, as well as details of unpublished benefits, comments and predictions by Bob, and general tales of customer service to elites when Bob was running WP. Yet most people would have said that info about a FF program that no longer exists for an airline that has since been merged is outdated and everything would have been deleted.
     
  7. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I think it can be very easy to point to some posts and say "these are not useful in the future." Posts which say "me too" or "my miles haven't posted yet" or other chatter I think are pretty easy to tell. I'm not asking people to predict which posts will have significant historic value; I'm saying that people can identify posts which clearly make it harder to find information long-term.

    Maybe I'm alone in this, but I find it frustrating wading through hundreds and hundreds of posts which are 75% chaff, looking for the 25% wheat. (This is especially problematic over in the other place, where threads often have massive post counts, some with hundreds of pages.)

    In my view, one of the opportunities that MP has is to find innovative ways of handling the challenges which are typical of forums. I think finding the useful information in massive threads is one such challenge. I'm proposing a possible approach which can allow for both immediate chatter and leaner long-term information density.

    I think it's worthwhile to experiment with it and see if it works or if it can be improved. But maybe no one else thinks this is a problem, or maybe no one else thinks this is an approach worth trying. If so, fair enough.

    Perhaps I'm too much of an optimist, but I think we could try having a check-box that says "do not expire" and see if people use it and use it well. If not, get rid of it. If so, then we have another benefit that other forums don't have.

    Is that the point? Even if, to make it useful for that one person, you make it useless for hundreds of others who can't find any information among the hundreds of chatter posts?

    I've said all along that I think a useful distinction can be made between posts that have some information and those that don't, that are just chatter. Maybe no one else thinks these can be told apart, or maybe no one else thinks there is a problem or a potential for a problem. Based on my experience over at the other place, I do.
     
  8. Tim
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    An interesting idea, I'll add this to the master list for consideration as well. Thanks.
     
  9. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    An alternative or refinement would be to provide a choice between "information" and "comment" icons/buttons when creating a post (editable later). Then, at a minimum, a reader could try and look at just the "information" posts. Even better, the web site could offer a way to collapse/scan a thread by hiding the "comment" posts, perhaps with a disclosure triangle that could be easily toggled.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
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    This would be cool as long as people don't decide that all of their posts are informative. After all, most people think they're better than average drivers, etc.
     
  11. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Sure, but I figure people can always change this later, so if they pick "informative" others will likely reply and say "Why did you pick informative? There's no new information here," and then the poster can change it.

    Probably it would make sense to default to "Discussion." But these sorts of things can be tweaked out later, based on experience.
     
  12. MSPeconomist
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    I just hope fights wouldn't break out along the lines of "what do you mean, my post wasn't informative, expletive".
     
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