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Stickies in Answers? Answered

Hi all. Sorry if this has already come up (can't imagine that it hasn't), but I didn't find it anywhere so here goes:

Who do we need to bribe/threaten/date to get some stickies in Answers for questions like "How do I figure out what resistor to use for my LED" and "How can I hook up a TV to my computer" and "How can I get my Arduino to do an IF statement" and sundry other questions that get asked at least twice a week? I enjoy helping answer questions for people, but I get a little tired of typing the same thing over and over. I can only imagine how burned out the electronics gurus among us must be.
Maybe if there were stickies for these types of FAQ on the Answers page people could get the basics on their own, and the quality of the questions might improve?

Also, I think a brilliant idea for a Pro feature would be an additional button that just automagically takes the text of a question, runs it through Google and posts a link to the search results, all in one fell swoop. But maybe that's just me....

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frollard (author)2010-01-25

Fantastic topic and thanks lemonie for jumping on board with the list!  <count me in>

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Grathio (author)lemonie2010-01-24

This is fantastic.  It reminds me of one I've been meaning to do for a while: "How To Ask A Question"  I'd love to link that any time someone posts as their entire question "My Computer is broke. Plz help. Thanks!"

Would that be better as a FAQ item or its own 'Ible?

Other variations include asking a question about something local, and then not specifying where they are, or even listing it in their profile.  ("Where can I buy" questions are a cousin of this one.)

The good old fashioned "Can someone do a whole lot of work making something for me?  I really want it."

And of course the near daily occurrence of someone asking a question about an Instructable and not mentioning what Instructable it is.  (Though maybe this one could be solved with a UI change or something.)

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RavingMadStudios (author)lemonie2010-01-23

You are, without question, "da man".
And other expressions of appreciation that were popular in the late 90's, too.

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lemonie (author)RavingMadStudios2010-01-23

Pop in there and give us one - I want it to be done.

L

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RavingMadStudios (author)lemonie2010-01-23

You got it. Concise instructions for how to go to the store and buy a stinkin' video cable have now been added. Hopefully, more substantial content will be forthcoming soon.

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lemonie (author)RavingMadStudios2010-01-24

That's very good. Would you add a little note that different signal formats cannot be converted by simply splicing wires? (I don't want to interfere with it myself). And I'll finish the LED one at some point...

L

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Kiteman (author)2010-01-22

An easier fix is to make text of the question box include an invitation to search the answers before posting your own.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2010-01-22

I thought at one time we were able to search (in the normal search box) for posts....I don't see that anymore....is that a lost function? 

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2010-01-23

When you do a search, it searches everything.

The results can then be narrowed down to "Answers" with a drop-down menu, such as this example search for "hat".

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2010-01-23
I see,  but that is only for some things, right?   I mean, I don't see a way to search for a post, I did sometime in the past where I don't know what forum I posted in, but I know part of my post....that is now gone? I could do this before...I am sure I am not hallucinating :-) 
 

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2010-01-23

Oh, you're right!

There used to be an option to search forum comments as well as topics.

Where'd it go?

(Goes to check back of sofa, finds Lego instead.)

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2010-01-23
It's been gone for at least a week now.....I used it extensively  since I was always forgetting where I made certain comments and wanted to add to them later.....*sigh*
 

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RavingMadStudios (author)Kiteman2010-01-22

Or maybe even an additional button that provides the option of searching Answers using the text in the question box, alongside the existing button to post the question. Or both.

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Jayefuu (author)2010-01-22

I got frustrated with the amount of times people ask "how do I make an led flash" or "how do I dim a motor/led" that I started writing and instructable about astables using the 555 and pulse width modulation. Both are about 60% done, I don't have time at the moment to finish them.

I'd like to see an answers feature whereby the question includes from which page they asked it. Often people are browsing and ible and don't understand, then see the "Ask a question" text to the right and ask "I can't get this to work, why won't it work", to them it makes sense because they knew the context, but to us..... we have no idea from whence they came.

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Doctor What (author)Jayefuu2010-01-23

 Even if you posted the Instructables, people would still ask, because they refuse to use the search bar.

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RavingMadStudios (author)Jayefuu2010-01-22

Good idea on the 'ibles, but I suspect we'll still have to point people at them since so many folks seem to be search-impaired out there. Now, if they were stickied to the Answers board...


...people would probably ignore them. (sigh)



Is that how those disconnected questions get posted? I was wondering about those, but I hadn't put it together, I guess because the Comments section just seems like the obvious place for those kinds of questions to me. Thanks for clearing that up.

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lemonie (author)2010-01-23

How about we build a FAQ Instructable maybe titled "How to answer common questions in Instructables Answers" - collaboration?

L

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RavingMadStudios (author)lemonie2010-01-23

Sounds like a good idea to me on general prinicple, but people would still have to find it (or be directed to it) if it was just a regular Instructable and not an integrated function of Answers.
As a resource, it would be great to have. Are you seeing it as containing full answers to a variety of common questions, or more like an index that points to other Instructables? It's an intriguing idea.
I wonder if it would be possible to (maybe as a Pro feature) add a function to flag existing 'ibles with a dedicated "FAQ" keyword, so that anything so flagged would just pop up on the FAQ list? That's kind of starting to sound like an admin thing to me, though. Don't want to create additional maintenance for the home team....

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lemonie (author)RavingMadStudios2010-01-23

The idea is to answer questions with "please see the FAQ"(linked) - only that much typing required.
Full answers to a variety of common questions, pointing to other Instructables / sites as appropriate.

L

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Jayefuu (author)lemonie2010-01-23

We could include "Common ways to answer your question yourself" as the first step. I like the idea of a collab to save us some searching :D

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Doctor What (author)Jayefuu2010-01-23

 That sounds like a wonderful idea.  

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RavingMadStudios (author)Jayefuu2010-01-23

Step 1 should just be a screen cap of the Search box with a big arrow pointing at it. No text, just that. :-)

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RavingMadStudios (author)lemonie2010-01-23

I get it now. That would be really useful. Making it a collaboration is a stroke of brilliance.
Would anybody be interested being on the collaborator's list for this?

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Grathio (author)2010-01-22

The pretty decent community site ask.metafilter.com has a great feature when you ask a question.  When you submit it, it forces you to preview, and at the top of the preview page it shows, right at the top of the page "Related questions".   A list of 3 to 5 similar questions that have already been asked.   Several times it's saved me from asking a repeat question... and I search first!  I think it's a great feature.  (Wasting a question there stinks because you only get one a week.)

Don't know what kind of server-fu would be needed to do that here, but I know that more than once I've answered questions with "Look to the right, under the word 'Related'."    I think forcing the asker to see a few possibly related questions and a few possibly related 'Ibles would really cut down the noise and not be annoying for the asker.

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RavingMadStudios (author)Grathio2010-01-23

That sounds like a great idea, especially since it doesn't just obviously start with the blanket assumption that the questioner hasn't done any research, the way a banner or popup message would. I think an important part of this topic is not alienating the questioners, while still encouraging the less-motivated among them to take some initiative to help themselves. This seems like a very good balance to me.
I'm no server wonk, (but I was a Business Systems Analyst  for about 12 years) but given the existing functionality on the site, implementing something like this seems like more of a shuffle than a gut rehab. I defer to the server wonks on that, though.

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