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iFixit Meta: Posting Guidelines for Noise Reduction

Hey everyone!

In case you haven't noticed, there's been a huge uptick in activity in on Meta recently. How huge, you ask? Here's a graph of all meta posts and comments since 2012. (Disclaimer: I extrapolated data for the rest of January assuming posts will continue to come in at a constant rate. Click to zoom, I unfortunately cannot post large images on a discussion.):

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With that in mind, we've been workin' hard to keep up with all of your requests, but tracking every request through to completion has become very difficult with the rate at which requests come in.

It's also become commonplace for people to post streams of consciousness rather than succinct requests. Those posts are challenging for us to handle, and take time away from other things we could be doing to make the community even more awesome. So here’s what we’d like to propose:

  • Let’s limit the number of posts that demand admin attention (feature requests, spam reports, or bug reports) to one post per day. Try to keep other discussion grouped into topic-specific discussion threads.
  • If there is a proper channel for reporting content (i.e. spam or offensive materials), use the official method, and that method only. The moderators will see your reports and they will vote on them. The system works! Let’s use it.
  • Do not treat offensive content and spam as emergency situations. Take a deep breath. It’ll be ok! We’ll get to it. We swear.
  • Do not threaten users with powers you do not have (i.e. banning).
  • When posting, please use proper numbered lists, grammar, capitalization (this includes avoiding INTERNET YELLING), spelling, and punctuation. We really value that. Here's why.

This doesn't mean Meta shouldn’t be fun, or you should stop using it. Let’s keep brainstorming on how to teach people how to fix things! That’s why we’re all here, after all. Go ahead and reply to your's or other folks requests and discussions as you want. Feel free to make your lists as lengthy as you want, and feel free to ask questions and continue to use Meta as a discussion forum as you have been doing.

Thanks, everyone. This will help us help you.

Onward! Let’s go fix the world together.

Update (02/06/2018)

Bumping this to the top of Meta to keep everyone mindful of the Admins' requests.

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Sounds absolutely reasonable. Thanks @evan

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No worries Mike. Glad we're on the same page.

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@evan your page gives me error 400

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I feel the large spike of posts is mostly me. Also, what is the official method to submit spam?

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Good points @evan !!

If you find more SPAM that needs attention just edit your original post noting its an update (hint: creating a new answer will prompt you to post it as an update) Also make it clear in the heading what is needed so Moderators can address it if they can.

Besides Meta we need to reduce the noise in Answers as well.

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In your opinion, what's causing the most noise on Answers?

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One is chained comments. A person writes a single line saves it, creates a second comment again a single line, sometimes I'll see four or five in a row. I've tried to clean them up as I find them. They do take some effort as you need to take the top one convert it to an answer then copy and paste the others into the answer then delete the extras and move the answer back to a comment.

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@danj the single line comments that are being left are no more distracting or "noise" then any of the 100's of answers left to a single question. I have no issue with simply grouping them together. There is a far great reason and meaning behind the single lines than just making a comment. If you perceive them as no more than noise then I have no problem in moderating those even heavier then in the past. Sometimes that kind of noise needs to be heard, listened to and tolerated. Big part of a community is to have elders that mentor, lead by example, and o provide guidance for the next generation of fixers.

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@oldturkey03 - It's the oh! I forgot this or that from the same person within minutes of each posting ... Not a different subject or someone else's posting. I'm only talking about a run of comments not intertwined with other comments.

The readability of the post is what I strive for.

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@danj if the once that you are referring to are the once that I am thinking of then those are more than noise. I will take care off it.

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@captainsnowball as important as you are to us, do not think that this is all about you my young friend! Do not think for a minute that this is even directed at you. What @evan reports are just an incredible increase in the traffic on Meta. Never before has this been as active as it has been in the last few month. All we should do, is to limit the calling out for help on here on singular items, like a singular spam or offensive answer. I do not take any of this as any criticism nor do I think that this is meant to be taken personally. Let us remember that ifixit Answer and Meta is a hobby and part of our social life, but for others it is a small part of a big job. When we cite them for help on singular issues that we could well deal with on our own, we take valuable time away from their other tasks. Lets slow down on those things and focus on what is important.

@paperboypaddy @captainsnowball gentlemen, if you are ready to join the big guys, shoot me an email. You all have my address. Let's discuss a few projects that everybody can benefit from. Let's stop being bloggers and lets become doers.

Let's accomplish the mission and fix the world one device at a time!

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I would assume mass spam dumps on Meta are still okay. The problem lies with cluttering it up with single reports that aren't serious enough to warrant Meta attention.

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@nick I am absolutely certain that will be okay. Anything else should be marked and it will have to be up to the community moderators to either fix it or make a decision on those. If those things are failing it is because of our lack of moderation.

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That’s why I like to make one discussion post about bugs and just keep adding bug reports in that one discussion.

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I wasn't taking it as criticism. I was joking (about a fact)

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Thanks for this post, @evan. I've been waiting for it.

33.3% School, 33.3% Lack of accepted answers, and 33.4% laziness, I have been taking a break from Answers and even meta now. Time to use willpower to fix the world.

@oldturkey03 if you don't have skype open, please open it.

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My biggest issue is probably lack of accepted answers. What About that last .4%? =P

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@captainsnowball That was supposed to go on the laziness part.

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@pccheese @captainsnowball no time to bellyache about "lack of accepted answers". We reap what we sow. We all have to check our own voting records. How can we expect participation if we do not even vote? Remember, those are just things to say "Hey. Thanks. Good answer"

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@oldturkey03 I meant to say that the OP never comes back. I may spend half an hour or more writing a good answer, and it never even gets recognised.

That's my biggest beef about it. It's like building the panama canal after cargo planes are invented. All that work just incase someone might see it and use it.

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Hi @pccheese,

Don't think cargo planes could compete ;-)

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woops. my bad @evan! I'm trying.

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Thank you.

When you encounter something you think is a problem, put it in a google doc or note of some sort. At the end of the day, gather all the things that are still problems and feel free to post them in a batch. We will not be responding to multiple consecutive posts for small problems (individual spammers are small problems). Bug reports are generally fine to post but take 30 seconds to try a different browser or poke at the problem before reporting it.

Also, in regards to spam—it's not a problem if no one sees it. You seem to be actively looking for it which is not what a standard user does. There will always be spam on any large website. Our goal is to keep it hidden and systematically prevent it. Dealing with users one at a time is a waste of time unless they hurt the experience of other users.

We have big problems to solve! Let's not get stuck on the small things.

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The same rule applies to things like machines that you know are affected by problems like Meltdown and Spectre - if you're having issues and you think you're patched, check and make sure BEFORE assuming it's a site issue. While disabling it is a bad idea, it may help. I was having site issues in Firefox and clearing the cookies with a patch disable fixed it.

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I personally wanted to bump this up for @ajcooke01v2 as I don’t want him to end up in the same position I did. This isn’t meant to offend anyone,

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This is probably my favourite post! Meta has become a stream of consciousness. We all need to apply our own filters/think before we post/count to 10, and apply excellent grammar.

ps. there is nothing wrong with adding to a current spam alert post or deleting all your previous posts to stop clogging up the answers! Peace, out.

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Evan Noronha will be eternally grateful.
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