Forum: How to Use Biostars, Part-I: Questions, Answers, Comments and Replies
19
gravatar for RamRS
3.3 years ago by
RamRS21k
Houston, TX
RamRS21k wrote:

In this post, moderators will cover a few important features of Biostars:

  1. How do I ask a question?
  2. How do I answer a question?
  3. How do I ask for clarifications/give additional information?
  4. How do I respond to comments?
documentation forum how-to meta • 3.1k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.3 years ago by Michael Dondrup46k • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k
2

I wish this post could be pinned to the Biostars homepage. Good one @Ram :)

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.3 years ago • written 3.3 years ago by venu6.2k
3

I will link this to the main page when I push out the next update.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k

I changed this to a forum post. It may be worthwhile to revisit and discuss question posting etiquette and how moderators deal with posts that may not conform to standards.

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.3 years ago • written 3.3 years ago by Damian Kao15k
1

How to add a Comment-Reply


I would like to respond to Damian's comment. Here's how I would do that:

  1. Click on the relevant "Add Reply" button (highlighted in the image)
  2. Add content (My content will be: "Maybe we can create a separate post for moderators?")
  3. Click on the green "Add Comment" button (highlighted in the image)


ADD REPLYlink modified 14 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

Maybe we can create a separate post for moderators?

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

How to edit a post created by you


Looks like I have a typo in my question. How do I change the content of my post after I type it?



  1. Click on the edit button

  2. edit button

    in the post/comment to get this window


    this window

  3. Make necessary changes
  4. Click on the blue Submit button
  5. Note: You can also change the question title using this procedure.

ADD REPLYlink modified 14 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

This is great Ram, and once it's a sticky I think it would be really useful! However, perhaps showing the layout of Biostars from a moderator account might confuse new comers? Perhaps a dummy account would be better, where editing other people's posts is not an option.

Final thing - just to be a real pain in your ass - could you make a guide for moderators :P

Sometimes i'm unsure what the etiquette is. To be honest, that deficiency is not limited to Biostars...

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.3 years ago • written 3.3 years ago by John12k

I've mentioned that people might see a different menu - it may not be necessary to recreate the guides with a dummy account, but that's a good idea for future guides.

I think one of the more experienced folks would be better off leading the moderator guides. I'd be happy to contribute, of course. My word to the moderators is to not abuse power, and always defer to group decisions when not 100% sure. Also, be open to new users and always give them the benefit of the doubt, at least the first couple of times.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

A side question: How does a user attain "moderator" status? After a certain number of posts and/days of participation?

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by genomax68k

Good question. This is part of the FAQs as well, and that's how I know about it. Apparently, moderators are automatically promoted based on a reputation threshold and (what I'm guessing) visible activity. Moderators are expected to maintain frequent activity as well.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

It is not fully automatic yet as I am concerned that it will create a reason for people to start gaming the reputation system. A rogue moderator could cause a lot of mischief and lost work since we don't track all moderator actions in a reversible way. Our moderation is very much trust based.

I usually review the top non-moderator users every two-three months and promote by reputation, activity and post quality. I agree that it is a bit subjective and could be changed. Usually everyone on the first two pages of the Community page gets promoted (when you sort by reputation) if they were recently active, this makes almost 120 moderators.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k

@Istvan: Thanks for that clarification. I agree that the present system appears to be working well.

One thing that I worry about is the hierarchical way the answers/comments are presented by default. It is easy to miss good comments if they are further down in the thread. They generally don't come to prominence unless someone takes the time to click on the thumbs-up. Would it be possible to have an option to sort the comments/posts based on the time stamp perhaps as a future feature request?

I also don't think the "follow via email" option is working (at least it does not for me, the last time I had checked).

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.3 years ago • written 3.3 years ago by genomax68k

The manual promotion is necessary, of course. Automatic promotion, like you say, might lead to an incentive on gaming the system. What I meant by "automatic" was "without-request" - I should have made that unambiguous.

I was under the impression that all activity is logged - especially post closing and comments on closing. What would it take to implement a logging system for all post/comment modifying activity? I know it's a lot but I could possibly work on tweaking the model.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

Yes most actions are logged but reversing them would take some extra work.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k

True that. So I agree, let's stick to the current system until we absolutely need a new system. Would you have the time to write a mods etiquette guide, Istvan? Maybe we could have a moderators email list.(do we already have one?)

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

For this guide to be helpful for all, it needs to remain permanently/prominently visible on the main page (i.e. make it "sticky"). Any thoughts on how that can be done?

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by genomax68k

No, but I daresay this post needs a LOT of QC before we can make it a sticky guide.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

You should consider changing the title of this post to "What are the various features and how do I use them?".
People have already figured out "How to ask a question on biostars" :-)

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by genomax68k

I made it a Part-1. We can focus on users self-moderating (to close a question), linking to other posts and hopefully a few more features in Part-2.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

It would have been good if 'confirming an reply' was also possible as what there is in 'stackoverflow'. It saves the time for readers to find proper answers quickly.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.5 years ago by morteza.mahmoudisaber70

Sorry, but what does "confirming a reply" mean?

ADD REPLYlink written 2.5 years ago by RamRS21k

Accept mark for replies too, I guess.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.5 years ago by venu6.2k

I know you can upvote replies on SO, but accepting/confirming them is a feature I've never seen. If morteza.mahmoudisaber could explain what they mean by that, we can discuss if it's feasible.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.5 years ago by RamRS21k
1

I don't think it would make a much of difference. If a comment qualifies as an answer, the person answered can easily move his/her comment to answer so that OP can accept.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.5 years ago by venu6.2k
4
gravatar for RamRS
3.3 years ago by
RamRS21k
Houston, TX
RamRS21k wrote:

How to add a question


This is how you add a question:

  1. Search first - Make sure the question on your mind hasn't been answered already. Search on biostars AND on google.
  2. Click on the "New Post" on the top right of the website. See red highlight in image below
  3. Type in the question. Then, add a relevant title. And then, add pertinent tags. Use the following links to understand how best to ask a question:

    3.1. Eric Normandeau's post

    3.2. ACGT blog post

    3.3. Ten Simple Rules for Getting Help from Online Scientific Communities

  4. Proof-read everything
  5. Click on the blue "Submit" button (see image)

ADD COMMENTlink modified 6 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k

How to accept an answer


I find this answer helpful. It addresses the question and answers it. I will accept it as an answer to my question. How do I do that?

  1. Click on the pale green check mark (highlighted in the image)
  2. You're done :)

Remember, you can accept multiple answers, as long as they provide valid solution to your top level problem. Accepting an answer is your single most important contribution to the community, as it helps others that face the same problem you did.


ADD REPLYlink modified 14 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k
2
gravatar for A. Domingues
3.3 years ago by
A. Domingues2.1k
Mainz, Germany
A. Domingues2.1k wrote:

You just did :)

A good question IMO should be clear, to the point and have as much relevant background information as possible.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.3 years ago by A. Domingues2.1k

Upvote + Accept an answer


I think this answers my question as well. Also, because I find this helpful, I will thank this person by up-voting their answer. To do this, I click on the green check mark to accept answer (as I did here) and also the green thumbs-up (seen above the green check-mark in the same image) to up-vote the answer.


Also read : How to Accept an Answer

ADD REPLYlink modified 14 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k
1

Anyone can post comments that enhance discussion, even after a question has been answered. For instance, I forgot to mention that if the question involves code, providing a small reproducible example is extremely helpful. Here is an example of how to do it for R.

Frequently when formulating a question and writing it down with the reproducible code, I have figured out the answer by myself.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.3 years ago by A. Domingues2.1k
2
gravatar for Dan D
3.3 years ago by
Dan D6.8k
Tennessee
Dan D6.8k wrote:

Eric Normandeau's post on this is the best overview IMO.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.3 years ago by Dan D6.8k

How to Add a Comment


I would like to clarify a point. To do that, I can add a comment:

  1. Click on the gray Add Comment button:
  2. Add your comment, proof read it.
  3. Click on the green "Add Comment" button.

Actual clarification: I'm dealing more with the how-to than with the etiquette here :) This post is a WIP, that's why it's incomplete.


ADD REPLYlink modified 14 months ago • written 3.3 years ago by RamRS21k
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