Forum:Posting questions on Biostars without Googling or a preliminary Literature search
0
0
Entering edit mode
5.1 years ago
Rohit ★ 1.5k

Dear Biostar'ers

Lately, there has been a trend of people asking questions on biostars without googling, minimal literature search or even checking if it has been asked previously. Most of these questions are from people who have opened an account on biostars very recently, or visit the website as one-time consultants.

Many community members tend to answer the questions swiftly, while some of the frequentists of biostars point out to the question being asked earlier. I believe the members are not here to solve someone's homework or help through a LMGTFY approach.

Has there been a discussion already on how to avoid these one-time consultations which go around in circles? The moderators spend a lot of time on the web-site already, but is there some plan of restricting questions from being posted by brand-new accounts only after moderation, rather than moderating it after the question has been made public - What has been seen cannot be unseen, can it?

Google Literature Questioning Forum • 1.3k views
ADD COMMENT
4
Entering edit mode

Clearly you missed this discussion we had on the topic a few weeks ago: guiding for posting better questions

This is a user education issue and unfortunately there is no good solution since we run the risk of alienating new users by introducing any restristions on posts (I think there is still a restriction on number of posts new users can do in a day. In fact all users (including mods) have that restriction since I have encountered it once or twice having responded to many things in a single day).

One of the reasons this behavior happens is because the search engine included on main page on Biostars is, let me see how to put it in a good way, not user friendly (at least I find it very much so). That probably is one of the causes of the phenomenon you describe. @Istvan had agreed in principle that it could be replaced with a different option.

We had talked about putting questions on hold so the OP can show that they have done some work towards solving the problem (either by search or thought). That may not work so well either since there are many new Biostars users who are eager to help (with the search or an answer).

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

Newbie-friendliness i.e. to post quickly and easily - I do agree must never be restricted. But isn't it the users responsibility to do a minimal google-search or to read a bit before posting a question. Are there ways to encourage such a thought process through the community rather than just be a consultant for a question which has been asked repeatedly or could be solved with a basic internet search. I wonder if basic literature review is missing from the science enthusiasts these days???

I definitely missed that post, so this post by itself is a redundancy already. I probably put this in the wrong way - I did not mean restricting the new users from posting, but rather providing suggestions on what has been already asked or just putting the question on hold from being posted prior moderation. I guess the moderators know quite well if it needs to be posted so that we encourage better science than a one-time consultant searching answers for homework.

I do agree the search engine on the main page is not the best, but googling the question directly takes you to the appropriate page. Does this mean there is a need to provide a google search for the first question posted by a newbie before the question can be moderated?

I do agree that even though some questions are commented regarding what has been tried earlier, there are enthusiasts who answer the question in-order to help (this has been the motto of the site from the beginning). But can the questions be put on hold in such a way that only after they show that some prior effort was put in, only then further comments or answers can be added (I suppose this was my question from the beginning)?

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

I think the majority of the posts are still good and useful so there is no need for drastic changes. In addition, you propose that moderators should first check questions whether those are good enough, but that's not something I agree with because it does put the judgment-call in the hands of the moderators while it's preferable that everyone can judge whether they want to reply or not.

ADD REPLY
2
Entering edit mode

My two cents: I'd rather deal with a bit more noise than dissuade new folks from asking questions quickly and easily.

As an aside, we can remove posts so they're no longer viewable (the "delete" option, which can be undone). However I'm at least personally of the opinion that this should be restricted to things like spam or accidental double posts.

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

While it's true that some question could be resolved by browsing the forum, I believe for newcomers to bioinformatics everything can be rather daunting and hard to make sense of. It might not be immediately clear for them that their question was asked before and we can help them to find related threads.

We are indeed not here to solve homework or questions which can be solved by google, but we are by no means obliged to respond. If we don't feel like answering a question, we don't and that's the end of it.

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

Since the majority of these types of questions are by new members to the site, would it be possible to add a guidelines or site usage page (e.g., how to ask a good scientific question or similar) at registration?

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

That has also been discussed in the past. If I recollect right @Istvan had said that there is no space to post those guidelines on the main page and/or make new users read through those (since that would increase the activation energy needed for new users before they can post).

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

I was thinking more of a workflow that takes a new user to the guidelines page upon registration (no sense of how easy/hard it would be to implement). That shouldn't be too much of a deterrent from joining/posting.

And, while I recognize that there's no way to compel reading, I suspect that many/most such posts are out of ignorance rather than laziness (perhaps I am too optimistic). At least, it would help us to discriminate the users who want to follow guidelines from the jerks less community-minded individuals.

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

That would be a nice idea. A category for posting workflows for people who are interested to share. I have seen many sharing theirs on blogs, would be nice to assimilate them on biostars too :)

Edit - Guess this is already done on the tutorials, I am going around in circles here.

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

By 'workflow', I was referring to the behavior of the site i.e., when a new user selects 'register' (or whatever the correct procedure is) it takes them to a 'welcome/guidelines' page. It seems like you're recommending a method to post analytical workflows, which is different.

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode
ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

Oops - I should have followed the guidelines before posting...

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

It's rather ironic that we keep referring to older discussions in a discussion about searching for older discussions.

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

That is because @Rohit did not search biostars before posting the original question :) (@Rohit take this comment in jest).

We have completed the circle for this round. Until next time someone else brings this up ...

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

I do agree, I should have done my LMGTFY before posting this. I think I just need more coffee after lunch - alas coffee is the answer to everything ;)

I have to finally add WouterdeCoster made me realize something, for newcomers everything in bioinformatics might be daunting, I can relate to this experience when I started my first project and biostars was there to help :)

ADD REPLY

Login before adding your answer.

Traffic: 1709 users visited in the last hour
Help About
FAQ
Access RSS
API
Stats

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

Powered by the version 2.3.6