31 Replies Latest reply: Jul 11, 2012 8:10 AM by PECourtejoie RSS

    Community Help messages

    Claudio González MVP

      I was disconcerted by the following message from Community Help:

       

      http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1031662?tstart=0

       

      First, there is for me a lack of logic in the message itself. Thinking that this could be due to a faulty translation, I looked for a recent similar message in English, and the fault is also there:

       

      Answer.JPG

       

      You see, there is no question in the message, but is says "this question was posted in response to the following article" (my emphasis), then it gives a link to an article, period. No response to anything.

       

      The situation is even more disconcerting in the forum in Spanish (one single forum for all Adobe products), as there is no indication whatsoever to the product the message refers to. True, in the case of the forum in Spanish, the message from Community Help is followed by a question from a participant which may or may not be related with the article in the link (which is fairly long so I didn't feel like checking if it did). In the case of the message in the screenshot above there is no second message, so it's difficult for me to imagine in answer to what was the message posted.

       

      Am I being much more dumb than usual, or there is some lack of logic in this?

        • 1. Re: Community Help messages
          pwillener ACP/MVPs

          A possibility: someone posted spam or other moronic content, and a moderator deleted the message, but left the stem standing.

          • 2. Re: Community Help messages
            Claudio González MVP

            Pat Willener wrote:

             

            A possibility: someone posted spam or other moronic content, and a moderator deleted the message, but left the stem standing.

            Thanks, Pat, but one can respond to a previous message, not to a later one.

            • 3. Re: Community Help messages
              Dave Merchant ACP/MVPs

              What should have happened is the user's actual question (as they entered into the CH application) is appended as reply one to that thread - it's a bit of a fiddle but the only way to get the CH system to post into the forums. Unfortunately there are some edge case scenarios where the question doesn't make it through - the engineers are aware of this and working on it.

              • 4. Re: Community Help messages
                Claudio González MVP

                Thanks, Dave, but I am still unable to follow the logic of this:

                 

                This question was posted in response to the following article

                 

                (my emphasis again), because:


                1. there is no question in the message, either original or in response to something;
                2. if "this question" refers to the following message by a participant (which you say should appear always but sometimes doesn't), that message is not responding anything but formulating a question, and
                3. hopefully the answer to the question in that message would be contained in the article on the link.

                 

                Not being a native English speaker, I feel it's almost presumptuous of me to suggest an alternative but, wouldn't something along these lines be at least a little more logical?

                 

                This is a link to an article that responds (to) the question in the following/the next message:

                 

                (link here).

                 

                (no doubt native English speakers should be able to produce better sounding alternatives).

                 

                And perhaps the situation would be even more clear if the message with the original question could be appended/quoted in the message from Community Help.

                 


                • 5. Re: Community Help messages
                  Jacob Bugge MVP

                  You are quite right, Claudio.

                   

                  The rather strange thing to express is that someone read an article and posted a question about it in (some other place called) Community Help, and now the article and question form the beginning of the current thread here (in the hopefully relevant forum).

                   

                  I would suggest something like this:

                   

                  This article gave rise to the question below, originally posted in Community help:

                   

                  [Article link]

                   

                   

                   

                  I believe there is no reason to muddle things even more by stating the fact that the contents of the forum thread is mirrored in Community Help (and also the other way round).

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  As far as I remember, other threads about the matter seem to imply that there is no (easy) way to create an OP with both the article and the question, which would be (more) self explanatory.

                  • 6. Re: Community Help messages
                    Dave Merchant ACP/MVPs

                    The grammar of the title "This question was posted in response to the following article" is correct.

                     

                    An expansion would be "The question you see below was posted after someone had been reading article XXX on Community Help".

                     

                    The article is not the answer, but it left the reader still wondering something. The CH bot includes a link to the article from which the reader posted their message, so we can see what they were reading at the time. Over on the CH server the 'question' appears as a comment on the article, and any forum replies are also shown there as responses to the comment. The initial post by the CH bot is just a way to ensure a new thread is created in the right place, but the 'real' conversation happens in the replies.

                    • 7. Re: Community Help messages
                      Jacob Bugge MVP

                      The grammar of the title "This question was posted in response to the following article" is correct.

                       

                      Quite true, Dave, it just makes no (good) sense as Claudio has pointed out.

                       

                      The grammar of the sentence "The three of us agree  on this" is also correct, but the sentence would be quite misleading.

                       

                      The first words of your expansion,

                       

                      The question you see below ...

                       

                      would make things clearer, and seems to be in line with my OP suggestion:

                       

                      This article gave rise to the question below, originally posted in Community help:

                       

                      [Article link]

                       

                      Evidently, I am still with Claudio here.

                      • 8. Re: Community Help messages
                        Claudio González MVP

                        Dave, I never questioned the grammar of the message, only its logic, which is absolutely wrong, at least to this non native English speaker. How can this question (not the following, but this) in a message with no question be posted in answer to an article?

                         

                        As I couldn't understand what was happening, I asked the poster of message #1 in this thread http://forums.adobe.com/thread/988908?tstart=30 how he had managed to get into the forums, and he said he never did, and in fact he didn't even know he was participating in ther forum (message #6, although this will not be very helpful here because the whole thread is in Spanish). He said he was using Illustrator (which I don't have so I cannot check how this works), had a doubt, pressed F1 to go to a Help manual, and clicked on a "discuss this page" button to post his question when he didn't find or didn't understand the answer he was looking for. As I now know, this automatically originated two parallel threads: one in the Help manual, and one in these forums.

                         

                        This may be very useful for those trying to improve the Help manual, but is very confusing for those of us participanting in the Forum in Spanish, a single forum for all Adobe products. Even more so in those cases where the question triggering this process in not posted after the message from CH. When this happens (and it does), one finds a link to an article that includes no question. I wonder what is expected then of participants in the forum. In the Forum in Spanish we have at least one case of a single participant contributing with a one sentence answer to an inexistent question; none of the others has received any further message.

                         

                        All I have tried to do by opening this thread is to try to get a more clear and rational explanation of the process for people participating in these forums. I don't know how the process develops in the forumS in English, but in the cases in the Forum in Spanish where the poster of the original question has received any useful help, the opening message from CH has been simply ignored. More clearly: the discussion has started from the question in message #1, as if the message from CH did not exist. And it has proceeded without the poster of the original question ever being aware that he is been answered by fellow users participating in a different forum, or the helpers knowing they are asking someone who may well not know that these forums exist.

                         

                        In short: the message from CH is unclear at best, and at least in the case of the Forum in Spanish, it leads to discussions where the original poster and his/her helpers have no obvious way of knowing that they are participating in different forums. Is it too much to ask to try to make the situation clear for all?

                        • 9. Re: Community Help messages
                          Noel Carboni Community Member

                          I have seen two such threads now, with no actual question following. 

                           

                          We can probably just assume it was business as usual, with the typical level of Adobe quality that permeates throughout.

                           

                          I hate to think of what the person who was interested enough to try to take time to leave a message at the bottom of a help page thought of Adobe when this transpired.

                           

                          -Noel

                          • 10. Re: Community Help messages
                            the_wine_snob Community Member

                            Noel & Claudio,

                             

                            When the Community Help "system" was first implemented, there were NO questions, only the slightly oddly worded Community Help post, that was generated here. Most could not see the question, unless they backtracked to the Help File for that product, or family.

                             

                            Then, the actual questions, that generated the Community Help posts DID show, but like Noel, I have recently seen several, where the question was no longer displayed.

                             

                            Not sure what "fixed" things for a bit, or what "broke them," or whether there are paths, that can still lead to no question being displayed?

                             

                            For a bit, I did see those questions displayed below the Community Help initial posts.

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Community Help messages
                              Claudio González MVP

                              Bill, I have no reason to question what you say, but it seems to me to be irrelevant to my main point: why can't the message from CH be worded in such a way that people can understand what is happening? At least in the Forum in Spanish, I see questioners who don't know they are receiving answers from fellow users who post them in a separate forum, and answerers who don't know they are addressing someone who is nor paticipating in the forum. Not to mention the occasional message with a link but without any question...

                              • 12. Re: Community Help messages
                                Jacob Bugge MVP

                                why can't the message from CH be worded in such a way that people can understand what is happening?

                                 

                                Exactly.

                                 

                                With regard to the understandability to native/non native English speakers, this thread,

                                 

                                http://forums.adobe.com/message/4219547#4219547

                                 

                                was based upon, and linked to, this thread,

                                 

                                http://forums.adobe.com/message/4205555#4205555?tstart=0#4205555

                                 

                                where the first real poster (of the second post) gave an excellent interpretation of the (lack of) meaning of the OP from a British English perspective.

                                 

                                In the first link you will also see the question from Pierre,

                                 

                                Would a different wording on the original thread help in some way?

                                 

                                which further proves that there has been an awareness about the issue for a while, so it makes sense to change the wording so it makes sense.

                                • 13. Re: Community Help messages
                                  Claudio González MVP

                                  Jacob , thanks for the links. I should be most grateful if someone could explain to me in which way this discussion can be of any help for any Illustrator user looking for help in the Help program:

                                   

                                  http://forums.adobe.com/message/4205555#4205555?tstart=0#4205555

                                   

                                  In other words, what does the average user gain by having discussions mirrored?

                                  • 14. Re: Community Help messages
                                    the_wine_snob Community Member

                                    Well, for a period of time, there were NO questions listed in Community Help, in any language.

                                     

                                    Then, they DID begin to appear, though as I only monitor English forums, I have to take your example as gospel, that though the question was written in Spanish, they ONLy appeared in English. Not the correct way to do it, as far as I am concerned.

                                     

                                    Now, it appears that many are again lacking ANY question showing, in ANY language.

                                     

                                    I am commenting on what I see as a broader problem, a global problem, with the Community Help posts, and not just one of languages. While I completely agree with you, concerning the language of the question, if there are NO questions being posted along with the Community Help post, I see a bigger issue.

                                     

                                    Good luck,

                                     

                                    Hunt

                                    • 15. Re: Community Help messages
                                      PECourtejoie ACP

                                      Claudio, the community help had a functionnality in which users could bring additional comments, corrections or links relevant to the topic at hand. It allowed many changes, and enhancements in the help files. (hence the "community" in its name) It especially welcomed linking to third-party content, and allowed "rightful" advertizing to one's site.

                                       

                                      To foster comments, Adobe gave a points system, and appointed moderators, to help curate the comments.

                                       

                                      But, over time, many users of the help files began to ask questions when a topic was not clear, or use the feedback mechanism to ask questions, sometimes remotely related with the article they were commenting on.

                                       

                                      Adobe recognized this, and saw that most of the moderators spent a lot of time answering questions, while there are also forums dedicated to this very function, and where hundreds of other posters could help. I guess that it what prompted them to link Community help with the forums.

                                       

                                      That said, I do agree that the phrase used to introduce the question could be re-worded, like it was skillfully done in this very thread.

                                       

                                      Add to the confusion the fact that sometimes, some users do not finish asking the question, or delete it somehow, creating "empty threads" with the confusing sentence outlined earlier.

                                       

                                      Rest assure that this discussion, like many others will be brought to the ears of the powers that be, but I can't promise an immediate change, even if it would be very welcome, and would help reduce confusion.

                                       

                                      Ideally, there should be a way to limit posts to ACH, like comments or additions (even if they would be useful in there), and redirect only the questions to the forums.

                                      • 16. Re: Community Help messages
                                        Claudio González MVP

                                        Hello, Pierre, I had been missing you in this thread, as I think that similar problems must ocurr in the Forum in French. But first, an observation about this thread.

                                         

                                        I found your message very helpful, as it explains clearly and briefly how we got to the point where we are, and also because you say you will do your best to have this situation corrected, which I believe without any doubt that you will do. But when I went to mark your message as helpful, I saw this:

                                         

                                        Pierre.jpg

                                        Now, I couldn't possibly have marked your post as helpful before seeing it, so obviously I didn't do it. So, my question is: who has the authority to mark a post as helpful before the original poster has had a chance to read it? I always understood it was a privilege of the OP to mark a post as helpful or as the "correct" answer (and I don't agree with the latter). And I strongly object to any bulldozer crushing on my right to decide what I found useful or useless in any given thread.

                                         

                                        As for the rest: thanks for your lucid explanation and for your promisse to try to help. Pity that Adobe seems to have formed almost impregnable barriers to the opinions of users of their products and of these forums...

                                        • 17. Re: Community Help messages
                                          Jacob Bugge MVP

                                          Claudio,

                                           

                                          I believe the How do I earn points section in this document has something to do with it:

                                           

                                          http://forums.adobe.com/docs/DOC-2327

                                           

                                          As far as I know, for a while moderators have been able to tick answers as Correct/Helpful instead/on behalf of, and even overruling, the OP, thus also distributing points.

                                           

                                          Edit: And what I am going to say a few minutes ago.

                                          • 18. Re: Community Help messages
                                            Jacob Bugge MVP

                                            Pierre,

                                             

                                            I also wish to thank you for taking care of the issue.

                                            • 19. Re: Community Help messages
                                              Noel Carboni Community Member

                                              Jacob Bugge wrote:

                                               

                                               

                                              Edit: And what I am going to say a few minutes ago.

                                               

                                               

                                               

                                              Now, how many edits did it take to get that just right?

                                               

                                              -Noel

                                              • 20. Re: Community Help messages
                                                Claudio González MVP

                                                Jacob, it may be in the rules, but I most strongly object to anyone else deciding if any given message has been helpful for me.

                                                • 21. Re: Community Help messages
                                                  Claudio González MVP

                                                  Incidentally, if mods were one tenth as zelous in the Reader forum, I'd have quite a lot of points. From all those messages telling poor lost souls how to install Reader who never come back to say thanks, it worked.

                                                  • 22. Re: Community Help messages
                                                    Jacob Bugge MVP

                                                    Claudio,

                                                     

                                                    I agree completely.

                                                    • 23. Re: Community Help messages
                                                      Jacob Bugge MVP

                                                      Noel,

                                                       

                                                      Just one. I edited, realized the opportunity, added the edit, took a deep breath, and pressed the button, hoping to be in time before a reply but not in time to be too early.

                                                      • 24. Re: Community Help messages
                                                        PECourtejoie ACP

                                                        Claudio, as Jacob pointed it out, moderators and selected Adobe staff can mark a post as Correct or Helpful. I did not do it with mine.

                                                         

                                                        It's been that way in community help for years, and here as well.

                                                        It is useful when there are posters using email, or to still point out helpful/correct posts in discussions with "hit and runners".

                                                        Especially the "correct" tag that marks the thread as such.

                                                         

                                                        As shown on your screenshot, you can still "untag" helpful or corrects post if you feel so.

                                                        Maybe another mod/Adobe Employee wanted to give a nod to my explanation...

                                                         

                                                        I don't get what you mean with the barrier between Adobe and its customers, this very forum, and the Adobe participation therein are the proofs that they care, and more than before!

                                                        • 25. Re: Community Help messages
                                                          Claudio González MVP

                                                          Pierre, I already undestood that moderators and selected staff have the faculty to mark posts as correct or helpful. This may be beneficial or not, I am not sure, but that's not my point. What I object to is to anyone marking a post as correct or helpful before the original poster has had a chance to read it (unless in those cases where the OP doesn't come back in months or even weeks). It's just a matter of minimum courtesy. In this specific case, if I had answered to your post without marking it in any way, and anyone in the selected group had thought that your message was either correct or helpful, I wouldn't have minded his/her marking it accordingly. After all, I can always remove that rating if I don't agree with it, as you justly remark.

                                                           

                                                          However, your message had been marked as helpful before I saw it, thus depriving me of the pleasure of marking it as such myself. I may be too old, but this was to me a very unpleasant example of bad manners. And I hope that nobody suggests that I had the option of "untagging" your message so as to "tag" it again myself...

                                                           

                                                          As for the barrier between Adobe and users, despite the very valuable efforts form people like you, the list of unattended complaints/suggestions is unfortunately ever growing. A sad example were all those many months before the move of these forums to the Jive software, when too many of us spent a lot of time making countless suggestions for the new version to come, all of which were just thrown to the drain. And all the suggestions for improving the second new version of some weeks ago that remain unattended, while we experience frequent changes such as a new clasification of participants, salamis replaced by "+" signs, different backgrounds of messages from different types of participant that are more confusing that helpful, and the like.

                                                           

                                                          Unfortunately, both these matters would really deserve to be discussed in new, separate tghreads.

                                                           


                                                          • 26. Re: Community Help messages
                                                            PECourtejoie ACP

                                                            I think that there is no way, if you did not reply for the other person to know if you had visited the thread. If he/she sees this discussion, maybe will they post a word rather than tag it with helpful (it might be a facebook/twitter habit) But I can understand your frustration, it might feel like someone opened a letter adressed to you (with the difference that a forum is public)

                                                             

                                                            As for the suggestions to the current forum, we had several iterations, and several items have been implemented.

                                                            Also, the "changes" are mostly skinning or interface ones, I don't think that there is a way to implement new functionality. (And I'd also like new features, such as I'd like to have a checkmark for threads I posted in, or a full history of what I did)

                                                            • 27. Re: Community Help messages
                                                              Claudio González MVP

                                                              Pierre, your message was marked as helpful within minutes of your posting it, and certainly before I answered it. In a fast paced thread like this, I think it would be polite to wait for, say, a day without the OP posting an answer to a message before deciding for the OP that the message had been helpful for him/her.

                                                               

                                                              It seems that I am getting too old fashioned, so it's not worth spending more time discussing this matter.

                                                              • 28. Re: Community Help messages
                                                                Dave Merchant ACP/MVPs

                                                                From behind the scenes we can't tell who sets the post status on a message, nor who's read which reply. Unless the host comes back and admits to it, who tagged the helpful post will remain a mystery - sorry.

                                                                 

                                                                Generally we'll force marks on threads for two reasons - to allocate points to those who deserve the credit, and to clear the open question status so other users know it's been answered. Either way, we (are supposed to) wait until the OP has or hasn't taken action; though with some of the CH questions it's important to confirm the right answer quickly, so those reading via the application help system understand what's going on.

                                                                 

                                                                Back to the general point of the thread - all posts by CH are supposed to have a question as their first reply, it's clear that a small number are going wrong at the moment, but it's not obvious why.

                                                                 

                                                                If anyone sees a CH post without a question please click the Report button, file it as 'general abuse', and we can then pass it to the engineers as quickly as possible.

                                                                • 29. Re: Community Help messages
                                                                  Claudio González MVP

                                                                  It seems that I am absolutely unable to present my case in a way that it is understood by others. Therefore, it's not worth wasting more time on this.

                                                                   

                                                                  In case anyone is interested, my case is well summed up in my message #11 above:

                                                                   

                                                                  why can't the message from CH be worded in such a way that people can understand what is happening?

                                                                  • 30. Re: Community Help messages
                                                                    Noel Carboni Community Member

                                                                    Well, to be fair you kind of took it off topic with your discussion about others marking posts as helpful.

                                                                     

                                                                    By the way, that sentence sums it up nicely - I finally got it.  However, I think you wish for too much that it should all work right AND make sense at the same time.  This is Adobe we're talking about, remember?

                                                                     

                                                                    -Noel

                                                                    • 31. Re: Community Help messages
                                                                      PECourtejoie ACP

                                                                      And that's the part (rewording the CH threads) that has been forwarded to the relevant persons, don't worry!