View Full Version : Mixed messages generating unnecessary questions?

Forrest Gumpp
February 21st, 2008, 02:09 AM
I recently went to post my first question on the Forum. Upon being taken to the appropriate login page I saw this message:

"Notice: When you enter a thread title the system will search for similar threads which have already been posted. That should help you to find answers."

I entered my (carefully considered) question title.

The page then gave me a message to the effect of: "There are no similar threads to your question. Go ahead and post."

Now had I been ready (as I usually would have been with an ordinary post) with the full content of my intended post already on the clipboard it would have been pasted and submitted on the spot. On this occasion I had to go to my Gedit desktop where I had already composed both title and post, select the body of the post, and return to the login/submission page to copy the text in. By the time I had done that there was a different message displaying, listing six possibly similar threads, one of which had the answer to the question I was asking!

Should it be that a significant proportion of members pre-compose their posts, it seems possible that many of them may be getting the first message but missing out on the second entirely, simply because they are ready to submit and expect no further result from the question submission comparison/search function.

If this is a general experience, might it not be better to display as a first message something like: "Please wait while the system searches for similarly titled threads"? And have some sort of activity indicator or progress bar display until the search either completes or fails to find anything similar.

This is just a first impression from a new user. I hope it may be of some help.

PS It occurs to me that terms being entered into the general search function may well in many cases be different to what amount to keywords in the title submitted. My first impression is that the title submission search/comparison beats the pants off the general search function for the same subject matter. The title comparator is not named Hal by any chance, is it? "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do ....."

February 21st, 2008, 09:47 AM
to be honest, most people I know do not pre-compose their messages...

Forrest Gumpp
February 22nd, 2008, 11:27 AM
Something similar to what I have (perhaps mistakenly) identified as a glitch occurred again on the opening post submission page to the Community Cafe forum when I started this thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=703856

On this occasion the message that there were no similar threads, and that I should post my question, came up. This time I waited quite a while to see whether any new message would take its place. Nothing did. I moused over the text, but it did not come up as a clickable link. I then left clicked at the start of the message in order to select this text for copying, just for the sake of having an accurate record of the message displayed. (Maybe I should have gone for a screenshot instead.)

As soon as I clicked the message vanished, to be replaced by a different message that "the following threads appeared to be similar and that I should read them first to see if there was an answer to my question already on record", or words to that effect.

I can only wonder as to whether the second message would have displayed if I had proceeded straight to posting my question into the submission pane. If it didn't, and this behaviour of the page is at all common, you may have an explanation for at least some of the unnecessarily repeated questions to the Forums about which there is some complaint. Posters may quite simply not be seeing any message as to the existence of similar threads before they submit their post.

Am I missing something basic as to how I should use this feature or expect it to perform?