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Pet peeve - consolidating threads

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box & Feedback' started by electricpete, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'm thankful for mods in general and I know they do things for a purpose. But one thing I've noticed is a propensity to stuff new threads into a vaguely-related run-on thread.

    I'm not picking on one particular one, but just need an example:

    Original post is distorted sounds.
    New post is a way to unlink notification sound and ringer sound.
    Hey, they're both related to sound, let's just stuff 'em together. Why not?

    I'll tell you some reasons why not:
    1 - the subject is different.
    2 - People following the original thread will see this unrelated topic and be annoyed by off-topic question at the end of a thread (they don't know it was the moderator rather than op that put it there)
    3 - People looking for info on the new topic will never find it because it's buried at the end of an unrelated topic.
    4 - The op's post can be distorted by completely deleting the subject line which is in some cases has important info (matybe not this particular case, but I had an android wear version number erased from my post because mod saw fit to combine it and deleted title in the process).
    5 - responses change. I didn't quote the op because I was in a one-person thread. Now that the thread has been moved to a run-on marathon thread, I certainly would have quoted so people could make sense of the flow of the conversation.
    6 - Roll several confusions like 1, 2, 4, 5 into one long thread (with many merges) on multiple problems, sometimes intermixed (people responding to different questions in the same thread) and you have a mess that nobody can follow or wants to follow.

    The list goes on and on. Imo very little benefit is gained from merging questions into a long thread and almost always things are made muddier. I have at least 5 original posts of mine from moto 360 forum that were merged into topics that I didn't consider they belonged in (that's why I posted them as separate threads). I complained once on the forum in detail explaining exactly why my post should not be moved and had my complaint deleted. So I complained by PM and my PM was ignored. It was a little frustrating, so I didn't bother contesting all those ones that came after. Maybe that was a bad idea because it has been grating at me more than it should. But the specifics of any of these is probably beside the point (I could resurrect the details of the five merges I found objectionable if requested, but not sure that would suit a productive purpose at this point). My main point is that it seems whatever effort is put into this consolidation has primarily negative returns.

    #1 electricpete, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016

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  2. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...

    Thanks for the feedback. Not my call on that thread, sometimes it tough to tell when a merge is right and when it isn't. My preference is to let new question threads stand alone, but sometimes it is to the user's benefit to be merged, especially in situations like task killers, system cleaners, or rom questions.
    Thom, tube517, olbriar and 2 others like this.
  3. KOLIO

    KOLIO Guest

    I'm all for merging whenever feasible/possible & will take the small margin of error with it:
    Just check out the thread counts on the more popular devices & you'll see why I favor aggressive merging.
    The search function is hit-or-miss on just about every similar site I've visited,so,you're left swimming through sometimes thousands of threads looking for a answer.
    Weeding out via merging,IMHO,makes for a quicker & more fruitful search.
    electricpete likes this.
  4. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well, I hope everyone would agree that the particular merge linked above was detrimental to both topics.

    You’re hoping to make things easier to find…. by moving them? Think about that….it certainly won’t make them easier to find for the people that participated in them before they were moved (op and me in the linked case). That’s already a guaranteed inconvenience which we only *hope* will be outweighed by the convenience of some unknown hypothetical searchers that we think might benefit from viewing this particular content within a long-runon thread.

    And much more importantly: the long run-on thread syndrome discourages detailed discussion of individual cases. I posted very detailed sequence of things that were associated with a one-time rapid battery drop on my moto 360 into a unique thread. It was promptly deposited into the end of a generic battery life thread. I’m sorry but I already know what kinds of things affect battery life in general (and if I didn’t know but wanted generalities, I’d google it!). But what I wanted was a detailed back and forth discussion of my particular symptoms. It isn’t going to happen in a long thread where no-one can keep track of my particular symptoms and separate them from the guy that posted before me and the guy that’ll post two posts later than me (and sure enough, it didn’t happen).

    I hope you can see the theme I keep hitting is there are many many things that can go wrong when you hack away at carefully constructed and (sometimes) carefully placed threads. I don’t think there should be a predisposition to merge when uncertain. Mod shouldn’t merge unless he fully understands the questions AND feels strongly that there is benefit from moving. And there should be no pressure on mod to merge anything he hasn’t studied carefully. I observe the mods in general to be very knowledgeable, courteous and thorough in almost all interactions…. and that observation doesn’t square with this seemingly indiscriminant merging unless maybe there is some policy or quota that pressures the mods to merge baby merge :)

    That's just my take. My personal experience: every time I see one of my new threads is moved to obscurity/obfuscation at the end of a run-on thread, I get annoyed and realize on the spot that I might as well give up on getting the useful specific info I was seeking.
    #4 electricpete, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    whitehat, Gmash and KOLIO like this.
  5. KOLIO

    KOLIO Guest

    Both sides of this coin have their strong points & Achilles heel,the potential for human error is present & always will exist.
    We try our best & do have all points of view in mind & consider all equal here.
    FWIW,the guides have no more control of merging than anyone else that is not a staffer.

    My comments on being a strong proponent for merging stem from the non-stop repeat post topics,most of which do not need yet another thread to address the same exact item.From my seat,a lot of the repeats are pure laziness,not even bothering to look,not even once,rapid fire question/new thread after question/new thread,as if the topic was never discussed before.

    To be quite honest & blunt,the ones screaming HHHHHAAAAALLLLPPPP or something akin to it,I usually ignore.
    It's a sure sign that they are not even trying & seem to think we're all clairvoyant,knowing the make/model of their phone/what they've loaded up/etc...
    It's akin to going to the Dr & saying "I don't feel good,FIX ME",without elaborating on the minimum of detail.

    It's a two way street,go by the golden rule & 99 out of 100 times,a question/post will be treated in the proper manner.
    whitehat and electricpete like this.
  6. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I forgot another potential pitfall of merging threads illustrated in my original link: The new post was not only merged into an unrelated post, but it was merged into an unrelated post that was marked ANSWERED. But the new guy's post isn't answered. And no-one knows there's a non-answered unrelated question hidden at the bottom of that answered thread on unrelated topic.

    So add that to the list of many things that can and do go wrong when merging.

    I get that the site needs to cope with large number of posts in the vein you described (newbies who didn't search and asked very general question without even providing relevant details). I don't feel any of my merged posts fell anywhere close to that. If there is need to screen a large volume without carefully reading them, then maybe a glance at who is posting (newbie or regular) and the length/detail of the post might be helpful part of the screening (longer posts by regulars may merit a few more seconds review before getting out the shovel).
    #6 electricpete, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  7. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

  8. KOLIO

    KOLIO Guest

    As I stated ,it's not a perfect world.
    This example could probably use a another look.
    If nothing else ,take pride in this has been an eye opener,learning/training/refresher opportunity for all here. :thumbsupdroid:
    Since I don't merge threads,I cannot say how/if it's possible/feasible to put things back to where they were/need to be.
    One thing I will promise to you & anyone else:
    I will look/read even more than I do now before requesting a merge.
    I don't take the subject lightly at all,I've been in your situation,I think we all have at one point.
    One thing I do try to keep in mind is my 1st days/weeks here.I was as green as can be,not just to Android,but,PCs as well.
    I received a lot of help from a lot of folks here & I try my best to afford that same level of attention to anyone else here if I feel I can be of assistance.
    whitehat likes this.
  9. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    My November 10th post in this thread was originally separate with the actual android wear app version number in the title. Got merged into a thread on an earlier completely different update and in the process threw away my title. What we have here is a mess. Maybe regulars who have been following can piece from the timeline which posts are talking about which version. A new guy stumbling in will have no idea what version came out when and where he stands in relation to the thread. I tried to improve the situation by creating a new thread with an actual software version number in the title. It was not allowed to stand as such.
    #9 electricpete, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  10. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    My post October 15 here was originally a separate thread. My subject concerned one time battery drain. It's thrown into a collection of "battery life" which is not the same thing as one-time battery drain. On top of that I now know some of the regulars view these run-on threads as garbage heap upon which to throw newbie posts not worthy of specific response (that's sort of what you said Kolio although I've twisted it a little to emphasize my point)... so who's really going to see it. I did get some response for which I'm appreciative, but I think it would have been more if we didn't hide my post on the end of that heap devoted to a different subject (which is why I didn't post it there to begin with)
    #10 electricpete, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  11. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'm sure there were a few more threads of mine that had been merged, but I wasn't able to track them down.

    I'm not requesting any change to my old threads. If I see anything like that in the future, I'll just report it for review on a case by case basis using the PM or report tools.
    #11 electricpete, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
    KOLIO and Mikestony like this.
  12. KOLIO

    KOLIO Guest

    You're a good man,EP. :thumbsupdroid:

    Have you considered/thought about/wishing to become a Guide/Staffer?

    JMHO,you have all the makings of a fine addition here @A/F.
  13. whitehat

    whitehat Android Enthusiast

    Both you, KOLIO, and EP have valid points. I think part of the problem is with thread titles. Which of these titles is better?

    ' Audio problem' or
    'Intermittent audio with headphones'

    How do we encourage people to be as specific in the title as possible? Would someone merge a headphone audio thread with a Bluetooth to car audio problem thread?
    Gmash and KOLIO like this.
  14. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.

    I'll only combine support question threads if they have the exact same issue, so I wouldn't merge those.
  15. We went through an era of combining in the Bionic period. At one point there were five apparently duplicate threads in the same forum. After two days they had al diverged into different directions. Each conversation was worth while.

    It is really tough to predict direction. I concluded that combining should be an absolute minimum.

    ... Thom
    Gmash likes this.
  16. Gmash

    Gmash Extreme Android User

    I agree that merging is rarely helpful to either party. The original thread gets muddled with out of order posts, ruining the flow of conversation. The new posts get tacked on at the end, but it's doubtful the person will go back and read that thread from the beginning anyway, they'll probably just give up and go away. Myself, I say "so what" if people ask the same question over and over. You'll never stop them, and either someone will answer, or they won't. I realize that some people's OCD will compel them to try to clean up the clutter, but it's kind of a waste of time. We all know the search function sucks (especially considering the vague thread titles, as whitehat pointed out), plus most won't look past the first page anyway.
    electricpete and KOLIO like this.
  17. KOLIO

    KOLIO Guest

    You have some valid points.
    At least for me,it's not an OCD thing,just trying to make search a little more useful.

    I think a middle ground solution would work in place of some or most mergeing:
    The thread titles that are obviously vague "HAAAAALLLPPPPP/BRIKKKKEED/SOS/etc"......need a more precise thread title.
    Whether that helps the search function,IDK,but,it would help those who scan the thread titles for the proper/useful threads.
    electricpete and Gmash like this.
  18. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Related pet peeve is merging two consecutive unrelated posts by a single author in a single thread.
    • It makes it hard for author or readers to identify what time the individaul posts were made.
    • It makes it hard for anyone to identify there is something new in the thread (because the new content is merged with the old).
    • It makes it hard to distinguish which of the unrelated ideas were "liked"
    • In some cases it makes it harder to separate the two ideas because the structure (separate posts) created by author of those posts is disrupted.

    If I wanted to combine my two consecutive posts, I would have. That in itself should be enough signal to leave it alone. I see zero benefit from such combination. It is simply an irritation every time I see it happen to my posts. Particularly the Moto 360 forum where it is a regular occurrence.
  19. Xyro

    Xyro 4 8 15 16 23 42

    Not that convention guarantees being correct, but double posting (in quick succession) is generally seen as bad forum ettiquete, and indeed, is a commonly held pet peeve.

    What sorts of posts are you seeing being merged? Many of these are, I would guess, accidental double posts merged together (in lieu of deleting one) or the results of new members cross-posting to multiple sections and having their threads merged.
  20. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Post ANYthing in moto360 forum in consecutive posts (same thread, with no posts between), and it WILL be merged. It doesn't matter if it's a completely different aspect of the thread or if the two posts are hours apart. I've reported the last two occurrences using the thread report tool, but I have the feeling it would be bad form to post them here. (If I'm mistaken, then let me know). It is very annoying. There is no logic or benefit that I can detect.

    The only concern I can see is if someone views the thread twice and gets annoyed to see not much difference in the discussion.
    It does not apply when the 2nd post is completely different aspect of the thread than the first.

    In contrast if people go back and edit their first post hours later to add different content (rather than creating new post with new content), there's a good chance that readers will miss the new information because no indication of a new post appears.
    #20 electricpete, Mar 3, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  21. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Extreme Android User

    If I edit a post, I make a mention as a new post in the thread. Usually, unless it is still the last post.

    Personally, I think all threads that are similar on the same general topic should be merged....
    that is what I do with my forum, and I am the boss there.
    KOLIO likes this.
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