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'It's already been mentioned on the thread'


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A thought occurred to me this morning, when I was dipping into one of the recent pages of the '16t minerals' thread.

 

 

A comment had been posted in response to a question regarding wheelbases. The reply was brief but informative and was followed by the comment that the subject 'had been previously covered in the thread'.

 

I have no doubt that the subject had already been previously covered and I did not see any implied criticism of the original questioner, in stating that fact. The truth is, that the matter had indeed already been discussed.

 

But the 16t minerals thread is already at 153 pages and has been going since 2011. Whilst it is an interesting thread and arguably one which I ought to be following more closely (given my own modelling interests), I do not visit it regularly and consequently have no idea where the wheelbase question had been discussed previously.

 

As such, I am happy to accept the statement that it had been, because given the nature of the query, the longevity of the thread and the in-depth knowledge of many of the participants, it must have been discussed already.

 

In all likelihood, it has probably been discussed more than once over the duration of the thread.

 

So, if someone is sufficiently knowledgeable to state, with assurance, that the matter 'has already been covered', that person has presumably got a good knowledge of the thread and (again, presumably) follows it reasonably closely.

 

Now, let me make it clear at this point that I am not criticising the person who stated 'it has been previously covered in the thread'. That person is by no means the only person to have made such a comment in the history of RMWeb. Perhaps I have done so myself.  Some have, indeed, made similar comments in a dismissive or critical tone, clearly criticising the questioner for not bothering to read the entire thread or perhaps to have undertaken some other research.

 

So, I am wondering, at what stage does it become unreasonable to expect someone to plough through 50 pages, 100 pages, 150 pages or even more of a thread, probably covering quite a few years, just to ensure that the question they need an answer to, hasn't already been answered before?

 

Look at this an alternative way, if there was a definite RMWeb Regulation that it was not permitted to ask something on any given thread, that had already been asked in the past, I would perhaps wade through 20+ pages myself, before seeking the information elsewhere. That could be books, elsewhere on the internet (including other fora) or perhaps asking a friend.

 

However, there is no such RMWeb Regulation, so I am left wondering 'what is reasonable?'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My apologies if this subject has also been covered elsewhere on the forum!

 

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On 20/11/2020 at 10:33, Captain Kernow said:

so I am left wondering 'what is reasonable?'

 

In such cases it may be wise for the poster to give a link to the pertinent post; this can be done from using the Share function accessed from the three dots at the top right of the post and incorporating the link into the response.

 

If it's evident that the person asking hasn't made the slightest effort to use the search facility in a meaningful fashion they may benefit from a good, long read. ;)

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That's a good question, and it's one that's not unique to RMweb, of course. Almost all online forums, mailing lists, newsgroups etc can have a problem with long-running threads that go on for so long that people have forgotten what was said at the beginning (and newcomers never read what was said at the beginning).

 

I don't think there's a simple answer, though. One forum I'm in solves it by having a maximm open time for every topic - once it reaches that limit then the thread is closed, and anyone wanting to continue discussing it has to start a new one. That does have the benefit that, a lot of the time, people can't be bothered, so it does create a neat cut-off anyway. But it is annoying if you're involved in an active discussion and the thread is suddenly closed beneath you.

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Funnily enough was only thinking exactly the same thing but for different reasons .... 3 posts running on issues with Bachmann Class 40s. I always try and post links to other thread but this here IPad has a mind of its own when it comes to copy and paste.....

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I think the problem with the search function is that sometimes it doesnt bring up what you are looking for. Sometimes, you have to use the exact phrasing that was used in the original post, and thats before we get onto typos skewing the search results!

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Searches are always an issue.... wide or narrow. And do all users understand the use of parenthesis is search strings?

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Finding things within a certain page is not too difficult, so maybe "it was mentioned very early on, maybe on page 2" may be helpful if the thread has grown to 20+ pages.

It doesn't help when someone posts a topic in the wrong section either. When people complain about this we are sometimes seen as petty.

The 3 buttons in the top left are also missed by many. I occasionally see people say things like "If a moderator sees this, could they...". Hit the report option & they will see it.

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I think Tim (OP) makes a good general point, actually. Some threads, not least those announcing new models that for various reasons take many years to come to market, are implausibly long. Some of us have the time to go through them - or indeed feel we grew up with them! - and search the info we might need about the model, but others do not.

 

There are also issues of the times in which we live, where instant gratification is now regarded as a birthright. So someone breezes in and actually cheerfully admits they haven't had time to read through the last 65 pages, but is the so-and-so like this or like that, please? Looking at their user name you discover that they registered half an hour ago and have no RMweb history. Some helpful members will cough up the answer, others seem not to feel so generous. Neither group is wrong IMHO, but as a grumpy olde ghytt I am probably more often in the latter group.

 

Years ago, before I came to RMweb, I frequented a DCC forum where people asking a basic question about a product they already owned would occasionally be told to RTFM - Read The * Manual. That didn't always seem wrong, either.......

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1 hour ago, Phil Bullock said:

Searches are always an issue.... wide or narrow. And do all users understand the use of parenthesis is search strings?

 

I've absolutely no idea how to use parentheses (or brackets for younger viewers and listeners) in search strings.  How do you go about it?  (Maybe needs a topic of its own?).

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If someone asks such a question and I happen to know the answer without having to go too far out of my way to find it, I'd endeavour to be helpful - helpfulness is part of human kindness.  I fail to see why anyone would want to do otherwise in such circumstances.

 

DT

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6 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

 as a grumpy olde ghytt

Oi!  Stop taking my name in vain.  I'm the only Grumpy Old Git in this parish (as Tim well knows............):rolleyes:

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Previous versions of this forum used to number posts within a topic. It was easy to say “Already discussed - see post#xxx above”. You can see that in some older posts in long-running topics, but without post numbers, the information is now useless.

 

(Not a criticism. just an observation.)

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I would say something such as "this may have been answered before but I can't be bothered to wade through 100 pages, so can someone please..." It may sound lazy but I don't think that it's unreasonable to ask when it would take so long to look through it all.

 

These searches never work properly for me. Until I read it, above, I had no idea that you were supposed to use parenthesis and string in a search and still wouldn't know how do that to in any case.

Of course, you could always start a completely new topic to ask the question and wait for someone to say how it had already been covered in an existing topic! :tomato:

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I try to use Google search that includes "RMweb". Seems to work for me. As an example, I recently bought a Hornby Class 56 without coupling cams, so I asked Google about them and included this forum and was given some options, so it does work.

 

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11 hours ago, Ruston said:
Of course, you could always start a completely new topic to ask the question and wait for someone to say how it had already been covered in an existing topic! :tomato:


Nah this is the internet, post it with any wrong answer as a statement and someone will come and correct it far faster than if you simply await an answer...

 

Personally if I drop into the end of an interesting thread I will tend to go back 5 or 6 pages but not much more. If it is less than 15 pages I may go to the start and skim read it all.

 

(Always fun if you google a question, only for the results to be an rmweb thread you have participated in previously)

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Interesting to see that I'm not alone in wondering what other folk do.

 

I do like the idea of a link being posted in response to someone's query.

 

I wonder how long it would take to even skim read 50 or 100 pages, in order for the eye to spot any key words or phrases? I've not tried that number of pages, I have to admit and I suspect that after a while, I my attention might begin to waver and turn to that modelling project I left on the modelling table!

 

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21 hours ago, pH said:

Previous versions of this forum used to number posts within a topic. It was easy to say “Already discussed - see post#xxx above”. You can see that in some older posts in long-running topics, but without post numbers, the information is now useless.

 

(Not a criticism. just an observation.)

 

The comments do still have IDs. If you click on the three dots at the top right of an article and select "share", the number at the end of the URL is the comment ID. And you can then  share that link to show somewhere where it was discussed. But, of course, that's no help if you're simply scrolling through the pages looking for a number that someone has simpley referred to in passing.

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