How to tell if a question has been answered

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ritcheymt-p40
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How to tell if a question has been answered

Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:04 am

Research Support -- the team I manage that is creating wiki.familysearch.org -- is using our FamilySearch Wiki forum here to test out vBulletin's features and determine whether it can effectively suit the needs of Church members worldwide in getting advice on how to find their ancestors. Currently FamilySearch.org employs mailto links and a CRM system to receive and track customer questions on how to do family history research. We're planning on changing to a forums model instead to scale better and let users learn from each others' posts. But we're committed to one part of the CRM model that we haven't seen the potential to satisfy using vBulletin: The ability to track which questions have been answered.

I don't see either in the tool itself or in the documentation any way for us to indicate that a question was answered sufficiently other than closing the thread. I can search on or display threads based on whether they have received a reply. However, if a reply is merely a request for more information or a "Gee, you're right, your question really IS hard!" that's not an answer. Seems like our ideal would be this:

1. A way for a user to rate the answer, including the ability to say "No, my question's not answered yet" or "Great answer — I'm satisfied!"
2. A way for moderators to indicate that the question has been answered. That way if the user fails to mark the question answered, moderators won't have to keep coming back to the thread to check it. This'll help moderators know which threads still need answers and which don't.

I don't think closing a thread is the right approach to marking it answered. In genealogy research, there's always some user who knows more than whoever posted the last reply. I hate to close a thread which got a good answer and thus prevent an excellent answer from being posted. Even in those areas where many genealogists would consider me an expert, there's always that person who knows of a new database that I haven't discovered yet. I'd hate for the people I answer pretty well to be deprived of the post from the fellow who knows more than I do just because we're using a close-the-thread model to show which cases we've answered.

Also, I have read through the Statistics section of the manual, but I have found no report dealing with closed/unclosed threads.

Hold on — I know users can rate threads poor to excellent. If we just changed this rating system to unanswered to well answered, maybe our engineers can figure out how to run a report from that data to show us which cases still need answers. The question is whether we could make the system display cases in order by rating so the moderators can work from the dashboard instead of off of a report.

Anybody have any information on this, or ideas of other possible solutions?

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:22 pm

Another issue you might want to think about is the user to tacks on "I've got a similar problem but that answer didn't work for me ...."

Perhaps that needs to be spun off as a new thread, but if it hasn't been closed, then the moderator would have to spit it. Or, the thread needs to go back into the "unanswered status".

Along with the idea above, a thread might have multiple problems (perhaps from the same person in their original post), or multiple people reporting the same bug/problem before any answer is given.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:27 pm

ritcheymt,

I gave you one possible solution that I know would do exactly what you are looking for. Have you checked it out yet?

Just curious...

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:53 pm

mkmurray wrote:ritcheymt,

I gave you one possible solution that I know would do exactly what you are looking for. Have you checked it out yet?

Just curious...


Yes, I checked out the alternate apps you recommended. Unfortunately, the first compares unfavorably to vBulletin and other apps we're testing (for a quick comparison see forummatrix.org). The second app is priced on their Website at $59 per user per year. So the 10 million users we'll get on our site would cost the Church $1.18 billion per year.

By contrast, vBulletin meets 90% of our requirements and costs $160 per year, so I'd like to see if there's a way I can add this last feature I need using a plugin or setting.


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