Feedback Site: Suggestions for improving signal to noise ratio

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  • Updated 9 years ago
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It's pretty obvious from the Lightroom section that something is badly wrong with how this forum is developing. I have these suggestions:

1. Limit the length of any one post. Maybe 1000 characters? If you (in the sense of "one") can't make your point that quickly, you've probably not thought it through and we've all got plenty of better things to be doing, even if you don't.

2. Limit the number of posts any individual can make in a day / month. Without getting personal, it's clearly unbalanced and dangerous when one individual has the freedom to suck the oxygen out of the forum by making as many posts as the next 3 or 4 next most frequent members combined.

3. Switch off the pointless emotional comments feature. It's open to abuse. Alternatively, limit it to 20 characters. If you can't sum up your "emotions" in a single word, there are probably classes you can take.

4. Implement a negative like - a point I've made before.

Does the software offer the opportunity to regulate conduct in such ways?

John
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john beardsworth

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Posted 9 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I think it would also help to have a little more clarification between the purpose of this forum and the purpose of the U2U forum, and the intended differences between the two, so that everyone's on the same page and misunderstandings are minimized.
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john beardsworth

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Agreed, though maybe I despair of rules - always open to interpretation. That's why I'm suggesting what's needed is simple mechanical controls that cut away the scope for abuse and free up space for others.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Perhaps if the "negative like" were phrased as a "Not important to my workflow" instead. You could have two, perhaps three options:

1. I need this for my workflow
2. Not important to my workflow
3. Would probably never use in my workflow

Thus far there seems to be resistance to the 'negative like'. If it were an explanation built in opposite the Like, I think it might fly.

As for emoticons? I am for there banishment from all online worlds everywhere. I mean, 'emoticons' isn't even in my Win 7 64 spell checker!
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john beardsworth

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My "negative like", Rikk, is very much intended to be actively negative as in "dislike this idea" or "don't want this in Lightroom". A range would be better, of course, but I mainly wanted to focus here on whether the mechanism exists to limit the number of posts individuals may make, and their length.

Also I wasn't taking a shot at emoticons but at the accompanying "how does this make you feel?" text which is increasingly being abused to include provocative and/or ill-considered comments. Limit its length to a word, or cut it out.

John
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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I understand John, I just don't think the negative like is going to fly.

I know you weren't taking a shot at emoticons. I WAS!

I was going to comment on the emotional taglines but was too distraught for a single phrase.

I never drink coffee either ;-)
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Lee Jay

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I made a different suggestion on the same topic:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Re "Limit the length of any one post. Maybe 1000 characters?":

A length limit would be problematic for bug reports, for which this site is now the official vehicle.
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john beardsworth

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Having filed plenty of bug reports, I rather doubt that, John. My original post is 1007 characters which seems adequate for most eventualities and would certainly discourage the kind of blog posts that the limit is intended to address.
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Mark Sirota

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It occurs to me that if a bug report needed to be longer than the limit, then the additional detail could be added as comments.

Then it occurred to me that those who tend to be more verbose would be likely to work around the length limit by continuously adding comments. And that's not an improvement.
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john beardsworth

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What better incentive to learn to be concise?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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A good problem report can often include a lot more detail than will fit into 1000 characters. I skimmed the 101 "Problem" reports for Lightroom on this site, and I found 19 unique posters (including 4 employees and Victoria Brampton, not including Rob Cole) with posts at least 1100 characters; the posts of 10 of the posters were longer than 1500.

3862, Doug Cooper
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
Response from Adobe employee: "The team really appreciates your help in tracking down this bug".

2526, David Franzen (employee)
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1958, A TJ
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1732, TK
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1670, JezE
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1527, MetaWops
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1512, Benjamin Warde (Employee)
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1508, Ben.garland
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1487, Steve Hughes
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1443, Brian Wilson
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1329, Paul
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1306, David Franzen (employee)
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1295, Greg Kraushaar
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
Adobe employee filed an internal bug report on this

1228, John R. Ellis
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1191, Alexander unavailable
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1180, Zach Purdom
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1175, Dan Tull (employee)
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1122, Victoria Brampton
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

1100, Sven Beller
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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john beardsworth

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I wrote "maybe 1000 characters". I wouldn't get too hung up on the exact number.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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That's why I included the raw data. To the degree that you have a lower limit to discourage other kinds of posts, you'll exclude a fair percentage of the constructive, detailed problem reports.
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john beardsworth

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Or just force them to be less wordy? I just don't think it's worth getting bogged down in deciding the exact number, but 1500 would cover all but a few of those you list. Obviously bug reports are not a problem here and one wouldn't want to damage that channel of communication - but who knows, maybe the software can curtail posts depending on their type?
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TK

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Thanks, John (R. Ellis) for characterising one of my posts as a "good problem report". With this one I narrowed down the context to where a certain bug occurs. I feel that in such circumstances the team can use as much detail as possible. What may seem accidental to some, might be crucial to know for the team.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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1500 characters would have excluded the posts of 10% of the posters, and it would have excluded the largest post (3862 characters), which identified the corruption bug fixed by LR 3.4.1. When faced with a limit, some people will try to make their post more concise, some will omit crucial information, and some will just walk away.
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john beardsworth

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I doubt that very much. When faced with a limit, people are smart enough to work to it. But as I said, I don't think it's worth getting bogged down over this detail.
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Rob Cole

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I abandoned a few bug reports when using the old form because of the character limit - it was 2k if I remember correctly - after just cutting pertinent stuff out to avoid a complete rewrite. Definitely limiting character count on problem reports is not a good idea.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Rob, fancy emailing me one of those incredibly long bug reports? I'm fascinated to know how complex a bug has to be, in order to make it that long!
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Rob Cole

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You may see them on this forum in the future... - be on the lookout...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Victoria, Doug Cooper's report about the file corruption (see link above) is an example of a longer problem report (almost 4K). I'm glad he focused his efforts on describing what he knew rather than on making it fit under some limit!
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Thanks John
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Butch_M

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Indeed it has been evident that some individuals have adopted this venue as their personal bully pulpit ... unfortunately, when the message is a continuous lone voice, one has to wonder if eventually the comments are falling upon deaf ears ... not sure what the answer is but there is more than a modicum of truth to the concern that John has presented ...
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Lee Jay

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How about this: An individual cannot create more than, say, three new "idea" topics per month.
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Rob Cole

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-1 vote.

For my part, I will be creating a Lightroom blog and offloading more to the U2U forums as well.

For your part, feel free to not read anything that doesn't interest you, and use the delete key liberally on your emailer, or remove yourself from notifications, once you are no longer interested in a topic.

I personally don't care how much other people post, as long as its relevant.

Summary:
========
I'm aware that at least part of this thread is due to my relatively prolific posting, and I am trying to respect other people's feelings, and trying to keep the word count down (I'm sure it doesn't seem like it to some of y'all, but its true) and do some offloading... - but also: learning to ignore is a worthwhile skill to develop.

And lastly in my defense:
--------------------------------
I absolutely do not use these forums to "call attention to myself", nor many of the other things I am regularly accused of - those are often mis-interpretations on other peoples part - indicative of their personal problems, not mine.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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It's very true that learning to ignore is a worthwhile skill, however it's in everybody's interests that we ALL give these points consideration to make it easier for Adobe to find the relevant points in each thread.

I don't believe it's just about 'us' having to read waffle. If the engineers have to trawl through hundreds of long posts, they're more likely to miss something important.

We can ALL help Adobe by thinking carefully before we post and making our point as concisely as possible.

There are some valid points in this thread for EVERYONE to take away, without it becoming targeted at specific individuals. I, for one, will be keeping a closer eye on the length of my posts.
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john beardsworth

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So to restate the original question, does the forum software have options to:

1. Limit the max length of a post - and can it be defined differently for bugs?
2. Limit the number of posts individuals can make in a period?
3. Remove or limit the "How does this make you feel" text?

John
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Rob Cole

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Best way to improve signal/noise ratio is to increase signal and decrease noise.

I agree with Victoria - lets ALL try and do that.
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john beardsworth

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One would love to believe that would solve the problem. Nevertheless, it's been obvious for a while that the forum software could limit the scope for verbosity, excessive posting, and juvenile "How does this make you feel" text.
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TK

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I feel the best incentive for being concise is that it maximises the chances to be heard, to have impact.

Regarding forum limitations: I think the forum should make it easy to do the right thing, but not try to be restrictive thus potentially making it hard to do the right thing.

Regarding the requested "-1 vote" feature: I think that has the potential to support a lot of undesirable negativity. There is a point to be economical with "+1" votes but there would be no natural limit to excessive "-1" voting.
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john beardsworth

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The forum already makes it easy to do the right thing, but it has been abused. Also the proposed limitations are threefold - on longwinded posting, excessive volume of posting, and juvenile "How does this make you feel" text - and are intended to address the latter while encouraging the former. If bug reports can be unlimited, that would be ideal.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
I appreciate everyone's concern. We're somewhat limited with what we can change in terms of this 3rd party platform - but we are discussing changes/needs with the vendor - and tweaking the things we can to improve the experience.

Ultimately, any system is open to abuse. Rather than try to impose any hard limits, I'll try and update the FAQ and Getting Starting topic on a regular basis and take in account suggestions like these as part of the guidelines.

Victoria did a great job with her How do I write a feature request? post.

It's nice being able to point users at that post or the FAQ when we see them painting outside the lines.

Perhaps we need something similar for the other topic types.

I'll also address the "Ask a Question" topic. One of the reasons we chose this platform is it addresses something that we've discovered from fielding feature requests for years. Often, when people request a feature, they ask for something that already exists, so in essence, they're asking us a question and we can turn that Idea into a "Question" topic type. If we get lots of these questions, we can turn them in FAQs. Also, many times feature requests are people asking for a bug/unexpected behavior to be fixed.

As I mentioned in this post "When to Create a Feature Request vs a Problem Report?" Each of the topic types is essentially a problem in different clothes. An Idea is trying to solve a workflow problem. A Problem is trying to solve an unexpected behavior/bug. A question is trying to solve a usability problem. I curate the topic types so they get reviewed internally by the appropriate people. I wouldn't spend too much time thinking or worrying about topic types too much.

I'll also address employee participation. Are the topics read by Adobe employees? Yes. Do we respond to each post? No - but we read all of them. Most ideas don't need a response if we understand what the idea is. We also want to see how topics organically grow. I didn't respond to this thread immediately to allow others in the community pipe in.

You will see participation ebb and flow - and nearly disappear at times. Why? We have deadlines. Most of the teams work in 'sprints' which is a development process term. At the beginning of a sprint, we decide what we're going to work on - so often you'll see more participation at the beginning of that period. But once work starts, people tend to focus in to solve the task at hand and meet that sprint deadline. As we get deeper into the cycle, it gets more and more intense. Please don't worry about us getting distracted. It's my job, and a handful of others, to triage the 'hot' topics and guide them to the right people.

Have we seen an increase of noise? Yes. There are some people that overly frenetic. I've addressed a few people offline with gentle suggestions or reminders - and will continue to do that.

We've also introduced the Feedback tab on our Facebook page, disabled the feature request User to User forums, and turned off the web-form on Adobe.com for feature requests/bug reports to point that traffic towards this site. We're getting more variety of users in terms of product use and experience visiting the site now.

When we set up the site initially, Jordan Davis and I had to make a call on whether we segregated each of our products as separate communities or create one community for the whole family. There was no 'right' decision. Both options had their disadvantages. Ultimately, we decided that there is a relationship, an overlap and synergy between the products. We are a family - and we consider our users as part of that family.

I appreciate everyone's continued support - especially the folks that are active helping to foster a positive experience, clarifying requests and answering questions.

Sorry John - I think I broke the 1000 character limit.
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john beardsworth

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I'll let you off! OK, so it can't be done by software limits - thanks for the answer, Jeff. I'll just say that because of the problem behaviour I know of thoughtful people who are avoiding or greatly reducing how much they contribute here.
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Scott Mahn

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I just don't see people working hard to make LR a better product as a problem. Could some posts be trimmed? Sure. But personally the biggest problem I have with the site is finding new posts that are scattered about in non-linear sequence. Would love to be taken directly to unread posts in each thread.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Very well said Jeffrey, and thank you for breaking the 1000 character limit! ;-) It's great to have some official feedback on this.

A "how do I write a bug report?" thread was already on my to do list for next week, if no one else gets there first. I just need to get my website relaunch finished first.
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john beardsworth

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"I just don't see people working hard to make LR a better product as a problem." That's not the problem though, is it?
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Scott Mahn

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Well I don't really see people being playful in expressing their emotions as a problem either, so I guess we have a difference sense of what constitutes a problem.
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john beardsworth

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It doesn't come over as playful, and was the least of the three aspects of the problem.
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Mark Sirota

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Victoria, I wrote a blog post for O'Reilly a few years ago on writing feature requests and bug reports. Feel free to steal from that.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Thanks Mark! I remember you writing that, but I couldn't find it when I last looked, so that'll be very useful.
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TK

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Excellent response, Jeffrey.
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Rob Cole

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There are already mechanisms in place to deal with the top 2 concerns:

1. If you think a post is inappropriate due to verbosity (or for any other reason), just click the inappropriate link and cite "too long" (or whatever) as the reason.

2. Each new Idea should stand on its own merit, regardless of the originator, nor how many ideas they've had in the past. If you think an Idea is inappropriate, just click the inappropriate link and give reasons...

Regarding emoticons - I think they're kinda fun, but I'm aware that some folk get bent out of shape when others use them.

Reminder: increasing noise without increasing signal does not increase the signal/noise ratio. - I think this whole thread is mostly noise, including this post...
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john beardsworth

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The mechanisms don't work, as your record amply illustrates..... Anyway, I've had an answer: "computer says no".