Ambiguous wording of "You have insufficient privileges to reply here"

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  • Thread starter Wrichik Basu
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In summary, the conversation discusses the confusion among new users about the concept of "privileges" and the misconception that a certain amount of "reputation" is needed to post in locked threads on the Physics Forums website. Suggestions are given for changes to the locking mechanism and for clarifying the instructions for posting in locked threads. The conversation also highlights the importance of dispelling the notion of reputation among new users.
  • #1
Wrichik Basu
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At the end of each page in a locked thread, the following message is shown:

1599241256996.png


We, the regular PF users, know that "privileges" mean administrative/moderation privileges. I believe most of us don't even look at that message. The "Not open for further replies" message shown at the beginning and the end of locked threads attracts the eye easily.

But new users often seem to have a misunderstanding. Recently, I found this, posted on someone's profile (and this is not the first time I am seeing this misconception):
I would have responded directly to that original question, but this site does not allow responses unless you have enough "reputation". I really get frustrated by that - it's like a paradox. You can't respond without reputation, but how do you get reputation if you don't respond?
The new users think that they need a certain amount of "reputation" in order to be able to post in locked threads. This concept of reputation arises from sites under the Stack Exchange network. We cannot deny that Stack Exchange (SE) sites are among the top results in most Google searches (especially if the search is about something in programming). Google better understands the voting system, and hence it gives priority to links from SE even if PF has better discussion on the same topic. SE also has a notion of "highly active question", where one has to have a minimum reputation in order to be able to answer the question.

People often land up on locked threads from Google; they make an account to join the discussion, but find that they still do not have enough "privileges" to answer in that thread. Some users may complain here in this Feedback section, some may start a new thread to continue the discussion, while some may just log out and never return.

It is important to dispel the notion of reputation among new users. I propose the following changes:

1. PF runs on highly customised XenForo software. It will be great if @Greg Bernhardt could find a way to remove the "insufficient privileges" message completely.​
2. When a thread is locked, the "Not open for further replies" message could be modified. It can be split into "Thread locked due to inactivity" and"Thread locked by moderation staff".​
3. The above two messages could be linked to a help page explaining why the thread was locked.​
For "Thread locked due to inactivity", the explanation can be somewhat like this:​
This thread was locked because of many years of inactivity. If you want to reply to this thread, please create a new thread, post a link to the locked thread, and then start your discussion. However, note that in the past, the PF rules were not as strict as they are today, so many threads that have been locked due to inactivity might not follow the current PF global guidelines. Make sure that the thread you are replying to follows the current PF guidelines.
For "Thread locked by moderation staff", the explanation can be like this:​
This thread was locked either because of violation of PF rules, or because the same thing was being discussed in circles without coming to any conclusion. You should not start a new thread to continue the discussion from this locked thread.
4. The How-to-post page does not say what should be done if the thread is locked. This page has to be updated.​
That's all I had to say.
 
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  • #2
Wrichik Basu said:
2. When a thread is locked, the "Not open for further replies" message could be modified. It can be split into "Thread locked due to inactivity" and"Thread locked by moderation staff".
That would need serious modifications to have two different locking mechanisms.

I don't know how granular the error messages are. It is possible to ban individual users from replying to individual threads, in this case "this thread is locked" would be the wrong error message. If the two cases are not separated then changing the error message would give some users the wrong information.
Wrichik Basu said:
The How-to-post page does not say what should be done if the thread is locked.
Isn't it obvious? Do not post.
 
  • #3
If it can be done, modifying the "insufficient privileges" message to "You can't post here. Why not?", with the "why not" being a link to an FAQ page might be a good idea. The FAQ would just need to say why threads might be locked, a couple of diagnostics for working out which reason applies (e.g. do you have a PM from a mentor and a warning, or does the last post say "thread closed", or is it just old?), and factors you should consider before starting a new thread on the same topic.
 
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  • #4
How about a universal/generic "Not Open For Further Replies"? Perhaps preceed that with "Read Only".
 
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  • #5
mfb said:
It is possible to ban individual users from replying to individual threads
I was unaware of that.
mfb said:
Isn't it obvious? Do not post.
Let's take an example. Consider this thread of mine where some important concepts related to accelerators are discussed. After many years, it too will be locked. Now, someone might land on that thread from Google, and after reading the replies, they might have some follow-up question. What should that person do? Obviously he shouldn't post, right?

I like the suggestion put forth by @Ibix. Simple, yet it will do the required job.
 
  • #6
Wrichik Basu said:
What should that person do? Obviously he shouldn't post, right?
They should not post in that thread, right. They should start their own thread.
 
  • #7
I agree, the wording would cause a misunderstanding with most people coming on here. To inform a viewer that they have “insufficient privileges to reply” on the post makes no sense at all.

The first time I read it, I had thought I had gotten into trouble (AGAIN) and had been banned from posting.
 
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  • #8
mfb said:
They should not post in that thread, right. They should start their own thread.
Exactly. Now say someone decides to start a thread on a topic that was locked by the moderation team because of policy violations. I know the mentors will close the new thread very soon, but it's always better if we write down somewhere what a person should do if he/she wants to start a discussion on a locked thread, as stated in post #3.
 
  • #9
Wrichik Basu said:
Exactly. Now say someone decides to start a thread on a topic that was locked by the moderation team because of policy violations. I know the mentors will close the new thread very soon, but it's always better if we write down somewhere what a person should do if he/she wants to start a discussion on a locked thread, as stated in post #3.
One option is write a p.m. to a mentor or moderator.
 
  • #10
symbolipoint said:
One option is write a p.m. to a mentor or moderator.
That option is always there. In fact, it could be stated in the How-to-post page that if one wants to reply to a locked thread, then he/she should contact a mentor seeking permission to do so.
 

Related to Ambiguous wording of "You have insufficient privileges to reply here"

1. What does "insufficient privileges" mean in this context?

"Insufficient privileges" means that you do not have the necessary authority or access level to perform the action of replying in this specific location. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as not being a member of a certain group or not having the correct permissions set.

2. How can I gain the necessary privileges to reply here?

In order to gain the necessary privileges, you will need to contact the administrator or moderator of the forum or platform where you are trying to reply. They will be able to provide you with the steps to take in order to gain the required access level.

3. Can I still view the content even if I don't have sufficient privileges to reply?

Yes, in most cases you will still be able to view the content even if you do not have sufficient privileges to reply. However, you may not be able to interact with the content or participate in discussions until you have the necessary privileges.

4. Why is the wording of this message ambiguous?

The wording of this message may be considered ambiguous because it does not specify the exact reason for the insufficient privileges. It also does not provide clear instructions on how to gain the necessary privileges, which can be confusing for users.

5. Is there a way to avoid receiving this message in the future?

Yes, if you are consistently receiving this message, it may be helpful to reach out to the administrator or moderator to discuss the issue. They may be able to adjust your privileges or provide guidance on how to avoid this message in the future.

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