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Double posting in Homework forums

  1. May 16, 2006 #1

    Curious3141

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    Maybe it's just me, but I find it highly irritating when a poster double or triple posts problems in the HW forums (and sometimes HW plus Gen Math/Gen Physics). Not only is it wasteful of bandwidth, it makes a mockery of people who take the time to answer the question and format the answer nicely, only to find that someone else has long answered the question in the duplicate post. It also takes time away from answering the genuine questions of other people patient enough not to post it to a hundred different places.

    It would be nice if the Mentors could make a bigger issue of this than is currently the case. A proscription against multiple posts should be included in the sticky in every forum (including an explanation of why it's not considerate to double post because some people may just be too thick to realise it on their own). Maybe also make every poster sign this as part of the agreement before posting in the HW forum. And people who persist in double posting should be warned, with the incorrigible ones being banned.

    I know mistakes can happen when the poster initially posts in the wrong forum, but the considerate ones *always* post an apologetic note to the wrong thread so noone will waste their time there.

    I really hope something can be done about this problem.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2006
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  3. May 16, 2006 #2

    Integral

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    Please hit the report button on any that you find. This will help us get them cleaned up.

    I will generally just delete the misplaced posts if no one has replied. I have also merged threads with responses in different forums. This is a bit of work, it lights up my "give this guy a warning" light when I have to do it.

    Generally, it is new members that do it, I will give them a break, and simply clean up the mess. If they persist then they get a PM and a warning.
     
  4. May 16, 2006 #3

    Curious3141

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    Thank you for the response. There's one right now in the HW section, which I've just reported.
     
  5. May 16, 2006 #4

    Hootenanny

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    I agree with you there :grumpy: . I usally keep standard responses open in notepad like;

    "please do not double post..."

    "please show some working..."

    "We have dedicated homework help forums..."

    "This was recencently discussed in the thread http://..."

    Saves alot of typing :wink:

    I agree also here, a sticky has been discussed many times, as has the provision of a homework template, a kind of form which gives a set structure for posting homework questions (I like this idea), however, no action has been taken as yet:grumpy:

    ~H
     
  6. May 16, 2006 #5

    FredGarvin

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    I highly agree however I think this is a losing battle. It seems that most double/triple posters are the ones that are here for the first time and don't return.

    I'd like to see a last ditch effort of warning when someone registers, like a HUGE box that states a couple of the big hitters in the guidelines right before they are allowed to post a thread for the first time...

    Remember:
    - Use the search function.

    - Don't double/triple post your questions.

    - If requesting help on homework, please show your effort.

    - No crackpots (paraphrased of course).
     
  7. May 16, 2006 #6

    Curious3141

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    I agree 100%. Of course, the last warning (no crackpots) wouldn't work because I've yet to meet one crackpot who didn't consider himself to be the sane one while the rest of the population were the crackpots. :rofl:
     
  8. May 16, 2006 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Please note that habitual multiple posters ARE given warning points. However, this is very rare since these members usually stop doing that once they are told not to. The exception, of course, being spammers and crackpots. They have a very short lifetime on PF anyway.

    Zz.
     
  9. May 16, 2006 #8

    SpaceTiger

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    I agree. It may seem innocent, but double-posting can be extremely annoying to those trying to help, so report it if you see it. I think it's seldom done maliciously, however, so I tend not to warn folks unless they do it after being told not to.
     
  10. May 16, 2006 #9

    Curious3141

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    I agree that it's never done "maliciously", but really, it should be simple common sense not to post a HW problem multiple times. I mean a student wouldn't copy a HW problem to multiple teachers to get help from them simultaneously right?

    As long as we can help students to see that multiple posting is every bit as inconsiderate as doing that IRL, then the problem can hopefully be eliminated.
     
  11. May 18, 2006 #10

    SpaceTiger

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    They will sometimes ask for help from both a TA and a professor if one is slow on the uptake. Unfortunately, the survival skills we learn in the classroom won't necessarily make sense on the internet.


    As was already pointed out, it's mostly new users that are responsible, so the people you're trying to reach won't get the message. I'm afraid that this is just one of the downsides of the medium.
     
  12. May 18, 2006 #11

    Tom Mattson

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    Actually I think simple common sense explains why people do post HW questions multiple times. It's the shotgun approach. They figure that the more times they post it, the more exposure it will get, and thus the more responses they will get. Not only do we find HW questions posted at multiple places at PF, but if you look at other message boards you'll see some of the same people posting their questions there too.
     
  13. May 18, 2006 #12

    Curious3141

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    Fair enough, but I think simple common sense should also be telling these posters that miffed people are less likely to help them out in future especially when there's no incentive to continue doing so. And I would certainly be miffed if I spent a precious half hour typesetting a complete answer in LaTex, etc. only to find someone's already beaten me to the punch in another cross post. It's completely fine when this sort of thing happens in a single thread when someone gets in a post while you're typing yours, that's completely unavoidable and the OP is not culpable. But cross posting is wilful conduct that engenders this very situation.

    All I'm saying is, I respectfully think more should be done to prevent this behaviour even in first time posters. A big, bolded, blinking cautionary message as an advisory when first entering HW forums would probably help.

    I suppose there's nothing we can do about cross posting to multiple websites, that's just something we have to live with. Although (not meaning to be harsh to them), I suspect that if some of these multiple site cross posters took half the effort they expend in their multiple postings to figure out their problems, they wouldn't even need to seek help in the first place.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
  14. May 19, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    I don't think even a blinking neon sign with sound effects and a voice shouting out at them, "DON'T CROSS-POST" would help. Call me cynical, but we've had stickies in the HW forums with instructions on what and how to post, we now require members to agree to a special set of guidelines when they attempt their first post in the HW Help Forums, and they still do things we tell them not to in those (like using thread titles of "URGENT HELP NEEDED" which are useless, or not showing their work first).

    Cross-posting has always been an internet etiquette no-no, at least for as long as I've been using the internet, and it continues to happen in spite of that.
     
  15. May 19, 2006 #14

    Hootenanny

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    I would choice like to voice a cautionary concern. I don't think we should come down too hard on people who cross post or use stupid uninformative titles (no matter how irritating it is :grumpy:). If offenders are dealt with too severely they may not return, furthermore they may give PF negative feedback, not just here but on other forums / websites / word of mouth etc. I would recommed either a polite reply on the thread explaining their error or even better via PM, to keep things private.

    ~H
     
  16. May 19, 2006 #15

    robphy

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    [brainstorming, rambling, etc....]

    Could the following be implemented?
    When posting to a HW forum, have the system scan for the poster with a similar title and/or similar post in other HW forums? (Restrict the searches to HW forums.) If found, warn or forbid the user to post the duplicate... with an explanation that they must acknowledge.

    An additional suggestion: could the intended cross-posted thread appear in both forums (for maximum viewing): one real one and the other as a "symbolic link" to the real one? So, all discussions on the question are viewable and maintained in one place. To prevent every HW post to appear this way and clutter things up, maybe a scheme could be set up to allow this to happen for sufficiently experienced users with at least a minimum of (say) 10 posts.

    [/brainstorming, rambling, etc....]
     
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