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Functionality to prevent necroposting

Discussion in 'Meta-forum Discussion' started by Peter77, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Peter77

    Peter77

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    Jun 12, 2013
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    It seems here is going on quite some necroposting recently. I came across a thread where @LaneFox and @FMark92 started to suggest how one could prevent that, see here and here.

    I have a similar idea: Use the date when an user joined the forum to either allow or disallow to post in an old thread. If the "joined date - 14 days" is older than "last activity in forum thread", then the person is allowed to resurrect that thread.

    This would prevent new users from resurrecting old threads, while users who already joined the forum when the discussion was active, can still contribute.

    The "14 days" is to allow that new users can still participate in relatively new discussions, that they found via google for example and just created a new account to ask an additional question in this thread.
     
  2. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    Most necroposting is done by people that have like one or two posts and generally don't ever return to the thread or even the forum. They wander into some thread from google that has 18,000 views and 6 replies from 2011 and think that it's current information. They usually beg for updates or complain that the code/video doesn't work or (for some reason) post a response to a person that posted in the thread (literally years ago).

    The stupid thing is that a lot of people don't even realize someone necroposted and then jump on the thread and reply like it's a current conversation.

    Thats why I suggest if they have less than 10 posts then simply don't let them reply to a reasonably dead thread. They probably just don't even realize it's ancient history at this point and unknowingly reply.

    Otherwise, I think it gets little too overbearing. If a post hasn't had a reply in over a year, it's probably dead but might still be relevant. 2 years, starts getting fairly questionable, and inactivity for more than 3 is almost always completely dead, inaccurate and should not be bumped at that point. We often see threads 7 and 8 years old being bumped by 1-post users asking silly questions.

    At the very least, toss a warning onto the screen when someone is replying to a thread that hasn't had a reply for 3 years - like "Hey the last reply to this thread was written on parchment and sent via bird messenger, are you sure you want to reply?"
     
  3. zoran404

    zoran404

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    Great idea!

    Sadly I doubt we will be able to convince Unity to devote resources to this, since they wont benefit much from it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  4. LurkingNinjaDev

    LurkingNinjaDev

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    Jan 20, 2015
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    I would automatically close all threads which is inactive for a year (make it readonly). But IMHO preventing newbies to ask questions on topic in a thread is a bad idea, no matter how old is that. Most of the newbies are coming to ask questions.
     
  5. WarpZone

    WarpZone

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    To be fair, the main reason this happens (at least to me) is because Google Search returns old posts as they were current, relevant information, and buries the actually relevant posts.
     
    tarahugger and marcV2g like this.
  6. meat5000

    meat5000

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    The trouble is though, that a lot of the time the information is still relevant.

    Unity Answers, for example, is a classic place where the whole idea of Necroposting is a nonsense notion. THIS is what buries answers; the idea that because its old its automatically outdated... So make a new one... only its the same except a shoddier quality that the last. People literally go on about it like its a real issue.

    I do agree that dragging up a post for a crappy 'me too' comment or something is useless, but if the problem is that things are getting buried because of necroposting, necroposting is not the problem but the way the information is displayed is the problem, as it allows NPing to cause a problem.

    The idea that NecroPosting is a problem is responsible for the loss and bad linkage of information.
    This is an informative forum and something is only Necro'd if the thread information is ACTUALLY outdated; but then how do we do this housekeeping without NP in the first place?

    Over at Unity Answers, NecroPosting is MY FRIEND. It allows outdated information to come out of the woodwork so we can perform HOUSEKEEPING. Yes... HOUSEKEEPING. This is important in a place where accuracy of information is important.

    IMO 'CrapPosting' is an issue, NP is not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    chingwa likes this.
  7. WarpZone

    WarpZone

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    Okay, so... why not just add a button to the forum that hides necroposts? Come to think of it, I think I may already have seen something like that somewhere. Not exactly a trivial thing to implement, but possible, definitely. Think it'd be worth it?
     
  8. orb

    orb

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    2,796
    I have seen reanimated threads where the original question was downright stupid, and the replies were wrong. Especially Stack Overflow threads where the reply marked as helpful doesn't even apply anymore. Threads from 2011 about the state of 2D or realtime lighting in Unity would be some examples. If they reference equally old forum threads from over here we've got a cascading chain of stupid in the making.

    How would Google and other search engines know that a thread isn't relevant? They cache posts, not caring about what's showing on the index page.
     
    meat5000 likes this.
  9. meat5000

    meat5000

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    @orb Housekeeping solves things. Its too much work to go scouring for this stuff so you deal with it when it comes up. NP'r did a favour.

    Semantically speaking, if someone found interest enough in a thread to post in it, it just became relevant again; whether the info is correct is another issue. This stuff sometimes comes round in waves. For example, whatshisface posted that new tutorial and a zillion starters are having a go... UA is flooded with a million of the same script and questions but some of those people, the ones who are more bothered or savvy, will go searching and dig out a lot of buried material to the surface. Its relevant. Housekeeping must be done.
    If all those people want that information I should not deny them it for a nonsense notion such as Necroposting :p Again, really we are misapplying the term to begin with as we tend to use it for the 'continuation of an old thread' where as in reality it applies to "Dead Threads REANIMATED". Dead threads are dead for a reason; they are obsolete.

    Now in UA we can close a thread as "Outdated". Perhaps this needs to become more of a device.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  10. chingwa

    chingwa

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    I think they should just move the post timestamp from the bottom of the post to the top, like we had in the old old forum. That way I can tell right away if a searched thread is turning up info that is relevant to me or not. I can't tell you how many times I've clicked on a thread searching for answers only to find after I've scrolled down all the way (some posts are quite long, sometimes from necessity) that the post is too old to be relevant to me. It's really freaking annoying.

    Otherwise, I have no problems with Necroposting and find forums that restrict such posting too heavy handed. As others have mentioned, due to the nature of the Unity forum "Necroposting" doesn't actually apply much of the time.
     
    meat5000 likes this.
  11. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    The comparison between Answers and the Forum is not a fair 1:1 application.

    The forum is somewhere you can post anything, argue about stupid industry things, discuss practically anything, participate in incoherent banter and ask if your MMO voxel survival permadeath project is going to be successful - and people will reply. Problem is, people will reply 5 years after the thread died and it happens pretty often. Additionally, the probability of those new replies being useful is so low it should throw an exception.

    It's fairly uncommon to see necroposting on the forum where it is also still relevant. If the information is relevant there's a good chance that the thread never really died for any significant period of time anyway.

    I guess the point is: the things getting necroposted almost never have value and are generally always necro'd by extremely new members who have no idea what they're doing.
     
    WillNode, meat5000 and zoran404 like this.
  12. Baste

    Baste

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    I have seen forums - like the one for the A* pathfinding project - where when you start typing a necro post, you get an on-screen warning. "Hey, the last time somebody posted here was 1 year ago, do you really want to make this post?". It doesn't prevent necroing, it just makes people aware that that's what they're doing. You can add some text about "it's considered bad form to make posts in threads that are very old unless you got here from google and the information in it is outdated"

    That'll probably fix a lot of the first time posters that pops in with a "me too" answer. They're not familiar with the forums, so the dating on the last post isn't immediately obvious.
     
    meat5000 likes this.
  13. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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  14. meat5000

    meat5000

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  15. meat5000

    meat5000

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  16. BlackPete

    BlackPete

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    In Unity's case, it's kind of true that if it's old it may be outdated. Look at how much it's changed in the last 2 years alone. Or even just over the past year.

    In the past year or so:
    - UnityScript is deprecated.
    - MonoDevelop is deprecated.
    - Support for .NET 4.6 added.
    - Legacy particle system is deprecated.
    - "Limits" that are no longer true. E.g. 65k vertices.

    Plus others, but you get the idea. Don't even get me started on UI related posts from 10 years ago... it's not even the same UI system!
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  17. orb

    orb

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    Or a system!
     
  18. meat5000

    meat5000

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    Yeah, its true. So many versions and so many changes; it's hard to keep track or the variations in the solutions over the years. You'd be surprised at the sheer numbers of people that spend time on outdated or obsolete solutions. The best QA's on Unity Answers are the ones in which people have come back over the time and left new solutions as well as noting new difficulties with older solutions. For me, UA was always about that and Necroposting is one of the only things that can facilitate that goal. If someone was lucky enough to come across an incredible buried Answer then dig it up for the world to see its bones! Upon this, better solutions follow as a side effect which brings everything closer to "Compendium of Knowledge" rather than a constant ricochet from the surface.
     
  19. Razmot

    Razmot

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
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    Just a little confirm box on clicking the "post reply" button if the post is older than X months:

    "Warning, the last answer was YY Months/Years ago, are you sure you want to Necropost ?"
    "Yes, I'm a qualified necromancer" | "No I don't want to post on an old thread"

    Or simpler, Insert the warning line directly in the text editor in old posts, when rendering the forum page.
     
    chingwa likes this.
  20. EricWilliams

    EricWilliams

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    Jun 23, 2017
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    10
    A warning would be nice. But also I'd rather open 1 tab with a lot of good information and read the thread bottom up from the last page than open 10 tabs and try to piece together the information I want. I'm actually more pro necroposting than against, my argument would be more about poster awareness. Sometimes, after a long search, seemingly the best information I can find is older and I'd rather revive one of those threads than post to a newer one where some of the posters don't really seem to know what they are talking about.

    After the poster knows age of the thread and if they still decide to post, all anti-necroposters can shut the hell up. Seriously, shut up with your off topic posts. Contribute to the thread in a meaningful way or don't post. For instance LaneFox's case in point thread should be trimmed of off topic posts about necroposting. (in fact, if it doesn't already have one, off topic posting probably deserves its own thread. And imho off topic posting is a way better....topic...than necroposting)

    edit - btw, "did you google that" posts at the other end of the spectrum from "don't necropost" posts belong in the same boat. If someone posts a new thread and they get several replies about creating posts without using google, those should be trimmed for being off topic as well. One reply about necroing or about googling is more than sufficient. I might even go as far as to say if there's no other good information about the topic along with notifying the poster of necroing or googling then the post might not belong at all as it is in the grey area of "did you contribute to the topic in a meaningful way."

    I'd say if someone jumps on to complain then they should be chastised not for necroing but for not following simple rules of etiquette.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  21. banreaxe

    banreaxe

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Posts:
    427
    maybe just add a big red warning or pop up when posting on something that is 6 months old.

    "Are you sure you would like to necro this post?" and like a picture of a zombie or something lol
     
  22. tarahugger

    tarahugger

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    Jul 18, 2014
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    People are used to using Google to find answers, you can pretty much expect a StackOverflow thread or 10 for anything C# related and people come into the Unity forums and answers content in the same way.

    I necropost frequently; when the content was a top google result. Other people will find it in the same way i did. So adding additional information will help people and save them time/effort.