How can these guys make MakeUseOf better?

Freecycle Me October 5, 2012
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I have been a MakeUseOf user for a little while now. I feel there may be areas that could be considered for improvement and I thought this was probably the best place to open a dialogue.

Replies for prizes – I think MakeUseOf have a great strategy to encourage more user participation by offering very nice prizes in response for loyalty and participation. But, and I did this a little myself at first, the impression is that the more you post the greater chance to win. So we have the situation where individuals take up much of the page thanking for the post and nothing else, or “I will do this” without adding to the experience for future readers.
I would prefer a button that you could press to thank the author and let the prizes be for notable contributors. Maybe have a button on each reply that other users can press when impressed by a particular comment.

Seek articles – I have found that the team are very good in their articles on the whole especially in areas that they are specialist, but in some instances, content is not being written holistically, sometimes titles do not get researched enough to fulfill the need of the user to find an answer. So perhaps points can be gained by external writers submitting articles, maybe proof-read and critiqued by the team. Maybe user thanks can be turned into points.

Questions are often not highlighted as resolved – I am aware you rely on the user to mark when a problem has been resolved, but I wonder if you could automate an email after a fortnight to ask the original poser if they have resolved their question.

MakeUseOf Guide – I would recommend that there be a PDF in the guides section about how to get the best out of the site, how to submit content and articles etc.

I know this kind of thread was done 2 years ago //www.makeuseof.com/answers/makeuseof-answers-2/ but I think it is always one that can do with revisiting, even offer a prize for participating an a way that stands out positively! I know I have just shot myself in the foot cause I would probably not be eligible for suggesting it!

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Eric Brewer
    October 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    What I want more than anything is less ads/less annoying/less obtrusive ads. I'd leave them on if they didn't get in the way so much. I have adblock enabled specifically for sites like this. I love MakeUseOf and would leave the ads on if they would fix these issues. I'd even pay a small subscription for advanced features or something like that to support MUO and avoid ads.

  2. Adrian Rea
    October 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you all for your replies, I will start to write my article. I also notice that the reticence to publish winners of competitions is making unease. I hope when the team do publish the winners of a number of outstanding the do not just publish them at the bottom of each article unless they begin to link to the articles from the rewards page. Seeing the number of anouncements, I hope there is a whole new article on all the winners :)

  3. shaurya gupta
    October 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

    There must be an area where readers can submit articles...

    • Adrian Rea
      October 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      I find there is a way to email it in, but I am not sure of the authors acreditation but maybe someone can tell me?

  4. shaurya gupta
    October 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    yes, that's a good thought dude, send these to mattsmith@makeuseof.com...he is the developer...nice one!

    • Muo TechGuy
      October 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      No, I am the developer: jamesbruce@makeuseof.com

      • Anonymous
        October 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        sorry dude, i was to write james bruce but i wrote the wrong one...oops...

  5. susendeep dutta
    October 7, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Some of the suggestions are being worked upon as told by Tina in some of the similar questions asked.

    • Adrian Rea
      October 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Susendeep, I am glad to hear this, and I hope it can be linked to rewards :)

  6. Drew Butler
    October 7, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Love the suggestion about a guide, I wanted to suggest that either in that guide or the fields that people use to ask questions also ask for OS versions. This Idea mainly stems from reading through a lot of questions about android and it's difficult to help people without knowing their device make and model and OS version. I think this would also be helpful in other sections such as windows questions.. Kind of tired btw so sorry if this isn't the most organized or well structured thing you've read recently LOL. night all :)

    • Adrian Rea
      October 7, 2012 at 8:39 am

      No need for apologies, and I agree versions tested and appropriate would be helpful. Now get some more sleep :)

      • Drew Butler
        October 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm

        thanks. slept like a baby :D

  7. Jan Fritsch
    October 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Looking at all the options available to get points for prizes I don't think "thank you" replies are a problem - if people appreciate an article then go for it, say thank you.

    Feedback regardless of it's nature is what thrives this page. Without feedback writers wouldn't know if they have to change their style, improve their writing etc.

    I think the articles are good to great in general. Yes, occasionally certain areas lack a bit of insight but you can't expect everyone (including the writer) to be an expert and professional. Once again, that's where the comments come in. If you found something that isn't fully accurate or need further explanation you can post a comment addressing it and even get points in return.

    Both, voting comments or answers and reminder emails are work-in-progress I believe.

    I don't see where we need a Guide to Make Use Of ;-)
    This is (in my opinion) one of the few sites where you actually find what you want just by using the menu, tags and search.

    • Adrian Rea
      October 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Jan, I take on board what you say. Yes thank you's are nice but per haps a box with the names of thos that have thanked is enough and if additional content is wanted then they can still post comments on the topic.
      I agree that feedback (though I would like to say positive criticism) is the best way to improve your skills.
      I agree in part with your comment on articles. The variety and depth of most of the content is great, but there is a responsibility on the authors to be as thorough as possible to the title of their piece. I apologise for singling one instance but it highlights an issue. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-figure-out-why-your-pc-wont-boot/ This article gives the title as if a panacea to fix your booting issue, and states it will focus on hardware issues. but only at the end of the second paragraph it states it will look at a couple of issues. Bios settings alone could have an article in their own right, there is no mention of updating, boot order, or bios diagnostics. All cables are there paragraphs does not include a safety note about electricity, damaged cables, forgotten bootable USBs plugged in causing boot to select them and fail, and shorting ports, especially USBs. Dead components are tricky to diagnose and not all can easily be replaced. There is no visual of a blown capacitor, no details on testing a power supply, no method of testing how to find a damaged component, the dangers of "playing" with broken parts etc. Things missed include beep messages, shorting, testing from supply and motherboard only up, etc. I think I need to write a guide! Now I think the author has written many fine pieces and I probably would have done a similar job early in my understanding of computers. I would have hoped that the editors would have picked up some of the ideas I have suggested and made the article better before release. The feedback shows what happens if a submission is overlooked.
      I am glad the voting and reminder sides are being looked into.
      As with the guides, I think it may be appropriate, but thats what feedback is all about.
      Thank you for your comments, again I do not wish to seem as ranting, only as striving for better :)

      • Jan Fritsch
        October 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

        I like to believe the general idea for articles is to present, inform or teach you about basics and for in-depth help and information you can always visit the MakeUseOf answers section ~ maybe one has to look at it that way?

        I could give you an example where the first part of that article fails. When my graphics card was broken the computer would randomly freeze or reboot even in or before the BIOS so resetting it wouldn't have done anything.

        While I DO understand your point I think it's an unfortunate choice for an example :-)
        Troubleshooting computers and hardware problems is something even a 500 page book won't cover in it's full extend. You can work 10 years in the field yet face another hardware problem you haven't seen before.

        But I'm sure the MUO team appreciates your feedback and will take a things into consideration.

  8. Amit Sinha
    October 6, 2012 at 7:08 am

    If you think so then you should contact the staffs or development team of "makeuseof".
    Here members reply are only their opinions and its will be useless for your thoughts.

    • Adrian Rea
      October 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Opinions are good, it tests the waters of how everyone feels, not how a few may develop things without concensus of others. Its better than implementing something only to have to backtrack or replace it when it is found not to be as good as first though. But i appreciate your comment.

    • Muo TechGuy
      October 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Not true. I read all questions.

      These are excellent suggestions, though most are already on the to-do list.

      • Amit Sinha
        October 8, 2012 at 3:44 am

        Absolutely excellent suggestion and this is your and mine opinion and it doesn't makes any differences in MakeUseOf because we were not the part of development.

        I only meant that this discussion here is useless and do not make changes at all.

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