How can we make MakeUseOf Answers better?

Tina August 8, 2010
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If there was one thing you could change about MakeUseOf Answers, what would it be?

  1. Angus-90
    October 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    One Brilliant way that you could improve the site it to make it work propperly with RRS readers (Such as the built in apple mail RRS feature). At the moment, the only thing you see when you click on the article from the RRS, is 'Read More', which is very unhelpful when you quickly want to browse through your amazing content. Some of your older articles, (and in my opinion some of your best) such as 'What do the URL Domain Extensions stand for...', 'USB 3.0: Everything you need to know' and 'Why are there so many versions of Ubuntu' all appeared as full articles in the RRS feed reader, but now, all I ever see when flicking through your RRS feed is 'Read more', and it would seriously improve my experience to have the content appear in full!

  2. Anshul Dixit
    September 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    You should have a better comment form. When some one tries writing a code in an answer, it doesn't come out properly. I have faced this issue a number of times here.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      September 30, 2010 at 1:29 am

      I think Disqus, the comment system that MakeUseOf uses, only allows some HTML tags. Anything else wouldn't be displayed properly but you can write your code in something like PasteBin and just paste the link in your comments.

    • Aibek
      October 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      Jessica is right here, since we are using Disqus for comments we are pretty restricted. I would suggest using Pastebin and linking to the code from comment.

  3. jeff
    September 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I'd like to be able to choose [1] Macintosh only or [2] cross platform, and exclude all the Windows answers. I don't begrudge other platforms their answers, but I'd like not to have to wade through them.

    Also, in some of the above comments people ask for reference tools (index, topic groupings). You seem to think that's answered by RSS, but I disagree. I won't want to receive and have to read an endless stream of questions, most of which don't apply to me or in some cases to which I already know the answer. So, you might way, search. That's one way, but sometimes targeted browsing is more useful.

  4. Sueska
    September 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    You do a great job of reviewing and putting up comments quickly. I was wondering is there is a way for some trusted users to have their comments (answers) approved & posted immediately.

    • Tina
      September 4, 2010 at 12:09 am

      I actually try to add everyone to the whitelist who contributes on a regular basis and everyone who has won the Best Answer of the Week contest. But sometimes I may overlook a person or forget to add them immediately.

    • Aibek
      September 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Sure, we do white-list users who are regular commenters.

      Aibek

  5. Jessica Cam W.
    August 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I have seen Tina and Aibek asking whether any of the answers actually solved the asker's question. I'd suggest making a note in the How To Get Your Question Published screen for the asker that it would be HIGHLY recommended/beneficial for anyone wondering the same thing if the asker could please come back and report on the results, whether they helped or not.

    • Aibek
      August 14, 2010 at 5:27 am

      thanks, good point, I am adding this to our to-do list.

      Aibek

    • Jack Cola
      August 14, 2010 at 6:53 am

      With this, my Web Hosting company is giving customers $1 credit for completing a survey after their support ticket is closed. Maybe, there could be some reward if the asker actually writes a fix to their problem once it has been solved, or what worked for them?

    • Tina
      August 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      We could add the note to the eMail they receive once the question is published. This will be a more timely reminder.

      • Jessica Cam W.
        August 25, 2010 at 2:52 am

        Also, it'd be awesome if we could get the asker to include a screenshot or something. It'd help immensely in some cases.

  6. Aibek
    August 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    @EVERYONE

    Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. We are working with Tina on some of your suggestions already. Stay tuned!

    Aibek

  7. John McClain
    August 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I'm not sure if everyone else is seeing this or it's just me, but the "Ask a Question" button's background is transparent now (it used to be green). The white text is a bit hard to see.

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:00 am

      I see it too John. I already asked for it to be fixed. Not sure why it happened.

      • Aibek
        August 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm

        FIXED!

  8. Bakari
    August 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    One small thing would be put in bold or red the instructions about “What hardware or software are you using?” It’s really frustrating when someone ask a technical computer-related question and he or she doesn’t include that information. Perhaps adding another pull-down button for that purpose. But overall, I think the Answers is great the way it is. A lot of good responses and content seem to feel up these pages.

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:01 am

      Thanks for the feedback Bakari. To have an additional menu item in the question form was suggested, previously. We should finally get around to implementing it.

  9. Lewis
    August 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I think I it was a bit more like Yahoo!Answer's and maybe elect a reader to be a mod

    And maybe have a "Makeuseof Chat" were members can talk and help each other out and have staff log in to talk to and get to know some MUO readers and make a community.

    By the way why did the meebo bar get taken off?

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:04 am

      What do you think would be the benefit of having a reader elected as mod?

      A chat generally is a good idea. To be productive, however, it would have to be very busy. Otherwise chances are low that you'll encounter someone who can really help you.

      • Jack Cola
        August 14, 2010 at 6:51 am

        Suggestion, "The MUO Answers Helpdesk" People experienced in a particular field can have a live chat with someone who requires help. Instread of waiting for the question to be published, and someone to answer it, they can get help straight away. Then those chat logs can be published as helpful posts. (edited of course)

        Also, with the Hall Of Fame and Yahoo answers as mentioned above, could we have a leader board or point system like Yahoo Answers has?

        • Tina
          August 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm

          The Helpdesk is a great idea that will need a lot more thinking and development. It would be yet another major extension of the website. Not sure it's realistic, yet. Aibek?

          The point system has been suggested before (see wiki) and is still in consideration if technically possible. Since we're using Disqus, the 'Like' button is the most we can offer right now.

        • Aibek
          August 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

          I like the idea of Helpdesk as well but as Tina mentioned it will
          require some careful planning and implementation. As for the point
          system we are currently thinking on how to implement this.

          Aibek

  10. Ryan Dube
    August 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I agree with Saikat - the idea of a categorized and indexed FAQ would really be an amazing resource, albeit a lot of work...

    As far as what I would change - I think it would be nice to enable a system like what Mark described, but for those you star to auto-subscribe for email updates every time someone responds to the question. Although, I don't know if this is technically feasible...

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:18 am

      You can already subscribe to comments by eMail or RSS.

      I think what Mark means is to 'like' a question, much like you can now like answers.

      • Ryan Dube
        August 12, 2010 at 12:36 am

        Thanks Tina - I know I can subscribe...I was going to say I meant it would be neat if it would "autosubscribe" to answers you respond to (because I'm too lazy to scroll up and click...). Low and behold I just received your reply to my comment via email...so maybe that feature already works... :)

        • Aibek
          August 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

          Nice point Ryan. We'll see if that's something we can integrate.

  11. Saikat Basu
    August 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    We could bring out an eBook or a digest with all answers categorized and indexed. It could be monthly, bi-monthly, whatever. We have a pretty good stockpile of problems and solutions now.

    I didn't see Answers getting popularized on Facebook. Could be looked into.

    We don't have a separate Twitter account for Answers. This could help spread the word around especially when it comes to the really tough questions.

    In general I feel that Answers could do with its own bit of branding because this is an excellent resource and the baby is just a few months old.

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:16 am

      I don't quite see the benefit of an eBook. Why would someone with a specific problem try their luck downloading and reading an ebook, rather than just searching Google? Who else would use the eBook and for what purpose?

      • Aibek
        August 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

        I am with Tina on this one.

        • Jack Cola
          August 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

          Well you could create an eBook that contains questions and answers of useful posts in a particular category, eg Top 100 Windows XP FAQ's and provide answers to them.

        • Tina
          August 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

          The question is, who would use that? Is there an audience?

        • Jack Cola
          August 15, 2010 at 1:53 am

          "Common Computer FAQ for Computer Newbies"

          Maybe not an eBook, but you could create some sort of Knowledge Database.

        • Maude
          December 14, 2010 at 8:12 am

          For me more like an index with a three part question box -----subject, level of proficiency and potential use - perhaps it would make less answers come up at a time. For a non professional like me, it is sometimes overwhelming to get so many answers at a time and too time consuming to even try, especially when the answer is coming from a Ph.D. and my question is kindergarten or maybe third grade. I want incentive to come back to the site and learn more, not a reason to go away.

  12. Srinivas G
    August 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    1) You already have a "Hall of Fame" based on the 'no. of posts'. How about one based on the "No. of likes" received? Or, the number of likes received from the "askers", for that matter?

    2) Popularise MUO Answers - Select a couple of questions every week (the deserving ones) and post them on twitter and facebook. Let people retweet. Tell the world that we can answer their questions! I know you post the "Top 5 questions from you" and stuff like that, but how about a "muoanswers" twitter account? I mean, publicize MUO answers separately. So that special care is given to this part of the website. Perhaps a separate Marketing Team?

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:08 am

      Your second suggestion is excellent!

      I'm not sure we are able to implement your first suggestion. We are currently considering to remove the Hall Of Fame because it's not really working.

      • Srinivas G
        August 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

        Hmmm, nothing is impossible! Having said that, not everything is easy! :D I'd suggest you 'try' making some changes to the Hall of Fame, rather than completely removing it. As for the second suggestion, thanks. I'm glad I could give my favourite site a good suggestion and would be happier to see it implemented. You can start with a twitter account and see how far it goes. Better create an account soon and make sure that you get the desired username. :)

      • Jack Cola
        August 14, 2010 at 6:45 am

        What about, a retweet button for questions so the if people have twitter followers that know the answer to the question can respond?

        Once facebook questions launches, you can also somehow integrate that to MUO Answers.

        • Aibek
          August 14, 2010 at 6:50 am

          Thanks,

          I will discuss the possibility of adding the retweet button with Tina.

          Aibek

        • Tina
          August 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

          I love the idea of adding a re-tweet button.

  13. Mark O'Neill
    August 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    "star" questions to mark them as favourites.

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:20 am

      And then have a ranking in the sidebar with 'most starred', i.e. 'most liked' questions. In other words, 'Readers Picks'. :) Great suggestion! I hope it's doable.

  14. FluffieChic@yahoo.com
    August 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    In my personal opinion, you should assume you have three classes of people who use your information. The brilliant techie people who know exactly what you're talking about before you even say it, those who know relatively little about computers, and those of us in the middle who know just enough to be dangerous, but won't admit it. Thinking of these categories, I realize it might not be feasible to give three different levels of answers to most questions, but really, it might be better to err on the side of caution and provide too many details than to leave the "not quite so experienced" techie-wannabes confused about what to do next or what something means exactly. Not to "dumb down" the answer, but provide a complete explanation so that people on any level can make use of your expertise. Just my thoughts.

    • Tina
      August 12, 2010 at 12:06 am

      Well, the people asking the question could tick a box specifying how experienced they feel. Then people answering the question could be more or less specific, depending on the declared proficiency level. This has already been suggested and it's a very good idea. Thank you for your feedback!

      • Aibek
        August 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

        As Tina pointed out, we are working on getting this implemented.

    • Aibek
      August 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks, we are working on getting this implemented.

  15. 11/2 bits
    August 9, 2010 at 5:32 am

    I think it would be nice to have a login screen so i can log in if i want to download a guide, so that i dont have to dig through all my old emails to find that link.

    • Jack Cola
      August 14, 2010 at 6:41 am

      If you go to download any guide, simple re-add your email address and you will be directed to the download link for all our guides and Cheatsheets.

      Once there, simple bookmark the URL because it will never change.

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